Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My poor cake

I made a banana and walnut cake the other weekend. Unfortunately my kitchenhand was a bit too enthusiastic in trying to get the cake out of the tin, and we ended up with a pile of crumbs! The cake still tastes great, you just need a spoon or fork to eat it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hanging out with friends on the foreshore

It feels like an age since I caught up with some of my friends and so it was lovely to head to the Swan River foreshore this morning for a casual catchup! We kept it casual this time, and asked everyone to bring their own stuff. It is probably best that we did as half of the people who had said that they were coming pulled out this morning!

Most of my friends have children now and there are a couple of playgrounds where we met. It was a beautiful morning, and there were many family groups out and about enjoying the sunshine and the play equipment.

If the weather continues to hold then it would be great to try and do something like this regularly. I am not sure what my contingency would be if the weather turns foul.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Progress

Today I made a small effort to get started on one of my Goals for 2011. I previously had plans to knock three of the nine off my list. Two days into the five day weekend and I think that I will struggle to achieve the three I had set out to cross off!

I bought a couple of skirt patterns, and the fabric to make one of them. As you can see from the picture it is a fairly simple style but hopefully it will give me a good start in how to make and shape an item of clothing! It has been many years now since I foolowed a pattern and made myself something to wear.

The plan for tomorrow is to cut out the pattern, mark and cut the fabric and tack it together. I think that I will start with the lining fabric just to make sure that it fits me! Stitching it up for real will mean a visit to Mum and Dad to use Mum's machine.

I have plans too, if the skirt is successful then I would like to try and add some pockets to the next version.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Doctor Who sad news

The ABC has reported that Elisabeth Sladen, who played Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who, has passed away.

I am a little young to remember her from the original run of the series, but as a youngster I taped and repeatedly watched The Five Doctors special, made when Peter Davison was the Doctor. Sarah Jane figured quite prominently in that episode. She was the foil to Jon Pertwee's doctor, and rather fiesty.

Sarah Jane made a return to the rebooted Doctor Who with David Tennant's doctor. It was a blast to the past and a lovely tie in for all of us nerds who remembered her from the classic series.

May she rest in peace.


Friday, April 15, 2011

LED Downlights

One aspect of our build that we had to think about early on was the lighting. We have two rooms and a passageway that are located under the first floor concrete slab and all lights had to be planned before construction.

C is the one who did his homework, and selected this LED downlight. I prefer a warm white to a cool light and the fascia will be silver for further impact.

This fitting claims to provide the equivalent light to a 50W halogen downlight for the cost of only 16W of power. Not a bad trade off! Also these lights are considerably more efficient than the halogens so we should use a lot less power and produce less heat. They also promise to be dimmable, so we should have the same control over our new lights as over our existing halogens.



Thursday, April 14, 2011

DECORATE: Living Inspiration

I have my eye out for ways to decorate our new house! This house has an L-shaped open plan living space in a similar configuration to ours, reversed.

I really like the arrangement of the fireplace, with the TV above it. The heater is built out and there are low lying cabinets either side. That is something that we could consider for the living area of our open plan space.

We also have double sliding doors at the end of the living space. Ours will be a chunky commercial frame and we have specified a thicker, better insulating glass than the standard so it should provide us with light and a view of our garden without letting in too much heat!

Our kitchen island will also provide a breakfast bar and I am looking forward to being able to potter around in the kitchen with friends perched on the stools to chat! Our current kitchen is a separate room and it is difficult when you entertain to maintain engagement with your guests. The downside of course is that I will not be able to let dishes build up in the sink as they will be on view!

We have the same general layout of the kitchen with the awning windows on either side of the hotplate and the pantry and refrigerator in the return. We also will have two colours for our kitchen cupboards and drawers.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend of shopping!

I had a big weekend of shopping this weekend. Well, big compared to my recent habits! I have been pretty conservative lately and trying to save some money to pay for and kit out our new house. Mortgages are very scary, and we currently have two.

On Friday night I went home via the city malls. On my way to Myer I stopped at Pulse Urban and checked out their stock. I was very excited to see that they sold Australian Labels that are made in Australia, and including Maiocchi, Dogstar and Lush. I tried on a vast variety of clothing - skirts and dresses and cardigans - and ended up purchasing myself two merino wool cardigans. The first is long sleeved and a bit drapery and royal blue and black striped. The second is short sleeved and black, more for the in between weather we should be having right now! The cardigan label is Isla and they are made in New Zealand. The website on the tag is designer textiles.

Following on I headed to Myer where my mission was to buy tights. I had a $10 voucher that expired today and so I was determined to use it. They handily had a sale on their hosiery - 30% off if you bought three items or more - so I took advantage. I bought some funky tights from two labels, Levante, made in Italy, and Columbine, also made in New Zealand! Awesome.

After the excitement of being able to buy clothes that were (hopefully) not made in a sweatshop, I looked forward to the Angove Street Festival today. E and I made it our destination for this morning. The festival was fairly busy, with a rock band at one end and a ukelele spectactular at the other.

I added to my list of locally made goodies and bought a funky woolly hat from mel p designs, some onesies lovingly wrapped at Future Shelter and some lovely t-shirts from inuk designs.

Now I just have to wait for the weather to cool down so that I can wear my new cardigans, tights and woolly hat! I love my wool clothing and I am excited as it seems that there is a much better range of choice available. Although perhaps I was just never looking in the right place.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Winter is coming. Maybe!

This morning I woke up and saw that it had rained on our balcony. Yay! I figured that was a good enough excuse for me to pull out my winter boots.

The forecast was for 21C and so I dressed half for summer (the top half) and half for winter (bottom). Halfway to the bus stop the sky started to weep and my decision not to wear a jacket on my walk seemed rather foolish.

The cooler weather is not meant to last and we are back up to 29C on Sunday, although perhaps the 30+C days are gone for this part of the year. We shall see!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Angove Street Festival

This weekend I will be hanging out with my sister E at the Angove Street Festival. It runs from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 10th April, at Angove Street in North Perth. The shops will be cranking and the Perth Upmarket is making an appearance.

What more could we want?

More information on the market here.

Impulse buys - tights!

I just randomly ordered some tights! Sight unseen and no idea if they are any good. I am now looking forward to them showing up, and the weather being cool enough to wear them.

I was inspired by this post and a sense that winter might finally be on its way (although you would not know it with the temperatures that we have been getting here - consistently over 30C!)

Tightology boast that their legwear is made in Australia using organic materials. The packaging is 100% recycled. So many boxes are ticked!

Here are the two styles that I ordered. I was not brave enough to order the green and so I went with the more conservative red.


C's Mum is a wizard with her needle and I am lucky that she has turned her hand to Delicates bags! These are perfect for putting your lingerie or delicate clothing into before running the washing machine. She had previously given me the butterfly bag, and on the death of a couple of the cheap supermarket bags that I had been using (my underwear used to just fall out of the rips!) she was kind enough to make me some more, of varying sizes. Thank you!

She has a whiz-bang sewing machine that embroiders the pretty patterns and text you see on the bags, and she coordinates the cotton with the zips. How awesome is that?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Floundering about

This was me yesterday. Floundering about! I had one of those days at work...

This is a truly unusual creature. Check out its eyes and mouth.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Ensuite: After

With a bit of elbow grease and planning the ensuite underwent a transformation. See here for its previous incarnation.

We updated the browny tan tiles with a blue charcoal floor tile and white wall tiles. I like it a lot better and it makes the room look much cleaner.

We replaced the corner vanity with a smaller unit. This had the advantage of using a lot less space in the room and means that we can at least now dance around each other! The toilet is now dual flush and the same unit that we installed in the upstairs WC as well as was already installed in the downstairs powder room. We had a new mirror installed above the vanity.

The shower has been updated and a glass screen installed to give it a cleaner, sleeker line. The towel racks are in the same place as we had already previously installed racks, we have just updated the hardware.

The ceiling looks so much better! We have had the ceiling and cornice replaced as the previous ceiling was mouldy and extremely thin. C managed to poke his finger through it in parts! The fan is new and the light fitting as well. The skylight was existing but has been painted to match the ceiling.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A birthday breakfast

I was invited to breakfast this morning with K&B's family to celebrate LittleA's birthday. It was so lovely to catch up with everyone. I managed to sneak in under the "family" banner and I am not complaining!

Breakfast was at Blue Water Grill in Applecross. It is such a lovely spot, and we were outside with a 180degree view of the river. Nice! I was conservative and went for the Continental Breakfast and with that you get grilled asparagus, smoked salmon, cerealsm yoghurt, fruit and cheeses. There was more than enough variety to keep me happy and I was glad to give the hot food a miss.

It would not be a birthday celebration without cake, and K made LittleA an awesome work of art!

It seemed a shame almost to cut it, but cut it she did and we all tried to fit cake in after our massive breakfast.

There is an awesome playground at Heathcote, and it was jam packed full of families enjoying the facilities. After breakfast we wandered around the corner and watched while LittleA dragged her Nana under, over and through the structure. Oh what fun!

I took some time out to enjoy the view. What bliss!

I took a punt and rode my bike to breakfast this morning. I was hoping that there would be somewhere for me to chain my bike! Thankfully there was one rack around the side of the venue, but there was not a lot of obvious spots that I could see to park your bike. I think that I should ride more frequently to events, as our weather encourages it and it will get me moving and out of my car.

Ensuite: Before

Our current ensuite is a small room. When I bought the unit, it was untouched from the eightes. The vanity chipboard was slowly disintegrating and the ceiling was growing mould and the paint was bubbling due to the lack of reasonable ventillation. The toilet was dual flush and a bit blah and the room was just a little tired.

The ensuite is an L shape. It works well enough in a limited space but can be quite squeezy if there is more than one person in the room!

When we took the vanity out, we discovered that it was harbouring mould as well, so it was just as well that we have replaced everything in the room! The only original piece is the skylight.

Corner vanity, a little too shallow for decent storage and taking up a lot of space in a very small room! There were mirrors above both leaves of the vanity.

The shower is to the left of the vanity, and in its own little alcove.

The toilet, single flush and stylish, to the right of the vanity. The door shuts in front of the toilet, and there is not much clearance between the two!!

The ceiling before. The paint that had been used had a sand texture. C tried to sand it back but we soon realised that it had deteriorated too badly in parts and had the whole ceiling replaced.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The long way home

Tonight I went around to E's place after dinner to spend some time with her. She had suggested dessert or a walk and I thought that sounded like a nice idea.

When I got to her place I realised that she meant to walk to dessert, so off we went! We passed a stack of Dockers supporters making their way home from Subi Oval, and I guessed from their lack of enthusiasm that Freo had probably come second.

We did a lap of Oxford Street in Leederville to scope out a venue, and ended up at Greens & Cock. I counted 21 different cakes in their display cabinet, an impressive selection! The Chocolate Cherry Meringue Torte caught my eye and we shared a slice and a pot of tea.

The photo shows how it was served up. I kid you not! Three layers of meringue filled with cream, chocolate chips and bottled cherries. We were both disappointed in the meringue, E's assessment being chalky and overbaked. Still, we got out sugar fix and a good cup of tea to catch up on the week that has been.

We took a different route back to E's place and it seemed to be the scenic route. We walked alongside the freeway and random roads until eventually we recognised the Northbridge tunnel. Leederville to West Perth via Northbridge. We both needed a bit of exercise anyway and it meant that we could talk for longer.

As you can see from the photo Perth streets are extremely busy at 10pm on a Saturday night. Cranking.

I suggested to E that we should sample all of the cakes in the display at Greens & Cock. Not all in one sitting though. That would be a good excuse to get out for a walk and chat. Stay tuned.

Friday Night Fondue

The remnants of our first Chocolate Fondue night of 2011!

In contrast to the last one, this time around was about the biscuits rather than the fruit! We had marshmallows, chocolate teddies, lemon creams, biscotti, caramelised onion biscuits and licorice, with some apple, nectarine and grapes thrown in for good measure. It was a fondue feast!

I bought Fair Trade chocolate again too, from the Oxfam Shop. 200g each of milk chocolate and dark chocolate did for the five of us, although I am sure that we could have managed to make it through more.

I am lucky to work close to the Perth Oxfam shop and can pop there quickly for tea and chocolate and any other goodies I wish to buy from them! The tea that we are provided at work is pretty nasty. I usually bring my own in from home but last time I ran out I headed to the Oxfam shop to try their wares!