Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lavender Hearts x 20

Three orders of lavender hearts to complete and send off by the weekend but thought I would just take a photo of one of the orders on the back porch to show how pretty they look on mass.
Here are some displayed for sale in a local shop - makes me smile every time I see this photo. I have made things all my life and it is now the icing on the cake to be able to sell them and earn money from doing something I love.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lake Taupo

This is the blog I should have written last week after hubbie and I had an overnight break at Lake Taupo less than two hours drive from where we live in Hawkes Bay. We set off early one sunny winter morning - a lovely drive winding along the scenic Napier-Taupo road and a delicious takeaway coffee to enjoy on the way. We talked and listened to music, two things we don't get to do too often without interruption. After checking into our "very ordinary" motel (why do they have to be so bleak?) we went straight to a favourite cafe for more coffee and cake. Well, I had the cake and hubbie smiled sweetly. Next stop was a quick scout around town to see if there might be a suitable shop to approach about stocking my Sweet Mary lavender hearts. This was all completed pretty quickly to allow us enough time to go for a long walk around the lake - look how clear the water is. All the photos in this post were taken by my hubbie who is an excellent photographer. It did involve a lot of stopping to take just the right shot but worth it I think to get results like this and to enjoy the gorgeous views. Lots of people were out walking and everyone we passed greeted us so I can only assume that living and walking in Taupo makes people very happy.

Beautiful - I think the snow-capped mountain in the background is Mount Ruapehu and the one to the right is Mount Ngauruhoe. Feel free anyone to put me right and I can correct.

This photo was taken much later in the afternoon after we had bought cheese, bread, olives and wine and were on our way back to the motel and a long soak in the mineral spa pool. Bliss.

The next day we woke to cold dull weather so naturally decided to get out there amoungst it. Despite moaning about being cold most of the day I did do the outdoor bit nevertheless. This raging torrent of water is part of Huka Falls and I find it quite intimidating. The noise is incredible.

Another walk up a hill for a photo stop, stopping to admire the NZ bush on the way. It was quite muddy and as hubbie raced ahead like a mountain goat he turned occasionally to check I hadn't gone over the side, yelling at me to keep to the inside. Nice.

Another stop and another walk at The Craters of the Moon - this pic taken looking into this eerie hole in the ground. Very Peter Jackson/Lord of The Rings.
By this time I was freezing and in need of sustenance so it was off to a cafe for a steaming cup of tea and toasted cheese sandwiches. And yes, I did pick up an order for lavender hearts at a fabulous bed linen shop called Marantz.
We drove home late afternoon into the sun which hadn't reached Taupo all day, talking and listening to music once again. We both agreed it was a good break away.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cupcake Love

Last night I watched Nigella cook cupcakes on television. She cooked vanilla ones topped with royal icing and cute edible flowers. They did look very beautiful - I thought about those cupcakes all night off and on. I used to bake a lot when our children lived mainly with us, now they mainly live mainly in Wellington, I don't bake so often.
So...this morning I wanted to make cupcakes and make them I did. Our oven is a little fierce so even though the recipe said 15-20 minutes the poor things were over cooked at 10 mins. Never mind, they taste delicious and hubby and I will get to eat them every day this week. Coffee cupcakes anyone?


125g self-raising flour
125g soft butter
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaped tablespoon instant coffee
2-3 tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 200 C/ Gas 6

Put all ingredients except milk in food processor and blitz to combine. Pulse again, adding milk to get soft, dropping consistency. Spoon into a 12-bun muffin tin lined with paper cases.
Bake for 10-20 mins depending on your oven. Leave to cool then ice.
I didn't have the right icing ingredients so just melted a 100g bar of Lindt milk chocolate with a knob of butter and dolloped that on top of the cupcakes. Top with cute edible flowers or walnuts from own tree in garden.

Thank you Nigella x

PS - hello to Fay - I know how much you love coffee cakes!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Favourite Things

The end of another week and as usual I haven't even got half of my "to-do" list ticked off. I get waylaid in the garden or reading a book and this week by chatting to my son who is home for the week on study leave. Because of mentioned son I have had extra washing to do and that got me thinking about my washing line. Recently I told a friend that these washing lines were a NZ invention but after a bit of research I discovered they can actually be claimed by Australia. This Hills Hoist line is quite an old one, the winding handle to raise or lower doesn't work anymore but it is still one of my favourite things. It literally holds loads and loads of washing and on a breezy day it flies around drying the washing at super speed. Even more research and I discovered this article written in a NZ newspaper. It brought a real smile to my face, I didn't know that other people had very particular ways about hanging out their washing. I am not the only weird one - must show it to my children. The article also mentions leaping frog pegs. I discovered these wonderful flowered pegs a year ago and even though I should probably have wooden ones, these pretty plastic clippers are the best I have ever come across.
Like anyone crafty, I often look around for something to customise. These are green shopping bags bought at my local Countdown supermarket. I wasn't keen on the bold advertising all over them so an afternoon in Sweet Mary HQ put an end to that and I love the result.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Yesterday I went thrifting with my friend Nicola. It was a beautiful sunny day but I am not sure the temperature ever got to the predicted high of 16 degrees C. There were lots of shivery moments when out of the sun or in freezing second-hand shops. Being a novice to this blogging/take camera with you thing I naturally forgot to take mine so Nicola had to do all the snapping (happily) and a great job she did. Click on her name to see these pics. In Waipawa, south of Hastings, I found this mirror. I think its the beginning of another collection as this is the second one of its type that I have bought - the other one is an oval shape. To make a threesome I would love to get my hands on a heart shaped one. I know they exist because my friend has one that came from her grandmother-in-law.
Also, in Waipawa, but not at the same shop I found this beautiful vintage tin. Inside the lid it says Red Rose Tea - imagine buying your tea in such a gorgeous container.
We had a fun time and then came back to Nicola's to homemade soup and bread made by her very cleverinthekitchen hubby.
Hello to my daughter, Jess who is studying hard in Wellington and trying to keep warm. xxx