Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas to everybody! Sure... I'm about 4 days late... but I think I've had a pretty good excuse. I'm currently relaxing at my brother's house in the Clare Valley (SA), with my parents, aunty and uncle, nieces and nephews. We're drinking plenty of good wine and now eating lots and lots of Christmas leftovers! It's been Jett's first Christmas and although he's had a snotty nose (much colder here at night than home!) and doesn't quite grasp the concept yet, he's had lots of fun getting plenty of attention from his relatives, and playing with his cousins toys (and trust me, there are loads of them!).

I haven't really been able to access the internet much and probably won't until we get home on the 5th Jan. So I just wanted to say Happy New Year to everybody and look forward to reading what everybody's been up to over the festive season :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yay, a new bag for me!

I decided two days ago to make myself a bag before heading off to Adelaide on Monday, and I just finished it today! Perhaps Jett had to watch a little more Baby Einstein than he normally would (not that I think he minded!), and sure, he may have been a little attention deprived - but hey, I have a new bag! YAY for me! I used left over fabric from our dining room chair seat covers for the outer and strap, a vintage linen tablecloth for the lining and on the strap, and a salvaged fabric sample from Reverse Garbage for the cuff.

I actually started two at once as I couldn't decide which fabric I was going to like better - the other should be finished tomorrow/tonight so I'll upload a new pic once completed. Amazing how much you can get done when you're procrastinating cleaning the house and packing... :P

I also finished this bag last week for my mother-in-law for Christmas. It's probably photographed a little brighter than it actually is because of the flash... I love the blue wool on the outer and strap, and have teamed it with a vintage sheet for the lining, and used an upholstery sample on the cuff. I hope she likes it! I almost feel like handing it over and saying 'if you don't like it I'm happy to keep it and make you another'.

Is it normal to get so attached to the things you make, even when you make purposefully for someone else???

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eye Spy... a burst of colour

Eye Spy a lone blue flower in my garden. Nestled amongst a patch of little yellow flowers and many many weeds (again... I don't have a green thumb to know the correct names of these flowers!), this little flower caught my eye when wandering around our garden with Jett this morning. Since having Jett there are so many bursts of colour throughout our house (toys, swings, playpens etc!) that I needed to get outside to notice my rare burst of colour.

Thanks to Flossy-P for choosing this weeks theme, and also to Cindy for hosting the Eye Spy. Head on over to Bugandpop to join in.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

So many things to love, to want, to buy...

Yesterday was the BrisStyle market and I have to say it seemed to be a raging success! I was helping out my sister at the Beckybean store and she sold more than half her stock - woo hoo! She's closed her Etsy shop until the 26th of January but somehow I think she's going to have a bit of sewing to do in the new year... I might have to help out I think - I'm feeling very motivated!

It was very inspiring to see so many great crafters, designers and artists in the one place. I'm generally not a market kind of girl (unless it's a food market...) but I have to say I loved it! Kym had Jett for the morning and didn't bring him in until the afternoon, so it was also lovely to have some 'kid-free' time. Of course after only five hours I was starting to miss him so it was very nice when Kym turned up :P I also needed to promptly show Kym to a few of my favourite stalls for my Christmas present so I'm looking forward to seeing what he chose - I think it may be a bracelet from StratDesigns - yay!

My lovely sister also got me this lovely necklace from Raspberry Pink which is very cool, and this awesome little bib by Jellygnite with cowboys on it for Jett. I managed to pick up Jett this gorgeous little tee by Tees2Knees and I couldn't resist the little zipped purses by Little Mary Moo (I couldn't decide which I wanted most so I got all three...)
and also this tiny purse mirror by Hot Toffee. Oh and a brooch from REread Design (I couldn't take a pic of it as I think it's somewhere in Kym's bag and he's off riding with my brother-in-law). I think that's everything!

I had moments yesterday where I wished my gorgeous little boy was a gorgeous little girl... so many beautiful dresses by Hot Fudge and gorgeous ruffle pants by Bettsy Kingston... I would have brought some for two nieces but Bec had already beat me to it - maybe our next baby (not any time soon!) will be a girl and I can go nuts then :P

I helped Bec with five bags to sell at the markets, and while three sold, I was very happy that my favourite one didn't, so I get to keep it. Yay!

After all those purchases I still managed to forget to buy something! I really wanted to get a print for Jett's room by Twinkle Star Art - I'm going to need to go online now and get one I think. They are soo cute. How I forgot when they were the store next to us I have no idea :P

Speaking of recent purchases (how's that for a segue?), Kym brought me this present this week. Yay! I'm so excited about it that I'm 'saving' it for when he's off work over the holidays so we can just sit and watch. I love love love the Mighty Boosh - 'ooh such a good time' :D

Monday, December 8, 2008

Eye Spy... something in my garden

So this is my first Eye Spy! I just want to say thank you to Curly Pops for picking this weeks theme, and also to Cindy at Bugandpop for hosting the Eye Spy.
I love this tree in my garden, not that I know what it is called. I keep thinking it's a poinsettia but I'm pretty sure it's not. I don't have a green thumb, and to be honest if you get up close and have a look at our garden you'll see it really needs some TLC. All the rain we've been having lately is causing it to go a bit nuts, and this tree in particular is in desperate need of some pruning (is that what you call it??). But I love the pretty red flowers it drops on the lawn - they remind me that Summer is here. I'm also a fan of the big palm next to it. Before I moved up here I always thought of balmy weather and palm trees when I thought of Queensland, so it's pretty cool to know I have one in my very own backyard.

I had to include this pic of the oregano in my herb garden - the weather lately has also caused it to really spread and I think it looks very lush.
Friday night saw my extended family, Mr J, and I attend Carols by Candlelight. With early evening thunderstorms forecast we decided to risk it anyway. We were there only 1 hour before we were rained out. But the carols themselves were pretty funny, if maybe a little lame. The 'host' of the evening was definitely a Jack Black from 'School of Rock' wannabe... which my sister and I found pretty hilarious. He had the same moves, held onto those high notes a little too long, tried to get the audience to 'rock' and at one point even referred to the females in the choir and the females in audience as 'the ladies'. If nothing else, he gave us a great laugh :P

Sunday we also had our family pre-Christmas party where all the kiddies had lots of fun opening presents. And the grown ups consumed some great finger food and of course some much-needed drinks. My couple of glasses of Piper went down way too easily...

Here's a couple of pics of some of the food brought by everybody. There's some bruschetta, little sausages with zucchini, olives, goats cheese and tomatoes, some buttersnap bikkies with caramel (thanks Bec, these were one of my favourites as a kid - who am I kidding, as an adult too!), and some mini trifles. Needless to say I think we all needed a little nap afterward :P

Friday, December 5, 2008

Run fat boy run!

I am feeling so organised this Christmas. I even got online and made our first ever family Christmas card. Kym and I are notoriously crap at sending out cards - actually I think my whole family is a bit crap - but Kym's family always send us cards and each year we both say 'we should really do that next year'. So I have. Perhaps you get into these things more so when you have kids?

We also have our family pre-Christmas party on Sunday which I'm super excited about as there's always so much good food. And Jett now goes quite a few hours between breastfeeds so really looking forward to my Christmas bubbles :D

My recent exercise regime appears to be working which I am very excited about - 4kg in 5 weeks - woo hoo! Obviously my Body Step and RPM classes are doing the trick. I have less than 2kg to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and only 4kg to get back to my preferred 'ideal' weight of 7 years ago...oh the days when I never had to worry about it! This is the first time in my life I have ever tried to lose weight (and possibly the first time in my life I feel I have really needed to for my own self-esteem!), so I'm pleased I can do it when I actually try.

Speaking of weight loss, there is currently a bet happening at Kym's work for his apprentice to lose weight. This kitchen is made up of a group of guys (sorry and one girl) who are not your 'typical' chefs - no one smokes (one recently quit) and no one has more than probably two drinks a week. Not your average kitchen brigade! And they often go to the gym in their breaks...

Now this one very loud and outgoing apprentice, who is 20 years old, still has a bit of 'puppy fat' which they all like to give him a gentle ribbing about (how many workplaces in this day and age can you get away with doing that???). There is a $200 bet going that he can't lose 12kg in 12 weeks. He's currently 92kg. Kym, two senior chefs and one of the owners have each put in $50, and if he loses he pays each of them $50, and if he wins he gets the $200.

What's so funny about this story is this apprentice has gone out and spent over $100 on weight loss products - which means that if he loses he is actually down $300 and if he wins he only gets $100... So each day now he is eating carrot sticks and drinking Tony Ferguson drinks (I haven't tried these but I imagine they are disgusting!) trying to lose 12kg. All for $100. Now I know apprentices don't get paid much but he's not on a bad wage. I'm not sure he's done the math for this bet...

When I also had a go at Kym for putting $50 on this bet, he pointed out that it's Christmas in 3 weeks and there is no way he can lose weight over that period! I hope for his sake he does win to show the rest what for, but I don't like his chances... Hmm, maybe I'm not liking my chances of keeping my weight off for that matter when we're on our two week break in South Australia...

But I think I'm glad I'm losing my weight the good old-fashioned way - blood, sweat and tears! OK, maybe no the blood or the tears, but certainly lots of sweat and red faces nonetheless :P

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Definitely no need to pass the salt...

Although I'm not the chef in our household I certainly don't consider myself a bad cook - nor is my sister for that matter. In fact, I'd normally say we were pretty good and our meals are generally quite tasty. Except for the last Friday night. I was invited to Bec's for dinner to eat some snapper they had got from the markets. I had the great (??) idea of steaming the fish with some lemongrass, coriander, garlic, shallots and white wine - something Kym had done for me the previous Sunday and it was fabulous. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to how it was actually cooked... and how you fold up the paper and foil so it steams nicely. Oops. Mistake number one...

So with beers in hand Bec and I got to work on the preparation. I cut all the veges for the stir fry we planned to eat with our fish - very organised. Perhaps I should point out at this stage that normally Matt (Bec's husband) cooks the stir fry's in their household most of the time - and Kym in mine. Perhaps there's a reason for this :P

We wrapped the fish the way we guessed it should be and popped it in the oven. No idea just how hot it should be, we guessed (wrongly). Bec started cooking the stir fry and unsure what sauces to use, we decided to throw them all in. Oyster, Maggie Seasoning, Light soy, Sesame, a touch of sweet chilli. We didn't get the timing quite right and the stir fry had to sit for a little while we waited for our fish. Mistake number two...

When we finally got the fish out of the oven it was a little grey (perhaps overcooked?), pretty fishy (not the asian-infused smell we were expecting) and the stir fry was a little cold and so salty (Bec may have gone a tad overboard on the Maggie Seasoning) that even I was struggling to eat it. So all in all, it was pretty bad! Actually, a bit of an understatement - it was very, very ordinary. Perhaps we should both stick to what we know - spaghetti bolognaise, chicken casseroles, quiches, scones, and all those other 'homestyle' meals we learned from our mother (who is a great cook!). Oh well - live and learn right? I think we should just leave the Asian cooking to our husbands in future :P

On a more positive note, I finished another bag (the above pic) that I gave as a birthday present for a good friend of mine, Laura. I must admit, I was a little hesitant to hand it over - I really liked it and would have happily used it myself!! It's another Beckybean design and it was definitely a lot of fun to make. I only decided two days before seeing her to make it so I didn't leave myself much time and Jett may have been a little neglected... not that he seemed to mind. This is what he got up to while I sewed...

He sat for over an hour here playing with some catalogues - oh to be so easily amused!

Well I better get back to my bag making - I'm helping Bec with a few bags for her market next week. Perhaps I already am her new 'Aussie sweatshop' :P

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's the answer to everything

Well, just to prove my point about our love of all things salty, Kym had a cooking demonstration in the Queen Street mall on Wednesday for the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide. When the story was written up on their website and he was asked the 'secret of his spectacular flavours', Kym simply replied "salt." He he. You can also check out the article here if you feel so inclined.

It's funny as it's also the answer when he's asked the same question 'why doesn't my food taste as good as this when I cook it at home?' Reply: 'you need to add more salt...'

I guess people will now understand why I cook all Jett's pureed foods rather than let Kym do it. Somehow I think he really doesn't need the salt in his diet just yet :P

But I am proud to say that Kym's public speaking is definitely improving over the years. He's becoming more confident and less mumbly (is that even a word???)- something my sister pointed out just yesterday when I was telling her the demo went well. He was even like that when speaking in front of all my family at our regular gatherings let alone the general public! For a person who only knows one language (English), sometimes you'd swear it wasn't his first!

Oh hang on! Sorry my mistake, he does know how to swear in many languages. A lovely skill he has picked up from his time in kitchens. Perhaps there are a few similarities between Kym and Gordon Ramsey besides the fact they are both chefs - they share the same language skills :P

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And the winner is (drum roll please)...

Photo extracted from the Brisbane Times website


Last night was the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide restaurant awards and Urbane (where Kym is the head chef) finally got Restaurant of the Year. Hip hip hooray! After other recent awards this month where Kym was named Chef of the Year (Courier Mail's Good Food Guide), and Urbane were the only Brisbane restaurant to receive the coveted 3 stars (Absynthe on the Gold Coast also received 3 stars), they were still pipped for Restaurant of the Year to Isis Brasserie. So yay, they got it this time!

My parents watched Jett which was great (and apparently he was very good - he even went to sleep!), and Kym and I got a lovely 4 hours away together to go to the awards. Considering how warm our weather had been (OK... so we have had a cyclone, but it's still been very humid!), I wasn't expecting to need a jacket at the State Library where the awards were held, but as it was held 'semi-outside', a jacket would have been nice! So naturally the only way I could see to stay warm was to have a couple of glasses of the Verve Cliquot on offer. Another hooray! The fact that Jett slept pretty good last night hopefully doesn't have anything to do with that :P

Ah, Derek Zoolander... one of my favourite movie characters of all time. Why am I mentioning this here you may ask? Well last night there was a very hilarious situation which was very reminiscent of the scene from Zoolander when they are announcing the 'Male Model of the Year' award to 'Hansel'. Just as Derek gets up and accepts the award as he assumes he won and didn't listen properly, so too did another restaurant owner, who got up and accepted the award for Urbane when its 'Two hats' status was awarded before the owner of Urbane could get there. What was even funnier was that no-one stopped him making his thank you speech and it wasn't until he was having his photo taken with the award and he looked down at it that he noticed it wasn't his restaurant which had received the award. Unfortunately this restaurant didn't receive any accolades last night - even more awkward for him... But oh well, it was still pretty damn funny :P

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My first sale!

I've sold my first bag to Kym's sous chef Matt (it's for his mother in Canada) today which is very exciting. Typically, I'd been procrastinating it for a few weeks until I bit the bullet, ordered the fabric, reminded myself how to put them together, and got on with it. I'm actually very pleased with the bag and Kym tells me Matt was very happy with it. Yay! The elephant fabric is by Sprout Design which I brought from Duckcloth and I've used denim on the cuff and strap, with the internal lining coming from a pillowcase I had. I think I could get into this...

Now, if you're looking at this bag and thinking 'hmmm... that design looks familiar', that's because it probably is. My sister is Beckybean and she sells her bags on etsy. She's been kind enough to lend me her pattern and show me how to make them. Perhaps I can become her 'Aussie sweatshop' and work from home while Jett is little...? This just may be my new plan!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What a great meal - and it was healthy!

Did I say I would start write my blog next day?? Tsk tsk. Four days later but I'm here and I'm determined to start this!

Well last night's dinner was one of the best meals we've cooked at home in a wee while. King snapper - steamed with parsley, lemon, garlic, white wine and thyme, and sauteed organic mushrooms, zucchini, corn, toasted almonds, and onion cous cous, with vine-ripened slow-roasted baby tomatoes. The fish was superb and very delicate, matched perfectly with the acidity in the tomatoes. The glass of Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris went down a treat, but I think the best part was that Jett, our 7 month old son, was asleep and stayed so for rest of the evening until we went to bed - YAY!

I am desperately trying to make some healthier meal choices in my attempt to lose some of my baby weight - hence the aforementioned meal choice... Being married to a chef certainly has its perks when it comes to food options, but it also means Kym seasons (salt and pepper) our food quite well (as my family love to point out!), which is not so healthy. Kym on the other hand is not so keen to change our diet, but he did only use a small amount of salt in this meal to please me - isn't he supportive??

This is also my third week at the gym and I must say I'm getting rather addicted. Apart from the fact I'm going into classes like Body Step (which seem to be filled with 'super-fit women...aagh depressing) and I seem to be the only person emerging the same colour as my slow-roasted tomatoes, it feels good to have some 'me' time where I can switch off. I also find it amusing that when I come home and Jett's desperate for me to pick him up, he likes to have a suck on my arm (which he never does so I assume it's because my skin is salty from sweat) - a salt lover already! Dad is so proud :P

Friday, November 7, 2008

First post!

Well, here it is... the first post. I shall try and start properly tomorrow. Nothing like a bit of procrastination to get you off to a flying start! For those who know me, you know it would be strange for me to start anything off any other way. Baby steps...