Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another year

Yesterday was one of those "big" birthdays. In some ways it was like a normal days and other days it was special. Mom arrived in the morning from Houston. We had a nice lunch out. And did a bit of shopping. I also made myself a cake. The thing is I have a kitchen to cook and bake in, and I was so excited to be able to do it.

The recipe is from this month's delicious. magazine, Dulce de Leche cheesecake


Here's my cheesecake


And the cool slice shot


I had to make my own dulce de leche. I didn't have time to go find already made dulce de leche, so I made my own as per the recipe by boiling cans of sweetened condensed milk. When I opened the tins and mixed them up, they were slightly lighter than I wanted. So after some thought, I ended up cooking the sweetened condensed milk more in the oven using a bain marie. It worked perfectly. I was totally willing to open two more tins, but thought I'd give this other idea a whirl. I'd actually recommend following the oven method for dulce de leche as you can see how brown your dulce de leche is.

Cheesecake was nice. Rich, so best enjoyed in small slices.

My birthday celebrations aren't over. We are going out for a nice lunch in the mountains on Saturday with Ed & Steve. And next week I'm going out with the girls for dinner.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bejewelled princess

Here's Miss Moo sporting her new earrings. So far, so good. They seem to be healing well.
moo with earrings

Missy Moo is wearing a hat that I bought my senior year of Wellesley. I think I bought it the day after Ed and I drank too much. Ed was depressed he didn't get into the masters program. I was old enough to purchase the grog. Ed ended up spending most of the night spewing in the second floor head at the frat house. I slept on the lounge and in the morning when he still wasn't fit to do anything, I left him to walk along Newbury Street. I went into this hat shop and bought that velvet hat. I still love it, and I am going to wear it this winter. Moo found it because I was shifting things into the new wardrobe (closet) in our bedroom.

Moo also found some jewelry and dressed up her brother. I don't know why she put her skirt on him.
my sister dressed me

And here they are together.
bro and sis
3 days. Not long to go now. Grandma arrives in 3 days. I also have a significant birthday that day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My head is spinning

Today I should have a cute picture of my 7 year old.  Yes, my baby girl turned 7!  Tomorrow I will try to get a picture of her modeling her newly pierced ears.  She asked.  She said she wanted it done.  I told her it would hurt and that she'd have to look after them.   She told me it didn't hurt.  She couldn't wait to show her dad the minute he got home.  Will told her she looked beautiful.   

So that is the happy stuff.  The house is making my head spin.  We are close to being done, but there are just these bits that are hanging about which are annoying.   Like we weren't clear that the painting in the front of the house wasn't included in the contract.  Like DUH who wouldn't want the gutted and relined bathroom painted?  And the study walls have all new plasterboard which need to be painted.  I can understand the front hallway and tiny side hallway being an issue as that was something that we changed last minute.   So now the builder wants more money for painting.   And I'm thinking I want an actual painter.  I feel like I want someone who is going to take care to mask bits that need to be.  I'll crack the shits if I find paint splattered on my cedar blinds or my newly installed ceiling fans (see one item that might have been better to go in AFTER painting the ceiling!).   I won't talk about the bits of stain that I found on my countertop.   Thank goodness for my benchtop and Jif (similar to Soft Scrub) because I could make that transgression disappear.  OH wait, there were tiny flecks of stain flicked onto my new kitchen cabinets.   Or the varnish on my brand new laundry cabinets.   Use some freaking masking tape, damn it. 

Yeah, the painter is coming by to give me a quote on Wednesday.   He comes recommended by good friends.  

Unpainted plasterboard which has been set drops dust all the time.  This is exceedingly annoying on my newly polished floorboards.

The a/c man is coming to install my a/c Thursday or Friday.  Of course, this is after summer.  This is after we went through 5 weeks of searing heat with a freaking hole in the middle of our house because we had no ceiling.  Oh and we didn't have ceiling fans then either.

And Friday I found out that we needed to replace our sewer pipe from our house to the mains.  It's done now.  We can crap to our hearts content now with no fear of it revisiting our house or yard.  

My kitchen is mostly good....well, except for my rangehood has decided to make a noise.  I don't think it liked sitting in the shed for 6 months unused.  More money to fork out on a service call.  But my dishwasher is awesome.  I bought a new one because our Whirlpool once it decided it wanted to give us grief, it just wouldn't stop eventhough we tried to do the right thing and get it repaired rather than just chucking it out.  It's an awfully big thing to just throw out.   The Miele is quiet and well behaved like its sister which lives in the laundry.   I really like my German appliances.  They even let me reprogram them.

I think this has been theraputic.  Although I reckon a valium would go down a treat.  If only I had some.    Back tomorrow, I hope with a sweet photo of the bejeweled Miss Moo.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Almost home

Well, we've had a week away at the Sydney Hills Holiday Park. Originally I had some misguided idea that we could live in our house while the floorboards were being done. I was told that it was not possible, so I booked us into the holiday park which is only 5 minutes from school. By the way the floor sanders were totally right. The fumes from the polyurethane could be smelled from outside our house.

We should have been back in the house on Friday except that the floor sanders didn't do a very good job. We think the crux of the problem was a dodgy sanding job, but I'm no expert. I also think they were slack about cleaning/vacuuming after sanding.   I just know how I expected my floors to look.

The finish on the floors was fairly rough and textured with lots of dust and bits stuck in it.

There were spots where it was apparent that they missed a coat of polyurethane.

Spots where it just looks odd like in my kitchen. It looks dull and textured compared to the rest of the floor.

Then stupid stuff like where they hit a skirting board with a sander, but couldn't be bothered to knock it back, so they applied the coating with the skirting pushed out. Could they not see it wasn't right? The photo was taken after I shoved the skirting back into place.
I won't bore you with photos of where they smeared putty on my skirting boards.

So they came back on Wednesday night and applied another whole coat. They wanted to charge us, but no one was going to stand for it (us or the builder)! Then when I checked the floor Friday morning there were still a few bad spots, so yesterday afternoon they were at my house doing a patch job. We can't risk the kids running through those spots, so we are having a weekend in the city while our friends are in Queensland.  Funnily enough I'm about to jump in the car to drive to Galston for a Tupperware party plus the kids can run wild at our friends. Col's being dropped at the house to start moving a few things around.

We can not wait to be back home. We are such homebodies.

If you live in Sydney and want your floorboards done, I can tell you who NOT to use. Just send me an email.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bag for a birthday

Moo has a party in a couple of weeks (oops need to RSVP!).  In the made rush before preparing for the plasterer I sewed this bag.  It's the small tote bag from Nicole M Designs

Now here's a's not good to sew when stressed.  I couldn't figure out why my machine couldn't sew through 4 layers of denim and 2 layers of interfacing when I had a size 100/16 needle in the machine.  That would be because space cadet me had the straight stitch plate on the machine and eventhough I think my machine will sew through ANYTHING, it will not go through the metal stitch plate!

Emma's handbag 1

I added this cool adjustable buckle. The hardware is also from Nicole M. I have to say that when I initially looked at the pattern, I thought it was too wordy, but from looking at Nicole's tips on her website, this is intentional as it's for beginners. I am used to brevity from sewing with Ottobre and Farbenmix. I really like the way the bag is constructed. I did leave out the zippered inside pocket mainly because I was limited on time. I can say that I'd happily pick up a more complicated bag pattern from Nicole and feel confident I could make it.

Of course, the bag has to have a touch of Euro detailing if it's coming from my house. The bag has some Farbenmix ribbons and Luzia Pimpinella's fabulous Matruschka Pimpinellskova embroideries.

Emma's handbag 2Emma's handbag 3

This will be the last bit of sewing for a while. The floorboards are going to be polished on Friday, so I have to get ready for that. Then we have to move back in and rearrange. I'll post some piccies of the kitchen with the countertop soon. It went in today!