Sunday, 29 April 2012

Italian renaissance garden

The Italian renaissance gardens at the Hamilton gardens. Beautiful, breathtaking, inspirational.

I look out my window, 
a new day I see,
and only I can determine 
what kind of a day it will be

 It can be busy and sunny, 
laughing and gay,
or boring and cold, 
unhappy and grey.

My own state of mind 
is the determining key,
for I am only the person 
I let myself be.

I can be thoughtful, 
and do what I can to help,
or I can be selfish 
and think just of myself.

I can enjoy what I do 
and make it seem fun,
or gripe and complain 
and make it hard on someone.

I can be patient with those 
who may not understand,
or belittle and hurt them 
as much as I can.

But I have faith in myself,
and believe what I say,
and I personally intend 
to make the best of Today. 

By © B. J. Morbitzer

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Maori garden

Anzac day this year was a beautiful sunny day, and while taking a moment to pause and remember those who gave their lives, we also took time to be with and appreciate family. A trip to the gardens and a picnic in the sun was a wonderful way to pass the time with the boy and my parents who were visiting. The Hamilton gardens in New Zealand are stunning and it continues to grow every year. They have different styled gardens including renaissance, tudor, Japanese, Chinese and modernist gardens to name a few and in the last few years they have developed and opened the Maori garden. 

A need a new fence, this would be awesome, but maybe would with a few less pointy bits for climbing boys.

Kumara mounds growing, don't they look lovely? (Kumara is a type of sweet potato.)

What a stunning example of carving, workmanship and gardening. Truly, truly beautiful and a wonderful place to meander if you ever travel this way.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Snap, crackle, cranberries

My Mum and Dad arrived yesterday for a visit. There really is nothing like a visit from the parents, they always come laden with goods ready to clean, garden and cuddle the baby. It feels like a mini holiday for me and they have a good time to boot. For this visit they arrived with 2kg of fresh cranberries. 

For readers from America this may not seem too exciting but for us here in New Zealand  fresh cranberries are a rare find. Until mum and dad arrived i had never even seen a cranberry let alone tasted a fresh one. First bit of knowledge i gleaned was you don't eat raw cranberries. The better half said it was like eating brake fluid. Hmmm appealing.

Upon cooking however that all changes and the fruity tartness comes through. First it was a batch of muffins which were delicious and then as our roast pork cooked in the oven i thought of cranberry sauce. I have had this in a jar before but never made any, so game on and let the recipe search began.

There was thousands of recipes to be found online so i settled on a mix of a few simple ones. I used 1 cup of orange juice and dissolved 1 cup of sugar in it.

Then i threw in 340grams of fresh cranberries

Then they started to pop, pop, pop! I almost giggled with glee, oh so maybe i did a little. I have never heard anything like this before. It was like the fruit equivalent of rice bubbles, fantastic!

Then bubble, bubble for 10mins

Then beautiful, glossy cranberry sauce to go with my pork. Isn't it stunning? Who wouldn't want to eat this. It was pretty tasty too but i couldn't help but think it was sweet enough for my morning toast. Yum.
I have over 1kg of cranberries left to use, hmmm what to make next. Fruit crumble or jelly is on my mind.
Take care people xx

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Chestnut and Vine month 4

Welcome to part 4 of my chestnut and vine BOM.
Wow what a long time this month's section has taken me, just over 2 months! First i didn't have enough fabric for one section and by the time i got it i was already a month behind and then the cutting, setting and stitching of all those leaves and stems took a very long time! Applique is not my strength so i'm slow and cautious with it. Also i decided to hand stitch on all the circles after a disastrous machine stitching attempt in the first month which gave me a chance to perfect my unpicking skills. But it is finally (almost) done, just the corner circles to hand sew on yet, but that will be tomorrow night's job. But i thought it was too pretty to wait another night to share it.

Lovely isn't it? I'm enjoying it more and more every month. I can't wait to be snuggled up in bed under it. Quilting is so peaceful and rewarding. Not a cheap hobby sometimes but very enjoyable and worth the results.
Take care people xx

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Sweet and crafty

Last night was one of those peaceful, quiet nights where you get to take a deep breath and truly relax.
Dishes were done, the baby was asleep, house was tidy enough, washing was sorted, dessert was warnming and it was time to put my feet up.

Blueberry peach crumble with nut cream, oh my just divine

and certainly didn't last long!

The newsletter from my favourite quilting store arrived today and i was so excited to read it i decided to savour it at the end of the night over a hot cocoa.
Grandmothers garden is a local quilting store. It is a huge shop and has the most amazing stock and displays. It is a quilter's dream. If you've never heard of it head over and check out their website they have an awesome online store too. It was a great read but now i have the decision to make of what block of the month to do next. 

Lynette's In full bloom

The Generals wife - but with a slightly different colour combo seen here.

or McKenna Ryan's Bella Garden

Bella Garden by McKenna Ryan

They are all so lovely in there own way! Hmmm more thinking. Bella garden is pretty special though.

And there was even a little nut cream left for me and the little man to add some to our porridge this morning. Yum yum. He was pretty keen, can you tell?

Monday, 23 April 2012

Loving ... Grateful....

~ Mushroom sauce on toast
~ Freshly baked carrot cake
~ Dandelions in the sun
~ New (and somewhat old) craft projects

Grateful for....
~ Cold days and a warm home
~ Cold nights and a warm bed
~ Family and coming together
~ Hot cups of tea
~ A chatty cuddly baby
~ Fruit crumble and nut cream waiting for me
~ Mum and Dad arriving tomorrow.

Live, Love, Cherish xx

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Black market (Marmageddon)

If you live in another part of the world you may not have heard, and admittedly may not care, about the marmite shortage in New Zealand. The NZ marmite factory was knocked out of action when the Christchurch earthquake struck last year and supplies of our beloved marmite have now run dry. A friend of mine named it Marmageddon which is pretty accurate if you ask me. Check out this ad, it's hilarious. The guy is an ex NZ rugby coach and Buck was a popular player who had a campaign started called 'Bring back buck' when he left the team.

So if you've never heard of it marmite is something most kiwi kids grew up on and we have very fond feelings for the black stuff. If you were from overseas and met marmite you may not love it so much.
This black savoury yeast spread is not pretty, and although i love it, i have to admit it is probably an acquired taste. Amanda Palmer, a musician from America, called it sadness in a jar and even has a song about it - Vegemite - the black death. (Vegemite is a similar but inferior product). People who eat marmite are very loyal to thier version!

The funny thing about the marmite shortage is the lengths people go to to get it. It is selling online for hundreds of dollars a jar! Me? i resorted to my old tactics of bribing family members. I must say though i did have to laugh when my nephew from out of town dropped by with a marmite delivery on his way through, and my niece mailed me single serve sachets of it from her work. Lol desperate much? At this rate i may just make it till July without having to resort to the evil's of vegemite.
Stay Strong New Zealand!!
Wish me luck. xx

Friday, 20 April 2012

Friday inspiration

I just wanted to share this clip for those who haven't seen it yet. Great music always makes me cry. Strength, passion and sheer talent make this a great watch. Music truly sings to my soul.

Yep, i'm crying. lol enjoy xx

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Orange Peel Cleaner

So following up on one of my mini goals this month i've started looking at natural cleaners. I saw this on a blog years ago and unfortunately i can't recall where but a quick google search showed me it is quite popular. Orange peel cleaner couldn't be simpler, take washed orange peels, stuff them in a jar, cover with vinegar and leave for about a month. Strain and dilute 1:4 and use.

As you can see i'm still in the soaking stage so i haven't been able to try it out yet but my oh my does it smell divine! I have a weakness for a good scent and i'm looking forward to having a natural, chemical free cleaner to use around the house. I think i will add a few drops of essential oils when i dilute it too. I'm thinking either rosemary, lavender or tea tree or possibly a combination. I have fond memories of a natural cleaner a small shop used to make with a combination of those oils in it and my house was never cleaner or sweeter smelling. It was so good i used to want to clean just to use it!
So watch this space and i'll let you know how it turns out. I'm off to read about natural cleaners some more, i need something that is a good scrubber for the bath, maybe baking soda might do the trick?
Take care people xxx
Oh and proud moment of the day - i ran 20mins straight without a break! I don't think i've done that since........ hmmm nope i don't think i've ever done it! Kathryn i got the new shoes and they have made everything heaps better. Thanks for the advice!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

bit by bready bit

Finally a little bit of sourdough action. Still not a full rise but a bit of improvement and the sour taste was a lot stronger. I made this one with rye and wholemeal flour so i expected it to be a little heavier.

Look there's a few air bubbles in there! It's a start and definite progress, i'll be trying it again in a few days.
Apart from the bread success, today was filled with moments of joy.

~ Smiles and giggles with my son.
~ Rescuing an adventurous boy who's learning to move. It's amazing how they can hold on for so long while hanging off a table!
~ Grateful for my sewing table in the lounge. It makes the room messier but means i can just sit down and sew whenever i like.
~ Wondering when the sewing table and fore mentioned adventurous boy will meet......
~ Enjoying good food and a family full of love.

A lot to be thankful for, thank you for visiting and being part of my day.

Monday, 16 April 2012


My newly acquired magnetic spice jars. Thank you  Angela from Oh she glows for the inspiration. xx

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Bready nemesis

Without trying to sound overdramatic i think bread hates me. Or if not bread at least my breadmaker does. 8 loaves made so far and only 1 has been barely edible. I wonder if it sits in the cupboard at night plotting new adventurous ways to destroy my bready efforts, tad paranoid? hmmm maybe. I used to be an expert breadmaker with never a failure. I think it's safe to say my pride has been hurt by the giant bread making box. I think it will make a lovely door stop. Bread maker aside, today was supposed to be all about sourdough. My starter finally started and it was time to try it out.

First to make the sponge and let it rise overnight.

 Bubbly goodness was waiting for me in the morning. Good start.
 Then making the dough, this also rose really well but i forgot to take a photo. Honestly it did though!
 Then forming the loaf for the second rise. This is where something went wrong.
 This was 4 hours later and as you can see it didn't rise much at all.
 I decided to bake it anyway as the day was getting away on us. Unfortunately it didn't rise any more. Sigh... bad day for bread. I'm not entirely sure what went wrong whether it wasn't warm enough during the second rising. It was all going so well! On the upside the flavour was very good. I'll be back to try this again.

Luckily the jam biscuits turned out perfectly so all was not lost. Might have to try one or two to soothe my pride. lol. night peeps xx

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Today was a great day. I started the day with banana oat pancakes and a cup of tea. Then op shopping with my nieces and best friend, sushi for lunch and then a trip with the family to the Armageddon expo. For those who don't know the Armageddon expo is all about comics, superhero's, games, science fiction and fantasy. Ah the geekiness reigned. Everywhere you looked there was people in costumes. If only i had taken my camera! I even made sure i was wearing my doctor who shirt and the baby was wearing his batman one for the outing. Lots of fun and i came home with a new fantasy book to read too.  Aside from that we still managed to whip up a fantastic dinner from the wholefood kitchen course. Orange, balsamic chicken. Ok it looks messy but it was very tasty, especially with a side of the best broccoli of your life. If you haven't tried it already, you MUST treat yourself and make some! Make a whole tray full and eat it with a fork. It really is that good, the combination of broccoli, lemon, garlic and parmesan is really something special.

Followed by a hot cup of homemade chai tea to accompany a planning session for a new project myself and the better half are working on.

Stay tuned for progress on this project. My partner and i have worked on little things before. I'm a crafter, he's a computer engineer and this project is going to use both our skills. It's very exciting and i hope to talk more about it soon once the idea is more fleshed out.

Finishing the day with a sourdough sponge on the go and saturday night sewing and it really has been the perfect day.

Bliss xx