Easter

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The celebration that was Easter has been and gone since my last post.  The lead-up here was pretty low-key.  In fact, it was Wednesday before I really even gave much thought to the family lunch on Sunday.

Our menu ended up as follows:

Hummus with rice crackers and vegetable crudites

Cold Chicken Curry
Brown rice tossed with french dressing
Tossed green salad
Baby spinach, roast pumpkin and feta salad

Mango sorbet

Whilst we are far from self-sufficient I do like to include some of our own produce and this time I was able to make use of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocadoes, pumpkin, mangoes and eggs.

The Cold Chicken Curry is a family favourite and usually makes an appearance at most family get-togethers.  Unfortunately, I did not take a photo but I will add the recipe to the recipe files later in the week.

We had a quiet and peaceful weekend spent with various family members visiting and staying overnight.  It was relaxing and enjoyable and I hope your Easter break was, too.

Yesterday we managed to spend some time in the vegetable garden and I will show you the results of our efforts later in the week.

Deconstructing and Dismantling

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Today I needed to dismantle the Christmas tree and pack it away.  However, I had a problem.  When we got the tree out of the cupboard to put it up the carry bag ripped beyond repair.  You can see what it looked like in better days here.  It was made from a similar ‘fabric’ to the green shopping bags and it had become brittle with age – we have had it for about 5 years and someone else owned it before me.  Apart from ripping, the idea of a bag is great – much easier than trying to wrestle the back into the original box.

I decided to make a new bag using the original as a pattern. So, I deconstructed it and removed the zip so I could reuse it.

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I had a heavy cotton bedspread lurking in the linen cupboard which seemed perfect for what I needed so I set to work.

This was the result.  As well as reusing the zip, I also reused the carry handles as they seemed reasonably sturdy.  If they do not stand up to the job I can always replace them with fabric handles at some time in the future.

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All packed up and ready to be stored for another year.

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A Christmas Review

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The internet issues were even worse yesterday so the promised post did not eventuate.

I think that I will remember Christmas 2016 as the one that seemed to revolve almost entirely around food.  We had numerous members of family around at different times over the Christmas and New Year period so feeding everyone seemed like a constant merry-go-round.  However, I must say that it is one that I enjoy.

As always, the Christmas Day menu was a mixture of some tried and true favourites along with some more recent additions to my repertoire.  I was catering for 9 adults and 3 children with a few restrictions due to allergies and intolerances.  The menu was gluten-free, nut free and no seafood or kiwifruit.

Here is what we ate:

ENTREE

Pineapple and ginger cocktails
Grilled asparagus and proscuitto-wrapped haloumi

MAIN COURSE

Cold chicken curry and rice
Cold roast beef with quinoa stuffing

SALADS

Quinoa tabouli
Mango and avocado salad
Potato salad
Tomato and pomegranate salad
Grated carrot, grated cheese

DESSERT

Ice-cream Christmas pudding
Meringue roulade with raspberries

SWEET TREATS

Chocolate brownies
White Christmas

Everything turned out well.  We had plenty of food but we did not over-indulge to an excessive extent.  The highlights for me were the quinoa stuffing for the beef as well as the desserts.  I had a general idea of how I wanted to make the stuffing so just made it up as I went along until I had the right flavour and texture.  My daughter the roulade as she had last year.  It is relatively simply but oh so luscious!  I Christmas pudding was a reprise of a similar one I made about 30 years ago.  This time I soaked the fruit (in orange juice as it is not cooked) before stirring it through the softened ice-cream along with some mixed spice.  I also added 23 sixpences which added an element of fun for the kids – big and little!

Unfortunately, I was busy preparing, cooking and eating food so completely forgot to take any photos.  You will just have to imagine how good it all looked and tasted.

 

A Clean Slate

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It is well over a week since my last post and quite a bit has happened since then.  I did not anticipate being away from my blog for quite such an extended period of time.  However, the combination of a busy final week at work before the Christmas break as well as organising and hosting a couple of family events on Christmas Day and again 48 hours later meant that the blog was firmly on the back burner in the final days of 2016.  The internet has not been entirely helpful either which made the prospect of shooting off a quick blog post seem all too difficult.

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But here we are, on the first day of the new year.  A clean slate which is completely unsullied and just waiting for us to make our mark.  I have plenty of plans but there will be more about that in some upcoming posts.

I have not been idle during my absence from the blog and I have have even remembered to take some photos of some of my projects and I will share them with you, too.

Tomorrow I will review a few things from Christmas – the successes and those which did not quite go according to plan.

I hope you had a warm and loving Christmas with those who are near and dear to you.  May 2017 bring you kindness, joy and peace.

Cleaned for Christmas

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It is now one week until Christmas. This year we are hosting Christmas lunch for my family.  They will be arriving from near and far on Thursday evening and Friday.  Some will be staying with us and others in accommodation just a few kms away.

This weekend I have written numerous lists and managed to cross off a few things and I feel relatively organised.  The menu is planned, necessary ingredients bought apart from fruit and vegetables which I will do on Friday, gifts bought and wrapped and the outside of the house cleaned.

We usually try to wash down the Colorbond wall of the house twice per year.  It is now looking clean, fresh and ready for guests.

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The hardest part is the back wall which is quite high and requires the use of the mobile scaffold.

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The table which GMan painted recently is in position and Ready for Christmas lunch.

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I have also cleaned most of the windows in the living room and am hoping to get a few others done as well this week.

How are your Christmas plans coming along?

A Touch of Luxury

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Tonight I had a quick rummage in my stash and found a couple of offcuts of silver panne velvet.  This was perfect for my latest project. I wanted to make some little presentation pouches for the pieces of upcycled jewellery which I have for Christmas gifts.

It did not take much fabric or time to make these up.

Packing the contents.

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All done and ready for giving.

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Rather than trying to create drawstrings, I decided to anchor the ribbon tie with a few stitches on one side of the pouch and then simply gather it up and tie.

The satin ribbons came from my collection.  The black and cream ties are bits salvaged from when I cut them off the shoulder seams of purchased tops.

A Family Picnic

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Today we went to the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens which is about 30 minutes drive from where we live.  We had a family picnic to celebrate my mother’s birthday.  It was a beautiful day and we took the opportunity to say hello to some of the wildlife and take a stroll through the Sculpture Garden after lunch.

This kookaburra kept a look out while we ate lunch.

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A new friend?

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So lifelike……..

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A tranquil spot.

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Magnificent trees

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I made a cold chicken curry for part of our picnic lunch.  This is a family favourite and I will share the recipe with you tomorrow.