Saturday, 18 May 2013

Domestic goddess . . . sort of!

Today has been a day of domestic tasks.  Certainly some were merely run-of-the-mill, but some were more pleasurable.  And there is a certain satisfaction in doing those little things that keep the household running smoothly!

As it was cold this morning, and no one was rushing off anywhere, I had the pleasure of stoking the fire, getting it to re-ignite from its remaining coals.


I am so enjoying having a proper fire - it heats the whole house better than any other heater we have had before, and the house stays warm all night!  Fires are such a strangely primeval pleasure, aren't they.

Next, there was washing to do, including a few woollies (to which I added some hair conditioner in the last rinse, to soften the fibres- works a treat).

Then off to the local shops for a few groceries, and back in time for lunch . . . after which the REALLY fun stuff began!

I put on my current favourite music - McFly's latest album, Memory Lane . . .

and started making Soup.

I do like soup - it's so warming in cold weather.  Today I'm making potato and leek soup, cooked in the slow cooker.  It's Very Easy - just two or three sliced leeks, about a kilo, give or take, of potatoes, a cup of chicken stock (use more if needed), a bay leaf and some thyme, and a knob of butter all chucked in.  Later, you blend it and add a cup or two of milk (quantities vary depending on the variety of potato).  If required, add one or two egg yolks to thicken (just make sure it doesn't boil after this).  Serve with bacon strips sprinkled over the top.

So, into the slow cooker . . . I put it on 'high' just for the first hour, then on low till done.


Simmering nicely a few hours later . . .


and voila!  Dinner is served!


Anyway, after the soup was on, I put some empty jam jars into the oven on low for my next venture - Tomato Jam!

Now, this is not the chutney-ish, savoury kind of tomato jam served in some posh restaurants - no, it is proper sweet jam for toast, scones etc, just like my Nana used to make!  I know tomato jam sounds a bit weird, but it is truly delicious!  I used this recipe.

Having learned a few things from my previous foray into jam making, I did not try to double the recipe, thereby saving myself from numerous spatters of boiling jam and near-overflows.   In fact, it all went surprisingly smoothly!   I ended up with four jars of tomato jam, one of which will go to my Dad, who also loves it.


*Happy Sigh!*  It's been a lovely day.

Nandina



Monday, 13 May 2013

80 years

You may recall in my previous post that I recently have had the privilege of decorating a function room for a particularly significant celebration.

I can now tell you that it was for my Dad's 80th birthday, and that the shindig, which took place last night, went off!  We all went to great lengths to make the bash memorable.  A particular highlight was the cake, which my sister had ordered from Crafted3.  It featured a particularly 'Dad-ish' photo of him with his vegie crops, surrounded by dear little icing pumpkins!


For my decorations, I went all out and ordered some gorgeous handmade bunting from Crabtree Lane in the UK.  It fitted the bill perfectly, being bespoke and in vintage colours.  Claire Mills at Crabtree Lane was more than accommodating, sending us examples of colours for us to choose.


Here is a close up of the bunting fabrics we chose . . .


And here is the bunting in situ at Dad's party last night.  The bunting received lots of favourable comments for the way it made the room so festive!

I also ordered a personalised birthday banner from Little Dance Invitations, which also went down well!


To personalise the banner, we sent Little Dance a photo of Dad as a baby, and they were happy to make the banner whatever colour/style we wished.   I was very pleased with the result, particularly the retro font!

Finally, I turned my mind to retro-look table centrepiece floral arrangements.  As my daughter is getting married later this year, we already had a florist in mind - Virginia from Rockabilly Floral Lane.

After ordering some perfect green vases from the Pink Frosting website, Virginia made four of these gorgeous arrangements for us.


All in all, it was truly a momentous occasion - you only turn 80 once! - and I was so pleased and proud to be able to contribute to the ambience of Dad's big day.

Nandina

Friday, 3 May 2013

I'm so excited . . . !

Sorry about the lateness of this post . . there have been a bunch of things that have kept me away, including my daughter having to go to hospital for a few days, and my own health (all AOK now).

However, I am now COMPLETELY focused on an event on 11 May, which is a family celebration of note because the honoured guest is having a Significant Birthday.  We have hired out a function room at this lovely art deco hotel, and guess what?  I am doing the decorating!!!

I am so excited about it!  It is going to have a vintage theme because the honoured guest is a little bit vintage himself.  My brother is putting together some 30's-40's music, and my sister is arranging the cake . . . and I can't say any more now in case the person sees this blog, but stay tuned!

I will update this post with photos of the decorations in their full glory after the event.

See you then

Nandina