Three’s a charm

November 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Sewing! Yes I’ve actually sewed quite a bit over the past week. But sadly, not for myself. Just before Christmas, 4 birthdays hit us and one of them is for Bif’s youngest sister who is forever requesting for me to sew her things. After over coming the language barrier, she quickly realised that, yes, I did indeed make that skirt I gave her for Christmas last year. Apologies in advance for terribly lit photos. Winter means no decent day light, unfortunately.

Two of the skirts are for the youngest sister and the third skirt is for Christmas for the other sister who is now, conveniently, the same size as I am so fitting has become a breeze.

The first is just a straight skirt with the left over piece of fabric from my polka dot skirt and a 3.5cm piece of elastic. Nothing major to write about there.

The second for the youngest sister, has the elastic in a casing and is around 120cm wide so lots of gathers for her 60cm waist. Actually, the elastic only just manages to stretch the width of the fabric. I only put one pocket on since I thought it looked cool and she likes clothes that are a bit different, and then stitched a bit of ric-rac on to it. It is also lined because the fabric rides up on tights during the winter and is incredibly annoying. I attached the lining by just sliding it in to the elastic casing under the elastic.

Aaaannnnd the third. It’s made out of really thick fabric like what you would use for curtains but I liked the print and thought it would look good with a few pleats. I originally thought to make gathers right around with a straight waistband but having a silly moment, the pieces I cut out were too small for her hips so I began to play around and came up with this.

Deep pockets on the side panels and pleats in the middle front and back. The zip runs down one of the back side seams and the waistband is just two straight rectangles from her waist measurement and a bit of wearing ease.

A few more Christmas sewing posts to come. Is anyone else starting to feel Christmassy?

Til next time!



November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Living with two boys seems to mean that if you buy fruit and you don’t eat it yourself, it will go off. Their dietary needs just don’t seem to encompass eating something healthy once in a while. That’s why, after a week of staying with my 10-year-old charge, I came home to one big mess of a fruit bowl. I was brought up never to waste anything that you could use so I was determined to use the fruit that was still in edible condition. Instead of sewing this week, I baked.

Normally, I am the worst at baking cakes. The don’t rise, they don’t taste that good, they are too dense. Banana cakes are my one exception. They’re too easy to turn out badly. In NZ, we have a cooking book called “Edmonds Cookery Book”. It has been around for ages and just about every household has one. I got this recipe from there and just replaced a bit of the flour with cocoa powder.

Chocolate Banana Cake

125 g  butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed bananas

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp hot milk

1 3/4 cups plain baking flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup cocoa

  • Heat the oven to 180
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • Add the eggs and beat well. Add the banana and mix in
  • Add the baking soda to the hot milk and stir in to the wet mixture
  • Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder in to the mixture. Stir
  • Turn in to a lined/greased baking tin and bake for 50 minutes or until a stick comes out clean
  • Cool before removing from the tin

Helpful tip from the book; This mixture can be used in two and baked for 25 min.

On the other hand, muffins seem to be my best friends. It’s the second thing we learn to make in school cooking class at the age of 10 or 11 and I swear that the apple muffins are the ones we made all the way back then. The first ones came from here and the second ones from here (this one is actually one of my favourite websites. Lots of good, easy recipes). Didn’t get any pictures of the apple and sultana ones, though, since I was in a rush to go out.

Pear and Cinnamon Muffins

2 cups plain baking flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 pears, peeled, cored and diced

  • Heat oven to 200
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar together
  • Combined the remaining ingredients and mix in to the dry ingredient. Be careful not to over mix
  • Spoon in to muffin trays and top with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar (optional)
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a stick come out clean

Apple and Sultana/Raisin Muffins

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 cups plain baking flour

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups apples and sultanas/raisins (I just eye balled it. 3 small apples, grated, and a handful of raisins. I like lots of fruit)

  • Heat the oven to 200
  • Beat the oil and egg together until light and fluffy
  • Add the sugar and milk and continue to beat
  • Sift the flour, cinnamon and baking powder into the bowl and mix gently
  • Fold in the fruit
  • Put in to a muffin tray and bake for 20-25 mins or until a stick comes out clean

Til next time!


November 5, 2012 § 1 Comment

A few weeks a go, during the Autumn school break, Bif and I went to Sicily with his family to stay at their summer-house. It was wonderful to escape the cold and dreary winter that was setting in in Denmark and the little town close to Palermo, where the house is, occupies a long stretch of beach and has plenty of good restaurants that entertain all the tourists during the summer.

Before leaving, I was in the process of making a skirt out of some blue and white polka dot fabric I had bought back in February. It’s a thick-ish, matte satin so I wanted something simple that didn’t need a lot of drape. I made a basic skirt from the measurements of another skirt and put buttons down the front. 6 buttons, two darts in the back and a waistband makes for one nice and simple skirt.

Instead of taking the usual pictures of myself standing in front of a white wall, I thought I would spice it up a little with holiday snaps. Please excuse the cropping and terrible hair which sitting in a hot car for three hours, creates.






Til next time.

Hallowe’en Soup

November 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

Where I grew up in New Zealand, Hallowe’en was never very big until 5 or 6 years ago, which was of course around the time that I had well and truly grown out of dressing up for lollies. The little girl I look after has been brought up with the big American Hallowe’en traditions so she had been nagging me about what I was planning on doing for the night. Butternut pumpkins were on special at the supermarket, and they are usually ridiculously expensive, so I took it as a sign, bought two and made pumpkin soup.

I made a huge pot so I could freeze some for winter. The two pumpkins made a lot more soup than expected so I have halved the recipe I used.


Pumpkin Soup

1 Butternut Pumpkin

5 small/medium-sized Potatoes

1 large, brown Onion

2 cloves of Garlic (crushed or finely chopped)

1 litre of Chicken Stock (fresh or stock cube)

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 or 2 Bay leaves

1 rind of Parmesan Cheese (optional)



Olive Oil


  • Cut the potatoes and pumpkin in to small pieces, around 2cm thick. Thinly slice onion.
  • Add butter and oil to a large pot. Cook onion until it starts to get soft. Add the garlic. Cook for a further one minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the potatoes and pumpkin and stir in to the onion and garlic. Add the chicken stock.
  • Put the coriander, curry, bay leaves, pepper and cheese rind (if using) in to the pot. Stir in.
  • Cover and allow to simmer until the potatoes and pumpkin are soft. Remove the bay leaves and cheese rind (I left mine in by accident and you couldn’t taste it, so leave it in if you wish).
  • Using what ever is easiest, wizz the soup until there are not big lumps left. If using a hand wizzer, I found it easier to do in batches.
  • Put back on the heat and season to taste.
  • Add cream if you want a creamier taste but I prefer it without. Serve with crusty bread.



Til next time!

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