Friday, November 27, 2009

Fit for a 'Do'

Last weekend we got together with our extended family for a Birthday 'do'. Kerry was turning 60, a much loved sister and the eldest of the ten children in my Darling Man's family. She and her husband came over from Aussie to celebrate with us all!
However the extended family get together anyway about every 6 months to play for the 'Lourie Cup' - being quite a competitive lot - it gives the day some focus and purpose. This time 30 of us gathered to play Ten Pin Bowls - both young and old.

One of our daughters went to buy a drink and got chatting to the guy at the counter who asked, "What's with the big group thing?". She explained that we were all from the same family... He was amazed! He said that he had two brothers and he hadn't seen either of them for about 20 years!

Families are really special. All it takes to keep in touch is a bit of effort and organisation and 'voila' much fun and catching up can be had by all!!!! Young and old. It's even better when your family gets to take the Lourie Cup home as we did - one of our daughters has just got engaged and her fiance won the Ten Pin Bowling competition AND therefore the cup! So we, the Pete Lourie Family contingency were yippie-ing, yahoo-ing and shouting with great gusto!

Then there was food - of course... a family 'do' would not be complete without it! We all enjoyed sampling other people's goodies that were brought along to share. When you have to take a plate for a family 'do' it's nice to make something a bit special... I like this Caramel Meringue, it's a great one to share with others because it is far too rich and sweet to eat on your own. Since it is coming up to that 'getting together with the family' time of year I thought you might enjoy giving it a whirl too! You can even make it ahead of time because it keeps well for 3 - 4 days.

As it happens, this weekend our family, as in our four girls and their guys, are staying together at a house overlooking the Kawhia Harbour for fishing and relaxing and hanging out! There's nothing quite like being in the 'bosom of the family' - lovely, lovely!!!

Caramel Meringue.

150 gms butter, softened
2 Tbspn caster sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour (generous)
1 tsp baking powder
395 gm can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbspn butter
2 Tbspn golden syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 Tbspn flour
3 egg whites
6 Tbspn caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Line a 20 x 30 cm slice or sponge roll tin with baking paper. To make the base, cream the butter and sugar until pale, then beat in the egg. Sift the flour and baking powder together and stir in, mixing well. Press into the tin. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool in the tin. Leave the oven at 180 C for the meringue. To make the filling, combine the condensed milk, butter, golden syrup, sugar, yolks and vanilla in a saucepan, stirring over a gentle heat until smooth. Add the flour to combine. Cool, then spoon the filling over the base. To make the meringue, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the meringue is glossy. Spoon this over the filling. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the meringue is golden. Leave to cool before slicing into squares with a hot knife. Store in an airtight container. This slice will keep for 3 - 4 days.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cosy Christmas Love

You have to get organised if you want your Christmas love gifts to reach the other side of the world in time for Christmas Day without it costing the earth for postage! I have just posted off some cosy Christmas love because my nieces live so far away that it is cold and (if they are lucky) snowing at their house at Christmas time.

I noticed when we stayed there they had a cubby-hole dedicated to Hotties, all covered in a range of cheerful fabrics and yarns... so I thought a couple of new ones might perk up their collection...
I imagine that the darling girls may spend at least some of their holiday time cosy-ed up with a book. A hottie might be in order for such delicious Christmas relaxation.

I love knitting hottie covers for their 'micro-project-ness' making them quick and easy to complete. They're also a perfect opportunity for a colour and texture adventure. I hunt the bargain bins in every wool shop I come across - which seems rarer and rarer these days - for 'odd' balls of wool. In my hands they may well end up incorporated into a cheerful hottie cover - eventually giving some beloved soul a good old fashioned dose of cosy-ness! I mix chunky, multi-colored yarns with plain, perky brights and downy, fluffy mohair's then have heaps of fun signing the project off with a dashing ribbon.

I know it takes precious time but I think hand-made gifts are quite special - all the more so for the gift of time that goes into lovingly crafting something whether that be stitching or baking or.... whatever your hands find to make that is your special thing you can share with someone you love at Christmas! It's a bit of an antidote for the commercialism of Christmas too don't you think?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


It's quite an exciting adventure to launch into a stitching project without a pattern - just a vague vision of an idea - that 'this could work'. I wanted some mindless plain knitting. I thought a baby blankie to tuck away in my Grandma's 'hope chest' would be a good plan.
Thing is I didn't have a plan as such - just a colour combo and a vague sense of how I wanted it to look. I am quite a structured person but I also really like the creative energy of 'lets just get started and see how it develops' thing too! A little bit of domestic risk-taking.

It's been fun launching in, dashing off to one of our local wool shops to stash away wool, trying to anticipate how much I'll need as I go along and hoping like mad they won't run out just as I get to the last few squares!!!!
Working out a 'pattern' for the layout of the squares is quite a mathematical thing too which is definitely not one of my strong points. It has been laid out on the spare bed with bits of paper to represent as yet un-knitted squares and it has nearly done my head in at times, trying to work out where to put what colour to get some balance combined with a dash of randomness! When I am nearly finished another square I start to knit at a feverish pace as I anticipate the satisfaction of slotting in another 'real live' square and screwing up the paper one it replaces! Oh the thrills of the domestic life!!!!
Getting to this stage I have decided that it is going to work! Whew coz it has cost a little more than I first thought but it is pure wool and it will keep one of our grandbabies warm one day!!
As I knit the last few squares I am dreaming up a scheme for edging it.... I have a bit of an idea to experiment with. I'll let you know how I get on!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Little Notes

I REALLY like nice writing paper and notecards. Even as a child I can remember being quite satisfied with a gift of nice writing paper - 'perfumed' was all the rage, with maybe little sprigs of flowers or a kitten sat in the corner...
These days I can also be kept amused for ages looking at greetings cards... some are really funny and make me laugh out loud. It's even better if you are shopping with a friend and you can enjoy the joke together and return it to the shelf without parting with any money!

Over the last couple of days I have been enjoying a little note given to me by my friend. It was just a random thing declaring her appreciation for my friendship. It came with a gift. I have sat the little card and dinky envelope on my dresser and it 'winks' at me whenever I walk into the room. This allows me to enjoy those warm feelings of being loved and appreciated all over again!

I like nice writing paper and notecards because I too like to send random notes to people by snail mail, to let them know they are valued or that something marvellous that they did or said was noticed and appreciated. We mostly only get bills in the mail box these days don't we? So to get a handwritten note or letter is such a treat! Honestly it is the best spent 50 cents to take the time to love somebody with words - and with a stash of nice paper and notecards in the cupboard we can do it in style!
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