Thursday, 28 November 2013

check out these stars

hi hi!


There's not much to say 'round these parts. Life is pottering along and between work and home and all the stuff in between there is a new crochet project. But I'm not going to show you that yet. Instead - check out these stars:

Photo from Little Woollie

Aren't they fab. They're from here (which is a lovely tutorial) and I love love love them! I am so going to get distracted from my new project to do a few of these! Our Christmas tree is going to go up on the weekend, and I'd love to have some stars to decorate it with.

How 'bout you? How's the balance of work/home/life going? And when are you putting up your Christmas tree?

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

crochet finger puppets

I don't have much in the way of words tonight. It was my first day back at work today and it involved sitting in meetings non-stop for most of the day. So I'm a bit worded out. Instead, here are my finished finger puppets:


They worked out really well. I followed this pattern for the dog, and then simply made up the others. Surprisingly, the lion wasn't that much of a hit with little-miss-e (she usually loves lions), but the dog got lots of kisses and woofs, as did the koala (we have have a book about koalas and joeys, which I can recite, so the koalas acted out the parts from the book). The butterfly I made from copying one of my Nan's crocheted butterflies that now live on my fridge, and I just added a green finger hold to a flower I already had. I saved the puppets up for the flights there are back (small,compact lightweight and easy to play with), but they've now entered the general toy collection. 

They were really easy to make, and I think I'd like to make a few more. Another few butterflies and I had also planned on making a bee, a frog and maybe a ladybird. The possibilities are endless...

How 'bout you? Have you got show and tell? Join in with Leonie (on Thursday) then!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

a (holiday) library collection

It's holiday planning central 'round here. I'm busily writing lists and I'm yet to cross anything off, so I thought I'd drop in quickly and do a holiday library collection. I popped into the library yesterday and picked up some holiday reads:

What's not to love about Jane Austin with added Sea Monsters? Possibly a lot, but I couldn't resist giving it a go. And the yawn book looks lovely for little-miss-e. I'm yet to show it to her, it'll be her holiday treat.  How 'bout you? Have you been to the library recently?

Monday, 28 October 2013

the coasters

My crafting mojo is definately back, and boy is she keeping me busy! I have a number of projects on the go at the moment, but first, here is my completed water jug and cup coasters for my desk at work.

I love the way they turned out, simple and sweet. My desk is usually so crowded with papers and books and things, these really bring a nice spot of peace.

Now those are done, I've got a set of finger puppets on the go for the flight for little-miss-e on our trip - we head to QLD and sunshine on Sat, so seeing I've got 2 and 2 halves of puppets to make tonight, let alone the planning/organising/packing for our trip (don't you love that I've put the crochet at the top of that list!) I'd best be off. It'll be a little quiet 'round here for the next few weeks while we're of hols, but I'll be back soon enough, hopefully with finger puppet fun to show you all...

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


My lovely husband, as I've mentioned, is from South Africa. There are many things he misses, not just family and friends, but familiar tastes and smells and fruits and vegies and meats. So every now and then I make a trek across to the other side of town and buy him a few familiar things. The last time I did this, they had squashies in stock. I fell in love with gem squash when we've been visiting over there and my lovely husband loved that I bought him some. He cooked them up and we feasted on South African treats. We also cunningly saved the seeds, as I had a the grand idea of trying to grow some.

So few weeks or so ago I carefully filled an egg carton and gently planted the seeds. I lovingly watered them and left them outside on our table, under the cover of our little porch.

The next morning though, this:

It was one of those ridiculously windy nights, and the wind had blown them off the table. I sighed, scooped up the dirt and a few of the seeds, and tried again.

Check this out!

Yay for squashies!

Monday, 14 October 2013


Hooray! It seems my crafting mojo has returned! I am currently brimming with ideas of things I want to make! I'm not sure where my mojo went, she seemed to be buried under a sea of work/home/life type tasks, but now she's back and I'm happy about it!

My first project hasn't gone all that smoothly - I've been trying to drink more water at work. So I took in a lovely water jug from home, which it turns out has a little bit of a continence issue after it pours. Given that I often work with actual paper, the wet jug rings are problematic. So I decided to crochet myself a little coaster to sit my water jug on. Something bright and cotton (to soak up the leaks). And something simple. A simple square dishcloth.

Then I got on ravely and got distracted. I found a cute star dishcloth and thought - that looks like fun. Well, 3 attempts later I was at this - not very stary and not very flat.

So I took a deep breath, got back onto ravelry and found what I was looking for. A flat square simple dishcloth. Perfect. I'll post it when it's done. Now I've decided to make a little coaster for my glass to match...

And I've decided I want to make some more of those finger puppets. We've got a plane flight coming up (HOLIDAYS!) and I thought they'd be a great toy for taking on the flights. And, and, and... My mojo and I - we've got such plans!

What about you? What do you do when your crafting mojo wanders off? And do you and your mojo have plans?

Monday, 30 September 2013

library collections

So we are still fairly crafty free 'round here. I think time and energy are lacking, along with the motivation to start a new project. But mostly the energy - this working three days a week caper takes a lot out of a person - well takes a lot out of this person...

But there has been a lot of cooking and baking and reading going on instead. And that has meant more trips to the library. So here's our current library collection -

Yep, I re-borrow Les Mis, after 2 renews I had to return it unfinished. But I bravely got it out again a week or so later and am ploughing my way through it. I've paused though, to read The Happiest Refugee - which was light and enjoyable. Having finished that today though, its back into Les Mis.

And these are little-miss-e's books.

We partiucalry love this one:

There is a whole series of them on all the senses and we've had them out before. Little-miss-e has enjoyed all of the series. All of her books have been hits actually, and she often chooses one of these for us to read together. How 'bout you? Have you been to the library recently?

Monday, 16 September 2013

baby bunting

Bunting is very in at the moment. I feel like you can barely turn around in the blogosphere without tripping over a string of bunting! I think bunting is really cute, but up til now I haven't made any. This has been for a number of reasons, but mostly because I haven't anywhere to hang it once done! But a friend at work needs a bit of cheering up, so we are putting together a basket of things for her, and I thought what is more cheerful than a string of baby bunting. Teeny tiny triangles in bright colours, just perfect for hanging up over your desk!

I followed pink milk's easy tutorial, but obviously did a lot less rows!

I also made my friend a load of oaty lindt chip biscuits...

Chocolate and bunting, the perfect cheer-you-up!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


So, I am a little early for show and tell, but I am pretty excited about this. I made a duck!
Ok, so I didn't follow the pattern all that brillantly, got my terms mixed up and whatever. But still I made a duck! Little-miss-e loves it! She shouts QUACK when she sees it, and then comes over to give it a kiss.

Ahh, the satisfaction of a quick project that turns out just right!

Pattern from here: I think I'll be making a few more of these. Finger puppets are so so easy and quick and delightful!

Do you have show and tell? Joining in with Leonie (or I will when the link is up tmrw).

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Random thoughts on a Thursday

I only seem to have random thoughts at the moment.
  • I feel like I've lost my crafting mojo - I'm still stuck on an unfinished project without the inclination to finish or to start a new project. There's been pretty much no crafting around here for weeks!
  • I feel like I'm scrambling up hill most days, trying to keep on top of the washing, the cooking, the shopping, the stuff, the dishes... This going back to work thing is beginning to feel like it is costing our family a lot in terms of my time, my energy - at least it means we can pay the rent though...
  • I did a big load of dishes this morning and that made me feel so great. We have a little kitchen - the downside is that it gets messy really quickly, but the upside is that it usually doesn't take much to clean up.
  • I love to put on an apron when I'm at home in the kitchen, whether I am cooking or cleaning (and I am usually trying to do both at once). It makes me feel like I am ready to tackle anything!
  • I also took a mopportunity while little-miss-e was asleep and cleaned the kitchen cupboards which I have been staring at for weeks. 
  • I love the idea of mopportunities - it comes from a friend and is the simple concept of doing a quick clean up when the opportunity presents itself. An example is mopping the kitchen after your daughter has poured water from her cup all over the floor, so you don't just mop up the spill, but take the opportunity to mop the whole floor. I pretty much clean only by mopportunity these days. 
  • I am thankful for my lovely husband, my lovely little-miss-e and our lovely friends and family and our lovely church.
I am so glad I started writing out these random thoughts - I've gone from feeling negative to feeling positive over the course of this little list! From feeling the grey in the clouds to the sun shining through! Thanks to Sophie and her friend Ange for the topic

Saturday, 17 August 2013

library collections

I am such big reader. I love to read and I love wandering around the library selecting whatever takes my fancy. My favourite method is simply to pick up a book and start reading - if I like the writing I take it home, if not I put it back and try again. I love reading a book without knowing anything about it. I usually try to avoid reading the back of books altogether and just dive straight in.

So seeing crafting is suspiciously absent from my life at present, I thought I'd join along with Kate from Greedy for Colour and her library collection.

This is our current collection:

It's little but big! I am slowly ploughing/plodding through Les Mes. I'm yet to make up my mind about it, so I seem to be reading it in fits and starts. And we're trying out an audio book - I have to say that it is not going as well as we thought. Finding the time to sit down together to listen is harder that I expected.

I have to say my favourite from little-miss-e's pile would have to be Leslie Patricelli's In the Bath. The story and illustrations are delightful and little-miss-e loves it too.  Little-miss-e loves books - she is such a book worm - although her favourite book at the moment is not from the library, it's this one:

Everytime she sees it she excitedly shouts "HAM!" and then tries to foist it in our direction to get us to read it to her.

How about you? A you a library person? What's currently in your library collection?

Monday, 12 August 2013

cooking up big

I am a big fan of the cook-up. I always have been. Even when I was just cooking for myself it would seem I could never cook less than 4 serves. I love to cook, so once I am making something I figure I may as well make a lot of it! In the past this has worked out well for my hungry housemates and friends living nearby. In more recent times, it has worked well with little-miss-e. At least 2 nights a week we eat 'freezer food' cooked up and frozen some other night, ready for tired-after-work-need-to-eat-now kinda meals.

I have, however, been finding it harder to cook like this in recent weeks, mainly due to the adjustment of going back to work. So our freezer stocks have started to look a little depleted. But today, after a big pot of pumpkin soup (made by me) and some left-over beef stroganof (made by my lovely husband) I am starting to feel back on track.
So tell me - what is your favourite freezer meal? Do you like to cook up big?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

the easiest biscuits you'll ever make (healthy, sugar and gluten free)

So, there's not been much crafting going on 'round here. Mostly because I am still stuck on the frog/snake puppet and am yet to finish that, or to work out what my next project will be. But also because we have been the house of sickness, on top of my return to work, little-miss-e starting childcare and other adventures in normal life. So, there's not been a lot of craft to show and tell.

But I have been baking, and I wanted to share these biscuits with you. They are easy, healthy, sugar free, gluten free and my one year old LOVES them. Basically they go like this:

Take 2 bananas and a cup of oats*. Mix, spoon onto trays, then bake about 10 min at 180 C...

That's it!

I've been making these like crazy. They are super easy! I've added and adapted as I go along. I often reduce the amount of oats and add in other stuff instead - dessicated coconut, almond meal, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or qunioa flakes... Sometimes I put in a spoon of peanut butter, some currants or cinnamon or vanilla... Given little-miss-e is so little, I tend to make teeny tiny biscuits that are barely a teaspoon-ful. She loves them.

It is worth noting they don't store all that long, a few days at the most. But I pop them in the freezer and then they last and last (at least until we eat them all!) Little-miss-e loves to gnaw on them frozen, or they defrost pretty quickly cos they are so small.

So there you go - the easiest biscuits you'll ever make.

Give them a go!

*NB: Oats are controversial in the gluten free world, but my lovely gluten free husband can eat them, so they are counted as gluten free here on marjoryjane.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Gluten free pizza dough

So I received a request for my Gluten Free Pizza Dough recipe (see my previous post about gluten free pizzas). It is pretty easy to make - we make it in the bread machine using the dough setting. It is a bit of a throw together dough, but it works and turns out delicious!

1 Cup (and a bit, about 1/8C) of water
1 tea salt
1 tea sugar
splash of olive oil
2 3/4 Cups gluten free plain flour
1 tbs yeast
about 3/4 tbs Xanthan Gum

Put all ingredients in bread machine on dough setting. Once done, divide half and roll each half out to make your pizzas.You will probably need a little extra GF flour to dust the rolling pin and your surface with.
We then pre-bake the bases for about 15-min, until they start to go that rosey-pinky-brown, as then the pizzas don't take as long to cook.

Cover with your favourite toppings (one of ours is zucchini, thyme, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest and cheese) and bake until done.


Saturday, 13 July 2013

a few more things on my to-do list

Oh, my to-do list is growing and growing.There are so many fun and fabulous patterns! Here are a few I have been thinking about making. The question always is - which one to start first? (oh, and the other question should be: should I finish what I am currently working on first...)Finished Hobbes
Hobbes - how could you not want to crochet him!
and I love the idea of making a lacy scarf

Sunset Shawlette - free crochet pattern made from 1 skein of yarn!
Or like this

arm warmers, adult, stripes, fingerless mitts, free crochet pattern, gift idea, men, women, fingerless mitts, gloves
And I definitely want to crochet me some arm warmers!

(Can you tell I have fallen in love with moogly!)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

my current project

So this is what I am quietly working on. I've not been posting about it, as it is not really going that well... I'd ask you to guess what it is, but I am afraid you'll say a snake.

See, it is supposed to be a frog. A frog puppet for little-miss-e's 1st birthday. She loves frogs, she finds them very funny. And she loves puppets, so I thought, what better than to crochet her a frog puppet for her birthday.

Well, the problems have been many (leaving aside the fact that her birthday has come and gone and I am still working on her present). I couldn't find a pattern I liked, so I started adapting this snake pattern (which is why everyone thinks it is a snake). But my adaptions have been frustrating and slow and I've lost confidence that there is going to be any froggy resemblance once I am done! The mouth is too long, not wide enough, the legs are too spindley and the crochet too loose. I'm finally nearly done, but not nearly happy.

Still, here's hoping that if I tell her it's a frog she'll simply believe me!

What about you? Do you have any birthday present/doesn't-resemble-what-it-is-supposed-to-be disasters? And, do you think it looks anything like a frog?

Playing along with Leonie at show and tell...

Saturday, 6 July 2013

little present for a new little one

I've been working on a little bootie/beanie set for a little while. I used my new favourite bootie pattern. Given I'd started with plenty of time before the bub was due, I thought I'd make a beanie too. After such success from the bootie pattern, I started making a beanie also from the Lion brand site. But I felt it didn't really match the clean lines of the booties (and looked a little too much like a toilet doily..). So I scrapped it and started again.

For my second go, I grabbed one of little-miss-e's newborn beanies. It happened to be a knitted one, but I kinda followed the basic principles and size and made it up as I went along.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out - my first beanie! And I think it matches the booties much better. It's now wrapped up to take to church tomorrow to give to our new-parent friends.

Sunday, 30 June 2013


This is what has been keeping me busy. Well, not the cake exactly, but the little-one for whom I made the cake. Yep, it is little-miss-e's first birthday this weekend and that comes on top of a very very busy month. So busy that in fact the present I've been crocheting for her birthday is not yet finished... (opps). Still at least the cake is, and gosh did she enjoy it! I had planned on a complicated cake, something out of the Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book. Except I don't actually own the book as I am yet to convince my mum to pass on her copy. So we went for something much simpler (although the cake recipe is from an old Women's weekly cookbook), with my lovely husband suggesting the design.

We also have been having a bit of a chat about birthday traditions. Thinking about what kinds of birthday traditions we have grown up with and what traditions we want to have in our family. To be honest, we haven't really come up with much (other than cake and presents...). How about you? Do you have any interesting family birthday traditions?

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

diagonal crochet

I just stumbled across this amazing diagonal crochet blanket from Lanas de Ana.

Isn't it gorgeous! She even links across to a tutorial. I love love love it. This is absolutely going to be my next blanket project!

I've already added it to my 'stuff I want to make (when I get the time)' list which sits towards the bottom right of my blog. I keep the list there it as a place to store up fabulous ideas like this one that I am not able to start straight away. How 'bout you? Where do you keep your list of projects you want to make so they don't get lost? And how much do you love this blanket?

Monday, 17 June 2013

home made muesli bars (with recipe) (gluten free)

I saw ana over at i made it so post a recipe for granola bars the other day. She made them sound so easy. So after double checking that granola is the same thing as muesli (don't you love it that we supposedly speaking the same language), I decided to try them out.

ana talked about the princples of muesli bars before her recipe, so I just made it up from there. They were easy to convert to gluten free and basically mine went:

1 cup rolled oats*
a handful of sunflower seeds
a handful of pumpkin seeds
a handful of currents, then another for good measure
a handful of dessicated coconut
a drizzle of maple syrup
a couple of handfuls of gluten free plain flour
some raw cashews that I crushed in my mortar and pestle
an egg, then I decided it was too dry, so added another
now it was too wet, so I chucked in a handful of toasted muesli and a bit more flour.

Then in the oven at about 170 degrees for about 30 min.

Not an exact science, but they certainly turned out lovely, with a hint of cinnamon (from the toasted muesli I tossed in at the end). The only issue is that they have turned out a little on the hard side, so little-miss-e, being nearly 1 and only having 4 teeth found them tricky to manage. I am hoping they will soften up in the next few days (if they last that long...)

Thanks ana!

*note: there is some contention as the whether oats are gluten free - my lovely husband can eat them fine, so we seem to think that they are.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Gluten free malva pudding recipe

My lovely-(gluten-free)-husband is not from 'round these parts. The other day I had to explain to him the entire story of 'The Man from Snowy River' (though at least he did already know about Banjo Patterson - as in: "didn't he write some poems or something?"). Anyway, I digress...

My lovely-(gluten-free)-husband is not from 'round these parts. And as such, we expected some cross-cultural issues to crop up from time to time (see above). But there have also have been unexpected cross-cultural delights. These include being introduced to a whole cuisine, and for me, especially a whole new range of baking and dessert delights. Rusks are one example, and Malva pudding is another, (oh and milk tart, but I'll talk about that another day)

Malva (pronounced mulf-fah) pudding is fantastic! It is also known as brown pudding, and is easy and delicious, just the perfect winter dessert. This recipe here is adapted from some close family friend's. I've made it gluten free and reduced the sugar a bit (as it is quite a sweet dessert). I made this the other day as we were taking dessert to a friends, and everyone had seconds, some even had thirds - so there was none left for a pic!

So without any further ado: Gluten free malva pudding

1 cup Gluten Free Plain Flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 Tbs butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 1/2 Tbs apricot jam
300 ml milk
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

375ml evaporated milk (Ideal Milk)
1/2 cup sugar
125g butter or margarine

Oven at 180 °C
Mix Cake flour & salt together. Add Sugar and mix. Rub in butter.
Beat eggs and jam together and mix with milk.
Mix in flour mixture.
Mix bicarb and vinegar and mix into flour mix.
Put in pan and bake for 20-30 minutes.
Heat up all ingredients for syrup, until sugar and butter is melted, but do not boil.
Pour over hot pudding and leave to stand for syrup to draw in cake.
(Eat with cream or ice cream or custard or all three!)


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

granny sqaure cup cosy

Do you remember cup cosies? They were all the rage a couple of years back. You couldn't mosy 'round the blogosphere without running into one. At the time, I confess, I thought: what a silly idea. A cup cosy - I thought, why don't people just drink their tea!

Well, fast forward and these days I feel like I hardly ever get to finish my tea. I start a cup but then... well, things happen and life (and little-miss-e) gets in the way and before I know it, my tea is cold and I am contemplating whether it is worth trying to reheat it in the microwave again. And then the other night I remembered about cup cosies and I thought: what a brilliant idea!

So I crocheted myself a granny square cup cosy. And this morning enjoyed a whole hot cup of coffee.

We are not one of those families that have lovely sets of matching cups. We have a mish-mash of cups from all over, with different sizes, heights, widths and handle positions, so to try to make the cosy universal - I sewed the bottom edge together and made a drawstring for the top edge, so that I can tie the sides together. 

So, here's to warm cups of tea and coffee*!

What about you? Is there something you used to think was silly that you are now converted to? What's your opinion of cup cosies?

*My lovely husband is not sold on the brilliant-ness of the cup cosy. He thinks the issue of my cold tea and coffee is more to do with my distractedness and is less than convinced that a simple cosy will solve the problem. Needless to say when I offered to make him one too, he scoffed politely declined.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

a little bit of bloglovin...

I've joined the bloglovin' gang - check me out over there...

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, 31 May 2013


The baby blanket is finished! WOOHOO! and the baby I made it for is only 14 weeks old (oops). I was planning on getting it to his mum before he was born, but then he came early (three weeks early) and bang went that idea.

Still it is finished!

It is the first time I have acutally placed my squares in a pattern, rather than randomly, and I think it really works with these squares. And I did a really simple edging - spiraled like the squares, complete with an uneven finish.

Love love love it!

Now I just have to block it, in the hope it will help straighten up those edges (something I have never bothered to do to any of my blankets before) and pass it onto its owner. Ah, it's Friday night and I am off to block a baby blanket - we're livin' the high life 'round here!
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