Saturday, January 31, 2009

What would you wear?

Apparently the current weather is going to hang around for a little while yet. So, rather than dwell on the ickiness, I thought it might be fun to put together some summer loveliness.

If I had to leave the house (and, therefore, dress in more than my undies) here's what I'd like to wear today:


Mmmm doesn't that drink look refreshing?

I built this summery collage using Polyvore - you can mix and match all kinds of images, and draw inspiration from sets put together by other polyvore users - lots of fun (and perhaps a bit addictive!) ;o)

What would you wear?

xo

ps. Just to clarify, I think polyvore is fun for dresses, bags and shoes - things that the you can actually click on and buy through the site thanks to agreements between companies and polyvore.
The THEFT and defacing of copyright images from Etsy and other sites by polyvore users creating 'art' (read more here or here) is disgusting and absolutely UNCOOL!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

sew hot

If you live in our wide brown land, or read any other Aussie blogs you probably get the picture - it is freakin hot.

And its staying that way for the next little while, at least.
The bom says:

Saturday: Fine, mostly sunny. Max 38
Sunday: Fine, mostly sunny. Max 36
Monday: Poss afternoon/o'night shower. Max 34
Tuesday: Afternoon shower. Max 32
Wednesday: Possible afternoon shower. Max 36
Thursday: Fine. Max 37

As icky as it is, I keep reminding myself that we don't really have it nearly as bad as our friends in Victoria and South Australia, who are heading into their 3rd day of over 40, with little relief in sight... ugh

This weather has a number of consequences - besides the obvious feeling hot sticky sweaty and cranky from not sleeping, it is too hot for knitting (!!), to hot to use the laptop and keeping the curtains closed (trying to keep the sun & heat out) means no natural light for photos - all bad news for blogging!!!

It has been much to hot to finish up whipping my crafty space into shape, but I have been working on a sewing UFO, which was uncovered during what tidying did get done on the weekend.

This green cottony dress is cut from the same pattern as the Pony Dress - I found all the bits already cut out and just waiting for bias binding and sewing together.
I have been hand sewing the binding in front of the tele, and should be ready to sew this baby together tonight/this afternoon! huzzah!

How are you crafting through the crazy weather, be it sizzling heat or extreme cold, that we're all experiencing at the moment?

xo

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What we did on the long weekend

slept in:


watched the tennis:
(we would rather not talk about the cricket)


and started on an organisy overhaul of the craft/guest room:









We had an excellent weekend - yesterday was the Boy's birthday, so we had dinner with his family - including the most amazing home-made pav!
We also went out for dinner with friends on Saturday , which was lovely.

Other than that we did very little. It has been pretty warm (around 30C everyday) here for the past few weeks now, and it looks like not changing much this week, which makes it perfect weather for lounging with a cool drink and a book.

Or surfing the net...!!
(She loves you, Amy!)

xo

Friday, January 23, 2009

judging books by their covers

I've been thinking how little reading I do these days, and how nice it was to lose myself in some books over the Christmas break, and so on the way home from work on Wednesday I popped into Borders to pick up some reading material for my break (incidentally, on Thursday I received a 30% off any book at Borders voucher!)



I've been interested in Obama's books since the first time I saw him - he was on Oprah promoting the Audacity of Hope. He was so genuine and charming, and just such a regular guy with kids who are embarrassed when he talks to their friends and a wife who calls him to pick up groceries on the way home.
Oprah asked him then about running for President, but I don't think she could have imagined that just over 2 years later he would be sworn in to the White House.
I picked up both the Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father, which I'm probably even more interested in, and which was first published in 1995.
If I was ever going to get these books, Wednesday seemed the perfect time to do so.

As for the other two, i'm not quite ashamed to say that their covers played a big part in their coming home with me! I don't really have a problem judging a book by its cover ;o)

I mentioned last week that I hadn't loved Twilight, but I did find it compelling reading in the end, enough so that I was interested in checking out the second book in the series - New Moon.

And I think the cover art on this edition of these is really striking and lovely!

Different, but equally beautiful, is this edition of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.

It is one in a series of ten Penguin Classics which have been released with these gorgeous old-fashioned hard covers.

They're all so pretty! That 30% off might still come in handy after all! ;o)

xo

Thursday, January 22, 2009

peternity or caternity?

What ever you want to call my leave, I think it's gonna look a lot like this:



my two hugging best buddies asleep on my lap (that's my legs under that quilt!!), coffee, magazine, tv remote and camera all within arm's reach!! =D

bliss!

xo

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

escaping the vacuum

Man alive!
I thought I'd never escape from work!
I had planned for today to be my first day of holidays (peternity leave, I'm calling it ;o)), but we were so busy I had to come in anyway - even after working til 7pm the past two nights!

It was a bit disappointing since I was planning on getting up at 3am to watch all the inauguration hoohaa, then go back to bed for the day ;o)

But I finally got away, and am spending tonight lounging in front of the TV underneath two kittens - I think they wore themselves out on their new kittie play equipment last night:



They can scoot underneath and hide, sharpen their claws and best of all take turns at sitting on top and belting the other as they run past!

They've been playing very nicely together since Sunday, and are very excited to see us when we arrive home from work too - spending most of the evening following us around the house (especially if we go near the kitchen!) =)

All the running and tumbling makes them a bit difficult to photograph though - especially Jinx - and most of the pictures look more like this:



It has been too hot and exhausting to do much more than lounge this week, but I do have the latest ice cream to share =)
I made this one from the recipe that Tinkingbell gave me:

Pop 150g berries (I used frozen mixed berries), 125g caster sugar, juice of a lemon, 300ml each of cream and milk in a blender, whizz it up and pour into the ice cream maker.

Taadaa!

I love the colour of this one!
The only thing I would do differently is that I would strain the mix before freezing, since there are lots of berry seeds in here!
Tonight we served it with a scoop of Maggie Beer's vanilla bean and elderflower ice cream, and a squirt or two of ice magic.
Deeeelish!

xo

Sunday, January 18, 2009

more kitties

Not that we have more kittens, just more blogging about kitties - I think you can expect some more more kitty coverage on the blog in the not to distant future too!

However, there is at least some craft aspect to this one too, check out Jinx:

She's sleeping on the blanket I made her!
After racing around the living room and exploring a little bit yesterday she jumped up on the couch and plopped down right on the middle of her blankie for a nap, and sat on it for most of the evening.
Today she has decided the best place to sit is on me =)

Max liked his too - he was sleeping on it when I snuck into the bathroom to check on them this morning.
He is still quite shy and timid, but improving and becoming more confident.
He stayed in his little box until about 10pm last night, when he ventured out, tore around the living room a few times and pounced on Jinx whenever he could get close enough (she was not impressed)
We've seen a bit more of him today - he's ventured out from the box and is sleeping on one of the dining chairs now, and is quite happy to sit on my lap purring and licking me!
What a cutie!!!

They seemed to get along ok locked in the bathroom together last night, and have both used the litter tray - also a big relief!!
I just have 2 (or maybe 3) days of work before a week and a half off, but it's going to be hard to leave these little guys in the morning!
xo

Saturday, January 17, 2009

introducing our new family members:

A girl (tortoiseshell) and a boy (black & white)!!
They're both about 11 or so weeks old.
We're not quick sure yet about names, but we're thinking about Jinx and Max.

They're quite opposite in personality.


She is very bold. When we arrived at the cattery this morning she was hanging on tight at the very top right hand corner of the pen door (having scaled it right from floor to ceiling), and was crying out to us at the top of her little kitty voice.
I think everyone had her picked as a problem child and so were all passing her over.
She's just the dearest, most loving little kitten - she's been following us all round the house, rubbing up against our legs, and exploring the house like she's the boss already.


He's far more shy, but still very affectionate.
We rescued him from the arms of a very boisterous little boy - the RSPCA girls were suggesting he might be better suited to a quieter home, and pointed them in the direction of a less timid kitty instead. As soon as they passed him to us he started purring and licking himself and us.
Since we got home he's kept pretty much out of sight - first behind the couch and then into an old wine box I had transformed to a kitty condo in preparation for their arrival (hence the less than great photo) - but if we approach him for a pat he starts with the purring and licking again, so I'm sure he'll settle in ok.
We're less sure about his name, since we'll have to get to know him better before we can decide =)

xo

Thursday, January 15, 2009

sew almost nearly kitten ready

Sewing tonight!
Thank goodness it cooled down - it was way too hot to even touch anything, let alone think about sewing - when we got home tonight, and last night!
It was 37C yesterday and 38C today, with the hottest part of the day being lateish.
It's actually not sooooo bad for us - we're in our air-conditioned offices all day and it's really just that bus ride home that is pretty icky..

Anyhoo, sewing!
I'm making two little quilty blankies for our kitties!



These are the quilt tops - nice snuggly polar fleece - and I'll back them with the lovely soft flannel behind them.
I'm not sure yet, but I think I'll back the white with yellow and the blue with blue. Or maybe the other way....

Originally I was thinking about some felty applique, paw prints or fishies or something cat-y like that, but now I think that (given their smallish size) that might be a bit too fiddly =)

Just 2 days to go!

xo

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reading - knit two and a me too

There's been some reading going on here over the past few weeks - which has been lovely, since I felt like it was an age since I had sat down and lost myself in a good book.

Between the bussing to and from work, and the plane and train travel around Melbourne last week, I've demolished these two pretty quickly.



Knit Two is the sequel to the Friday Night Knitting Club, and picks up 5 years after the latter finished.
It was a nice, easy, enjoyable read, and (of course) a bit emotional at parts.

Twilight I found a little trickier.
Everyone has read and RAVED about this series that I just had to check it out for myself.
I know it's totally teen fiction, but when I was that age (and, well, a bit now too) I was really into the whole Anne Rice and vampire fiction (vampire anything, really) scene.
But this.....

I found it soooooooo annoying. and repetitive. and annnoooooyyying. and did I mention repetitive?
The first probably 2 thirds of the book draaaaaged.

Then, suddenly, it was thrilling!!
I was completely engrossed, and finished the book in one night, and now I'm hanging out for the second!

I think (correct me if I'm wrong) the movie might take care of some of the repetitiveness by condensing the story and focusing on the action a bit?
I might just have to sneak out to the movies and find out for myself during my leave - which starts next week!!!!

hurrah!

xo

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

saturday is k day

Did I mention it's kitten week??
We're planning to pick up two little furry bundles on the weekend.
We've even borrowed a kitty carrier from a friend - although I have to say the idea of bringing them home in a little cardboard box sounds kind of fun!

Today we had big computer problems at work - even doing something as simple as cut and pasting between two word documents was too challenging for our machines.

The internet was ok, though, so (along with ice cream recipes) I busied myself doing a spot of pet research.

We're hoping to get rescue kitties, so the RSPCA will be the first stop.

They have a pet adoption search on their website, along with lots of info about the the adoption process, the responsibilities associated with being a pet owner, and ways that you can support their work.

The search on the ACT page is showing only 4 available kittens, so I was a bit worried we'd missed the spring kitten window, but an article published in the local paper last week said they had over 160 little guys looking for new homes.

Canberra Pooch Rescue are also working to rescue and find new homes of dogs and cats across the ACT.

Of course, flickr is always good for eye-candy of any kind, and I'm sure you're not surprised to hear that there is an abundance of groups dedicated to cats and kittens!!!
(careful, you might not be able stop if you start looking there!! ;o))

I'm feeling somewhat nesty about this whole kitten arrival business, so I'm not at all surprised by the strong desire to make something for them.
Not kitty clothes mind you, but toys and blankets!
There are A LOT of great patterns to look at on ravelry!

And then there the search for the "purrfect" pet name.
The internets being the internets, there are a bunch of sites to help out on that too!

Hmmm, what do you think of Walworth for a kitten?

xo

Monday, January 12, 2009

You scream

More ice cream!
I'm calling this one cookies 'n' chocolatey cream.
It's the same suzy vanilla recipe, with broken up chocolate ripple biscuits added.
Next time I make this I think I'll crush the biscuits less, because the chunky biscuity bits were divine, and also add them later - perhaps even fold through when the ice cream is done - to keep it more cookies 'n' creamish and less chocolatey =)

Now I'm dying to try out a recipe left in the comments by the lovely TinkingBell - its a fruity berry ice cream! mmmmmmm!

xo

Sunday, January 11, 2009

efter brylluppet*

Thanks for your nice comments on my new dress and shoes!!!

We had such a blast at the wedding - it was a really beautiful day, and the Boy and I were both honoured to be there to share it with the lovely bride and groom.

Both ceremony and reception were held in the gorgeous gardens of the bride's parents, and the girls all did their own hair and make-up, and the bride's dress, as well as the bridesmaids' skirts, were all sewn by the bride's grandmother (who is well into her 80s)

I'm not sure if you can tell from that excellent photo, but the maid of honour was actually a 'bridesmate', and the groom was attended by his bestwoman.

As well as the traditional exchanging of vows and rings, the ceremony included a wrist binding (which is much lovlier than it sounds - the couple placed their left wrists together and had a yellow ribbon tied loosley around them, then they slipped their hands out of the ribbon and it is placed in a little bag, to stay tied like that forever), a hand blessing (which had everyone reaching for their tissues - go read it and not get tear-y. I dare you), and a blessing of two trees which each guest was invited to tie ribbons on and make a wish for the newly married couple.

The reception was a sausage sizzle - all kinds of delish bbq fare that we helped ourselves to, and instead of a full seating plan we just had to sit at the table where we found our duck.


There were ducks on the chocolate mud wedding cake (mmm we took a slice of that home for breakfast ;o)) too:


In all, really a gorgeous, perfect day!

Oh, and me in my dress:
ok, the obviously either: a) the photos have been blurred to protect the innocent; or b) my camera was really screwy yesterday, and for some reason (which may have something to do, hypothetically, with a spilled steak sandwich and a bottle of soda water that leaked in my bag. Then again, maybe my camera was just screwy.) half of the photos came out blurry. You choose.

xo

*Danish for 'After the Wedding', and also the name of a fab Oscar nominated Danish movie, starring none other than the tres handsome Mads Mikkelsen!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

sorry you can't get through

Hi there!

Kuka isn't in today.

She got up this morning and boarded a plane to Melbourne.

Now she's at her lovely friend's wedding, dancing with her Boy and wearing her new dress.
The one that goes with those shoes.

She'll be back tomorrow =)
xo

dress from target, cardi from cotton on

Friday, January 09, 2009

new shoes news

It's been a while since I bought new shoes.
Today I picked up two cute pairs:



The ones on the right look quite black, but they're actual navy in real life.

I was looking for a pair of flats to go with a new dress I bought, and couldn't decide between the cream and the navy.
So I bought both.
Well, the deal was $15 each or 2 for $20 (at Cotton On), so how could I say no?

Especially with that gorgeous print on the inside.



As well as these cream and navy babes they had black, two different browns, red, yellow, maybe silver and gold, and perhaps a few others.
If these are coomfy I might have to go back for more.

xo

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I scream!

Well whaddaya know - another foody post chez Kuka ;o)

It's the ice cream!!!! And believe me - it is DELISH! it honestly turned out even better than I had expected!!

This recipe was fabulous - I used the one Suzy left in my blog comments a few days ago:

300ml milk

250ml of cream

1/2 cup of castor sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

You just mix it all together in a jug, then pour it in!!

that's it!!!

Actually, I switched the volumes of milk and cream, on account of the cream came in a 300ml container, and used light thickened cream, on account of that's what the Boy brought home from the shops yesterday.
I was a bit worried that the lower fat content would mess the creamy-ness, but the texture is just perfect!
Oh, and I added crushed up Magical Elves! They're full of popping candy - it's like a hail storm in your mouth! very cool!

I guess the mixture was churned for about a half hour - I wasn't really sure how firm it would be able to get whilst still allowing the paddle to keep mixing it so perhaps it could have been a bit longer. It was just firmer than soft serve ice cream when I stopped.

The recipe made enough for us each to have a serve last night, then to fill right to the top of one of these plastic containers - about 600 or 700ml I s'pose.

Having been on the kind of soft side last night I was a little worried it would freeze kind of funny - you know, like when your ice cream defrosts and re-freezes?
But, seriously, did I mention how perfect this ice cream is?

We had some tonight with sprinkles - YUMMMMMO!

mmmm where to next on my ice creamy adventure?

xo

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

did i show this off already?

I can't remember whether I already flashed this little goody around or not?



Recently clever Sydney-based fabric artist Saffron Craig was offering free fat quarters of her gorgeous fabrics, and I was lucky enough to be sent exactly the white with lovely red owls that I wanted!

Cute, non?

xo

ps,ice cream. tomorrow. for now I'll just say Suzy Hausfrau is a GENIUS

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

hamming it up

Let's face it, for most of us all our true love is going to bring on any of the twelve days of Christmas is another ham sandwich - we're eating the left over Christmas ham well into January.

Last night was the twelfth night (today being the Epiphany), so here are 12 ways we've been using, or are still planning to try, to get that leg out of the fridge:

1) Hawaiian pizza

2) macaroni cheese with ham

3) ham and salad rolls

4) ham, fetta and tomato quiche

5) fried rice

6) ham and vegetable rice paper rolls

7) ham and pineapple scrolls

8) ham and corn frittata

9) ham and pea fritters

10)ham choy bow

11) ham and pineapple calzone

12)ham sushi

we've tried the first five (some more that once!)

there are hundreds more ham recipes on taste.com.au and the BBC food website

Or, if you still have any other Christmassy leftovers, check out the recipes here, here and here.

if all else fails, click here for some tips on freezing your ham

I'll have something else foody to share tomorrow - but hamming that up might be too much ham.
Or it could be a great new taste sensation! ;o)

xo

Monday, January 05, 2009

tickled

The SCG and our cricketers are pink today, and so are we!

We've all gone completely pink for the McGrath foundation, in celebration of the fabulous work they do raising awareness for breast cancer and supporting breast care nurses all over Australia.

And you can help too:

make a donation

get yourself a men of cricket (now that one is really worth clicking for! ;o))

grab some merchandise for the pink princess in your life

look out for pink products, like the pink and white M&Ms 'boob tubes' (chocolate for a cause is calorie free, didn't you know??)

xo

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Bake it! Shortbread

Every year without fail I forget which recipe I used for my shortbread the previous year and spend ages trying to find just the right one - this year I tried three different recipes before I was happy!
So, as promised (and, well, mostly for my own benefit!) here's this year's winner:

- preheat oven to 150C (130C fan-forced)

- beat 250g softened butter with 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar, then stir in 1/4 cup (35g) rice flour and 2 1/4 cups (335g) plain flour. Knead on a floured surface until smooth.

- roll dough (I like my shortbread thick, so I roll to about 203cm) and cut out your shapes. Bake for about 30 minutes (personally, I think the angel in the picture is a leeetle over done - I like to get them out before they colour =))

- enjoy!! (mmmmmm) ;o)

xo

Saturday, January 03, 2009

my word

I'm not a natural Doer.
I'm a Thinker, a Sitter.
Sometimes a Planner, often a Procrastinator.
A Watcher, not a Joiner.

Sometimes this makes me feel like I'm watching my life, not living it, and lately I feel like I'm wasting a lot of time moping about how much time I waste.

Michelle posted today that in the place of new year's resolutions she was embracing an idea she had seen on Ali Edwards's blog of focusing on one little word to sum up what you want from the coming year.

My word for 2009 is

1. L, 2. I, 3. V, 4. Bear, wooden letter E


What's your word?

xo

ps. yes, my 2nd and 3rd words might just be flickr and mosaic ;o)

Friday, January 02, 2009

retail therapy

I was so not ready for back to work today =(

I'm not sure if the fact that I was the only one from my team (of about 20 people) there for the day made it better or worse...


Thank goodness for credit cards and the internet...
this should arrive in 3-4 working days =)


Does anyone have a good gelato or sorbet recipes to share?

xo

Thursday, January 01, 2009

looking back

Since I love seeing flickr mosaics on other people's blogs, I thought I'd put together a few to see how my 2008 looked in pictures.

There's one picture from each month in each mosaic =)

crafty '08
1. lemon booties, 2. Progress - 4 repeats, 3. So Called bunnies, 4. DSCN0691, 5. squirrels take 2, 6. pink & purple clouds, 7. FO Tiny cardie, 8. Thumb 1, 9. who's got the button?, 10. heel!, 11. pink buttons, yellow buttons, 12. Stocking for Ella


foody '08
1. brownie cupcake, 2. one of these guys is not like the others, 3. sprinkles, 4. Saturday, Saturday, 5. encrusted mousse, 6. mmmm cookies, 7. Sunny strawberries, 8. Happy? Vegemite!, 9. Grand Final champagne breaky, 10. sweet tarts, 11. Pony cakes for cup day, 12. mmm brunkager


fun, friends and footy 08
1. two to takeaway, 2. Balloon, 3. Lions vs Swans @ Manuka, 4. Captain Cook, 5. Weekend highlight, 6. blossom, 7. kitchen buddies, 8. dogs first goal, 9. sea of brown and gold, 10. garden seat, 11. after, 12. Presents!


Let me know if you put your year in pictures too - I'd love to see it! =)
xo