Saturday, 13 June 2015


I recently provided my family with an opportunity to extend their palate. Sometimes opportunities arise unintentionally (smoky, burnt flavours or exepected textures), but this one was planned.

Which actually means that I made a purchase in the freezer section of my favourite supermarket, Coles. Yes, you can see from the photo above that I 'cooked' chilli mussels.
Salmon on slow-roasted leeks, witlof and asparagus
Salmon on slow-roasted leeks, witlof and asparagus.
I don't cook a lot of seafood for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is very expensive. Unlike fruit and vegetables, it is not easy to farm your own fish or mussels, so there isn't an alternative to buying it.
Mixed seafood salad
 Secondly, I am not very good at cooking seafood (probably because I haven't had much practice because of the first reason!).

Seafood imported from Asia will often be on sale, but I choose not to purchase seafood that is not from Australia or New Zealand. Fish and other seafood from Asian nations is not something that I am comfortable with. I'd rather eat a lead pencil.
Australian Sustainable Seafood guide fish
Sustainable Fish (photo from Perth Now)
So, when Australian blue mussels in tomato and chilli sauce were on sale at Coles (half price!) I took the opportunity to buy enough to provide my family with a culinary experience.

I thought it went quite well.

Even when I discovered this in one of my mussels.
This poor little crab was the size of my smallest finger nail. Eli was particularly taken with it. 'He' was washed, dried and taken for news at school the next day!

Have you ever had any surprises in your food?

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

twirly whirly {quilt top using 8 fat quarters}

 This quilt top is so easy and so FAST! The best part? It uses eight fat quarters.

Each block is 25.25" (64cm) square. The quilt top measures approximately 50.5" (128cm) square.

Now, pinwheels can be constructed in a variety of different ways. I didn't reinvent the wheel. Rather, I used a technique for super fast pinwheels from The Missouri Star Quilt Co and upsized the blocks to fat quarter size.
Print from Saffron Craig's Bees Please range
I chose four fat quarters from Saffron Craig's Bees Please range in two different prints (two FQ's of each) and four fat quarters of a pink fabric from my stash.
A quilt this size is perfect as a lap quilt or a large baby quilt.

Let me show you how I did it. It is so simple

Trim your fat quarters so that they are all the same size. I chose to cut mine into 19" squares.
Place two FQ's right sides together (I used a print and a plain. These two fabrics will make one pinwheel, so select fabrics that either contrast or complement each other). Using a 1/4" seam, sew all the way around the outside.
Cut the sewn fabric square diagonally from corner to corner. This will yield four triangles.
Open each triangle and press seams towards the darkest fabric (I chose to press seams towards the print). Make sure the iron is on the dry setting (steam can distort the fabric). You should now have four half square triangles.
Arrange into a pinwheel configuration. Sew the half square triangles together in pairs. Press seams before sewing the two pairs together.
 Make three more pinwheel blocks.
Sew them together and you have a lovely pinwheel quilt top.
So, if you have some fat quarters that have been hanging around for a while, consider turning them into a super sized pinwheel quilt.

I'd love to see photos if you do. I'm sure they'll be better than mine!!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

tea towel additions

My mum moved to an aged care facility two months ago. As a family it was not entirely easy to make the decision - in partnership with mum - to move her to a facility. Once the decision was made it was over a year before a room became available.
There is a lot of time consuming tasks involved with moving into an aged care facility! For the first four weeks I devoted every spare moment to those tasks and went to bed each night exhausted.

Mum is now settled and our family is very grateful for the lovely staff and beautiful place that is now her home. I consider it a great blessing that mum is living where she is; it is very close to my sister and I and we are able to visit daily. We are thankful to know that she is cared for every day.
As my mum's health has declined, in particular her mobility, there are many things that I have learned about the ageing process. I have learned that it is difficult to grow older and to have a body that doesn't do what it was once able to do. I have learned that an individual's independence is important and losing it is more difficult that can be imagined. I have learned that children can brighten someone's day simply by being there. I have learned that when all is said and done, the gift of time is the most precious thing you can give to someone. A phone call or a visit means so much more than a tangible gift.

I like to think that my children have learned these things as well.

As my sister and I boxed up mum's belongings I came across mum's tea towels. You know how much I love tea towels!  I blogged about some beautiful additions to my collection here. I was delighted to find some linen tea towels that I remembered hanging on the handle of our oven when I was growing up. These are two that I particularly remember. Both would be over 30 years old - I remember spending some considerable time using them during dish duties!
I love linen tea towels and it brought me such joy to see them all flapping in the breeze on my clothes line.
Though they are worn and faded they are still wonderful at drying dishes!
Do you like tea towels? Do you display them or are you happy to use them?
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