Saturday, 30 June 2012

It's A Sign

Sometimes you need a sign that everything is going to be ok. When things aren't working out the way you hoped, people disappoint you, you feel under pressure to meet everyone's needs or the weather is just plain miserable.

It is those times when you need a simple reminder that life is still good and there is still hope for something better. When you see that sign you can't help but smile and remember you are still lucky and although you might not see just yet how it will all work out in the end.

The other day as I sat at yet another red light (which was making me later and later for my destination) I was grumbling to myself when I happened to look out of the window. If it wasn't for the bad traffic and horrible rainy weather how would I have seen this beautiful rainbow?

It says: Keep your chin up, and have faith it will all be OK it in the end.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Peep's Chocolate Egg

The day before my birthday Peep surprised us with her first egg. We had almost given up hope she would lay, she hadn't even been visiting the nest box and was already 34 weeks old.

There isn't much information on how quickly Marans chickens mature so we were guessing it would be around 24-26 weeks... we were wrong. We all took bets on the dates... we all lost.

Here is the egg. Ok I admit it isn't made of chocolate but it is a dark brown egg. Much darker than the Isa Brown's eggs and a nice compliment to the blue eggs we get from the Araucanas.

An interesting note is that the Isa Browns have gone off the lay since Peep started... maybe they that have shell pigment envy. Puffles (our mixed breed pinkish shell layer) still hasn't got back to laying since her moult in Autumn. Hopefully as the days get longer we will see a time when we get all six chooks laying in a single day.

Even though it is the middle of winter (and really flipping cold) I had boiled eggs and salad for lunch today... they were so tasty. I love keeping chooks.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

June Temari Class

At the beginning of June we had a temari workshop where we tackled an oldie but a goodie temari design. The all over plum blossom. This is a C10 stitched in two colours and is really a lot less complicated than it seems. The design forms as you keep stitching pentagons and triangles to cover the ball. The catch is... the ball has to be nearly dead on round and the marking as close to perfect possible for this design to work.

Some nudging and fudging is possible but honestly not preferable for this design. Here is my first attempt... I admit my marking was not as round as I would have liked and I learned that she'll be right isn't necessarily so. 

This design requires a lot of faith, as the design doesn't emerge until nearly the end of stitching. Lots of the ladies in the group thought it wouldn't work out but those that have shared pics of their work with me  managed to get the design to emerge on their temari.

Coincidentally Laura showed a similar design on her blog, but hers has sections of underground stitching. Isn't it weird how we temari makers tend to work on similar designs at the same time without even knowing it!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Our 100th birthday party

My Mum and my birthday are about a month apart, this year we are both celebrating 'O' birthdays so on the 16th of June we decided to combine our parties and have a ladies high tea with our girlfriends. We said it was for our 100th... I'll let you do the math.

We love to give party favours and worked furiously to make some for this party. Here is a selection of what we offered for our guests to choose from.

Tiny handbags filled with a selection of lavender, rose or cinnamon to hang in the wardrobe or anywhere else. These were lots of fun to make and Mum did all the hand stitching (the job I dislike) while I did the machine stitching (the job Mum has no confidence in doing - although she is quite good at it). We got to use up some of my compulsively purchased fabric stash. Love the crown fabric.

Next is lip balms in 3 flavours. Mango, vanilla and chocolate. This was fun to do too, and was the first time Mum had made lip balms. We spent ages sniffing all the various flavours before deciding on these three. Because it is winter here we though lip balm was a perfect takeaway to keep everyone's lips soft and kissable.

We also made a range of scented soaps. We printed the tea cup images on water slide paper so it will dissolve when it gets used and there will be no pulpy mess in the shower. The was vanilla, ginger-nut, plum tea, cranberry pomegranate and several others. Each soap had a clear layer followed by the image and a white layer which was finished off with a coloured layer to represent each fragrance. We had to keep filling up the basket. Don't they look cute?

The next few images are from the main table. There were several flavours of cupcakes and lemon meringues plus non dairy cakes, my first ever gluten free chocolate cake (which didn't taste half bad despite the lack of gluten) and of course the brownies in a bottle.

I baked six boxes of cake and other sweets for the party and because there were no men around to count our calories for us we and our guests managed to devour almost all of them. 

I did forget to refill the caramel pecan nut tarts, so when the boys arrived back from golf they tucked into them. I forgot to take pictures of the savoury food, but there were also sandwiches, cheese and crackers and several varieties of mini quiches along with Miho's most delicious sushi and meatballs. We also had champers (oops I mean sparking wine) with many options for teas and coffees.

Although we had both expressly requested no gifts, we were both showered with flowers and gifts which left us both feeling
truly spoilt.

It was wonderful to have such a lovely party with  so many amazing ladies. We are really blessed.

The last picture is my gratuitous 'arty' shot of the champagne (sorry sparkling wine) flutes ready to be filled and clinked... maybe I need to take a photography class.

So there you have it, this has been one of the many reasons my temari stitching time has been so limited lately.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Fur Babies Together Again

I've been quite on this blog for a while, I do apologise. There are lots of things to post but lately there has just been no time to write anything longer than a grocery list.

As with everyone else's lives ours has been somewhat of a roller coaster, lots of thrilling highs and several crushing lows. On Saturday June16th, just half an hour before we held a party for my 40th, we had to put our little dog to sleep. Now both my fur babies are together in doggies heaven.

Shadow in the background
Shadow was a sweet and faithful companion for more than 15 years. He was born to follow, hence his name, he arrived with us 6 weeks after his brother (they were from the same litter) and he was unwanted. We visited the pet store with our pup Chilli to buy some dog food and saw the little black pup in a small yard, his claws were overgrown and he was much thinner than our puppy. We decided that although it was almost the end of the month (and there was still one week to go until pay day) if we had enough money in our bank account to buy him we'd take this little unloved mutt and give him a home forever.

Never in the lead, Shadow lived up to his name until the very end. They did eventually grow into their ears... well almost. The photo below of our favourite pictures of the boys when they we still young-ish pups, we even made it into a jigsaw puzzle.

Shadow and Chilli
I don't quite know what we did to get them to stay still enough to take this picture, although it looks like I captured this image just before they sprung off the sofa.... probably for an icy-pole.

For all the running after them when they'd take off at doggie obedience school, the eaten books, washing torn off the line, tumble-weed balls of dog hair, drool soaked tennis balls they begged me to throw and poops I managed to step in over the years... if I was back in the pet store I'd take them home all over again.

Miss you Shadow Meister and Chilli Bhagwan!