Monday, February 28, 2011

Tomatoes -99 cents a kilo

So many of our meals start with homemade tomato sauce.  In a hurry - cook some pasta, stir fry some courgettes, beans and mushrooms and add tomato sauce and voila!  Use it as a base for spaghetti bolognese, chilli, or a casserole.

You need:
1/4 cup olive oil
25 g butter
2 medium onions - diced
2 red or green capsicums  (bell peppers)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 kg peeled tomatoes
2 Tablespoons parsley
handful of basil - you can used dried if you have to - 2 tablespoons
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chilli paste
2 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns

To make:
Heat the oil and butter in a large pot.  Add the onion, garlic and tomato paste and cook over a low heat, stirring occassionally until the onions are soft.  Add all the other ingredients and simmer slowly in a semi covered pot for 45 minutes, stirring occassionally to prevent sticking.  Remove the lid and continue cooking for a further 10-15 minutes until the sauce is quite think.  Store in fridge.

We tend to do 6 kilos of tomatoes at a time and we do freeze some of the sauce, but beware allow some space for expansion when you freeze it.

To peel the tomatoes we pop them into boiling water and then peel.

Guess what we are having for dinner tonight!

Friday, February 25, 2011

1 metre, 2 metres, 3 metres, 4 - the new shipment arrives

A new shipment of fabric has arrived and that means slogging through all the mesuring and cutting, taking photos and loading them into the store.  It is happening, but it is a slow process.

Plus tomorrow I am out at the Frank Kitts Market - so guess what I will be doing on Sunday?

Some of the fabrics, like Melody Miller's first range, Ruby Star Rising, I bought without seeing physical samples and I wow they are amazing and I wish I had bought more, oh well there is always next time.

Vintage Ladies


Vintage Dishes

Better go - you know blogging was an excuse to skive off!

Take care and best wishes for the weekend, especially to all those in Christchurch.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christchurch - there just aren't the words

I start this post barely knowing what to say, words seem inadequate. 

My home town and many of my family and friends have suffered in the worst way possible. 

We are lucky in that all my family are alive. 

My heart goes out to those who have been less fortunate or who are waiting to hear about their loved ones.

I find myself losing myself to the TV coverage - hating watching, but unable to turn away, waiting for glimpses of familiar places, people I know.  This blog post has no photos - I could not go there.

What to do?

Give - there are a number of agencies collecting donations - Red Cross, Westpac.

Wellington City Mission is collecting clothes for those that find themselves without any.

Resene is collecting cans of food.

Calls have gone out to provide beds for those escaping Christchurch and have no place to stay.

All these things we can do, but is seems so little.

I wish I could have you all at my house, give you a big hug, a cup of tea and some respite from what you are living through.

Be safe
Kia Kaha
Arohanui to all

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Remnant Sale

I have a new shipment of fabrics arriving this week, the ship arrived yesterday so it is time to have a sort out of all the end of lines and remnants.  I have loaded several into the shop already and there are still more to come. 

I will be sending out a newsletter in the coming week, but thought I would give a heads up to my blog readers first.  Some of these are fabrics that cannot be repeated so it is a last chance to get your hands on some of these fabrics at a reasonable price.

I have also received several new fabrics, patterns and magentic bag closures this week and they are now in the shop.  Included in the fabrics are some moda 100% wool fabric, I use this for a lot of my crafting in place of felt and it gives a lovely finish.

And after much waiting (I ordered this fabric in October) 2D Zoo has arrived.

I used this fabric in one of the quilts I made for the twinkies (my twin niece and nephew).

Hard to believe that this was made before I had a blog and before Stitchbird Fabrics even existed.

Anyhoo hope you are all having a stupendous weekend .... must dash to get my fix of American Idol (and Steven Tyler).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

in production mode

I am at the Frank Kitts Market again this Saturday and I sold out of most of the reversible head bands last time, so today I have been in production mode.  These are some of the headbands that have been made.  I don't think any one would employ me to do this - I am too easily bored and too keen to skive off!

I also have some bears to make - I made a green bear a fortnight ago and he only lasted 5 minutes on my stall.  I did not even get a photo of him, he was bought by a young couple whose little boy was in the neonatal unit at Wellington Hosiptal, so I hope he is working some magic there.

I also have to vileisofix some more of these guys.  It is a bit of a trial to see how they go.  These ready to go appliques are $5 for a bag of 5.  I will also pop some into the shop - they aren't there just yet!

Also in production have been some more light shades - this one is on its way to its new home.  I love it, I hope the new owner does as well.  I realised that I seem to have photographed the side where most of the letters are upside down (duh) the print is multi directional and this is not a huge cock up - (although I have been known to do those - cock ups that is - they usually end up in our house, not sold to someone else).


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

fantails in the garden

At this time of year a family of fantails (piwakawaka) come and visit our garden.  I love watching them flit in and out of the trees.  They catch bugs on the fly and swoop and swirl about to get them.  They are also fearless around people - I think beacuse we help to stir up some bugs.

Photo from NZ Conservation Department (I can never get one to stay still long enough to photograph it)

When we were on holiday one came into the house where we were staying and I remember my Mum saying that a visit from a fantail was a message from the soul of someone departing this world.  For a few days after I was worried that I was going to get a phone call about someone dying.  Luckily there was no call, nobody we knew died (maybe he got the wrong house).  Since then I have found out that some iwi (Maori tribes) believe that the fantail is a messenger but the message is not necessarily bad news - I think I prefer this version.

I love these wee birds and one even made it on to one of my quilts with his friend the kereru.

This is part of a queen size quilt that I made afew years ago for my son, it is loosely based on the New Zealand bush. (Sorry about the poor photo, it was hard to get a phot without the wind blowing the quilt - they don't call it Windy Wellington for nothing).

I wonder where the fantails go when they are not in our garden?

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Yesterday was the Martinborough Fair.  A country fair/market held in a small town one and a half hours drive from Wellington over a big windy hill road.  The fair is only held twice a year and is huge.

I went over to help my sister Lesley with her stall and Miss M travelled over to help her uncle sell his toys.  As my sister says she has a "toy boy" for life.

The day was scorching hot, I think my feet increased two shoe sizes and I felt like I was melting.

It was great to spend time with family and we get to do it all again on the forst Saturday in March.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

special delivery

I had request from my son for a delivery bag.  J does a paper round and needed a new bag.  After much deliberation between the kokka robots and the echino bicycle fabric he went with the bicycles.  I made up the pattern as I went along using an old esprit bag that I had.

To give the bag a base I folded some of the fabric to the outside forming a triangle shape and stitched - a sort of deconstructed look.  I also let some of the selvedge show, but was a bit bummed when the word bicycles got covered by the turned up fabric.

And the verdict from the delivery bag critic

Yup it's cool Mum.