Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back in the swing of sewing

I have an old sewing machine passed onto me by my sister.

There is no manual so I haven't been able to work out how to change the machine foot or progress beyond simple straight or zigzag stitches.

Today I found my machine's manual online and instantly, the veil of mystique fluttered away.

I have my sewing mojo back.

I whipped up this sweet little softie for a special birthday gift this week.

Suddenly that quilting kit stashed under my craft table doesn't seem so impossible now.

I also aced my first attempt at back stitch embroidery. How cute is that face?????

Life is good.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pretty little rose brooch

To celebrate my spring cleaning progress, I picked up the latest issue of Homespun magazine yesterday.

Inside was the cutest pattern for crocheted rose rings.

I thought they'd be equally gorgeous as a small brooch.

I adapted the pattern slightly, using 3ply cotton for the bloom and embroidery cotton for the leaves. I was running out of green so I eliminated a couple of the leaves.

So dainty!

Makes me wonder whether people would buy them.........?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Four hens a laying

Hooray! All of our hens are finally laying!

That means 4 eggs a day!


Yesterday morning I experienced the joy that is a poached, fresh egg - literally only hours old.

So happy to be a backyard farmer.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Perfect Banana Bread {Recipe}

I like to think myself as being an organised person.

I keep bags of chopped-up ripe bananas in the freezer, ready to make banana bread and muffins on a whim.

I love this banana bread because it's the real deal - not banana cake masquerading as banana bread.

It holds its shape when sliced, toasts well and I strongly suspect it will be amazing pan fried in a little butter for a decadent Sunday breakfast…..

RECIPE: Perfect Banana Bread
A simple and easy banana bread that should be in everyone’s recipe repertoire. Adapted from Margaret Fulton’s recipe in “Margaret Fulton’s Encyclopedia of Food & Cookery”

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, beaten well

1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (omit if you have allergy concerns)


  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Grease and line base of a medium loaf pan (21 x 11cm).
  • In a large bowl, mix the bananas and eggs together.
  • Sift over the flours and bicarb soda and add the sugar, salt & walnuts.
  • Mix together thoroughly.
  • Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for approximately one hour or until the loaf has pulled away from the sides of the tin and a skewer comes out clean when pierced into the centre.
  • Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a rack.
  • Enjoy the loaf warm or cold.
  • Slice and freeze individual slices, wrapped in cling wrap.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Brightening up a rainy day

The sunny start to spring was short lived. Today it rained and rained. In fact, it's going to rain all weekend.

To cheer myself up I wore my red shoes. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Counting sheep bunting

I'm so proud of this gorgeous bunting I made for my sister's baby shower.

I had been working on a baby blanket but as the deadline drew nearer, I knew I'd never finish it in time.

I'd spied these cute crocheted sheep over at Pardon my Chaos and had tagged it as a future project.

A test-make proved to me that I could whip them up fast, using wool already in my stash.

I modified the pattern slightly in that I made them single sided instead of stitching two together.

I borrowed a bunting string pattern from a crochet magazine and put the two of them together.

Aren't they darling?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The perfect jelly slice {Recipe}

Since joining the Country Women's Association, I've noticed a change in my baking style.

I've turned retro.

I'm not interested in elaborate fondant covered cakes anymore.

Give me a slice of old fashioned chocolate cake or a classic iced cupcake anyday.

It's all about flavour and appreciating the cook's efforts.

This weekend I challenged myself to make the perfect jelly slice.

A packet of biscuits, melted butter, condensed milk, some gelatine and a packet of raspberry jelly crystals - the result was amazing.

Mission accomplished.

RECIPE: Perfect Jelly Slice

1 packet Arnotts Niece biscuits
170g butter, melted

1 packet raspberry jelly crystals
1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 tin condensed milk
1 tblsp + 1 tsp powdered gelatine
1/2 cup hot water

Start this recipe the day before you want to serve it. This will guarantee that the jelly has set properly.

  • Grease and line a slice tin (minimum depth 3cm) or a 20cm square casserole dish with baking paper. The 20cm square will give you a thicker biscuit base to your slice - it's actually pretty good!
  • Crush the biscuits using either a food processor or putting them in a big ziplock bag and bashing them with a hefty rolling pin till you have small crumbs.
  • Stir in the melted butter and mix thoroughly. Press the mixture into your prepared pan and press down very firmly. Pop the pan into the fridge for 30-45 min to set.
  • Have a cuppa and then get on with the next step.
  • Mix the  jelly crystals and boiling water together in a large jug and stir until all the crystals have dissolved. Pop it in the fridge for a minimum of 45 minutes (but no more than an hour - you want the jelly to be cool enough to pour over the condensed milk layer later but not starting to set.)
  • In a medium sized bowl, dissolve the gelatine in the hot water. Pour over the condensed milk and mix together thoroughly.
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit base. Tap the pan on the bench a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles and pop it back into the fridge for 30-45mins to set - longer if you need to.
  • Finally, pour over your cooled jelly and pop it back in the fridge for a minimum 4 hours or overnight.
  • The next day, using the baking paper, lift out the slice from the pan.
  • Trim the edges with a large flat knife to give neat sides (I used a ham slicer). Keep the scraps in a container for a sneaky cook's treat later on.
  • Cut the slice into even pieces and store in an airtight container until needed.
  • Enjoy!

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