Monday, February 28, 2011

Oods turns 7

  Please remind me, the next time I decide to make something completely new for a birthday that is fast approaching, that it is a bad idea. This bloody doll took so many hours, and so many hours more than expected. Definitely more hours than the book made out, and by the time I was half-done I was regretting my decision not to make a Waldorf doll (only made because the floods came, and I didn’t know whether the stuff I needed to buy online would arrive in time).DSCF7062 

  So, hello Blossom, as she was christened by her young friend. I made her using the patterns in The Complete Pattern Book of Soft Dolls, and The Fairytale Doll Book, both by Valerie Janitch. I used one dolls head on anothers body. She is about half hand sewn, which I totally suck at, and couldn’t predict from the patterns and instructions-one reason I got so grumpy at them. She was meant to be more of a Feral Sheryl type doll, but on the birthday eve i’d had enough of wrestling with the slippery stuff needed for her fairy outfit so went with the safe cotton option of a pioneer type dress. Doesn’t really match the rainbow dreadlocks, but oh well.SDC13929

  Luckily she was well-received, she’s carried around a lot and gets taken to bed each night. Oods is not as keen to make her clothes as I thought she would be-she’s having a break in enthusiasm for sewing right now, and has only made her one ribbon skirt.

  She was not as well-received as her other present, however.

An umbrella.

  Yes, an umbrella. Something she had been coveting for months-so much in fact, that when we ran into Santa while out, an umbrella was her request. (Along with a rocking horse and a new workbook from the other two girls-yep, my kids are deadset weirdos. So pleased).

A marble cake, with requested icing writing (also not my forte) was the cake of choice. Yes, we really do call her Oods all the time.



  A trip to the rockpools rounded out the day, with much chasing and capturing the local wildlife, but of course leaving them unscathed (except maybe mentally). This guy was so angry!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Frosty turns 2

And my baby is two. Surprisingly, I wasn’t sad-the only way is up from here, methinks.

For the grass-maintenance obsessed boy, a whipper snipper from the husband. He doesn’t put this down, and yesterday was following my around while I was mowing, tidying up my edges. For hours. Can’t wait until he’s big enough to do it for real.DSCF6859

From me, some bodgy jewellery. More because I couldn’t bear the thought of a birthday going by that I hadn’t made something for. I also got him a couple of Spot books, because he is obsessed.DSCF6858

This, from the twins-his very own phone. He adores it (he’s also phone obsessed, and yells at me every time i’m on the real phone to give it to him, no matter who it is). He goes to bed with this regularly, and I can often hear him remonstrating his siblings ‘Be quiet, i’m on the phone!’ (Don’t know where he gets that from………)DSCF7121

We’re also going against the Woman’s Weekly-style cakes-mainly, because although they look great they taste like crap. With our kind of everyday diet, a butter cake with buttercream icing is unbearably stodgy and rich. Enter the banana cake with cream cheese frosting-a much, much tastier alternative, and very suited to a kid who eats at least three bananas a day. I think it actually has a better crumb than the buttercakes, so if any of the other kids wants some fancy sculpture work i’ll give it a shot with this.DSCF6883

One down, four more to go in the next three months or so. Eek.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Christmas 2010

And i’ve managed to get these up by February-that’s excellent for me!
First up, a tie-dyed t-shirt for each of the kids. It looks a bit ‘crazy homeschooled family’ when they all decide to wear them at once and are sort of matching, but meh.
For Oods, a book bag. She is a total bookworm, so now has her very own bag with pockets for her library card and other treasures. Instead of adding her books to the family pile and having us do it all, she does it all herself. And doesn’t she just love it?
I’ve got all the pics for a tutorial for this-i’ll get around to writing it sometime.
I made the boys a backpack each, using the pattern and tute from Indietutes. If I did it again I would line them, but overall it’s pretty good pattern for beginners. All from stash fabric, i’m still attempting to use it all up-I swear, it BREEDS.
The husband gets the credit for these beauties-he’s completely onboard with the handmade now, and made these for the clones. Five is probably a bit old in mainstream terms for hobby horses, but no-one has told them that so they’ve been thoroughly enjoying them.

For the husband, the Bastard Shorts. He didn’t actually get these on the day-he received a parcel of the pieces cut out because he didn’t get out of the house enough for me to finish them. They’re bastards because he made me make them properly-waistband, facing, fly etc ad nauseum. I was just going to elastic waistband them-he told me that he is not a toddler and wears real clothes. Ahem. The Spotlight pattern was terrible and I swore a lot-BUT I DID THEM. Now I can erase them from memory.
The kids made presents for each other too, but I don’t have photos of much without them in it. However, Oods made this patchwork cushion for the husband all by herself, having never done patchwork before. I was pretty impressed.
Then churned out a small bag for each of her siblings.
Santa brought a set of Derwents, a box of craft supplies and the Planet Earth/Life boxed set, which we’re still working through. Plus a few little things that we never get them otherwise, like hairclips. We’re not good at frippery, so we’re lucky Santa is.
Then, the food. Oh, the food! Unconventional, but proof you can have a delicious feast without killing anything or putting on 5kgs.
Grissini and crudites with tzatziki and spinach, garlic and feta dips. Lentil balls with relish and vegies baked in cheese sauce. Chocolate pudding and blueberry cheesecake. And lots of fresh fruit. All made from scratch, including the yogurt for the tzatziki, and some of it homegrown. It took us two days to finish it all up, and I was sad when we did.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What i’ve read-January 2011

  Ah, a busy month, this one. With Christmas and Frosty’s birthday just behind me, Oods’ birthday looming, four orders to complete and the MIL here for a fortnight reading time was at a premium.

Hungry Planet, Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio. An absolute must-read, this is about the fifth time i’ve borrowed it out. Putting the German family’s photo next to the Sudanese refugees in Chad is the perfect example of how politics, not lack of food, leads to hunger. Definitely something that will put you in your place on a petulant day.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig (DNF)-Didn’t have enough brain for this one-some tantalising ideas to ponder, but not enough brain space left to give them credit. I gave up about halfway through, but will definitely try again in a couple of years.

Someone Else’s Child, Sue Phillips-Story of surrogate pregnancy from the surrogate’s view. Rather simplistic, but interesting nonetheless.

Texas, Sarah Hay-Novel, an easy read but with more substance than the ghastly chick-lit.

Enlightenment for Beginners, Anne Cushman-Novel, somewhat disappointing but I think that’s only because i’ve seen it recommended in a few places so expected more. Worth a read though.

How to go Carbon Neutral, Mark Brassington-A good one of it’s kind-it’s a lot more no-nonsense and much less wishy-washy than most books of eco-tips.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Making banana ‘ice-cream’

  This stuff is so good. Like, really, really good. Creamy, and sweet, and so more-ish. And the only ingredient is bananas. No sugar, no dairy. It’s especially great if you have a whole bunch of bananas that need eating quickly, or you pick up a box of overripe ones cheaply. I always have bananas in the freezer for baking-well, I did, until I discovered this.

Take some overripe, frozen bananas, soak for a minute or two in hot water until you can peel them. Whip them up using a food processor or stick mixer until it’s creamy.


Whack it back in the freezer for half an hour or so, then devour.


Or eat it with dessert, such as this banana batter pudding (guess who harvested a huge bunch of bananas from the mulch pit last week?!)


It really is that easy. And it’s an entirely guilt-free feast, suitable for yourself and the kids to gorge on.

Apparently you can also do it with mangoes, but seeing as the mango crop failed this year, and we got one measly fruit, we didn’t get to try it. Maybe next year.