Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Green Apple tunic

Began life as a woman's size small v-neck fitted top. Found in a $2 bin at JayJays. I didn't get a 'before' picture because I didn't think ahead.

The fabric reminds me of my friend Ez.

And yes, this is my son pulling everything out of his drawers. One of his favourite activities, at the moment.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"E" is for Elephant

My girlfriend fell pregnant very shortly after my own son was conceived. Since she lives West of Sydney and I'm south, we're both in kind of black holes so far as the transport situation is concerned. So I was really excited to get to meet her and her beautiful little boy in the city, today!

I made him a little present that I whipped up in the last two or three nights.
First is a pair of wide-legged yoga pants - the outside is made from a delicious dark green up-cycled old sheet that my Mother Outlaw donated to me a while back (I'm so plotting a pixie outfit for my boy sometime soon!). I'm also starting to get into the swing of the rib-knit I used for the waistband. It's fun stuff and not as hard as I thought.

But because the recipient is a delicate little petal and needs 100% cotton clothes for his poor chafed skin, I rummaged through my stash for a lining and came up with pale yellow cotton flannel. It's made the pants thicker and warmer than I originally envisioned, but hopefully it will mean they can be winter and autumn pants rather than the spring I was going for! My little boy decided that second shot needed to be helped by his doll. Since photographic styling is not my strong suit, I took his suggestion.

The second part of his project is this sweet little door hanger - I spotted the "E" at a local shop - they only had Es! Which was serendipitous, since my gift is for an Elliott.
I almost cried, cutting up the rainbow ribbon - I pounced on it months back and haven't had the heart to open it till now. And then I cut my pieces too generously and have all these tag-ends I don't want to get rid of.
The elephant was inspired by the beautiful layette decor Tecelinha keeps posting to one of my flickr groups, and this fabulous Ganesha image at Wikipedia.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gingerbread for winter chills

The year that I turned thirteen I spent a lot of time making gingerbread.

It got so that I had the recipe memorised. With this friend and that, on weekends and holidays we'd gather in someone's kitchen to mix up a batch, covering available surfaces in flour, using up our mother's ground ginger (or, in one particularly memorable and potent batch, scrounging fresh ginger root from the neighbour).
When the bickies were fresh from the oven, we'd scoff as many as we could manage, as fast as their heat would allow. Warm, fresh gingerbread always tasted the best.

I've forgotten the recipe I used, then. But in recent years I have rediscovered my love of baking.

I've baked sugar biscuits and pumpkin. Almonds and cakes. And I always (especially in the depths of winter cold) come back to gingerbread.

This is the recipe I use now.


  • 125g butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup golden syrup

  • 1 egg

  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour

  • 2tsp ground ginger

  • You can also add other spices alongside the ginger. I like to toss in a teaspoon or two of white pepper and maybe a dash of cinnamon, to make the bickies a bit bitey.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Beat the butter and sugar together until you have a pale, creamy mixture. Then slowly add the egg and golden syrup, beating both in thoroughly.
Add the flour, ginger and bicarb about half a cup at a time, beating all the while, until the dough starts to form a ball.

Cover your bowl and place it in the fridge for a minimum of thirty minutes. This step is important. Without it, the mix is not firm enough to roll out and cut biscuits from.

Now the fun part!
Take your mix out of the fridge. Knead it well and roll it out on a well-floured surface until it's about as thick as a regular pencil.
Cut out your shapes, using a floured bickie cutter, and place them on a greased tray.
Bake for around 10 - 12 minutes, or until golden brown (the edges are usually a darker shade in my biscuits, as an indicator that they're done - my oven does not heat evenly, boo!

Your biscuits will be soft when first emerging, but will harden over the next five minutes or so to a firmer texture. Do not try to remove them from the tray till this has happened.