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August 2011
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October 2011


Today I am wearing:

  • My new Lime Green refashioned top.
  • My favourite A-line skirt, this was my best drafted version.

And, of course, Labradors.

I bought a size 26 top from Target, on special, for $14. I have bought the only green stretch cotton material the BSODL(tm) stocks. I used my favourite top as a pattern, and sewed up a variation.

T-shirt re fashion
I used the original hem as my new hem, and I unpicked the double neckband and used the wider one for the sleeve band and the smaller one for the new neckband. I left the neck as a low scoop, rather than making a v-neck this time. As you can see, it is a tad tight across the chest, but I think that will stretch out with a few washes. It was very successful. I am thinking about buying a few men's t-shirts and doing the same thing.

We have had beautiful sunny days and then terribly stormy weather: typical of our Spring. Peri and Gilly love to lie in the Sun. You can see Peri has two food bowls, the one I mix their food in and her own small one. Gilly has her slow-me-down black dish.

Sun baking

Though it was raining on our walk and they enjoyed a fabulous wrestling session and a dip in the creek!!

Wrestling Labradors
I cooked some of Jamie Oliver's Portuguese Custard Tarts. I forgot to mix in the lemon zest, so I sprinkled it on top of the cooked tarts and then poured on the toffee/caramel. They had to be refrigerated overnight and the pastry kept its crunch quite well, but the toffee melted away.

Custard tarts

Tuesday's Letters Eat 35: 'T' is for Tomato Mustard Tart

This is Stephanie Alexander's tart recipe.  Tomatoes are not at their best here, but I think this will be a nice tart to add to my repertoire. And I am using frozen puff pastry so it is easy as well.

The recipe asks for the tomatoes to be seeded, but the variety I bought was not very seeded or moist. If they were otherwise, I would have made the effort as the extra juice could make the pastry soggy.

I used spring onions, or green onions, and not proper shallots. There is a lot of debate here about the difference between shallots and spring onions: I say use whatever you like best.

I did wonder how this would taste, but it's delicious and moreish. The mustard has a slightly sweet undertone which goes perfectly with the slightly acid tomatoes and the fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. This is very quick and it looks as if you have gone to much more trouble than you really have. I will be taking this to my Sewing group for supper. Yum!!!


 Tomato and Mustard Tart  

  • 10-12 slices of tomato, seeded
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 tbspn Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbspn finely chopped shallots
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbspn fresh basil leaves, chopped

Drain the tomato on kitchen paper for an hour.

You say tomato
Preheat oven to 220*C.

Say mustard
Cut a 20cm circle from the pastry and place on a lined tray. Prick all over with a fork.

Spread pastry with mustard and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and scatter over the shallots. Arrange the tomato slices, season and drizzle with the olive oil.

I say tomato
Bake for a further 10 minutes. Top with the chopped basil leaves.

Tomato and Mustard Tart


Today I am wearing (and ignoring the missing days)

  • an A-line skirt made form the fabric I dyed. I drafted a new skirt pattern but it is too long in the front, the side seam hem rises and the facing is not short enough.
  • My new Emerald top I sewed. Now it has lunch on it and will need to be soaked and washed.
  • My favourite shoes, Emerald. 


I inserted a zip in the Centre Back and a loop to close the top with an as yet to be found button. I only had a metre so I cut the front on the fold and the back with a seam. I was worried the skirt might need adjusting after the Kate Winslet Skirt fiasco, so I haven't trimmed the facing and just tacked it onto the back of the zip. I will use an old skirt to fix the pattern before I cut it from some interfacing for posterity.

Loopy loop
MrsDrWho, WeeJock&Bessie's Mum and I went for lunch at MrsReno's house. We had a delightful luncheon and two kinds of wine: bubbly and a delicious light red. MrsDrWho is modelling one of the things the Renos brought back from their European holiday!! I think it suits her!!!

Helmet hair
I chose a pretty Venetian glass pill box as my gift. I almost chose a glass wine stopper, but the green swirl of the glass called to me!!!

Pill box
Spoonflower had their free swatch day so I ordered a swatch of Peri and Gilly and donated $5 to a Heifer charity. It is a lovely photo and I am so pleased. I think I may make a bag to showcase The Labradors!!!

Gilly is full of the Joy of Spring and has taken to unpacking the recycling on an almost daily basis. I must make time to carry it up the stairs to the bin for this Tuesday's pick up. Peri is pretty happy to find a sunny spot and sleep. In between playing rowdy rebel games with Gilly.

Spoonflower swatch
I finished Bagheera's little quilt and MrsDrWho's niece seemed pleased!! I am a bit pleased too, I think the black border finishes it off very nicely.

Bagheera's little quilt
And today I am quite tired after my outing. I haven't knitted anything for several days now. Tomorrow I am determined to fix skirts and skirt patterns. Once a skirt is cut out, I can sew it in less than an hour, which is very pleasing. Fixing up take a lot longer.......

There are only five Self Stitched September days left now. My one aim is to finish adjusting the toile and sew up my Rooibos dress. In green of course!! Five days might just be enough time.

SSS20 (even though it is the 23rd)

On the 20th I was wearing:

  • Freshly Cut Grass hand knitted cardigan
  • Green stretch cotton top, sewn from a pattern I made from an old top
  • Ultimate black jeans
  • New Emerald shoes!!!

My new Emerald shoes from The Ebay are not the height of fashion, but they fit, they are comfortable, they have a wedge heel and they are really, really green!! I like them a lot.

Emerald shoes
I have been almost sewing skirts, and actually sewing a little blanket/quilt for MrsDrWho's niece's cat. It needs to be small enough to travel in a suitcase on the aeroplane. The quilt, not the cat. I am attempting a Bagheera from Jungle book applique with an upside down kitten border. Even though I paid particular attention to the kittens being right way up, they are upside down. Kittens are like that. Once I ran out of bobbin thread, I knew that was a signal to stop sewing. It just needs to be bound.

Bagheera's almost small blanket
I've finished one of the Admiral Halsey Notified Me, He Had To Have A Sock Or He Couldn't Go To Sea socks. The Cat Bordhi Sweet Tomato heel is interesting and fun but it doesn't fit my heel. I am seriously considering unravelling the sock. The whole sock is a few rows shy of ONE pattern repeat. Wow, that's a long pattern repeat. I love the colours.

Admiral halsey one
The new Knitty Deep Fall appeared and I fell in love with Vignette. In love, yes, but I wanted an 8ply cardigan for Spring and Summer not a 10ply one. So I made a tension square and took out my trusty pen and paper and calculated that if I made the second largest size in 8ply it should fit. I have started knitting my Short Scene in Lime Zest Rondo and I am increasing after the waist on the back.

Short Scene back

When I went out this afternoon I gave Peri and Gilly an apple each. Peri was so happy, wagging her tail and crunching into the fruit. Her tail is so cute when it wags!!! You can see Lorelai Gilmore in the second picture, her apple is down the stairs.

Peri is a happy appler

Peri's apple and pop up Gilly
Gilly has worn herself out this afternoon, guarding the house and playing with her plastic cup.She is so tired, but doesn't want to miss out on anything. She keeps falling asleep even though she is trying desperately to stay awake.

Gilly is so tired.....
I picked up the new Baby Gate from Lay-by and installed it. Gilly is not very happy at all, and neither is Peri. The gate clicks shut automatically, so there's no chance of a sneaky kitchen raid!!

I bought some interesting Dog, and some cats, Christmas material to make myself a skirt for December. The ladies in the shop were slightly horrified in a very nice way that I would wear it, but I am looking forward to a Jupe de Noel!!!

Will be a christmas skirt
I don't think I should be in charge of any crafts tonight, I am too tired and sure to make mistakes. I am going to watch the new police detective show on the ABC and then we will all have an early night. Tomorrow I have to catch up on my SSS pictures there will be re-creations on the verandah!!!


Tuesday's Letters Eat 34: 'T' is for Thai Red Prawn Curry

I went out this morning and spared not a thought for my recipe before I left, so a visit to the Library was called for. This Thai curry is inspired by one of Gordon Ramsay's recipe. It is definitely a curry for when you are in a hurry. He used lobster tails: I used some fresh prawns from Australia. It cost $2-50 for 6, so $10 worth would make a proper meal for four. You could substitute some chicken, pork or extra vegetables in place of the lobster tails. There were no Kaffir Lime leaves to be had today in any shops, so I just missed them out altogether.

Once you have assembled all the ingredients, there is hardly any preparation and the curry is ready in the time it takes to cook the rice.

I made some quick Asian greens to go with the curry and rice. It is a perfect and speedy recipe!!

NB An Australian tablespoon is 20ml.

Thai Red Prawn Curry  serves 4

  • 2 tbspn vegetable oil
  • 3 tbspn red curry paste
  • 5 Kaffir Lime leaves
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbspn fish sauce
  • 800g raw prawns (or whatever you choose as a substitute)
  • 200g beanshoots
  • 1 tspn lime juice
  • 1 tspn caster sugar (or palm sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice

For the Asian Greens

  • 1 tbspn vegetable oil
  • 1 tspn sesame oil
  • 400-600g bok choy or similar greens
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbspn soy sauce
  • 1 tbspn oyster sauce
  • water

Get ready

Assemble everything you need. Cook the rice by whichever method you prefer. I used my rice cooker. You may want to prepare the prawns now if you have more than 6. I de-head and de-tail, take off the shell and then clean out the little black line at the back.

Frying paste

To make the curry, heat a large pan or frypan and add the oil and the curry paste and cook for 2 minutes.

Cooking paste etc

Then pour in the coconut milk, fish sauce and add the Kaffir Lime leaves if you have any. Bring to the boil.

Prawns and beanshoots

Add the beanshoots, prawns, fish sauce and sugar and cook for 5 minutes, stirring if necessary.


While the curry is finishing off, make the Asian greens by first washing and slicing the greens lengthwise. Heat the oils in a hot pan and add the greens and garlic. Cook for a minute then add the soy and oyster sauce and a splash of water. Turn a few times until the greens are all coated and wilted.

Stir the lime juice into the curry and serve with the rice and Asian greens.

Thai red prawn curry

SSS18 & 19

Today be Talk Like A Pirate Day. Aren't you glad I didn't translate me whole post?? There was a little Avastin' and Me Heartyin' happenin' here.

Yesterday at once stage I was wearing:

  • Blue denim Ultimate jeans
  • Target long sleeved olive top
  • Green Picket, my hand knitted vest in Washed Haze Aran. Being cotton, it has not held its shape well, but it is warm and green.


Today I am wearing :

  • My bit-of-a-fizzer almost a Kate Winslet outline illusion pencil skirt. I was going for the lighter panel in the centre and darker sides effect, but missed by a mile. The centre panel is some fabulous French fabric, it feels lush and rich. I wanted to use as much of the panel as I could. I drafted a pencil and A-line skirt pattern this morning and I think I used up all my brain power. I have half a metre more of the plain green and I will undo the side seams and facing and front panel and add wider side panels. I think it will count as a whole other skirt!!!
  • Green top with flowery trim, a gift. I think I need to take the sides in a little.

I also need new shoes something wicked.

And so to dyeing. I started with these fabrics,


some dye, vinegar and salt.

I had to use apple cider vinegar, hence the colour. There were 8 teaspoons of dye in the packet meant for 1.3kg of fabric. I had 600g of fabric and I didn't want to obscure the patterns too much so I used 3 teaspoons of dye. I had already washed and dried the fabric.

Dyeing 1
First I filled the machine to the Low level with hot water and then as it agitated, dissolved the dye. After 30 seconds I added the fabric and once it was thoroughly soaked, the salt and vinegar. Then it was just a case of waiting the wash cycle out. My wash cycle is long so I didn't set it twice.

Dyeing 2

I checked the colour, the machine rinsed once, then I added a little washing powder and it rinsed again and then spun the fabric almost dry.

After dyeing
I am so pleased with the effect and I can see that I will be dyeing more fabric soon. I haven't washed these again yet, but even if they fade a little, I am still very happy with the result. I put a load of green towels through the washing machine so if there was any dye left, it would only dye the towels.

I have been knitting some new socks, the Admiral Halsey Notified Me, He Had To Have A Sock Or He Couldn't Go To Sea socks. I am using some Admiral R Druck Opal and the new 'square' needles. They are actually quite good. I think they improve my tension and facilitate an even knitted fabric and it is difficult to hold them too tightly, as I am wont to do. Thus far, it has all gone swimmingly.

Admiral Halsey sock 1
Yesterday I went to a Trivia Afternoon in support of the National Stroke Foundation. One of the Dutches' relatives had a stroke when she was only 29 and she is raising money. There is going to  be a Walk 4 Stroke on the Mainland. Our team consisted of MrsDrWho, The Dutches, Other Dutches and me. There were 45 questions and we scored 38/47* and won. I chose this tea towel.

Trivia prize
I thought it was for auction and I was going to bid for it. It is so beautiful and colourful. I googled Anna Chandler and found that my tea towel must be woven with real gold thread because it is worth $39. I can never use it to wash up with. I am contemplating a bag.

Peri has been fine tuning her hole in the ground so it is more comfortable to lie in.

Peri lying in her hole
She was so soundly asleep that when I woke her up she had her squashed, sleepy, why did you disturb me? face on.

Per wakes up
Gilly is always off somewhere, being busy (unpacking all the recycling of late) but quick as a flash she is right there for her close up!!!

Gilly sticks her nose in
I am quite exhausted, I am going to make The Labradors' tea and have a nap before I ring my mum. Tomorrow at Leukaemia Support Group we are doing some gentle Yoga. I want to be well rested so I can try to bend well!!

I keep meaning to take a few pictures of my new computer, my new casserole dish and Uncle Dutch's R2D2 Artoo detoo in progress Beanie. I finally gave it to him yesterday and forgot to take a photo. Maybe if Uncle and Auntie Dutch read this they will email me a snap??!! I am very forward!!!

*Extra points for naming ALL of Tom Cruise's wives. Yes, we knew them all but we were rubbish at Geography. We're old, and they keep changing the maps!!!

SSS16 & 17

In which I take my standing still pictures with the Sport function, thereby capturing my non movement perfectly, and am slightly out of focus. I may dress up tomorrow and take these again. For posterity.

Yesterday I was wearing (and have already recreated once today)

  • Fluoro green pyjama pants sewn earlier this month.
  • Striped green top from Suzanne Grae.
  • My hand knitted Green is the New Black cardigan. Sadly, this was accidentally washed in the washing machine and now is relegated to wearing around the house status

Today I am wearing, momentarily,

  • My new green top. This is the one I cut out a few days ago, using another favourite top as a template. It has turned out really well. I am so pleased I cut it 12cm longer, but I had to wing the length of the neckband. There is a pucker or two, but otherwise it is great. As soon as I find some other green fabric, I will be sewing a few more, with maybe some sleeve and neck variations.
  • My lovely A-line dotty skirt which I sewed a few years ago. It goes with almost every green. I need to find some more material rich with greens and make a new skirt to match lots of tops. It looks much nicer when one arm isn't 'up'. I don't usually wear a top with my arms waving about, disco style.

Peri and Gilly are demonstrating their leaping and running abilities today. First Peri, who is leaping over the fence on our walk. I snapped a photo as she was mid jump. She looks wonderful and so very cute!!

Peri leaps

Gilly was lying outside the laundry while I was dyeing,

Gilly waits

and heard a sound and took off so quickly that even the Sport function could not capture her without blur.

Gilly, the Flash

I have knitted a hat for Uncle Dutch's birthday. It is very, very late. In case he, or Auntie Dutch, sees it, I am just putting a picture with no information. I have some more duplicate stitching to complete.

Artoo detoo in progress

Auntie and Uncle Dutch gave me some money for my birthday to put towards a ruffler foot for my sewing machine. The ruffler foot arrived on Friday and I am quite afraid of it. It cost $100. I plan to make a ruffled Sew Serendipity skirt.


I am reviewing some new knitting needles for Knits, Needles and Wool, the local wool shop. They are rectangular prism needles, or they have a square shape. I am going to knit a pair of socks for me, with Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato heel.

My dyeing was extremely successful and I managed not to get too permanently green. I shall post about the process tomorrow and show the finished dyed fabric. I am going to be a regular dyer from now on!!

SSS14 & 15 2011

I am old. I know I am old because unlike Scarlett Johansson et al, I would never contemplate snapping pictures of myself in the all together. I know I am posting pictures of the clothes I am wearing for Self Stitched September, but I am fully clothed!! It makes me want to exclaim,"Young people!!", and so I am definitely old.

Yesterday I was wearing:

  • Lorelai Gilmore, and believe me, I have put a lot of work into her!!
  • Green top from Katies.
  • A-line skirt. I drafted my own pattern and added a cute button and loop to close the top of the zip.

Today I am wearing:

  • Black Ultimate jeans which I have been kneeling all over the floor in.
  • Rockman's green blouse
  • My lovely Pretty in Lime top, knitted in the lovely and discontinued Lime Harmony from Bendigo Woollen Mills. I just checked on The Ravelry and it is five years old. It has worn very well.


Peri and Gilly both love the daily photo ritual. They also like lying in warm dusty dirt. Peri has dug a hole in the dry hard dirt and she likes to lie in it when it is warm from the Sun. When I was talking to her, taking her photo, she was wagging her tail like mad.

Peri, waggy tail, warm dirt
It didn't take long for Lorelai Gilmore to realise there was attention on offer and so she demonstrated her dare devil balancing skills on the wobbly rock wall.

Gilly, wanting attention, dare devil

My cold seems to be clearing up, thank you very much. I felt up to some sewing. I managed some cutting out. I have three tops the same, but they are very old and one had puppy teeth marks in it so I decided to cut this one up and use it for a pattern. I bought some green stretch cotton fabric from The BSODL(tm). There was only one green to choose from in the whole shop, so that was the one for me. I bought 1 metre, but I had to go back and buy 30cm more this afternoon as I lengthened the top by 12cm in all, just enough so that the sleeves missed out. Now I am exhausted!! But I will be ready to sew my top tomorrow.

Lime top
Last week, MrsDrWho and I went on a Secret Day Trip to the Southern Capital. She shopped for some new clothes and I bought a book and a new green casserole dish-picture another day. We had a delicous lunch. I had a BELT: bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato toasted sandwich, and she had Nachos, and I finished off the guacamole!! We also tried cupcakes from the cupcake shop. My lemon one was light and moist but not very lemony and the icing on both cakes was so sweet as to be sickening really. MrsDrWho had a Cookies & Cream  which was nice. She very kindly said my cup cakes are nicer!!!

BELT Nachos Cup cakes
The school holidays are almost over and MrsDrWho had A List of jobs to do. One of them was blogging and another was sharing out the Christmas fabric we have accumulated over the last four or five years. We would go into The BSODL(tm) every year and buy a metre or two at the Christmas sales. Last night we each ripped and folded fabric for about an hour and I came home with a carry bag full to the brim.

Christmas fabric
And now I am going to sit on the couch with a hot water bottle, a fresh cup of tea and a biscuit and watch Chuck. Miraculously, the TV station has started screening it again and they carried on from the exact place they left off last time. Mind you, I have a sneaky urge to dye!!!!


SSS13 2011

I have a slight head cold. Not enough to keep me bedridden, but enough to make me feel poorly. I am using a homeopathic remedy which I spray under my tongue and it makes me feel better. Even if it isn't working medically, the placebo effect is.

Today I am wearing:


  • my Freshly Cut Grass cardigan which looks like it is buttoned up skew-wiff. And therefore was askew all day!!!
  • Black Ultimate Jeans
  • green top, gifted
  • nice green shoes

You can see a tangle of Labradors in the background. The squeaky red ball is being neglected in favour of wrestling.

Peri and Gilly, actually its Gilly and Peri from left to right, have been soaking up the Sun's rays. The weather veers wildly from warm to freezing cold, so they take their sunbeams where they can. I love the way Peri has her eyes closed and her head tilted towards the warmth.

Gilly and Peri love the Sun
Gilly must be a very loud yawner!!!

Peri can hear Gilly yawn

Tuesday's Letters Eat 33S: Strawberry Cake, Jammy

The result of the Sweet or Savoury: What Shall I cook? poll is in and the winner is Sweet!! 10 votes to 5.

And so I am cooking a strawberry cake, inspired by the Strawberry Summer Cake.

The recipe calls for two punnets of strawberries, but you could get away with one. You also need a deep and/or large tin. I used a 22cm cake tin, but I put a tray underneath it in the oven and it almost, almost overflowed. I think a springform tin would be a sensible choice!!

My cake rose over the strawberries on the top of the cake, but their delicious jammy goodness was still contained within.


Jammy Strawberry Cake   serves 8 or 10

  • 90g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tbspn caster sugar extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 250-500g strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease and line a round 22cm deep cake tin.

The beginning
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add the vanilla extract and the egg. Whisk briefly till combined and then mix in the milk.

And then
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and then fold into the creamed mixture. Instead of proper hulling, I cheat and just gently rinse the strawberries and then cut the top off and halve them.

Almost ready
Spread the batter into the lined cake tin and then top with the halved strawberries, covering as much of the cake as possible. Then sprinkle with the extra caster sugar. This is the step which makes the strawberries jammy.

Baking, making, cooking
Bake at 180*C for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 170*C and continue to bake. It should take 50-60 minutes in total. The cake is cooked when it is golden brown on top, it has come away from the sides of the tin and when prodded, the skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the pan, on a rack, and then slice and serve. I ate this slice, dusted with icing sugar and some runny cream. I forgot I had the cream and after that, the cake slice was eaten, so there was not time for a picture!! This would not keep well, being jammy, and is best eaten within a day or two. In hot climates it would probably benefit from refrigeration too.

Jammy strawberry cake