Monday, September 28, 2009

Cookies & Colouring In

Oh my goodness - it's the school holidays again already! We went down to the Events Centre for our swim/exercise and found we had to 'share' the facilities with lots of little people! It's easy to lose touch when you no longer have kids at school! I used to love school holidays - a great break from routine and a chance to do some different things together. Baking is always a fun thing to do with the kids - school holidays or not!

Our cookie jar sits on the little table winking at people when they call in for a cuppa and chat! I like to keep it topped up with wholesome goodies for friends and family who pop in from time to time. Much better than a bought biscuit. Our girls usually look for something to munch as they catch us up with all their news and views. They each have their favorites.

Sometimes little people visit too and if they want they can draw a picture - it helps to keep them occupied while their parents talk AND sometimes they even give me a lovely picture for my fridge!
We don't have any grandchildren of our own yet but when we do I hope they will enjoy cookies and colouring in too!

These cookies are a scrummy recipe from my sister in law in Aussie - they grow Macadamia nuts on their lifestyle block near Lismore in NSW.

White Chocolate & Macadamia Cookies.

150gms butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tblspn vanilla essence
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups (200gms) Macadamia nuts
180gm chocolate, chopped(white or brown)
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Lightly grease 2 oven trays. Beat butter, sugar and essence until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients until combined. Roll into balls and bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on trays. Makes about 30 cookies.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Patchwork for a Princess

After attending a local patchwork exhibition with all these extensive, elaborate, B E A U T I F U L quilts - I felt inspired to have a go myself. However the quilts on display looked like hours and hours of dedicated, precise work which I wasn't really up for so I decided on a micro patch project.

I know little girls love to stash all their precious bits into a wee bag and cart them around because we had four wee princesses of our own. With that in mind I made a wee bag for my little 'princess' niece who lives in France. It was the perfect opportunity for a pleasurable, patchwork project that wasn't going to take time ad-infinite-um!

At the moment I prefer to be able to do lots of different types of stitching. I also like to see some reasonably quick results for my efforts. Stitching a smaller project that still involves all the same sort of skills as a larger one gives the same measure of pleasure for much less time input and at less expense too.

The little bag for Liliana is made from the scraps of material left over from the cot quilt I made for her as a baby which still lays on her bed. I bought the fabrics at a fabulous patch-workers paradise out at Gordonton called 'Grandmothers Garden'

It is a lovely old villa with multiple nooks and crannies all bursting with gorgeous fabrics to stitch, kit sets to make up and piles of books. They also run a variety of classes.

Our local Patch-workers who ran the excellent exhibition, have a weekly get together to stitch . Who knows I may even join them sometime and extend myself into a larger, more challenging project and share in some of their expertise!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I have been practically banned from saying Grace when we gather around the table with our adult children to share a meal together! 'No, not Mum she'll cry!'

The whole 'having all our girls and their men around the table' overwhelms me - it is a lovely thing that fills my heart with gratitude and at times my eyes with tears!

Parenting involves a mixture of successes and regrets. One of the things we did with our kids when they were growing up is to sit around the table as a family for dinner and breakfast. It was a good time to see each others faces, talk and laugh and cry and joke and learn manners and hear each others ups and downs and pray together too. Add to that - nurture the development of the art of conversation. Our four girls pictured here on Kawhia family weekend by the sea in 2010.

Yesterday on Sunrise TV3 Breakfast News I heard of a new game called 'The Art of Conversation' inspired by the lack of such a thing. Probable causes - technology and the fact that we don't sit around the table much anymore. I felt glad we had worked hard at doing that with our family. There is now a children's version out in addition to the adult one.

We found when we were in France that the French are good at eating at the table and taking time over a meal... In the book 'A French Woman For All Seasons' Mireille Guiliano says this, "Time is not something we are given; it is something we make. We all have much more to do than can possibly be done in a day. Even French families have been forced to choose which meals they will have 'en famille'; the time honoured ritual can no longer be observed with the traditional regularity. The world is no longer set up to furnish such occasions; we make them for ourselves. We must: life would lose all satisfaction without the time we set aside - the days and hours and even the odd moment - that we reserve to enjoy it. This is not selfishness; it is just living, an opportunity too precious to waste."

Friday, September 11, 2009


We bought this gorgeous 'man-cardy' at our local Hospice shop for $7. Thing is, it wasn't second hand, it was brand spanking new, the Pure New Wool label still intact. Not the sort of thing my darling man would normally wear but just perfect for 'post-shoulder-op' when getting things on and off over one's head can be painful. It's been excellent and looks great on him too!

Seeing the labels made me feel nostalgic about days gone by when we made most of our own wool garments here in NZ. The latest recession has seen the closure of more local garment making businesses - some of them long-standing.

I recently bought myself a gorgeous crimson (like the maths blocks we used to have at primary school) or raspberry red, Pure NZ Merino Wool, lightweight cardy. Darling man had sent me off to 'buy myself something nice' since I had been such a lovely wife and nurse and helper and support as he has been recuperating from his op.
However, my new top, sad to say was made in China. Not that I have anything against China. I just feel sad that we send our beautiful Pure NZ Merino Wool to China so they can make stuff real cheap and send it back to us....

Yesterday I picked up a bargain. Oh how I love a bargain! A LINE 7, 50% Wool ,drape-y top for $20 - was $140. Sadly the NZ Made LINE 7 label is in its death throes !

I wonder is there some way NZ can come up with a grand scheme to manufacture our own high quality, gorgeous clothes from our Fine Merino and Pure Virgin Wool? Even if it means we buy less clothes of higher quality. 'Less is more' after all.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I have a sweet tooth! I have lolly memories right back to my preschool days! Chewy, yellow 'Banana Bikes'... a neat cube, wrapped in bright yellow, waxed paper from the wee shop up from our house at Kerepehi. Packets of 4 'Changing Balls' when we holidayed at Uncle Bert & Auntie Vyver's Bach at Whangamata. They were way too hard to bite but as you sucked them they changed colour and flavour!
Later on it was the delight of a 50c mixture and hoping to find a Bubble Gum or two in the bag. I still prefer the old fashioned lollies but I have tried some of our girls 'Sour Worms' or 'Nerds' at times. I can't say that either were my favourite lolly taste experience!
I also remember that Nana Foster always had Minties or McIntosh's Toffees - she called them 'paper lollies' and Nana Main would often have Blackballs or Raspberry Drops which are boiled sweets. All tasty treats... however these days try I keep my lolly consumption to a minimum. Mainly for the sake of my teeth and my figure! Once I start I find it's hard to stop!

Recently I tried this new Caramel Cookie recipe which has half a Jersey Caramel- a great old time lolly - pressed into the top of it! Very tasty. Darling Man took the cookie tin down to share them with his mates at morning coffee on Thursday morning and they gave them the 'thumbs up'. You might enjoy them too. Very chewy & caramel-ly. Hey a wee slither of lolly nestled in a cookie can hardly be harmful!

Caramel Cookies

60 gms butter
2 Tblspns Golden Syrup
2 Tblspns brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
8 soft Caramel Lollies (Maycey's Jersey Caramels)

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Place the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms. Roll into balls and place on baking trays lined with baking paper. Press to flatten and top each with half a caramel lolly. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on trays. Makes 16 cookies.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hand Washing

Mum taught us how to gently hand wash our jerseys and cardys when we were young. She was very particular how we cared for them. I'm sure that was mainly because she had spent hours knitting them!!! I am grateful for many of the things my Mum has taught me. I in turn have taught our girls to hand wash - not often hand-knits in their case but lots of their lovely, delicate clothes benefit from the extra care. It also means they last, looking nice a lot longer.

For woolens use a mild soap based detergent like lovely floaty 'LUX FLAKES' and the water should be about body temp for both wash and rinse. Squeeze rather than rub to clean. To remove as much moisture as possible roll in a towel and squeeze. Dry flat on a drying rack/spread on a towel on a table or hung in such a way that they aren't folded or squished with a peg.

For my hubby's jersey (pictured), that I lovingly stitched, I hung it on one of Mum's old-school jersey hangers and let it dry beautifully in the spring breeze and sunshine. It smells gorgeous! I'm not sure if you can buy those special hangers now. When I was young, we would sometimes use and old pair of stockings, pegged at the neck and sleeve ends if all the hangers were in use. The jersey pattern is style 17 in Patons Book 1266 'Jet Men's'

Apart from the obvious benefit to the clothes, hand-washing is lovely water-play, therapy much like washing the dishes!!!
web page hit counter
web page hit counter