A Dash of Cream

A couple of little projects to see you through the weekend today dear reader. We seem to be surrounded by cream these days, on the hob, around the home and in our craft projects.

We were called to action last weekend, when returning home what should we find standing alone, abandoned by the side of the road on our little peninsula? The most darling wee chair crying out for a spa treatment. Whilst it awaits its exfoliation, splash of limewash and reupholstry, it is happily occupied in a corner of Rainbow Lane with its new cushion friend.

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Colour has been all but banished from Rainbow Lane and replaced instead with calm overtones of white, cream, grey marle and the rare splash of botanical green. Muted pinks make the cut with fresh flowers appearing every Friday morning curtsey of Mossy.

After months of bright red linens and chair covers, vintage toys strewn as if left mid play and the general untidiness of children, Lady Moss has reclaimed our space layering heavy glass candles on every spare surface and throwing sheepskin rugs around in careless abandon.

We soon felt that a new floor covering was in order. Something soft and scrunchy to rub soft (clean!) toes against while enjoying our current obsession with soft white wine.

Tshirt yarn is having its moment in the spotlight and after much trawling, Lady Moss found several great tutorials on how to cut up old tops or in our case one large bolt of jersey fabric. You can find them here: http://www.relevedesign.com/how-to-cut-continuous-t-shirt-yarn/ and here: http://www.petalstopicots.com/2012/03/green-crocheting-making-fabric-into-yarn Coming together far faster than one would think, these are a fantastic craft to get cracking on and finished during the winter months and set aside for Christmas.

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Simply create your yarn, find a pattern you like and set to work, it really is a lovely project.

For my foodie readers a gorgeous recipe for you, simple but comforting, the best kind of supper after a long week:

Creamy Leeks with Cannellini Beans and Butter. Lots of butter.

As a side to serve four people grab a large leek, tin of cannellini beans, two cloves garlic and some cooking butter.

Bring the butter to a foam and rain in your beautiful sliced leeks, salt and pepper. Keep the heat on low and soften the leeks before adding garlic to prevent browning.

Splash in a good cup of white wine before refilling your own glass. Take a deep sigh of contentment and allow those melting flavours to envelope you in their warmth. Allow the wine to cook down slightly before adding your drained beans.

Pop the lid on, transfer the pan to the lowest hob and give it 10 minutes to bring all the ingredients together in a delightful mush. At this point I like to get out my potato masher and give everything a good squashing.

I serve this to The Littles in heaping spoons on crusty toast straight from the oven and would highly recommend as an after weekend sport lunch to warm the toes of any soccer player. For Mossy and myself its served next to the best piece of steak I can find, caramelised to perfection on the outside, juicy and rare, within. This is a meal for romance, for Friday nights after Littles have gone off to dreamland, cream and butter mingling with rich juices on the plate. Hearty enough for vegetarians, I would serve the leeks with a peppery salad and crunchy French beans.

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And with that I am off Dear One. To fill my pantry in readiness for my lovely Ari and her arrival home for the weekend, to snuggle with The King and refrain from taking a bite out of his most delicious toes before he realises it is much safer to wear slippers around the house when Mama is nearby. Enjoy your days of freedom and we will see each other again soon.

 

Hunkering Down in the Rainbow Lane Bunker

So its finally winter in Sydney. Which pretty much means crisp-ish 16 degree days and swapping from Ugg Boots to Havianas and back again every five minutes to ward off overheating.

Nights are blessedly colder and after a rather harried six months of Kindergarten for Ari and a much thought over decision to take The King out of daycare, we are a much calmer, happier home-front.

Which brings my wandering steps back to you dear Rainbow Lane.

We have swapped Friday night takeaway and rushed meals before early bed for slow cooking, involving hours at the stove with The Littles while Mossy fattens Lady Moss up on a diet of French cheese and Pinot.

We have been emulsifying egg yolks, dijon, brandy and oil to create creamy mayonnaise to spread liberally over poached scallops, beans and a sprinkling of browned almond slivers.

Ari has been pouring over cooking magazines to select recipes generally involving copious amounts of chocolate, cream and butter. Who is Lady Moss to complain when they result in the chewiest dark chocolate brownies and rivers of fudge sauce.

Yesterday a nap on the daybed was in order, which called for a dinner that would practically prep itself and keep the house basking in the warm glow of a three hour cook. One of our favourite recipes from Second Husband or Uncle Jamie (Oliver) as he is referred to in Rainbow Lane, the indulgent Lamb Shanks in a Bag.

Simple ingredients married together within the confines of a baking paper and foil nest, this dish is winter lusciousness at its best and could be presented at table for any elegant dinner party with much fanfare.

Start by tearing a generous square of baking paper and foil per person. Lay on this shiny bed half a chopped carrot and leek a clove or two of slivered garlic and a good handful of white cabbage. Place your appendage (ahem) onto this mound of veges, splash on olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Draw the edges together before sploshing white wine and a little water inside and close your parcel to encase all the juices and flavour that would normally escape. Nestle the group together in a large baking dish and pop the lot into a preheated oven somewhere around 175 degrees Celsius.

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Return to your nap and check on the progress infrequently, when your wine needs topping up or simply send husband. You want the meat gloriously dark and shiny threatening to slide off the bone at a touch.

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Serve the silken mess with mashed potato, bread, polenta or any carb that takes your fancy. I know the dreaded C word. Its ok your can do it just this once…..there didn’t that feel good!

Shaping the hearts and minds of children. Well year five and six anyway.

I am approaching tomorrow with what feels like a night out on the emotional bar tab rolling around in my head, pushing out against my eyes. More than anything I’m excited, beyond excited actually to be stepping into a classroom to teach Primary Ethics to years five and six at Ari’s school. If I didn’t feel nervous I would be a fool but I trust these kids, I trust the subject and the philosophy behind it. To teach our kids to think and reason for themselves. Not to morally shape them but to let their incredible little brains learn to do this and go forth and give. Thoughtfully.

Up until now I have been Mrs Moss, Ari’s mum or that weird lady who bribes with cupcakes, rainbow jelly and forty birthday party invitations to be nice to her daughter. From tomorrow afternoon in our little community of inquiry, I am their equal, just another citizen of the world, wanting to make a difference, learning with them. I have no doubt in my mind they will have so much more to give me than I can offer back but I am willing and able to try.

For anyone unaware, Primary Ethics is a charity organisation that was started to give children in Australian primary schools who didn’t attend scripture, something better to do with their time than sit and watch movies in the library. Because of the unfailing dedication and commitment of volunteers, this program was successfully piloted and opened to any school wanting to participate. There are now more than 700 teachers Australia wide giving their time in the pursuit of ethical learning and decision making. Of which Lady Moss is proudly one.

I’ve got my curriculum in my hot little hand, my coloured markers and my heart open wide. Wish me luck dear friends!

 

 

 

 

The worlds best non-alcoholic G&T……

I got this recipe off late-night telly after Lord Moss finally plugged into the new century. Until Lady Moss realised it was nothing more than a way to waste too many nights on the couch rather than writing and crafting, we learnt a good many things about hoarders, scary parents and people who like to eat all manner of thing including chalk, pottery, rocks and cigarette butts. Thankfully the habit passed quickly and we moved back to one night of telly a week. SBS Food Thursdays….Enough Said.

Before flicking the switch for good Lady Moss stumbled across a very tiny, bubbly, Glinda the Good Witch-like American who lived off juice. Of the non-alcholic variety. In her gay little trill she managed to convince this Lady that a jug of pure lemonade each day would entirely clean the liver. In no time we were hooked.

The recipe is as follows with Lady Moss’ adjustments below.

You will need to juice:

Two lemons peeled

A large thumb of ginger also peeled

One pink lady apple

A capful of Goji Juice

Add this mix to a lovely jug of ice and water and sip all day long for the zingiest buzz ever.

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Of course being Lady Moss, one can’t follow a recipe without adjusting to taste slightly. Although tempted to add vodka, which we might add, would be simply divine, we decided to love our liver and give it a break for the afternoon.

And so, we added our lemon mix to a large jug of crisp sparkling mineral water, ice and a stem of mint. We still haven’t sent Mossy to the health food store to purchase Goji juice so I can’t vouch for its tasty addition but I do promise to let you know when I get to it.

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Do give this one a try, it is truly the most refreshing repast for a hot afternoon and good for you too which is nice when Champagne has become the replacement for water lately……

Too busy eating icecream

I haven’t been around much this summer because, well it was summer. An all too fleeting time where so much happened that it was hard to keep track of the days and separate one from another. Most of it was spent at our new (vintage) caravan on the beach, some of it tossing fresh ingredients together to make the most of the abundant produce and the rest celebrating birthdays heaped one upon the other this time of the year.

I thought, rather than give you a long winded run down, I would choose my favourite photos to share with you our summer holiday before getting on with the business of 2013 proper.

Christmas was full of wonder, mulled wine and witchcraft as Lady Moss busied herself crafting those final little gifts.

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We almost couldn’t wait to dip our toes in the water and ride the current in our almost private oasis.

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The sun kissed The Littles while mamas looked and clicked on

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IMG_5811We enjoyed an over abundance of the good things in life.

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And try to hold onto the feeling as we drift ever so slowly into Autumn.

 

Note: The much viewed photos of The Littles were taken on the South Coast by the ever so talented Lady Smith of Smith and Jules.

Joie de Vivre

Lady Moss is still in holiday la mode and will be back as soon as we stop trotting up to Bacchus (207 Darling Street) every afternoon at 3pm for fresh champagne.

Tra la la…..

shhhhh don’t tell anyone!

All those winter nights Lady Moss spent holed up at the sewing table squirreling away, has finally paid off as we put the finishing touches on our Christmas gifts. Fancy a peek into the workshop?

Pinking shears, cloth drawstring bags and glitter glue, these are a few of our favourite things!

Preparing for the arrival of a new resident……….

Spinning tops and wooden trains, its so much fun to live at Rainbow Lane!

The Bells Still Ring For Me

One of my favourite movie lines of all time from The Polar Express, about a little boy given a tiny bell from Santa Claus to reawaken his faith in the magic of Christmas. Not that  I have ever needed any help in that department, but I especially love the joy that comes from hearing the first jingles as I unpack the decorations wrapped in tissue paper and hold them to my ear.

We are spending a little time with family this weekend celebrating good news and cheer. Ari and I decided to get the festivities started early with some one on one quality crafting time.

Another idea I got from the Martha Stewart website, this is definitely a kid friendly project. You will probably have most of the supplies hanging around, egg cartons, paints, ribbon and glitter. I purchased some tiny bells from Spotlight for $2 and we got started.

Start by painting your egg cartons. As you can see we only did the outside layer. In future I would do inside as well as out. When dry, brush on craft glue thinned with a little water. Proceed to sprinkle obscene amounts of glitter all over the surface.

I sprayed a layer of clear gloss varnish that I had left over from another project, which helps to keep the glitter in place. Totally optional. You could even brush on another layer of craft glue if you wanted.

Once completely dry, cut up the egg carton into sections and punch through the top with sharp scissors, sober adults recommended for this bit.

Thread ribbon through the hole and tie on a twinkling bell. Cut your ribbon at a generous length and cluster it with a group of sparkling creations. Hang them from a much used doorway to sound their lovely song all day long.

 

Countdown to Christmas

Every year I make a list of things I want to create for Christmas. For the past several its been a mini stocking advent calendar. Looking at the pictures on the Martha website it seemed far too time consuming and involved for Lady Moss’s patience levels, not to mention our wine stock.

We decided to get started early and have this project wrapped up long before the 1st December. Turns out it wasn’t just the easiest Christmas craft we’ve ever done but one of the most satisfying and quickest!

To create the sweetest homemade advent calendar on your street you will need:

Felt in your chosen colour. We being traditionalists of course used the perfect crimson shade of red but you could use any variation you like.

Scissors / pinking shears

Needle and thread / sewing machine

Fabric glitter glue

Ribbon

Start by drawing a small stocking template onto paper. Cut this out and use as your guide to cut 24 stocking shapes. I cut two pieces of felt at a time to make sure they were exactly matched. I used pinking shears to snip mine but normal scissors would be fine.

I popped a few polka dot versions in for visual effect.

Cut pieces of ribbon to size and lay across the top of your stocking. Pin in place.

Cut 24 lengths of ribbon and loop through as you sew around the stocking shape. I use clear thread when I’m working with felt, it makes it even more lifelike if you can’t see evidence of sewing. Stitch from the top left edge, backstitching for strength, then proceed to sew down the side, around the bottom and up the right hand edge, again backstitching.

Note: you could easily hand sew these little stockings, it could even become a family activity while watching a holiday movie! A simple in out stitch would suffice for these as they won’t be getting alot of wear and tear if strung high up.

I found that by completing each stage before having a (drink) rest, made the entire project seem thoroughly productive and satisfying.

Once every piece was sewn, I drew numbers 1 to 24 using green glitter glue. I was sightly hesitant to use this as I had had issues with my Oz badges, but after reading the instructions that advised to leave to dry for at least 5 hours, the numbers are stuck fast in place and will stay put for years.

I decided to fill our stockings with little Christmassy activities that the children could enjoy over the season. I used a font that I’m sure Santa would approve of and printed out onto thick stock before cutting with the ever reliable pinking shears. I also popped a few gold coins in for luck!

There are of course a multitude of ways to hang your advent calendar, not having available hooks I decided to use the fragrant eucalyptus stalks dressing our entryway. They look an absolute treat when opening the door and I’m thrilled with the result.

Spreading Cheer and Peanut Butter

The nicest thing about living in the country was the daily visitors of the aviation variety. We had a constant stream of little fluttering friends to add colour and song to our day. Our courtyard at Rainbow Lane is sadly lacking guests and so we decided to add variety to their diet with some wild bird food and salt free peanut butter.

Inspiration struck whilst drinking my morning coffee from a disposable cup, that I needed a container that could easily be refilled and hung from the branches of our frangipani tree. Even better is the reuse of materials that don’t biodegrade for the purposes of spreading a little Joyeux Noel.

A simple matter of threading some cooking twine or pretty coloured ribbon through the lip hole after washing off any leftover coffee. One does not need an early wakeup call from outside ones window.

I spread salt-reduced peanut butter on the base of the lids which stuck fast very nicely.

Ari then got into the action by sprinkling the bird see all over the butter laden lids. And the bench. And the floor.

These feeding trays look darling when hung together from your favourite tree and would be a special little present for your feathery friends in winter time when there is very little food on the ground. Its a wonderful craft for children to take part in, not only the making, but the act of sitting patiently and quietly, waiting for a little songbird to alight on their creation and tweet their thanks.