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December 2012
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February 2013

Don't Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Lab After Midnight)

Our visit to The Vet was very successful, but I have no photos as the camera batteries chose that moment to expire!! We saw a new vet, Dr David, who was very thorough and very nice to Peri and Gilly. He checked Peri first and was surprised she was twelve. He thinks she should probably have her lump removed and I said when my tax return came we would. He said he hoped it would be a healthy return. Hmm, that does not bode well!! Otherwise she is in excellent condition. Gilly was given 10/10. She's in fantastic shape and very alert with clean ears!!

They had their dew claws clipped, worming tablets and vaccination. Both of them carried on like a pork chops while the other was being checked out. Peri was so noisy I had to hold her muzzle to quieten her so Dr David could listen to Gilly's heart. It was so hot that when we came home we all needed a nap. Gilly was exhausted.

Gilly is exhausted

After a nap they ran about outside willy-nilly and Peri decided that the best way to continue working on the hole the are jointly constructing would be to eat the dirt.  Yuck. She nibbled away at it for quite a few minutes. Peri eats a hole
Peri must have had a reaction to either the dirt or the vaccination, because that night she woke us pretty much every hour so she could go outside, stand there for a few minutes and then come back to bed. We had an awful night's sleep before and after midnight. She didn't feel too hot, and didn't want a drink. She was fine the next day. I am thankful for their vaccinations as Harki and Peri both caught the Kennel Cough a few years ago and their illness was relatively mild, but still serious. I can certainly imagine how an unprotected dog would quickly die from the virus.

Knits Needles & Wool had a morning tea to raise money for the Bushfire Appeal. Lots of people came and went and I knitted new socks because the weather is cool and rainy!! I am testing out some new wool and they are a pair of toddler socks. Oh no, I can't find the label. Might it be Biggan?? I shall have to ask. It is very nice to knit with and the stitches are very smooth. I call these Lace Miserables. I spent ages deciding what little lace pattern to use and this is simple, but sweet.

  Lace Miserables socks started

Last night I watched  ABBA: Bang-a-Boomerang, a documentary about the Special Relationship between ABBA and Australians. It was so popular that the show is being repeated tomorrow evening on ABC1I didn't think I was a big ABBA fan, but it seems I am. I knew all the songs, even their later 'sophisticated and introspective' ones. I've never denied them three times before the cock crowed, but I didn't have posters or a lunch-box. I don't have any ABBA music, so MrsDrWho is going to let me sing along to ABBA Gold.  In years past The ABBA Game was all the go at parties I went to. These were parties where everyone was sensible and well behaved and lots of children were present!! Someone would cue up the start of a song on the LP, and we would listen for a few seconds and then have to shout out the name of the song to win. MrsDrWho and I were very successful: indicating an un-wasted youth. Or a sad and lonely youth with no friends. I think the latter!!!

School goes back next week. Far too early for my liking. February is the month I am going to quilt-as-I-go my Craftsy BOM 2012. I am going to use Lillian's method. Lillian showed me her finished quilt-as-you-go method which looks neat and fairly easy. I shall have to carefully work out how to cut my squares so it all fits together smoothly. I found my lost Kaffe Fasset jelly roll and so I whipped up a new quilt top. It is small, less than thirty strips and I left three out so I had to sew them on the ends. It's going to have wide dark brown or charcoal borders on the longer sides and rainbow binding of some description. There is one anomalous strip, blue with white spots. I was going to leave it out, but I just used 20cm.                           

KF jelly roll quilt just done
The Federal Election was announced yesterday. I usually enjoy elections but I am not so enthusiastic this time. Politics is so adversarial these days. I do enjoy voting, sometimes just to put a candidate last.

Friday Food tomorrow. This year I don't have a theme or rules. I am blogging about what I cook during the week: from any source, for any reason.  I'm going to post the recipe for the things I took along to the morning tea today.

PS Once again, please excuse any spelling errors. I can't make Typepad work, still, in Firefox and I can't copy and paste into IE, where the spell check doesn't work either but I can Compose.


How Could I Not Believe, When Ita Tells Me Too*

Christmas is long past, but I am well on the way to completing MrsDrWho’s presents. Today I gave her a Christmas Penny Rug. It is a traditional American craft. I discovered my sewing machine will do blanket stitch and so I used it to sew the 27 coloured felt ‘pennies’ to the larger green pennies and then to the same sized penny backing. I did blanket stitch the Santas and holly by hand. It is for the centre of her coffee table.

Santa penny rug

I also finished the Santa and Reindeer wall hanging/table runner. It too has some machine blanket stitch and hand quilting. The reindeer are very cute and I found dark blue material with a small white spot to represent snow in The BlackSpot of Doomlight™. I was exceedingly happy!!

Santa and reindeer thing
Oh and a Zombie parody of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I had only skimmed it, but MrsDrWho read it properly and there is a spelling error. Oh dear.

Zombie book

There has been quite a lot of publicity about how much food is wasted each year in Australia: $6 billion I think. Not at our house. All food is used up. Peri and Gilly are hoovering up the end of the salad that went slightly icy in the fridge. I love the way their noses scrunch up a little bit. I think they are concentrating on eating fast.

Salad days

We had rain last night, quite a lot, though not the end of a cyclone or the tornadoes they had in Queensland. I know it rained because the wind was very noisy and Peri needed to go out and just check almost every hour. That meant Gilly went too, and then there was a lot of towel drying of furry creatures and that woolly smell until they finished drying. I am looking forward to the end of the week when the BOM has forecast 20*C. I might be able to start some socks!!!

Ita Buttrose is our Australia of the Year, and a very worthy recipient. I checked the list and fewer than 20% of AOTY have been women. I think there needs to be more consideration given to that.

Ita has a song written about her by Cold Chisel*, and was in charge of the HIV/AIDs campaign with Death and a bowling alley of people. She is a great advocate and works hard for the causes she supports. Ita is truly an inspirational person and I can remember her being so for all of my life.

MrsHouseOf, some young HouseOfs, MrsDrWho and I went for afternoon tea on Thursday. The waitress (serving person??) accidentally dropped the tray of bubbly and a raspberry cordial, smashing the glasses and MrsDrWho was splattered with bubbly. They were so apologetic and brought her a towel and cleaned up and apologised again, and when MrsHouseOf went up to pay they only charged us for five plain afternoon teas and not the bubbly ones. Excellent service and follow up at The Charles!!! My favourite thing, apart from the egg sandwiches, is the tongs. I love snapping them and playing posh ladies!!

On Friday The Labradors ran away on our walk. They ran 700m up the steep road, way farther than they had ever been before. Jetty and his dad were with us and Jet was such a good buy. Peri and Gilly would stop just out of reach, turn and look to check we were coming, and then run ahead again. It was only when Peri was too tired and hot that they came back. I was too tired to be cross because I walked 1.4km, half of it uphill. I fed them and they went to sleep and I did too for a couple of hours. By tea time I was tired again and had another sleep from 6 till 9-30pm. Then I had some supper and went back to bed to sleep some more!!

I had forgotten tomorrow was a holiday for Australia day, I’m glad when I made The Labradors’ appointment at the vet I made it for Tuesday because there is a Public Holiday surcharge. They are going for their annual check up and vaccinations. We are all Very Excited!!

Surprisingly, I may just have another cup of tea- chamomile- and then perhaps a little reading or TV before we go to bed. We live life in the Fast Lane here!!


Friday Food: Zucchini Rice with Cheese

I'm trapped in a Typepad loop with no escape. Can't Compose in Firefox which has Spell Check, must Compose in IE, which does not. There may be spelling errors so please excuse them!!

Here in the Southern Hemisphere it is the time for zucchini. Miss picking one and by the next day it is bigger than Ben Hur. Friends give them to me and I feed The Labradors (zucchini grated, not cubed because Peri rejects the cubes but not the grate) I saw this recipe here and clicked through to here. So this is my interpretation!!

I used a 200g zucchini for one serve, so a kilo would make 4 or 5 serves, more when an accompaniment. You just need to multiply the recipe by the number of serves you desire.

It's a good idea to check the rice is tender before you add the cheese, it may need a dash more water or stock and a few more minutes. I used a mixture of tasty and Parmesan cheese and if you are worried about too much cheese, I think a little grated Parmesan goes a long way. If my parsley hadn't gone to seed I would have sprinkled some on top. The onion and garlic are in or out as you please.

This is tasty cold, or reheated the next day.

 

Zucchini Rice with Cheese    serves one as a main or 2 as a side I think

  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbspn good olive oil, mine is garlic infused!!!
  • 200g zucchini, peeled and grated coarsely
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, heat it up to speed the cooking
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese, Tasty/Parmesan

Grate the zucchini
I grated the zucchini on the coarse side of the grater and then I twisted it up in the clean cloth and squeezed out the excess water.

Draining the excess water

I then added enough stock to make it up to one cup. I did this because otherwise the rice might be too watery at the end. I squeezed about 50ml of green water!! Set it aside for a bit later on.

Starting the rice

In a pan over medium heat, fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a minute or so and then add the rice and stir to coat well, and fry for a minute or two. Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and then turn the heat down to low. The mixture should burble along.

Adding the zucchini

Cook for 10-15 minutes and then add the zucchini. Fold in and add a dash of extra water or stock if needed. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Cheese me and then rest

Stir in the cheese and take off the heat. Cover and stand for 5 minutes, then serve. I think a  squeeze of lemon juice finishes it off nicely!!!

Zucchini rice with cheese


BlueKai Mines

Dear Reader, technical difficulties, I'm here:

BlueKai Mines

I would be posting to my Typepad blog, but the Compose page won't complete downloading because of something called tags.bluekai.com.
I have asked the Typepad people for help, and as usual, they say it is my fault. I have 'done' something to make this happen.
Dear Reader, I am the most uncomputery person I know. It's like my car: I turn it on, and it goes. I have it serviced, regularly, back up/reverse and check for viruses.
I don't know how to do anything. They said to clear my cookies so now, of course, I have to sign into everything everywhere I go. And has this solved the problem?? No.
I have been waiting four months for them to fix their spell check facility. I know, I know, I can use the Firefox spell checker, but I have to do it on the HTML page. It's tricky. And by the way, all the saved posts in my Typepad are in HTML.
It just makes me cross that their first response is always that I have done something. They never say that they will try to fix it, they always want me to.
So, to happier things: Peri and Gilly helping me with my mum's quilt. There are other pictures of Peri lying on her back, exposing herself for all the world to see. I didn't choose those. I think they know I want them to hop off!! You can see the blur in the upper left corner that is Peri's tail wagging twenty to the dozen.
In my tidying up I found I had eleven dress lengths of material, and one on the way from The FatQuarterShop, the one with the circles in the bottom row. I have asked myself if I want to cover my body in a dress full of Labradors and the answer?? I think I do! I was talking to MrsDrWho on the phone last night and I mooted making a dress a month this year. I'm counting the batik-y one as January. I reckon I could do that, barring health issues!!
Here is a poor collage of the two dresses, length and neckline corrected. I seem to have sliced off my right side each time. The dresses look much better shorter, and use less material as well. I unpicked the palm tree dress and took in the seams at the corner of the neck by 1.5cm. It seems I am larger in the bustal area but small in the shoulders and neck. Please excuse the woeful pictures, it was too sunny and I was taking photos randomly and hoping for the best!!!
I sewed two skirts for MrsHouseOf's Christmas present. They are the same style, but one is longer, the peace sign one.
 I have new material to make her two skirts for her birthday. I bought 5m at BSODL(tm) and instead of $18 per metre it was all on sale for $3. What a bargain!!!
I have been to afternoon tea twice in the last month. The sandwiches were excellent and the scones freshly baked and served with freshly made jam and thick cream The cakes were nice too, but I have to say the macaron were not as good as Uncle Dutch makes.
When my mum came to visit she brought the alcohol from the deep recesses of the cupboard with her. I am pretty sure alcohol doesn't go off?? I can see myself using the Cherry Brandy for cooking but unless I make Nigella's Grasshopper Pie the Creme de Menthe might just be decorative!!

MrsDrWho and I went to see The Hobbit in 3D yesterday. It is very long, but apart from a few sitting for too long issues, I did not think of the time even once. I was entranced for the whole time. It was very, very good. I had my doubts that The Hobbit could be made into three films, but I am relieved that it is fine. The 3D was very unobtrusive and I didn't find the film's faster speed of frames to affect me at all. I have loved The Hobbit since I first read it when I was a little girl, so I was bound to lean towards the positive. I don't think it is terribly accessible for newcomers, I think you need to have read the book. Said book is quite didactic, a la C S Lewis's Narnia series, and full of Dickensian description. I read The Hobbit to some of my classes and did judicious editing!!
And now I am off to do some more work on MrsDrWho's Christmas presents, which are awfully late and she is very kind not to be cross with me. I am blanket stitching around fiddly things, very badly.

Friday Food: Freezer Fudge

Honestly, it's so hot a bit of micro-waving is all I am up for. I took freezer fudge to the Doctors and Nurses at the vet and they said it was delicious. I whipped up this batch for MrsDrWho in 5 minutes, and then just an hour in the freezer and it was ready to cut and eat. I think it is important to use the best chocolate you can, I used some with 70% cocoa solids. The recipe calls for pistachios, but any nuts, or none, would do. I quite like the Christmassy effect of the red cranberries and the green nuts. I've also jumped on the salt bandwagon, and salt does indeed enhance the flavour of chocolate and caramel. Just saying.

There are Easter eggs and Hot Cross buns in the shops already, so maybe you could get a head start by making some of this fudge and freezing it for later on. Or just eat it now.

It is kept in the freezer, it hasn't been cooked enough to thicken, so it will be too soft in the fridge.

Nigella says to cut this into 64 pieces, but I defy you to make such tiny morsels!! I tasted a tiny corner and it doesn't taste 'frozen' at all.

 

Freezer Fudge   makes 64 pieces  (Pshaw!!)

  • 350g good dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
  • 1 tin of condensed milk- 395g
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • salt
  • 150g unsalted pistachios- I used 85g and 65g of cranberries

Prepare a tin. I used my small long bar tin because I was already using my square 20cm tin. I lined it with clingwrap. I left enough overlap to seal the top.

Melt and mix
You can melt the butter, chocolate and condensed milk in a saucepan over a low heat, but I microwaved it on 70% power for 1 minute bursts. You're looking for almost melted and then use the residual heat in the bowl to continue the process as you stir.

Nuts and berries
When the mixture is smooth, sprinkle over a little salt, add the nuts and cranberries and gently fold through.

Refrigerate
Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the top and wrap well. Freeze for at least an hour. Then cut or slice as you desire. It's that easy!!

Freezer fudge


January, Please Be Cold, Don't Be Angry With Me.



Things I didn't know about Pilot: they were Bay City Rollers, and went on to be part of The Alan Parsons Project. I have a few TAPP CDs. I particularly loved their Gaudi album.

In December I had a bout of depression, and so my blog and the World have been on a break. Wonderful friends and the excellent anti-depressants I am taking have helped me feel balanced again. Kind people have started emailing asking if I am still here, so I thought I would make this year's first post.

Christmas mainly featured MasterSingapore(MrsDrWho's nephew) and his Snail Backpack. His mum emailed me and asked if he could possibly 'be' a snail with a backpack, and then somehow be enveloped in a shell. Her wish was my command.

Here is MasterSingapore wearing his Snail backpack:

Snail back pack

The pattern was free on the Husqvarna site, but was adjusted to eliminate the head. Then when you undo the zip, out comes a huge fabric 'shell' which can envelop one, and then one can slime about the house being a snail called Gary who meows. I think this is SpongeBob Squarepants.

Unfurl then slime along
Our island and the eastern part of The mainland experienced terrible bushfires. The temperature reached 54*C as the fire passed through one town. Many houses were lost here, but no lives. People in the bush had been urged to prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan and these plans must have worked very well.

Peri and Gilly had birthdays: they are now 12 and 4 respectively!!!

Birthday Girls 2013
We had their seemingly annual holiday trip the the vet: Peri with a sore paddy paw as a result of her allergy and then Miss Lorelai Gilmore with an insect bite on her urethra. Yes, it is as painful as it sounds. So it was hospital at home with antibiotics and ointment for everyone.

There was swimming in the dam with Jet. Or standing in the water at the dam if you are Gilly. Peri won the stick retrieval swimming race.

Swimming

There hasn't been much knitting after the Great Advent Calendar of 2012, but yesterday I whipped up a mug cosy for MrsMadcage's birthday today. It's the Owl Do You Like Your Coffee? Cosy.

Owl do you like your coffee 2013
And there may just have been an owly tote bag too.

Owly bag 2013
I have been wearing my new dresses all the time. I ended up cutting them both shorter and re-hemming. The batik-y one is my favourite, as it is so lovely and cool in the hot weather. I am contemplating using the same pattern and cobbling together a dress with straps instead of sleeves.

MrsDrWho and I and our Sew Quilty friends are going to be sewing the new Craftsy BOM. I have made the first pieces already. I am using Christmas material. I like it because it is mostly green and aqua!!

BOM 2013 1

And so I am getting back into the swing of things. I've been catching up with friends at lunches and afternoon teas, and lolling about when it has been too hot whilst saving the world from demons and/or Baskerville Hounds on MrsDrWho's iPad that she kindly lent to me. I've even had a bit of a go at Plants vs Zombies and Angry Birds!!! I am not very good.

Today five fat Library Books came at once so I shall have to buckle down to some serious reading.

I am answering comments afresh this year, and so a pitiful blanket "Thank you" for the lovely comments on my last post. And wiggly waggly tails from The Labradors!!!