Tag Archives: salted caramel fudge

Finding time

The week has flown by!  I am convinced that it is the shorter daylight hours that make things fly past so quickly – or it could be our busy timetable.  It has just occurred to me that with the children’s winter sports activities there are only two days a week where I have no commitment involving delivering a child to some activity or another.  This could explain a lot!  I am trying to be disciplined about using my time efficiently to fit around the timetable, otherwise my little bits of ‘me’ time, those precious moments when I get to make things, will disappear completely.  I didn’t do too badly this week, although housework and making the children eat vegetables everyday may have been the sacrifices….

In a roundup of the week I have finished my first ‘giveaway’ on my facebook page, with a lovely winner from a farm in Western Australia the recipient of the art folder.  I have made 10 pencil rolls and listed them in my Etsy shop (my first new listing in quite a while!), made an art folder as a gift for a special little boy who turned 5 this week, crocheted a beret for the artist-in-residence (so fitting!) and prepared to make some more art folders.  So with a bit of juggling,  ‘crafting’ didn’t miss out this week!

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The artist-in-residence’s chosen photo of her new black beret!

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A Star Wars art folder for “Cha Cha”. 

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I also created with sugar this week, for my team at work.  Part of it was a promise to bring in my Thermomix and show them how it works, and part was an excuse to have a bit of a break for the team, talking about things that aren’t related to our jobs.  I made vanilla bean icecream and chocolate supreme icecream in advance, along with salted caramel fudge and coconut ice.  Then I took the Thermomix in and made warm chocolate custard, fruity dream (which is like soft-serve icecream but made completely from frozen fruit whipped with an eggwhite), and an orange sorbet on the day.  Sugar, sugar, sugar!  My kids were happy as they got some of the leftovers!     I was happy as I was ‘making stuff’, and those of my team who were able to attend were happy as they had sweet treats to sample.  Next time I am needing to do some ‘creating’ I will have to remember this trick – I might do a savoury sample for them next time.

On Saturday night I went out to dinner with friends at a lovely, trendy local restaurant.  I have had to admit that I have become a bit of a recluse over the last year or so.  I don’t go to the movies, rarely go out to dinner, never have an after-work drink, and rarely invite friends over for a meal.  I am not complaining – this is how life is at the moment – but it was nice to get out with adults, nice food, wine, conversation and enjoy their company.  I really should try to do it more often…….

I am sitting here contemplating the week in front of me and wondering if I will get the time to make some of the things that I want to make….  I hope so!  My head is buzzing with ideas – I just need more time (as always!).  Short of giving up sleep altogether, or quitting my job (which would have some fairly dire consequences like losing the house and not being able to feed the children) I think I have to find a way to be content with the small pockets of time I can find and savour them.  I suspect this is another one of life’s lessons – appreciating what I have and enjoying the moment instead of looking for the next moment.  Hmmmmm…..although I have improved in my ability to do this over the last few years, I am probably about due a reminder on this lesson!

I hope that you too are able to remember  to simply enjoy the moment this week.

The Friday flop

Ah, the weekend.  There is something quite special about a Friday night.  All the pressure of having to be on top of housework, homework, school lunches, laundry, etc, for the next day is removed and all the rules are relaxed.  In my house the kids refer to Friday night as “Pizza Night”.  I make them homemade pizza – one gluten-free with ham and cheese, one gluten-free with ham, olives and cheese and one gluten with ham olives and cheese.  (Yes – adventurous gourmands my children are not).  They pick a movie and are allowed to eat in front of the TV, with their pizza, while I sip a glass of wine, check messages on-line, talk to friends on the phone, and let them run a bit loose.  We all just let go a bit, and breathe out a bit and generally flop.  I love it!

Of course every now and then I think of the Friday nights of a decade ago, or two decades ago, where the image of this sort of Friday night would have been depressing, and think that I am glad that I did my partying when I was younger, because now I don’t think that this is depressing at all.

The look back at the week takes place as part of the Friday night ritual.  This Friday marks the end of my second week back at work, and my first week of my new routine of starting early, and leaving early to pick up the kids.  By Wednesday I was feeling exhausted and that this approach wasn’t working, as my son was having some of his old issues again, and I was back at the school having meetings again.  But fast forward just two days and we seem to all be settling into the new routine much better, and I am able to have perspective on giving us all time to adjust before I panic and come up with a new strategy!  I am hoping that as we settle, I will be able to find a bit of a routine for my own time – that small window after everyone is in bed – so that I can blog regularly, sew regularly and have time for keeping in contact with my family and friends without feeling like I am dropping the ball somewhere.

I suspect that part of the reason that I feel so good tonight is that I have had wonderful news from my mother that some test results we have been waiting on for over a week have returned and that we don’t have bad news from them.  Many prayers have been answered and we are so grateful.  All of this has meant that her visit to us has been postponed, but we are making our way through this transition to school and work on our own quite well, so I have told her to not rush over here, and to take some time at home until we see how things are going.  A huge weight has lifted off my shoulders (although probably not as big as the one she was carrying quietly!)

So all of this means that I had a slow sewing week to start with, but that my momentum has picked up as the week has gone on.  I photographed the pillowcases and listed them on Etsy, then the next day posted them on Facebook, and they sold straight away – to the same lovely friend who bought the first set.  It is such lovely encouragement to have that kind of feedback, it spurred me on to do a bit more.  I de-constructed and then re-constructed a bag I was making for a woman I work with.  It just wasn’t sitting right and I wasn’t happy with it, even though I had ‘finished’ it and photographed it two weeks ago.  But with a clear mind I was able to see where I needed to change it, so I did, then took it to her yesterday.  I am much happier with the end product now and she is happy with the bag, so I feel good about that too.

I then received three orders in the space of half an hour or so, through my Facebook page – two library bags and a hand bag.  I feel so privileged to be able to make things for people who I know, and I have had the fun of suggesting colours, designs and fabrics through the internet – learning all the time!  Two women I work with have requested bags with specific Spoonflower fabrics, so that order went in last night.  A good friend also reminded me that she wanted three of my iPod pillowcases…..and all of a sudden I need to prioritise projects!  I am so excited at the chance to keep making great things.  Although our weekend looks a bit busy I can see packets of time for sewing, so let’s hope that the outcome is better than last weekend.  I did start one library bag last night, but as I picked it up tonight I realised that my decision to stop sewing last night due to the hour was a good one – I had sewed the front and back panels together with the front panel on upside down!  So the unpicking will occur before anything else happens.  Luckily the applique went on the right way.

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My other piece of creativity last night was another batch of salted caramel fudge……. I wanted to make something to take to a morning tea with my team today….. and any excuse will do!  The kids were thrilled that I had slipped a little piece in their lunches today alongside the healthy options, and everyone at work enjoyed it.  Now to remember to make the bit that has not yet been cut last more than a day….

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This weekend is the Royal Canberra Agricultural Show – which the children had planned to enter the cooking competition.  Unfortunately their busy mother forgot the put the entry in on time…..  but we have decided that attending and scoping out the competition for next year is a good excuse to attend this year anyway.  I have made it clear that we are not going on rides and they were all very focussed on seeing the animals and exhibitions, until tonight when they discovered the list of show bags available……. and have spent the evening examining the very long list to identify what they want to buy.  I haven’t yet determined how much money I am going to give them to use to budget for their visit, but it will be interesting to see how it all goes.

Then on Sunday I have a concert to attend – Neil Finn and Paul Kelly – two of my favourite Australian and New Zealand musicians.  I am very excited about it.  It starts the warm up to get me excited about my Easter trip to Byron Bay for Bluesfest.  Expect to be bored with the details of that over the next few weeks…..because the headliners are big – Paul Simon, Robert Plant (you know – the Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin), Ben Harper, Chris Isaac, the Steve Miller Band (even just saying the name makes me think of space cowboys), Counting Crows, Santana…….  oh look – I have already started getting excited!  I just have to get my head around the logistics of where the children will be, what camping gear I will be packing, doing the drive on my own, etc…..

The Friday flop is kicking in – the house is a bit messy, no sewing has been done, the kids are asleep and I am about to head to bed to read for a while.  I hope that your week has been good and that you have great weekend plans to be excited about.

Small bits of creativity

The weekend was full of birthday parties.  Other people’s parties and our barbeque to celebrate the double-digit birthday.  That meant that it was also full of shopping, cooking, cleaning, driving, and organising.  Not a lot of time for crafting.  Well – not by me anyway!

After a week in which I did very little sewing I was keen to get back into it on the weekend.  When I realised that this was unlikely to happen I looked at all I had made without sewing and wasn’t too disappointed.  Marinated chicken skewers, a Pavlova (the gluten-free dessert of choice!), salted caramel fudge (our all time favourite – made in the Thermomix using this recipe – mmmm mmmmm…..) and I experimented with making a satay sauce that used pureed sunflower seeds instead of peanuts, to accommodate one of the guests who has a nut allergy.  It worked surprisingly well for a recipe that I made up based on what was in the cupboard.  Although the child in question of course wasn’t interested in the sauce the adults all enjoyed it!  It was a great night with a lovely group of friends – there was a bunch of boys in the yard with light sabers, a bunch of girls hanging out on the trampoline, and a bunch of adults on the deck enjoying the sunset, the cheese platter and the wine.  A delightful way to celebrate 10 years as a parent!

Although I didn’t manage my own sewing, the girls did some sewing and are justifiably proud of their efforts.  It is their school swimming carnival tomorrow, and they were both keen to make mascots for their house, which wears green in support of the house members.  So these are the results – based on templates that we drew ourselves.

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The middle chick wanted a green owl, so whipped this one up.  (I can also confirm that removing fingerprints from the camera lens does make a difference to your photos!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe monster was lurking in a tree in the late afternoon sun!

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Made of an upcycled cushion cover, with scraps from my collection, the green monster is quite cute.  I was particularly taken with the tail that the eldest chick designed – and her chosen pose for the photo!

I also managed to finish the library bag and get it in the mail.  I am happy with the way it turned out and hope that the little person it is intended for enjoys it, and the books it will carry, for many years to come.  It is such a privilege to be asked to make special gifts for little people.

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Oh look – the fingerprint was obviously there last week too….

So the weekend finished with the house in order, the week planned out and me ready to start my week of early starts with the babysitter lined up to be at the house by 7am to prepare the kids for school and get them there.    Hmmmmm……. the best laid plans.  All was going well this morning – I woke up to find 2 children snuggled in with me, and managed to get up, get dressed, tend to the chickens, have my breakfast and prepare my lunch without them waking.  When the babysitter arrived, however, all hell broke loose!  The dog was going berserk with excitement at seeing the babysitter (who is also our house and dog sitter) which obviously woke the boy.  He had snuggled over next to his sister after I got up, which had pushed her to the edge of the bed.  So when he started to stir and stretch he pushed her out of bed, and she hit her head on the bedside table, so woke with a fright, in pain and screaming.  So between the screaming, the dog, and the other two children waking and attacking the babysitter with hugs and non-stop stream of consciousness stories it was complete chaos!  Looney Tunes could learn a thing or two from our house.

The good news is that the middle chick got the all clear from the doctor and had a lovely day quietly drawing and colouring and playing on her iPod in my office.  The other two got off to school with no drama and we had a calm afternoon after school.

After all of that I decided that I needed to at least start sewing something tonight – my creativity bug was itching away, floating ideas around in my head.  So I went with pillowcases – and managed to make two!  I can of course tell anyone who asks what I will do differently/better next time, but I am trying to learn to just enjoy them as they are, so will iron them and photograph them properly and put them up in my shop soon.

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I am hopeful of a week of sewing after so little over the last couple of weeks, so stand by for a burst of colourful creativity, or alternatively a stream of colourful language if my plans have to change again!

Wishing you all a colourful creative week.