Monday, April 30, 2012

Butter, buntings and baby!

Butter, buntings and baby!

So, I really should have made the name of my blog butter, buntings and baby as the baby part is a pretty big, infact major part of my life! I'm expecting my first baby in August (this year! clarifying as someone asked this year or next year!!) and so alot of what I am doing, buying and thinking is revolving around him..yes its a him! Ultrasound pretty clear so i'm not too stressed it will turn out the other way! I'm not a buy brand new girl, unless its something I need today and opshops, garage sales, markets and hand me downs may not be able to help immediatly! But I wouldn't want to be any other way and I think I've found the BEST baby boy clothes recently at opshops! One of the little outfits made me think of my twin brother and myself when we were around 1, in very similar outfits, so I felt quite emotional about that, as I don't have anything from my childhood to pass on to my little one, so finding something similar is so lovely! Ive included photos of my twin and I in the outfits and the ones I found. So here are some photos of the cutest things I have found for little one, and all second hand, recycled and cheap!!

My twin brother (in the blue) and me!

The little blue outfit that reminds me of my brother and I!

Love all the fine detail in these 3 pictures!

Love this Rupert the Bear belt I found!

I can't wait to see him in all these little things as well as the many handmade clothes I know his is getting from generous and talented family members! Thankyou!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

In remembrance..

This blog entry, is one to read sitting down with a cup of tea!

Yesterday was Anzac Day and I remembered a lovely client of mine who fought in the war. I work with elderly people, helping them with day to day activities, and in my 3 or so years of doing this job, I have met some very special people. These people have enriched my life and I am sure, by the way they thank me, I've enriched theirs. In my time working with all these lovely folk, I have been spoilt with all sorts of different gifts, which for me, is very lovely, as it helps me to remember these people every time I use or see the gift they have given me. I'm going to share with you, some of the generous gifts I have been given, as a thankyou from my clients, and for me, I will always remember them in my day to day life! Some of the gifts were things they bought for me and some hand me downs that they knew I would love!

My client who was a soldier, was very generous. He gave me plates, that were his and his wifes, when they first got married in England, 73 years ago. They were in their mid 90's when I worked with them. I spent alot of time with this couple, sharing in stories and drinking tea, as well as cleaning their house for them. When his lovely wife passed away, I was very glad that I could still work with him, helping him get through each day. My fondest memories of him was talking about british tv shows and real comforting food that he missed from growing up and that I was fortunately familiar with, like bread and butter pudding, real butter, suet puddings, and steak and kidney pies! Whenever I use these gifts from him, I always think of him and his wife, and  I am truly greatful!

Another client of mine, 92 years old, spent most of her spare time tyding the house, so that as soon as I got there, we would have more than enough time for tea and her favourite, madeira cake, with butter! I loved visiting her as I knew we would get chatting about her life back in England, her husband and what she loves to cook! She was very generous and never forgot a card and chocolates when my birthday, christmas or wedding anniversary came around! Again, I am truly greatful I met her and will look after the gifts she has given me, because, I never want to forget her! She gave me a english tea dress,from her years living in England, she said she never wanted to part with, but knew I would look after it! And as she knew I loved colour in my house, an old vase, that she thought I'd love, and I do!

Two years ago, I got married to my best friend. My clients were so happy and excited for me and some really wanted to give me a gift or help out in some way. And I am so glad they did! One of my lovely clients, who I will never forget, went beyond what she needed to do. Not that she needed to do anything, but she was amazing. She gave me 4 white icing flowers from her wedding cake to put on mine as well as making platters of delicious sandwiches for my wedding! None of this I asked for, but I will never forget her, as I look at wedding photos and see her love and care for me!

Another lovely lady I worked with, who was 96, shared her wedding story with me when I told her I was getting married. This captured me as it sounded beauitful, but also despite her age, she remembered everything from that day of hers! She was a very beautiful person, full of praise and encouragement for me, always saying God Bless in the most sincere way when I left her house each week. One week I arrived and she slowly walked to her room to get a gift for me to use on my special day. A beautiful hankie, which did come in use, but one that I will not throw out even if it has been used alot! I want to remember her words to me and the love she gave me.

One of the many topics of conversation that come up with my lovely clients is food and cooking! They know i'm quite a fan and its always lovely to share food together! I met a lovely lady once, who I unfortunatly only worked with for 2 weeks, but in that time she shared with me her favourite and always a winner biscuit recipes as it was christmas time and she was busy baking some for her neighbours in the retirement village. I wrote these down, and love that when I make or eat them, I will always remember her.

Another client of mine, who has not only shared recipes with me, very often shares produce from her garden. Ive walked away week after week with rhubarb, figs, fennel and many different herbs! I love that she wants to share her hard work with me! She is very much into being self sustainable and loves that I make gifts and things for my home rather than buying. Here are two recipes she shared with me, that ive tried and that are really delicious! She also gave me the cutest sewing room accessory to use for my crafting times! She knows me well, and I love that!

Today I worked with a lovely couple, one is in mid 70's, the other 98! As soon as i step foot into their home, its full of laughter and generosity! I dont think there has been an easter without a chocolate egg, or a christmas without a box of shortbread waiting for me on the kitchen table! The conversation i have with them always leaves me full of energy and happy. Its often about grandchildren of theirs, their life in Holland, or looking at the fashion pages in magazines and choosing what we would wear and who's popping out of their dress to much! These two know me very well and it makes me feel very special. I arrived one week to a stick blender waiting for me, one they bought years ago, but wanted to offer to me first before family as they knew I would really appreciate and use it! I do, all the time!! And a pile of wool was waiting for me today, which made me smile as I like to use recycled craft supplies instead of brand new!

I'm seeing a lovely lady tomorrow, she is 92. You wouldn't pick it. The topic of conversation usually revolves around her beloved collingwood magpies, her favourite biscuits from Holland, her daughters dog, her neighbour or the weather! She likes to keep herself busy and enjoyes her cups of tea I make a few times i'm there, in 2 hours! Her daughter visits often, and I remember a day arriving at her home, to have a little gift waiting for me! She and her daughter, had made me a tea towel, they took turns with the hand sewing as they both get tired easily from it. I wasn't expecting it, and just love it, and to say that someone made it for me is so warming! Everytime its used, I think of her smile and biscuits!

I think I must talk alot, as one of my lovely clients, suprises me with gifts that she said she knew I would like, but I dont remember telling her, but i have! Maybe I vacuum talk or dust talk, you know, like sleep talking! Anyway, she is a lovely soul, we often stand on her balcony, looking at the amazing view of the dandenong ranges and talk about flowers. She is quiet, so not too much conversation goes on which is why I get suprised with the gifts. But to know, that she has listened or remembered something Ive said has only made me feel on top of the world. She's given me a oven mit, which is knows is for a long term craft project I have planned, a basket she knew I was looking for, for my bike and a cute bambi ornament to keep in my sewing room to think of her, and I do! I can't forget her.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'm going to a clients home that is like no other. I feel so appreciated. The lovely lady who lives there, is so full of praise and love for me and what I do and does so much so that I dont have to work hard, even though I'm happy and prepared to! My days with her are often spent talking about family and watching Dr. Phil episodes that she tapes as she feels they are stories I will appreciate! I do, I appreciate the effort and thought!! She is someone who I think of all the time, and I am so glad. She is someone everyone needs in their life. She tells me that she often prays to my Narmy (grandma) who has passed away, to tell her what a good job i'm doing! I almost cry everytime I work there! My days with her end with the two of us walking in her still and beautiful garden, picking lemons and roses for me to take home. She has generously given me tea cups from her lifetime collection and constume jewellery from her nursing days as a 20 year old in New York. She is 85.

I would like to finish by saying, whether it been gifts like these above, cakes, tea, flowers or second hand magazines and the daily paper or conversation that has made me appreciate people and life on a whole new level, and for times that have taken me back to my childhood, thankyou to all my clients.

To the ones I still work with, the ones who have moved to nursing homes or moved away and to the clients who have unfortunatly passed away, I will never forget you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Ive only just started blogging as you can see, and I follow ALOT of blogs! These four however, are by people in my life, people I actually know, which means I get to share what they create in my own personal life! These four belong to my sister, sisters in law and a dear friend of mine. These ones belong to the people who have encouraged and inspired me to blog. Not that blogging is like climbing a huge mountain, but for me, it takes some guts sharing what I do on the internet for all to see! So thankyou!

Do have a look at these blogs!




Yesterday on my shopping trip I bought a box of organic pears for $2 as they were desperatly in need of cooking! So today, I stewed the pairs, froze 4 lots for future use (stewed pears and yogurt, pear crumble, stewed pears on pancakes or french toast), we had some for afternoon tea and then I thought I would bake with some as the sweetner in my recipes! And to my suprise, everything turned out just lovely! I made peanut butter biscuits and chocolate goodie balls! I have included the recipes below. I didn't think of taking photos of the processes involved, but everything is pretty simple and there is a photo of the end result, which is the most important bit anyway!

Peanut Butter Raisin Biscuits.
I made these biscuits following a recipe from a book called Cookies Collectors Addition, but I changed the recipe so much that they are pretty original! I used wheat and gluten free flours in this as I like to use other flours besides wheat to get away from wheat overload!

You will need
65gm butter at room temp
65gm coconut oil at room temp (you could use all butter or all coconut oil)
175gm pear puree
80gm almond flour (meal)
95 gm coconut flour (instead of these two flours, you could use all rice flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
125gm natural peanut butter
3/4- 1 cup raisins or sultanas

Preheat oven to 180C and line baking trays with baking paper and grease. Cream the butter, coconut oil and pear puree together. Add the flour and baking powder. Mix well. Stir through the egg, peanut butter and raisins. The dough should be a soft texture, easy to roll. If you need more moisture, add 1-2 tablespoons of pear puree. Roll into balls, flatten slightly with a fork and bake for 10-15 min. Ive already eaten 2 with my cup of tea! They are not sickly sweet which is good and are quite filling as the coconut flour and almond meal are both high in fibre, protein and fat so I'm quite full which means they will last longer, hopefully...hooray!!

And now for the Chocolate Goodie Balls..

I call these chocolate goodie balls because they are jam packed with lots of good things! This recipe made 16 large balls so you can have 32 pop in your mouth size balls if you want or 8 if your super hungry! These taste like dark chocolate so if your more a milk chocolate person then add more sweetning!

You will need
3/4 cup pear puree
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
1/4 cup natural peanut better
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 cup seeds, i used flax, chia, sunflower and pepitas
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup raw organic cocoa powder
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup raisins or sultanas
1/2 cup sesame seeds for rolling

Throw everything in a food processor and process till combined or mix all my hand in a bowl till combined. Roll into balls, roll balls in sesame seeds and place in a container! I store these in the fridge as the coconut oil and peanut butter can start getting soft if it gets warm (they're actually really delicious when slightly warmer, so it's not a huge disaster!)! These are really addictive but its all a-o-k as there is nothing bad about these at all! Well I dont think so anyway!

Hope you enjoy, and if the recipes dont work for you for some reason, let me know!