Friday 27 March 2015

You & Me For Afternoon Tea!

 Well, here we are at the end of another working week, yet again wondering where the heck the time has gone. It's been an interrupted kind of week, so still no sewing finishes to show, but I thought I'd share some pics of the afternoon tea my Beloved Geek Boy and I hosted last Sunday ... cos we ALL like a good afternoon tea, right??!? :0)

GB's Mum has been struggling a little in the last little while and feeling a bit low ... her sister-in-law is in the last stages of cancer and she has recently found that one of her sisters' cancer has popped up somewhere else and the prognosis is not good ... so she is, understandably, a bit blue. So ... I thought a little change of scenery and a special afternoon tea might be a nice distraction for her. We opened the invitation to all of GB's family too, but with life being so busy, only one of his sisters, her hubby and kids were able to make it ... still a nice little gathering. :0)

Now ... I may grumble (like most of us!!) about the day-to-day meal preparation from time to time, but I do actually enjoy playing in the kitchen a bit, so afternoon teas and parties are a fun time to 'play' a little. Preparations began on Friday (My birthday!! How did I get tricked into working on my birthday?!?! A sneaky Mum! Tee! Hee! Hee!) when Mum and I dug out the recipe books ... she to do some market stall cooking and me to start prep for afternoon tea. There was then a bit more prep work on Saturday afternoon and a manic-panic on Sunday to get everything finished and looking pretty ... cos looking pretty is as important as taste, don't you think??

At last, all was ready and the table was set ...

A pretty tablecloth, lots of yummy home-made treats, some pretty plates and napkins (paper versions due to the gathering including small people!) and pretty flowers picked from the garden.

Mmmmmmmm !!! Home-made mini tart shells (Friday's efforts!) filled with caramel and home-made lemon butter, topped with a dollop of extra thick cream and some pretty mini meringues on the top tier. These tart shells are Mum's recipe and can be kept in the freezer ready for special occasions ... I think I will be making some more of these ... though a little tip from me to you is ... DON'T try to play with pastry on the hottest day of the month ... it's ... well ... CHALLENGING!!! :0)

Home-made sausage rolls ... YUMMO!! These are my 'invention'. The filling is the mixture from my Grandma's meatloaf recipe (a legend amongst our family and friends! Tee! Hee! Hee!) with a few little tweaks and rolled in lovely puff pastry ... a freezer staple in our household. They were so yummy that they were the first thing to disappear!! :0)

Another big hit was this cheese log. I got the recipe from one of my Friday night Sit N Sew friends ... SOOOOOOOO quick and simple to whip up when unexpected guests arrive for afternoon tea! There was also a plate of nibbles to mix and match with crackers and a dollop of my home-made chilli jam ... another hit for the day, especially with GB's brother-in-law who loves anything with chillies in ... the hotter the better! ... although my chilli jam just gives a hint of heat. 

There you have it ... afternoon tea with family at Edward House. A very nice, relaxing afternoon was had by all ... sitting at our lovely new table and looking out into our peaceful back garden. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon at all! :0)

If anyone is interested I might share one or more of these recipes on a future post ... if not, I'll just keep them to myself and INDULGE! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Hope you're all having a lovely week ... in theory we're nearing the end of our first month of autumn, but I think my birthday gift this year was to have an extra month of summer weather, cos it's been pretty warm hot, even here on top of our 'hill'. YAY! :0) I'm hoping, though, for the temps to be just a wee bit lower over the weekend so GB and I can play in the garden without melting ... it's time to dig over the vege patch and plant some goodies for winter crops ... and maybe some sweetpeas for their fragrance. If I'm VERY lucky, I might even squeeze in some sewing. :0) So what are YOU up to this weekend? Maybe you're going to have a yummy afternoon tea! :0)

Whatever you're up to, stay safe, be kind to yourself and enjoy the little things in life that make life so GOOD. :0) Til next time ...



PS. OPAMers ... it's almost THAT time of the month again, so make sure your sidebar lists are up-to-date and you email your final March tally through to my gorgeous Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg or me!! xx

Saturday 21 March 2015

Hello! Hello! Is Anybody Out There?!!

It's been a little while since I've popped in here again ... life sure gets busy, doesn't it?! There's been quite a bit happening in the Meares' Madhouse ... not much of which involved stitching! SIGH!! Weddings (not mine!! :0) ), trips to catch up with friends (YAY!) and birthdays (OK ... one was mine!! EEK!) as well as the usual crazy comings and goings. So I don't really have any progress or finishes pics to share with you ... so I thought I'd share a little decorating update. :0)

Do you remember last year (or the year before??? I've lost track!!) we rescued this old table ...

And refurbished it to look like this ...

It fitted into our old small dining room perfectly ... BUT ... then we moved into our lovely new dream house that was ... well ... BIGGER! Quite a LOT bigger, in fact, than our cosy cottage. :0) And since our new house IS quite a lot bigger, we seem to host quite a few gatherings parties and get-togethers and our rescued table just wasn't big enough. So when my Grandma gave us a house-warming gift, we decided to put it towards a new ... BIGGER ... dining table. We ordered it specially from the same company where we bought the chairs in the photo above, a local Toowoomba company ... we can recommend it. :0)  So now, this is what our dining room looks like ...

Yes, we are the proud owners of a very LONG table and some more chairs. :0) I know ... little things for some, but we creative types get excited over odd things! Tee! Hee! Hee! A few more chairs are still on our save-up-wish-list to have 10 chairs around our 10-seater table.

Do you like the pretty purple flowers from our garden? They're putting on a lovely show in the garden right now. I think they may be Mexican Sage ... but my gardening knowledge is somewhat limited ... I'm just as likely to tell you that the name of a plant is "the pink one" or "the yellow one". Tee! Hee! Hee! Any gardeners out there who can tell me?

Can you see that my little white iron table and chairs set has found a new home too?

Do you like my pretty tablecloth? Mum rescued it from a garage sale for me ... WOO! HOO! :0) It's got a few 'rust' spots on it that I haven't worked out how to remove yet (any tips, ladies??), but I just love the gorgeous crochet lace edge and those flowers are beautifully embroidered. With an afternoon tea with some of my Beloved Geek Boy's family tomorrow arvo, I thought I'd match my pretty tablecloth with our lovely new table ... along with some yummy home-made treats on pretty china and plates ... sounds like a good way to spend a Sunday arvo, really, don't you agree?! :0)

So that's it from me for now ... but I do have some sewing on my "To Do" list this week, so hopefully I'll be able to report back soon with some sewing news. I hope you're all having a lovely weekend and that you have something fun and relaxing on your Sunday agenda. Til next time ...



Monday 9 March 2015

Kitchen Magic & OPAM Winners!!

Here we are again ... Monday has rolled around ... I'm sure I've only just got over LAST Monday!! :0) But ... since we HAVE to be grown ups, we're muddling along into the start of the week. I thought I'd start by giving a little round up of Mum's and my kitchen magic brewing session. Our final tally was ...

... a batch of Tomato Jam, a batch of Plum Jam, a batch of Lemon Butter, a batch of Chilli Jam, a batch of Melon Ginger & Lemon Jam and a BIG batch of quince paste ... YUMMO!!!! It was so much fun to hit the kitchen with Mum and VERY satisfying to see all those colourful bottles of goodies lined up at the end of the day, knowing that not only do they taste great, we know exactly what's gone into them. :0)

After our big kitchen session on Saturday, Sunday was a bit more laid back ... a bit of gardening and a bit of work on a new project for our new dining table (which I haven't remembered to take a nice photo of yet - OOPS!!

 ... some blue and green spotty dotty fabric teamed with white ... a future table runner. :0) I promise to show you how it turns out. There's also been a bit of handstitching, but no finishes this weekend. Soon ... ! :0)

And speaking of finishes ... it's that time when my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg and I hop around blogland like crazed frogs on speed (THERE'S a mental picture for you! Tee! Hee! Hee!) to collect last-minute finishes for OPAM. Sweet Peg has already done the January prize draw, so make sure you  pop over to visit her to see if you're one of the lucky winners. And it's my turn to do the January draw. (By the way ... don't forget that we usually trade month about for doing the prize draw, so it's a good idea to visit us both or pop us on your list of blogs you follow.)

Firstly ... a big CONGRATS to everyone for their stitching efforts for the first two months of the year! There sure have been some flying needles and overworked machines to kick off 2015! :0) There were

366 Finishes for January; and

397 Finishes for February!

WOW!! Well done, gals! And even if you weren't on the finishes list, but you made some progress on some longer term projects ... then well done to you, too! Remember, OPAM is all about taking a bit of time out for yourself, a bit of time to recharge your batteries, a little bit of time to be creative ... all of which warms and nourishes our souls. :0) OK ... so February's winners are:


Congrats, gals! Drop me an email with your snail mail address and there will be a little surprise coming your way in the mail ... as soon as I get myself organised! :0)

Righto ... I'd better toodle off and do something about dinner ... my Beloved Geek Boy and I are off to study tonight. Hope your week is off to a fantastic start and that it continues in the same pattern. Til next time ...



Saturday 7 March 2015

Autumn Days ... !!

G'day to all of you, my blogging buddies! Hope you're all having a great start to your weekend as we fall into fall ... or autumn as we here in Australia refer to it. :0) The days, weeks and YEAR seem to be whizzing by so fast that I just don't seem to be able to keep up ... or perhaps it's because we're trying to cram so much into our weeks that I lose track of where I'm up to! :0)

So here we are in March ... the first month of autumn ... my birthday month! EEK! How did that happen?! Didn't I just have a birthday?! :0P It also means that Sweet Peg and I have been doing the final blog-hopping to collect everyone's OPAM finishes for February and we're just about ready to do the double-whammy prize draw for January and February ... stay tuned to both blogs in the next couple of days! :0) Can I say, you OPAM gals have started the year with a blast of sewing ...  there were 394 finishes for February - WOO! HOO! Well done! Let's see if we can beat that tally in March! :0)

Now ... there hasn't been a LOT of sewing happening here in the last couple of weeks due to moving my folks in and getting us all settled, just one pinwheel table runner for a wedding gift ... which I forgot to take a photo of - OOPS!! After two and a bit weeks, we're all bumping along together pretty nicely, especially since we re-shuffled our sitting room to bring Mum and Dad's lounge suite and TV in from the garage where their stuff is stored, to set up a lounge room for them ...

Dad happily disappeared into this 'cave' last weekend to watch motor racing ... I think he enjoyed not only having his own chair to sit in, but also having control of the remote! :0) And in the evenings, we can now have two different 'viewings' - just like a cinema :0) ... it's definitely helping to keep the peace and gives each couple a space to retreat to.

A nice side-effect of having Mum and Dad living with us is that I have company in the kitchen. :0) Not only is Mum sharing the meal cooking chores, today we've been making the most of some fresh produce that we were able to buy at lower prices at the local fruit shop this week, as the produce was just a little past its best ... aren't we all some days! Tee! Hee! Hee! So far today, Mum and I have made ...

Melon, Ginger and Lemon jam, Plum jam and Chilli jam (my fingertips are still burning from THAT enterprise!!) Meanwhile, we have plans to make some Lemon Butter and I've got the slow cooker simmering away with my first ever batch of Quince Paste ... we inherited a quince tree with our new house (after someone finally told us what the 'furry apples' really were!!) so we Googled a recipe and we're experimenting. :0) It's fun to experiment in the kitchen when you have company to chat to ... and we'll also enjoy having yummy spreads for our breakfasts and snacks for a while. :0)

What are YOU up to this weekend? Are you being a Kitchen Goddess like Mum and me, or are you being a Sewing Goddess and playing with fabric and thread? Whatever you're up to, I hope you're enjoying the activity and the company. :0) I'm off to have a cuppa while the Quince Paste continues its epic bubbling ... I'll be back in a couple of days to share my part of the OPAM double-whammy prize draw, so stay tuned! :0) Til next time ...



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