Daily Look | Sad face…….Happy Crochet Face!

Boken crochet hook

Out of the sadness of a broken, favourite hook {at night, which rendered me hookless – yarn down!} has come a new discovery.  There are better hooks out there, smooth weighty ones, hooks from which I don’t have to file burrs off before I use them with a nail file!  The wonders of Spotlight are vast people.

We made it | Crochet Granny Square Blanket

Crochet_Granny_Square_Blanket

We thought we would never finish it, Dave certainly thought we acquiring an unlimited supply of very large crochet coasters……but it is finished!  Mum finished sewing it up in the weekend and added the border and tah-da!

I purchased the wool for this on a rainy Saturday afternoon probably 18months ago having never attempted crochet before.  I purchased ALL the wool, {$$$, enough for 71 very large granny squares}.  Dave rolled his eyes and thought about the large bag of wool sitting abandoned in my hope chest form my last knitted blanket project.

Mum taught me how to crochet granny squares and decided to join the project so we could get it finished before winter.  I have loved making this blanket with my mum, she did the majority of it as she was just so damn quick at knocking out those squares, plus she did the finishing – however I do feel like I  have made something – which was the whole point of the exercise.  I realised one day as I look around my house that there was nothing handmade in it.  Now there is!

Crochet_Granny_Square_Blanket

Crochet_Granny_Square_Blanket

Of course the ‘ugly colours’ were just made to go in our lounge, not our bedroom, they match that rug just perfectly.  I’m so looking forward to snuggling up with baby and the boys this winter!

Crochet_Granny_Square_Blanket

  Show & Tell Thursday's

Before & After | Wall Collage

After living through the dusty hell of having every wall in our house re-plastered and finished, I can hopefully be forgiven for being a tiny bit precious about putting holes in my new walls.  The difficulty I have with hanging stuff on the walls is further compounded by the fact that the walls are all concrete, I can’t actually go buck-wild with a hammer, it’s just not possible.  Decorating this house requires planning {and Dave and his drill}.

I realized yesterday that things were looking a little sterile, and there was one little project that had been on my to-do list once I had my very own house…..

Before - Plain & Boring Wall

Much better!  There’s personality now and and a great heaping dose of JACK-ness.  All of the items I used have meaning to us and make our new house feel like our home, something that’s hard to achieve without little reminders here and there of what makes us a family.

Planning

Tips:

  • I would highly recommend measuring the wall space you are going to use and masking it out on the floor.  This will help you work out your arrangement and space requirements
  • Don’t start until you have finished your collection of art, pics and curios for the project
  • Have a range of removable sticky hooks on hand so you can minimize the holes in the wall
  • DON’T use a tape measure!
  •  Do use different mediums
  • Don’t rush.  This project took me HOURS, and I rearranged things multiple times

Finished Photo WallWhat I used & what they mean to us

  1. My Mum and Dad’s personalized plate, Dad had this on his truck for years x
  2. Water color of Moonlight Beach, Encinitas CA.  This was painted by a family friend, is where we lived in San Diego, where Ethan was born and where we began our life as a family
  3. Tile from Portugal, gifted from our old neighbor Fred for looking after his dog
  4. Tile gifted from Abby for looking after her Rabbit
  5. Snapper ink print, purchased with Tara during our 2012 summer holiday
  6. Wavemasters Surfing Trophy – My Florida family
  7. Old Timex clock from our first apartment in San Diego – this has been in every house we have lived in together!
  8. Family portrait in Northland Kauri Forest, pic by Tara
  9. Paua from a wedding I shot
  10. Dave’s last Florida license plate – I have moaned at Dave 100’s of times about this dirty old thing, but now I’m glad he kept it ; )
  11. oops forgot 11
  12. Ethan’s one and only Dave-supervised kindy photo.  Wet hair. Sigh
  13. Wavemasters Service trophy
  14. Water color of the Auckland skyline – gift from my Aunty and Uncle as I was preparing to leave New Zealand 12 years ago

 

 

The project that grows…..and grows….

I thought that repainting all of the interior doors in our house would make a HUGE improvement to the very haphazard existing paint job.  I was right, after a couple of coats of paint they look fresh and new and have helped make the house look a little more finished.

But now I want to paint the door frames.  And the skirting boards.  And the lounge.

I can see how DIY can become a totally infectious disease that eats away at your weekends, and your afternoons and evenings (as happened to me today), but here’s the kicker – we don’t even own our house!  Hahaha, we just rent.  And I STILL DIY every place we rent.  Our landlords seriously must laugh all the way to the bank when they see us coming, because the houses we rent always look better after we’ve been and gone!

Let’s make…….Fruit Leather!

There is sooo much yummy summer fruit around at the moment, I have been loving it-  and making huge messes in the kitchen as a result.  I was at one of the local orchard shops last week and out the front they have Bargain Bin fruit that is a little soft for full price sale.  I got a 3kg box of mixed pears, kiwi fruit, peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines for $3!!!!  This was in the middle of my Jam Frenzy so I have no idea what business I had setting myself up for another project, but hey I’M A FRUGAL SHOPPER PEOPLE!  I had to buy it.

So, let’s make some fruit leather shall we?

Step 1:  Chop the fruit into 1″ bits.  I leave all of the skin on except for furry kiwi skin.

Step 2:  Throw into blender.  Puree.

Step 3: Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and pour puree to make a THIN covering.  Trust me you want it so thin you can almost see through it.  Too thick and it will take forever to dry.

Step 4:  Bake in oven at a very cool 60° until no longer tacky and can easily be peeled off plastic.  This will take hours.  Just keep checking on it

Step 5:  Roll up lengthwise, cut into portions and wrap in plastic.  EVERYONE loves this stuff, especially if there are heaps of strawberries in your puree!

 I have always made fruit leather before in my dehydrator and been ‘quite’ satisfied with the result, but this method is SO much better.  It is super easy to check on the drying process and the sheets are much bigger and easier to roll and portion.  Will definately be using this process from now on.

Recipe | Oh Jam

Oh Jam, how you have consumed my life for two days.  As I was deciding on my annual Christmas cooking you were suggested by Dave ever so casually, almost as if I make Jam all the time.  A willy-nilly Jam maker I am not.  I have in fact only ever made something to preserve in jars once before – a delightfully colourful and tasty Beetroot Chutney, so I am still quite nervous about adequate sterilisation, the necessity of a water-bath blah blah blah.

Shall we make some Jam?

Step 1:  You will need 1kg of jammy fruit, this will make 3-4 jars. I have used Strawberries and BlackberrieStep 4:  Add 6 cups of sugar to berries.  Make sure you are using a heavy bottomed pan or pot as the mixture is going to get HOTs in this batch, HUGE price difference. I got Jam Strawberries from a grower for $2 per kg, whereas the blackberries were $10 per kg (but totally worth it!).
Strawberry Jam RecipeStep 2:  Hull the strawberries.  I actually googled what this meant as I had no idea – just cut the stem / leaf and white part out of the end

Strawberry Jam Recipe

Step 3:  Mash the berries.  You don’t need to go hard out and smash them to a pulp, just a light mash is fine and I didn’t bother at all with the blackberriesStrawberry Jam Recipe

Step 4:  Add 6 cups of sugar to berries.  Make sure you are using a heavy bottomed pan or pot as the mixture is going to get HOT

Strawberry Jam Recipe

Step 5: Bring to a good rolling boil, stir frequently for 5 min.  Add 1.5 teaspoons of tartaric acid, boil for at least another 5 min – I did at least 10 minutes

Strawberry Jam Recipe

Step 6:  When jam is good and boiled funnel it into your sterilised, still-warm jars almost to the top and seal (as you can see I have made my own funnel!).  I then boiled my jars in a water bath for 10 min.  Once the jam has cooled the little poppers on the lid will suck down and you will know that you have a good seal.

Strawberry Jam RecipeStep 7: I got a small square of Christmas fabric from Spotlight to make covers for the lids and printed some labels.

And that is how you make jam everyone!  It is sooo delish, the boys love the strawberry but I can’t get enough of the blackberry on my toast.  I plan on giving these as gifts with homemade shortbread.

Birthday Party Goody Bag DIY

As I was shelling out dollars in the weekend for my loves 5th birthday party, one thing I just couldn’t buy was a pack of those ugly plastic goody bags that are used for like, 10 seconds before the lollies are devoured the toys are lost or broken and the bags are sent to landfill.  I decided to make some myself because, well I have all the time in the world.  HA.

We don’t get the newspaper delivered, because I like trees and can read the news online, so Dave went to the local 4Square and they happily gave him a day old paper for free.

I then cut a large potato in half and carved a backwards 5 into it and stamped the newspaper sheets to make them look purdy, cut them up and stapled the sides, filled them and tied them with raffia.

Easy, not too time consuming and cute – I think.  Oh, and no extra trees died in the making of this DIY.

Goody Bag DIY