Friday, April 30, 2010


Now at Warning: don't expect miracles, or like actual posts or anything.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


A cautionary tale.

Mister 6 discovered the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook in the pantry a few weeks ago and has been desperate to make cupcakes ever since. Being the long weekend I thought, why not it will give us all something to do. So I looked at the cake recipe and went and stocked up on some more flour and butter and food colouring for the icing, we had enough eggs so we are good to go, or so I thought.

So I put the large bowl onto the mixer and put in the butter (which I had tried to soften by putting it on the stove near a pot that I was cooking pasta in but all it did was melt a little bit all over the stove) and sugar to cream it. But the bowl was to big and the butter just stuck to the sides. So I transferred it all to the little bowl which seemed to work a bit better.

Now usually I'm pretty good at reading and following a recipe. But not this time. Somehow I ended up adding all the flour and then the milk instead of alternating them. Then I read the bit that said "Don't overbeat or mixture will become tough". Bugger. But it was too late so we went ahead anyway. Then Mister 6 and I had a heated discussion about not taking out all the double patty cake papers that I had put into the muffin tins (I like to uses doubles because it helps stop the bottom of the cakes burning). He was difficult to persuade but gave in eventually. Then the cakes went into the oven, came out and rested and cooled for 30 minutes. So far so good.

Then the icing. OMG the icing. When looking at the recipe for the cupcakes, I forgot to look closely at the recipe for the icing. I got enough butter, but didn't look far enough to see that I needed pretty much a bucket load of icing sugar. So when it came to making the icing, I only had about half the icing sugar I needed. Necessity being the mother of invention I threw in the best part of a packet of baking marshmallows that I had been wanting to get rid of for ages and hoped. It's not the best butter cream icing of all time, in fact it's not even really that good, but it's there.

So I decided to make the icing a lovely shade of purple, just like the ones on the cover of the book. I looked at the chart of my food colouring 3 x red to 1 x blue. No worries. In went three drops of red followed by 1 of blue. The result was a dirty looking pink. Ok, a little more blue. Now it was a dirty looking blue. Some more red, oh bugger I picked up the wrong one that's yellow. Well, the only colour I haven't used is green, there is no way we are getting back to purple from here, so lets throw in some green. Right. Lets call it "sea foam". It does look a bit like a pallet of marshmallows were lost overboard (if you are being kind) or a pile of sludge with marshmallows.

Anyway, see for yourself:

This is not the recommended colour

The finished product, which despite appearances do taste pretty good.

Apparently the Crabapple Bakery has closed but the book is still available. It has some lovely recipes, and if you look here you can see how good they can look. This was my inspiration to buy this book in the first place. As you can see my apprenticeship still has some way to go.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers Day and the pergola

My kids went all out on Mothers Day. All out creating a never ending series of messes unfortunately. I'm not sure if it's just that I noticed it more, or whether they really did make more of a mess, but I seemed to be cleaning all day. I told myself that I wasn't being sucked into the whole "We value mothers, see you have a whole day just for you / mothers are only valued once a year" dichotomy by not doing anything and insisting that it was Mothers Day. I know there should be an apostrophe in there somewhere, but it's Monday and I couldn't be bothered. I did get breakfast cooked for me, but I'm spoilt and get that most Sundays. I still did some, although not all, of the cleaning up after breakfast was cooked. When told that it was Mothers Day, my children reacted by looking at me through beady eyes for a few seconds, then loudly repeating whatever demand they had just made. I did get a lovely laminated photo of my son under which is said Happy Mothers Day, love C. It even has a magnet on the back so it can go on the fridge, which is a brilliant idea. G gave me a bar of soap, that had a label with her hand print in paint, and a little poem which the lovely girls at Daycare had done for all the Mums of the kids in her room. It was orginally wrapped in red cellophane, but G unwrapped it just in case there was chocolate inside. When she found the soap she told me I could have it. It almost made up for her getting paint all over the clothes I expressly told her not to paint in. Water based house paint doesn't seem to come out that easily.

The paint she covered herself in was a test pot for the pergola Uncle Kev bought for us. I wasn't planning on buying a pergola, but it is something that we have been planning for a while, and the muse to build it hit hubby right at the time the stimulus hit the bank account (he didn't know this, it was just lucky) so it was meant to be. I realised last night that I should have taken some more photos in between part way up and having the first coat painted. Bit late now. After putting the chooks to bed hubby came in and said we definitely need to grow something over it, as in the dark it tends to loom a bit. Kinda like a giant open mouth. How welcoming. We are thinking a decorative grapevine. Unfortunately the style of pot I really like are $135 each. Even if Uncle Kev went mad and did the stimulus all over again (which he won't cause there's no money left) I still don't think I could bring myself to spend that much on one pot.

We also argued about fencing off the house yard. He wants white posts. I think they would look weird. "It will look like we've pinched all the white posts from the side of the road and made a fence with them" I said. "That's funny" he laughed "that's where I got the idea from". We are so not doing that. Everyone else around here has a star-picket fence. I'm happy to do something a bit different across the front of the house, but around the rest of the block a farm fence will do just nicely. Doesn't have to be fancy just has to keep in a potential sheep or alpaca or two. I can see us never being able to leave this place because of the menagerie that we will have collected. But somehow, that's not so bad.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I love these quizzes

They seem to bear absolutely no relation to (my) real life and I think that's why they are so fun. Like this one I did previously.

Take the test of discovery
1. Which items would you most likely accessorise your home with?
a Sea shells
b Key designer pieces
c Artefacts from travels
d Items inspired from nature
e Lots of pieces inspired from the past

I need an f - things your children have brought home from school/preschool and insist on displaying, eg the green tissue box with strategically placed patty cake papers and paddlepop sticks.
Failing that I thought e might best cover it.

2. Which of the following activities would you ideally like to do?
a Walk on the beach
b Dress up
c Make things
d Anything outdoors
e Shop for antiques

All of the above. Preferably without a child around my ankle or with foot poised above the pedal of the sewing machine while I'm trying to thread it. I've never had a needle through my finger, but it's something I really suspect I wouldn't enjoy. As I had to choose, I went for a since I could theoretically do that for free. Although on second thoughts it could be quite stressful pulling children out of the surf, getting the sand out of everything and spending a king's ransom on icecreams.

3. Which colour would you most likely find in your home?
a Neutral palette
b Metallic palette
c Warm palette
d Earth palette
e Cool palette

All of the above scribbled on the walls in crayon? I think we have a bit of everything in our house. I think I finally went for e. Maybe I just like the delusion that I was cool.

4. Which of the following movies would you rent first?
a Something's Gotta Give
b Lost In Translation
c The Notebook
d An Inconvenient Truth
e Casino Royale

Well I've seen Casion Royale on TV, I can't remember what Something's Gotta Give is about and I'm too lazy to google it, I've heard about the Notebook being soppy, I think someone lent us An Inconvenient Truth once or am I getting confused with a Mike Moore? I don't know. I rather read a book, but since I have to choose I went with a. At least I might get a nice surprise.

5. Which colour are you most attracted to?
a White linen
b Charcoal
c Coffee bean brown
d Rainforest green
e Ripe cherry red

This one was easy b, charcoal. Hides sticky finger prints really well. And cat hair. I'm seriously starting to think that whoever wrote this quiz has never seen a real child. They probably don't believe in them.

6. Which of the following best describes where you buy your clothes from?
a Department stores
b High Street boutiques
c A mix of places
d Eco-friendly/socially responsible retailers
e Shopping centres

Another easy one e. Although I'd hesitate to call downtown Yass a 'shopping centre'. Again I needed an F option - chain store.

So I ended up with an e,a,e,a,b,e. So mostly e's.

Mostly As: Hamptons White Wash
You don't live by the sea, you live with the sea. You like a calm and balanced environment. Your home is treasured and a temple to all you love. You fill it with loved memories, often with pieces that have a story to tell. You love details (sea shells, raffia) and you create your home to be a central meeting point - an environment for people to come together and spend time. Rooms go beyond their initial function (eg, the kitchen is used not only to prepare food).

Mostly Bs: New York Loft
A global trendsetter. You believe the built environment is more spectacular than the natural one and you're hooked on architectural detail. Your style remains distinctive, yet ever-evolving and true to your own self - you don't buy off the shelf. High ceilings, open-plan, rich and luxurious are key components. You pick up on trends but integrate them into your life. While you enjoy the finer things in life, you fill your home with loved memories and key pieces collected over time. A balance of function and excess.

Mostly Cs: Nostalgic Nest
Like a bower bird, you collect bits and pieces. You are earthy, sentimental, individual and your home is rich with detail. You treat your home as a gallery filled with happy memories, photo albums, unique souvenirs from travels and your own made treasures. Displaying your true self on the walls, your collection tells a story. Spending time away from the home - outdoors and exploring - is just as important as spending time in the home. You are not concerned with what your neighbours' homes are like: you are true to your own style.

Mostly Ds: Sleek "New Earth"
You love the outdoors and bring that into your living environment. The technological side of the environment is considered. You evaluate trends and bring those that complement your lifestyle into your home.

Mostly Es: Sophisticated Retro
You recognise and respect good design from the past and present (but have none of it in your own house). You pick up key pieces (and take them off your children carefully and put them back in the shop) over time and enjoy making them work together. While you are aware of innovations, you do not necessarily follow trends (because who has the time or the inclination, really). As you are both confident and authentic, you have been collecting pieces for years and you display them with pride in abstract ways in your home. I have been collecting pre-school art for years now, so this last bit is actually true!

This quiz was developed by the International School Of Colour And Design to show people the various styling trends available to them. It is not a determiner of a definite style but is intended to open your eyes to the manifold different decorating styles. These five decorating styles are the most relevant for our current lifestyle.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This is getting ridiculous

His new record is 6 weeks. We gave him up for deceased about three weeks into that. Then, on the morning when I was seriously late for work, the phone rang and it was the local vet to say "We think we have your cat". The cat they named was asleep on the lounge at the time, so I asked what colour, was it a not-boy-cat anymore etc. and it turned out to be Garfunkel. Needless to say I was really late for work that morning. But he's home now, with a lovely new collar, and a tag with his name, address and phone number on it. Which he will probably manage to loose 5 minutes before buggering off again.

I have no idea where he was for those 6 weeks, but wherever it was he was bloody well fed.


Finally we have somewhere to put most of the books. Pretty swish huh? And they only took a few hours work after all that. Himself not me, which was even better.

The shelves are now full, some with books behind and books in front. When I get the toys in the lounge/rumpus/kids make a huge mess in here room sorted we will put some bookshelves in there too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's cold out there

The heating doesn't seem to be working, and it's 2.5 degrees outside. Yesterday, it was even colder. It doesn't snow here often, but it was cold enough to on Sunday. The sound you can hear is the water running down the pipes and into the tank.

originally uploaded by Mindy

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Reunited and it feels so good

Last week I forgot to lock Madge and Beryl up at night a couple of times and on the weekend I discovered that Beryl had gone AWOL. A quick wander around the paddock failed to find her, so I went out at dusk when all good chookies head for bed to see if she had come home. A check of the chook house revealed a lonely Madge fluffed up on her nest for warmth, but no Beryl. I had heard a loud "Buck" while walking over to the chook house, so I decided to check the neighbours windbreak/chook run to see if Beryl had somehow gotten in there. And there she was, so excited she was nearly jumping up and down on the spot. I tried to pull the wire of the fence up so she could squeeze under but she was too busy pecking my fingers to notice. I told her to go under the fence several times, and was up to 'go under the fence you silly bloody chook' before she took any notice of me. Once she saw that the fence was pulled up high enough for her to squeeze under she was out of there like greased lightning and running to her chook house as fast as her little drumsticks could carry her. I was very relieved to have found her, her being a special pet chook and all, and was a little teary when she stuck her head into the chook house, clucking quietly to see if Madge was there. Of course the next day they both acted as if nothing had ever happened. But I know they missed each other.