Friday, December 29, 2006

Cool Christmas

Although this may be very true every year for many people out there, cool weather on chrissy day here is a godsend! Last year it was disgusting. Christmas eve and new years day were over 40 degrees and stinkin' hot. We got an aircon installed late November, preparing for the scorching, and it's been in the low 20's all week. Beautiful! I'd love summer if that's what it was all about.

I got some amazing cool gifts this Christmas. I do every year, really (mostly). My family and friends know me pretty well. It's really lovely when people get something right like that. I don't know about other people, but when someone gets something wrong (and they've tried really hard to get it right), it makes me really angry. with myself. Abnormally angry. Because no matter how hard I try, I just can't like the thing that they've chosen, but haven't got right. But this year, they all got it right, so no valium required. I love it all. The cd, the books, the perfume, the voucher for my new Blender come food processor, the bag, and everything else as well!

Gram gave me this cool bag that she made. She hasn't been feeling well lately, but was still able to whip these up for everyone in time for Christmas. We don't know how she does it....This opens up really wide. It will be perfect for an overnight bag, or carrying around a WIP when I go away for a weekend, etc. Love it. More photos of Chrissy can be seen here.
I've also been enjoying visiting everyone's sites leading up to Christmas, and over the holidays. Seeing how much work crafty people put into creating a unique and special time for their family and friends is great. So too is seeing everyones pressies!

We came back from Newcastle last night, and I had 2 parcels waiting for me! YAY! One was an ebay purchase for dad's Christmas present - he has it now, belated. The other is the parcel from Japan. It's sooo fantastic. 2 new craft books and 2007 diary inserts from Ayumi-chan. Onya Ayumi. Everyone's comments regarding my little sooky winge were really lovely.I appreciate them all, and will defnitely keep you all posted as the other 'items in waiting' arrive. I'll also post some photos of Ayumi's books and inserts tomorrow. The light is already fading today.Not sure where that went actually. I'm still in my pj's. oops.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

[sigh] poor me...

At the beginning of the month, I was so looking forward to what was going to arrive in the post over the coming weeks. Lots of parcels were due (or overdue) to arrive to me. Yippee! But for so many different reasons I didn't receive most of them.

oh dear.

Things I was hoping to get by now include - 2 parcels with embroidered tea towels from the swap-bot swap from months ago...only 1 from 3 expected parcels ever arrived. I never received a bundle for the old christmas card swap also on swap-bot - only a RUDE response from the person I rated as not sending me anything, who never denied not sending anything, mind you. Another swap-bot yet to arrive is the craft book and magazine swap, which is apparently on route via ship. I thought it should have arrived by now, and finally (I think) is my new diary inserts from Japan - which I know were being chosen and bought late last night, because I got a phone call to check exactly what size I need. I'm not worried about that not arriving, so it's just a matter of being a little patient a little longer....

I was SO EXCITED to get a fantastic box from Jo in the handmade holiday swap - which I blogged about already. I'm still enjoying the cookies and admiring the decorations I've put around the house. I got the good news that Jo's parcel arrived safe and sound too, so I can finally post her pictures here as well. (at the bottom)

I was also really really happy to receive a beautiful parcel from Shirra in the pincushion swap. I received some gorgeous soap and yarn in addition to the cute pin cushion.

Neither of these were through swap-bot, so as you might have already guessed, I've gone cold on the swap-bot for a while. I had read about other people feeling this way, but I was determined to give it a go anyway. I might go back next year, but I think I'll be pretty picky. Maybe I'll try and organise my own - and be really picky about who can join...I am definitely finding doing swaps organised by lovely people through their blogs, or flickr to be more reliable so far. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has opinions on this? I love swapping - it's a new hobby - and I'm not ready to give it up! I'm also thinking about getting a PO box next year too. Then I'll feel confident that boxes or parcels aren't being nicked off our front step.

hmmm. enough mopey. This is about stuff I like. If I want to bitch, I should just create a new blog. Ha, it would probably be quite active sometimes.

So, now I get to post the photos of Jo's needlecase. She 'hearts hearts', so I made her a needlecase with as many hearts as I could muster. I was a little disappointed I couldn't find some better heart buttons. But as we know - spotlight is crap. It did turn out pretty well (I think), and I love the stripey cotton lining (onya spotlight - sometimes).

The whole stash.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Nothing of the sort, really. BIG IDEA - that's more like it. ooh ooh ooh, what is it? well...

My next big project might be quilting a 'new' tablecloth.

Seriously. Settle down. It's a great idea that is evolving. I've got a few vintage Aussie teatowels, and a couple of vintage tablecloths (including a ripper Goldcoast one) that are in various conditions. Some are so new the original label and starch remains, others are worn with holes and stains from years of use and tomato sauce spills. So I was thinking about creating a sort of geometric crazy quilt using all the best bits of the cloths I have.

It also gives me great purpose and validity in popping in to the op shops regularly on the way home from work. Lovely.

If you have any vintage Aussie teatowels lying around and you don't know what to do with them (especially holey ones that you can't bear to throw out), maybe I could interest you in a swap of some sort...I'm particularly interested in tea towels or tablecloths featuring towns and places. The smaller the town, the better!

Bring it on!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas tree

I need to feel more Christmassy in my little web world. So here's a photo of our Christmas tree. We didn't get around to pulling the rest of the decos out from boxes under the house, so this is it. Squaished in a corner. Still, at least the boys haven't peed on it yet. I thought they would have by now.

Plus, I have to send a thank you out to Dani for sending me this very cool Christmas postcard. It arrived in Friday's post. I love it.

Recipe for my Rocky Road

Mmmmmm. Rocky Road - only at christmas time....

My recipe is pretty easy, cause I just use whole packets of stuff.

3 blocks of the best quality milk chocolate you can get (about 600g) - melted

1 packet macadamia nuts (at least 100g - more would be better)

1 packet mini marshmallows

1 packet Malteasers (165g)

1 box of REAL turkish delight - chopped into smaller bits (I think at least 300g)

a couple of handfuls of shredded coconut

Lay a few of the fillings around your baking tray, and mix nuts, etc through the melted chocolate before spreading it all over the baking tray. Put in the fridge to set and cut into squares with a knife when set.

I don't like cherries, so I made my own's DELICIOUS!

This is it piled into my tupperware container, waiting to go to work with me tomorrow. My little end of year pressie for my workmates.

Other yummy additions would include:

slivered almonds, chopped up peppermint patties, chopped up cherry ripes (if you like cherries), raspberry lollies, sprinkles on top to make it christmassy, white and dark chocolate swirled through (ooh - I wish I'd done that), chopped up tim tams. I think you get the drift.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

4 things

I've been personally invited, well, when I say 'personally', I mean Claudine from knitting box said..

"If you haven't done this yet and would like to, go for it, I'd love to know more about you. Consider yourself tagged!",

so I am.

4 things...

4 jobs I've had

- babysitter

- retail assistant

- potato peeler (lab assistant)

- translator

4 movies I could watch over and over

- 16 candles

- pretty in pink

- chocolat

- pride and prejudice (the new one)

4 places I have lived (apart from where I am now

- Tamworth

- Sasebo

- Kumamoto

- San Francisco

4 tv shows I love

- medium

- deal or no deal

- amazing race

- house

4 places I've been for vacation

- great barrier reef

- london

- ko phi phi

- mudgee

4 websites I visit daily

- gmail

- flickr

- google reader

- smh

4 favourite foods

- donuts

- sashimi

- avocado

- mushrooms

4 places I'd rather be

- bed (it's late for me...)

- canada visiting Shannon

- japan visiting Ayumi

- melbourne going shopping (tomorrow)

4 people I'm tagging

gosh - I really don't know that many bloggers, so if you've not done it either - please consider yourself tagged! (and let me know so I can go and read them!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Recipe - Chrissy Cake

I remembered on Flickr I said I would share this recipe. So here it is - ENJOY!

Super Rich Chocolate Drambuie Fruit Cake

1 quantity of mixture makes 1 23cm round cake and 6 individual cakes. Or one larger cake - a deep 25cm round or deep 23cm square cake pan. Can be made 3mths ahead - store in the fridge.

375g sultanas

375g raisins, chopped

250g currents

250g pitted prunes, chopped

250g pitted dates, chopped

125g mixed peel

140g red glace cherries, quartered

340ml Drambuie

1/3 cup honey

1tbsp grated lemon rind

250g butter

300g black sugar (eg: dark muscavado cane sugar)

6 eggs

90g dark chocolate, grated

125g pecans, chopped (plus extra whole for topping cake)

2 cups plain flour

1 cup SR flour

1/4 cup cocoa

Combine fruit, 1 cup of the Drambuie, honey and rind in a very large bowl. Cover and stand overnight or several days (I usually do it for more than a week).

Grease a 6-hole (3/4 cup capacity) Texas muffin pan, and line the base and sides of a deep 23cm round or deep 19cm square cake pan with 2 layers of paper, bringing the paper 5cm above edge of pan.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer until just combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating only til combined between additions.

Stir in fruit mixture, chocolate, nuts. Add sifted dry ingredients in 2 batches. Mix well.

Place level 3/4 cup of mixture into each hole of the prepared muffin pan. Spread remaining mixture into prepared cake pan. Decorate tops with extra pecans.

Bake muffins in very slow (120 celcius) oven for about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake round cake in slow (150 celcius) oven for about 3 hours.

Bake the large cake in slow oven for about 4 1/2 hours.

Brush hot cakes with remaining Drambuie, cover hot cakes tightly with foil, cool in pans.

Suitable to freeze. Not suitable to microwave.

Happy Birthday Gram!

Today is my grandmother's 85th birthday. She's fantastic. All my craftiness comes from her. Gram has taught me how to crochet, sew and embroider. She's tried just about every type of art or craft there is - and I seem to have caught that gene as well. She's got her own computer and email account - but hasn't started her own blog - yet. So anyway, Happy Birthday Gram! See you at Christmas.

My wonderful swap partner Jo's box arrived on Friday. I wasn't able to collect it until Saturday morning, while trying to help my sister move house on Saturday morning. It was such a cute box, with little labels and notes on the outside, that I had to open it IMMEDIATELY. However, it was covered in nuclear strength packing tape and the sharpest cutting implement I had was a key. Geez, did I break into a sweat trying to open the bloody thing. Hubby stepped in, constantly muttering I should wait until after we'd gotten home, he broke into a sweat as well, but we managed to get it open. Phew. I had so much fun opening all the little pressies, and everything was so sweet and cute. Thank you again Jo. You're a champion.
By the way, the photo is incomplete, because there was a delicious box of Hershey's white chocolate cookies as well, that was devoured at the end of the day's moving house. Delicioso!

Thanks to my dear geeky hubby, my blog reading experience was recently revolutionised! Huge call, you may think, but I'm completely un-technologicaly aware. He just help me set up google reader to subscribe to all my favourite blogs. Amazing! It saves me so much time going to and fro all the blogs to see if a new post has been left. This does it for you automatically. Sorry, I'm probably telling people how to suck eggs, but maybe there's others out there as ignorant as me. maybe.

On the weekend I finally baked the chrissy cakes. The recipe I use was from an Australian Women's Weekly magazine a few years back. I'm not always a fruit cake fan, but the word CHOCOLATE stood out amongst the other string of lovely words they used to describe this cake: *Super Rich Chocolate Drambuie Cake*. I can't find fault with one word in that. The recipe makes one big cake (23cm)

And 6 texas muffin sized cakes. Mmmm

I seem to be big on food, and few on craft at the moment. I *have* been crafting though. Some stuff is still secret because it hasn't arrived at it's destination, or it's for Christmas. I guess I'll have lots of made things to post after the new year. Here's a couple of really soft teddy's I've made recently. There seems to be babies everywhere these days, and these are good for tiny bubs. Very soft and no buttons. They're so cute! I like how the blue one looks scared. It will probably be an appropriate expression if a baby is sucking on his ear or something.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A pressie for me....

Sorry Hubby, but the box that arrived on our doorstep from the US on your birthday, was not for you from your dear brother, but for me from a lovely swapper...

Thanks Shirra for sending me such a great bundle of stuff. I love it!

This is the wrapped version of what went in the post to Jo today. She's probably not going to get it until she's back from a trip, so I won't post the insides until later...