31 Mar 2010

Les gâteaux de papillon - { Butterfly cakes }

What a magic long weekend we had at Mooloolaba! My hubby smashed his personal best time in the triathlon (yes, there were tears), we took poppet to Underwater World and I started my knitting!!! I am a third of the way through the back piece and although for you experienced knitters this must sound tiresomely slow...it is quite an achievement for me. I must admit the first half of the weekend was spent untangling the delicious Debbie Bliss wool that my dear little bébé had delight in playing kitten with. Now just trying to find my groove again with the needles. There is something rather relaxing about that gentle click, clack, click.

Today called for butterfly cakes. These lovelies were a regular in my house in all manner of guises...chocolate being my favourite. My gorgeous Mum used to make the most luscious mock cream with what seemed like the ingredients found in Mother Hubbard's cupboard. It never ceased to amaze me how she could cajole the whisper of sugar, butter, milk and boiling water into a delightful froth enough to generously fill a whole batch of patty cakes. On that note, my Mum has strictly forbidden the use of the term "cup cake"! She insists they be called by their traditional name hence being respectful to the Nana who taught her to make them. Patty cakes it is then!
The mock cream however, I always seem to curdle. In a rush no doubt. I replaced Mum's mock cream with raspberry jam and fresh double cream. When the saying in our house is "cream makes the world go round" you can't go wrong. In fact, we have a saying about butter too...but that's another post.

26 Mar 2010

Le Début - { The Beginning }

Ah, the beginning of something new! I am the queen of preparing for a new project...finding the perfect thing to make, kitting myself out with some new tools and materials, making myself a cup of tea and snuggling down into a comfy chair....and....is that the washing machine finishing I can hear? Yes, it is true. I am super at preparing for things but a little shabby at getting started and worst of all...finishing them. Not this time! It is time to challenge this little black duck and complete something that pushes me out of my comfort zone...and maybe grow a little in the process.

I haven't knitted since I was a braces wearing (teeth, that is), spiky fringe and poodle perm donning (oooh, scary I know!), didn't need a bra til grade 10, teenager. Many a scarf were made. Correction, begun but never finished. And one really big itchy jumper that my beautiful Mum took over in the end to put me (and possibly her) out of misery. With the recommendation of the gorgeous Corrie at Retro Mummy I have decided to tackle a simple little Debbie Bliss cardigan for poppet. Mum has given the go ahead. She perused the pattern and has claimed it looks do-able...for me. I know she wouldn't lie because if all goes pear shaped she knows who will be donning her Wonder Woman cape and coming to the rescue! Pattern, check...yummy wool...check. Now to find that perfect spot to start!

We are off to the Sunny Coast today so that my lovely man can compete in the Mooloolaba Triathlon...talk about completing something! Whoa, what an accomplishment. It ain't pretty though as I blubber not only for him but for each and every heart wrenching soul that runs past in that final leg with nothing moving their tired pins along but sheer determination and persistence. If this weekend doesn't provide inspiration for my little knitting project nothing will. I have packed the pattern, my needles and one ball of wool (let's not get too ambitious!) to begin with. Bang...and they're off and racing!

24 Mar 2010

Le bébé nouveau - { The new baby }

Nothing is so delicious as a new baby! I like to think that each new little soul that enters our world will change it in someway no matter how small for the better. Friends of ours have recently welcomed their second daughter into the world and in order to celebrate this delightful occasion I have made a few goodies. A pair of Amy Butler bloomers (who can resist a ruffly little bottom...especially filled with a fat cloth nappy!) and matching singlet. I sewed the buttons on those yo-yos within an inch of their lives so that inquisitive little fingers can't pry them off.

And two little cloth dolly sisters. One for the newborn and the other for big sister to help ease her into her new role. I used the "Mae" pattern from Bit of Whimsy Dolls . A quick card, my traditional brown paper wrapping with a gorgeous ribbon and flower and all is done. Now all that is left to do is get clucky!!

22 Mar 2010

Tarte aux Pommes - {Apple Tart}

With a surplus of apples clogging up my crisper I had baking on my mind. Monday needs baking to make me feel like the cogs of family life are turning back in their weekday rhythm. I love the weekend...chances to dawdle, ponder and discover, but at the beginning of the week I need that familiar hum of the oven fan to gently coerce me back to the ground. Today's delight plucked straight from an epic tome "Food of France" was Tarte aux Pommes. Believe it or not, the French (beautiful souls that they are) have a patron saint, Saint Honoré, to protect the art of patisserie! With this gentle guide whispering encouragement and Mozart playing gently in the background I followed the recipe methodically. A few hours (and a few dozen storybooks and nappy changes!) later I had a perfect tart cooling on my Great Nana's wire rack. Pastry and creme patissiére made from scratch! I must admit I was (and still am) a little bit chuffed.

Ladurée eat your heart out!

21 Mar 2010

Dimanche - { Sunday }

If there is ever a favourite time of the week for me...it has to be Sunday morning! In the car early for a trip to the Chandler Markets to hunt out some treasures. Then an ample serving of delicious Eggs Bennie and a hot coffee at our Paddington café (not really ours...but one we've decided to claim as our own). Poppet delights in the sights and sounds of the flea market and often is the proud recipient of said treasures. Today's find...a vintage metal child's lawnmower! Wait for it...for two dollars!!! I would have paid a lot more for such a beautifully kept item but the victory is all the more sweet when it's a bargain too!

Hubby and I have made a conscious effort to avoid overly commercial toys and provide Bijou with simple toys that encourage that wonder of the human psyche...imagination. One, I must say is already blossoming beautifully! Yes, she still has toys that sing and flash but they are tempered with more gentle, hand crafted toys. We'd love her to have a little slice of our childhoods when we revelled in long days outside conjuring up games long forgotten but at the time, as magical as a dream. Our wish for her...blanket cubbies, building go-carts, dressing up as anyone or anything she imagines, making mud pies, playing spotlight, watching ants and wondering why, where ....we wish for her to dream!

18 Mar 2010

Il fait du vent - {It is windy}

It is blowing a gale in Brissie at the moment and my poppet's door has a knack of slamming just as she peacefully drifts off to sleep. The makeshift solution of two pairs of Daddy's socks keeping the door slightly ajar has gone on long enough!

Introducing Olivier!! His friends call him Olly but we've only just met so I wouldn't presume to be so informal. Using the gorgeous owl pattern by Abigail Patner Glassenberg of While She Naps from the Softies book I whipped him up in a jiffy! I'm sure if he could talk.....or when he talks (I still haven't quite let go of the notion that toys come to life at night time) he will tell the nearby Aussie vintage teddies in heavily accented English that, "only ze French man could wear ze Heather Bailey Pop Garden with such panache!"

Here he is, pride of place! Bijou just adores him and the house has been filled all afternoon with a delightful cacophony of "wot dat" ("what's that" for those who don't speak Bijou-ese) at a variety of speeds, pitches and volumes with him tucked firmly under her little wing. Mummy bliss!