Monday, April 30, 2007

Muffin tops!

Another grey and rainy autumnal Sunday afternoon. An invite to afternoon tea at V & M's. There's only one thing to do: make muffins!

Clarks' Cafe Spinach & Feta Muffins (the gluten free version)

500g flour (gluten free if necessary)
2 Tbspn baking powder
a good pinch of nutmeg
a good pinch of salt
1 egg
200ml oil
2 cups milk
1 cup cooked pureed spinach
1 cup finely diced feta cheese

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl mix the egg, oil, milk, spinach and feta cheese.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients. Blend carefully with a perforated spoon - if you overbeat muffins, they peak like little Mt Everests!
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into well-greased muffin tins and decorate with an olive on top (optional - they also taste good if you add some sliced olives to the mixture!)
5. Bake at 200 c for about 15 minutes, until the muffins are golden.

Serve warm with coffee and a good book.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cupcake love

Ohhhh... these are so goooood!
I'm so happy that they came out just the way I pictured them...

The only problem is I now have to box them up (I need to go cadge two small bakery boxes from somewhere) and give them away. *Sniff*(The stats:

* Pattern from here, slightly modified.
* Frugalled wool bought here and here for a total of around $5.50 (leaving me enough wool leftover to keep churning these babies out if I feel so inclined)
* Cupcake bottoms lined with cut down Woolies Home Brand disposable white plastic glasses, weighted with stones I already had and, tucked inside, a lavender bag made from a bit of an old net curtain and lavender from the markets ($6 for a bag of which I used half)
* Stuffing courtesy of my old guest bed pillow.
* Various "toppings" found in the stash of craft stuff I picked up from Hot Dollar ages ago.)

(Listening to: The Christians, The Christians)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

New & good (incorporating Second Hand Saturday)

Here's a round up of new and good that I've discovered (or created) recently:

* Darrell Lea's Peanut Brittle bars (covered in dark chocolate and sooooo good!)
* Stone's alcoholic Ginger Beer (not covered in dark chocolate but also sooooo good!)

* National Gallery of Australia's make your own postcard pad (just draw or stick a photo on the front and you're ready to go)

* Threadbanger's Thread Heads programmes
* The May black and white swap I set up this morning on Swap-Bot (come join in the fun!)

* And, finally, this week's frugalled goodies:
  • Three metres of fabric: $8.00
  • Vintage suitcase, in excellent nick (with original cruiseline stickers on the sides!): $5.00
  • Vintage scales: $4.00
  • Vintage white plastic storage box thingy: $3.00
  • Cream cabled hand-knit scarf: $2.00 (I was surprised to see the pattern for it when I was looking through Taph's copy of this pattern book. How weird is that?!)

Total spent: $22.00

(Listening to: Blue States, Nothing changes under the sun)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Money, madness & a meeting

Money: On the way to the post office this morning I found $20 on the ground. Looked around to see if I could see the owner (no luck). So now I have a conundrum - do I hand it in to the police?

I found $50 a couple of years ago and took that to the police station - where they looked at me like I was insane but took it anyway. 3 months later I went and picked it up from them with a clear conscience.

But $20 seems such a small amount. But maybe not to the person who lost it. So perhaps I should ring the police and see what they suggest - they may have a minimum they'll accept as lost property.

Madness: I received a letter from my bank offering to increase my personal (car) loan to $30,000. I won't, of course, but it leaves me wondering how insane the banking system is these days when I could (scarily easily) arrange access to over $50,000 worth of consumer debt. Without any surety!

As it is I could go on a spending spree to the value of $21,500 without my financial institutions batting an eyelid. In fact they'd all probably immediately send me letters offering to increase my credit limits.

Meeting: Twitchy Fingers bagsed my spare Canberra book and today I met her for coffee to do the handover. Taph was right, she's lovely and I hope to see more of her in the future without me having to run off to another (work) meeting.

(Listening to: Aztec Camera, Love)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cake & crap poetry

The cake got made. I popped over to the supermarket and bought a mix "to save time". I came home, I looked at the back of the mix packet and realised that, since I was adding eggs, butter and water, I have just spent $3.00 on a bag of gluten free flour, baking powder and sugar (not to mention a list of other unneeded crap), all of which I already had in my cupboard (except the unneeded crap, which, oddly, I could live without) and which would cost significantly less than $3.00!

The Shopping Sherpa got severely sucked in. It won't happen again.

The cake was a roaring success. The dinner was fun, especially after Julie pulled out her copy of Versability: the poetry game (and M & I discussed the possibility that it may be by the very same Burton Silver of Bogor fame - which I now know it is. From marijuana addicted cartoon hedgehogs to poetry games. Most odd)

We tried playing a few rounds of Versability (the premise being one person reads out the first two lines of a poem and you have to guess the rest. To much hilarity, especially as the level of the wine bottle drops.) Once we lost the focus to play properly the evening moved onto quoting the poems we knew (other people had much more highbrow tastes than I did, my contributions including gems such as:

"The boy stood on the burning deck
his feet were covered in blisters.
He though he had his own pants on
But found they were his sister's..."

And the ever popular:

"A thousand hairy savages
sitting down to lunch -
gobble gobble, gulp gulp, munch munch munch.")

And then degenerated into a reading of arguably the worst poem in the world after which there wasn't anywhere to go but home to bed...

(Listening to: Alphaville, Prostitute)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Circles & squares

It's definitely the start of birthday season around here. Last night at Stitch 'n' Bitch Taph presented me with a very large bag which contained (as usual) lots of wonderful goodies she'd collected for me.

I got spotty fabric (in two different weights - one thick for baggy outsides and one think for baggy insides), black and white spotty cups and saucers and more black and cream knitting needles to add to my ever growing collection.
She also had a pile of slide boxes (remember slides?!) full of empty slide frames that she'd rescued from work. They have real glass in them. And each box had been marked "Dolls house windows". Not sure about windows but my head is filled with ideas for quick and easy modern looking dolls house picture frames and maybe even a cool screen when I work out the best way to attach them to each other.

So did I spend my Anzac Day working this out? No, I've been a terribly lazy git and have spent the day reading magazines and knitting. It's grey, overcast and cold and I just couldn't get motivated to get off my bum and run round like a mad thing achieving everything on my To Do list so opted to shorten it to just one (easily achievable) line:

1. Relax and enjoy a midweek day off.

Except I think I need to add one more thing:

2. Bake gluten free cream sponge to take to dinner at J&M's this evening.

(Listening to: Zero 7, When it falls)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Brushes and a bleach pen...

...were the contents of a care parcel from Pink Trees which hit my PO box this morning. The Recycline toothbrushes are environmentally friendly, being made from recycled materials, which is pretty cool. Not to mention they are available in white AND black!

(Listening to: Tubbs, Good days, better nights)

Monday, April 23, 2007

I'm not dead yet!

Sheesh - it would seem I cause a lot of angst amongst my friends with this post but the reality is not as dramatic as (possibly) imagined. But I appreciated the phone calls and the delivery of wine (attached to an ear to listen).

The outcome is that I've just paid my deposit on a 16 night cruise to Singapore that I didn't even know existed this time last week with my preferred cruise line. And have dealt with the fact this year was the year I was supposed to be clearing my debt, not buying cruises.

I've become a master of justification and have even managed to swing a trip to Melbourne to attend a Eurovision party using Frequent Flyer points (something I swore I'd never do - use points to buy flights, not attend a Eurovision Party!)

What I like about this cruise is that I only have to pay for airfares one way . That there is no pressing architectural "must see" or miniature marvel. And that there are 8 sea days. An actual holiday with nothing to do. Ahhhhh.....

(Listening to: Strawpeople, Count backwards from 10)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I got up to all sorts of adventures - but forgot my camera!

Sorry 'bout that.

Anyway. I went to Kingston Bus Depot Markets where, I discovered, it was Portobello Road Day so the Foreshore Space was full of wonderful vintage goodies. But my wallet was full of not very much at all so I headed purposefully up the ramp to buy my lavender then back down the ramp to graze the free samples and make mental notes of what to buy next time I visit. When I will have some money.

Since I was on that side of town anyway I popped into the National Gallery and finally saw The birth of the modern poster exhibition (would link to some lovely Secession posters they had except they aren't on the NGA website due to copyright. Bah!) and headed upstairs to Grace Crowley: Being Modern which I felt rounded out the trio of Grace Cossington Smith, The Proctor and Margaret Preston exhibitions I've seen over the past few years (but did nothing at all for me, unfortunately)

Forgot completely to go see Nigel Sutton doing Robbie the Rat storytime at the National Museum - I suspect he would be rather pleased I did after last time I saw him...

Home again I discovered while reading the junk mail that Spotlight has started stocking Lion Brand wool yarn. Just in case you'd like to know.

I'd planned to make butterfly cakes with my new rhubarb and strawberry jam but alas was one egg short so it never happened. Instead I went down to check out the new Officeworks store in Braddon (it's like a mini version of Fyshwick - very cute but also very very dangerous...)

Add in a little knitting, some reading of a new blog I've discovered and some major Salmonella Dub listening (excellent car music!) and you have my Sunday.

(Listening to: Various, Say cheese!: Ultimate one hit wonders)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Busy day

After an appallingly crap night's sleep (is it just me that ends up with the cat comfortably passed out in the middle of the bed while I end up hanging off the edges in my sleep?) I spent a productive morning setting up the first even Shopping Sherpa eBay sale. If you happen to be in the market for Lundby dolls house lights how does 40% off sound? Available at this price for one week only (until next Saturday when I have other surprises on the boil... end of commercial break)

And since all work and no play makes TSS a dull girl, this afternoon S and I went to see The Namesake (two thumbs up from me) after which the only thing to do was duck into Ruchi for an Indian feed before contentedly waddling home.

(Listening to: Various, Refashioned 2: British Airwaves)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Who needs to eat lunch?

Today was the first day of the Lifeline Bookfair so I (of course!) took an early lunch and headed up the road. And spent my grocery budget for the week on books. Bumped into Taph (who got exceedingly shifty when the subject of knitting books came up).And forgot to actually eat anything. Whoops...

(Listening to: Simple Minds, Once upon a time)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Corners of my World (aka: Just one of those days)

This is a good illustration of my life at the moment. New knitting project. Cat still not quite used to all those needles and all that wool whipping round. Piles of books to be read.

And, not seen, decisions to be made, news to hand to possibly influence decisions, and one Shopping Sherpa not very comfortable in the middle of a maelstrom and having to be patient until the answers reveal themselves.

There are some things that are certain:

Eurovision semi final is to be aired on SBS 8:30pm Saturday May 12th. Final is 7:30pm Sunday May 13th. I will be drunk for both.

The parental units are buying me the Loop 8 CD (not yet released) for my birthday.

(I was slightly concerned, with the timing of the new release in May, that I'd either miss out completely or get 5 copies from various NZ peoples who knew what I liked.)

Tomorrow, I know, will be different...

Listening to: Onetwo: Item)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wendy's happy and I'm jealous

Arrived in this morning's mail: two chairs from the latest miniature Designer Chair Collection for my Kaleidoscope dollshouse.

If only I had full sized Arne Jacobsen egg chairs, Eames stools and Marimekko mugs...

(Listening to: Morrissey, Viva Hate)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Did I say pointless? Silly me!

I just happened to end up at Kmart at lunchtime today (no idea how that happened!) and ended up with yet more wool to add to the stash. Oops...

It was on special! See that pile of black balls of wool on the left? Clinker. Pure wool. 10 x 100g balls. 50 cents each. Which makes a grand total of $5 for (possibly) two jumpers. The only problem is I'm not sure what ply it is as the last lot of Clinker I picked up for Taph was 12 ply. This is unlabeled but looks like 12 ply. Fingers crossed it is because it would be perfect for the knit.1 cabled hoodie.

And on the right, 10 x 100g balls of whitey/ creamy Clinker pure wool. Now this is where it all gets a bit odd. This lot are marked "8 ply" (but look oddly the same weight as the black "12 ply" and seem to have the same needle suggestions and swatch sizes) They were exorbitantly expensive compared to the black at a whopping $2.98 per 100g ball. That's around 6 times more expensive than the black. Go figure.

And if that wasn't enough stash enhancement, my neighbour dropped off a black jumper she knitted ages ago which is now far to big for her. She thought I could maybe reuse the wool - so, after washing it, I'll be attempting my first wool recycling project in the very near future...

I just hope that my slightly runny nose is caused by all this wool swirling round and not the onset of another visit by The Snot Monster.
(Listening to: Massive Attack, Blue Lines)

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm stuffed but my cupcakes aren't...

Yesterday I had planned (amongst other things) to head to Kingston Markets and buy some dried lavender to pop in these before I stuffed them.

But I never made it - after spending more time than I expected chatting about dollshouses with Charlene and Robert to when I picked up my mini cannisters, and more time than I expected wandering lostly round Aldi looking for the apple crisps they'd advertised (which had never arrived, I found out in the end), I ravenously jumped at the opportunity to meet S, M & J for a (very) late lunch at Tilleys, forgetting completely that I'd wanted to buy lavender.

Never mind, I don't need the finished cupcakes til the first weekend in May so I can always go to the markets next weekend. Or go the easy way and just buy some off eBay....

But in the meantime I'm a little between knitting projects and feeling very antsy. Especially with new supplies of wool having just turned up in the mail from eBay (I've given up on getting wool from Vinnies - between the African Aids baby jumpers, the penguin jumpers and the premmie hats the wool stocks are looking very very sadly depleted).

I'm still in lust with the cabled hoodie from the Spring 2007 issue of Knit.1 of which my copy is (they tell me) about 6 weeks away so it seems pointless to go buy more wool to go with a pattern I do not yet have.

(Listening to: Loop Select 005, Good shit happens)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Buy Local Road Trip: Part Four

Final stop: Lake George (The lake with no water). You can see it below the hill on the left of the picture and above the line of trees in the middle... We'd planned to go to Madew Wines but they were closed for a private function so we ended up next door at Lerida Estate
Where we tasted a few winesbut weren't tempted to buy.And so we drove through the autumn leavesback to Canberra.

So what did I end up buying?Far too many goodies (I feel another frugal week coming up!)

Expensive hankies from The Swanky Hanky by 4 corners (no website that I can find)- they're made in Mudgee so outside of my definition of "local" but I've not bought new black and white hankies in forever so....

Expensive jams from The Lynwood Cafe, but how could I resist the packaging? And besides it is actually locally made (and the first ingredient is not sugar - another reason to buy)

And a few second hand tomes from The Collector Gallery including this gem for $7:(Yes, that's THE Russel Wright)

The Buy Local Road Trip: Part Three

Down the road from Gundaroo, turn left at Federal Highway and then we hit Collector and The Lynwood Cafe.Which, oddly enough, was the highlight of the trip for me...
We admired the lovely olde worlde surroundingsthe garden in which we ate...and, of course, the lovely food.And were saddened by the level of the river.After we finished our food we explored further and discovered The Collector Gallery, full of fascinating second hand books and (new) art...

The Buy Local Road Trip: Part Two

From Hall we continued up the road until we hit a T intersection. Yass (and op shops) to our left. Gundaroo (no op shops) to our right. J and I looked at our watches, realised that by the time we go to Yass the op shops would be closed, and sniffed regretfully as the car turned right.

And so we hit Gundaroo with the historic Anglican ChurchAnd the very cute (ex, I presume) library.Here's a Gundaroo loo (note the bucket under the sink)And a local gift shopwith lots of goodies well displayed...And at a local cafe we (finally) found something local. Unfortunately none of us needed olive oil but we took note (and ate a lot of samples).

The Buy Local Road Trip: Part One.

(This is going up in parts as I know that Blogger will pack a spazz if I try and load all my pictures in one entry)

Aunty A, J and I have been plotting a "buy local" road trip for months, ever since Aunty A blogged about eating within a 100 km (or was that mile?) radius of where you live.

And today was the day we finally got organised enough to set off to see what we could find...First stop was Poachers Pantry in Hall
where we had brunch...before wandering the shelves in search of locally made goodies.It would seem everything was not very local at all (apart from the Lynwood goodies) so we decided to do a tasting. Smoked meats for the girls (none of which were actually locally produced as they needed much more than local producers could supply), and oils for me (also not local enough to justify purchasing - although the mustard oil was awfully good...)