Friday, 31 March 2006

busy-ness

I've been so busy playing web hot shot these last few weeks with the new blog and the opening of my online shop I have been a bit neglectful of my crafting and the outside world in general. So I have been busting my gut to get things moving.

I sent off not one, not two, but three swaps at the post office yesterday, and am hard at work on three more, plus a tote I am making for a friend. Whew. Amy has made me promise to make something for her as soon as I finish the current set of orders so I guess there will be a new prototype to think up as well.

The kitchen table is a disaster area and I can't even reach the sewing machine there's so much crap on the floor, so I need a major clean up as well.

But I had to grab the chance to make one more batch of these heavenly passionfruit shortbread biscuits before all the fruit was gone from the vine. I can't tell you how good they are - if anyone has a vine (or two like us) and has an abundance of fruit let me know and I will post the recipe.

I used them to impress Art, Oar and Wanee, our visitors from Thailand. A sufficiently cross cultural experience combined with the universal appeal of sweet treats. It's so wonderful having them here with us!

The recipe (for Krista and anyone else who wants it)

Briefly cream 180gm softened butter with a teaspoon of lemon zest and 100gm of pure icing sugar. Lightly mix in the pulp of 3 passionfruit, 100gm of sifted cornflour (not flour made from corn by refined wheat starch) and 180gm of sifted self-raising flour. Scrape the mixture into a piping bag and pipe rounds or fingers onto baking trays lined with baking paper. Bake at 220oC for 5-8 mins or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

When cold make icing from 50gm of softened butter 1 cup pure icing sugar and the pulp of 2 passionfruit. Mix ingredients and beat hard for 1-2 minutes over hot water until shiny. Dip biscuits in icing and let set.

The recipe comes from my cooking bible, The Cook's Companion, by Stephanie Alexander. If you don't have it I don't know how you run a kitchen. I use it at least once a week. Stephanie says the biscuits keep better if not iced, and should be iced on the day you intend to use them, but really they are so good that I always ice the lot and they are gone within a day or two and taste great.

Thursday, 30 March 2006

we have hair

A look at this really makes me understand where the term pigtail comes from. Look at that perfect little corkscrew curl would you? Believe me I did nothing to make it happen, her hair was just made that way. Normally it is a mess of fine fly aways, but gathered together it very occassionally comes out like this.

It's taken her nearly 4 years to grow enough hair to make a viable tail (as she calls it). She's never had a cut. She asked me to take a picture so she could see it from behind because she's desperate for long luscious locks. Poor kid, it'll never happen with her genes.

She's struggling into her shoes to shoot off to kinder on the back of dad's bike. What can I say? She's the best.

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Bye bye baby

Today we planted a beautiful crepe myrtle tree in our front garden to commemorate our lost baby. If you didn't read about this sad event you can find it here. Scroll down to entry titled A sad tale - sorry I can't link directly to it for some reason.

I was heartened by the response I got to this very difficult post - so many people share my experience (or rather their version of it since everyone has their own unique version to tell).

A number of people have emailed me to share their stories of loss and their questions about the silence surrounding miscarriage, including my neighbour. We had a good virtual laugh about living right next to each other but only being able to share such sad and intimate things via the computer. Isn't it weird? But I felt so much comfort from my virtual community and I am really grateful to those who responded.

In many ways I feel like I am over it at last. But I know that in other ways it will never go away. There is a little person who only exists in my mind who I will never get to hold, never see grow up. I will look out my window at the new tree and remember. There will be due dates that will come and go. There will be other people celebrating the births of their babies when I am not. There's a box of maternity clothes in storage I try not to see when I am searching for other things.

But as Dave said when we put the tree in the ground, here's to new beginnings.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Site stats

Can anyone offer advice about getting web stats? At my previous blog home this service was part of the package, here I need to choose someone to supply my stats. I'd prefer not to have a counter on the blog that's visible to visitors, but I don't know my apples from oranges on this question.

quilts of yore

I've been meaning to post these for a while. I made both of these when Amy was born, and only pulled them out of storage this morning. Like lots of the things we packed away when we went to Thailand, they never re-appeared.

The first measures 2x1.5 m and was made for Amy's bed. It started from the ABC embroidered square my folks in law brought back from Vietnam. It was helped along when I got a pure wool doona offcut - that's wool batting already quilted to a cotton siding - for almost nothing.

Next I got a whole bunch of primary coloured cotton broadcloth remnants cheap and the rest, as they say, is history. It is tied rather than quilted as I figured if the batting was already fixed I would be fine. Having saud that I am very nervous about washing it and think I might have to consider quilting it now.

The square I love the most is the clothes line. I got the idea from a book which had a whole quilt of houses and clothes lines. 'Fraid I'm too darn lazy to do that.

The other is a play mat quilt made from wool suiting off cuts. Yep, I have suits in that purple, that pink, that black and that grey and pants in that blue! The batting is polar fleece and the quilting is in the ditch because I didn't know any better. Amy spent a lot of time lying on this as a baby and although the colours are a bit dark and sad for a wee one, it is lovely and soft on a naked belly.

Comments! Comments!

It's really quite rude how excited I am to hear from you. After my year in the MSN comment wilderness I thought I was OK with the blogging just for bloggings sake thing. I mean, I know I craved more reciprocal dialogue, but gee logging on this morning and finding 5 comments in one day nearly had me jumping on my desk. (Lucky I didn't, I don't think it's that strong.)

It's not a vanity thing (although I do feel pretty darn pleased with myself that anyone wants to read what I have to say), but it's just so nice to feel a part of the gang. Especially when some of those comments come from people whose blogs I have been reading religiously for like a year (hi Rebecca and Fiona) and now I have three new blogs to check out (hi Caitlin, Pyglet and Stephanie). (And all those links actually worked, my goodness.) It's like I died and went to heaven - THANK YOU!

Monday, 27 March 2006

Settlin' in

I'm getting there. Getting the links in, preparing myself to hand back the key to the old place and seriously commt myself to the new place. Isn't it funny how much we cling to the things from our past we know we've outgrown, that just aren't us anymore?

I mean I've been bitching and moaning about my old MSN blog host for months, and so far I'm really impressed with Blogger, but still... Like all thosae guys who sat in that crappy bar in Cheers, just because they were worried no one else would bother to find out what their names were.

So it might be time to start directing a few people over this way and get back to regular programming.

Sunday, 26 March 2006

It's just like starting over

I'm moving house. You can see where I came from if you go here. It's going to take a while before I've got all my stuff moved in, before I've worked out where everything goes, before I'm into the groove. Check back later.