Saturday, October 31, 2009

My helper

Leave them alone with a sample pot of paint colour and this is what you get.

My fault for nicking off to the loo for 2 minutes.....

The good news is that screaming hysterically at the paint whilst hosing it off the table actually works.

Unperfect but YUMMY!

Raspberry and white chocolate muffins....

Not a muffin fan, but Miss Neurotic swayed me with these tasty little numbers. I had a box of frozen raspberries in the freezer and there is always chocolate in my house so I thought I'd give it a whirl.
Although Miss N always gives me extra little tips, my version will never look like hers. Mine are slightly burnt on top and have brown bits all over the baking paper so it looks rather crap, where Neurotic style muffins look so damn awesome you WANT to take a picture but can't because both hands are stuffing your face and the camera gets forgotten.

And don't bother asking me for the recipe, I told you this was never going to be a baking blog and anyway I wrote instructions on the back of an envelope last week and who knows where it is now.

So all you get is my unperfect cooking to giggle/sneer at, unlike some ladeeda types that ask Miss Neurotic for baking tips then blogs it using stock photos and claiming it to be a 'tried and true recipe'.....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Look at THIS!

Lookie what I got! Guess what it is?

It's a rolling pin! A REAL one!

It was sent to me yesterday and I squealed with joy when I unwrapped the package - so beautiful!
I celebrated my making pizza for dinner, and JOY at how much easier it is to use a real rolling pin. I didn't feel like chasing anyone around the house waving it like I thought I might, but I did feel every so slightly Martha Stewart-ish. Well until I looked around at the usual mess I made - because Martha would never be so messy. So maybe the Evil Martha Stewart prediction wasn't so far off....

Now look, I'm not a total spaz for using a champers bottle for a rolling pin - I do have some skills left. See the bottle is cold and smooth so dough doesn't stick to it. Therefore this glass pin (as far as I'm concerned) is streets ahead of the wooden ones that mad old ladies wield.
I also get to toast my sporadic attempts at cooking at the end of it.

AND this my friends is another reason why I lurrve my new one so much. See the cork in the end? I'm gonna stick VODKA in it and keep it in the freezer.

Killing two birds with one stone - that's me!

Another wall finished..


I finished my kitchen/dining room wall! Remember this? That's the plasterer filling the trenches left by a stupid 'handyman' that cannot hang walls correctly.

Then we were left with this -

Prep coat x2 and you have this - niiiiice!

2 weeks of stressing over colour. I'm going to put the 1702 different sample pots I have on Freecycle. I've used about 20ml out of each pot so If I can save someone some $$ and stop all that lovely paint going to the tip it's a good thang.

Here is the end result. I can't wait to get the ladder out of my house. Although that ladder is the bees knees, I'm sick of it in my house. I have to wait until tomorrow morning to check I haven't missed anywhere, then I can move everything back into it's place. YAAAAY!

Oh lordy that revolting aircon box has got to remain marring my wall until further notice. I'll need one heck of a powerful unit to effectively cool the area and there is no point putting that in until I have the curtains up, and I have the $$$ to actually do it...

So I'll still be blocking off half the lounge with sheets this summer so we can get some relief from another predicted scorcher - but I'm still a very lucky girl. I have a roof over my head, walls to paint and a bunch of funny kids to entertain me.


Recycling, reloving, reusing

I love love love Hard Rubbish Day. Our council does one twice a year. Anything too big for the bin goes out on the nature strip to be spirited away.

It used to be awful because there would be 'kerb crawlers' out the front at all times of the day or night sending Fluffy Mutt into paroxysms of barking joy, and keeping me constantly thinking someone was here for a visit. Each time I heard a muffler I would run about the house throwing everything on the floor into cupboards panicking I was to be caught out in the atrocious mess in which I live....

So the neighbourhood has learnt not to throw anything out until the day before to minimize the stress.

Scorpio LOVES Hard Rubbish day more than me, and he does it properly.
He takes the children and Fluffy Mutt for a walk, pegs what he wants then races back to get the car and fill it up. He stops for a chat or gives a wave to the people in the house he is flogging stuff from, then returns back to fill the garage with his finds.

We got this - perfectly clean cupboard! Goes straight into the shed to house my brooms and painting gear.

And this - 2 brand new planter boxes and a cabinet I'm going to use for a medicines or laundry things.

and three, yes THREE kids bicycles in near perfect working order!

Cyclone got a bike for Xmas but we realised the whole thing was too heavy for him to balance well (why they make kids bikes like that is beyond me), so Scorpio changed some of the parts around and within 5 minutes Cyclone was whizzing down the footpath with no training wheels!

Scorpio also put together a whole new bike for little Zac at kinder who was thrilled as he had grown out of his old one.

All this stuff was going into the back of a crusher never to be seen again! What a terrible waste.

The Village People

O goodness I have neglected my lil blogerino, but MY have I been busy!

First off I helped a friend move house. A pretty sucky situation for my friend The Expat but a few emails and we had a posse ready to go pack the house and move her outta there.

I had thoughts of blogging this move - talking about how important a strong community is, to build your own "village" to rely on and contribute to yadda yadda. I was even going to take photos. I had everything sorted, organised and staggered the help so there were always packers and muscle going at the same time.
I was going to call this post The Village.

However in retropsect The Village People seems to somehow be more appropriate. A little more comedy if you will...

The poor Expat was at the police station at 5am due to a deranged and drunken man appearing at her door in the early hours.

Then we had a drop out due to excessive alcohol use by the babysitter the night before. I trust The Ray spent the morning showing the children how to bang pots outside the bedroom door.

We had a small child tanty issue. Of course there is nothing small about a tanty no matter

And to top it all off, on the way to pick up the truck, yours truly ran out of petrol. In the middle of the road. WHO DOES THAT PAST THE AGE OF 19???

So therefore all careful planning was out the window, the truck got there late, everything was a shambles BUT

We got it all done. And entire house packed and moved in 4 hours. The Expat is happily in her own place with her teeny, tiny perfect boy child and all is well with the world...

So the moral of the story - when you need to move quickly call The Village People.

Or not....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stupid Spring Racing Carnival is here again....



Well several of them, at the races. AT the races - NOT racing.

I can't stand it every Spring, when the news starts banging on about fillies - especially when they are not talking about saleyards.

So I DARE the media to stop using that word every Spring. What's wrong with calling us LADIES? Not that I am one, but I'm sure as heck not a bloody FILLY either.

Hmm, I've just had a thought, maybe the words ladies isn't really appropriate either - at least half of all race going females just put on their King St nightclub best, whack on some netting from Spotlight call it a "facinator" and end up passed out on the manicured lawn with the dress around their heads by 1pm anyway.... for the horsey for the laydeez

Friday, October 16, 2009

More uncooking

What's this?

Yes, chocolate biscuits ready to go in the oven. Yum.
Yes, that is a bottle of bubbles ready to be opened on a Friday evening, but not only that - it's my rolling pin.

I don't know why I don't have a proper one. Either it's because I'm a little scared of them since I read an Enid Blyton book with a picture of a mad woman chasing someone with one, or I'm worried I might turn into some sort of evil Martha Stewart.
Anyhow it works on two levels because I certainly need some bubbles after cooking with the children.

I'm writing this at an unusual time of day. I'm a little bit bored because I have to wait until the dishwasher has finished before I can turn the oven on. I have a stupid kitchen remember. I bake with a benchtop oven and the dishwasher (yeah, I know at least I HAVE one) doesn't have it's own point.

The size of the kitchen isn't an issue, but its as mental as the rest of the house in weird ways. So it's wonderful that I have a large bench looking over the dining room, right?
Well no, because the power points are all in one corner. I can't even use the space I have *whiiiine... (actually WINE!)
I have to move everything into one corner filled with the toaster, kettle, oven, dishwasher and negotiate all the things jammed into the points like fish filter, telephone and work out which is more important for that moment. Blender or phone? Dishwasher or oven?

I have to work myself up about it so I can justify the wine....WINE!


P.S - I have the fish tank in the kitchen to hide where all the tiles fell off...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Victorian Dust Storm

You might not have heard about this one on the news. It happened this afternoon and was very my dining area in fact.

The plaster was dry enough to be sanded ready for painting, so it's all smooth now. And the floor looks like this

Lucky Cyclone is here to help with the vacuuming.

It must be memorialised that for once he was helping clean the mess instead of making it....

Here is Betty Boo, fresh from her bath. Yes she is wearing her bathers even though its 10 degrees and hailing outside. Even though its bedtime.

10 points if you noticed they are on backwards....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Seed Raising

Time to get some seeds in! I love having masses of floral colour all around the house - near the front door, outside all the windows, pots and pots all over the deck. It looks cheerful and distracts away from all the crappy bits of this old house.

Now, you can go to the garden centre and pay HEAPS for 'pots of colour'. If you are in a hurry, go for your life but it's totally unecesarry. It's more fun doing it like this -

Old seedling trays, seed raising mix, empty soft drink bottles and a few packets of seeds.

Add children

Line the seedling trays with paper. You can see I have used pages of my Tax Pack. I save the newspapers and their endless 'articles' on AFL players and their pneumatic wives for the compost.
Fill the trays with Seed Raising Mix and wet it down, drop the really teeny tiny seeds in (2 rows of 4 for this type of container) and sprinkle more dirt over the top to cover them. Use a spray mist to wet down.

Then cut the tops of the soft drink bottles, fix over the top and you have a mini seed nursery.

I've used an old CD container for the long seed tray. You can get good little setups from the garden shop for about $20 but I like to use what's around the house.

The name of the game is to keep the little fellas warm, so if you have somewhere inside like the laundry or a sunroom you can keep them in there until they sprout.

There is always so much to choose from and it can get overwhelming. It's a good idea to choose a colour theme. That way you can have all different sort of flowers, with a colour theme running through it to keep it all together.

Maybe all yellows and oranges for example. My fave combination for summer are blues and whites - pansies, petunias are easy peasy and give you months of showy brightness.

I usually have no yellow or orange at all and stick to white, pinks and purples, but I cannot resist Sweet William (sometimes called Hearts Ease). They have cheerful little purple and yellow faces bobbing around, and Cyclone has declared them his favourite...

They can take heaps of sun too. I've got Impatiens in as well. They like a bit more shade but I have a place under the plum tree I want to brighten up.

And just in case you are wondering I haven't done any more on the vegie patch. It keeps raining and I have other pressing matters at hand. Like what fabric I should use to recover my dining chairs. Stay tuned because I can't decide and need your help!


Vodka and Ganache

What a looooooooooooooooooong week it's been. I'm spent.

Since Scorpio is here to see the kids, and since our parenting styles are poles apart I usually make myself scarce so he can get on with doing daddy stuff. Without my head exploding at the thought of Cyclone 'helping' daddy with a screwdriver in his hand or whatever is on the agenda that gives me heart failure (usually everything).

I headed up to see Miss Neurotic for the evening. One great thing about that is I don't even have to brush my hair to do this. The other great thing is the culinary skills of this laydee. She was in the middle of baking a cake to feed 1400 people (ok 200), and I got there right in time for the ganache.

Ahhh, sitting on the big chair in the lounge, vodka at my side and a big spoonful of smooth, rich, chocolatey goodness. Look closely for where my sticky fingers have been.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cylcone, fiddling on the roof

Cyclone climbed onto the roof of the garage today. He didn't want to get down.....

At least he found the spare house keys, the mop and 5 tennis balls.

Getting plastered

So one end of the living area is done. Time for the next one. The dining area. Sadly the dude that owned the house before me thought it was fine to line the walls with masonite instead of plaster, and that hanging it vertically instead of horizontally was ok too.

But its not. I have big cracks between the sheets and even my universal filler skills couldn't cope with.

So here is my plasterer - well his bum anyway. He spent 3 hours 'floating' my wall, for the princely sum of a slab of beer.
I love Jamie the plaster man, cos now it looks like this -

This IS an improvement. As you can see by the splotches of colour I am having alot of trouble finding the right green.I am looking for the perfect green to go with the candy apple red Kitchen Aid I don't even own yet.

Some of you will understand that....

Monday, October 5, 2009


Let's get this straight - there ain't gonna be nooooo recipes on this blog. I'll leave that to those with a huge passion. My cooking passion is waning due to crap kitchen, however this is how I do an Apple Pie.

Wait for children to go out with Scorpio.
Sit in front of telly (Grand Designs) , peel and slice 6 apples.
Put in pan with 1/4 cup water, sugar and a big sprinkle of cinnamon.
Cook slowly until its all soft.
When smelling wonderful and looking slightly translucent, get distracted by something shiny and let it burn.

Repeat step 2 - decide to do strudel instead, thaw puff pastry.
Stand over apple so it doesn't burn and scream threats at children from the kitchen window.
Cut pastry sheet in half.
Fold over edges of sheet, load it with apple.
Get funky and cut strips from other sheet and place over top lattice style.
Build up edges of pastry and seal latticey bits down.
Place in moderate oven
Get distracted by something shiny.
Notice strudel is about to burn, make mad dash to the oven to save it - tripping over the scooter that miraculously appeared in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Tell Scorpio you are going out for the night and use said strudel as bribe....

Painting Myths - 2 - Feature Walls

Feature walls are stupid. They were very trendy for awhile and you can blame that on all the Home Improvement shows that were clogging our screens for so long.

Why are they stupid? Well, because I said so - because I have only ever seen ONE decent one and it was done by a professional but even now it just looks outdated.

If you want to move your furniture around the 'feature' wall won't be that anymore.
You usually have to paint over them if you intend on selling your house cos not everyone loves Decadent Diva or Pina Colada.

That lurvely burnt orange that is so lovely in winter makes you feel like you are in an oven in summer.
Stick to changing the seasons with cushions and funky blankets - keep your walls a classic colour and save yourself 15 coats on the one wall. That's something no feature wall fan will tell you - the darker colours require so many coats of paint you are sick to death of it before it even dries.

Textured walls, save that for the outside. Sponging, rag rolling or anything that involves a special kind of paint - blueergh. I can't relax with a paint textured wall near me. It's never as easy as the DIY shows make it look, it just never looks right and you can always spot the part of the wall where the enthusiasm wanes.

Save yourself the hassle – have fabulous furniture instead….

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Passion of the Catamaran

This is a catamaran being moved out of the front garden in which it was built.

I like my neighbourhood alot and this is one of the reasons. There is always something interesting to look at when you are out and about.

For the past 5 years this guy has been working on it from the ground up. Initially it was upside down and he had a competition to guess what it was because you just could not tell. They needed a crane to flip it over to finish the top part but I didn't get a pic of that...

A keen sailor, boatdude sailed far and wide with his wife. Came back to Melbourne to settle down had a baby and that is where the idea began. His goal was to take his little boy on an ocean adventure on a machine built by himself. His son is now about 7 so once he has his sea legs and the boat proven seaworthy, they will be off on a 5 month trip to wherever they please.

What a terrific experience for mini boatdude and a testament to his dad who was determined to finish the project no matter how close to broke he got!

I'm looking forward to a postcard...

Rebacks on the dunny seat.....ummm the shed.

And that my friends is a very dusty redback spider - no I wasn't going to dust it off for you.

I found quite a few of them when I cleaned out my massive garage. I love my garage so much. I can buy crappy furniture and store there until I am ready to fix it up.
That didn't happen however. I only had time to put in a lovely old fashioned cradle (hard rubbish woo hoo) and a set of six wooden chairs (more hard rubbish) before my sister needed the space to put all the crap she has accumulated over years of being a circus trapeze artist.

Most of it is out now, but I still have some trees from the set of Where the Wild Things are, about 15 cans of totally unusable paint and some airconditioning tube-y stuff. I'm quite attached to the trees actually. They are very light weight but look fabulous. Maybe I can put them in my bedroom - I've always wanted to sleep in a tree-house jungle....