Saturday, October 30, 2010

On high rotation... Elbow, Florence & the Machine, The National

We're a bit behind with CD buying these days and the stereo doesn't get much of a flogging either but we're trying to make an effort to stay current.  In our house this weekend we're listening to a couple of new CD's - Florence and the Machine, Lungs & The National, High Violet.

Plus an old favourite, Elbow, The Seldom Seen Kid featuring a track from our wedding ceremony last year, One Day Like This.  Last night I got a pleasant surprise when I switched over to ABC2 at around 11.30pm and there was Elbow live at Abbey Road with the BBC Orchestra.  Gosh I would've loved to be in that room but have to make do with the new Limited Edition CD they are releasing (hint, hint hubby).

What's on high rotation in your house?

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Week in Pictures

Lunch with old friends; New Curtains; Sewing Disasters; Pony Rides; Good Coffee

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Creative Space

This is going to be my versatile wrap, the 3 main panels of the skirt in a funky Hawaiian print I bought from Spotlight for about $10-12 metre.  If I get some time this afternoon I am going to cut out the waistband and ties from the green spot fabric ($2 metre from my local Vietnamese fabric store).  I am going to make mine a bit longer and ditch the contrast hemline.

For more creative inspiration head over to Kirsty's.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's Cooking Wednesday

I recently dug out Sydney Food by Bill Grainger to look up the recipe for ricotta hotcakes.  Flicking through I found this recipe and thought it would be a winner with the kids since their favourite food is pasta and they really love seafood.  I'm going to use tinned crab meat today, if I was being really decadent then I would use fresh crab BUT with three littlies who has the time to do all that for a weekday meal?!

Spaghettini with Crab, Lime and Chilli

Ingredients (serves 4)

300 g cooked crab meat
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 small red chilli pepper, finely chopped
limes, juice and zest of
lemon, juice of
1/2 cup spring (green) onion, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
500 g spaghettini

Combine the crab, garlic, chilli*, lime zest, lime and lemon juices, parsley, spring onions, salt and pepper in a large bowl.   Stir in olive oil to combine.  Taste to adjust the seasoning.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add pasta, stir well and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Drain well.

Toss pasta into crab mixture and serve in individual bowls.

*  Or leave as an accompaniment each person can then choose to add at the table

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A day of sewing disasters!

Yesterday I managed to finish drafting up my Versatile Wrap skirt pattern and cut my fabric.  Today I thought I'd finally get around to sewing up the main panels.  Everything seemed to be in my favour, 2 out of 3 kids were sleeping and the only child awake was fairly happily entertaining himself.  I pinned together two of my panels, dug out the sewing machine from under my desk, blew off the dust and started to set it all up. 

Drafting up the pattern onto lightweight interfacing for future use. A challenge in our small dining room!
Then things started to go wrong - there were some teething problems with threading the machine (was I doing it correctly?) and then the bobbin, the first one I used got all jammed up so I switched back to the one that I used for my last sewing project even though the colour wasn't a match (it was for inside seams so I wasn't too worried).  Then I couldn't get the stitches right, the thread was tangling up on the underside, so I started tweaking some knobs to see if that would help.  It was getting better but with the tension down to "0" it was still too loose on the underside.  I played around and played around but I couldn't get it right.  I started to Google the manual (this machine is a hand-me-down from my Mum and she still has the manual somewhere to be found.) 

Singer 502

Then the baby woke up, she had a good run sleeping for 4 hrs so I couldn't complain.  I forgot to switch off the machine... about half an hour later while I was in the lounge room I heard a noise that sounded like something fell on the floor so I thought I'd just check and to my dismay the machine was smoking!!!!!! Something had blown (hubby says maybe a transformer).  I'm really peeved because I paid $100 for a service last year and the machine has be sitting idle for most of that time.  Anyway, now I'm at a loss as what to do... should I take the machine for repair or just take the plunge and buy a new one (not that I can afford one at the moment anyway).  It's a Singer from the 80s and the repair guy said it was in really good nick since Mum hadn't used it very much.  Still I don't want to find that it'll be one thing after another that needs fixing.  I still don't know how much this sewing hobby is going to interest me (I do tend to go through fads).   What would you do?  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lucy Arnez Fashionista

A classic episode of I Love Lucy (1972) was on tellie this afternoon. Lucy Arnez was sporting some funky retro clothes - really flattering dresses in the loveliest fabrics. There was a shirt dress in a great Japanese inspired navy fabric and the empire maxi dress in the below clip. Just love everything about it, the fabric, the cut... which is really "now". Would love to find a vintage pattern to make one for me.

Don't you just love the baby-face Donnie Osmond!! :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Creative Space

My creative space today involves a part-finished ripple blanket for baby Scarlett.  It's 100% wool, half the colours are from Lincraft and the other half from Bendigo Woollen Mills.

Some awesome fabric from Hawthorne Threads, again for baby Scarlett.

Fabric from Spotlight, the florals for Scarlett and the Hawaiian print and denim for skirts for me.

And lastly, we made a banana cake this morning from this recipe.  It was yummo and turned out pretty well for someone who's not that great a baker.

For more creative spaces head over to Kristy's...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


IMG_0493, originally uploaded by A Labour of Love.

Riding the Wiggles carousel with their new "do".


IMG_0491, originally uploaded by A Labour of Love.

We went shopping today and the boys got a much needed haircut.

What's Cooking Wednesday

Today I'm making my boys' favourite dinner, Ravjul (pronounced rav-yule) or Ravioli.  It's a traditional Maltese dish (Malta is where my parents are from.  If you've never heard of it, check out Lonely Planet to find out more or even do a Google image search to see the amazing scenery).  The food of Malta is lots of pasta, seafood and meat dishes and they love ricotta which is the main ingredient in this Ravjul.

For todays dish we are going to cheat (because we can) and use frozen ravioli.  To make the ravioli from scratch takes a lot of time and mess and to be honest, I have never made it from scratch on my own.  I used to help my Dad growing up (who was a master at making ravjul) and always planned on having that skill taught to me.  Unfortunately, Dad has now passed away but Mum knows the recipe, I remember the technique so one day I will pluck up the courage and have a go.  He did teach my sister-in-law who did give him a run for his money, and my brother-in-law too.  The best economical frozen ravioli I have found is Marios (they also do the best pastizzis).  They come in small and large size, either is fine but we prefer the larger size which is closer to the authentic homemade size.  If you want to splurge, The Pastizzi Cafe have great frozen ravioli for $14 a dozen.



2 packets Mario's frozen ricotta ravioli
3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tbspn olive oil
400g tinned tomatoes
1 jar (700ml) passatta
1/2 tspn mixed spice
1/4 tspn cinnamon
1/4 tspn nutmeg
1 beef stock cube

Lightly fry the garlic in oil for a couple of minutes, be careful not to let it colour too much.  Add the tinned tomatoes (chop them if they are still whole, I usually mash them with the wooden spoon), then the passatta, spices and stock.  Season to taste.  Simmer gently for about an hour or two.

Boil the ravjul according to packet directions but taste it to make sure it's al dente before draining.  Mix through the sauce and top with parmesan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Playing Together

IMG_0449, originally uploaded by A Labour of Love.
Here they all are under the playgym having a lovely time together (from L-R Max, Scarlett & Lewis).

Where to start

Hey, welcome to my new blog. I hope this doesn't take up too much time, time I should be using on my projects instead of talking about them. I dream up projects for myself to take me away from the mundane. Don't be fooled, I'm not one of those Domestic Goddesses that has a spotless house, spends oodles of time playing with my children and on top of all that makes lots of wonderful items.... NO, I just dream about being like that.

I figure the one thing in that list that I detest the most is housework so that's the first area that lags behind. I do spend a fair bit of time with the kids though, taking them out and about, playing with them, drawing and I'm getting better at doing craft and cooking with my almost 4 yr old, Max. I've even started spending time with him on the computer doing ABC Reading Eggs. You see, a few weeks ago I was having lots of behavioural problems with him when I realised that he really just wanted more attention and to use his brain some more. He has gone through a big development spurt recently, learning to dress and undress himself, wanting to prepare food for himself etc. This is good, this means that there is less reliance on Mumma and maybe going off to preschool (the forbidden word in our house) is going to go smoothly. We don't talk about preschool because we sent him off to preschool when he turned 3 and he had major separation anxiety having never been in "care" before. He only went for 3 weeks but it has scarred him and whenever the "P" word is mentioned he's adamant that he's never going to go again. Daddy and I are hoping that come next year all that will be behind him and that he will actually have a great time at preschool. I'm sure part of the problem was lack of nurturing from the teachers at the preschool we originally sent him to. We are definitely not sending any of our kids there again, we have got our names down with a local council preschool and fingers crossed we will get a place in 2011. Anyway, since I have spent more one-on-one time with him things have improved on the behaviour front. It's not perfect but we're getting there.

Yesterday I did the first session in a program called 1-2-3 Magic! It's a parenting class on managing your childrens' behaviour. You see the "Naughty Mat" is wearing thin and I need to find a way to deal with naughty behaviour. There are 3 sessions all up, yesterday was mainly an overview of what's to come. I didn't get a great deal out of it yet, it really just told me stuff I already knew so I'm hoping the next 2 sessions will actually give me some useful tools. I'll let you know how I get on with it. On a positive note, the boys were looked after by a carer in the playroom at CatholicCare (where I am doing the course) and they actually had a great time. Two hours of playing and not even worrying about where I was. Max even said to me "I didn't cry for you Mummy". As a treat I let them have 'chippies and nuggets' (aka McDonalds) for lunch.

What strategies do you use for dealing with naughty behaviour/discipline - especially when they hurt others? Leave a comment, I'd be interested to see what works for other parents.