Tuesday, January 25, 2011

party hat

This was fun!

All the 'hens' had to make a rosette for the bride-to-be's hat.
Georgia had fun putting the sequin kits together. Add buttons, feathers, glue, card,  safety pins, tape...
More to come in the handmade wedding series. Not to be confused with the second-hand wedding variety (great NZ film by the way) which I can also relate to.

Monday, January 17, 2011

food glorious food

I made so much food yesterday, and the day before, for a friend's party. I didn't photograph any of it because the camera was flat, so you will just have to believe me that I made gingerbread cookies, pink lamingtons (and the sponge!), pork balls wrapped in prosciutto, gluten free chocolate cake (just eggs, chocolate, butter, sugar), and raspberry meringues. Phew. Did anybody say domestic goddess? Ah, but I sent the kids away while I baked. They started off 'helping' but it didn't last long that way... 

So I didn't feel like cooking today. Tired of pasta, rice, potatoes and bread, I made a last minute dinner with some QUINOA. I know it is supposed to be said 'keen-wa' but I can't help myself saying quin-oa. This is such a strange, but oh so good grain. An ancient grain. Doesn't that sound intriquing? It's gluten free and this is something playing on my mind at the moment while Hugo and I undergo a series of allergy tests. I am already supposed to be on a wheat reduced diet for endometriosis, but haven't been very good with that since pregnancy and breast-feeding have removed the symptoms for now. 

Here's something I made earlier with wonderful quinoa. These are free from gluten, meat, saturated fat and preservatives and are high in energy, protein and vitamins. And they taste great. Yay!

Quinoa and vegetable balls
Adapted from this recipe, where you can find variations and serving suggestions

Cup Quinoa; uncooked
1/2 Cup Almonds; ground or other ground nuts
2 Tablespoon Arrowroot powder (a good binding agent);
2 Tablespoon Oil, olive or rice-bran
1 Cup Onions; chopped
1 Cup Brocolli; chopped small 
1 Cup Carrots; chopped small
1 Cup Mushrooms
1 Cup Celery; chopped small
1/2 Cup Olives, chopped
2 Garlic cloves; minced
2 Vegetable stock cubes (BUT these can contain gluten and MSG so I prefer to cook the quinoa in real stock at step 1)
2 Tablespoon Parsley, chopped
1 Teaspoon Dill
1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Pepper 
1/2 Teaspoon Thyme
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup chopped roasted Hazelnuts

Cook quinoa in stock (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups stock/water). 
Mix cooked quinoa, ground nuts and arrowroot powder (or substitute flours) together.
Heat the oil and saute the onions, brocolli and carrots until semi-tender. Add the other vegetables and saute another 1-2 minutes. 
If you are using stock cubes, mix these in now. Remove the stir-fry from heat and mix it well with the quinoa mixture. 
Roll it into balls, using 1/8 - 1/4 cup for each ball. 
Bake the balls at 200C for 20 minutes or until hot and toasted.
Serve with your favourite sauce.

Note: The 1/8 cup balls may be stir fried in a lightly oiled frying pan and served as "meat balls" with spaghetti and tomato sauce or they may be eaten plain or serve as suggested above. Cold leftover balls keep 4-6 days refrigerated. They are terrific for lunches and snacks.
Makes 2-4 dozen 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

another mobile

While we're on the topic of baby mobiles, here is another I just finished.  By finished, I mean put on the final touches and weaved in the loose ends. I finished it, more generally, months ago. I always dislike the final finishing touches, and this time I can only blame it on the baby. She came along nearly a month early and it put paid to several of my knitting projects at the time. I was lucky to have it in a hangable state, truth be told.

Without further ado, I introduce the Bunnies. All knitted with wool from my stash, most of it collected from rounds at the second hand shops. All wool, not that it matters for a mobile.
The blue and pink bunnies were first to be knitted as gifts to Georgia and Hugo from the new baby. I couldn't stop there - the new baby had to have one too. So I knitted three. Then I only needed to make one more to make the mobile complete, so I knit the fourth. Gold and silver.
The pattern again comes from the lovely Vintage Knits for Modern Babies by Hadley Fierlinger. The pattern is called Bunny Mobile and it is made up of Nana's Bunnies. I love all the patterns in this book and will hopefully get a few more done [before] this winter.

The mobile will eventually move rooms with Adelaide so for now it is simply hung on a picture hook on the wall. For all the hours of work that went into it (compared with the paper version below) I'm surprised at how non-fussed I am at this ill-fitting hanging job. Can anyone give a name to that feeling you get when you've just had enough of a project, still love it, but just don't want to give it any more, for the time being anyway. That's not precise enough. Here's a go - it is a cross between weariness and restlessness (which both happen to be synonyms for boredom). Insouciance.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

making something of nothing

The other night I read to the kids from a 'new' book called Fern Hollow. I got this book second hand when they were too small but only at Christmas time did I flick through it and realise how wonderful the pictures are and how gorgeously simple and elegant are the stories and characters.
So, I was reading to the kids, Hugo and Georgia, as they oohed and aaahed away with each turning page. It must have been magical for them, all these new, colourful creatures coming to life before their eyes. Yes, we love good books in this household. Some, a little too much, I'm afraid.
Hugo asked to keep the book with him while he went to sleep, as he often does. We oldies went outside to continue a little window renovation work while the sun was still up.
Minutes later, screeching from the bedroom.
"Hugo's ripping the book!"
There was the book in absolute tatters. (No photo of this, too mad)
I was so mad (as I said)*.
I took the paper and the book and threw it in the bin.
An hour later, I took it out of the bin.
I slept.
I woke up and started cutting, then an idea formed and an hour later we had

hanging in the kids' room. 

Yes, making something of nothing. And we managed to rescue most of the book (it's a collection of stories).
*But my heart was singing too because my small boy had loved the book to pieces, literally. He's done this before, yes, but only ever a little rip, usually the cover. And as I surveyed the ripped pictures I could see he had ripped his favourite pages of the train-ride, the sandcastles and the birds. Singing.

Monday, January 3, 2011

the year that was

I have asked my husband for three nights now to sit and review. I am that sort of person. I need to take stock every so often. It has been a tumultuous year full of joy, tragedy, growth and maturing.

There - I've gone and deleted the bad news. Easier to get on with it now, I think.

On with the good news.

  1. We had a beautiful baby girl! Her name came from my teenage desire to name a girl Ada (see The Piano, wonderful dark and beautiful New Zealand film), and finding out that Ada was short for Adelaide and came from Queen Adelaide (originally from Germany), her dad liking the name Abigail or something like it, and her name evolving into Little Laidey because she is a little, elegant Lady and the spark behind her beautiful blue eyes grows each day as by the end of 2010 she has learnt to sit, eat solids, giggle at her brother and sister and generally charm the pants off us (and she has had her first real compliment from Dad's band member, which sounded like a bad pick-up line, 'her eyes are like a galaxy'); 
  2. we also had the first cousin for our kids arrive two weeks early just after a wonderful Christmas reunion with the child's dad from overseas and the new little family is enriching our lives already; 
  3. we had a good year at work (at his work and at work-from-home meaning general educating, feeding, growing, entertaining and enjoying the children); 
  4. we made small improvements to our house including the garden; 
  5. I grew my hair long again (since the Pixie cut when Hugo was a baby) and let it grow my natural colour for the first time since I was 14 (and will continue until I go grey); 
  6. Georgia had her first year at Kindy and is now a fully-fledged morning kindy girl who takes a packed lunch and has friends and has learnt to write her name; 
  7. I learnt to really knit and made on average a garment a week between February and May; 
  8. we turned 30. Gracefully. And feel pleased with our, well everything, so far.
  9. since the shocking news about my aunty we have celebrated at least four big birthdays in style and I feel like my family have grown tighter, stronger and will be able to cope with what is to come;
  10. (see I have outnumbered the bad)
  11. friends got engaged and had more babies and weddings are coming up and the oldies are still in good health (despite scares) and siblings have moved closer and younger siblings have done really well in their studies and our families in general have had good fortune;
  12. I could, if I wished, find a hundred more good things to write about 2010 and could always find something good to counter the bad news. That in itself is good news, right?
So welcome, 2011. Twenty Eleven. It sounds strange and new. I hope and I hope. For the good things, not the bad, but we will always be strengthened by what we don't like and happily surprised with the good. I love how life is like that. 
I hope that we and you and they have a good new year. It should be filled with the unexpected, good or bad, for if we knew what lay ahead, we would not be what we are.
Peace (I have just learnt the old English for this word was grith, how hilarious!), wisdom, patience, intelligence, and good health to us, you, them. 
Love, Learn, Live.