Thursday, October 08, 2015

Crochet patchwork blanket

Over 20 weeks ago, I started crocheting another blanket. On my long list of things to make was a patchwork crochet blanket. I worked on it in spare moments, however, other projects with priority came first. 

I finished this sweet blanket last week. The wide border was inspired by Bec at @handmadebec (Instagram). I made the border up as I was crocheting. I tried to keep the corners neat and sitting flat. I like the rounded corners! 

Made from Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton yarn. A soft and cuddly blanket!

Are you creating something or have you just finished a project? I would like to hear what it is. Please leave a comment below.

It’s almost Friday! I hope you all have a relaxing weekend.

Julia xx

Friday, October 02, 2015

Banana, Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake

Today was a day for baking a cake!

I needed to use up some bananas as they were starting to ripen. I had a punnet of strawberries in the fridge. I used my Mum's Banana Cake recipe and altered it a little. As I was adding strawberries and chocolate I didn't want it too sweet

Banana, Strawberry & White Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup (125g) butter
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 eggs
2 bananas, mashed
250g punnet fresh strawberries, roughly diced
1 cup white chocolate chips (dark chocolate would be delicious)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups SR flour (my container has 1/2 SR plain & 1/2 SR Wholemeal flour)
1 tsp bi-carb soda dissolved in 2 tbsp milk

Preheat oven 180 oC. Line cake tin with baking paper

With an electric hand beater cream the butter and sugar
Add the eggs and beat again

Add bananas, strawberries, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and flour
Mix together with a spatula

Add the bi-carb soda and milk mixture to the cake batter
Mix all ingredients 

Pour into cake tin. Bake for approximately 40 - 45 minutes 

Allow to cool on a wire rack

Turn out of cake tin onto a pretty plate

Sprinkle with icing sugar

Cut, serve and Enjoy! 

The cake was moist with a crunchy outer layer

Hope you're having a lovely Spring day

Julia xx

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Patchwork drawstring bags

A few weeks ago I started making s.o.t.a.k handmade patchwork drawstring bags. I'm making 3. One for each of our children's foster mother's for when we go to Korea later this year

First bag finished

Front view

Back view

These are the links to Svetlana's tutorials - drawstring bag tutorialpatchwork drawstring bag

Today I finished the last 2 bags!! As soon as I finished, my sewjo flew out the window. Time for more crochet!

Can't wait for Spring. My favourite season of the year. Flowers are already blossoming in our local area

Have a beautiful day, Julia xx

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lissy's Pumpkin Choc Chip Loaf

This recipe is from my dear friend, Elisabeth Bell, who moved to USA many years ago. I miss her! So glad we have Facebook to keep in touch and see photos of her beautiful children. 

Elisabeth is a very talented illustrator. Have a look at her beautiful artwork Elisabeth Bell Designs

Little Josephine Picking Strawberries


Both illustrations are from the Simpler Times collection. Such sweet illustrations!

You're welcome to download Elisabeth's Creative eBook. It is free, and comes with some lovely colouring pages, and a simple drawing tutorial which teaches how to draw a cute puppy
The Creative eBook also comes with free creative newsletters, filled with more freebies and bonuses that you and your kids can enjoy. Please feel free to share the link with your family and friends too so they can grab these free offers and enjoy them for themselves
It's Elisabeth's way to give back to the world, and to help bless and further each person's personal creative genius
Here's the link below to grab the Creative eBook:

Getting back to the recipe. I love pumpkin! I haven't made this recipe for a long time. Last Friday was a cold Winter's day, perfect for warming up the kitchen. Our home smelt delicious filled with the aroma of cloves and cinnamon

Lissy's Pumpkin Choc Chip Loaf 

Makes 2 cakes

3 cups SR flour
1 cup sugar (recipe said 3 cups, I used less sugar)
2 tsp bi-carb soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup oil or butter
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups pumpkin, mashed
340g or 2 cups choc chips

Preheat oven to 180 oC. Line cake tins with baking paper. Boil pumpkin, mash and cool a little before adding to the cake mixture 

Mix together all ingredients, except pumpkin and choc chips. Blend well 

Add pumpkin. Fold in choc chips 

Pour cake mixture into 2 loaf/ bread tins 

Bake for approx 1 hour

Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Cut into, and EAT!

So yummy! You won't be disappointed. When we came home from school the kids smelt the aroma and asked what I had baked

As the recipe makes 2 loaves, I sliced up one loaf and stored in the freezer for the kids lunch boxes. Guess what they're having at school today? 

Have you baked anything delicious lately? 

Have a beautiful day, Julia xx

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Get well soon!

Over a month ago, our kids started getting a cough or a cold. The doctor said the kids had a viral infection. Can't do much for it. For over 2 weeks I have had a cough and cold. I can't shake it. I think it's also due to being rundown with so much going on at school. Now that the kids are on holidays and things have slowed down (no senior music camp, reading groups, sports day, early morning band practise, etc) I have had time to think amongst the haze in my head. I remembered a while ago I read that pineapples help soothe a cough. Next, I searched Google. 

Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain. It has anti-inflammatory properties, fights infection and kills bacteria. It can suppress a cough 5x more effectively than cough medicine. One cup of fresh pineapple juice has nearly 50% of the daily requirement for Vitamin C intake. Drinking the juice helps soothe a sore throat and helps your body expel mucous easily. Pineapples are more than yummy, they're good for you!

If possible we prefer to use natural remedies over medication, however if we have an infection or we're really sick we visit our doctor.

I have been dosing up on Vitamin C by eating strawberries, pineapple and mandarin. Kelly, a friend on Instagram, suggested to steam my head, covered with a towel to keep the steam in, over a bowl of boiled water with eucalyptus drops in it. Twice a day for 10 minutes. It has been helping! Thanks Kelly. 

Yesterday I searched Google for a natural cough medicine. Today I made All Natural DIY Pineapple Cough Medicine. The recipe is here. Sue says it needs to be refrigerated and can be kept for up to 1 month. Read her blogpost for details (under the recipe, check out 'other homemade remedies to try'. The Honey Thyme cough medicine sounds yummy too). I made double the recipe in case anyone else in the family needs cough medicine. It tastes yummy and I love the bit of spice from the cayenne pepper. 

Last night I used our Aromamatic electric oil vaporiser with drops of Breathe Easier in our bedroom. It has corn mint, eucalyptus and thyme essential oils in the blend. I rubbed Vicks VapoRub on the soles of my feet and put socks on. It helps to ease coughing at night. I slept much better.

Many years ago, when Oprah was still on TV, she mentioned to slice up 1-2 whole cloves of garlic and add it to your sandwich; to help mask the flavour. I did this one time when I had the flu and I felt so much better the next day. I did reek of garlic however was glad to feel an improvement in my health. 

If you have any natural remedies you would like to share. Please leave a comment and a link to the recipe. Thank you.

Try to stay healthy during Winter, Julia xx

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Our sunny garden

I have been busy preparing and working on our vegie garden. Removing sand in the top garden and spreading it on uneven patches in our lawn. Moving the mulch too. Back breaking work however so worth it!

Hubby helped me put soil in the garden and position the walking area, which is great for tending to the plants. This time we purchased better garden soil with compost in it. Before laying sugar cane mulch I sprinkled Dynamic Lifter

Vegie seedlings planted! 

French beans, spring onions, tomatoes, capsicum, mignonette lettuce, sweet corn, beetroot, snow peas, butternut pumpkin, zucchini, carrot, and garlic

Herb garden started!

Basil, sage, oregano, coriander (more herbs will be added)

Top left going clockwise - carrot, sweet corn, beetroot, snow peas

Butternut pumpkin. . .  and teeny tiny mushrooms that popped up

Top left going clockwise - snow peas, garlic, mignonette lettuce, spring onions

I read on the internet, to help repel some pests sprinkle dried and crushed egg shells. I have also been sprinkling smallish pieces of mandarin peel around some plants. The citrus oils may repel some pests??

Mint I planted last year

Blackjack zucchini

We have 6 citrus trees - Meyer lemon (blossoming below), 2x Imperial mandarin, Tahitian lime, Washington navel and Valencia

I posted a question on my Instagram @squeeze_cuddles the other day

"Our citrus trees were planted approximately 5-6 weeks ago. Should we remove the blossoms so the plants can grow stronger and be able to support the weight of the fruit?

Bianca from Coco and Moose passed on advice from her hubby - Yes, remove 99% if not all of the blossoms for the next 1 or 2 years. It allows more energy to be put into root and canopy development. Then once your citrus tree has established you can then let it produce fruit

I removed 65 blossoms from our Meyer lemon

I look forward to when we get citrus from our beautiful trees

{ Please drop by Coco and Moose for beautiful handmade baby clothing }

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Some plants are doing well, while others haven't grown much at all; like our beetroot and capsicum. Years ago when we had a vegie garden we had some success with capsicum. They have more flavour then store bought. I'll be buying capsicum seeds and hoping for a better result

Citrus trees along the back of the garden 

Our herb garden and some citrus trees. I'll have to reposition the herbs as the trees grow bigger. In the front is our rosemary bush. It has been here for a few years. I recently trimmed a 1/3 off of it

Today I planted some seeds and recycled at the same time! I kept the blue seedling container from when I purchased marigolds for the garden. I planted sweet corn seeds in it. The 3 containers in front were rice cracker trays. I planted cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes and Chinese cabbage in them. The white plant labels are made from an ice cream container I cut up

I'm enjoying our garden and hope we can get a lot of produce from it 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you have any gardening tips or successes you'd like to share?

To view more photos from #oursunnygardenQLD

Have a beautiful day, Julia xx

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Snuggly warm

In my last post I shared a photo of my crochet colour block blanket

Made from Bendigo Woollen Mills wool yarn
It is soft and lovely to work with

~ ~ ~

Originally I was going to make a lap blanket. Then I decided to make it big enough for our QS bed. Yes, I'm crazy and I won't be doing that again! I finished crocheting my blanket today!!! It has taken 3 months to complete { in my spare time }

I made the Pear cushion a few years ago
Using 'The Simple Life' fabric collection by Tasha Noel

I look forward to using my handmade blanket tonight
Hubby and I will be snuggly warm

Hope you're having a lovely weekend, Julia xx

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Fabric, Yarn & Hand stitching

Hello! I am still here. It has been a while since my last post. Life has been more busy with all 3 children attending primary school. I'm trying to keep up with everything. The kids are on school holidays and it is nice not having to race out the door in the morning for school drop off. I hope your children are enjoying the holidays too. We just got back from my sisters. It was nice to visit with my parents and some siblings. The cousins had fun watching Big Hero 6, playing in the backyard and sharing a meal together 

I would like to share photos of recent creations I've made

{ Patchwork mousepad }

I thought it was appropriate to hand stitch 'I love you' in both Korean and English, as the patchwork mousepad is for our bedroom. I used Pam Kitty fabric with a little Scrumptious fabric. This is inspired by nanaCompany 'Ticker Tape patchwork'

I made a couple of { crochet jar cosies }

Inspired by Attic 24

Cushions for our lounge room 

{ Cloud cushions }

for the kids

Pirates for Mr J

Bugs for Mr D

Seaside theme for Miss Y

{ Patchwork cushion }

I used Pam Kitty fabric by Pam Vieira-McGinnis

I did not use a pattern, created by me!

Cross stitch rose fabric for the back

{ Picking Apples - patchwork cushion }

I used The Simple Life fabric by Tasha Noel

Added some hand stitching 

I did not use a pattern, created by me!

{ Milk, Sugar & Flower craft bag }

Beautiful fabric by Elea Lutz

My first attempt at English Paper Piecing

I did not use a pattern, created by me!

Great size for storing my crochet colour block blanket. 
I'm using Bendigo Woollen Mills wool yarn. 
It is soft and lovely to work with

Next post I'll share the progress of my blanket

Do you use Instagram? Come follow me at squeeze_cuddles

Have a beautiful day, Julia xx