Sunday, August 26, 2012

A bit of what I have been up to of late...

Its been a LONG time since I posted but a friend suggested I try posting on Sundays... Not sure if that will always work but I am planning on finding a little time to stop by and say hi a little more regularly... Fingers crossed!

So I have been busy with my bee and swaps, and have just today joined another bee--a rainbow bee--very exciting, and even more exciting I get to do the first month this October--how lucky is that! 

In my other swaps I have had a lovely few months, got lots of lovely presents for my birthday in the Fat Quarter Swap and although I was slack posting here on the blog I did send out some thank you emails! I also had some lovely swaps from my swap partners. Want to see some of my goodies?

Like I said--WOW! Thank you all so much lovely ladies!

I have also been busy with my Block Swap making some lovely blocks and learning some new tricks along the way... I was even lucky enough to win a sponsor giveaway from the Fat Quarter Shop from this swap group!! Thanks Cynthia--my prize was so gorgeous and I am looking forward to putting it to us soon!

These are a couple of the blocks I made for the swap (I forgot to take a pic of my first one) and I was pretty happy with how they turned out--

I have also had a lot of fun over in my bee, you can see all our lovely blocks in our bee album. So far I have made all manner of blocks for some lovely gals from the other the other side of the world. It is so much fun trying out new techniques and seeing what everyone makes, how they interpret the design and what hidden treasures our scrap stash yields along the way. If you have EVER thought of getting into a bee or a swap then I would say, do it, it is lots of fun--if you're not sure you can commit to the longer bees then try out a block swap group!

So, want to see some of my bee blocks?

Not too shabby right? I had so much fun making May's block (the wonky stars) that I even started making some for me and am part way through doing about 16 blocks. YAY!

So that is a little catch up for me, I have a couple of quilts almost done and perhaps next time you hear from me they will be done--fingers crossed as one is already late for a friend's birthday and the other was due to be ready when my little man made it to his cot (and he has been there about 4 months now!)--ah well, that's life--


Friday, August 17, 2012

Baking with the kiddies

I don't know about you, but I love making things with the kiddies!  Especially things we can eat :)

I work Monday to Wednesday each week, and so on Thursday mornings, since the girls have me up at the crack of dawn, I always try to make something with them before their morning sleep...

We have a fantastic invention called a 'Learning Tower' (link to actual design page) which the kids use so that they can reach the kitchen bench to help out or just to see what is going on so they don't feel left out.  Ours isn't as flash as this one, as we found a great tutorial and learning tower plan and made our own out of some left over ply we had lying around...  (ours looks more like the one on the left)...

Our 'learning tower' makes it so much easier for the girls to help in the kitchen, whilst not trying to stand on the same chair and push each other off...  Disaster waiting to happen!

Actual Learning Tower from their site
DIY version

Anywho, I digress...

Making things.  We love to make cakes, muffins, cakes, and more muffins, and sometimes the occasional biscuit too.  

My grandmother made these SNICKERDOODLE biscuits for my kids last year sometime and they (and I) LOVED them!!!  She hand wrote out the recipe for me, which was very lovely..
So, last week, we decided to make these biscuits. 

Here's the recipe:

Biscuit Dough
125g butter
1/2 cup sugar (caster or normal)
1 egg
1 1/2 cup Self Raising Flour
Cinnamon Goodness Coating
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 
Jam - any type (at least 2 tbsp - we use raspberry - yum!!)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and mix until well combined.  Fold in flour and mix with spoon until a smooth dough forms.
Mix together the extra sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Roll teaspoons of the dough mix into balls and roll through the spice mixture.  Place on trays lined with baking paper, making sure you allow room for spreading.
With your thumb make an indent in the top of each biscuit (don't go right through though!!).  Fill the indent with a little jam.

Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until golden.
Leave on trays for at least 5 minutes before eating (otherwise the jam might burn your mouth!!)

We creamed the butter and sugar, and then Matilda measured out the flour (note the concentration tongue!)

Then Matilda sieved the flour...  (lots went on the bench, but that's OK, as how else do kids learn yeah??)

The girls helped by rolling the dough into little balls and then dipping them into the cinnamon sugar coating before placing them on the tray :)  They really do love helping.

Matilda (age 3 1/2) decided that she would like to count the biscuits as they went onto the tray.
1-2-3-4-5, here's another one, 1-2-3-4-5-6, here's another one, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, and so it went on until I think she'd had enough at 14!!!

Annika (22 months) loved dipping the dough balls into the cinnamon sugar, and proceeding to tip most of it out as she dragged the balls out of the little container of yumminess.  She likes to squash the biscuits too before putting them on the tray, just to annoy her sister ('Mummy, they're not circles anymore, Annika wrecked them')!

After they're all on the tray, we have great delight in squishing our thumb into each biscuit to make a little indent for the jam to go into - this really does make for the best biscuits!!!

And below, the finished product :)

That same day, I decided to make some scrumptious looking carrot muffins with cram cheese icing - what could be better!!??

These ones have almonds in them, and were meant to also have ginger, which I would have loved, but the kids would have hated, so I substituted blitzed up raisins instead :)

I got them out of the oven.  They looked superb. 

I ate one before the icing went on while it was still warm, because I can't help myself.  I thought to myself, there's something missing here...  I read over the ingredients list...  Can you guess what I'd left out???  One whole cup of sugar!  Yes, that's right, 250g of lovely, scrumptious, delightful sugar!!! 

You know what else?  They weren't actually too bad!  I will probably put some sugar in them next time, but definitely not the whole cup!  I think the raisins made them sweeter than they would otherwise have been...

So that was my baking Thursday - a bit hit and miss this week, but we all had fun doing it!!!

Take care, enjoy life and your families!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Homely Things

Wow!  I'm so impressed with myself!!!  Who would have thought that a die-hard tomboy would turn into a sewing nut, trying hard to reduce her carbon footprint, and almost going back to 1950's housewife stuff in making things from scratch!!!

Since I've had kids, I've thought a lot more about what we put into their mouths, and ours, and even the sorts of toys we buy for them to play with!!  To be honest, I had never really given much thought to what passed through my lips growing up, I just ate what I ate, and bought what I felt like eating...  I've slowly turned a corner, trying to find new (old) ways of doing things, making them taste better, be made cheaper, and without many of the additives that are hidden in the foods we buy today.

I thought I'd share with you a few of my most recent 'success stories'.  Many of the ideas come from other blogs, which I adore and love to follow.

The other night, at 9:45pm, I decided it would be a great time to make my own peanut butter... Crazy you say?   No way!  I seem to have some cravings for peanut butter since being pregnant - I always have it on my toast or crumpets, or anything else I think it'll taste good on...  I found this idea from the blog A Beautiful Mess written by lovely sisters Elsie and Emma.  They have tons of great ideas, including homemade Nutella which I'm dying to try out...

Ta-Daaa - The finished product

My peanut butter tastes pretty good, although it's a little grainy, as I don't think I blended it quite long enough - a little tip to remember for next time - don't skimp on the blending just because you're exhausted and should have been in bed a couple of hours ago (early starts with kids and work)

I had some on my crumpets this morning at work, and also made an otherwise very healthy snack of celery and carrots, into a very tasty, but not so healthy one...  Yummo.  Do you remember as kids having celery and peanut butter for a snack??  We used to pile the peanut butter through the channel of the celery!  I used to LOVE it, and thought I'd reminisce!!

And on another trial of making prepackaged foods at home, I decided to make some LCM bars (don't ask me what it stands for, because I have no idea!).  For those of you who don't know what they are, they're a kiddy snack by Kelloggs, that are ridiculously expensive, and actually not all that nice!  They actually taste as if they'd be full of preservatives!!! 

BUT, I saw this recipe and decided it was worth a shot, since it was made from rice bubbles, marshmallows and butter I figured it would be pretty easy and let's be honest, who doesn't just love marshmallows???  My kids certainly do, and I had to lie to them for about 3 weeks, telling them we had none in the house, because I wanted to make these up, and had no time made no time :)  I found the recipe at Frills in the Hills.  Liss the fabulous mummy blogger has great recipes as well that I love to try.  Next time, I might even make the marshmallows myself too - I'm sure the kids would love to help me.

Yummm...  Melted Marshmallows :)

When I told Timmy I was making LCM's he said 'Oh mum, I don't like them'..  (I had previously bought one packet just to try, which needless to say didn't go down so well :))  Oh dear, I thought I'd made a boo-boo, but then he is a marshmallow NUT so I figured he'd like mine!!!!  I backed myself and made them anyway (afterall, they were meant to be part of his school snacks, so I'd be a little annoyed if he wasn't so keen on them...).

The finished product - LCM's - yay

Guess what, he LOVED them!  I'm sure this will become a staple in our house for yummo treats.  I'm not sure who liked them more though, me or the kids.  I know I sure ate my unfair share!  Might be something easy to make with the kids these school holidays.

Another kiddy snack come mummy's work snack! (No I didn't eat all of them!!)

Fresh Eggs!!

I picked Timmy up from his dad's house the other day, and he came sporting a present!!  Fresh chicken eggs from his very own chickens :)  How lucky are we!!  It was just in time too because I'd just finished all our eggs at home.  Now to think of some baking projects...  Any thoughts people??

My handsome little man Timmy

Random Thought...
On another note, who knows how to get a 3 1/2 year old to STAY IN THEIR OWN BED ALL NIGHT, without waking up and coming into mum and dad's room because they want to be carried back into their own bed, and be sung the lullaby song (daddy's trap, not mine!)...  Hmm...  I do have some ideas, but I'd rather not put them in writing!!!  Here's the little darling, asleep, in the car, on the way home from daycare...

Poor little Matilda, she's so cute, but so annoying at 3am when she throws a tantrum because I won't take her back to bed!!!  Luckily I'm not in that position much, as she's a daddy's girl, and it's always his turn - woohoo! 

Aargh - any suggestions??

Enough rambling from me now.  Hope you are all doing brilliantly.  We are now into our second week of school holidays, and are about to move house this weekend - wish us luck!!

Take care


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Catching up!

So it has been awhile since I last popped by and said hello, but today the sun is out and the world is smiling. It seemed like a good day to get on with things and feel productive. Don't you just love those days?!

This last weekend Cath and I had a lovely few days away sewing and eating and spending some wonderful time with a lovely group of gals (and two delightful boys in the form of my lil' bubba Wyn and Cath's equally snuggly nephew)--not including the bubs there were 15 of us in all who took over a very hobbit-esque retired monastery about an hours drive from Newcastle. It was in no uncertain words divine and please excuse my dodgy photos that do no justice. Plans are already afoot for the next one in Spring (Summer just seemed too far away!)

We were also blessed a few weeks back to be awarded the Liebster Award by Debra over at Sew Little Time. Thank you Debra, we were so chuffed you awarded Sunny Corduroy Corner so early in our life! For those of you who are not aware the Liebster Award requires you to:

1. Thank your award presenter on your blog and link back to him/her
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog
3. Present the Liebster to 5 blogs, with less than 200 followers, that you think deserve to be recognised
4. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
5. Have faith that your followers will spread the love too!

So, I had a bit of a think about how I wanted to respond to the award and I decided to try and live locally! Yep, I went in search of local blogs that inspire us from our sunny little Newcastle and I was fortunate to find that many of my favourites have less than 200 likers. Well, let's see if we can change that!

Without further ado, please stop by and see the following wonders when you get time--

The Olive Tree Market: For any Novacastrians I probably don't need to say more but for all you out of towners this market is one of the very best local artisan markets with many very talented people regularly stopping by to showcase their wares. Many of the lovely crew who also run Make Space (where Corduroy Corner sell our wares) have stalls at the Olive Tree on a regular basis.
{BTW I just noticed there had been a re-vamp on the Olive Tree Market blog but when I stopped by a couple of weeks ago they definitely met the requirements of this Award}

Oscar and Matilda: I can proudly say I knew Miss Zoe before she became the talented lass behind Oscar and Matilda. She makes fabulous resin treasures and jewellery that have been spotted brightening many outfits--including mine!!
{I just noticed Oscar and Matilda has also been through a few changes but they definitely met the requirements of this Award, although I had trouble posting a comment at this time.. }

Elkhorn Design: This was a new face, for me, at the Olive Tree a few months back and I couldn't resist snaffling one of her gorgeous handprinted and oh so soft long sleeved tees--the ochre and grey are truly divine.

Blackbird Corner: Oh yeah, can you believe they are just under the 200 mark!? Well, 'cause they are and because they are so awesome (especially the generous Nici) and talented and stock such an eclectically diverse range of goodies, I just had to stop by and present them this Award.

OK, well, I know that is just 4 but to make up for it I also kinda award the following blogs. I can't find a list of likers on their blogs so am not sure if they meet the specs but I figure between them maybe one will hit the mark! So, I (kinda) present the Award to the following Newcastle lovelies;

Little Eco Footprints: A new blog I discovered on my 'local' travels that will definitely see me stopping by from now on!

Sketch and Jones: Because I love everything she puts her hand to and aspire to use more of her amazing hand-printed designs in my sewing.

Howdy Stranger: I bought a t-shirt from this lass yonks ago and it still looks great, the red-screen print is very me, and well, her blog is just super awesome.

Sorry for the length of this post, it was always going to be a big one, but enjoy your travels around Newcastle til next we meet!


Friday, June 1, 2012

New Item for Corduroy Corner???

Helen and I have been thinking of new items to add to our Corduroy Corner stock selection, what to retire and what to renew!

I came across this gorgeous pattern for what I'm calling 'Puff Pocket Girls Shorts' - I'm sure a better name exists out there, so if you can think of one, feel free to let me know!!!

Amazingly Gorgeous Shorts with puff pocket
I'm going to do a trial run in some funky Saffron Craig fabrics for my 3 year old daughter Matilda!  I bought 1/2m of these fabrics about a year ago, thinking I'd make something straight away, but nothing ever jumped out at me...  Until now.  I figured I should make something with them before my kids grew too big to wear anything made from 1/2m of fabric!!

I'm thinking the small flowers will be the main shorts and the large purple dot fabric will form a great contrast puff pocket!!!  It will give a very different look to the understated elegance of the shorts as they are in the book I think.

Funky Saffron Craig Fabric

So, I got motivated, left the housework til later (actually it's still waiting for me to attend to), and got cutting and sewing, and voila - before I knew it, the vision was a reality!!!  Here's Matilda modelling the shorts, complete with stained leggings (it's getting cold here, and the first day of winter has arrived bring with it rain and general coldness...) and classic model look :)

The orange ribbons wereMatilda's addition - there are yellow dots on the fabric, so it's not tooooo bad!

I'm lucky I got some photos with the pockets gathered - she normally undoes the ribbon straight away and lets the pockets fly out to a ridiculous size - I'm thinking I might stitch them in place to stop it, although it does give me some laughs to see how big they are..

So let us know what you think of the pattern.  I'm liking the contrasting fabrics, and am looking forward to making more of these (interspersed with the boys clothes we are mainly be planning on doing).

Would your little girl wear these shorts?

I'm in love with this pattern and with Saffron Craig's fabric also - a local Australian designer - woohoo!  If you haven't seen her stuff before, head on over and check out her page.

So all in all, I'm pretty happy with the way the shorts have turned out.  I guess that means I should get off the computer and start cleaning the chaos :)  Or maybe I'll start thinking of my next project...  Maternity clothes for me, quilt backing, boy's shorts, hats, bags.....  The list goes on.  I must stop and do something productive :)

Til next time, farewell and take care


Friday, May 25, 2012

Sew Mama Sew - Giveaway WINNER!!!

Thanks so much for entering the Sew Mama Sew giveaway everyone!!  It was our first one, and very exciting!

We used the random number generator to pick a winner for the prize and it was Lucky Last, Comment Number 84!!!

Congratulations Ana e os Viraventos who loves the boys cuff shorts!!!  You'll be notified soon via email.

Head on over to our Facebook page for ideas of some stock, and there's much more to be uploaded in the coming days...

Congratulations again!  We look forward to the next giveaway day in December!

Take Care,
Cath and Helen

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Corduroy Corner - Giveaway Day!!!

So, I'm having a break from sewing for our next market this Sunday at Hopscotch Sundays Market, a local market in Newcastle, NSW, and decided that it was time to enter Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day (which really lasts a whole week!!!)

Reversible Quick Change Pants - Sizes Available:  0-3 months to 24 months 
One lucky person will be chosen at random to pick from our range of  Reversible Baby Pants, Funky Girls Shorts, 3/4 length Boys Cuff Shorts, Girls Adjustable Waist Skirts, or a Reversible Kimono Dress.  All pieces (except some Cuff Shorts) are OOAK - your kiddies will be the envy of their friends!!
Funky Girls Shorts and Skirts
Funky Girls Shorts - Available Size 1-2 to 6-7

Come on over to our Corduroy Corner Facebook Page page and check out some of our stock.  We are in the process of stocking more and more items both on Facebook and Etsy and as soon as the market is over this weekend, we can focus more on picture taking than on sewing an overlocking!!!  Tags, don't forget the tags!!!

Reversible Kimono Dress - Available Sizes 12m to 4
Back of Reversible Kimono Dress

Our little models are just adorable aren't they - sorry, none of the kidlets are up for grabs, just the garments they're wearing, or variations of them!!

Boys Cuff Shorts - Available Sizes 1-2 to 7-8
And our boys - don't they look smashing!  Such fun is to be had at the beach...

Girls Adjustable Waist Skirts - Available Sizes 1-2 to 7-8
Don't forget, you will get to choose the garment of your choice from our range that will be up on facebook, the images shown here may already have been sold but are to show the clothing on our gorgeous models so you get the best idea of how cute your kids (or friend's kids) will look in their new outfit!!

So, how do you enter?  Simply leave a comment under our blog for one entry to win.  Tell us which is your favourite Corduroy Corner item that you'd just love to win!  (Not compulsory, but would be great to know what people out there are looking for in particular!)

For a second entry, simply come on over and like our Facebook page, or our blog, and leave a comment telling us which one you've done.  (One extra entry in total is available for this, however if you'd like to do both, then you'll get more and more Corduroy Corner)!!

Winners will be drawn by the random number generator.

International entries are more than welcome.  If you're not a blogger, that's ok - just remember to leave your email address so we know how to contact you when you win!  The giveaway closes May 25 at 5pm PST - which is I'm not quite sure in Australian time, but the winner will be announced on Saturday morning 26th May.  OK Update, I found out that 5pm friday PST is 10am Saturday in Australia, so comments posted after then won't count :(  Get your comments in soon!!

Thanks for checking out Corduroy Corner!  We'd love to have you back any time!

Take Care All,
Cath and Helen

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A not so Lazy Sunday...

So it's Sunday.  I thought what better way to add to the 'to do list' than to start writing this blog!  

So I’m the other half of Corduroy Corner, Cath.  I’m the one who is lagging behind in the post stakes!  Let’s do an introduction shall we, since it’s not as daunting as thinking of something witty and exciting to write.  I’m mum of three and a bit: Tim - 8, Matilda - 3 and Annika - 18months, and baby to be, due in November (although by the looks of my belly I’d be due any day now!!)
My love of all things fabric began about 5 years ago when my sister’s wedding was looming, and I had to find a suit for my then 3 year old son.  I was quoted $180 for suit hire, and I figured I could make a suit instead!  So therein began my sewing ‘career’… 

First sewing project - finished jacket!!

I had a break for quite a while until I had a little daughter 2 years later, because let’s face it, it’s always much more exciting to sew things for little girls than for boys…  My fabric hoarding and sewing hasn’t really stopped since then.  I must admit that my husband thought it would be a short lived phase, much like the purchase of my treadmill that I was going to use every day and have probably used 10 times in 3 years!!!  There’s no sign of the sewing slowing down, and with Corduroy Corner up and running, it will get busier and busier, at least that’s what we’re hoping!  I’ve upgraded my sewing machine, which is VERY exciting - I now have a Bernina 550 - woohoo, and we’re looking for a new house with a sewing room as top priority (at least it’s my top priority, and I’m not sure that my husband would endorse it!!)

Today, I’m supposed to be focussing on sewing for our third appearance at Hopscotch Sundays Market in Newcastle, NSW, which is on next weekend.  I was doing so well, until I remembered that I’d make my son a ‘winter wonderland’ cake from the Woman’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book – aargh!!!  It’s for school tomorrow, and I have only just started making the cake.  They take SO long to do, and it’s not even for his birthday…  It’s for news – share your favourite recipe, and he told all his class he was going to bring in the cake…  I need to learn to say no straight away.  

So let’s add to the stress and the tiredness and the feeling of ‘Oh my goodness I have so much to do and so little time to do it’, and have a happy, busy Sunday!!!

Until next time, take care :)

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Edie's Quilt

So I just recently quilted and bound one of my UFQ and was so happy with how it came out that I thought I would enter it in this year's Bloggers Quilt Festival being run over at Amy's Creative Side. There are some amazingly talented people out there quilting and blogging so why not get inspired and have a look at what they are up to with their quilts. My 'bee' buddies Jess from The Elven Garden and Lucy over at Charm About You inspired me to enter as they entered after not too long on the blogging/quilting scene.. So I thought, why not? Check out their scrumptious quilts #46 and #273!!

So here is my entry, called simply Edie's Quilt because I made it for my daughter and it is the first 'full size' I have made for her big girl's bed--

The fabrics are a collection of bright colours I had collected that were in my stash--I think they work really well together, don't you? I am not sure of designers because I was not so 'designer savvy' when I started quilting--I am a bit less clueless these days.. I do think the colours are perfect for my little lass as they are not too girly but girly enough, always a hard negotiation!

The pattern is a Quick Easy Version of a Log Cabin, using 4 1/2" strips, which I made with a friend of my mother-in-law's Chris Timmins. It was a simple quilt to make and fast project. I added two borders (1" and 5") and backed it with a cute 'candy apple' fabric I found at my local. The final yield was 58" x 70".

I quilted it myself with a simple diagonal cross hatch, which I think compliments the simplicity of the design and the patterns in the fabric. If you feel like voting for me in the festival then pop over to the Bloggers Quilt Festival and give me your tick of approval, I am lucky #400.

Blessings to all

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Just like the white rabbit!

You know the white rabbit I mean don't you? The one in Alice in Wonderland who rushes around with his stop watch and says he has too much to do! Well, that's me at the moment although I can't say it's not my fault and a lot of it is lovely things I need to find the time for but, well, I just feel a little bouncy--maybe that was why Carroll made it a rabbit in the book!

So this week I joined a Fat Quarter Swap Group--an Aussie one, yes, imagine that!! See my new shiny button on the blog--it sounds like a lovely group of souls who swap and talk fabric and just enjoy their obsession with this wonderful world of quilting!

AND I joined a bee! Yes, I truly did. Very exciting and loving the fact that the gals all seem so diverse yet several of us have only been quilting a short time--some very clever people out there let me tell you! See my other new shiny button *beam* for the bee--it is a scrappy bee--lovely!

AND I am organising a sewing retreat weekend for me and about 20 others at a monastery not far from where we live--that is happening in about 4 weeks time and we just found out we could move forward to that date so very excited! My sister-in-law is actually doing lots of the organising too and my mother-in-law is coming so it will be lots of fun!

AND did you all know that Corduroy Corner have a market coming up?! Yes in just over a weeks time Hopscotch Sundays Market is happening again here in Newcastle and we have lots to do to get ready, many little shorts and jackets and pants still part way done! Right. After This. I promise!

AND well, I am still a wife and a mum and have things like this to do...

Ahh, and it's nearly 3 pm so that means school pick up for my eldest!

Hurried blessings to all