Happy Anniversary Mr Duyvken

Friday, August 28, 2009

10 years. Wow!
Traditionally, the 10th anniversary is tin. I try to match a gift to this list each year with varying degrees of success but I don't remember a year that has challenged me as much as this one. Tin! Good grief.
Eventually, I ended up buying some Tintin books and wrapping them in foil. I can't decide if that is a stroke of genius or a cop out?
My top secret alphabet photo project isn't quite ready yet. I need some more reds and darks so time to hit the pavement! Here's a little sneak peek.

Happy birthdays

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I was woken by all 4 lovelies this morning and they were almost more excited than I was! Actually given that this birthday is my 35th and I'm feeling a little sensitive about that, they probably were more excited than I was. I've never thought I was someone who was fussed about age but that seems be to changing as I get older. 35 sounds very grown up, and it sounds like I should have some exciting adventures and experiences behind me. My exciting adventures list could use a little lengthening so I'll be working on that over the next few years. Any hints on things I should do?
That's my birthday loot above, I received a beautiful painting by a local artist (Afra Beukers), some Haigh's chocolate and a wonderful book handmade by G. I'll share some of that soon but it is something I will always cherish.

Stitching for School

Monday, August 24, 2009

The director at J's pre-school has a bit of a crush on my husband. Well, perhaps it's more maternal than that, but we're reaping the benefits! She was the director there when Mr Duyvken was a child and remembers him fondly, even digging up a photo of him playing santa in the 1979 Christmas concert. She loves having 2nd generation children in her care and took wonderful care of G when she was there and J now that he is in his second year at pre-school. She runs a tight ship, has very good staff retention and we feel very comfortable leaving our little ones in her care.
C adores taking J to school, helping him put his backpack on the hook, his lunchbox and fruit in the baskets and chatting to his teachers. They're also very fond of her and her quirky little personality. In fact, they have some vacancies in the 3yo room and have offered to have her at school on Wednesdays. C was very excited about this (who doesn't want a backpack all of their own?) and they don't want to charge us for the day which made it very attractive to Mr Duyvken and me. She had her first day last week and loved it despite a little uncertainty when it came time for me to leave. The director rang a couple of times through the day to let me know how she was doing and to put my mind at ease. She's such a gem.
To mark the occasion, I made C a drawstring bag to keep her cot sheet in for afternooon naptime and put a fabric cuff on a handtowel for her to hang in the bathroom. Of course, J insisted that he have a new set as well and with so many lovely fabrics currently in my stash I couldn't refuse. It was very satisfying making these simple little things, knowing that the children will use them and love them. It made me very happy indeed.

Dinner tonight

Corn fritters (Bill Granger's recipe)

Kernels cut from 3 large corn cobs
1/2 brown onion, diced
2 eggs
15g fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
125g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper
1. Place 2/3 of the corn in a food processor with the flour, baking powder, onion, eggs, coriander, salt and pepper and process until combined.
2. Stir in the remaining corn kernels.
3. Drop 2 tablespoons in a non-stick fry pan and cook over a medium heat turning once. They should go nice and golden on each side.
4. Keep warm in the oven until you are ready to serve them.

I served them with a green salad and oven roasted cherry tomatoes. J didn't like them very much but everyone else thought they were great. Poor little mite just had to have extra salad.

Dinner tonight

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I went to a wonderful japanese cooking class yesterday afternoon so tonight's dinner is courtesy of our delightful teacher, Keiko. Agedashi tofu, cooked by me and eaten by all. I'll definitely be making this again!

Agedashi Tofu
2 packets firm tofu
vegetable oil for deep frying
potato starch (this is the secret ingredient, I have tried several times to recreate the chilli, salt and pepper tofu that my local malaysian/chinese restaurant makes with ZERO success but now that I know to use potato starch I should be able to make it. That's on the menu for later this week, wish me luck!)
grated daikon radish
grated ginger
finely chopped shallots
sliced red chilli
2 cups water
1 tsp dashi powder
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
1. Cut the tofu into rectangular slices about 2cm thick.
2. Arrange the tofu slices on paper towels and leave 10-15mins to drain. Change the paper towels and turn the slices over.
3. Toss tofu slices lightly in potato starch.
4. Pat off any excess starch and slide into the hot oil until golden.
5. Fry until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
6. Arrange in a compote-type dish, pour over the hot sauce, top with condiments and serve hot.

For Mary

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blogging links are strong, Mary. I have enjoyed meeting you, online and in person, sharing in your story and sharing my story with you so here are some snowdrops for you, from amongst the weeds in our yard.


I have to admit that, in my spare time, I do a little hand modelling. Sure, I'm a little rusty.

But I'm working on it

(G taking pictures of the prettiest leaf in the garden)

Flying Geese

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sorry about the pictures, I don't know why Blogger is putting it in sideways and I can't figure out a way to rotate it.I am still stitching away on my colour spectrum yo yo quilt for JW. I found a new blue to replace the pale yoyos I wasn't happy with. It's a from the girlfriends range by Jennifer Paganelli and is a beautiful jewel-toned aquamarine. The yoyos are finally all blind stitched in place and I have been playing with flying geese blocks. I love the way flying geese look but, until now, hadn't tried to make any. I found a great tutorial online and it has been very quick and painless. I love tutorials with lots of photos!

Now I just need to finalise the layout. Any ideas? I want the finished quilt to be roughly cot sized so I will need to add some elements to the top and bottom of the design but I'm coming up blank and I'd love some input.


I blame Retro Mummy

How cute are these tapes?
I ordered some Alice in Wonderland fabric from Retromummy and when it arrived the parcel was secured with some adorable cupcake tape. She told me she'd found it on ebay and I had to have a look myself. The selection was enormous but I didn't have any trouble picking 3. Those happy animals in stripey tops make my heart sing!

The big reveal

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We have a winner! Well, truth be told, we have 2 winners.

Hedgehog and Lily will be able to celebrate Easter in style next year. I have enjoyed following their blogs, and can recommend stopping by for a visit sometime. Thanks for entering everyone!



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I've been very busy spring cleaning around here this week. I am trying to make the house feel more spacious by decluttering so that we can better use the space that we have. I guess you could call it reverse renovating because I'm not making the space any bigger I am making us smaller so that we're comfy in it :-)
I regained a lot of living space today by finally getting rid of the piano. We got it about a 18 months ago through Freecycle and were very excited about having a piano for only the cost of a removalist but when we had a piano tuner come to look at it we realised that it needed a lot more work than we could pay for. Thus began the process of trying to get rid of the piano. We had so far spent $300 on the removalist and the piano tuner so hoped to sell it for that much so that we could break even on the Great Piano Experiment of 2008. I had no luck selling it and then I had no luck giving it away so today I paid to have it taken to the tip. It seems ridiculous but, sadly, that's where it has ended up. The removalist and the tip fees cost $185 so that's $485 spent discovering that you shouldn't talk to strangers offering free pianos.
One day we'll live in a house that has room for a piano and we will go to a real life second hand store to buy one.
But this is not a post about my piano woes, this is a post about a giveaway!
I bought these little painted easter eggs from Bed Bath 'n Table a few years ago and hang them on a bare branch at Easter. They're very sweet but I am being ruthless and just don't have enough room to store them for 11 1/2 months each year. I've got 2 boxes to give away (one blue and one green) so leave a comment and I'll draw 2 winners! Good luck, dear readers.

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