Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Clothes....

I love getting new clothes at Xmas time, don't you??? With 'no spending' still my main priority where clothes are concerned I got to drafting up a little peasant type top for the girls yesterday....
A few tweaks here and a couple more there and my original top design turned into a sweet little dress in size 2-3... I was up til the wee hours of the morning sewing like a made woman, totally hooked on my new pattern. I managed to make 3 for Connie (size 2-3) and 3 for Millie (size 00-0). They are all for Xmas bar 1 of Connie's, it's for her to wear to a party tonight, the rest are surprises.....I'm now working on one in my size and am hoping to have a variety of sizes for sale in my shop come the new year..... *wink*

I hope all of your Xmas preparations are coming along nicely and you're not too stretched!!! Today I have a big batch of tomato relish brewing on the stove top as I type this, it will be added to Xmas hampers along with pickles, jam and shortbread which will be gifted to family and friends.... My Shortbread is in the freezer setting and as promised on Saturday, here is the recipe... It's absolutely DIVINE!!!! So super quick and so super delicious... I don't have sanding sugar so I just put a very generous sprinkling of caster sugar over the top before freezing...

Take Care.... Jodie.....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bread and Butter Pickles....

I've been picking loads of cucumbers lately and what better way to use the bulk of them up then by making bread and butter pickles....
The recipe I used was from a really old 'commonsense' type cookbook that no longer has a cover. It's my 'go to' for all the old favourite recipes that are sometimes hard to find like golden syrup dumplings, tomato sauce, lemon butter, pumpkin scones, etc...
The beauty about these pickles is that you don't have to rest them, you can start munching on them as soon as they are cooled... They turn a heavenly shade of yellow once cooked thanks to the turmeric in the recipe, just take a look.....

I love munching on these especially on savory crackers with a nice sharp cheese, yum-mo!!!!

The pickling juices that I had left at the end I bottled as-well, it makes a delicious salad dressing once cooled...
With a Xmas party on the cards tonight I've dressed up a couple of the jars of pickles to give the host as a thank you gift.....
Teamed up with some melt in your mouth shortbread (stay tuned for the delicious and SOOO simple recipe tomorrow) and I'm sure they'll be a hit... ;)
Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe...
ingredients : : 2kg green cucumbers thinly sliced, 500g red onions finely sliced, 3 cups white vinegar, 3 cups white sugar, 1 heaped Tablespoon mustard seeds, I heaped Tablespoon of chopped fresh celery leaves, 2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon crushed chillies, 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, salt.
method : : put cucumbers and onions into a bowl and sprinkle a big handful of salt (approx 1/4 a cup) over the top, let this stand for a good 3 hours. Wash and drain well....
Boil vinegar, sugar and other ingredients for 5 mins or until sugar is dissolved. Turn down the heat and add cucumbers and onions, heat well but do not boil. Spoon cucumbers and onions into hot sterilized jars, top with pickling juices and seal.
Will make approx 2 litres of pickles.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Round or Square????

I've been playing around with circular washcloths lately and this is a new pattern I've been working on....
I made this one up for my swap partner and now that I know it's well and truely on its way to her I thought I'd share it with you....
I've never really used round washers...... What about you, do you prefer round or square??? I'm still undecided.... I love my basic square ones but these do look pretty hanging over the basin drying...
Take Care.... Jodie.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today I'm....

.....harvesting some MEGA green button squash from my veggie patch....
I've found 3 this size today, how crazy is that??? They're only supposed to grow to the size of a golf-ball, max, after all they are 'button' squash but these babies are HUGE!!!!! Now all I need is a good squash recipe, any suggestions???
Also, while Brad was busy being preoccupied 'far far away' we had a secret visitor today...
......a local photographer, he came out to take some pix of me and the girls... This will be Brads gift this year for Xmas... It's so hard finding just the right gift for my husband but this year I really think I hit the nail on the head, fingers crossed he thinks the same....
What gift ideas have you come up with for those hard to buy people in your lives???

Take Care..... Jodie.................

Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Shop Update.....

OMG!!!! I did it... I opened my shop and you can check it out here or there's a link to it in my sidebar.....I've only listed a couple of goodies to start with, here's hoping it all goes well.... I'd love to hear your feedback if you have any....
Take Care..... Jodie......

Friday, December 11, 2009

Enough Interest......

Today a very special Nephew of mine turned 1.... Where on Earth has this past year gone??? Happy b'day Axel, we love you very much..... xoxoxo So with 'birthday's' comes 'birthday crafting', of-coarse,
and for Axel's 1st b'day I made him a bib/apron and some knitted sorting balls.....
The bib/apron is a great pattern I've made several times before for Miss Connie (you can find the free pattern link here), as for the sorting balls, that's something I thought up myself.... *grin*
(back view of apron, lined with terry toweling)
I made 8 balls in 4 different colours, each pair of coloured balls has the same letter stitched on it....... Toddlers can use the balls to learn the letters in their name,
to match letters,
to sort letters and colours too,
or to just simply stack and tumble and stack and tumble, you get the picture.......
I'm hoping these balls will offer hours of enjoyment for my little nephew and if you'd like my super simple pattern just leave a comment to let me know, I'm thinking of doing it as a free download if there's enough interest........
Take Care..... Jodie ....... :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today I'm.......

....harvesting some giant green button squash.....
......and some extra long lebanese cucumbers from my veggie patch......
As well as making a little Xmas-y pencil roll for Miss Connie to take on a 'long' road trip tomorrow..... I've made loads of these in the past and have found that the best fabric to use for the pencil part is felt.... This one I made to fit 12 pencils (if you'd like to know how I made it I'm more than happy to email you my instructions)......:)We've also been spending some quality time with our hand rared Damara ewe's....
I've had these girls for a couple of years now but for the past 12 months they've been running out the back with a mob of other sheep... This is now the 3rd week that they have been getting hand feed again in the sheep yards. I'm hoping that they will be ready for milking in the next week or so....
Miss Connie can't wait and insists that this job is right up her alley, lets see if she still thinks that after our first milking expedition... LOL!!!
Take Care... Jodie .....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Homemade Baby Food....

Today I whipped up a batch of fruity muesli for the kids, mainly my 11 month old but Connie (3yrs) loves it too, especially on top of some yogurt..... It was super easy, all I did was peel and chop 2 apricots and 2 pears. I then added them to a pot and added water to just cover. I added a handful of rolled oats and a pinch of ground cinnamon and bought it all to the boil. I then simmered it for a good hour, or until it was thickened and the fruit was nice and soft. I gave it a whizz with my bar mix and hey presto instant baby food with minimal fuss and prep and best of all you know exactly what has gone into it, gotta love that.... (this much fruit makes up approx 600ml of baby food which if added to sterilised jars and sealed while hot will keep in the pantry for a good couple of months)...
Take Care..... Jodie......

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gingerbread....

"Make Xmas Cards" was today's Advent activity and boy did Connie go to town with it..... These are the 2 that she made for her Granny and Nanna.......
They even came complete with family portraits inside, just too cute!!!!! *^_^*.....
The gingerbread man decorating was also a huge hit, even though I think more icing was eaten than put on cookies and then in-turn the cookies were being munched on just as fast as the icing was added, this didn't leave many at the end... I did manage to salvage a few different shapes to ice and put on the table for munching on over the next couple of days though....
This was the perfect recipe (link here), crunchy and delicious. I'll definitely be making more of them over the festive season.... It makes a whopping 60 cookies which are still fresh after a couple of days out on display, not in a container, I'm totally surprised!!!! They would make perfect Xmas decorations (which might still be on the cards closer to Xmas Day)...

Do you have a great Xmas cookie recipe that you make every year without fail????? I'd love to hear about it.....

Take Care..... Jodie.....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent.....

I love this time of year, don't you??? We are now into our third day of advent and with it brings some pics of the craft we did yesterday..... Miss Connie (with a little help from me) made a Santa Calendar.....
We used this great free printout for the Santa and then made the rest up ourselves. Each day of the month leading up to Xmas was painted, then a piece of paper was painted to match. On the back of each of these piece's of paper we wrote a little Xmas activity to do together as a family.....
Each day you cross out the day, grab a piece of paper the same colour as the day, do the activity and than hang it on the spike to the left of Santa's beard... Today's activity was 'read a Xmas story'....
It's so hard to take a pic inside, I can never get the light quite right, but here's a pic of our advent stockings hanging on the piano anyway.
After all of the great advice I got for stocking fillers back here I ended up opting for a Xmas craft activity in each one... Today's activity was 'Bake Some Biccies'... After a team effort, Miss Connie Millie and I have some pretty wild looking ginger bread in the oven baking..... Stay tuned for a progress report, we'll be icing or should I say 'dressing' our little men tomorrow...
Now time for a pest update, for those interested.....
I seemed to have stopped my tomato grub problem, FINALLY!!!! It turns out that by planting my tomatoes next to my beans and cauliflower they were more susceptible to pests and disease... I removed my 2 cauli's and 3 bush beans, squished any nasty looking critters lurking around my toms that shouldn't have been and now a couple of weeks on I have healthy tomatoes again... This is what I harvested this morning....
That big one down the bottom is bigger than my fist!!! I really do think a batch of Tomato Relish is on the cards very very soon, don't you???
To conclude, without all of your great advice from back here I really would have been lost so thank-you..... :)

Take Care.... Jodie.....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Napkins..............

I've had a set of homemade napkins on my list of things 'to do' for quite some time now...
Today I had just enough free time I decided to do something about that....
To make them I cut 12 1/2' squares using some poly-cotton from my stash. I've used this fabric for a table cloth before and it washes beautifully (that was my reasoning behind the poly-cotton if you're wondering, oh and it's SUPER cheap which is also a bonus)....
To finish them off I added some 100% cotton fabric bias using a tiny zig-zag stitch, (to make my bias I cut 1 1/2' strips, this tutorial's great if you need a hand). I made sure to mitre the corners, which was so worth the extra time as it gives a lovely neat finish.... :)
I love how these have turned out, they match perfectly with my newly painted BRIGHT YELLOW kitchen... I now can't wait to whip a couple of sets up for people over Xmas.
All up they probably take about 4 hours to make, an hour each, that is when you add 2 little terrors running around under foot through the whole process.... LOL!!!.... But you know what, I don't think I'd have it any other way...... *^_^*
Take Care................ Jodie..........