Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Creative Space . . .

Hot off the needles last night.  Not yet blocked.  Little Bee Capelet - it's a free pattern from Harumidori Designs.  I'll be packing it up for a little girl along with this top for her little sister.

Check out the other creative players at Kootoyoo today!

Casting on a beanie now!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011



Hello blog friends and clickety-clickers!  Are you well today?  Me?  Well, I have been better and I have been worse.  The 'worse' has brought out a thought I can't let go of just yet. 

Is blogging voyeurism? 

Before I started this blog, I had read only one blog that I was introduced to through a magazine.  I didn't see anything wrong with reading this blog as long as what was written on the blog could also be written on a postcard or published in a paper or magazine.  And now, almost 5 months on, I still feel the same way about blogs.  But I have found that there are blogs I choose not to read because of the high personal content that I don't feel like I should be privvy to although the author has chosen to put it out there.  I exercise choice- the free will that God gave me.

Why is this still bugging me?  Well, remember the perished friendship I wrote about at Easter?  He told me that he thought I didn't like him and his wife because I hadn't made personal contact with them in a few weeks.  They never asked me what was wrong, and plainly assumed I had a problem with them which I didn't, hence my utter shock.  And besides I am a very open person, I would have told them everything that's going on if they had asked. 

He emailed me saying that he has looked at my blog and concluded that I was having a social life without them- sorry, didn't know that they were into crocheting granny squares, knitting and cooking for my family because that is what I blog about, no?  He then went to on to say that he was sorry he read my blog because that reduced him to voyeurism.  He told me when I started this blog that blogging is voyeurism and he and his wife do not subscribe to it.  Was I offended? No!  Everyone is welcome to their own opinion.  But I was offended that he chose to read my blog instead of talking to me as that is not a healthy way to conduct a friendship.  Perhaps that was voyeuristic?  What do you think?

This is the third post out of 70 odd that I have written something deeply personal.  I just want to know what your thoughts are on blogging- Why do you blog?  I see bloggers who aspire to be published authors, who promote their online business, who are staying in touch with family and friends from across the world and who simply like to connect with others who enjoy similar hobbies.  Many are a combination of the above.  I have come across bloggers who I feel share a lot of personal stuff, but I don't read them.  I don't read blogs that don't interest me or offend me or that make me feel uncomfortable.  Perhaps you have already stopped reading this post and have clicked on to something else.  No one makes us read blogs.

Along the way, I have learnt a bit about blogging etiquette, much was already common sense.  Should I be commenting on every blog I read?  I do when I have something to say, but sometimes I don't have something to say back to the author- is that bad?  Is commenting on a post like signing a visitor's book?  More people visit my blog than comment- I know because I look at my stats- it doesn't bother me . . . does it bother you?

Tell me what you think.  I want to be a considerate blogger and I think perhaps I need some scope from you! 

Thank you...


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I've Got Knits :: Wet Blocking

In the short amount of time that I have been knitting again, I think I can say that I have moved from beginner to advanced beginner!  I didn't even know about blocking until I knitted this top and even then I didn't really block it or the red and the blue ones I knitted.   But I can't avoid it any longer! 

This hooded vest is also a Harumidori design.  See the beautiful little 'star tweed' on the hood and front?  Just adorable (and easy) but it is a smaller gauge/tighter tension than the rest of the garment and would benefit from wet-blocking.

I googled wet blocking and found that this is pretty much the process:

First step is to soak the vest in mildly soapy water (look at yarn label for water temperature) over night or at least a few hours.  Then roll vest up in a towel to remove excess water.

Lay vest out on towel and preferably over something firm that you can stick pins in (I'm using some foam)

Gently pull vest into shape and pin to the measurements given in the knitting instructions.

Allow to dry and there you have it!  The 'star tweed' is now not so tight and the vest is ready for buttons.

I wasn't so sure about whether there was a correct way to sew on buttons to a knitted garment.  Google, being my new library index, helped me out again by showing me this tutorial.

Sorry about the dodgy photos!

I would also like to mention that all the sales of this knitting pattern are going to raising funds for the designer's family in Japan who were affected by the devasting tsunami.  If you are a knitter please purchase or if you know a knitter who can knit this for you, purchase it.  I bought it before the tsunami because I really like the pattern.  It is so good to know that proceeds are going to a worthy cause as well.

And now it is all finished. I was hoping to give it to the young man I made it for over the weekend but alas that did not happen. It is amazing what one little text message on a Thursday can do to ruin one's weekend. I've been dealing with the fall-out from that message since then and was unable to attend the little man's party!

Gosh, been really feeling like I am letting everyone down lately.  Well, it is times like this that I recall Miss Stacy telling Anne Shirley of her own saying "Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it".  I wish I had Anne of Green Gables on DVD! 


Monday, April 25, 2011

O Wow Thanks! :: Cushions

Hello!  Thank you for your responses to yesterday's post.  I really appreciated the comments here, on my facebook page and for the personal emails I received.  I have been truly blessed with your kindness.  Did you have a good Easter?  What are you doing today for ANZAC Day?  I have been a bit lost in my bubble of melancholy . . . . to think of all the lives lost during war is a bit much for me right now.   So, I made more jam doughnuts last night, and have just eaten one (after a nuke in the microwave) . . . with a cuppa . . . one son is sleeping the other is watching Toy Story with Rick.  A rainy day with family . . . God is good.

Let's talk about something happy!

My husband says I have too many cushions, even after I have culled two thirds!  I love the promise of comfort when you look at a plush cushion.  I love what one cushion can do to a room; inject colour, tone and comfort.  Cushions can make a dull room come to life!  And if you are like me, you can use cushions to change the feel of the room at a whim.

How much more do I love cushions when a talented friend makes them for me!  My generous sweet friend Lesley (of the Ninjabread cutters fame) made these.  Isn't she clever?

It looks like there are 12 cushions but there are actually 6!  Clever Lesley put a different fabric pattern on the other side so that I can mix n match til my heart's content! (she knows me soooo well).

In return, all I could make for her was my Lemon Curd which she loves (thank goodness).

You know, it is a real blessing to have material items but I love these cushions because they are a reminder of my friend, of our friendship.  I cherish her friendship and will do long after these cushions have lost their plushy-goodness, when they are covered in food stains and childrens' vomit although I will do everything I can to stop that from happening!

Do you have something that you cherish because of who gave it to you?


Sunday, April 24, 2011


photograph taken from God Loves Me Baby Bible by Zonderkidz

Good morning on this beautiful Easter morning!  How are you today?  Choc-full, or have you only just started?

I have something pressing on my heart today.  I have had one of the worst weeks of my life.  A friendship died this week.  He was someone I admired and trusted who shattered all that in the course of 24 hours.  I value my friendships highly and feel like I am in mourning even though no one has died.

In my grief, though, I have been comforted but not just by my other precious friends throughout this 48hr ordeal.  I don't wear my christianity on my t-shirt.  It is a deeply personal thing but I will share it with others if I feel impressed to.  That is why I don't harp on about it here.  But Easter, along with Christmas, are times when I can safely talk about it without offense, don't you think?

I just want to tell you that  'A man who has friends must himself be friendly,[a] But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.' Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)

You can make all the friends in the world, but there is only One friend that won't ever let you down and in turn, will always love you, be kind to you, show mercy toward you and forgive you.  I want to be more like Him and I have many different friends who show these qualities too.  I am very grateful for my friends.

Today, the christian community are celebrating Christ's victory over death, the consequence of sin.  And, he gained this victory for all of us!  Hooray!  There is no heartache in this earth that can take away His love. 

I hope you are experiencing this friendship with Jesus.

Well, thanks for reading this far.  I am off now to eat some chocolate, not because it is Easter, but because it is chocolate (unless it's Easter here everyday)!

Blessings to each of you

Fiona xxxx

Thursday, April 21, 2011

O Wow Thanks! :: Ninjabread Men

You may recall my request for Ninjabread Men cutters for Christmas?

My dear friend Lesley trapsed all over sydney looking for them for me!  What a sweetie!  They had apparently sold out pretty quickly and were only for christmas.  But my clever friend kept asking at every Howard Storage World she came across and eureka! she found them!  Apparently someone had ordered them and never collected and now they are mine.  Yay!  Thank you sooooo much Lesley!!

We couldn't wait to ice them - they were so yummy!  I used this recipe


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I've Got Knits :: A top for Ella

If you have stopped by here before, you would recognise this knitting pattern

I have run out of little girls to knit this for so this is the last one until that changes!  I gave it to Jen's little princess, Ella.  I thought her auburn hair would look lovely against the grey-blue of this yarn.

Ok, so now I am knitting for the boys . . . will show you more soon


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One of My Favourites :: White Bean & Coconut Curry

This would have to be one of the easiest and yummiest curries ever!  And my husband loves it even though he is not a fan of coconut milk.  Thanks to my brother who first made it for him as I would never have tried it.

You can find the recipe here (just loving!!)



Monday, April 18, 2011

Try this! :: Donna's Jam Doughnuts

When I saw the front cover of the latest Donna Hay magazine, sporting some yummy looking jam doughnuts, I thought of my friend Shelley straight away.  She  l o v e s  jam doughnuts and who better to make them for than a die-hard fan?

image source
 So, my friend Rinny and I made the dough earlier that day.  Then after dinner, Rinny was in charge of the deep frying (she is the most responsible and steady under pressure - must come with being a nurse!), Shelley was in charge of taking photos, and I assembled. 

Dough ready for deep frying

In the hot oil

Ready for sugar and jam injection!

Slicing an opening for the piping bag

Squeezing in raspberry jam

Ooops, perhaps too much jam

First one to Shelley

But there were plenty to go around
 We were well rewarded for our efforts!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Off The Hook :: Hello Granny - Part 2

I know I said that I wouldn't have time to keep crocheting despite my new obsession to do so . . . 

I whipped these up the next morning.  Feeling a bit guilty for crocheting when I should have been knitting (or perhaps parenting, cleaning, cooking) I didn't tell you.


I did show all my new friends at my local craft group and received some much loved praise (yes, build me up buttercup!) . . . now I have ordered some crochet patterns from Sarah London (she had a sale Yay!!) and this book just arrived on my doorstep to keep me busy.

But I am now back to knitting - more about that later. . .

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Loving :: God is a Knitter too!

I have recently discovered the wonderful writings of Max Lucado.  He captures God's love perfectly in his children's books, so much so that I find myself captivated.

God Thinks You're Wonderful is the first of his books to make it to my little library.

He writes so simply yet captures the essence of God for little children (and big kids aka me) so concisely.

And he reminded me today that God is a knitter too!  God knitted us, using our mother's womb.  He knitted my children, using my womb.  I love that analogy, not just because I knit but because the process of knitting is highly tactile and personal.  Every garment I knit, the entire length of yarn used has passed through my fingers, not an inch I haven't touched.  The process is time consuming and I do it as a labour of love.  Each garment is unique and covered in my fingerprints.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Birthday Boy (oops Man)

My marvellous hubby celebrated another birthday last week.  We aren't a birthday-gift-giving couple - we buy eachother presents together throughout the year as "just 'cause pressies".  So, not breaking with tradition, I didn't really get him anything!  Yes, I ordered a photography book yet to be delivered but nothing on the day. 

So later in the week, I organised with the help of my lovely friend Shelley, a little dinner gathering of Rick's older kids (bar one and his wife) as a surprise (they all live 1.5 hours away).  And he was surprised.  Rick's love language is acts of service so I think I hit the nail on the head with this one.

We dined on baked lemon & thyme chicken, roast potatoes, homemade yorkshire puddings (because Aldi discontinued them again!), steamed vegies and garlic bread.  Followed by the easiest of easy desserts: Apple Crumble!

And this is our favourite beverage at the moment that Rick drinks "despite it being pink"!

Plus, I must thank Ms Rita for taking the photos as I was tangled in dishing dishes and toddler wrangling. xx

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

One of My Favourites :: Raspberry & Coconut Cupcakes

These little ruby-filled cakes are so my one of my favourites that I made over 100 of them for my wedding reception!  I can't claim this recipe as my own even though I have made some changes.  It came to me via my dear friend Mim who had made her alterations after finding it in one of her recipe books (I suspect it was a Marie Claire but I can't be sure).

I used to call them friands, even though they really aren't, due to the friand pan I used to bake them in.  But now, with all the different patty cases available, and the fact they mean less cleaning, they have morphed into the humble cupcake.

As you know, I am never one to keep a recipe to myself as I love it when others like something I've made so much that they would like to make it for themselves!  Plus, I rarely create my own recipes, only adapt other's so I really have no right to keep anything to myself.

Rasberry & Coconut Cupcakes (I think the original name was Baby Raspberry & Coconut Cakes)
makes 12.

125 g unsalted butter
1/3 cup almond meal
3/4 dessicated coconut
3/4 cup caster sugar (or sifted icing sugar)
1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
24 raspberries, fresh or frozen (I use frozen)

1. Preheat oven 180C fan forced. (conventional just cook for further 3 mins or until cooked through)

2. Place butter in a saucepan over low heat and melt until it is very light golden colour.

3. Place almond meal, coconut, sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl and using a hand held mixer, mix until combined.  Add egg and mix.  Add melted butter and mix until well combined.

4. Pour or spoon mixture into prepared patty cases and sprinkle with 2 raspberries per patty case.  As Nigella told me, I use one of those icecream scoops that you squeeze the handle to release the contents of the spoon.

5. Bake for 12-15 mins (18 mins conventional depending on oven) or until cakes are golden and springy to touch and moist in the centre.

Serve warm with double cream or serve cold with a dollop of greek yoghurt.  Lovely to have with any type of tea but today we had them with a good old glass of milk

Okey dokey, if you want to make them more friand-like, increase sugar to 1 2/3 cups icing sugar sifted, and use 5 egg whites instead of 3 whole eggs.

By the way, I do love the look of sweet baked goodies with a powdering of icing sugar on top but I can't bring myself to do it as I think we consume way too much sugar in this household as it is.  I usually halve the amount of sugar in most recipes (as I did with this one).

Oh I do hope you like these as much as we do!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Off The Hook :: Hello Granny

I can knit and generally follow a knitting pattern but when I look at crochet patterns I am completely lost!  It may aswell be computer code or swahili! 

My new lovely friend Pam, showed me a few crochet moves a couple of weeks ago but then I lost my crochet hook!  So today, with new hook in hand and my new personal instructor Pip, I whipped up this little granny square.  I am so proud!

I showed it to Rick who says: "is it meant to have all those holes in it?" 
Me: "it's crocheting, not knitting, it is meant to have all those holes in it"
Rick: "yeah but they look so uneven, some are heart shaped"
Me: "I only just started!" (Perhaps he's more used to seeing my even knitting.)

Me: "Wow, I am so excited that I can now crochet - I'll have a lovely little dashboard cover for your ute in no time!" *smiling*
Rick: "No you won't" (he's happy that I am happy but that is where it ends hahahaha)

So, I will keep hooking yarn and will have a bonefide granny rug in no time. Actually, that is a full on lie!  I have too many knitting and sewing projects on the go - crochet creations are prioritised last unfortunately.

What is your main craft and what do you do to break it up?

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