Sunday, October 29, 2006

My first ever biscornu! I have stitched this up for an exchange I am participating in. It is a scissor fob. Here are photos of both sides. I couldn't find buttons the right size for the centre, so I did a couple of french knots on the purple side and an X on the pink side, in Krienik's gold.
I am so happy with it I'll be making a couple more as Christmas presents in the next week or so.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Menu Plan Monday
on a Tuesday
Roasted chicken breast with lemon pepper seasoning
asparagus, mashed pumpkin, mashed potato
Grilled salmon, broccoli salad, carrots, mashed potato
Grilled steak, peas, cauliflower, potato and carrots
Marinated chicken breast, brussels sprouts, green salad.
Baked chicken, carrots, silverbeet, mashed potato.
Baked fish, beans, pumpkin, chips.
Roasted pork tenderloin, cabbage, peas and carrots, mashed potato.
This week I am following a healthy eating plan, trying to kick start a bit of weight loss. I have included mashed potato and chips on my menu plan for the benefit of Beloved Hubby and the skinny kids.
Don't you just love my little spaghetti monster!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Yesterday I went to the Brisbane Craft and Quilt show, and spent a wonderful morning browsing and trying to absorb the millions of ideas that these places offer. I took a class in silk ribbon embroidery, specifically creating the spider roses pictured above. It was so interesting. I have wanted to try silk ribbon work for ages, but hadn't even figured out how to thread the needle. This class, run by Helen Dafter, showed me the basic ribbon stitch as well as the knack of threading the needle and starting off with ribbon. Now I am so ready to try other projects, especially the gorgeous evening bag on her site.

It has been a busy week for me. I have spent a lot of time at a friend's place, keeping her company and making cups of tea. She is going to be having her twins on Wednesday, and has been in a lot of pain. We had a nice time, sitting together and discussing babies.
I have also finished off Joy Tree. I am really pleased with how it has turned out, and am looking forward to giving it to Christopher's teacher. Samara is anxious for me to start her teacher's gift. I have so many projects planned between now and Christmas. It's kind of exciting to have all these wonderful plans for presents. I just need to remember them all!

Monday, October 16, 2006

My first ornament of the year, M Design's Joy Tree. It's not bringing me much joy right at this moment. I have to frog all of the unfinished half of the tree, because the tops of the y were supposed to meet and they did not. It is stitched over one on 28 count jobelan, and the thought of unpicking those tiny stitches is instant inspiration to procrastinate! I am stitching this for Christopher's teacher. She also taught him last year (composite Grade 2/3) and we gave her Peace Tree last Christmas. It seemed right to give her another tree design this year. The fabric colour does not photograph well. It's an off cut from Swirly Sampler, and is actually a pale green called Thyme, by Dragonfly Dreams. The floss is GAST Deep Sea.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

We are having a pleasant day today. As I write this we're all in the living room listening to Christopher's choir CD. The songs are all from movie soundtracks, so are very familiar. And I always get a bit teary to hear the cherubic voices of the children. The kids are funny. They are bouncing around on the couch, and every so often the urge to dance takes grows irresistable and they leap onto the floor and boogie.

At present I am stitching ornaments for teacher's gifts. There are only 8 weeks until school breaks up, so I am in a little panic. Every year I decide I should do an ornament a month to escape the end of year panic. Every year I end up having a little freak out in October and putting the finishing touches on ornaments on the last evening before school finishes. This year I have one less teacher to stitch for, so I am hoping that will help!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I have had a little blogging break while I digested a couple of largish pieces of news. It seems in our house we can go months with nothing dramatic happening at all, then a week will come along where we have so much to think and worry about that it's barely possible to sleep. This has been one of those weeks.

Our first news is that we are expecting to transfer in the next 18 months or so. From sunny, subtropical Brisbane to cripes-it's-snowing-today Canada. Toronto, to be exact. I am finding it hard to get my head around this. It's been a little pipedream of ours for ages, but Beloved Hubby's boss has promised he'll actually make it happen. There are projects going on here next year that Beloved Hubby is keen to be a part of, but after that ...

I am excited and scared about the cold, the kid's schooling, housing (we would be very baaad neighbours in an apartment), how we'll get around (I can't drive in snow!!??). You name it, I have worried about it in the past week! I keep telling myself that it's such a long way off into the future, and there's no point fretting about these things now, but I wouldn't be me without something interesting to worry about.

In other breaking news, it seems likely I have fibromyalgia, and I am being treated for it. I have been feeling very tired and as though I have the flu for months and months ( I don't remember exactly when it started, but I started seeing doctors about it in April). I am really hoping that this diagnosis is accurate, and that I'll start feeling a bit better soon! I was starting to wonder if it wasn't all in my head.

An update about my Swirly Sampler. I could not find an actual letter S in any of the quilting and scrapbooking stores I visited, but I did find these swirly clips, one of which will work perfectly as a swirly S. I will attach the S this weekend. There is a huge craft and quilt show at the convention centre starting on Wednesday, and I will try to find a suitable frame there before I resort to the expense of a framer.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I finished something!!! Here is Bent Creek's Swirly Sampler, which I stitched up in four weeks. I have done this as a gift for a very dear friend who is expecting twins in the next month. I still need to find an S shaped charm to attach for the letter S. The charm in the pattern is proving difficult to obtain, but I will be looking at the charms and notions in my local scrapbooking stores to see if I can spot anything appropriate. I am hopeful I will find something.

I loved this pattern. It was easy to stitch up, and has made me feel more inclined to tackle a few of those other WIPs which I have been avoiding.

Blogging while I wait for the kettle to boil. I really, really need a cup of tea. Tea is a topic I can preach on for hours. But not today.

Today my little hobby horse is the way that food has changed. Most particularly the proliferation of packaged convenience food that take the fun out of cooking. I do know that there is a place for convenience food in the kitchen. Heaven knows (and you know too, Mum) there are days that I don't feel like cooking. And on those days it's really nice to have a jar of pesto and a packet of spaghetti in the cupboard. It's when the convenience foods are used every day that I start to worry.

I worry that the food that we eat is so processed and preserved that it is no longer a recipe, so much as a chemical formula. Whole meals come out of a packet. When people no longer have twenty minutes to peel, chop and boil potatoes to make a mash, that bothers me. It can be challenging thinking of a menu every day, and dinner comes at the tired end of the day, I know, but it just doesn't justify resorting to highly processed foods and compromising the health of our families.

The one change I have made that has made the most difference to our eating habits is menu planning. When I don't have to decide what to cook for dinner then meal preparation goes much more smoothly. The cupboard and frisge are stocked with what I need to prepare an already decided upon meal, so it doesn't seem such an effort to make it. We are very flexible about our menu, and I try to set it up so that, on days I am particularly busy, the meal requires less work, or is of a 'set and forget' nature.

We are having a little difference of opinion in our house regarding lunch box treats. A few tears have been shed over the shortage of chips, sticky fruit sticks / rollups, and the plethora of sugar and preservative laden bar shaped goodies in our house. I have gently explained why I don't think these treats are ok at school, and now I am desperately seeking recipes for homemade treats. I used to make banana muffins, but with the price of bananas in Australia at the moment, well, I am not going to hock my heirlooms for the sake of a peer approved morning tea!
Better fall back on the old favourite, Anzac biscuits.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Salmon rissoles, broccoli and carrot in cheese sauce.

Tuesday: Sloppy Joe baked potatoes, salad of spinach leaves, grated carrot, tomato. avocado.

Wednesday: Spaghetti with roasted pumpkin, pesto and fetta.

Thursday: Beef casserole, mashed potato and sweet potato, green vegies.

Friday: Lasagne, salad (cos lettuce, grated carrot, tomato, green onions).

I don't have to cook next weekend as we'll be off visiting family. The hardest part of my menu planning at the moment is catering for a toddler. He eats so well during the day, lots of fruit, yoghurt and cheese, wholemeal bread, but at evening he refuses dinner almost every night. I am not too worried, but I try to make sure there is one thing on the plate each night that he will eat. Even if he only eats grated carrot on some nights. All the kids went through this phase, and came out the other side. I just have to hope it doesn't last long. Don't forget to take a look at the other delicious menus at Organizing Junkie's blog

Other breaking news in our house this week: Our first lovebird egg hatched! Later on today, when I've bought new batteries for my camera, I'll try and take a picture. It's so tiny, the size of a baby's little finger!

Also: Joshua is on day two of toilet training in earnest. We have tried off and on for months, but he's been holding on tight to his infancy. Weaning took forever, he's been very insistant that he still needs his nappies, and let's not even discuss the empty bed in The Boys' Room. But yesterday he went the whole day with only one accident while playing outside, and even woke dry from his nap. Today I had to coax him back into his underwear, but the lure of a dinosaur print proved irresistable. I was thrilled when, this morning, he spontaneously hopped up and went to the toilet by himself. I am so proud!