Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vintage Tracing Wheel

This morning I thought I would show you my vintage tracing wheel.

This belonged to my husband's grandmother, who passed away about 10 years ago in her 90s. So I'm guessing that she used it for years, maybe in the 30s and onwards?

I love that she "tattooed" her initials MB on the handle.

Wikipedia says "A tracing wheel is an instrument with serrated teeth on a wheel attached to a handle. Used to transfer markings from patterns onto fabric with or without tracing paper, this sewing tool also makes slotted perforations. Such markings might include pleats, darts, buttonholes, notches or placement lines for appliques or pockets. There are two basic types of tracing wheels available to the modern sewer, one with a serrated edge and one with a smooth edge."

But at the moment I'm just using it to add texture to cards. That wheel is pretty sharp, and I'm not sure what kind of surface I would use it on for sewing.
Check out more vintage goodies here.

Wild About You

I love Stampin' Up's Wild About You set but since I haven't got a decent orange stamp pad (must be the one colour I don't have LOL) I haven't done much with the lion and giraffe. But when I had some scraps lying around I decided to go ahead with my favourite Rose Red and this is what I came up with:

To make the texture on the green strip I ran an old tracing wheel back and forth over the card.

This little penguin is just adorable, I had to match him with a "smile" stamp since he is just so not smiling!

I love putting scallops here and there on my cards. Scallops have come a long way since the 90s (thank goodness!)

And while I had the card out I made a quick Christmas card too. The angel is by Inky Antics and I love her!

As usual lighting is not so good at the moment. But it seems spring is just around the corner, I saw our first jasmine flowers this morning!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Whistling Family

This morning we officially became a Tin Whistling Family! Steve picked up these whistles yesterday and presented them at breakfast this morning. The poor girls didn't even have time to try them out before we rushed off to our recorder class.

I thought I would buy a back-up (cheap) whistle so I got a new whistle as well. Here you can see the new Feadog brass whistle on the left, and my lovely Syn aluminium whistle on the right. The Feadog tone is not great, but it will do! (as Another Jig Will Do!)

Last term when the girls were both home (1 week each) with hand, foot and mouth disease, but not really feeling ill, I taught them some whistle. They picked it up easily with all their experience with recorder and now flute. Since then I have tried various avenues to order some whistles ... but finally Steve found some.

This afternoon will be very Irish I think ... first Irish Dancing and then some jigs and reels played on our new whistles!
Speaking of whistles we watched a show recently about "real" whistling (with your mouth) which we loved. Check this out (one of the whistlers featured on the show) - don't forget to turn on your speakers. If only I could roll like that on my tin whistle!

A Stampin' Up Christmas begins ...

Warning: if you don't want to think about Christmas yet, then scroll down to the next post!

This morning I got everything out to spend a day making Christmas cards. Yes, the urge to make Christmas cards has struck, and today was the day.

I especially wanted to use the Stampin' Up Peaceful Wishes set some more. I ended up making 23 cards, mostly duplicates. I cut my white A4 card into 8 rectangles and started stamping. This is such a gorgeous stamp set, it's hard to go wrong.

After I made 8 of the above card, I thought I'd take a break from the traditional red and green, I also wanted to use up the blue coral paper and card I've had for years. But this card is just not doing it for me, I guess I'm a traditional girl after all ...

I am loving the Old Olive and Rose Red card and inks.

Here's a close-up showing the detail of the embossed paisley pattern courtesy of the cuttlebug. I rubbed it with a little Old Olive ink.

Here is my finished collection. Sorry about the lighting, I'm finding it so hard to get decent photos in winter. The light is all or nothing.

Well that has satisfied my start-to-think-about-Christmas bug for now, so I guess I should make some birthday cards next!

Stampin' Up Cardstock Organization

Recently I came up with a new system for my Stampin' Up Cardstock. Previously I have always worked with A5 card and so I needed a new system for the A4 size. At KMart I found some strong clear perspex magazine files, and at a newsagency a set of 31 heavy-duty tabbed dividers.
On the front page (supplied with the dividers) I listed all the Stampin' Up colours in the order listed in the catalogue. Then I put the corresponding colour in that section in the magazine file. The colours continue in the second file.
This works for me because I don't want drawers full of card, but work mostly from the mixed packs. I will get to know the names of the colours and which ones I use the most, they are easy to carry from cupboard to worktop, and I can see them clearly. I also put any large scraps in with the right colour (smaller scraps I throw into a page protector with any other colours).
When I got this system finally happening I felt much more inclined to start using all the beautiful colours. Before this I was sticking with my favourites and not experimenting. See ... organizing does make a difference! (sometimes I feel like I spend more time organizing my craft stuff than using it LOL)

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Simple Things

This morning I had Little A over to give her mummy a break. We had a lovely time playing with my girls' toys, some of which have been packed away (and some still in use). We played kitchens and fed a teddy bear and gave him numerous injections (to his head!?)

But this was the favourite thing of the morning:

We went out to the letterbox, and picked the daisy while we were there. Then we put the daisy in a vase (no water) and in and out it came, and it was carried everywhere. Sweet.

Then Little A's mummy came to collect her, and her mummy was naughty enough to give me these lovely gifts

and some lemons.

Lemon delicious pudding might be on the menu this week - yum!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

First Freesias

Today as we drove off to church I noticed that some freesias have come out in the garden, and at lunchtime I picked some for the table.

I can't believe the winter is rushing by so quickly, and August will be here in a few days.

This winter I have been seriously contemplating moving to a cooler climate. While I often find myself standing right up next to the gas heater to stop shivering, I am so much happier generally being cold rather than hot. I love the winter sunshine coming in the windows and making the floorboards glow, and I make the most of every chance to sit by the window in the sunshine with a book or magazine.
Yes, I would be happy with quite a bit more winter around here.
On another note you will be glad to hear we are making progress with our fussy eaters. Foods conquered are: fresh pineapple, chicken cooked in various ways, glace cherries, dried fruit, muesli, pasta with (shock horror) different sauces, and others. There is no more whining about upcoming meals. If they forget the rules and ask what is for dinner I tell them "Mystery Food", and that is the end of that. Coming up this week: tuna and salmon. Babysteps here!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eating Endeavours

We have two very fussy eaters in our house. And Baby Born is not one of them (although her diet is somewhat limited too she never complains about what her mummy gives her).
We are tired of living with them. Well, not of them but of their fussiness regarding food. If they had their way this would be their daily menu:

Breakfast: bowl of cereal - each has their preferences of how much bran, weet-bix or nutri-grain, (or sometimes porridge in winter) These scientific mixtures with strict proportions are a mystery to me and one of the reasons that I sleep in most mornings - to let Steve serve breakfast.

Morning tea: crackers at school or 2 biscuits/slices at home

Lunch: cold tortilla with cheese would go down well but usually a sandwich, Laura might have jam and Emily will have plain bread. And an apple and maybe a treat

Yee haa what a yummy lunch - not.

Afternoon tea: 2 biscuits/slices and maybe a lolly from the never-ending supply from parties, maybe later a yoghurt or some dry oat flakes ...

Dinner: Plain pasta with grated cheese on the side and a few carrot sticks would be the preferred menu for Emily. They both like Mexican food and will eat very small amounts of other food ...

Dessert: seasonal fruit and maybe a treat (eg a marshmallow) if they have eaten "all" of their miniscule dinners.

BUT now that is all changing! This mother has had ENOUGH!!!

So we are radically changing the way we eat around here.

My aim is that my girls will ...

- happily try any new food

- not expect sugary food at every meal

- ultimately eat nearly everything on their plate at dinnertime

- love healthy foods

So the new rules are ...

1. No asking "what's for dinner?" - I've learnt that this just prolongs the complaints I get, instead of starting at dinner time they start straight after school - yikes!

2. From now on every meal is "Mystery Food" They might get "dinner" at afternoon tea time. They might get "breakfast" for lunch. Their foods might be familiar or unfamiliar, favourites or foods they have rejected in the past.

3. Variety is the key. (I know, I know this is where I have gone wrong all these years) This means lots more work for me at the moment, but I think it will pay off.

4. No snacking before dinner.

So what have they been eating???

We are up to day 2 now of the E.F.E.P. (End of Fussy Eating Plan)

Breakfasts - have been the same but with my (delicious) home made muesli on top. Which contains (shock horror) dried fruits. Maybe on the weekends we might have some eggs too.

Morning tea at school has been anything/s from their lunchbox.

Lunchbox day 1 Mexican Rice (recipe below), apple, cheese and crackers, dried apple (came home again), and I've forgotten what else.

Lunchbox day 2 = cold meatballs with tomato sauce (went down well but were filling, only ate a few)

vita weet crackers (came home)

cheese spread and crackers pre-packed snack (eaten no probs)

apricot delight squares - prepacked - (requested more - a new hit!)

apple (always eaten)

sultanas (eaten!!)

Lunchbox day 3 = chicken sausage sandwich on pumpkin seed bread

cheese snack and apricots again


apricot delight squares

Afternoon tea:

Day 1 chicken sausages, heated and sliced, with toothpicks to pick them up; English muffin pizzas (just pizza sauce and cheese) & I let them have 1 lolly from their stash.

This was the first time ever they have gone from afternoon tea till dinner without asking for more food! I didn't really expect them to remember the rule not to ask, so I was surprised when they weren't even hungry enough to ask!

Day 2 muffin pizzas again and these:

fresh pineapple and marshmallows on toothpicks.

I think toothpicks might be the answer. I could serve ANYTHING on toothpicks and it would be eaten! Emily always grumbles about pineapple, we have only just recently started buying fresh pineapple, but I persuaded her to try these and the combination was irresistable to her!

Also I have been trying to serve things nicely, on different plates from usual, and bringing it to the coffee table on a tray. The first time I did this on Day 1 one of them exclaimed "a feast!" (ah music to my ears!)


Sesame Chicken Rissoles (recipe below) - this was a brand new meal to us and they hoed right in. We had leftovers the following night and they couldn't wait to eat it. Emily even managed to eat a side serving of four beans mix, which never happened before, and the nightly "treat" system has been completely forgotten (also unheard of!)

So I am feeling quietly optimistic, we have not eaten anything exotic, but the girls have tried new foods, we have all managed a low-sugar afternoon tea and enjoyed it, the girls have tried things in their lunchboxes and on their dinner plates without complaint.

Some progress has been made.


Mexican Rice

1 1/2 tblspns oil

1 1/2 cups (300g) long-grain rice

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 tspn ground cumin

1/2 tspn ground paprika

2 large tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped

100g sliced mild salami, cut into strips

1 small carrot, diced

2 cups hot chicken stock

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons each of chopped fresh coriander and parlsey

1. Heat oil in saucepan and gently cook rice, onion & garlic for 10mins or until rice is soft

Add spices and cook for 30 sec

2. Add tomato, salami, carrot and stock, bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered 15mins till the rice is almost tender.

3. Stir in peas and coriander and cook covered for further 4 mins until rice tender and liquid absorbed. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

(I forgot to buy tomatoes and fresh herbs and this was still yummy without)

Sesame Chicken Rissoles

sesame seeds

400g chicken mince (I used 500g)

1/2 dry breadcrumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup cheddar cheese finely grated

2 tblspns olive oil

Mix allingredients except the oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and shape into 12 rissoles (we made 14) Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook in 2 batches for 2.5mins each side or until cooked through (and whoever believes those cooking times? My rissoles always take way longer than the recipe says)

Serve with tomato sauce and salad. (but we tried satay sauce, and sweet chilli and they were both yummy, also had noodles with them).

These recipes both come from Family Circle - Fast Family Meals. Enjoy!

Old Lace

When my Gran passed all her sewing things to me, these lace cuffs and collar were in one of the boxes.

I wish I had asked her who it belonged to. Gran was a dressmaker in the 1930s-40s, but these are older than that. I'm guessing pre-WWI.

They are very fine, and obviously stained over the years, but have beautiful detail.

Can you imagine wearing lace like this at the end of a fine sleeve?

Ok so the polar fleece jacket with the fine lace edging is not really doing it for me at the moment, but I can't imagine wearing lace like that and doing housework, so I guess this is the Sunday-best type of sleeve edging.

I have often thought of mounting these in a frame on velvet or similar, but would love to have some old photos from that side of the family to put with them ... something to think about, anyway.
Check out more vintage items here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cute organisation

How cute are these bulldog clips from Kikki K.? I bought them yesterday while I was "grocery shopping" (well, I did get to the groceries eventually!)
I couldn't decide between the birdies and the red clips with the symbols, so I had to get them both!

Now I will just have to tidy my computer desk and find some very deserving papers waiting to be clipped together.
After shopping in Kikki K. I am always inspired to organise my papers and life better ... but the cheap/creative part of me wants to do it at a much lower price! I'll try and take some photos of my Kikki K. low-cost take-offs in the next few days.

Craft and Cooking

The girls went back to school yesterday, and I have 3 days mostly free before going back to work and a more normal routine from Friday. So what am I doing? Good question. I wish I knew where the time was going. Here it is almost 2pm on my 2nd free day and what have I got to show for it?

From my "grocery shopping" yesterday ...

A bundle of new ideas for giftgiving, mostly using papercrafts but some sewing

I love these ...

Some quick crafting yesterday produced a gift ready to post to a sister-in-law for her birthday ...

I made a wallet and cards very similar to the ones I made for Mum in June, using Stampin' Up products.

The tab does up with a little piece of velcro underneath

I bought a pen which I decorated with a few ribbons

and a cute notebook from the newsagency which matches my colour scheme pretty well.

In the kitchen I have ...

a fridge and pantry full of fresh food (no mean feat in itself!) ...

one yummy sultana cake (I know it's yummy because one corner underneath got stuck in the tin and I sampled it ;-)

(just not quite sure why the photo is not rotated)

some chicken sausages and delicious meatballs for the girls' lunches this week. (I have decided I am sick of their fussy eating and this week they are going to eat what they are given and no filling up on biscuits, crackers etc. Not sure how it will go, but I figure it's worth a try) ....

... hmmm and a pile of things to wash up!

Now I have one more precious hour so I am off to do some scrapbooking before the school pick-up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Boats and Chips

Yesterday after church we had some time to fill in before collecting our little Trapeze Artist from camp, so we bought some takeway lunch and sat on a bench and looked at this:

... which was pretty rough to take. We seem to have seen a lot of boats this week. I love looking at boats, it is so restful somehow. The Pink Girl jumped on the sand like Tigger ...

and sometimes teased the ducks with pretend food ... Daddy helped ...

Behind us the sky turned grey and children rode their bikes on the bike track.

We loved the rock sculptures...

After a little play in the playground it was time to pick up the Trapeze Artist, who had had a wonderful time at camp.

It's good to be all together again. School starts tomorrow. If the girls ever surface from their books we might do some craft today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Colour-on-Black Bookmark Tutorial

How to make a beautiful bookmark:

(Mine is on the left and (8yo) Laura's on the right)

1. Select some stickers. We used gold-edged butterflies.

2. Place stickers on a piece of black card.

3. If you want, at this point you could lightly draw a border around the edge of the bookmark as a guide to where you will leave the edges blank.

4. Using good-quality pencils (we used Prismacolors) and working on a soft even surface such as a magazine, colour around the stickers using the colours and shapes found in the stickers as a guide.

Don't forget to keep your digital pet nearby in case it wants something to eat.

5. Admire your finished bookmarks. These remind us of stained-glass windows. The way these pencils show up so richly on black is just beautiful.

by Laura