Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beck in the Big City

On Friday I had a much needed break in Melbourne. After taking the kids to creche & school I tootled down the highway listening to some soppy music. It's funny how you really look forward to some time on your own and then when you get it... it's just not that easy!! I was feeling a bit emotional and had a little cry. Boo has been a hectic and stressful few weeks and I've been feeling a tad worn out lately. Anyway, you'll be glad to hear I did cheer up and didn't look back!! Yayyy! I stayed at Mum's in Fitzroy which is always relaxing & fun. Some high lights of my trip were... purchasing my gorgeous, new camera (remember Rosie demolished my old one?) and...

...sitting with my Mum chatting while she knitted a sweet, green bunny cardigan.

... going out for dinner with the lovely & clever Charlotte

... & eating exquisite gnocchi, the best in Melbourne at Woodstock in North Fitzroy (see Charlotte above in a gnocchi induced trance), roaming around in Boarders with the above mentioned Char. Of course the main highlight was...waking up late on Saturday and not having to do anything for ANYONE! Ha! Also going to Savers and finding an adorable, folk art style children's trolley and then visiting A1 Bakery in Sydney Road & leaving with a stack of delicious Lebanese pizza's and other special delicacies was pretty, damn good. Yum.

Gee it was nice to just blah around without much of a plan and without any dependants. Could I put in a request for another few weeks of this kind of thing? Please? I'm sure I could handle it. Anyway, it was joyous to come home and be cuddled and kissed and to get to sit through several lengthy 'shows'. Singing and dancing extravaganza's are really going off around here. Whew!! Bit of air guitar, a few off the couch jumps etc, lot of fake mike work, heaps of dancing..good stuff from the kids. Welcome home.

So with one week to go to the Maker's Market I'm now hard at it getting the bunnies ready for their first public outing. This little fellow has come along nicely....

as has little Mary Celeste, who is a favourite of mine.

Hope you had a happy weekend, bye for now. x

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fairies at the bottom of the garden...

The girls have been fairies alot lately...Rosie loves dressing up and Lucy & Sunday can't help but join in the fairy fun. What a lovely life.. playing fairies in the garden with your sisters on a sunny day!

Last night I made my signature dish of vegie lasagne. Now it's not a hearty, lots of vegies type lasagne, it is simpler but really delicious. I worked with a lovely lady, Maria, years ago at the Evelyn Hotel and she told me to how to make the lasagne in this way. My whole family love it and that's saying something.

Beck's Easy & Delicious tomato lasagne

Heat oven to about 180 degrees (celcius)

1can diced tomatoes
1 bottle tomato sugo (no herbs, just plain)
1 onion
1 zucchini
handful of home grown parsley, chopped
pasta sheets (fresh is best)
mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1-2 tablespoons flour
parmesan cheese

Ok, here we go. Chop up the onion and fry gently with diced zucchini. Add some garlic, try to use australian garlic, it's much better. After a few minutes, when the vegies are soft add the can of tomatoes and let cook for a few more minutes. Then add the bottle of sugo & parsley and just let it cook slowly while you make the white sauce.

Melt the butter and add flour. When combined slowly add the milk stirring all the time. After a little while it will become thicker (this part can be tricky if kids are hovering and there is alot of chaos in the kitchen, tell them to pipe down & GO OUTSIDE!) and keep stirring, lower the heat and add a handful of parmesan. you could also add nutmeg if you like, I don't usually. Yum! comes the fun part.

Spread some of your tomato sauce on the base of your dish, then a layer of pasta and then a sprinkle of mozzarella. Keep going till all is used up. You will probably have a sheet and a half left of pasta. Finish off with a layer of pasta and then pour your white sauce on top. Sprinkle with a little more parmesan and then into the oven at about 180 degrees. cover with a baking pan so it doesn't brown too quick and remove this in the last 10 - 15 mins. Once cooked let it sit for five minutes while you make a tasty salad.

A lovely, simple dinner that you can adapt to your own tastes, it also freezes well.

Bunnies are going well - if a little more slowly than I would like! There hasn't been alot of time for Dandelion projects lately but hopefully that will change. What a busy time of year it is...we all need to take a few, deep breaths. Phew!

Thanks for popping by, see you soon x

Saturday, November 15, 2008

tough times...

Things have deteriorated around here... more chicken pops, less actual chickens, where do I start? After my cheery last post I picked up Lucy from school to find she had spots all over. And I mean ALL over. Big, nasty red spots. Poor thing. So we are just waiting for Bill to be next. So much for the vaccine. Hmmm. Not recomended.

Meanwhile the previous evening there was a big, wild storm here with loud,cracking thunder and lots of lightning & rain. In the dark, stormy night a fox got into our chook pen and wreaked havoc. In the morning poor old Rocky was the only one left standing, feathers missing and glassy eyed. All the others gone. Feathers everywhere. Awful. What a bleak feeling... so many of my darling chookies dead. Lovely Jack the Farmer came and reinforced the chook house and neighbours & friends, like Kate, Brendan, Alison & Julie were kind and sympathetic which helped alot. Anyway... life goes on doesn't it and kids help with that too. Today we came across two new chookens, one black, one white and have put them in with Rocky. So we'll see what happens. Fingers crossed!

So, life has been a bit tough this week. Not much time for sewing either but that can wait. Anyway, nothing keeps me down for too long! Goodnight now from the house of Dandelion. x

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yes...they're back!!

Yes the chicken pops are back in town! Rosie, aka the Princess of Grunge, has been waking up at night this week and now I know why! So far she only has a few spots but I guess they could multiply over the next day or so. Let's hope not. So I admit I was feeling a little flat this morning, a bit over tired and teary. I'm ok now and have hopefully adjusted to this new challenge. Because, lets face it, life is challenging and ever changing. Without being too Pollyanna about it I realise it could be worse, chicken pox is not the end of the world. Anyway now I need to try to reschedule hair appointments, negotiate how to get the older two to their school sleepover tonight without infecting the school community, and generally get my head around being house bound for a few days. Phew! Hunch is away on a year 8 camp and is due back tomorrow so that will help. He did mention that gastro has been sweeping through the camp...hmmm. I may need to quarantine him!

To cheer myself up I have been taking photo's outside and enjoying spring.

Handsome Max, he is such a lover boy!

Sunday took this one of me looking wistful (demented?) in our garden.

Despite illness there have been many lovely things happening lately. I am really enjoying sewing and creating and have found it has given me lots of new energy. The more I make the more ideas I seem to have and this is so exciting!! If only I had more time to do everything - but family life is so demanding isn't it? Anyway, I feel like I've carved out a little place for me within the domestic whirl and that feels good. I'm looking forward to the Maker's Market and sharing a stall with lovely Steph. Both Steph and my good friend Allison, from Lark, have written some great things about Dandelion on their blogs recently, how sweet are they?!

Other great things... Billy (6) is loving riding his bike after finally mastering riding without training wheels. He has also started circus class which is excellent and so much fun. Lucy (8) is loving Girl Guides and is getting ready for her dance concert. Sunday (5) is making lots of amazing things at home and at Goanna Kinder, and just loving being with her friends. Rosie (3) is into everything as usual and is so much fun to be around. Charlotte (16) is in the middle of her Drama production which sounds fantastic, I wish I could be there to see it. Char has her L plates now too, wow!!!! My lovely Mum has been here for a couple of days and that's always fun. We always have good chats and she is making some beautiful little knitted clothes for the bunnies. Thanks Mum!

Better skedaddle... bye for now x
ps. comments have been disabled somehow...!!! I can't work out how to change this back....any advice? email me x

Monday, November 10, 2008

Things on the go!

I came across some colourful magnetic letters recently and thought I'd make something with them for the Maker's Market. These keyrings can also become necklaces with an extra chain attached. They were fun to make!

I have lots of bunnies on the go at the moment, all in different states (mainly Victoria!). I love the process of making my bunnies, from an offcut or old jumper to a dear little creature who is ready for cuddles.

Do you like my Jeff Kennett pin cushion?

I've always had a thing for doll's beds and bedding and spent alot of time as a girl putting teddies and dollies to bed. For the Maker's Market I'm also making up some little beds, should be cute!

Before I go I have some sad chook news. Our littlest chooken, Madam, died over the weekend. Yes, Daisy was the culprit. I really cried for Madam and the whole situation because I love the chooks and I love Daisy. The chickens need to be safe so that is the priority at the moment. This week I'm working on a solution and so far it's been ok. The chickens are not free ranging as much and have a few hours in the morning instead. Lets hope this strategy works and then I can also add some much wanted ducks to the menagerie!!

Bye for now! x

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Crazy Daisy & the Teen Dolls

I know I go on about my chooks alot but have I ever mentioned our dogs, Max & Daisy? Max (full name Maxwell Holiday-Man) is a handsome black cockerspaniel & Daisy (Daisy Maisy Bates) is a spoodle (poodle/cocker cross). Max is pretty laid back, except if someone puts their hand over the fence to say hello, and then he becomes a real tough guy. Not to mention the way he treats the postie.. that's another story. (If you are reading this Mr Postie, I am really sorry about Max's behaviour.) Anyway, Daisy is a lovable little rascal who just wants to be with the family THE WHOLE TIME. Yes, she loves Max but she wants to be with people too. The problem with this is that I like to have the chooks out in the garden and Daisy wants to GET THEM! And she has. We lost one chook to her clutches a while ago and now she has a real taste for it. Hmmm. So obviously they need to be kept seperate but this is difficult with many doors and small children randomly opening them. I try to let the chookies out in the afternoon and let Daisy and Max play out the back in the morning and this mainly works. Yesterday, however, the Grunge Princess (3), left the door open and the next thing I heard poor Rocky (our lovely black Plymouth Rock chook) squawking and yelling (is that possible?). I ran out to find Daisy had Rocky bailed up in the hedge with feathers flying. Alison, my neighbour, came to help and we managed to rescue poor Rocky and she seemed unharmed. Phew! That naughty Daisy got a stern talking to. I really needed a cuppa and a good lie down after that. Ahh.. pets.

As I may have mentioned we recently had our school fete and whilst helping sort the books out I came across these fantastic doll's clothes pattern books. I love the dreamy look from the girl holding the doll. Ahh...teen dolls!!

I want this beach outfit. Check out the hat! It's a bit Ned Kelly. And mesh works so well in the sun, doesn't it?

This book features the winning designs from a competition run by New Idea. Inside it features photo's and details of all the winners. Gorgeous.

Anyway, I better tootle off. It's time to pack up the blog for now and get on with the day. I have no kids at home today so I need to sew, sew, sew in preparation for the upcoming Maker's Market. The bunnies are coming along well and I hope to post some photos of them soon. Am having a camera crisis as GP broke mine, I could use Char's camera but can't find the charger and I did borrow my Mum's camera but seem to have misplaced it. Oops.
I do have my eye on a replacement camera for myself but am saving up and the piggy bank isn't full yet. x

ps. the chicken pops (as they are now known in these parts) were confirmed on Monday and the patient has now recovered. Yay!