Monday, 9 January 2012

Blogger, I'm Home!

How did it get to be Monday the 9th of January 2012 already?
It feels like the year has started with a leaping run and I am only just deciding to get out of bed! I have had a kind of post festive season slump these last two weeks. It’s been so hectic and then so suddenly over …(and then we had the flu in our house in the middle of a heat wave. Exhausting!).
Oh 2012, it’s going to be a good year full of exciting projects. Now I just have to get a move on with my Quilty To Do List. And get busy. And stick to a daily schedule.
So no more of this:
which I really enjoyed over Christmas, which is unusual for me as I rarely drink

and there'll be much less of this 
as my DDs have lost their festive 'motivation' to do all the cooking (sigh)

and no more indulging in those by the dozen...

and there'll be no more birthday morning teas like this...

or relaxing on the beach like this.
Phew! December - January in our house is really busy.

Just last night my DH and I returned home from a short break by the sea. We celebrated our 37th Wedding Anniversary.
We went to Apollo Bay like we do every year. There are nicer places along the Great Ocean Road, but we are always drawn to Appollo Bay – I think it’s because of the visual impact of mountains and sea.
Every year we have our favorite spot, but because we were in Europe in October, we didn’t book it in time. So, we booked an unfamiliar hotel opposite the beach. We went for the ‘deluxe spa suite’ in a 4 star rating in the only free vacancy left in the area…which turned out to be somewhat less deluxe than we were expecting.
The bathroom was rather more 'run down suburban' than deluxe, with a child sized spa (I didn’t know they made them this small), grotty bathmats and DIY look renovation details and a hard, hard bed!
Look at this disgusting bathmat!! I couldn't believe it!
I was tempted to put it in the bin but worried that they would charge me for another one....
so I left it alone.

Instead of being on the 1st or 2nd floor as advised when booking, our ‘private balcony’ overlooked a lovely stretch of main road which was frequently visited by traffic and deliveries.

Maybe I'm just too fussy?? But I thought star ratings meant something?
Don't get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad news. Luckily the sea (directly opposite our room) was 100 metres away and it was so nice to be able to go back and forth and this made up for our lackluster accommodation.
I miss gazing on this already

and how, (after the festive season of indulgence),
am I going to get used to cooking healthy meals again??
Look at this beautiful dish served straight in the frying pan in a lovely restaurant- delicious.

Most days we were dressed for breakfast, then dressed for the beach, then changed at lunch and then dressed again for dinner -holiday outfit changes can be so time consuming and tiring.

Other than that, our other daily routine was waiting for the cafes to open at 8am each morning so that we could enjoy our first morning coffee. You see, I have spoilt my DH and he is accustomed to having his short black at 6am. So like clockwork, he was awake for his coffee. Now, I have been known for taking our coffee machine with us on holidays - but my DH declared that I shouldn't and couldn't as were 'on on a break' and would go to cafes.

And I made sure to remind him of this each morning as we waited for opening time.

On our last night, we couldn't be bothered getting dressed for dinner. So still in our beach attire, we went down to the local shops, and what the heck- we had a casual 'private balcony' meal of fried fish and chips wrapped in butchers paper. With streaming traffic for entertainment.

Eating off paper always feels like a holiday to me!

Well, the holiday is over and 2012 has begun!

No more eating out for all meals. It's high time to remedy some of my festive season excess with a diet I think. And then there's the shopping to do, and the dinner to cook and my WIPs to pull out. 

See you tomorrow! Hope you're all back to routine!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! This beautiful little film is a Russian production, however no language or subtitles are used so don't let that stop you enjoying it. The detail is simply lovely, it's a pleasure to watch and is suitable for children.

I am not usually keen on animation, but this one is so charming. Each part is 7 minutes long.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

The tree is up, the tablecloth is ironed

and I am getting ready for Christmas. It's going to be a hot one this year,
with 32c today and 30c for Christmas Day.

Wishing you all a beautiful Christmas, wherever you are,


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

WOW: Christmas Baking

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

You'll forgive me for being late in posting the WIP today. Usually I like to put up my post early in the morning. But this morning today I have been much too preoccupied with...

Christmas Baking!

My DDs and I have been hard at work because we are about to experience a few days of 30c over here and that's simply too hot to bake. So we have been baking ourselves busy to get everything done so it can be packed away and kept cool until Christmas Eve.

Here's the effort so far:

It's not a celebration without Peaches on a plate

And it's not Christmas without Potica either...

Actually this my DDs first potica made without my guidance so we had it cut it to inspect it and assess it over coffee ( verdict? a good first effort). Usually you would let your Potica rest at least a day - but we're on a schedule here!

This mint slice is so easy, it doesn't even have a recipe.
You simply wizz up biscuit into crumbs in a food processor and add half a block of chocolate so they crumb together. Then press this mixture into the base of a spring tin lined with grease paper. Bake in a 180-c oven for 15 minutes or until golden. The chocolate melts and sets the biscuit.

Then mix 5 cups of icing sugar with 2 tablespoons boiling water and peppermint essence to taste. The sugar should be smooth and thick - almost too thick to stir - custard like. Pour this over the biscuit base. Put in the fridge to set. Melt the rest of the chocolate and spread over the cold set icing sugar.
Release from from tin and slice thinly (or not so thinly as we opted for below).

These apricots balls don't have a recipe either. Using your food processor, you simply throw in 1 cup almonds, 1 cup dried apricots, zest of 1 lemon, juice of that lemon, and 1 tin of condensed milk (375mls). You know it's done when the blades of the processor stop turning! Then you roll teaspoon amounts into round balls and roll in shredded coconut. Really you could use any dried fruit and nut combo and we might even make it with cranberries as we have a lot of those.

What do you think these are?

they're walls to a gingerbread house my DDs are making

and these are the 'stained glass' windows !

I will post more pics as they progress with their little house.

And now, on the wednesday before Christmas, it really is my last opportunity to tidy up my sewing room (I've been doing this in segments all week). So with my DDs in the kitchen, I had better get on with it!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Peaceful Pathways Part 5 is Launched

Part 5: Heart Blocks

This month you are making 8 x Heart Blocks


It's nearly Christmas and of course we are all busy at this time of year, so you will be pleasantly suprised this month to find this block is simple and charming - just the kind of sewing for December. Next month is the last installment and the end of our's been great fun and we are nearly at our final stitch. How rewarding!

Happy Sewing! 

My BOMs are available via my website and Yahoo Bom Group

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

WOW: Christmas Stenciling, Sorting and Winding Down

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...and whilst many of you will be too busy to WIP over the festive weeks, I have decided to keep on with WOW because I love catching up with you all each week - even for just a few moments away from my To-Do List!

I've finally stencilled our Christmas Table Cloth in red, using the Red December pattern (I used the side border and centre blocks to create my table design.) It's classically Christmas and I love it already. I finished it yesterday and I am now winding down my sewing. It's time to relax, tidy up my studio and get into some Festive Baking with my DD'S.

This morning I started early on an important chore - refolding all my quilts. How exhausting! I'd forgotten how many there were, and had to stop to enjoy and fall in love with them all over again (well, quilts are beautiful!).

They have been around and about a fair bit this year at Guest Speaking occassions and it was time to give them a good shake out and re-fold. Actually I think that in the New Year I will start rolling them all up (to store them) around a cylinder as I want to avoid creases. The quilt cupboard is now neat again so I can think about the best way to store them in the meantime.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A Holiday Drive

DH hired a car so we could go around at our leisure. And I loved being the carefree passenger with a camera! From Slovenia we drove to Croatia.

It was a ride with breathtaking scenery. The advantage of traveling like this is stopping whenever something grabs your eye. Every time you head out somewhere it’s a potential find. 

Like this old flour mill. Isn’t it something? I couldn’t wait to get out and have a look

Here’s the old building made of stone. And farm workers represented in carved wood.

The best thing about being away is realizing how wonderful the ordinary is. With the sun setting over the hill, we could have been anywhere. But we were right there. And I’m so glad too.
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