Friday, December 21, 2012

Upholstery 102

I am writing this post a bit prematurely but I'm so impressed with the results of my first "real" upholstery project (see Upholstery 101) that I can't wait to show you. The kids tell me to stop bragging but I'm not bragging, I'm just happy the chair turned out how I had imagined it. The timber work isn't quite finished but that won't happen till late January and who wants to wait that long? – Not me!

My tutor Dave is a fountain of knowledge and experience when I comes to upholstery. I have to say, I almost blushed when he said my measurements and sewing were so good I must be a perfectionist. But a perfectionist, I am not. Call me a 80%-er; I'll gladly wear that label. I seem to have a finite pool of patience and diligence and when that runs out I take whatever shortcuts I can to get to the end.

So here it is...

The before shots

And the after

So even though I can tick that one off my "To Do" list, I already have my next project lined up. I'm sure my friend Charmaine will be glad to get it out of her garage!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Summer days

Today was my first trip to the beach this summer. The black sands at Muriwai Beach were heating up but there's a way to go yet before it reaches scorching point. I didn't actually get in the water however I am told that it was "really a lot warmer than you'd think." – hmmm.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quote of the day

From one of my all time favourite movies Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I couldn't have said it better myself and a timely reminder at this time of the year.
m, xox

Monday, December 10, 2012

Love your mountain

Yesterday was Love Your Mountain Day at Maungawhau. The residents of Mt Eden can't help but love the mountain that watches over them.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pyramid advent calendar

When I saw this pyramid advent calendar over at Mini Eco I just couldn't resist doing it. I won't be putting the Christmas tree up this year as we are heading to Oz so I thought this was a nice way to get into the festive spirit.

The end result may look more like an arrow than a Christmas tree which is what I was aiming for. Maybe it would have looked better if I'd just made it random. Nevermind, I'll try to remember for next year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A calm week

I packed Eadie up and sent her off to camp on Monday. For the record, she's not crying just embarrassed by me taking photos of her. In fact, she couldn't stop smiling and was super-eager to get on the bus.

To add to that, Steve went to Sydney the day before. The shift in dynamics has resulted in a much quieter household. There has been the occasional rousing (they're not perfect after all; and neither am I).

Last night, Ava and I watched Ruby's choir performance at Town Hall. It's so nice for them to be able to perform in such a lovely venue.

I think I will try and end the week on a high and have dinner out with the girls before I all returns to chaotic-normal on Friday.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A day out

Last weekend the sun was shining and we got a real taste of summer. But this is New Zealand and we will probably be wearing your jumpers again in a few days. As the saying goes: Make hay while the sun shines. And that's exactly what we did with a short drive over to the seaside at Takapuna.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I love...

Terrariums. Not really ones with lizards and frogs inside. More the funky dinosaur variety.

I know I could make one but if I decided to do that it would just get added to a long list things. It would be really nice if someone would do it for me :D

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eggplant Curry

Eggplant is one of my favourit-est foods in the whole world!! There is a Malaysian restaurant not far from where we live that is famous for it's eggplant curry. Then when we were in Sri Lanka Aunty Daisy made it for us. It was to die for!

Aunty Daisy told me how she did it then I Googled it when I got back home and came up with a recipe that seemed like a good blend.

I've never been very good at cooking curries and Asian food. Perhaps it has something to do with my Anglo-Italian upbringing. Anyway, this curry turned out really gooood.

In a nutshell:
  • Prepare the eggplant then fry it up (no, it's not health food)
  • Fry an onion with a mixture of spices
  • Add some chopped tomatoes
  • Stir through some coconut milk
  • Lastly, stir through the eggplant.

Delish! Leave a comment if you want the full list of ingredients/instructions.

OK, you asked for it; here it is.

3 medium sized eggplants, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup coconut milk

Sprinkle the chopped eggplant with salt and let sit for at least ten minutes to extract the bitter juice. Wash and dry, then fry in some oil.

Fry the onion and garlic in a small amount of oil until soft. Add the curry powder, ginger and chilli and cook until aromatic. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk until combined. Lastly add the eggplant pieces and stir. Add sugar to taste.

I hope you like it as much as I did.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In bloom

The occasional sunny day, slightly warmer weather and frequent showers are all definite signs of spring in Auckland. I just love it when our roses bloom. They are a very old variety and have the most beautiful fragrance. I think I will try my hand at growing some from cuttings for our new house.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sri Lanka -- off the tourist trail

Well, here it is – finally. I've included a few pics which I feel reflect the atmosphere of Sri Lanka. It was very hard to edit so I apologise in advance.

One of the first things you notice in Sri Lanka are the tuk tuks. They are the most common mode of transport for short distances and they're everywhere! On our first day, we managed to cram all five of us in the back of one which is a pretty good effort give we are not midgets.

Temples and statues. Steve gave Ruby the nickname 'little buddha' because she took to wearing her hair in a bun on the top of her head.

There was plenty to experience in the way of food too. We were always very well fed and felt great on the (mostly) vegetarian diet we adopted whilst there. I wasn't expecting curries for breakfast, lunch and dinner but we got used to it fairly quickly.

In Kandy, with our friend Wasa.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was a bit 'staged' but we did get to see elephants on mass. Cute little ones too. 

The tea plantations near Nuwara Eliya in the highlands. We toured a tea factory and learnt about the whole tea process. There were hundreds of tea sacks ready to be packaged and sent all over the world. We gave up looking for a decent coffee and opted to embrace the tea which was a good choice. I guess you could call us tea connoisseurs.

Our friend Was a took us out for a bite to eat one night. We stopped at this Hindu temple along the way for a spot of culture. That night we had one of our most enjoyable meals at Sri Ganeshananda Brahmins (did you get that?) where the food was served on banana leaves and we ate with our hands.

One of the highlights of our trip was Polonnaruwa. A hot, dry inland town. We stayed with 'Aunty Daisy' in a small village outside of town. After spending four hours on a local bus and 20 minutes on a tuk tuk we finally arrived in the midday heat which, on this particular day, was 38.5°C (the hottest place in the country!). After brief introductions and a cool drink we headed to the river for a picnic which was another 25 minute walk through dry rice paddies. The picnic consisted of, well, curries – very delicious. Aunty Daisy and her friend Chappas whipped up the most amazing selection, all done over a wood fire! 

At the river there were signs of elephants everywhere in the form of footprints and dung. This was a popular place for them to visit at the end of the day. The elephants and locals have a mutual respect for each other. We stayed until late in the hope of seeing some but sadly it wasn't to be. Instead we got to enjoy the delights(?) of an all over body exfoliation courtesy of the little fish. The unexpected nibbles were enough to make you squirm and squeal. People pay big money for this in Asia!

We felt Sigiriya was close, yet so far away (a three hour drive) given the soaring temperature. There were also reports of several tourists being taken to hospital for wasp stings which I didn't particularly fancy. So we opted to hire a driver to take Steve and I to see some of the local ruins while the girls stayed behind to play in the well and feed the cows. 

Later that afternoon the same driver took us to a secluded water hole in a reserve which was gorgeous – and close to another spot which crocodiles reportedly inhabited. Maybe that's why we didn't see any other people there? On the drive to this place Steve saw a croc swimming down a river where locals were swimming a bathing. Eek! After sun down, we went spotlighting for elephants down by the lake on our way back but sadly we didn't see any there either (apparently they were at the river that night!). We did eventually see a herd across the lake the next day. 

It was hard to say goodbye to Wasa (and the kittens and dogs) but we had other sights to see on the south coast, namely Hikkaduwa and Galle. Being on the west coast, Hikkaduwa was a lovely place to enjoy spectacular sunsets. I can't remember the last time a spent and entire day on the beach just reading, sleeping and swimming. Pure bliss.

The old Dutch Fort in Galle was a nice place to pick up some tasteful souvenirs. It was a little touristy, but we spent most of our time off the tourist trail so it was to be expected. A nice place to spend the day.

There were so many things in Sri Lanka we didn't get see, but we weren't disappointed – quite the opposite. We got to experience things we never expected. 

The true highlight however, has to be the people we met along the way and the things they did to make our holiday memorable. Thanks Wasa, for showing us a great time and for looking after us. Thanks also to Aunty Daisy and Apu for making sure we were never hungry.