Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cooking drama's

 I thought I would fill you in on my attempt at cooking a special meal for easter.  Well,  as I am good at multi tasking as you know. Didn't read the instructions before hand, who does that!!!!  Note to self "don't even think about attempting cooking while John is outside laying a retaining wall or any other project, he needs to be sitting in front of the TV not needing any input from me!!!!!
Took him out a glass of cold water, after I had put the walnuts onto hotplate to brown, big mistake, after debating on how the retaining wall should go, smelt something burning, thought, must be the apple cider and honey the roast is cooking in, few seconds later, on entering the kitchen smell is getting stronger, on no, burnt walnuts.  Just chuck out the worst burnt ones.  After finally getting everything cooked, the meat that was supposed to be resting for 15 mins got a longer rest, like 30 mins.  I have decided these meal recipes are meant for people with large ovens, to fit 3 items in (of course if I had read the directions i would have realised I should of cooked the walnut pie about 5 hours earlier, hell who has time to stand around cooking that long, not me, not  when you are running around to Bunnings etc to get materials for said retaining wall.  Oh well, the meat was delicious if a  tad on luke warm side, the braised potatoes (what was I thinking, braised, that means baking in water, I don't even like stews) half way through woke up to myself and tipped the water out and just let them bake, they where ok, prefer proper baked spuds. the zucchini dish was great, yay, one success, but then it wasn't cooked in the oven.  The walnut pie, the crust had burnt, matched the walnuts, was able to scrape some of the burnt bits off, plenty of ice cream and thick cream kind of drowned the burnt taste.  I think I should just stick to what I know.

Retaining wall finished.  Now John has decided that the ones we put in last year are back to front, wants to lift them all and turn around to match these ones.   When we got the first ones there was no indication on how to lay them, thought the rough edge should be on the back, seeing these ones, I think they look better here.  A winter job maybe.
Visited Raymon, he is looking good and is quite happy, set my mind at rest, I was worried.  He is getting used to the fact that he will never be able to eat solid food or enjoy the taste of food.
enjoy the rest of your easter break

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Running a market, leading up to......

Running Miss Johnsons Vintage and Handmade market involves months of planning, advertising
finding stall holders keen to follow the look we are trying to achieve.  Emails and more emails, meetings and more meetings.  And then there is making our own personal stock to sell.  Hours and hours of sewing to make new and hopefully exciting products for the customers.  Phillipa spent hours sewing the bunting that went right around our perimeter, while I took over the organising and communication with stall holders.

We where down at the park at 5 am in the dark, relying on car lights (which flattened Johns car battery) so we could get our tents up and decorated, direct stall holders as they arrive to their sites.  Lending assistance when required putting up tents.  there are all sorts of drama's in setting up, mine was John not feeling well and then a flat battery in his car which had to be off the park by 9 am.  Sounds of minor disputes between couples as they get their tents up, we all have them at some time or other.  
 We where so proud of all our stall holders efforts in decorating their tents, we provided ideas and then they ran with it.  The overall look of the market was exactly how we hoped it would be.  Doing our first one outdoors had different challenges.  When we ran the market in a hall, we would start Thursday night decorating the hall usually until around 2 am, then back at before 9 am Friday to set up our stalls before all the stall holders arrived to set up for 6 pm opening.  Outdoors it was much more rushed, I had managed to change my clothes in the Ladies toilet before the customers start arriving but poor Phil was still setting up her stall and was late changing quickly behind her counter, phew....
 I tried to go around taking photo's for further advertising before the rush began.  We received amazing support, a big crowd in the morning people converged ready to spend and find the bargains of which there where plenty.
 Phil in white selling a beautiful long bench to a happy customer after they missed out on my little antique stool with revolving seat, all nice and chipped white paint.
 It was a beautiful day, although it did get rather warm in the afternoon, we where lucky as other years it has been 38 degrees and today it is supposed to rain (that I will believe when I see it)

 One of our first time stall holders Vanda in amongst her lovely products made from recycled timber
 Lisa was another first timer, she bought her beautiful vintage caravan and spread out her wares outside it looked amazing.  That beautiful ruffled skirt front on her tables took many hours of sewing and over $150 in materials, looked very pretty.  All the photo's where taken before the rest of the park was set up by the Guildford Heritage Festival that we joined, our market was only one small part of the park.
 Some snippets from my stall

Checking around at the end of the day, all the stallholders where happy with the results and want to come again, a positive sign, it was certainly a success for us.
4 pm closing time, its time to pull it all down, pack it in our vehicles, take it home, unload and put things away, some of that waits until the next day.  An exhausting day and was glad to see my bed that night.  We will do it again next year.  This is a once a year event.  You may ask why we do it, many stallholders comments will give you an idea, we do it because we love what we do, do we make a lot of money, hah, don't thinks so.....

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Miss Johnsons Vintage and Handmade Market

 the sewing machine has been running red hot making stuff for our Miss Johnsons vintage and handmade market.  I have made two more of these wings, very tricky to make.  Each one I make I try to work out an easier way of doing them.  This time I decided it would be easier if I did the hand embellishments before I threaded the wire frame in.  Of course this was as I was doing the embellishing, I wonder if I will remember next time.  They measure 30 inches across the bottom, so, tricky working around them them.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Some of you may be aware of Pinterest, the long and the short of it is, a sort of library of photo's that are of interest to you, sharing by pinning them onto particular interests boards, in this instance mine is on gardening.  But if you have a certain interest i.e. art or books you will find a wealth of knowledge.  Be warned though it can be very addictive.  When you pin someones photo and put it on your board they receive an email telling them that they have shared with someone else.  There are links to people's blogs and some share their knowledge on that particular photo.  Not all of the photo's on your boards belong to you, they are shared.  In a lot of cases when someone pins something off your boards they have similar interests to you.  When I receive emails regarding pinning I will go onto their boards to see if there is anything that I like and pin it onto my boards.  Sounding complicated, you can jump from one board to another following links that you like.  You can also get a lot of visual and written information and following is links that have given me inspiration for my garden both visual and written ideas.

 Since following Pinterest I have developed a love of succulents.  An ideal plant for our hot dry climate.
I have grown to appreciate the subtle differences in colours and shapes.  In the photo above is a topiary that we made yesterday after getting plants and two old wire hanging baskets for 50 cents each, find the plants a lot cheaper at the swap meet.  The challenge was putting the topiary together, hoping that it will stand up and not fall sideways.  In the end we packed some of those porous bricks that are easy to cut, we wedged them around the wooden stake after wiring the two baskets together to form a ball.  Cut a opening at the top just big enough to fit your hand in.  The most expensive part was the sphagnum moss at $9 a block, this I was advised to soak in a bucket of water with a couple of tablespoons of Seasol, I used one and a quarter of the blocks, may not of needed to use that much, but was unsure how it would hold inside the ball when the special soil for succulents and cacti was added.
As you can see so far it is all holding together, I can add more plants as I get them.  Eventually the whole ball will be covered in plants and you won't see the moss.  I am not sure how my colour and shape co ordination has gone but was caught up in the process.  The white and grey pot was a bargain at $1, apparently has paint flaws, but as I am into the imperfect, it suited me fine and I got two.  Have to get John to drill a hole in the bottom, they are concrete which I also like.

another idea was adding lovely old cracked or broken china to give a contrast to the plants

 and below the idea of an old cupboard attached to the wall with plants and nicknacks for added interest
Other ideas swimming around in this head of mine is making your own pots, paving stones decorated with mosaics, now can you see how addictive it can be.  Lots of money saving ideas.  Great for when you can't sleep and cheaper than buying books to get ideas. This is a link to my Pinterest library if you want to go and have a look easy to set up and is connected to Facebook.