While Master C's grandparents were away recently, I found myself with some extra days to entertain C. I had lined up some outings and playdates, but it also provided some more opportunities for crafting and making.
One day, we preserved some of the huge bag of lemons I received from Jo when I visited her recently.
Her Meyer lemon tree was absolutely laden with fruit, so much so that it didn't look like we'd picked any when we'd actually plucked several kilos off.
My main plan was to do some zesting and juicing to stick in the freezer (for those moments when I don't have a bag of fresh lemons at hand) and to make some lemon curd or use some in baking. However, some other quick and simple lemon use was needed to work my way through the bag while they were at their best.
Marmalade seemed too time consuming (and not very toddler friendly), so I opted instead for preserved lemons, packed in juice and salt. Handy to have for some more adventurous dinner options, and also as gifts come Christmas time.
C proved to be an outstanding assistant. I washed, cut and massaged the lemons with salt, and then he helped to pack them into sterilised jars, carefully inserting small portions of herbs and spices between each layer of lemons. We followed Stephanie's recipe which appears in her Cook's Companion and Kitchen Garden Companion, but in lieu of cloves, added peppercorns and cardamom, along with the bay leaf and cinnamon. We've been tipping them upside down for a few seconds every other day or so (as per instructions in Jill Dupleix New Food cookbook- perhaps not quite so new these days at nearly 20 years old!), to help prevent any white mould developing, although Stephanie says it is harmless.
I'll have to get C to help create some decorative tops and labels, for giving them away come Christmas time.
29 September 2011
A little sewing project with C.
I picked up one of Kristen's cute robot craft panels from the Kelani stand at the Quilt Show a while back (Forgotten the exact name of the show. There are too many craft shows to keep track of these days. This one was at Jeff's Shed, and I had fun hanging out there with Nicole for a few hours).
C loved the fabric and was quite excited to sew a robot. He had fun helping me make it, choosing the backing fabric from the scrap bin, dictating that it needed some wings (a la Buzz) and then poking the stuffing inside until it was just right.
Some of the remaining craft panel robots are destined to be sewn onto T-shirts and similarly enjoyed.
28 September 2011
Well my Bro and SIL liked their gift.
And I'm getting closer to making some cooking accessories for me.
Just need to decide about the fabric.
In the meantime, while I'm in the groove, I made another pair of slack arse oven mitts for my MIL.
For her birthday, and to help warm her newly renovated kitchen.
Fabric choice was easy here because she commented on it one day when I had sewing stuff spread all over our dining room.
(Now it's all tucked away neatly in the craft room. Perhaps I need to spread it all over the house again to help me decide what fabric I want to use...)
18 September 2011
I'm pleased to report, not only have I completed a very belated wedding gift set for my bro and sister-in-law, but I also remembered to photograph it before I send it off to their home in a remote corner of the country (along with the best ever (in my experience) Australian cooking and gardening book).
The apron is from Purl Bee. So simple and quick. Will definitely be making another one of these for me. And perhaps a slightly smaller one for my budding kitchen apprentice (He chopped the beans for tonight's fried rice. And then wanted to play with them instead of letting me cook them).
The oven mitts are Sooz's Slack Arse Oven Mitts, which I made with one layer of that strange batting with perforated silver heat reflective lining, and one layer of wool wadding. I'll have to make another pair of these for me as there have been a couple of "connecting with flame" issues with my old pair.
And the tea towels were inspired by this Purl Bee tutorial, except I didn't have any cute trim so they are completely plain, but made in some very nice pure linen (as is most of the rest of the set) from Tessuti.
14 September 2011
One of the things that amazes me about blogging and sites like Flickr, Ravelry & Sewing Circle is the archive of information that you can record for future reference.
When I wonder what the washing requirements are for the sweater a friend made for C, I'm glad that many of my crafty friends are also on Ravelry.
When I wonder what age one of C's sweaters might fit A, I can refer back to Flickr.
When I can't remember which pattern I used for that shirt I made the other year, I can find out with a few clicks.
It's fantastic. So quick. Never far away. So helpful.
In the old days I used to write things down on paper, but papers can get mislaid and lost, perhaps to be unearthed years later in a tidy-up... Like the Spiced Rhubarb Jam recipe (above) that I've been wondering about for a few years now, recalling fondly it's delicious fragrant spiciness whenever I spy a beautiful red bunch of rhubarb at the market (Thankfully unearthed last weekend during our household reshuffle).
I currently have a backlog of projects to record. Knitting and sewing and kids craft that has been undertaken and enjoyed but haven't been documented.
Photo and blogging time is required...
11 September 2011
Firstly: Walter came back. Ten days after he left, there he was, yowling loudly at the door one night (after a cold, wet and windy day). He's much skinnier, but otherwise apparently fine, happy to receive our pats and to take up his perch on his favourite chair once more. We suspect him of absconding to some kind of kitty health retreat, but he's not letting on about what he was really up to.
Secondly: I made A some dresses (much to my mum's relief I think, after seeing me dress her in a large number of C's hand-me-downs). I loved the dress that Al made for her, so I made a couple more from this Japanese book by Makie. I actually cut them out months ago, but dawdled over making them. The realisation that she was probably not going to fit them spurred me on to finish them- with modified button placement to provide a bit more room. So simple to wear- I plan on diving into the Liberty stash to make some more (in a larger size) for summer.
And thirdly: (I hope this doesn't jinx it) We've moved A into C's room- now officially The Kids' Room- so that we can have our study and craft room back. No more trying to remember to fetch things out of the baby's room before she goes to bed. No more setting up and packing away my ailing sewing machine for brief sewing sessions on the dining table. After a day of shifting and stacking and unstacking and restacking all the baby things are out, the craft supplies are waiting for some sorting and rearranging and reorganising, and then I can get on with some making. A trip to Ikea looms. As does some serious sewing machine research.
5 September 2011
Yesterday (Father's Day) was a glorious day. We ate pancakes and soaked up the spring weather with afternoon tea in our front garden and first play session in the sandpit for quite some time.
But it was preceded by an up and down couple of weeks.
Our washing machine died. But on the up side, it had been on it's way out for some time, so I had already lined up the machine we were going to buy, and it's proving to be superb.
Then A had her first cold. With a chaser of fever, ear infection and bronchiolitis. Our smiling, settled, happy baby disappeared and was replaced by a washing generating, grizzling, waking-uping baby, who thankfully disappeared after a few days of medication, to be replaced by a gleeful, rolling, moving baby. Good, but a bit of a readjustment going on here now.
And then our cat disappeared. Walter has disappeared a couple of times before. But this time we sense that it might be for good. He hasn't been hanging out in his usual haunts, and we haven't had any response to the letterbox notices we distributed last week.
He was out of sorts before he left. A neighbouring cat has been frequenting our garden and staking a claim to his turf. He ended up with an abscess on his face from one fight, necessitating a trip to the vet, which is an experience he hates with a vengeance. He had been getting restless about his sleeping spot in the house, and seemed to have difficulty deciding on a new nook after I let him know that my knitting wasn't an acceptable option. And I suspect that the sight of a mobile baby, a baby whose standard response to the sight of him was to squeal with delight and wave her hands around in palpable excitement, may have made him a bit uneasy. So, after 15 years or so, he seems to have decided not to come home, just as his sister did about 7 years ago (we found out a couple of years ago that she lives about 3 doors down, over the back fence). Veritable proof that you don't own cats- they choose to live with you. No real good side to that story. We just hope he's OK, and happy, and knows that we'd welcome him back with open arms any day.
*Photo: hand prints the kids and I made for Daddy for Father's Day (without getting paint everywhere, by some miracle). When C was making his prints, I told him to imagine he was giving Daddy a warm hug.