Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why I haven't been blogging!!

I have had other things on my mind! I am having another year off work so have come up with an idea that will hopefully give me some pocket money (once I pay off all the supplies I bought to start it!!). Check out this link for my new project and the new blog I will be focussing on, not just for my new project, but also for other sewing projects I am hoping to have time to do!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apricot Jam

On the way back from Gisborne after Christmas we stopped and got some stonefruit in Hawkes Bay. I got a big box of apricots to make jam with:

I often have real problems getting jam to set, even marmalade, so I have since resorted to adding pectin to the mixture just to be safe. Here is the recipe I followed. It made 7 big (750 or 800g) jars.

Apricot Jam

2.75kg apricots, halved and stoned

10-12 apricot kernels removed from the stones (I still don't know what the point of this is - any ideas!?)

2 1/2 c water

12 c sugar

70g packet of pectin (from supermarket)

Put kernels, apricots and water in a big pot and simmer slowly until fruit is pulpy. (At this stage I had to measure out half the fruit and add half the sugar and half the pectin in 2 batches as it makes a huge batch and my pot just wasn't big enough. Jam boils up a lot and makes a huge mess I have learnt by experience!). Add the sugar and pectin and boil briskly for 20 mins. Check that it has reached setting point by putting a little on a plate and putting it in the fridge for a couple of minutes. You should be able to draw a channel through the centre with your finger and the jam stays separated. Pour into sterilised jars. Yum!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Basil Pesto

The basil is flourishing in the garden at the moment so time to make one of my favourite things in the world to eat - basil pesto! Yum in so many things, pasta, pizza, tossed with veges for a salad, in sandwichs. The list is endless.

Basil Pesto

Place 2 packed cups of basil leaves, 2 large cloves garlic sliced, 3/4 c olive oil, 1/4 c grated parmesan, salt and pepper and 1/4 c toasted pinenuts or walnuts or cashews (pinenuts are sooo expensive I used cashews). Puree to form a smooth paste. Store in fridge or freezer. Unless you cover it with a bit of olive oil in the fridge it will oxidise and the top will go brown.

Garden update

Although the summer veges are not producing copious amounts yet, they are flourishing! Here is an update of what is happening.

Corn getting higher and higher!

The first zucchini:

I planted 3 types of tomato seeds and then didn't have a clue which kind actually germinated and were planted in the garden. All the tomatoes appearing seem to be romas:

Purple dwarf beans are flowering away and starting to produce beans:

Strawberries still going, although not producing enough for anyone except Ellie!

I am very proud of my red cabbages. They are so huge and quite pretty. We have been eating a lot of coleslaw this week! Still have 5 more cabbages to go too!

When we were in Gisborne it was interesting to see how much further ahead my family's gardens were there due to the warmer climate!

Junebug Dress Remix

A while ago I followed the Junebug Dress sewalong on Craftiness is not optional. I produced a cute ladybird summer dress for Mia, which you can see in the bottom 2 photos below. Project Run and Play is running a competition where readers can also enter their designs along with the blogging contestants. I have decided to attempt to enter a design in each of the 5 weeks, not because I think I will win, but because it is a good incentive!

One of the things I really wanted to make for the girls this winter are warm but dressy winter coats. I decided to use the Junebug dress as a starting point to create a little lined jacket for Ellie.

The striped outer material is a wool mix that I got from fabric-a-brac. The floral lining was $3 a metre from spotlight. I really like the combination of fabrics. I made it double breasted (1 row of buttons is just for show) like the original dress.

Here is Mia in the original Junebug dress and Ellie in her jacket:

It was hard work getting a semi-decent photo of a 10 month old who can't walk or crawl yet, but somehow manages to never stop moving, and a 3 year old who has a seriously awful fake smile!

Hopefully the jacket still fits Ellie in winter. I had fun making it and it was the first pattern I had really made up by myself!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Crafty Christmas Presents

I hope that everyone has had a relaxing Christmas and New Years with family and friends. We have had a lovely holiday and a big family Christmas, but unfortunately my parents went home yesterday and Nathan starts back at work today (sigh!). The girls and I got some lovely homemade presents for Christmas so I thought I would share some of these:

Since I made buba an entire wardrobe, I thought I should probably make Ellie something too! I made her this elephant using this tutorial. I had plans of making more for other babies in the family but ran out of time!

My Mum made every couple in the family a mushroom bag from calico to store mushrooms properly. She included a recipe on how to use them. A quick and useful gift I thought!

My aunt and uncle gave Ellie this lovely tunic made by Chelsea Thorpe who had a stall with my cousin Holly. She has a degree in fashion design and her clothes are gorgeous. My sister Erin got a very cute romper suit as well for her new buba.

My cousin Holly made these gorgeous shorts for Ellie.

I love the little bow details both Hols and Chelsea put on their clothes. Definitely stealing that idea! Holly also made some tights with doily knee pads for Erin. Stealing that idea also!

Holly made Mia this skirt with gorgeous smocking. She was going to try and take credit for the smocking, but in the end owned up to it being a pillowcase. What a great idea!!

Here is the smocking detail.

And finally the best for last. The quilt my Mum made Ellie. My friend Susan had also sneakily contacted her to get some of the fabric to make Ellie a coordinating pillowcase!

Here it is up close. She made Mia one too!

Aren't we lucky having such fabulously creative family and friends!?