Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Etsy, Etsy, Etsy, Etsy... I wanna be craaaafty! (think Rocky Horror if you're confused!)

Me and a few sewing buddies gather at Sniffy's house on Friday arvo's for a bit of a Chat, Sew (and eat) session. Little Man comes along, mooches about with the dog and the iPad, batts his eyelashes at the girls, who bring him lollipops and gingerbread biccies as payback.

Sniff's had to buy a new table to fit us all around. Some of us mend, some sew, some google dirty ditties on the iPad and sing them to the group (to those of you in the know, you'll guess who they are!)

The laminator has been in hot demand recently from the lovely Lisa, who makes the most fabulous themed Chairs upholstered in tea towels and is participating in this gorgeous event on Friday.

Lisa saw the placemats I was making on Friday and declared I should be selling on Etsy. I pooh-poohed the idea at first, but it lolled about in the back of my mind until I thought, bugger it, why not?

So you saw it here first, compadres. Partito Y Monito's Etsy shop.... nothing listed yet...(bit of a faff to get the wording right and all that, to be honest) but but watch this space.

Monday, May 30, 2011


A few little somethin' somethin's I've been working on....

...plus the pretty pink presents for Pretty Chloe were gifted on Sunday.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hot feet

Saturday morning in our house does not yet mean getting up with the sparrows to stand around a cold (and usually wet) sports field cheering on a team.

The boys are still young and there is no mini-midgets rugby readily available - that is what you do in NZ when you have boys and a rugby-mad husband.

However, we go to dancing. This is what you do when your mother was a music teacher and wants you to be confident performing (this is what she tells herself)

Far be it for anyone to accuse me of not encouraging the boys to embrace their inner Broadway star! They both have singing and dancing lessons, and Dom does Tap on Saturday mornings as an extra.

He's the only boy in both the tap and song/dance classes, and at the moment he doesn't care, so until he does, I'm going with it. He often gets to be the centrepiece (read STAR!) of the dance they do because of the 'only boy' factor. This fact does not escape him!

There are a couple of little boys in Charlie's group, and lots of little girlies in tutus! He is always first to put his hand up to sing into the microphone (just like his mummy!)

They can both sing beautifully in tune and have the confidence to stand up in front of friends and family to give an impromptu concert, so mission accomplished.

Even better is the fact that my darling husband is more than happy to take them and sit around with the other parents on a Saturday morn (the other parents being mostly Mums, a lot of whom constantly bang on about how well little Penelope is doing at school, so much more focused and talented than everyone else!)

He has his iPad, and his favourite coffee shop just down the road, and a bit of bonding time with the boys to alleviate the Golf Guilt that descends upon him most Sundays!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thermomix love...

I have a Thermomix.

When some people hear that, a curiously mocking grin lurks around their mouths (thinking, I suspect, "suburban housewife, too much time, too much money"). When some people hear, they look at me as if to say WTF is that?! It is a talking point, that's for sure.

Well it's a whizz bang, in your face, beautifully masterminded little bundle of awesomeness as far as I'm concerned! I LOVE it. I use it every day.

Knackers to your bloody store bought pesto, mayo, hollandaise sauce, salad dressing, jam, custard.....I make them all and they taste like proper! I'd never made any of those things from scratch before (because, quite frankly, they sounded like too much of a Bucking Fitch to be contemplated.)

No more caster or icing sugar for me! I mill my own. I could even mill whole wheat into flour. (but truly cannot be bothered going that far!) I made a cake in it last night for school lunches. It was mixed and in the oven in 5 minutes.

I hate kneading stuff. All that crapola about feeling the love in the dough... I hate the stuff sticking to my fingers!! Bread dough, including kneading, 2 minutes. Pasta dough, including kneading, 3 minutes.

Anyhoo....one of my faves is

Mushroom and Prawn Quinoa Risotto. Here's the recipe with or without TM.

Grate 50g Parmesan ((10 secs on Speed 9) - set aside

Chop 1/2 an onion and 2 cloves garlic ( 3 secs speed 7)

Add 25g Olive Oil, saute (2 mins, Speed 1, MC off)

add 1/4 cup of Arborio Rice and 3/4 cup Quinoa (whole cup of either if you prefer) and 100g Verjuice (or White Wine) Saute 2 mins (100 degrees, Reverse Speed 2)

Add  200g Swiss brown (or any) Mushrooms
*Add 2.5 cups Chicken Stock to Thermomix and cook 17mins 100 degrees, reverse Speed 1)

**heat 2.5 cups of Chicken Stock in microwave or saucepan till nearly boiling, add a half cup at a time to risotto, stirring constantly till absorbed.

Add 20 Frozen Raw Prawns in the last 2 mins of cooking. 1 min for Fresh/Thawed.

Season with Salt and Pepper, add the parmesan, rest for at least 5 mins before serving.

I add a bit of Goats Cheese into the serving dish at resting time, just dotting it into the top of the risotto. Also stir in Basil or Spinach leaves in the 5 mins resting time. Whatever you like really.

Pretty healthy, especially as it's mostly Quinoa, and delicioso!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not the terrible twos but...

My youngest child is undoubtedly charming and cute as a button. Shopkeepers give him free samples (one memorable moment at Queen Vic market with an oyster springs to mind ) and people smile indulgently at him.

The other day in Spotlight the lady at the fabric counter made some comment about what a nice little boy he was. "Do you think I'm beautiful?" he asks her while gazing into her eyes. "Yes, your very beautiful!", she exclaimed. "Is it my curls?", he asks winsomely with a little curved smile on his face, prompted cooing from all the ladies in the line. I roll my eyes but am secretly proud!

However, turning four bought a change in behaviour that I never experienced with my eldest  darling. He can turn from angel to feral in the drop of a hat. I had heard there is a testostorone surge at four and by god, it's surging in him!

Last night he was an angel until the last 15 minutes before bed when he turned into the antichrist. It's like he's got no control over what he's doing! Bedlam, then peace when he calmed down, having decided he'd better behave if he wanted any story at all, and sat in for the last 5 minutes.

The "Terrible Twos" were a little bit of an issue but the "F*&#$n Fours" are doing my head in!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Inferno Starblast Attack!

The biggest little boy is not 100%. Big vom in bed about 11.30pm. Neaty. Just when I'd caught up with all the washing I have a vomiter and a piddler in one night.

Day home from school today as has wicked cough as well. Now ensconced on couch with little brother, enraptured in Beyblade Metal Fusion, Beyblade in hand, ready to battle when the mood takes him.

Beyblades are the bane of my life. Basically a spinning top with interchangeable parts, they are the merchandise from a Japanese Anime TV series. God knows how many they've lost, ruddy things are small and adept at hiding under the fridge and suchlike. You collect them, then swap the parts around, if you fancy, to supposedly make your bey more powerful.

My children are not quiet ones that read and colour in. They are enthusiastic and animated action men! I have to banish the beyblades outside when battle commences (they have a plastic stadium to battle in - the bey that spins the longest wins) as the noise of them declaring their intent to Inferno Starblast Attack! or Upside Down Awesomeness! is enough to make me consume an entire bottle of vodka at one sitting.

There is a character on the show called Benkei who has the most annoying voice known to man (even more annoying than Dora The Explorer, and that's saying something)

But there's something strangely compelling about them. I quite like knowing all their strange little zodiac-based names and the show is all about values and morals so it's not a bad watch for the smalls.

Better than Ben 10 (had to stop them watching it as they kept fighting each other) but not as good as Shaun the Sheep (classic viewing for all!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

progress report...

dress  - pass

dishes - fail

Too much to do.....

After wondering earlier this week what sewing project I was going start which of the fifty unfinished projects I was going to complete, I am suddenly innnondated with things to do...with deadlines.

Charlie's little friend, whom I call Pretty Chloe, is having her birthday party on Saturday week. When I saw her Mum in the toy shop, I offered to make her a dress instead of opting for the My Little Pony. (Swift self-kick in the shin)

Kinder quilt for the trivia night. 24 little pictures to be drawn by 24 little kinder kiddies, printed onto printable fabric, choose, purchase remaining quilt fabric, cut, piece, baste, quilt, bind. (Big job, dreading it)

I've just signed up for Placemat Quilt Swap Round 6 which I adore doing and am looking forward to. I am going to have to make myself not start these until I've finished the dress though.

So, the plan of attack is...

1) make dress today after the gym (no fruiting around the cafes and shops afterwards wasting time)

2) placemats on the weekend

3) start kinder quilt drawings next week. Delegate the fabric buying.

Oh God! Have just remembered I have to plant the vege garden (only a little one) before the seedlings I bought 3 weeks ago have to be binned. This actually means I also have to pull up all the weeds and spread 3 bags of compost too...  (strangled "gah!" sound emerges from mouth)

Maybe all this activity will help me stop thinking about all the food I'm not supposed to be eating as my evil torturer trainer, Miranda is making me do a detox, starting today.

Hope Jason and the kids survive!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Comfort food

It's been getting cold in Melbourne so when my friend Tori gave me this recipe she ripped out of one of the weekend papers, it seemed the perfect thing to enjoy on a chilly evening, so I, once again, put off folding the washing and got down to the business of cooking!

LAMB AND MACARONI BAKE adapted from Neil Perry

75 ml EV Olive Oil (I probably used half of that)
2 large Onions, finely chopped
Sea salt / Black Pepper
500g Minced Lamb
can of Diced Tomatoes
Bay Leaf
500g cooked Macaroni
100g grated Gruyere
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat Oil over a low heat and cook onions, with a good pinch of salt, for  15 mins or so.

Add 500g Minced Lamb and turn up the heat 'til browned.

Add a can of Diced Tomatoes and a Bay Leaf, and enough water to cover it and cook for 30 mins. Liquid should be evaporated.

Meanwhile make the Bechamel Sauce.

40g Butter
1/2 cup Plain Flour
3 cups warm Milk
3 beaten Eggs
100g grated Gruyere
grated nutmeg
salt / pepper

Melt butter, stir in flour, gradually add warm milk, stirring constantly 'til thickened. Remove from heat and stir in rest of ingredients.

In a bowl, mix the macaroni with a third of the bechamel.

Place half the macaroni in an ovenproof dish, add lamb sauce, then top with the rest of the macaroni. mix half the remaining cheeses with the bechamel, pour over the top, then sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake for 20-30 mins, rest for 10.

It was Sen-bleedin'-sational!!

We all loved it. I even had it heated up for lunch today and it was just as good! Huge though...don't know how it will freeze but am going to try it. Would be great for a early dinner party with friends who have kids as they'd have to be pretty bloody fussy not to like it!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Hello, my name is Tanya and I am addicted to buying fabric....and cookbooks.

Every time I see some beautiful design or new collection on a blog or in a sewing book (ok, maybe it's all books, not just cookbooks) I buy I immediately have to go online and find it. I put it in my shopping basket and then have the agony of forcing myself to close the browser uttering..." you have enough at the moment....you have enough at the moment!"

I've just made a block for the Beehive sewing bee, for Katrina, in Anna Maria Horner voile. Do you know how many times I have been to Etsy, sourced the designs and solids that I like and then made myself not buy them? Now I've seen them in real life and actually TOUCHED them, I want them even badder!! (excuse the bad English)

I've already bought Donna Hay's new cookbook this morning.

I've been recording "Fast, Fresh, Simple" on the telly and writing (ok, scribbling illegibly) anything that takes my fancy down, which is turning out to be most of her recipes, so I thought it would save a) my hand; b) paper c) myself from insanity when I realize I can't read what I've written and have deleted the programme.

I recorded a Nigella marathon on the weekend....

God help me!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Extended Holiday over!

 God, it's been ages since I blogged! Now I have one in Grade 1 and one in 4 yr old Kinder, 2 full days to myself and thought it was about time I did a bit more crafting and a bit more Blogging.

Here's what I've been up to in the mean time...

Dom turned 6 in August - party at Sofia restaurant, his favourite. Very grown up! 
Star Wars ice-cream cake.

We took a week out to go skiing in Wanaka, New Zealand. Kids both in ski school, Charlie for the first time. Great holiday!!

 Charlie turned 4 in October - Harry Potter Party

Harry Potter himself came along! As it was made quite clear that I was required to dress up, I made McGonagall robes for myself that involved 4m of Green crushed velvet!

Quilt for Dom's Prep English teacher in December. 

Placemats for Dom's Prep French teacher in December.

 Back to NZ for my cousin Anna's wedding in January. Here are my parents!

 Fun in the apres-pool spa at Sarndra's, Auckland

In the jaws of the Great White! Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World, Auckland

Catch up with Cousin Ladene

Kinder quilt for Charlie's rest time. All the kinder groups had to be represented, not just his own Frogs group!
 Cot quilt for baby Lexi. When Dom found out Roxy was pregnant he gasped and said, "Roxy! Three kids! It's a dream come true!", hence the caption!

Back into the Beehive again.

We've now moved house too. Great spot, very safe and sewing area downstairs!