Sunday, January 28, 2007

Op shopping in Newcastle

Yesterday morning I took along gram and [dragged] mum op shopping with me. First stop - was the best. We almost could've stopped there. It was my old haunt - Belmont St Vinnies. One of the few op shops still around that hasn't heard of inflation, or making some decent money from selling someone elses junk. Lucky for me! The top photo is my new smock (50c). I have another similar one I wear when washing the boys. I might wear it a lot more now. I think it's tres cute.

The single sheet set is a little disappointing. Got it at stop 2. The top pillow case is fine, but the next pillow case and sheet are awfully discoloured and stained. eiugh. I've been napisanning them overnight to see if they improve.

I'm thinking of turning this napking into a needle holder (or 2). (25c)

The quality of linen on this New Zealand tablecloth is just so beautiful. I have a teatowel (from Gram) also from NZ that is similar quality. Not stiff like our linen (and I'm not talking starch). It's a different kind of weave. ($3)

This wallet is my best find. Initially I was going to be charged 50c, but she forgot to run it and the napkin above through the till, so she gave them both to me for 50c. We saw heaps of these wallets throughout the day, ranging from $10 to $16 I think. The diary is sweet, it's blank, so I can't work out what year it was from. It was 50c too.

I liked this idea someone had - turning a linen tea towel into an apron. YAY! Someone else who cut up a tea towel to make something else. (I'm referring to my plan to make a tea towel quilted tablecloth this year). I should post photos of all my tea towels. I have over 20 now.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

swap, new furniture and inspirations

A weekend trip to Ikea for my sister, of course ended up costing me over $100 on stuff I didn't know I needed until a shuffled through the maze of rooms with 100,000 other Sydney-siders. What's new, huh? Besides, because it takes 3 hours minimum to get through the shop AND it always costs so much, you never end up going too often. The crowds frustrate and anger me no end. I have no patience for crowds. Ask Paul. So I got a few 'essentials' including 2 new little tables for convenient 'eating in front of the telly' time. Also convenient crafting and blogging table too, may I add!

I've finished putting together the parcel for Kristen for Ellia's Sweet Pea Valentine Swap

oooh. Wonder what's in there...I was so over the moon about how perfectly everything fitted into this recycled box I had been saving. Wonderful!

I have been so busy reading so many great blogs. Recent inspirations include (but not limited to):

This fantastic crocheted scarf at Bella Dia. When it gets colder....

Jess Hutch is now screen printing her sketches onto large pieces of fabric. Soo lovely.

Fooooood. Jennifer at Mama urchin has made the most delicious looking pizza from SCRATCH. I so want a pizza stone for our oven. I truly believe it would motivate me to make my own pizza. true.

Being the basic sewer that I am, I have not yet attempted zippers, or anything zipper related - like cute little pouches. This may change now with a little help from Claire at needle book, who has recently plunged into the zipper pouch world herself, and provided links to useful tutorials she found.

Sally (nice name) at Shim and sons is sharing with us the most beautiful pin boards - no. sewing. required.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

food and craft

Yesterday I visited Babycakes by Renee in Summer Hill. Ooooh - yummo! I've been wanting to visit there after first trying her signature strawberry mud cakes (above) at a work morning tea. And also after reading there review by Helen at Grab your forksome time ago, here.

I went with 2 friends, and we ordered 2 dozen ($19) with me taking the leftovers home for family. (There weren't that many left over - oh my groaning stomach.) Don't judge me because I love cake.




white chocolate mud


Yep - see it and weep peoples. These are the 5 cakes I ate yesterday morning, washing them down with an iced chocolate (with just a little bit of cream on top). In no particular order.....I loved the peppermint and white chocolate mud cakes best. Jaffa and marbled were also good. Banana was fine - nothing to complain about, but I don't think banana cake is ever as good as banana bread. Hmm, banana bread...

I also had the terrible task of choosing which cakes to order for Jax's farewell morning tea this week at work on Wednesday. 70 cakes, excellent, but what flavours! My friends started to get shitty with me for taking too long to decide (hi girls!) so under the pressure of it all I can't remember what I ordered! I know I got 5 flavours - strawberry, white chocolate, caramel, lemon poppy seed - I hope the last one I chose was choc/peppermint. Oh well.

In other breaking news, I finished and sent off my valentine atc's for the oh-so charming valentine swap being organised by Mary Ann. These are the first 2 I made. They have a little message written on the back of the tags.

I came up with a completely different idea for the next 2. I used the heart envelope design by Martha Stewart, found here.

Inside are 3 little pictures of things I love. One envelope has foot rubs, red toenails and pretty shoes. The other has coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and hot chocolate in the evening. There are some photos of these over at my Flickr.

I'm having heaps of fun reading through hundreds of blogs and posts now I have my feed thingy set up. It's great - but I can't keep up with it. I also still struggle to post my own stuff - partly because I don't do that much to blog, partly because it always takes so long, even to do a simple one. I really appreciate all the comments people make, but can't find a way to retrieve someone's email address so I can reply as typepad people always do. So thanks for stopping by (and reading to the end). It's very motivational!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

today's inspirations

I'm really loving the gorgeous and simple style of the smock tops Amanda (Soule Mama) has created from a vintage children's smock she has. I'd love to think I could work out a reasonable pattern to make some for myself.

Also lots of photos on her Flickr page.

Then, when I was checking out everything going on over at Whip Up I loved this recycled bag made by Liza from a rice sack. Why don't I ever buy my rice in such large quantities that they come in cute printed hession sacks, complete with a red ZIPPER.

So much cool stuff out there. Love it.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Photo Journal - coastal walk

After many years living right on the #370 bus route, today we finally caught it all the way to Coogee Beach. It was hot (I was wearing jeans) but it was quite cloudy and overcast. We had a beautiful walk, and I'm sure I annoyed Paul by stopping every few minutes to take photos. Oh well. He's used to it by now. Here's some nice ones.
A recent memorial built at Coogee for Bali bombing victims. A lot were Coogee locals.

A shrine that has developed for the spot where the Virgin Mary was appearing on a fence post at sunset for a couple of weeks 2 or 3 years ago. An article about it is here and here.
Down at the Coogee Baths, the surf was pretty dangerous and wild.
Wouldn't it be nice to live along here...You can see the air is thick with seaspray.
Snorkelling down at Gordon Bay.

Some of the many lifesavers on duty at Clovelly Beach.
Isn't it gorgeous? Next time I'm definitely taking the cozzies for a dip in the ocean pool.

The best place on earth to be laid to rest. Waverly Cemetery. Apparently Henry Lawson is buried here and Helen Keller...(I overheard a mother telling her 7 year old son)..
Approaching Bronte. Gorgeous expensive homes.
I'd call these little picnic huts funky. And that would be a good thing. An American friend of mine uses the word funky to mean something bad. Shame shame. Such a waste of a funky word. This is at Bronte Beach.
I've got a whole photo set with lots of photos from today over in my flickr account right here.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Dinner - Grilled Barramundi and Sweet Potato Salad

Dinner tonight.

I've based the sweet potato recipe on one that I found here on nine msn. I was looking for something low carb. Hate to be following a trendy diet, but anything's worth a shot within reason.

My version is a bit different.

Sticky Roasted Sweet Potato Salad (sounds nicer)
Serves 2 as a meal or 3~4 as side salad

2 small sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into chunks
Spray cooking oil
Sweet chilli sauce

Preheat hot oven (200C). Spread potato on a non-stick baking tray spray with oil and drizzle with sweet chilli oil. Bake for 40 minutes or so, checking and turning to make sure they don't burn too much.

Leave the potato to cool. While it's cooking put the rest of your salad together:

1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
2 cups (approx) baby spinach leaves
handful of salad seeds


200ml diet fruit flavoured yoghurt (I got the nectarine flavour)
handful of fresh coriander (cilantro?) chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice

I kept the dressing separate to the salad til the end and drizzled it over the salad and fish before serving.


2 pieces white fish with skin on (I used Barramundi)
olive oil
handful of coriander and thai basil chopped
sea salt and fresh pepper

Rub the oil into the skin and then rub in the herbs. Crack the salt and pepper over the skin too.

Grill fish skin side first until crispy looking, then turn for just a few minutes to finish cooking the fish. It's done when the flesh flakes easily when poked with a fork.

This was my fish ready to turn.

Scroll back up to the top and that's what it looked like all served, moments before we pounced on it. YUMMO. We have left over salad (enough for 1 lunch tomorrow) and the fish was so big we were completely stuffed.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

mail excitement

When we got back home from our family Christmas, there was a parcel waiting for me! You can imagine my excitement. It was almost better than the pressies under the tree (almost).
So, here's some promised photos of the gorgeous Japanese craft books that Ayumi sent to me. She does such a wonderful job choosing them. I admit the photos are crap, but you get the drift.
Book number 1!

I've added a couple of my favourite pages from inside. Anything to do with tea - making tea, keeping tea toasty, serving tea, afternoon tea treats to eat while drinking tea, I like. OK?

These pincushions are so excellent! If I hadn't already made something for the pincushion challenge this month, I'd make something like this. I might anyway..

Book number 2!

This kind of page is just fun to look at. I get 'stuff envy'.

This is the sweetest little bag! I'd love to think I have the sewing and Japanese reading skills left to make this winner. (All my unused Japanese is leaking out of my head faster than you can skull a Christmas flaming tequila). I have no idea where that analogy came from. I never remember the normal ones.

I just want to show off my new diary inserts too.Last years, I must unfortunately say, were a friggin disaster. Someone other than Ayumi was given the task to buy them. And that person's world of cute is um, somewhat different to mine. So close, and yet so far away. Back to safe ground again this year... phew.