Archive for November, 2009

Better than the bakery

When there’s marking to be done, there’s procrastination to be done too 🙂  Today’s procrastination is brought to you by the letter B.

B is for bread rolls.

B is for breadmaker.

B is for beautiful.

Mmmm. So, I had lunch a little late today because I was so busy focusing on marking I didn’t think to procrastinate until it was nearly too late…

But my mind started to wander to delicious things to eat, and eventually settled on making some yummy bread rolly things.

So, I will share the recipe I used with you with this word of warning: these are incredibly moreish. You might make an utter pig of yourself without even noticing.  My children all spied them within 20 seconds of entering the house. My husband took a little longer as they were in storage by the time he arrived home – maybe two minutes.  Yes, these are delicous.

Annnyway, I have a breadmaker which I use almost exclusively for making dough for rolls or pizza bases of focaccia. The dough recipe I used today is my favourite one, and was given to me by my mother – traditionally this is what we used to make bread rolls by hand when we were growing up 🙂 But I’ve put it in the larger quantities I use for my large breadmaker pan. And because we are such bread piglets!

4 t yeast (I use Surebake yeast)

600g high grade flour

1.5 t salt

2t sugar

4 T milk powder

50g butter

450ml warm water

Place the ingredients in the given order into the breadmaker pan, put on dough setting, and then roll out into a long rectangle. 

I made them with basil pesto, ham and mozzarella by spreading about 2-3T pesto over the whole lot, keeping 2cm from long edges. Ham – only for half since DH is veg, and about 3/4 – 1 C cheese sprinkled over the rest. You don’t need heaps, they will just melt and stick to the tray if you do.

Cut into slices and put on oven tray to rise. I usually put them in an oven I put on 50 degrees and then turned off, for about 20 minutes, then take them out and heat oven to 210 degrees, and  put them in when the oven is ready, then cook for 10-12 minutes.

Now the difficult part: wait until they are cool enough to eat or you’ll regret it!

And, if you are planning to blog about it, make sure you keep everyone away until *after* you’ve taken pics!

Yes, I do believe they are better than you get from the bakery, even if it’s because you can afford to eat two… or three… or more…


When you’ve knit too many socks

You need an antidote. My antidote of choice was some dishcloths. Since I had my pretty new Peaches and Creme cotton calling to me, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to cast of for some simple dishcloths.  And just a couple of knitting hours later I had two.  Yes, two clothes from one ball!  And then I fossicked in my leftovers and found enough for a third cloth.  Cute, huh.

The pattern is one that is new to me, sourced off Ravelry of course.  It is the Reverse Mitre Dishcloth, and I chose it because you can make it as big or small as you want, which seemed like an excellent feature.  You begin with just three stitches and increase with one yarn over either side of a central spine stitch every second row.  And you just keep knitting until you like the height and width. 

Believe it or not, it was my first mitred project, and I thought it was great. I have absolutely no idea where these will end up, but I figured a few dishcloths for my present box would never go astray.

I’ve also been…


Our vegetable garden has been growing steadily, with some obvious growth on most of the plants now.

We haven’t much productive at the moment though – our NZ Spinach has endless greens for us, and lettuce is in full swing for salads and sandwich fillings. But I have to be patient waiting for everything else to be productive. I did spy some flowers on our Zuchinni plants the other day, and some promises of produce not too far away…

Since this picture was taken, I spotted a half red berry too, so it might not be long before we have a fight over who gets the first taste for the year.

Somehow all our parsley died over winter, so I am pleased to have a thriving patch once again. I made some cheese and onion scones with parsley butter for lunch, and enjoyed the colour it added.

 I have tried to get out twice a week for weeding duties, and watering too.  Miss 3 planted some sunflower seeds in the garden just after her birthday in August, and we have been following their progress – some are looking very promising (among the potatoes!)

I have been busy sewing more WIP bags up in an effort to finish all my sewing projects before my marking contract started. I failed, as I still have Miss 3’s outfit unfinished, but I hope to find a spare moment or two somewhere amongst the paperwork and deadlines. 

And the knitting continues too, with one more Christmas gift finished and awaiting blocking.  And it’s beautiful too, but you will just have to take my word for it for now 🙂


Nice Surprises

I’ve had a couple of pleasant surprises that I thought I would share with you.  The first one was a koha (or gift) I got last night from some of my knitting friends. They have both recently taken up sock knitting, and gave this in appreciation of my help. Totally unnecessary in that it’s lovely to share the knitting love, but much appreciated nonetheless.

So, first up was this cute felt sock stocking – check it out, who would have known they made leopard print felt!!  And inside it was a wee bundle of gorgeous stitch markers. Apparently it was the first time Hannah had made stitch markers, and I think they are just beautiful.

And check out the wee tiny sock – destined for a life as a Christmas tree decoration – too cute.

Also in the parcel was this beautiful hand-dyed yarn, on a Vintage Purls yarn base that my friend dyed in shades of green.  And matching stitch markers. I really have no excuse for not having some always on hand, eh!

Another friend arrived bearing some tupperware we had bought several weeks ago (From a friend, not Tupperware). In apology for the delay, this cute Peaches and Creme cotton was included in the parcel.

I foresee a discloth in its future.

Now, clearly I woke up lucky today, from these great gifts.  Because I chanced my luck with the clothes I chose for Miss 3, and guess what she wore…


Why, yes, that *is* her Tropical Lily she is wearing. I didn’t mention a thing about her refusal to wear it. And the photos were snapped as part of a wee bit of fun. I managed to get a couple of decent ones in between the funny faces.

It fits! And it looks cute! And since she doesn’t remember I made it, it might even get some wear this summer.

Amy overload

As promised, I spent the day in front of my sewing machine today finishing the third library bag, and working with my gorgeous Amy Butler Nigella fabric.

So, a book bag for Miss 1 to match the ones I made for Miss 3 and I. 

The second thing I worked on today was a bag to hold my swift. It was made by a friend’s father, and had been stored in the brown paper wrapper it arrived in, until it fell apart. I cut this out months ago, and then did nothing more. I had decided it needed a pocket but wasn’t sure how I would make it. Today it was a doddle, as I realised a full width pocket would be sewn in with the seams. With a small flap for the top, and a bit of contrasting binding, it was done.  The pocket will store the dowels easily and closes with a snap. I totally love my snap press, it is so much easier than trying to get my machine to produce a passable buttonhole!  Then it was a matter to whipping up a lining and side seams, and making a casing for the ribbon closure.  Ah, yet another bit of Amy loveliness to sit around being useful and pretty.

I had enough left overs to make myself a beautiful work in progress bag too.

And speaking of left overs, I played around with them too, and made three more slightly smaller work in progress bags – the one of on the right is the smallest and would be perfect for a sock knitter.  These need rehoming, as a girl doesn’t need *quite* this many beautiful bags.

And now all I am left with from two yards of beautiful fabric is this:

Oh, and a floor desperately in need of vacuuming.   What fun it was to spend a whole day sewing. I can’t remember the last time I did. But for now, I had better pick up those knitting needles!

Some sewing at last!

I’ve been busy at the sewing machine over the past few days, making the most of some pretty fabric and finishing off the work in progress bags I have orders for plus a few more.  I have also been working on an outfit each for the girls, although the fact they are incomplete didn’t stop me from working on something entirely different today.

Inspired by our library visit today, I took the opportunity to (finally) cut out the second and third library bags I got the fabric for several months ago.  I got one done too – it was one of those magic days where both girls slept and slept.  This bag is for me, I adore the fabric, and have enough to make myself a WIP bag which will be made tomorrow, as there is no time like the present!

Like the other library bag, I used a pattern made from an old cloth bag we had worn out, which I cut apart.  I added a patchwork panel and contrast of my own design.  The fabric is some lovely decorator weight Amy Bulter from her Nigella range. I totally adore it and am glad I have made something ‘useful’ from it. I love having the library books stored in the bags, as they girls books stay in them between visits, so I have an excuse for the bags staying out looking pretty all the time. 

We visit the library fortnightly on a Sunday, and today was our library day.  A while ago, a friend’s husband was bemoaning to me the pathetic collection of fly fishing books in the library and I pointed out that the section was approximately four times larger than the knitting section. It seems in recent months they have actually been buying some new knitting books though. I was able to get out these good old stitch dictionaries, as well as two new additions.

I have borrowed the Simply Baby book before, in fact the lovely knitted teddies I made were sourced from this book, and while I might not *use* any patterns from either book, it is lovely to flick through the patterns and admire them. 

I can see the days ahead taking shape – lots of finishing projects, secret Christmas knitting, and enjoying the spring sunshine before my marking contract tears me away from my life of leisure.

Gift Knitting 2

Despite the lack of evidence herein, I have been knitting. My Christmas knitting list is moving along nicely, with present #1 complete. See?

The guesses I had last week were socks, and Vintage Purls yarn. You guys know me too well 🙂  All that remains to be seen is a) who gets them b) the colours and c) the pattern.

With these done it was time to cast on for more gifts. So that is what I did.

The colours of this yarn are unbelievably gorgeous.  It was so tempting to leave them in just so you could enjoy them. But alas, once I started down this road, I feel duty bound to continue along it. And in that spirit, I also cast on this.

I am aiming to have the bulk of this knit by the time I start my marking contract next week.  Knitting time will be somewhat limited after that, right up until we go for our Christmas holiday.  So, I’d better head off and let those needles fly.


November 2009
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