Monday, 28 January 2008


I belong to a lovely, blogging community called Small Is Beautiful. This community is facilitated by two special souls ~ Rachelle Mee~Chapman from Magpie~Girl and Jen Lemen.

The Small Is Beautiful manifesto states
We believe stories are valuable, no matter how many people read them.
We believe following your passion is more important that watching your site meter.
We believe in the handmade, the first try, the small start, and the good effort.
We believe that small is beautiful.

Rachelle has asked that we submit our favourite seven posts from 2007.
in the spirit of the manifesto,
in no particular order
and with some shyness
I'm listing these posts, that come from the heart, which I wrote last year:

Aside from my humble contribution, you will find, if you click on Rachelle's link, that there is a treasury of posts, for you to read and savour, submitted by others members of the Small Is Beautiful community.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

I'm Still Here

I'm still here, taking things slowly in the summer heat.
I've been teaching myself to knit properly. I'm making a top down cardigan ~ the Cavern Cardi from CosmicPluto Knits. It's a case of trial and error ~ lots of errors! Knitting is a very different process from crochet (all those live stitches, crumbs) but I'm determined to get better ~ there are so many gorgeous patterns out there that I'd like to be able to knit up.
And when I require effortless, soothing handiwork I turn to the giant granny blanket I've been making.
Here's Molly, giving the blanket her stamp of approval:

I've been staying close to home, in part, to keep my garden going. After a slow start it has been a hot Summer and lots of the plants in my garden have scorched foliage. This sweet little geranium, that I struck from a cutting last year, now has lots of brown, crispy leaves. I'm giving it lots of TLC, and grey water, to bring it back.

I did brave the weather yesterday, however, and drove down South to catch up with friends. We had tea and yummy, organic cake at Balingup Bronze Gallery, and a delicious home made lunch of pumpkin and baked ricotta pasta ~ thankyou Felicity!

Friday, 18 January 2008

Hot Chocolate, Cacti And Crochet

I've just returned from a lightening visit to the South West. I went, with my baby sister, to visit my older sister and her family. It was lovely, as my older sis loves to spoil. She has green thumbs too ~ look at her gorgeous cactus:

Speaking of being spoilt, we went out to lunch at Xanadu (my family are involved with the winery) which was absolutely delicious. I was too focussed on eating and drinking to take many photographs (I had black bean crusted lamb rump with eggplant and woodear mushroom salad ...mmm mmm mmm.. and divinely dry champagne) but I did take a picture at the very end of the meal. Here it is ~ a snap of hot chocolate with the Xanadu dragon swirled into it:

I wish I could have fitted in the dessert plate ~ a yummy array of parfait, pannnacotta, vanilla bean tart and semillon, but I was way too full. Next time. Definitely.

We also went out for a scrumptious lunch at the Natural Temptation Cafe in Bunbury, where my big sister bought me a copy of their First Temptations vegetarian cook book. (See, spoiling!) Now I'm back at home I'm looking forward to getting into my kitchen and trying out some of the recipes. I've just finished making a scalloped pot holder too, which will come in handy if I can bear to get it dirty.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Ring A Rosy Tea Cosy

After lots of crocheting over the holidays, I posted off my Ravelry Aussie Tea Cosy Swap package about a week ago. Here's a picture of the tea cosy that I made and two dishcloths/drip catchers that I also crocheted:

The pattern for the tea cosy body came from crochetroo's gorgeous etsy shop. I used a pattern from the July/August 2007 edition of Crochet Today! to make the roses, embellishing the flowers with a few crystal beads, that you can just see in the following shot:

The tea cosy ended up being really flabby at the sides, where the openings for the handle and spout were, so I edged the openings by single crocheting (US terms) tightly through two rows with a 3.5 mm hook. You can see the edging here:

...and here are some more detailed shots of the one of the cloths I crocheted, a lacy dishcloth:

I really enjoyed participating in the swap. The organisation was great, the secrecy made it fun, my partner (alimachenmachen) was very appreciative and it's been wonderful watching as everybody's posted pictures of the tea cosies they've received. There are some beauties amongst them too which, if you belong to Ravelry, can be seen in this this thread. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


First of all, on behalf of my toes, I'd like to express appreciation to everybody who posted admiring comments about them. Thank you.

Secondly, has anyone else noticed that they have become a little wider around the middle since Christmas? I have developed a muffin top and it is not a good look. Consequently, I've been doing a little research on weight loss over the net and have just bought a book, recommended on the SARK forum (a favourite community of mine), called French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. I've read about a quarter of the book so far, and I love it! It has a great philosophy ~ savour food, cook seasonally, eat chocolate, drink wine (hooray!) ~ and the recipes are mouthwatering. So, in the spirit of Mme Guiliano's work, I have made myself a simple meal of grilled fish and caprese salad for tonight's meal, using basil and tumbler tomatoes from my garden. What could be fresher?

Incidentally, in October, my tumbler tomato plant looked like this:

(I put it in a hanging basket to keep the snails away.)

...and it now looks like this:

I am really looking forward to trialling some of the recipes in French Women Don't Get Fat. There are some posted on the website, by the way, that sound delicious.
Bon appetit!

Friday, 4 January 2008

Party Toes And Pavlova

Ladies and gentlemen,
may I present,
for your admiration and astonishment,

Isn't it pretty?
This happened on a day of girly bonding with my sister. We also went op~shopping, post Christmas sales shopping and lunching, where we shared an enormous plate of lemon pepper calamari. Mmm mmm mmm.

My butterfly embellished toes were supposed to have their debut at a New Years Eve party, but I didn't end up going ~ I find great big parties hard work (although I am always glad that my more extroverted friends invite me to them.) I had a small, family New Year instead. We drank champagne and sang Auld Lang Syne around the piano. It was nice.

In my last blog post I wrote about a pavlova I baked for Christmas and Lisamoon requested the recipe (and also said that she'd like to eat it face first, with no fork or spoon, which tickled me.)
Lisa, here it is:

Meringue Base:
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup castor sugar
2 tsps cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
300 ml whipping cream
3 very ripe passionfruit
approximately 50 grams milk chocolate

Preheat oven to 180 C.
Beat egg whites and salt until peaks form. Add castor sugar gradually as meringue becomes shiny. Separately, mix cornflour with vinegar and vanilla essence, and then add to meringue until it disappears. "Stick" a circle of baking paper, with a few drops of water, onto a platter (a 30 cm quiche dish should do nicely.) Pile the mixture onto the circle, and smooth sides and top. Put into oven and reduce heat to 150 C. Cook for 80 minutes. Turn oven off and leave pavlova to cool inside.
An hour before serving, cover meringue with whipped cream, passionfruit pulp, strawberries and chocolate shavings. (I used a potato peeler to shave the chocolate.) Putting the topping on well before eating lets the flavours of the fruit develop and also lets the cream soak into the meringue directly beneath it, making it soft and voluptuous.

This is all in Australian cooking terminology. If this presents problems please let me know or you might like to check out this conversion chart. I'd love to know if anyone has a go!