Lemon honey in the city

Living in a big city naturally means you do not have an acre of land. We are lucky in that we have a courtyard, and it gets sun in the summer. You have heard me wax lyrical about basil pesto before. Well now it is the turn of some humble lemons. One of our first purchases was a lemon and lime tree – a graft obviously, though we only seem to get lemons. I had visions of limes for gin and tonic in the summer when we bought the tree! The last batch of lemons ended up as frozen lemon juice thanks to the mother-out-of-law. For some unknown reason I have always wanted to have a go at making Lemon Honey (which is known as lemon butter in the Australian vernacular as I found out) and for some random reason this late batch of lemons (code for I thought I had better take them off the tree as spring was here!) inspired me. While I was tempted to give them the same fate as their predecessors I went to every kiwi’s cooking bible (the Edmonds Cook Book) and the making of lemon honey appeared reasonably straightforward. What was quirky was a couple of day’s later I picked up the October Child magazine (a great freebie) and in there was an article on their tried and true cookbooks and there first was the good old Edmonds cook book. I could not have agreed more that day, fresh from my successful foray. And it made me smile, especially when we think of modern cook books full of fabulous colour photos – this cook book is the original real deal, the entire recipe for the the lemon honey stretches to about two centimetres, and there are four other recipes sharing the page. You know what though – the lemon honey turned out just so. I am even giving the small jar to a friend, not that she knows it yet, but she thought my first jam attempt was more than ok, so I am willing to risk her opinion again! If you have some lemons going spare, can I suggest a batch of lemon honey…

Current definition of old dog…

… new tricks!

I did my first ever crochet chain on the weekend – high fives, champagne, streamers! I have wanted to learn for years, and for some reason on the weekend I had the gumption to give it a go. I think this was fuelled by the fact that what I was making simply required a single chain. Not a perfect chain, but I think pretty good for a beginner. Yay me!

crochet north melbourne

Made in North Melbourne, still going strong

It has been a long time, perhaps two years, since I have made mention of my Etsy shop. To be fair there has been a lot happening, and the blog and the Etsy store are kind of separate identities, albeit with a passing reference to each other.

However there has been a flurry of activity this year. My sales are at an all time high – there has been three this year! A scarf and two recycled bracelets have sold. Of course insufficient to generate a living income but the excitement of someone buying something you have made is unbelievably rewarding. My new sock fetish has now made its way into my shop and I am in the process of knitting baby and toddler socks for my Made in North Melbourne brand.

Speaking of socks I have this week made the most fabulous purchase, the Sock Ruler®, the invention of one Denise in California. I am only a beginner sock knitter and so all you guns out there may laugh, but I find it a tad awkward when trying to accurately measure the length of my work in progress socks. No longer. My Sock Rulers arrived in the mail on Friday and were used today – utterly brilliant. If you live in Australia the place to get them is Kathys Fibres in Adelaide – she is very friendly by email; if you are in another part of the world the stockists can be found here. That gorgeous blue sock yarn below I purchased in April 2015 with the intent of making my first pair of socks. After two and a half years I am least pleased to say that I am knitting the very first pair of socks for me! And the afore mentioned first use of the Sock Ruler® was on the cuff of the first sock. I look forward to showing you the finished product.

 

 

 

In the words of another…

…as to why I have not written a blog post recently, and a much needed re-prompt to myself. I have mentioned in the past that I am a bit of a fan of Annabel Langbein, and earlier this year there was an article about her in the NZ Women’s Weekly. It resonated strongly, and I wanted to share some of that with you, it has only taken me five months – says it all really!

There were so many points she made, that made me go, yes, yes exactly, it is not just me. Of course I cannot copy them all here. The four highlights from the article for me, and words we can all heed are:

  • There have been many nights where she found herself still working at 3 am and thought, “What on earth am I doing?
  • “I am lucky that I am blessed with a lot of energy, but doesn’t mean I should work 16 hours a day.” 
  • “When I first had children I thought I had to be superwoman and keep going – I thought if I got off the bus for even a short time, my life would be over”
  • “Now I know that being flat-out busy shouldn’t be the rhythm of your life. I like to take analogies from nature… plants don’t flower all year round. You don’t have to be on G for Go all the time”

It has been a little crazy busy on the work front for me of late, part time work with more life balance.. humph! I have lots of energy and have worked to the silly time in the morning mentioned above more than once recently. Anyway this is my reminder to get back in balance. If you needed one, hope this helps you.

slow down north melbourne

 

Modern art or…

…did you know that cupcake/muffin trays are essential when baking?!

My daughter and I decided to have a go at baking and decorating some fancy cupcakes. There was a lot of mixture so I put a set of cupcake cases on a baking tray to bake along with those in the cupcake/muffin tray. Let us just say the outcome was not what I was expecting. Who knew I had a talent for cupcake art! As you can see those that were cooked in the cupcake/muffin tray came out as expected. The sprawling mess was demolished while still warm I might add. You cannot believe how utterly delighted I was with the finished product. How often do you make something that looks like the photo in the cook book and they were delicious. These will not be a one time bake methinks. Especially seeing that my daughter does not like marshmallows, so Mum & Dad get to eat the flower ones, not just the bases where my darling girl has only eaten the icing!

Of course without downplaying my incredible culinary skills (tee hee!) these are much easier to make than the final product looks. If you want to given them a go, they are courtesy of the Australian Women’s Weekly Fresh Food for Babies & Toddlers cookbook. I highly recommend this cookbook for new parents by the way. We still make meals from this that the whole family really enjoys.

‘Tis a modern world

On the walk to or from daycare my daughter and I often have conversations. I really had to laugh the other day. We have taught our daughter our first names in the case of an emergency, and she knows her surname. For some reason we were talking about her surname, and then she asked what mine was. Her father and I have been un-married for 12 years, so my surname is of course different. Then she asked what her Dad’s surname was. When I said it was the same as hers she was most offended. Her swift reply was, “he can get his own“. I laughed so hard on the inside and had to tell her Dad. There is an absolute logic to her thinking. Though I suspect it is primarily being five and wanting everything to be hers!

surnames north melbourne

Image courtesy of http://www.kickassfacts.com/are-there-fewer-surnames-now-than-in-the-past/