COUSIN CONNECT


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Saturday, 26 December 2009

OUR CLAYTONS DOG


Now that our neighbour will be moving next month, I have to admit to being rather sad if they take their little dog with them. Bella is the most lovable animal, and spends quite a lot of time at our house. YOu could say she is part of the family, and our cat Taliesin has accepted her as well, which is a big deal for him.

She is on a cane chair that was part of the set, sold in garage sale (mentioned in the previous post).
I am tempted to ask if she can stay with us, and suppose there is no harm in asking.

GARAGE SALE FIND



Our neighbour had a garage sale a few weeks ago, and we went over for a browse.
There was a lounge suite for sale and my husband thought that it would look good in our sun room (at the back of the house and is a wonderful spot to relax, plus I have my craft room there as well).
So we made an offer, which he accepted, and then decided to put in our old cane suite in the hope that we could recoup some cost. Lucky for us, it was sold and the comfy lounge looks as though it was meant for the room.

GARDEN PRODUCE



For my lunch today, I enjoyed some Lychees and a Mango from our garden. Everything is organically grown, and the taste is all the sweeeter when you have grown your foods from scratch.

The mangoes in the front of the picture are Kensington Pride, which I may be biased, but have a wonderful taste. Last year, the biggest fruit that we picked off the tree weighed in around 800grams, and my husband Michael and I shared it between us.

The mango crop has been better than expected, given the lack of rain over the past 3 months, so we are thankful for what we have on the trees.

Same goes for Lychees - I had been feeding the tree and giving it extra water, and managed to cover the fruit just as it started ripening, so that the birds could leave me some.

Should mention a good blog that I checked out this morning called Down to Earth .I was listening to Radio National yesterday morning and Anthony Fennell, the presenter, was interviewing the lady who runs the blog.
The blog is very well presented and has a huge following, so check it out.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

CROSS STITCH PROJECTS

I am making inroads into my UFO pile in my craft cupboard, and quite pleased that 2 projects have been completed (framing still to be done).

The smaller one is one of the many patterns that form part of a Cross Stitch Calendar which features a pattern for each day.


The other project is of a Japanese Kimono - this was a free pattern from Annette Eriksson which I received when I purchased a Chart from her. Lovely colours.


My resistance level was a bit low yesterday, as I spent a few hours on Ebay and managed to get more kits and charts. There really is a great selection available and I figured that even with the postage added, I am still getting good bargains.
So over the next few weeks, the goodies should start arriving.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

HISTORICAL FICTION

On my last visit to my local library, came across this series and have just finished Book One - Emperor by Stephen Baxter.
The series is called TIME'S TAPESTRY, and starts with the Prologue at 4 BC - the story then follows on with the Prophecy of Nectovelin and the return of the Romans to Britain AD 43-70.
Gave me a good insight in the early history of Britain and the Romans. Especially liked the descriptions of how Hadrian's wall came about. All of this is interspersed with the people that are connected to the Prophecy.
Next book is called CONQUEROR and is in the time period 1066.
There are 4 books in the series and looking forward to the others.

Every so often I have a browse through different websites after putting in phrases etc. into Google. Historical fiction lists was the last one I used, and came across a site called Historical Fiction Network, which then has links to other sites.
After reading one of my favourite publications, Historical Novels Review, I requested an inter-library loan on a book by Sarah JOhnson called Historical Fiction, and have been able to get a copy.
Hoping that I may get it before Christmas, but if not, good reading for the New Year.
The only drawback in finding other sites, is that my TBR list is growing so much, that I would have to read a book a day for years, just to get through it. What a great thought though.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

PRUNE AND BRAN MUFFINS

This recipe has been adapted to suit Low GI requirements. My mother found this recipe sometime back and recommended that I try. Since then, the muffins have become one of my favourites - and they also freeze well.
Even my husband likes the taste!!

Ingredients
1 cup Natural All Bran (I use the breakfast cereal All Bran)
1 cup Boiling water
1 cup Pitted prunes (chopped)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil (Grapeseed or Rice Bran if you prefer) - I use 1/3 cup of oil
2 eggs beaten (recipe said 1, but 2 eggs make a better mixture)
1 cup SR Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder

Method
Soak bran with boiling water - stand for 40 minutes (by then the mixture is cool)

Stir prunes and sugar into bran mixture. Add oil and egg mixture. Mix well.
(think this is the secret. Bran sets so mix the egg and oil mixture into it very well).

Fold into this, the sifted flour until just combined.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes - cool.
Makes 8.

I use a large 6 hole muffin pan when I make these muffins.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

HISTORICAL READING CHALLENGE

When I read the post on The Royal Reviews
knew that I would participate. Historical fiction is becoming my favourite genre, maybe since subscribing to the Historical Novels Society magazine and browsing through their site as well.

At this point in time these are the books that I have chosen to read:

GALWAY BAY by Mary Pat Kelly
ANNETTE VALLON by James Tipton
SIGNORA DA VINCI by Robin Maxwell
THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER - Kathleen Kent
THE HIDDEN DIARY OF MARIE ANTOINETTE - Carolly Erickson
THE VIRGIN QUEEN'S DAUGHTER - Ella March Chase
THE LAST BOLEYN - Karen Harper
THE POYSON GARDEN - Karen Harper
THE THORN MAZE - Karen Harper
THE BORGIA BRIDE - Keanne Kalogridis
BOUDICA - DREAMING THE BULL by Manda Scott
THE PLANTAGENET SAGA - 12 books in all and I am up to the 4th Book

Saturday, 28 November 2009

BANANA BREAD RECIPE

I admit to having tried quite a few recipes for Banana Cake/Banana Bread etc.

Whilst browsing through a few blogs, came across this site called Little Bird Big City
The author of the blog says that this recipe has been handed down through generations etc. So yesterday as I had a few ripe bananas in the fridge, thought why not.
Cooked nicely and had a slice with my cup of tea yesterday afternoon.

Very nice - good texture and will definitely make again.

THE DEVLIN DIARY by Christi Phillips

Have just finished reading this book and loved it. (probably helps that I enjoy Historical Fiction).
There were so many topics - all of interest to the story and I felt quite comfortable with the period in history and the characters.
One of the other recent books that I have read (part of a series)is Dark Angels
which is set in the same time frame - Restoration England.

Eventhough you are shown the past and present - it does not detract from the story.
You also get a good feel for what it must have been like for a woman doctor (physic) in this period - the prejudice by the men and general public.
Good insight into medical conditions and how the treatments were administered. Charles the Second was very liberal in transmitting the "clap" to his mistresses.

The author also brought Cambridge alive and the politics and jealousy in the academic world.
Want to read Phillips" other book now - The Rossette Letter.

BOLD - 8 Nov 2009


BOLD - 8 Nov 2009
Originally uploaded by emerging artist2008

BLUE - 27 Nov 2009


BLUE - 27 Nov 2009
Originally uploaded by emerging artist2008

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA - 27 Nov 2009


SMILE FOR THE CAMERA - 27 Nov 2009
Originally uploaded by emerging artist2008

Have had the background card languishing on my desk - from an old greeting card. Hopefully the other images bring the composition all together.

HEART STRINGS - 27 Nov 2009


HEART STRINGS - 27 Nov 2009
Originally uploaded by emerging artist2008

KISSABLE - 27 Nov 2009


KISSABLE - 27 Nov 2009
Originally uploaded by emerging artist2008

SUSHI - 28 Nov 2009


SUSHI - 28 Nov 2009
Originally uploaded by emerging artist2008

Feels good to be making cards again and getting the creative juices running.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

COZY LIBRARY

One of my favourite genre's in reading is Historical fiction, and I have been working my way through one of the Jean Plaidy series - Plantagent Series. Up to Book 4 so far, and really enjoying the style of writing, the historical figures mentioned and the settings.
Whilst browsing through a few of the blogs that I follow, I followed onto one of the links and found this site for Cozy Library

If you like mysteries and always on the lookout for new titles, then check out their lists of books. You can also subscribe to their newsletter.

BOOK GROUP READING SCHEDULE FOR 2010

At the last meeting of our book group (Burrum Fillys), I presented to the ladies, the books that we will be reading next year. (A previous post listed the titles/authors).
Each year I rack my brains as to how the reading list will be presented, and this is what I came up with:




There are 4 Canvases that I painted, and then affixed a small cigar tin to the front. The tin has been painted as well, with images on the front and inside cover.
3 cards inside the tin, list out the book titles/authors/month.






As I was unable to find an easel size to fit the canvas, my husband made a small wedge, which is glued to the back.



Presentation wise, I decorated brown paper bags, and a canvas was placed in each of them - small tag at the handle lists the dates of the meetings.



Thursday, 19 November 2009

CREWEL WORLD by Monica Ferris

First in the series and the book has a free needlepoint pattern at the end of the book.
Betsy Devonshire comes to Excelsior to visit her sister, Margaret, who owns the shop, Crewel World. But Margaret is murdered and no one can think of a reason why.
Good light read.

Goodreads | search results for "Crewel World" (showing 1-4 of 4 books)

Goodreads | search results for "Crewel World" (showing 1-4 of 4 books)

Goodreads | Trisha's review of Home to Big Stone Gap

Goodreads | Trisha's review of Home to Big Stone Gap

THE SPICE BOX by Lou Jane TEMPLE

The Spice Box (Spice Box Mystery, Book 1) The Spice Box by Lou Jane Temple


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An historical mystery - with authentic recipes of 19th century New York city.
This is the 1st Spice Box mystery - Bridget Heaney, an Irish orphan gets a job as cook in one of the "big houses" in New York.
But on her first day, she discovers a dead body in the pantry - it is her employer's son, who disappeared a few days before she arrived at the house.
Bridget sets out to solve the murder, and also track down her sister,who disappeared some years back.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, 8 November 2009

GLUTEN FREE RECIPES

I have just finished reading a very inspirational book - GLUTEN FREE GIRL by Shauna James AHERN (which I bought through Amazon). (also follow her blog).
Her style of writing got me thinking about food in general, and how it would be to eat gluten free.
Since my sister was diagnosed with celiac disease, I have become interested in the foods that make up their diet.
One of the brands here in Australia is Orgran, and they put out a magazine, every 3 months called Everyday Health, which contains wonderful recipes and articles dealing with this health problem.
This morning I made up a batch of biscuits (or cookies if you are in the States) and just had to try one of them. Delicious.
So here is the recipe from the Magazine - Issue 16 Vol1/2009. The recipe is by Yvonne Voorthuizen, who has compiled 3 recipe books now and this happened after trying to come up with meals for her husband, who was diagnoised withCoeliac Disease about 11 years ago.

BUTTERNUT BISCUITS

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons soft butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 cup castor sugar
1 1/2 cups Orgran Self Raising Flour
1 cup coconut
1 tablespoon milk
Dash of vanilla essence

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line trays with baking paper.
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence. Add the egg and golden syrup.
Fold in the coconut, flour and milk
Drop teaspoons of the mixture onto the trays,using it all.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

I found that I had to cook for a bit longer, and this depends on your oven.
Also this made 2 1/2 trays of biscuits.

Friday, 6 November 2009

PROTEAS IN MY GARDEN

I have been enjoying reading my books since the last post, plus catching up with some cooking.
One of the books that I got from the library - DARK ANGELS by Karleen Koen, is proving to be a wonderful story. I have been able to get a copy of this book through the BOOKMOOCH site, as well as one of the others in the series.
The story is set in England in the era of Charles the 2nd and I would recommend this author to anyone who loves reading historical fiction.

The protea bushes that I have in the garden are prolific growers - must love the sand and I was able to pick a few to bring into the house

a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_-l6Z07q4VFM/SvN65rq3o6I/AAAAAAAAAsY/cgw8dJBmXNU/s1600-h/DSC_0011.JPG">


Not the best of photos, but will give a glimpse of the flowers.

One of the orchids has flowers as well - think it is called Dancing Lady



Whilst walking around the garden, the chickens had to join in as well. We have 11 at the moment - 3 Rhode Island Reds, 5 Black Australorps, and 3 Lohmann Browns and here are a couple of photos of them




There is nothing to compare to fresh free range eggs, and you would never go back to shop bought eggs after tasting these. Lovely rich yellow yolks.

I may just get back to my book now.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

YANDINA





Our last stop on the trip was to the Ginger Factory at Yandina. Anyone that loves ginger, this is the place to stock up on your supplies.
We all headed for the shop to get the big bags of ginger pieces - these are 1kg bags of factory seconds - just $12.95.
As I use this a lot in my baking, as well as mixing with my fruits and nuts as a nibble mix, well worth it.
Also indulged in a bag of Chocolate Coated Ginger Pieces (Dark Chocolate); a jar of Chilli and ginger mustard and a jar of Crushed Ginger.

Always on the lookout for one of my favourite soaps as well - Lemon Myrtle, and one of the shops there - Traditional Herbs and Scents had a great range of the products.

I have a small Lemon Myrtle tree growing, and prefer to use the leaves in my cooking instead of a Bay Leaf. The leaves have a lovely lemon taste and smell and you can also crush the leaves and infuse to make a tea.



This was our last stop for the day, and it was back on the bus for our journey home.
The bus made good time and we arrived back just before 5.30pm. (the bus had left at 7.00am).

MONTVILLE

Another shop I found, called PRESENT, lured me in when I saw some japanese dolls.

These in fact are KIMMIDOLLS and are collectors pieces. I had never seen them in our area before, so with my love of things oriental, that was it.

There is a website that you can check out for the entire range of this merchandise, and the apparently, some of the pieces are only out for a certain time period, I think 3 months, then other are added.

www.kimmidoll.com

I purchased MOMOKO - 'Peace" and the wording on the box says:

My spirit strengthens and brings prosperity.
You share my spirit by always advocating and promoting peace.
Embrace my spirit, use its power to build strength, promote unity, and bring prosperity.

YUKO - 'Affectionate'

My spirit is loving and warm.
By living the love you feel, you share my spirit. Show your affection in the warmth of your embrace and in the sincerity of your words, and you will know the true joy of living.

KICHI - 'Lucky'

My spirit is curious and adventurous.
By trying new things and challenging yourself, you release my spirit.
Discover the power of my spirit to open up new possibilities and greater opportunities.


Even with the time we had there, still did not get to visit some of the places; maybe next time.
Our next leg of the journey was down the range and to visit the Ginger Factory at Yandina.

Here is a photo, taken in the bus, of Anita and Sue.

MONTVILLE TO YANDINA


After only a short time on the bus, we arrived at Montville where we could spend more time, have some lunch and look at the shops etc.

Montville, being on the Blackall Ranges, has great scenic outlooks and you can see the Sunshine Coast quite clearly. Lots to tempt us, but we were in need of refreshments, so found the bakery and had lunch





That's me in the Red.

We all had to visit a shop called Chocolate Country - how could you resist not buying something from there

KENILWORTH TO MALENY

The road from Kenilworth to Maleny passes through beautiful scenery, and it is disturbing that the Queensland Government, in its wisdom (!!!!) is adamant that a dam will be built in the Gympie region, in effect damming the Mary River. Prime dairy farminig country, as well as other farming industries and the people are up in arms. All supposedly to be able to provide water for South East Queensland, mainly Brisbane - in other words so that the people of Brisbane can flush their toilets.

Has the Government factored into their equation where the food will now be grown if this dam is given the approval by the Federal Government.

Anyway, our next stop was Maleny - very community minded town, with lots of arts/crafts and once again lovely food.
As we had only just over half an hour, it was a short look around, but I did manage to enjoy an organic ice cream - Fig and Almond (DELICIOUS. Whilst browsing through the shop windows, came across some books in a stand outside one of the Charity Shops.

Can't resist books and I found a miniature book of poetry - Selected Verse of Henry LAWSON


THE LITTLE WORLD OF ELVES & FAIRIES - An anthology of Verse with illustrations by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite.

The preface says that Ida Rentoul was born in Melbourne Australia in 1888. Her first book, Mollie's Bunyip, was published when she was the grand old age of sixteen and was quickly followed by others, in collabortion with her sister, Annie, who wrote many of the books Ida illustrated.
In 1909, she married writer, Grenbry Outhwaite and thereafter signed her work Ida Rentoul Outhwaite.
Inside there are poems by Shakespeare, Keats, Robert Louis Stevenson and e.e. cummings with beautiful illustrations (both colour and black and white).



CATLAND - Illustrated by Louis Wain (1860-1939)

This book has gorgeous colour plates on every second page and the text of the book by Rodney Dale, tells the story of Wain's life from his early days as a schoolboy in Hackney to his last 14 years in an asylum near St Albans.



It would have been nice to spend more time there, but we needed to head for our next stop which was Montville.

DAY OUT WITH THE CRAFT GROUP

On Thursday (29th October) our craft group had a wonderful day visiting a few of the attractions around the Sunshine Coast, which is about 2 1/2 hour drive from our locale. A small map of the area will give you a glimpse



We live at Burrum Heads which is north of Noosa.

Our first stop of the day was at Kenilworth, where we stopped for about half an hour, had morning tea and visited the Cheese Factory.
This is where you can buy any of the cheeses that they make, and I opted for a Mature Cheddar; Mango and Macadamia; Ginger & Chilli. For my lunch today, I had some of the Mango and Macadamia cheese with crackers (yummy).

It would have been nice to had some more time there, but we had other places to visit, so off we went.