Thursday, October 30, 2014

Botanical

One of my favourite Hobart things to do is visit the botanical gardens. This was one of my favourite things to do in Wellington and Oxford, too. The Hobart version is, I think, particularly good.
 
 There are ponds with ducks (watch out, its spring time, which means crazy duck business), bridges, water lillies and waterfalls.

 There are mass plantings, of course. The ranunculi were spectacular, but earlier in spring the tulips were pretty good too. I'm happy to say that there are just a few of these, but well concentrated to give you a fantastic surprise. There is also a wonderfully large tree section - an oak grove, a pinetum, and various Australian bits and bobs. Right by the toilets is a fantastic collection of warratahs. And although we didn't go this weekend, I happen to know that the restaurant does an excellent cake and coffee for elevenses.


 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Random Hobartness

This is the best vanilla slice ever created. It was absolutely spectacular to look at, and even better to eat. It came with a lovely coffee. It was so good that I had to bribe my 3 year old not to eat my share. The magicians at Little Missy Patisserie made it - and a stack of other delicious delights.
 

This is the bottle of bubbles I bought to celebrate getting a job. Its just a few hours of a job (actually, a few hours of two jobs), but enough to keep me happy. The bubbles are a local drop (Tasmania local, not Hobart local), and delicious as ever - love you, Jansz NV. (PS - I don't usually store bubbles with my kids lunchboxes, but it gives you a sense of the everyday chaos. I think I thought I'd crop that photo, but I kinda like it).

This is your average Hobart day. Hah! I wish....but there have been quite a few of these, and they are gorgeous. We've spent a bit of time here at Cornelian Bay - it has an excellent playground, a little beach, free barbeques that are usually very clean, and an excellent kiosk with icecream and fish & chips. There's a restaurant too, but so far we're still enjoying the outside parts of it.

This is a terrible photo of a Hobart icon. I remember being taken to visit the Cat & Fiddle Arcade as a child, and thinking it was brilliant. Its a fantastic mechanised clock, that on the hour performs a version of Hey Diddle Diddle. The cow jumps over the moon, the dish and the spoon appear from behind the cat's fiddle, and he saws his way merrily through the tune. Its all over much quicker than I remember, and my 3 year old didn't seem overly impressed, but I loved its retro glory (even if the arcade shopping itself is a bit of a turn off). Long live the Cat & Fiddle!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Baby Quilt A

Baby quilt A is finished and ready to be shipped off. It is (unusually for me) made well ahead of any of the imminent baby's arrival, so for the meantime it hangs on the back of my sewing chair and looks cheery. The longer it stays there, the more I think I need to quilt in the large orange borders. But what?
 

The back is plain lemony-yellow (an old cot quilt - yay for scraps), and looks less lumpy than in the picture - I think that's something about the way I folded it over. The binding is ok - should really have been a brighter blue I think, but I had oooooodles of this blue-grey bias binding, for some reason, so I used some up. And its ok - I really don't think the baby will notice.

So, 3 babies on the way. One quilt made, the next one already pieced (except for a border, which I'm currently musing over). I'll see if this baby quilt madness is out of my system by then, I'm thinking maybe this hat might be in order...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A little culture around here

There is something about not working, and having one child in school and the other the kind of child that (quite often) will entertain himself for a few hours with 4 lego blocks that is conducive to thought. I've had several thoughts recently that have actually turned into actions, which is fairly unusual for me (I typically have many, many thoughts and very few actions). One of these has been yoghurt.

I'm at the supermarket, and I see an EasyYo machine (really, its just a fancy thermos). It cost less than $20AUD and I'd just put about $10 of yoghurt tubs in my trolly, so it was a no brainer. You buy little sachets to make the yoghurt with, and I diligently made a sachet, and it was nice. But kinda sweet, and I didn't really feel like I was making it - I was just adding water and shaking and leaving. Which is great, if that's what you want, but I didn't. Also, it seemed odd to make yoghurt from powdered stuff when I really wanted more control over what was in it, and cheaper production given how much we eat. So, after a few minutes on Google, I gave it a go.

Its miraculous. Every time, I get thick, creamy, yummy yoghurt. Stick some topping on it, and the kids love it. Stick some sprinkles on that, and they go beserk. The other day, my eldest had yoghurt with strawberry & caramel topping and sprinkles. Blergh. Given there is only 2 tablespoons of sugar per litre of yoghurt, I'm happy to add a little topping every now and then, but it goes down just as well with fruit puree or berry coulis or passionfruit or honey.



So here's how I make yoghurt in my EasyYo!
  • Bring 900ml of milk to the boil, then turn it off. Once its cool enough to go in the fridge, chill it. You need to bring the milk to the boil to do something to the proteins (don't ask me what, but if you don't then it doesn't turn into yoghurt, it turns into nasty slop). But you also need to chill it so the temperature is right in the machine.
  • Tip your milk into the EasyYo container. Add 1/4c of your previous yoghurt (or any yoghurt really), 1/2c milk powder (or more - the milk powder makes the yoghurt thicker), and 2 - 3 tablespoons sugar. None is a bit sharp for us, 4 is too sweet. 2-3 makes something I can sweeten for the kids or use in cooking (although if I'm deliberately making it for cooking I'll use less). Shake it all up in the container.  Fill up your EasyYo with boiling water as it says, chuck your container in and seal it up.
  • I think our best yoghurt is when I leave it for 8-9 hours. It is fine left up to 12 hours, but tastes stronger. Once its finished, put the whole container in the fridge and leave it - ideally for a day. It needs to set in the container - its much creamier and thicker if you do.
You could easily do this with another set up - the EasyYo just keeps it at the right temperature for the right period of time with no fuss.  I'm guestimating a little, but with the cost of milk here (I can get full cream at $3 for 2 litres), a litre of yoghurt is costing me around $1.75, I think, a little more for skim milk, and then whatever else I put on top.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Sunshine, orange quilts and rainbows....

Isn't it strange how it happens? No babies for ages, then suddenly all your friends are pregnant. 
 


So this is the start of some baby-crafting, to be shipped off to wee new humans in the next few months. Yes, that orange border is very bright. Yes, its not the most original nor complex quilt top anyone has ever dreamed up. But I do love how the animals seem to peep out at you. And its now quilted and looking quite nice - just the dreaded binding to do. The top is mostly scraps and hoarded fat quarters, which are nice to use up (and scrap wadding too!). The orange in the binding is from The Needlewoman, a beautiful shop on Liverpool Street, Hobart, which doesn't seem to have a website but is a delightful place to visit if you like fabric at all. Unfortunately I had F with me, so spent much of my time talking about looking rather than touching, and not crawling around on the floor busting up their displays, but it was still lovely (and they were very understanding and helpful).


Yesterday was fathers day, and we had a lovely one. It appears that when you are 5, Fathers Day ranks up there with the big annual celebrations. We had multiple handmade gifts, songs, special breakfasts, cake and special puddings. Mmm. My favourite was a rendition of B-I-N-G-O but with words altered to include D-A-D-D-Y. And to make room for all that deliciousness, an afternoon walk for me and F, and a run for B & S. It was a spectacular afternoon - that's Hobart city below, looking pretty gorgeous.
 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A little behind the times

I believe I've said this many times before on this blog, but one of the best things about moving house in winter is finding out whats in the garden come spring.

 

Behold, a wee banksia rose. Its on a very un-wee bush on our deck. In about 3 more days, the bush is going to be smothered with these tiny, delicate, lemon flowers. There are also fruit tree blossoms, who knows what sort yet - definitely apple (first flowers out today!) and maybe a stonefruit. Its definitely spring. Its sunny and warm and there is blossom and magnolias in bloom, and its clearly spring.

 Thus, I cast on a jumper. Hmmm. To be honest, given my current knitting rates of completion, I'm pretty safe that this won't be done until next winter.

Its a lovely pattern - Flowing Lines by Veera Välimäki ; they are Ravelry links. The yarn is (as almost always at the moment), Cascade 220. I bought it at a fabulous yarn shop here in Hobart called the Stash Cupboard, which is delightful and potentially debt-inducing.