Another busy weekend :)

We’re well into autumn here in Christchurch, NZ

The leaves are all turning in color and the morning/evening temperatures have dropped to single digits.

Even stranger I look out to the left of our property (North Canterbury) and see dark rain clouds yet out to the right ( East Canterbury ) I see beautiful blue sky!

IMG_0018

IMG_0020

Just as I was about to pull away the camera a bird (or three! according to my motion sensors on the camera screen detected) came into focus.  I can see two of the three birds 🙂

IMG_0026

We’ve got a weather warning for hail, sleet and snow to some levels.

The heat pumps aren’t even making any effort at keeping the house at 18′ up from our meager inside 14′ (9 degrees out brr!!) when we got out of bed this morning.

The kids are well attached to their screens so I’m going to get some soap made but first the curtains need hemming! they’re a daily nuisance dragging and heavy too.  We got them on a major sale at the warehouse instead of getting the housing company to organize some overpriced curtains for us. Saved heaps!

Here’s the before and afters:

IMG_0010

IMG_0011

The stripes sure help me keep straight!

IMG_0012

Who knew when I got dressed this morning my chest had the best pattern for storing pins 😉

IMG_0016

IMG_0017

The lining had to be unpicked then hemmed separately, yup I was tempted to pin it in one and just sew once lol 🙂

I did the first three of nine curtains this way then lost patience and just did it all in one step! Good grief, it even looks nicer!!

IMG_0009

Ugghhh!! all that time spent pinning when this looks so much better.

Sigh.

Keep learning Vee…

 IMG_0021

Ha! check out that pinning… total fluke that it far away enough that I could skip unpinning as the foot went past.

Learning…. slowly…. but surely 🙂

Phworrrr look at that beautifully hemmed curtain!

IMG_0022 IMG_0024

Possibly still a smidge long but very very happy with them.

IMG_0025

That’s just the first window.  Just a few meters and meters and meters more of hemming to do.

Quarter past 4pm, the kids have been outside and played catch and chase with Bella, Marley and Bob! and even brushed both the dogs down.  I look up after hanging up the completed sixth of nine curtains needing done and Brook is up on top of the shed with the dogs ball thrower waving it around… and I can see the guy over the fence, with a fag hanging out his mouth, smiling around it… pull it out and smile just before he speaks I get out on the deck.

GET OFF ERR THAT ROOF!!!

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!

[I can see the neighbor laughing and gone back to puffing on his fag while he watches Brook get the what for!]

The dogs next door caused  $700 of vet bills for my other neighbors poor dog, nasty breeds and probably bred TO attack.

Far out.  I get to my last curtain to hem and just finish pinning it read to sew and my spotify switches to a very appropriate song!  Just when I’m feeling too exhausted to get onto the soap batches.

Automatic – by Miranda Lambert

5pm and all the mending that was by the sewing machine is done.  I can pack it away. Phew.

Glad theres a batch of yesterdays soup in the slowcooker on warm.

A quick dinner then onto getting those soap batches done.

Mark should be home soon.

SUNDAY

I’m awakened at ten to seven am by the kids having a yelling match with each other.

Lordy lordy – give me strength today to get through the tasks.

In my PJ’s I start to tidy up, then loose focus and decide breakfast is a better idea.

Back to tidying up and loose focus again when I get to the sewing machine still out from yesterday and decide to try sewing with a card for some birthdays in a couple weeks.

IMG_0016-001

IMG_0017-001

I tried going flat tick…. that tore the paper up, tried going slow… it didn’t grab the paper and double stitched some holes, tried hand turning it through that wasn’t rewarding enough… so went with a medium speed on the widest setting for a straight stitch.

IMG_0018-001

Lovely.

Still in my PJ’s it’s time to get onto folding washing.

The kids are still doing what pleases themselves and I decide they can get off their dam screens fold some washing and empty the dishwasher.

Nope that doesn’t happen.  Sigh.

I’m tired already.

I throw my hair up, teeth get a quick brush and rinse and get some gonna-get-muddy clothes on .

Off outside I go.

Storm’s a comin. LOL Sleet, Rain, and Snow for the hillier parts of Christchurch over this evening for the next couple of days.

Measure up the dogs kennel to cut some carpet scraps for them then see they’ve got their inserts from their PVC baskets.  Sorted.

The sun shines brightly every now and then so I grab the camera and get some pictures for you all 🙂

IMG_0019-001

Marleys certainly enjoying the burst of warmth.

IMG_0020-001

  I’ve gathered all the pots and buckets around the yard and will temporarily plant in them.

IMG_0021-001

Miraculously we’ve got mint! I can never get it to grow so this is a cool find as I wander the yard clearing out.

IMG_0022-001

Some green onions that were planted months ago are still going strong.

IMG_0023-001

I grow LOTS of lavender for my crafts, after a splash with the hose it’s all I can smell while wandering around the gardens.IMG_0024-001

I get the glass house all cleared out ready for next spring and decide it’s going to be dedicated to growing strawberries.  So over the birds, cats and dogs getting them!

I love this big Macro planter that Dad made.  Gonna be a lifesaver when I’m an old granny 🙂

This got a good clear out too.  Cherry toms, silverbeet and one last lettuce.

Green bin’s now full.

IMG_0025-001

Pretty sure this cat thinks he’s a dog, walks around following me whether I’m inside or outside, attacked my hands as I tried to gather up my weeds and get them in the greens bin.

IMG_0026-001

This is my tomato patch, this year was a epic fail as my plants were all damaged with a hail storm.

Better luck this coming spring… only six months away 🙂

IMG_0027-001

Look at this years rogue pumpkin plant growing the width of our section.  Won’t complain at free food… it can do it’s worst and I’ll just trail it around the yard.  Every year without fail we get one that grows and gives us around ten pumpkins.

IMG_0028-001

This is our dogs kennel. LOL

IMG_0031-001

Onto hosing it down.  The kennel clean is a big job…. its a big space.  Hose down, brush and scrub, then hose some more, then once all the hair and stuff blocking the drainage is cleared out I can get hot soapy water in there, then hose that all away some more.

IMG_0032-001

All clean and ready for the oncoming rubbish weather.  I’d really like to make them a butchery-like flaps for their bedroom (far end on left with a wee green deck)

 Time to clear the poop from our yard.  This is Mark’s job.  Because I said so.  But I’ve been doing it more and more.  Hmmm.

I can hear the kids outside having a laugh so I carry on weeding and clearing around the yard until our green bin is choca full!

Hose down the deck.  Mortein spray the spouting that’s covered in cob webs.  Will ripcord that next week over our three day good weather stretch.

I’m pooped.

1pm.

Time for some lunch and a cuppa.

And likely a nap.

Advertisements

Easter 2015 Family Lunch and Epic Egg Hunt

2015 has been the most fun Easter for not only our kids but for us too!

We were blessed with Mark’s sister, her husband and the kids two cousins being back in Christchurch after a few years of being posted up north.

I sent out invitations to the family with a bring a plate request and they all turned up ready to go!

Lunch wen’t down without a hitch, dessert we forgot to pull out the fruit salad oops! but otherwise was a great finish to our family meal before we set the kids off outside to solve the riddles on the stones I’d painted in chalkboard paint and numbered.

The kids as usual had lured their group into Brooks room with “screens” so we got to work setting up their hunt and hiding eggs.

Laura set the stones around the house and property in the right order so the clues would all lead to another clue while Grandad (Rex), Richard & Linda, and Mum took a bag of ten golden eggs each to go and hide as a surprise for the kids as they hunted through the clues!

Well I thought that’s what Grandad was doing until he came up to me and offered me a golden egg.  Oh dear! “no grandad… shhhh!! and go and hide these in the garden”

“the garden”??? he says “you want me to what? put these in your garden”

“no …. hide – them”  I explain… for the kids.

Oh! Yes! and off Grandad goes. LOL

11132175_10206741238155446_2117126239_o

The first clue: “humpy dumpty sat on a _ _ _ _ ?

11144690_10206741245315625_1554676350_o 11144520_10206741249915740_1791288442_o 11141470_10206741249155721_577699808_o 11097227_10206741249755736_1476456583_o

they find the brick wall and then read out the next clue:  what has four legs, you sit at to eat, but it cant walk?

11093737_10206741246555656_1930988051_o

Off they go!!

11101848_10206741245435628_1883491250_o

Vee yells out “ITS A DOG, DOGS GOT LEGS”

The kids sprint outside to the enclosure without even realizing they’ve been tricked!

11136526_10206741243035568_723005294_o

Mark isn’t into being tricked so makes them all calm and read the clue again.  Ella finds it inside and reads out the next clue: “four plus four equals ?, make a rhyme and go to the G _ _ _ ! “

11144712_10206741246195647_236923403_o 11097160_10206741249595732_397081278_o 11128817_10206741249715735_1878970218_o

Darn! Laura says 🙂 they found the gate so quickly!! hehe

11033343_10206741249795737_911785640_o

off they sprint with the next clue: your next clue will be somewhere, should you get the urge to sneeze!

11070645_10206741248835713_1849297959_o

more running and giggling!

11132302_10206741250955766_365743280_o

ah! a tissue box, and the next clue: “your next clue you will see if you look up in a tree”!

11144612_10206741261356026_792596988_o 11132186_10206741260275999_189728444_o

11144722_10206741260916015_1601480054_o

next clue: feeling sleepy….. can’t remember the rest but they quickly found the next clue in the master bedroom! Good thinking by Laura to not hide it in the kids rooms as Yup! as she deduced that was their first port of call with that clue.11141511_10206741255075869_610719978_o

The next clue tells them to go to the front door! its the second to last clue!! woo hoo

11128602_10206741254755861_1678039559_o

The last clue: “where would you keep last nights stew”?

10967179_10206741257835938_1620045138_o

Well done kids!! well earn’t prizes for solving all those clues 🙂

But what about those thirty eggs the adults put around the garden? Yep we better find em! Back to the yard 🙂

 11032304_10206741262596057_1849005930_o

11065169_10206741260195997_142748383_o

11097008_10206741263236073_802674829_o

11130800_10206741266996167_1737672721_o

11132178_10206741262036043_388019472_o

1070452_10206741268196197_886840354_o

11141685_10206741270116245_336882174_o

11065629_10206741272396302_2142088224_o

11137555_10206741270476254_104470294_o

The last few eggs are a mission to find! The adults can’t quite remember where they stashed them haha so they join in and help the kids in searching the yard

11137636_10206741273516330_251854861_o

11065726_10206741273916340_192054590_o

11141646_10206741274036343_1531201516_o

The kids found 29 of the 30 golden eggs.

We’re not sure where the 30th one went?

Maybe Grandad gave it away before Vee explained to hide them? or ate it lol or maybe we got short changed in one of the bags of eggs! or maybe…. we’ve got a golden egg still out there somewhere in our garden!! 🙂

We all come inside for coffee and tea and the kids calm down with returning to their beloved screens.

Such an awesome Easter lunch and hunt and can’t wait to do something different and just as fun next year!

Vee x

A finish all the loose ties kinda weekend

Whoa what a Saturday!

Up and straight onto finishing milk cartons with the enthusiastic Ella at the craft table still out from when we glued them yesterday! She’s had a fab time learning inches and using her recently learnt fractions with the paper cutter and score board.  She picked all of the scraps of paper to cover the cartons and I have to say she may just turn out like her mother with that gift of creativity! She was limited to what we wanted to use up of scraps but the patterns and colors chosen look great!

20150405_110118

Next project, we had the colored rocks we collected from birdlings flatt last weekend, they’d been painted and were ready for a coat of chalkboard paint.  Voila!

20150405_110052

Wheres my energy coming from today? who knows! onto my next get-it-finished project.

Cushion covers.  Haven’t sewn in years successfully, (intermediate age and it was a velcro pencil case) we were gifted a goodie of a machine, an old singer.  Unfortunately it has the mood of an old git and does jam up and do weird things.

I got out the manual and managed to get the cotton changed to white (Mark normally mends our stuff! isn’t he a jack of all trades!!) and Mark came in and had a look… I’d done it different to his way but ahem… *point to the manual* and he’s impressed.  He’s itching to help me, but he also needs sleep for the next night shift.  I asked on my way out the door for the fabric the other day if he had any preferences in patterns or colors and got a “nah, just whatever, you choose baby” so I took myself solo to the fabric shop, resisted all the craft stuff!! the super expensive fabrics and had a good walk around.  I grabbed some fabric that would do the job and was $16 a meter (1.2 m wide x 1 m piece) and head for the counter and that’s when this kiwiana typographic (so addicted to geography typo art at the moment! which is hilarious if you know me and how I get lost all the time lol) font in two colors screamed out BUY ME for $20 a meter!? What!! That sounds expensive.

I have no idea if its expensive. I don’t buy fabric.  I ask the sales clerk “Is $20 a meter too much to spend on covering my large 600x600mm cushions? I mean… they’re just couch cushions that often are floor cushions” she shrugs and out comes her solid UK accent and I break into a smile.  I love that accent and seem to befriend everyone blessed with it.  She has orange hair, in a mess of short curls, and I fade back in to hear her saying that her 9yr old daughter can do it – so can I! and to bloody well spend what I want on fabric.

I ask how much I’ll need so she calculates based on my cushions and measures it all, then I decide I want texture.  No I need texture.  I explain I’m a VERY tactile person and she laughs and say’s “hey not judging… anyone who works in this place is nuts!” She takes me on a chaotic tour through “textured” stuff and I come out with $10 a meter stiff, starchy, and as I wished for, textured…hessian.

So I’m getting this sewing done and freaking out about doing zips, never sewed them before.  I pin it all together several times until uh ha!! got it! and get the first side sewed on.  Beautiful! 

Then do the other four cushions in a relaxed chip-away-at-it between other stuff for the rest of the day until I run out of cotton at 5.30 eek only the Warehouse will be open.  I get home with cotton that looks a third the thickness to the stuff Marks brought and raves about.  Ah well.  Fingers crossed and luckily it does the job.

All done!

Time to have dinner and clean up the house that’s just accumulated a whole day of activities and mess from both the kids and I while Mark was enjoying probably his most undisturbed slumber.

My last finish-it job is to hang up the coat/bag hooks in our entry.  I get Mark’s help quickly to mark the walls where to drill and place them before he’s off to do my favorite of his shifts  [the one where I get the bed all to myself… ah so nice occasionally to stretch out even though I miss his snuggles] but he’s brought in some retro drill.

I want the power drill so I’ll grab it in the morning if he doesn’t beat me to it and get these beautiful hooks up.

Sunday

I’ve had a horrid night trying to sleep.  I think there’s too much to do.

I hear Bob purring next to me around 7am and then Mark climbs into bed.

He tells me he’s hung up the hooks at 6am! and I’m keen to get up and go see!! but give him a snuggle and ask how his night was.

It looks so much tidier with all our stuff off the floor!

20150405_105851 20150405_105910

I think I’m going to buy a third one so that we have more hooks for our jackets.

I’m outta bed and determined to seize the day.  Thinking I need more hours in the day I have a chuckle to myself. That’s exactly what NZ got last night! Hope you remembered to turn your clocks back too?

One coffee down, hair thrown in a bun, runners on and I’m outside on a mission!! I’ve contacted two window cleaning companies and had no response so with new found courage I’ll get the ladder out and give these un reachables another go.  I feel sick up on the ladder but suck it up and get the job done! They all look so good nice and clean.

Look at my predicament with this ladder and our stupid foundations Ugh!

20150405_093348 20150405_093358 20150405_093438

Our east boundry is still not levelled out.  We just haven’t had time to play in the sandpit.

The windows don’t look that high but I’m only 5+ foot tall and because the ground is even lower to allow “ventilation” for the house around the concrete footing it makes them another half meter out of reach.

20150405_093452

I even got that long high window! Hard work!

While I’m round there I remember I want to order some massive pavers to keep our bins ontop of, they’re a right pain rolling over sand.

I’ve set up all our tables/seats ready for Eater lunch tomorrow.

20150405_105928

Finally! Blu Tackd up these letters I brought second hand while we were building the house

20150405_110023

Finally found somewhere to hang this gorgeous mirror!, Banged that hook in with my rolling pin 😉

20150405_105655

Mark won’t be impressed.  I didn’t use his beam scanner lol so he’s gonna have to re-do this.  Maybe

At least I’ve stopped using no-more-nails to glue everything to the walls 🙂

Vee x

Savory Scones and Cinnimon Raisin Twist Bread

Brooklyn goes on his first school camp tomorrow!

I’m feeling quite ill about it since its so close to his slingshot to the eye accident and having only newly started his school.

The teacher and our friends are all being so kind about me being such a pansy about it.

He will have the best time ever!

We had to send baking so it’s been a blessing in disguise to busy myself in the kitchen today.

I made three batches of cheese scones and one absolutely beautiful cinnamon fruit twist specialty bread all with my bread maker doing the hard yards.

I set to making the other batches and oh boy when the bread came out of the oven the kids were trying to tell me it was too nice to be sending to camp!

The savory scone recipe is just the Edmonds one but using your machine for mixing etc

3 cups plain flour

6 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of mustard

pinch of cayene or paprika

1 heaping tsp of dried parsley

75g butter

1 to 1 1/2 cups milk

200g grated cheese (1/5 of a 1kg block)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200’c fanbake.

Put the flour, baking powder, butter chopped into 1cm squares, paprika, mustard, salt into your breadmaker and get it to knead it all up,

20150322_153945

then pause the machine and remove your breadpan and get your hands in there to rub the butter through making it into a breadcrumbs like texture, put the pan back in your breadmaker, add 3/4 of the grated cheese and continue to knead it and add 1 cup of milk…. wait for a bit, then add little by little as you see fit until it looks clumpy, dryish clumpy so it wont’ stick to you while you knead it.

20150322_155436

Remove the pan from the maker again and toss it onto your floured bench

20150322_151718

and knead until there’s no cracks in it, make a circle about 1″ thick and cut into 12, brush with milk all over, sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes.

20150322_160804

Cinnamon Raisin Sweetbread Twist:

2 cups plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp bread maker yeast

3/4 cup milk

3 T canola oil

1 cup re-hydrated raisins,
My friend Rachel’s Mum; Jenny taught me to do this, it stops your baking being dried out by the dehydrated fruit sapping the moisture into itself.  All you do is fill the cup of raisins with boiling water and leave on the bench until you need them.

filling: 1/4 c brown sugar, 1 T cinnimon

2 T melted butter to paint it once rolled out

1 egg yolk to glaze it

Method:

This needs to cook for 20 mins hot and fast at 190’c fanbake (so if you’re doing scones while this rises twice you’ll be working smarter with your electricity bill) If you’re not doing any other baking, wait until half way through your second rise to preheat your oven.

Put flour, yeast and warmed milk (30 sec in the microwave) into the bread maker pan and select your dough setting to knead and rise your dough for you.  This takes around an hour so expect to have other stuff to do around the house while you make bread (like make scones or dinner or crafting!) it really is a day long activity.

If you don’t have a breadmaker, sit the yeast in the warm milk then mix in once frothed up and hand knead your dough (100x turns) and cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for around an hour to double in size.

Once your dough has risen, drain out the raisins and add them in, then give the dough a “punch down” (couple of kneads to get the air out) and roll out to a 9″ x 12″ square to cut into three long strips.

20150322_151726

After painting the strips with the melted butter, mix the sugar and spice and sprinkle down each strip, then roll up and pinch each strip to make three sausages.

20150322_152010

Plait them and tuck the ends under then cover with a tea towel to rise one last time

20150322_152727

Placed on a grease poof paper lined tray and cover with a towel and in a warm draft free area to rise for around an hour.  The dishwasher after doing a load while its still hot and humid in there is PERFECT!

20150322_154458

as is the back seat of your car, the hot water cupboard… the glasshouse? lol I’m sure you’ll find somewhere 🙂

Once risen brush it with one egg yolk mixed with 2 tsp of water and bake for 10 mins at 190’c then cover with a tinfoil tent to stop it browning further (shiny side up) and bake the last 10 mins.

20150322_180812

Ice with 1/3 c icing sugar mixed with some milk once its warm to touch.