Merry Christmas!

I'm signing off for a few days.

I'll be eating, drinking, praying and celebrating the birth of our Lord with my dear family.

I hope this is a special time for you and your loved ones also.
                             God bless, and see you soon!

I love Christmas time!

Finishing off last minute sewing gifts.

Using up little pieces of cute fabric.

Stacking chocolate balls and looking forward to the feast to come (and trying not to lick your choc coated fingers!)

Giveaway on Natural Suburbia.

Mamma 4 earth is having a truly gorgeous giveaway, if you love natural materials as much as I do, pop over and have a look.

As Christmas draws near...

It seems to be a family tradition for us to watch this movie now, as
we did yesterday.

I absoloutely love it, it's
musical, funny, dramatic and always makes me teary! If you're not a Dickens fan (I am!) at least watch the movie.
One word of warning, it may be frightening for younger children, apart from this it's an excellent family movie.

Mmmm... macadamias!

Some delicious things are starting to appear in the lead up to Christmas!

These sweet delights are for a good friend who loves macadamias (and happens to be a sweet tooth too!)

Nut brittle is deceptively easy to make and you can use any nuts or a combination.
Here's what I did:

150g raw unsalted macadamias
1.5 cups white sugar                

Roast the nuts at 180 degrees (celscius) for 5 minutes or until lightly browned and smelling gorgeous. When done, place on a lightly buttered tray.
Place the sugar in a heavy based pan ( I used our cast iron pot) on a low heat. When it starts to dissolve, stir. Continue stirring until completely dissolved and golden brown and smelling gorgeous.
Pour the dissolved sugar (toffee) over the nuts, leave at room temperature to set. Break or cut into pieces when hard, store in an airtight container.

Topsy Turvy doll

I had a friend as a child who had a topsy turvy doll, the lovely doll was very popular and I was very jealous! I decided to design one and make her for one of my girls (the one who loves dolls!)  for Christmas. It was tricky figuring out the initial design, but with a bit of good old "winging it" she turned out fine and dandy. Do you know how they work? They're attached in the middle (no legs) with the long dress covering one head so you only see the opposite head. Turn the doll and skirt over (upside down) to reveal the other doll! I love them, what do you think?

My choice!

I feel a rant coming on, but I'm so tired of this scenario.
I attend a doctor's appointment because I have a thyroid condition that requires regular management. 95 percent of the time I will be asked what contraception I am using. I politely and patiently explain that I am Catholic and part of my belief is that artificial contraception is in opposition to life, therefore I don't use it. My husband and I use Natural Family Planning and have for the course of our marriage. Can you imagine the response of the "medical professional"? If you're a Catholic woman I need not enlighten you.

What really bugs me is the way people bang on about "choice" and "open mindedness" and then present themselves as total hypocrites when I make my choices. I'm not forcing my ideals or morals on anyone, I'm simply doing what I believe is right and good. For this I'm judged as being stupid, subserviant to my husband and a religious fanatic!

Dyed baby blanket.

Wow, did I love making this! Would you believe I only used 3 colours on this and ended up with this gorgeous kaleidoscope of colour. This baby blanket is for my little one for Christmas.

I dyed the silk and then used a hot pink flannel for the backing. Naturally, the other little girls want one each now!

Cake and rain, a good combination!

It has been raining for hours here, it's beautiful. The tomato and corn plants are very happy!

Now for the Christmas cake saga. I didn't read the recipe properly, so ended up with 2 cake mixes, not one as intended. No big deal, I just separated the mixtures into 2 lots. The first lot I discovered I had used too much self raising flour (sometimes I do wonder whether my brain is fully functional!) The cake turned out light, a little crumbly, but perfectly acceptable for morning tea munching.

The second cake presented with more of a hitch in the form of a malfunctioning oven. My 2 year old Westinghouse decided to go out continuously during the baking process, I had to keep lighting it to try and maintain the temperature. After about 5 hours of this, the cake was done! This is the cake you see above, so despite the oven it seems to have turned out better than the first one. Now I'm waiting for a technician to come so that I can fling money at him and get the oven fixed.

That makes this years tally - one dead washing machine, one dead hot water system and a broken oven.

Next adventure - Christmas Pudding (at least I don't need the oven for that!)

The winner......

Carefully selected by toddler hand is...........

               Nikki Cardigan!

Congratulations Nikki, enjoy your little spending spree.

Blogger grrr....

It would have to be while I'm having a giveaway that blogger has a hissy fit!! I'm afraid some people's comments have been disappearing, I'm hoping I've fixed the problem by altering comment moderation. I've decided to extend the giveaway in hope that those who's comments have vanished can re - comment and still enter. Please check that your comment is still there, and if not, please comment again (I know a lovely lady in Alaska left a comment, I didn't get to look at your blog and now your comment is gone :(
Soory about all this mucking around, bad timing!


A few of you have been having trouble leaving comments here. I've hopefully fixed the problem now, please let me know if you still have trouble.

Dyeing for Christmas Cake

A little word play in the title there (heh, heh). Sooo, I became interested in dyeing recently after seeing this mandala baby blanket on Sara's blog. I wanted one for bubs for Christmas, but due to her current renovations Sara was unable to make one at this time.
In my typical DIY fashion I figured I'd try some dyeing for myself.

Love the colours in this tie dye. I've been doing some practice swatches with homespun. Haven't been brave enough to try my silk yet, but after these very funky and cool results I'm not so worried.

I tied this one randomly in bunches and scrunchy bits and dribbled dye randomly (but a bit carefully!)
This has lead me to a new discovery - I love dyeing!!
Thanks Sara!

I'm making my first ever Christmas Cake this year. I don't know why I never have, I love fruit cake! I guess increasingly having a number of mouths to eat the end product helps. Here is my fruit soaking in brandy.

And here is the mixture ready for the oven. I'm using the "Prize winning fruit cake" recipe recommended to me by my Mum in law from the Australian Women's Weekly Celebration Cookbook. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Remember the giveaway is still on until Sunday.

Ciao for now!

A gorgeous day

I woke this morning feeling really tired, but as soon as I peered out the window my spirits were revived. It was a glorious summer's morn.

I felt it would simply be wrong to let the day pass without taking the children out for a picnic. So we packed up some lunch and headed to the local gardens. We found the perfect spot under the shade of a great willow.

The boy took the opportunity to sketch in his art journal.

I love the way he so carefully looks out for his little sisters.

A big old peppercorn tree, just right for climbing.

The gardens are really pretty with little ponds and streams. Intellectually disabled people work here and do a great job helping to maintain the plants.
Thank God for natural beauty and happy days!

The week in review, phew!

The week started out well and then WOOSH, I turned around and it was almost over already. A lot of weeks are like that these days. But...