Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Take an hour to help save the planet

from plastic bags! This bag will fold up and fit in a hand bag. Well, it fits in my hand bag. I suppose if you are Super-Efficient-Trendy-Woman it might be too big. In which case it will fit in your glove box. This bag takes me about an hour to make from cutting out to finished product.

Make Your Own Eco-Bag

You will need:
2 panels of material 34 cm x 38 cm (13"x15") for the front and back
2 strips of material 8 cm x 104 cm (3" x 41") for the side panels and handles
sewing machine
stamp pads

1. Cut out your bag. You can make the bag bigger if you like but it may not fit into your hand bag if you do that... which is not a problem if you don't want it to!

2. Stamp your images on the front and back panels. I used some Tia Bennet clear stamps to make the Eco-Bag title, and on the other side stamped a rondel stamp I got at Spotlight.

3. Fold down the top of the front panel by 3 mm. Then fold again so the raw edge is inside the hem. Sew the hem. Repeat for the back panel.

4. Take one of the side panels. Fold the strip in half so you have a 8cm x 52 cm side panel. Measure the height of your front panel and mark this on one edge of the side panel. Sew a french seam down from this mark.

To sew a french seam, join the wrong sides of the material together and sew. Clip the top of the seam to enable you to make a handle seam. Trim the seam fairly close to the stitches. Then fold the material so the right sides are together and the raw edges are contained inside the fold. Sew again, enclosing the raw edges. See here for better instructions.

I used french seams because they are strong, hard wearing seams. If you want, you could overlock the material and use a triple-stitch running stitch instead.

5. Now make the handle seams. At the clipped mark at the top of your french seam, fold over the edge 3mm, and then fold again.

Or you could make a rolled hem if you wish. Pin and sew the first edge of the handle seam.

6. Reinforce the base of handle by running a V shaped stitch line back and forth from the handle to the french seam.

7. Repeat the folded/rolled hem for the other side. You will have to clip a little to enable you to make the folds on this side.

8. Take the other side panel and repeat steps 4-7.

9. Now join the side panels to the front and back panels. Again, I've used a french seam for these seams as well. The photo shows the side panel pinned to the front panel to begin sewing.

10. After sewing those 4 seams, you are ready to make the bottom hem. Fold the side panels inside the bag and line up the edges of the front/back panels. Pin and sew.

Trim the raw edge back close to the stitching line.

11. Fold the bag inside out and make sure the side panels are sitting nice and flat. Finish the french seam by sewing along the bottom edge, enclosing the raw edges. Turn the bag the right way out and voila! A finished bag.

I can fold mine up to about 10cm square.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Flaunt it Friday (late, late, late)

themommykellys theme this week:Flashbacks.
Post a photo of a time when you were/are one hot chicky!

And one
that spontaneously elicits an emphatic “what the hell was I thinking?!”

I can't say that I have any photos of me in my younger days where I was particularly succulent. Mum has most of my old photos. I have to say I mostly I was/am a nerdy geek!

But I do like this photo-shopped version of me that DH took.

This one was when I was... oh.. 17 or so. Taken by the ex-boyfriend of the time. I guess I don't look too bad. Wish I'd known DH then, but anyway, life doesn't always work out that way.

As for the terrible one - this one is fairly awful. 9 months pregnant and ready. for. baby. Ack!
So.... I DARE you to join in!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beach Babes

Visited Cornwallis on Friday. Gorgeous morning despite the clouds around. Water was a bit cold though. I did get in and under... briefly! LOL!

It was good to have my sister along to help with the children. There was a lot of sand digging and contructing by DS; much eating of sand/shells and destroying of said sand constructions by DD. :-) I wonder if she was trying to get her iron intake up from the iron sand. heh heh.

A duck came and sat on our blanket. LOL!

DD is at the stage when hats do not stay on. So despite me slathering around 30+ sunblock she managed to get pinkified. Bad Mother Award to me.

It was so nice to sit near the gently lapping waves and absorb the seascape. There were hardly any other folks there. The fish were jumping 3 metres away from us and DS was fascinated by the Black Backed Gull leaping up and then diving to catch them.
I do love the beach. There was a time when I seriously intended to be a marine biologist and could identify (and name in latin) at least 5 species of barnacles.

No more. But I do maintain a deep fascination for the marine environment.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Recently Read

The Kite Runner by Ali Hosseini
Great story - highly recommend it. It's not what I'd call a "happy" story. There are some sad and dark undertones, but while the ending isn't overtly positive it is satisfying. Waiting for the sequel to become available in the library now.

The Brotherhood of the Blade By Diana Gabaldon
Always enjoy DG's writing. Though in terms of story I prefer her Outlander series perhaps because it appeals more to me. I found the continual reference to Lord John's sexual orientation a tad wearing by the end of the book. I know it is an essential part of the story but it did seem to intrude where (IMO) it wasn't necessary. But maybe that is more to do with me and MY tastes than the writing! LOL! Nonetheless, Lord John kept me captured throughout, and I'll be reading the sequel when she's written it.

Blue Smoke
both by Deborah Challinor

Blue Smoke is the final in a trilogy. As such, it ties up a number of loose ends but in doing so it tends to fall down as a cohesive story. It jumps from one character to the next like a flea from dog to dog and you never feel like you're getting into their skin. I read it to finish the trilogy and mildly enjoyed it.

Fire was something different. The story flowed better although it had multiple characters because it dealt with one time, one place, one incident. I liked it that it is set in Auckland, and I like the kiwi flavour. Some of the "issues" peripheral to the story were dealt with in a rather heavy handed way rather than subtly permeating the relationships between the characters. I thought the ending was a tad unrealistic but seeing as I like a happy ending I wasn't complaining! Recommend it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Last weeks plan was going well until SIL rang and said she was coming down to stay Sat so I had to revise the Lamb Tagine plan. Having got out a whole chook to thaw on Sat morning she rang to say that she wasn't coming; her car was having problems so she bought a new one (as you do) and would be coming next weekend!

Oh well. No harm done and I didn't really mind though I did have to laugh at the car thing. SIL is 36, single, lives at home, has been working since 17 and is on a very nice wage with annual bonus's ... what can I say? LOL! Love her heaps and we get on just fine, but sometimes our different lifestyles contrast rather dramatically. ;-)

Anyway - here's the plan for this week.

Mon - Brats on buns
Tues - the Lamb Tagine I didn't do last week! LOL!
Wed - Smoked Chicken, Melon and hazelnut salad from the latest Dish which came last week
Thurs - Chicken curry (also from Dish)
Fri - friends bringing takeaways for fun and we're having a card making night
Sat - taking pizza bases to a casual 3-yr-old's birthday party
Sun - corned beef(?) not sure... depends on the weather

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Flaunt it Friday

themommykelly's theme for this week is : From the desk of...
I've taken a photo of two desks.

Firstly, the computer desk. I time share this with DH. I get it during the day. He gets it in the evenings! ;-) At least, that's how it mostly works out. That's his big mother printer to the left. Yes we have 2 screens. Yes I am married to a mad photographer husband. The scanner is up on the shelf above. The film scanner in the cubby on the right. Let me repeat... I am married to a mad photographer! LOL! But it does have it's benefits - the printer for one because I can print my own photos and in any size I please. I also get to use DH's photos if mine aren't worthy.

The other desk I use is my scrapbooking corner. This is in my bedroom.

I am afraid I am just not a very tidy person.

What can I say... it's like an artist's palatte. I like to have all my stuff spread out so I can see what I'm using.

So...show us yours?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tim's Birth Story

Tim's Birth Story
For the Birth story carnival hosted by greenstylemom Kristen

Tuesday 16th September,
Waters break while getting back into bed following a visit to the bathroom. I can’t sleep so get up and go into the lounge for a while.

Tuesday 16th September, approx. 2.30am:Contractions start irregularly at first, and not very close together. The Swiss ball helps to deal with the contractions, but I still can’t sleep.

Tuesday 16th September, 4.00am: Wake up DH to put on the TENS machine since the contractions are getting stronger and my back is hurting. Both of us are too excited to sleep now so Rod reads his magazine while I rock on the Swiss ball.

Tuesday 16th September, 9.00am: Contractions are coming regularly now, about 5 minutes apart and lasting for about 60 seconds. I ring B (my midwife) to tell her what is happening. I really would like to go to hospital now because I am feeling like it's getting out of control already and need the moral support but she persuades me to wait until 11.00am.

Tuesday 16th September, 11.00am: Arrive at the hospital. The nurse greets me by name which makes me feel welcome and we go into the delivery room where B waits. I am only 2cm dilated which I find disheartening since I had hoped to be further along.

The Swiss ball and TENS machine are helpful in dealing with the contractions, and I now start using the gas as well. B administers an IV with antibiotics since it is now 11 hours since my waters broke.

Time starts to blur from now on: 4cm dilation and starting to have real trouble dealing with the pain. I try the spa, it doesn’t help with pain relief. The pain is all in my back. B is concerned about my fluid levels so I am given some through the IV line. (I end up getting 5 bags of fluid). I try pethidine for the pain but it just makes me sleepy. Sometime after this the anaesthetist administers an epidural. My contractions aren’t coming as fast and as strong as B would like I am also given syntocin. I reach 9cm dilation and the epidural is wearing off on one side, so I have a “re-insertion”.

Tuesday 16th September, 11.50pm: Fully dilated. More antibiotics administered which makes me vomit – or maybe it’s the gas since I’m onto my second cylinder. I start trying to push the baby out. It is hard work, and I can’t feel anything to help me know if I am getting anywhere. Firstly B wants me on my back with legs up by my chest but that is so uncomfortable I ask to change. I lean over the elevated bed head and try that way. It's better but I can't feel a thing and B keeps telling me not to bend my hand because of the cannula in it. So annoying!

I keep thinking B is lying to me when she says that there is something happening, even when she uses a mirror to show me the top of the head which has dark hair! I push for about an hour and then run out of strength and motivation. I'm so hot and fling off the hospital gown to be naked. The obstetrician is RK called and appears beside my bed wearing white gumboots! I'm so glad to see him even though I'm starkers and not in the most charming position.

Finally things are set up and RK uses the ventouse. I push and he pulls. Part way through he says "I'm sorry but I'm going to have to make a cut". My heart sinks because I wanted to avoid this but by this stage my main concern is to get this baby out!!! Finally with one last push our baby is born by ventouse delivery at 2.19am Wednesday 17th September. The reason for the long labour, inefficient contractions, and my difficulties pushing is revealed – he is completely posterior. His cord is loosely around his neck and slips off easily - a long cord according to B. He starts crying almost immediately without any need for suctioning. His APGAR scores are 8 and 10.

The nurses lay him on my tummy and I savour the strange feeling of the baby outside my stomach! I lift him up to see if we have a boy or a girl and tell DH that “It’s Timothy!” And then he poops on me. Nice!

Timothy Royston Dugmore

Born: 17th Sept 2003 (EDD: 25th Sept)

Weight: 3.43kg (7lb 9oz)

Length: 51 cm

Head circumference: 33cm

Just born - his poor mis-shapen head from the ventouse is quite obvious

Tim and Mum the next day... I look as awful as I feel! But his head is now round although still bruised. He had fairly bad jaundice and nearly had to go under the lights but fortunately his numbers stabilised.

Lydia' Birth Story

Lydia’s Birth Story

For the Birth Story Carnival hosted by Kristen (GreenstyleMom)

Lydia’s due date was the 29th December 2006. This day came and went with no sign that she was intending to grace us with her presence. I saw K (my midwife) that day and she monitored us for a while, then did a membrane sweep. I was already about 2 cm dilated. She booked me in for another appointment a week later for the same procedures, fully expecting that we wouldn’t need the appointment. The week went by so slowly. We went for lots of walks and tried to keep ourselves amused while we waited. DS went to stay at Nan’s house just in case.

At the next appointment the monitoring showed that baby and I were both fine and because I had had a “show” K didn’t do another membrane sweep. From the ultrasound we did find out the good news that Lydia was facing the right way for a normal delivery. K consulted with the obstetrician and I was booked in for an induction Monday 8th January at 8am. I was feeling despondent about having to be induced and quite uncomfortable with such a large baby to carry around.

On the 7th January we went to the Sunday morning meeting fully expecting to have a "normal" quiet Sunday. After the meeting we went to Mum & Dad’s for lunch. Around 2.30pm I realised my waters were leaking over Mum’s kitchen floor.

We came home and I rang E (my sister) to let her know things were happening. Meantime, we went for a walk in the hot sun around the block. My skirt got soaked from all the amniotic fluid; there was no doubt to anybody who we passed what was going on but frankly I didn't care. E arrived and we went for another walk. While we were walking, I estimated the contractions were around 5 minutes apart though not lasting very long. We came home and I sat myself on the birth ball in order to time the contractions properly so we could let the midwife know our progress.

K was not on call that weekend so we called B (her back up) who for various reasons I'd never actually met. By bizarre coincidence she had noticed us in Mitre10 the previous day and had thought to herself, “That lady is going to have her baby very soon!” We rang her first around4.30pm and her advice was to call her when I wasn’t sounding so happy! At this stage the contractions were about 3 minutes apart and lasting longer. They weren’t particularly painful and I could still talk through them normally.

Soon after this I had to breathe through the contractions and E or DH administered acupressure to my back. I had the TENs machine put on. Around 6.30pm I wanted to go to the delivery suite. Things were getting more painful and intense. It felt good to hum or let out noises during these contractions. We got to the delivery suite at 7.00pm. I had no idea about my progress and asked for an epidural because I felt I couldn’t cope with too much more. B checked me and said, "The good news is you're 9cm, the bad news is, its too late for an epidural!" I had mixed feelings about this. On one hand I felt triumphant I’d got so far without drugs, but on the other hand I wasn’t sure I could handle much more pain!

B bought in the gas for me which took some of the rawness out of the contractions, but they were still very intense. After a bit, B had me get up on the bed on my hands and knees. I wasn't there long and I started pushing involuntarily at the peak of the contractions. E, B and DH encouraged me by telling me they could see hair. Pushing was hard work.

Finally I managed to push her head out! What a relief! I didn’t have time to relax because then her shoulders got a bit stuck. DH pulled the emergency cord and the room filled with four midwives. I got flipped onto my back and with one final push, Lydia was born into the world at 8.19pm. Her cord was quickly cut and she was whipped over to the newborn station to have a bit of oxygen. DH called out, “It’s a girl!” as she went by. Within seconds she had “pinked up” and I heard a little cry.

I lay there stunned and amazed that I had given birth so quickly, with no major analgesia apart from some local for the three stitches I needed.

Finally I got to hold my little girl. She was so alert and looked around at her surroundings. We hadn’t totally decided on what name we would choose for a girl baby, but when I turned to DH and said, “Lydia?” he agreed. Our daughter was born.

ROM: 14.30 hrs

Labour Established: 18.30 hrs

Full dilation: 20.00 hrs

Delivery: 20.19 hrs

First gasp: 1 minute

Breathing Established: 2 minutes

AGPGARs: 7/10

Birth weight: 4270g

Head circumference: 35 cm

Length: 53 cm

Just born..

Lydia and Mum

First Bath

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A 4 year old observes

DS has some amusing little ideas. Having discussed about where fluid gets stored and then comes out into the toilet he now tells me that there is a tank inside him. Or several it seems.

DS: Mummy, my juice tank and water tank are full but my milk tank needs milk! Can I have cold fridge milk?

Changing DD's nappy he observes and then asks, "Where's her wee thing?" So I gesture in the general direction.... "She's a girl so she doesn't have one like you."

Driving along he sees a rottweiler being walked (from behind).

DS: I can see a bottom!
Me: What!? Oh... a dog's bottom.

Driving along he tells me from the back seat "That man has no clothes on!"
Me: Where!? Where!?
Long-suffering-husband: Settle down, he's just got his shirt off.
Me: Rats!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

This is working quite well for me actually...

Monday - Steak sandwiches
Tuesday - Lamb meatballs with Pinenuts in Tomato Sauce
Wednesday - Fish (homemade crumbed and oven baked) & chips (oven baked wedges), salad
Thursday - roasted chicken legs, ratatouille, salad
Friday - Gnocchi of some sort
Saturday - Tagine of lamb with apricots, couscous, carrot salad with garlic and mint
Sunday - Stirfry beef and veges, rice

Can you tell I've borrowed Claudia Roden's Arabesque: a taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon from the library?

The Spring Broth from Healthy Food Guide (November 2007) pg. 49 I made last week was very good. Have included recipe here:

Spring Broth of chicken, asparagus and basil sauce

Serves 4
2 cups chicken or vege stock (good quality)
2 medium carrots thinly sliced
2 chicken breasts, skin removed and sliced into bite sized pieces
2 T olive oil
Fresh basil - 1 handful, shredded
1 T lemon juice
1 bunch asparagus, sliced
1 x 400g can butter beans
1 cup baby peas, frozen or fresh

Put the stock and carrots in a pan and bring to boil. Add chicken, cover and simmer for 6-8 mins until carrots are tender.

Put the oil, basil and lemon juice in a bowl and mix well. (I used a whizzy choppy thing).

Add asparagus, beans and peas to the soup. Cover and bring back to boil. Simmer 1-2 mins.

Remove half the mixture and blend, then tip back into the pan. Divide into bowls and stir in some basil sauce into each.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Flaunt It Friday (or in my case, Saturday)

themommykelly has started a new meme Flaunt It Fridays and this week's theme is Let the cat out of the bag. What do the contents of your handbag reveal about you?!

Mine doesn't have a cat in it, but it does have a hedgehog. And a multitude of crap other bits and pieces.

Not shown: a mass of dockets, several desiccated raisins, 2 Eclipse lollies, some catnip, crumbs from a cookie DS was eating...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

One day too late!

For the NZ Dare entry - oh well.. here is my take anyway. I'm still not entirely happy with it.

Here is another I finished off last night. Used some sparkles from the Pesto kit. :-) I'm working on some other ones using the kit but I can't post them here - they are going into the SBO Christmas competition things so you'll have to check out their gallery. Haven't uploaded them yet though...

And I have made my banner more festive. That's the Christmas pud from Nigella Lawson's Feast. And boys does it taste GOOD! It is now residing in the freezer waiting for the special day. I have deviated from my normal recipe this year and made Nigella's.


Apparently the Puritans thought Christmas pud was a "lewd" custom and the Quakers condemmed it as "an invention of the Scarlet Whore of Babylon". Nigella set out to create one worthy of such a moniker and of course I had to make this version this year because it appeals to my sense of humour. Take a good look at the SWB up there in the banner because come the 25th Dec it will be in my tum.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

mischeif maker

Found Missy Moo getting into my handbag already!

And just for the sake of it I took a photo of my cookbooks - a collection which is gradually taking over my kitchen.

Menu Plan Monday

Yeah well I know it's Tuesday but I never got to the 'puter until today.

Monday - was going to have BBQ for Guy Fawkes but the weather put me off so we had a Lamb roast instead since I didn't cook it on the weekend like I meant to.

Tuesday - Spring Broth from HFG (chicken boobs, asparagus, beans... hopefully warm us up)

Wednesday- American hot dogs

Thursday - Sublime Salmon & Avocado Salad (recipe below)

Friday - Ham, pumpkin, pea risotto

Sat/Sun... still haven't totally decided. One day will be a vego curry I think. Might do a BBQ if the weather is good, or maybe leftovers from the freezer.

Sublime Salmon & Avocado Salad (from my friend S who got it from... somewhere.)

350g fresh salmon
2 T grated lime rind
1/4 cup lime juice
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 small pita breads
6 handfuls salad leaves
2 avocados peeled and sliced
2 oranges peeled and sliced (opt)

Preheat grill. Remove bones from salmon, Slice into thick slices crosswise. Arrange on baking dish. Combine oil, lime rind, juice and garlic. Split pita and cut into wedges. Place on baking trays. Brush dressing generously onto salmon & pita. Grill salmon and pita medium grill turning and basting salmon once during cooking (10-12 mins) or until salmon flakes easily and pita is golden brown. Arrange salad leaves on plates, add avocado, orange, pita wedges and salmon, tossing gently. Drizzle with remaining dressing &/or cooking juices. Serves 4.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday already!

This week has gone fast for some reason. I've been busy trying to do housework type things - so boring. I'd much rather be playing with this!

Yep - the delightful Pesto kit arrived on Tuesday. I had been listening for that sweet sound of the courier but didn't hear a thing so assumed it would come the next day. But no! I opened the door to take DS up to kindy and there it was. It is beautiful, (Hannah you were right), and I am itching to get into it! I did like the way it was presented wrapped in tissue with a seal. Sweet! I do think it is worth purchasing - is that cheeky of me to tout their business when I didn't actually buy it? :P

I did some layouts on the weekend and Monday night. This one I finished, the other two are waiting for ... something. Not sure what yet. I've attempted the NZ Dare for this fortnight but I'm not totally happy with it. Might have to cogitate some more. I really want to enter the challenge at SBO too but am not sure if I have the photos or the time...

Bother - looks like the photo cut off the bottom of the dot circle. This one was based on a sketch from the Aussie sketch blog. The title needs some more black on it. Will have to touch it up.