Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mmmm whose fault?

I have always admired and been envious of Jim Shore figurines particularly the Christmas ones. This year I began my collection with my first purchase all because of . When Loz said she had done a little internet shopping and bought a few more to add to her collection and was then willing to share where from I lost all self control and had to put my own order in!!!! It is only a small Santa but he has given me so much pleasure already this festive season and I can't wait to add to the collection next year!!! Thanks Loz!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

Before the New Year begins I thought I better do my Christmas 2011 post! It is very photo heavy but each and every photo hold wonderful memories. They are in no particular order!!!! but just random!
We had lunch with my Mum in Ararat on Christmas Eve - prawns, roast pork and the pav I made. Yum! Lots of presents and the yearly trip to the cemetery with roses from our garden.
Off to Barwon Heads for lunch on Christmas Day at SH's sister's home with all of his side of the family. Our contribution for lunch was turkey, raspberry and spinach salad and a mango cheesecake! Another fun day with presents and a lot of laughs!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good jobs done!!

I was going to post photos today of our Christmas celebrations but they will have to wait for another day!!
I tend to find this week between Christmas and New Year (when our office is closed so I am on holidays) one filled with the 2 extremes. I spend a lot of it being very lazy, napping, reading and wasting a lot of time on the computer or catching up with dvds. On the other hand I get all inspired for the new year , making lists and plans of how I will have a clean,tidy house at all times, get healthy and thin, eat better and cook more and of course take time to smell the roses and craft more!!! While I am in this planning mode I tend to get stuck into some tidying, cleaning and sorting at home. We cleaned the fridge out this morning, I know it isn't something I should be so excited about but I am!!! Not just a wipe out or a quick glance at what was past it's best but a take everything out and scrub kind of clean!!! I can't stop looking at it now..... Sad I know!

The other thing we achieved today is something that has been on the list for a while. I have been looking out for a bookcase to fit this little wall near the kitchen. It is quite a narrow space. Today I decided I couldn't wait any longer for the perfect bookcase so I bought a 'cheap' (some assembly required) bookcase. Darling SH put it together for me not without a few problems caused by the assistant and yes that may of been me!!! I have now put all my cookbooks into it. They were on the main bookcase, hard to get to and taking up so much space. Here they are handy and close to the kitchen and all together, no longer will I have to spend a lot of time searching!!! I am really happy with the result. Now to attack the pantry tomorrow!!!
(the mess you can see either side is other sorting and Christmas goodies still to put away! oops!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spoilt rotten!

I can still not believe how spoilt I was at Christmas and what perfect presents I received!
From HS I got an icecream maker and even better it is a lovely bright green!! I had dropped many hints but had no expectation that I would actually receive it. I am about to go and make my first batch - strawberry!!

From Mum I got a new coffee machine. It has a timer!!! which I managed to set (don't forget I am technologically challenged) last night so this morning I woke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee! SH will love this as he usually gets up to make my first coffee for the day, it will give him an extra sleep in!

The 'horsey' one knew how much I really wanted to see Red Dog when it was on at the theatre and how disappointed I was when I missed it so I got the DVD from her. I can't wait to sit down and watch it!
SH gave me the biggest surprise, a pandora bracelet with a cat and heart charm. I love it so much!!
The other present I love is Adriano Zumbo's book which I got from my brother & sister in law.
All in all I feel so blessed and spoilt, I couldn't be happier!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

SSCS 2011 - what I sent!

I thought I better share what I sent in the SSCS this year. I sent to Marica in Sweden. I sent here this sewing bag that I am very proud of with the scallops and embroidery. I also sent her some Christmas Australian animal fat quarters, some caramello koalas , a stitchery pattern and 2 felt ornaments.
Now to plan for next year!!!! I say this every year but I really must do it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

SSCS 2011

The only swap I have taken part in this year is Chookyblues SSCS. This is my 3rd year (maybe 4th?)  taking part and once again I have been blown away my the talent and generosity of bloggers. My partner that I received from this year was Shauna from from Canada. I did not know her before but have certainly made a new blogging friend.
What a parcel!!!
I received a beautiful quilted table topper, I will get so much enjoyment using it both during the festive season and during the year. It is gorgeous and I have the perfect place for it.
I also got 2 knitted dishcloths, hard to see in the photo but a beautiful yarn, red,white and gold.
I also got a lovely bread board with a  recipe for Friendship on it. I will enjoy using it and remembering my special blogging friends while doing so.

I knew Shauna did some digital scrapbooking but wow she is clever!!! I received a 'favorite recipe' book to keep all my 'special' recipes in. It is personalised for me and the first recipe in there is very special as it is Shauna's favorite family recipe. I can't wait to try it. 'Chocolate chippers' - sure it will go down a treat in our home!!!

Thank you so much Shauna for an amazing gift, I was so spoilt and love each and every bit of it!!!
A huge thank you to elf Chooky for once again hosting this swap, you do an amazing job and it is really appreciated, can't wait till next year!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's here and Day 23!!!

Christmas is here!!!! and I made it! The Christmas letter and cards were written today and posted, the groceries are done and the shopping finished! Presents not wrapped yet but that will happen....
We had our first Christmas celebration tonight, dinner with friends. I made a Christmas log for dessert, very happy with how it turned out and judging by the little bit left I would say it was a success!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas cupcakes and Day 22

Well I am now on holidays for the next 11 days , hurray!!!!! I am so happy!!!! Now to get the lists made tonight so I can hit tomorrow running and do the final preparations for Christmas..... SH is not working either so we are planning to be organised by 2pm to then relax and enjoy the next three days. We are having dinner with friends tomorrow night so a dessert and salad need to be made, still not sure what but maybe a mango cheesecake??? There was a farewell morning tea at work today so I made some Christmas cupcakes, I got the recipe from Lisa and Sarah at a 'Spoonful of sugar' blog. They are so nice!!! I didn't ice them but dusted them with icing sugar, full of spice and flavor. Almost left it too long to get a photo!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Note to self and Day 21

Note to self, if you set the alarm for a very early morning change it back for the following day! Two 4am starts in a row are not the best!! (and by the time I realised it was 4am it was too late to go back to sleep!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Birthday and Day 20!

It is SH's Birthday today!!! so Happy Birthday to one amazing husband and father, you make everything in my world okay!
In my internet shopping frenzy the other week I bought your present but alas it has not arrived, blame your beloved Jimmy or maybe just the post!!!Hope it is here soon!

Happy Birthday as well to my s-i-l 'Shell',
 hope you have a great day!

(Birthdays should be banned in December!!!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shop till you drop and Day 19!

The 'horsey' one had an orthodontist appointment early this morning in Ballarat so we hit the road at the crack of dawn picking up Mum on the way! Once the appointment was over we shopped till we dropped!!! Every so often someone would be sent in the opposite direction so something could be secretly bought and squirreled into the car. I think it's done now!!! I have unpacked the car and it is safely in the spare room or should I say Santa's cave, anyone enters and they will be very very sorry!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Too pretty to eat and Day 18

Over 12 months ago I saw on a blog some 'cookie' molds, they were so beautiful it was hard to believe they were edible or achievable. Of course I had to have one and give it a go, I could imagine adding to the collection each year and giving them as gifts beautifully presented! By the time I hopped on the website last year international orders were closed for the year so onto this years list it went. I just made the order in time this year, the last day for shipping, one day I promise I'll be organised!!! It was so hard to choose which mold to order. It arrived and we were both thrilled and daunted by it. It is a wooden carved mold. It came with a recipe book with lots and lots of tips and instructions. I had thought I would use it for shortbread but Connie suggested that the best effect would be with 'Springerle' cookies. We (being SH and I) read the book back to front ,looked at each other and swallowed hard!!! so we hopped on the website and watched the instruction video and decided to just go for it!! So far we are happy with the results, the cookies dry for up to 24 hours before you bake them, this helps to keep the image preserved. Once they are baked I am hoping I can give them for presents and that it will become a Christmas tradition.
The website they came from (and forgive me please for being useless at links) is , there service was fantastic, they were speedy and were very generous with their advice. I think Connie was on the Martha show recently as well. a bynote - the Christmas cards have been started!!!!
oh and if you happen to get a parcel from me it is to go under the tree and not be opened until Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Exhausted and Day 17

Poor Jimmy has had a bad week, he has 'allegedly' escaped from our yard (a problem we are struggling with at the moment) and chased the postie!!!!!!!!!!! Yikes , wrong time of year to do that. Wonder if thats why my internet shopping parcels haven't arrived yet?? A phone call with the ranger and all round a traumatic week for Jimmy and his family. To top it off we have thunder rumbling at the moment and Jimmy 'hates' storms!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A special day and Day 16

Yikes Day 16 means time is running out, so much to do so little time! Some serious list making needs to happen in the morning.
I shared in such a special day today but forgot the camera! One of my colleagues at work (and a friend) is leaving to work and live in Melbourne. She is a single Mum to Baxter who is 7. He has been going to the catholic primary school here in town and today he was baptised. None of his family is Catholic or in fact regularly goes to church but he has enjoyed learning at school and made this decision with the support of his Mum. She invited the 'horsey' one and I to go along to the Mass (the horsey one has babysat him many times). It was lovely. Father Tim and Sister Marg along with teachers from the school and his class mates made it such a special experience. It was very interactive with a lot of teaching and explaining to the children what was happening and for what reason. We feel very privileged to have shared this experience with Kylie and Baxter especially at this time of year amongst the hustle and bustle of the 'silly season' when we sometimes forget the real reason for the season. I had a warm and fuzzy feeling all day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Weary.......and day 15

I'm running out of steam! I've been out most nights this week, out for breakfast, working and feverishly trying to get parcels in the mail. All of this means too many late nights and early mornings! No work now until Tuesday so a busy day of appointments tomorrow but then the weekend I should be able to get the cards written to be posted on Monday. Got all my parcels in the mail today, will be a few going to some of my blog friends, just wish I could post to everyone that visits me!!! Okay bed time................

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas china and Day 13

I collect a new piece of Christmas china every year. No particular pattern or set but just something that takes my fancy!! This is what I chose this year, I have already used it a few times and love it.
I have had my Christmas haircut and color this afternoon, the greys are gone and I am ready to embrace the 'silly season' with gusto!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A new treat and Day 12

Well it was an early morning as I needed to take a plate to work (not like me to leave things until the last minute!!) and I wanted to try a new recipe , one that I actually had out last Christmas and didn't get as far as making. 'Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies' - a Donna Hay recipe. Quite simple, decadent and delicious but poor SH innocently agreed to prepare the candy canes for me......mmmm that was a mistake! If we make them again I will be bribing a child to unwrap them and chop them the night before!!!
Last night I did something I had sworn never ever to do but in a moment of weakness gave in - joined facebook!!!! I find it hard to find time for blogging at times so I really wonder how I will find time for this,that is if I ever understand it, but I am so looking forward to using it to keep in touch with 2 special friends in WA.
Sad for me to say but the sweetened cream is winning in popularity!!!!

110g butter, softened and chopped
1 cup (175g) brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (150g) plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa sifted
1/2 tsp bicarb of (baking) soda
120g dark chocolate, melted
280g dark chocolate extra chopped
120g candy canes, chopped
Preheat oven 160 degrees C(320F). Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the flour, cocoa, bicarb of soda and melted chocolate and beat until just combined. Fold through the extra chopped chocolate. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into rounds. Place on baking trays lined with non stick baking paper allowing room for the cookies to spread and flatten slightly. Press the chopped candy canes into the tops of the cookies and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are firm. Allow to cool on the trays. Makes approx 20.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Opinions needed and Day 11

No photos today! Sorry! but I do have an ongoing debate in our household that I'd like some outside input on, nothing of national importance but still............. This morning we had hot scones for morning tea with jam and cream, SH prepared it and it was amazing except for one thing - he sweetened the cream with vanilla and sugar, not how I like it at all, I prefer it whipped with no additives.
So tell me  - sweetened or not when it comes to cream?????
Otherwise an at home day, another batch of shortbread, some red velvet cupcakes, and a lot of other things ticked off the 'to do' list! Hope everyone else had a great day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More to show and day 10

Today I had my quilting group Christmas lunch. It was lovely. It is such a lovely group of women and as you can imagine we are never lost for words!
We always have a kris kringle and as usual the presents were great. It was lots of fun opening them and guessing who had given it!

Ann made this gorgeous Christmas tree hanging which Janine was lucky enough to get. She does beautiful work.

This was a soap that Helen received from Kerryn. It smelt beautiful and is so so pretty. None of us were sure if we could actually use it!

This is the present I received. A tea towel with Rudolph appliqued on from Jane and a 'Quilt Squad' notepad. I am thrilled with my gift.

I forgot to show this decoration that Mum brought over for me on Thursday. For Christmas last year we gave her the ornament club run by Shabby Fabrics. She has kept the original set for herself but made me one for my tree. There is so much work in it.

Day 10 - a good friends birthday and a day spent with friends! Christmas preparation will wait for tomorrow!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

School holidays and day 9!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here now! Mum brought me down this wreath for my front door and it's really made our home a lot more festive. On top of that Santa managed quite a bit of shopping today ! I also hit a few online stores which should still have time to get here and got parcels posted to two very special friends!!
School holidays have begun today so both the 'horsey' one and myself are very happy!!!! 7 weeks of no uniforms to iron and no lunches to make!

 Poor Pete, it's hard work being a Christmas cat!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My new prettie and Day 8

Day 8 and I have had a lovely day. I finished work at lunchtime and rushed home because Mum was coming. When she arrived we went out for lunch and then did a little bit of shopping! At our favorite homewares shop we made a purchase for the Christmas table, an old fashioned sweet jar. I just happened to have a tub of Christmas m & m's and a huge bag of Hershey kisses in Christmas colors waiting for a home. They look great but I guess I can't get upset when they are sampled!!!! We also went to the local store that sells sewing machines, Mum is in the market for a new one, unfortunately we were a nuisance to the salesperson and didn't have much pleasure. She didn't seem to know what we were looking at and couldn't understand that we didn't want the top of the range machine! Anyone got any recommendations?? Mum wants a new machine with a good straight stitch and that she can free machine quilt with.
Better go, we have the school Christmas service tonight (the reason Mum is here).......

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

AQM and day 7!

A fortnight ago Mum and I were lucky enough to spend the weekend at the Australian Quilt Market (a trade show in Melbourne) with my friends Robyn and Rex who have the business Orange Daisy (
It was inspiring to see some of the patterns and fabric out there in the market, so many nice new things, my head was swiveling from side to side trying to take it all in.

I thought the Orange Daisy stand looked great. It is a few years since they have been to a market.

The French Collection blocks
The Sewing Circle

Of course no trip to market would be complete without a little retail therapy!!!
I picked up some fabric, felt from Hatched and Patched, 'A walk in the woods' layer cakes, some charm squares, jelly rolls and tone on tone packs. A few other things I can't show here!!!
I was so excited to pick up all 5 issues of Vignette magazine. I also picked up some Rosalie Quinlan books, some Hatched and Patched patterns and notebooks , new scissors and my Homespun diary for 2012!!!
We saw a lot of people there, lovely to catch up with Annie and Pete from Hatched and Patched, Lynette Anderson and Vince, Brenda Ryan and Leo and  Pam and Katie from Cottage Garden threads.

Day 7 - yikes, I delivered 2 gifts today as well as got the shortbread and rocky road to the morning tea at work. Still so much to do, better get to it!!!