Saturday, March 31, 2012

Inflatable food



One of the odd things I discovered when I moved to New Zealand was inflatable food. I hadn't seen it in Ireland and when I was living there.  Basically its freeze dried food and is designed to be taken on hikes/tramps/walks*.  Unfortunately many of these taste nasty!  But when my parents and brother were here for Christmas I had to get them to try 'dessert'.  Apricot crumble and apple pie - just add hot water and **poof** inflatable food.



'yummy' (and I use the term liberally!) apple pie in a pouch



This is the apricot crumble - equally appealing.



And the finished desserts - apple pie above and apricot crumble below.  Do not adjust your screen, that is the real colour of the 'crumble'.  For once my sweet loving family weren't bothered about finishing them!  Rather disappointing actually as some of the inflatable food - is actually edible!




* delete depending on your country :)
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Napkins



Another finally finished project.  Four napkins for some newly wed friends of mine.  I enjoyed doing the curved corners but need to figure out how to do it better next time.  I ended up machine sewing one side of the binding and hand sewing the other - it took ages...


The newly wed also recently hosted a crockery painting party - where we each got to paint some of their new crockery.  I took photos and this weekend I get to see how it turned out after firing.  Should be fun and will post here soon!
 
 
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tiki tour: Christmas 2011

Yup, finally sorted my photos :)

I had a brilliant trip with my parents and brother around the South Island.  BM kindly let me borrow the car and we took a ferry across and drove and drove and drove.  Our first real stop was at Nelson Lakes in St Arnaud.  Myself and my brother went for a quick kayak before we went on to Murchison to stay the night.  That's my brother above and the two of us below.  The little specks on the horizon!


We stayed in a really lovely cabin in Murchison - probably the nicest accommodation on our trip.

The next morning, we all crossed the swing bridge at the Buller Gorge


And my brother went on a Jet Boat - he was very impressed with the pilot/captain(?) and the amount of time they got on the water.

To get back across the gorge, myself and my brother took the cometline - where we were both strapped in and sent across.  The scariest part was where we approached the far side and didn't slow down!  Eeek! It bounced back out again and slowed down on the rebound but it was a scary few seconds :)  That's us getting strapped in on the other side.

We left Murchison and traveled to the West Coast and stopped at a few scenic viewpoints.

I loved the survey mark pointing to the South.  

We also stopped at the pancake rocks (Punakaiki) - I love these - so worth a visit.

That night we overnighted in Hokitika - I've already been there for the Wild Foods Festival (mountain oysters, Huhu grubs and other special delight) and need to post those photos soon!  The beach here is stunning.

The next day was an early start to get to the glaciers before the rain came in.  We walked up to the mouth of Franz Josef and the ice was stunning.  The tours to get on the ice were already booked out so we didn't get on - but the blue of the ice is such a wonderful colour.

From the mouth of the glacier flows a glacier stream - it looks so grey and cold.  Chunks of ice build up on the side of the stream and the glacier cools the immediate area so much that it doesn't melt.  One of the strange things about New Zealand's coastal glaciers is how warm the area is before you get to the ice.  





We had views glore and visits from local wildlife.  This one is a weka - a local flightless bird.   





One of my favourite silloetes is the nikau palms - so terribly exotic and different from Ireland. 









All in all - a truly wonderful trip and there were few family tantrums - that's New Zealand for you - a magical place!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

making good use of my overlocker



These curtains came with the house but were in a bit of bad repair.  Unfortunately I forgot to take the before photos so you'll have to put up with the 'afters'.  And a rather beautifully overlocked hem. :)
 


Oh yeah!  That's my new baby!  Although currently in situ in my cupboard but such a beauty :)
 
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Bread Maker



Woohoo! We got us a bread maker!  All that doughy goodness.  Its a fascinating machine given to us by friends who were moving - so double score!


Chuck in the ingredients (in the right order) and watch it do its magic...


Ta-dah! One loaf of freshly baked heavenly bread.


And a doughy dough hook in the bread pan.


And a strange hole underneath :)


We've gotten a lot of mileage out of the machine already.  Making fresh bread to go with soup, rolls for BBQs and dinner parties and frozen rolls for thawing and heating if you have a spare 8 hours :)
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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sheep and Alpacas



I've been busily working my way through my stashes this year so far (and so far so good!).  I've managed to keep to a system of two out and one in so that I can make my way through my unfinished projects.  This was a 'new' project but uses up my alpaca cotton yarn from stash (well, just a tensy purchase of another ball to add to my existing two in stash!).

It follows the same shell type pattern most of my scarves do and is made from Rowan alpaca cotton in shade 00400.  The yarn is lovely to work with and is perfect for airport projects.  I use a bamboo hook just in case - although in New Zealand this probably isn't needed!  I had a bit of a scare with the hook at one point though as I thought it had fallen down a crack in someone's deck - eeek!  Thankfully BM spotted it and retreived it for me - I would have been devastated as I have no idea the size of the hook as its not printed on it.  I use it for most crochet projects and really need to figure out what size it is by testing it against my metal hooks.
 

As part of my two out and one in, I also finally finished my sheep cross stitch.  Man, those stitches are small...
 
 
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Friday, March 23, 2012

A little early







I finally finished up a card kit I bought at least five years ago.  Each card, while beautiful, was a huge time sink but I'm so happy I stuck with them and finally finished them off.  At least I'll have a ton of cards ready for next year!  The photo above shows the three different threads I ended up using.  I wanted to work through stash and managed to finish off some gold thread I would have struggled to find another use for!  Of course, because I purchased the kit so long ago I can't remember where I got them from!  The photo below is the inside of the card - they're tri-folds and the stitches are held in place with sellotape.  I love how messy and pretty the inside looks.

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