Monday, May 12, 2008

Baking, Cooking, IKEA, Oh My!

It's been really busy most days. We've been off with the kids on their extended mid-term sort of break. They really just took the days from the February break and added them onto the May break, thinking that the weather would be nicer and so it has been.

We've had gloriously warm, sunny days for May. Upper 50's and low 60's. Some how, it just seems and feels a lot warmer than that. Maybe I'm getting use to the cooler weather.

Anyway, DH had a birthday and the cake requested was the traditional Coconut Creme Pie. The "Queen of Pies" is what my father has called it and so the name has come to live at our house as well.

Coconut custard with piped creme and toasted coconut pieces on top. There was a bit left over, so I fulled the the little cups as well.

Tamales. In honor of Cinco De Mayo on the 5th of May, I made sweet corn tamales. I make them every so often. Not as hard as I remember. Of course I didn't tie the ends into cute little tassels like last time. Just folded all the sides in and there you have it.

Great for our Gluten Free kiddies. Corn meal, sweet corn, cheddar cheese and some sweet red pepper. Blend, heat and put into corn husks and steam.

Yes, that's right. Recycled corn husks. Of course, mine were lovingly brought for the local Hispanic grocery store to Ireland on the last visit of my parents. I'm really surprised they weren't confiscated, but happy they weren't.

Here is a close up of the bundles after they've come out of the steamer.


Went up to Belfast to take the kids to the W5 Children's Museum. Had a great time. We were nearly the only ones there. Occasionally there was a small creche worth of school children that would arrive in uniform and then leave shortly there after. We managed to ditch them most of the time. Whew!

Pulling into the parking lot, we notice the fuel tank was beyond low. We had just put in some petrol in the last town. Not to freak out, we were optimistic that there wasn't a hole in the tank. We went on the hunt for the closest petrol station. Following the directions given by the guy at the museum, we promptly got lost and ended up going in the wrong direction. By the time we found the next station and could actually get off the motorway, the was IKEA glowing in the distance. It was like a mirage. STUFF MART, here we come!! After the petrol, of course. We had a good time as well. The children loved all the rooms and shortcuts. We loved the prices and brought a few things home. I do mean a few!! Nothing crazy, like a new kitchen for the rental house. Anyway. We would love to go back.

Funny thing was, we were going to ask for directions at the petrol station on how to get there. Ha! No need!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Avondale Weekend

A few women from Feltmakers Ireland arranged a long weekend away in Avondale. It's in the beautiful Wicklow Mountains. Chilly and misty for most of the 4 days,
but we weren't necessarily there for the mountain air.

We were there to make felt. Nothing organized, just make whatever comes to mind. Some had things planned. I didn't. Mostly because of the hectic schedule we've had at home. I did want to do something in Nuno felt, maybe a jacket for DD. I think I brought nearly everything I had. Poor Sheila. It's a good thing there is plenty of room in the boot of her car. Nearly stuffed it full!

This is what I came home with. We did flowers for the Bloom Festival in May and June, Nuno buttons or beads, booties for a friends baby boy and mostly samples. I did so many samples, I decided to not to even start the jacket.

I got to thinking about all the bits of fibre that the ladies were discarding or not using after their projects were made. I began to gather them up in a shoe box that was by the drum carder. It's amazing how much gets stuck to the floor and carder. Enough for 2 bats of lovely mixed fibre. If you've never seen Pluckyfluff, head on over to see her amazing mixed bats.

So pleased was I with the junk bats, I made some mixed bats of merino, silk and ribbon cuts for the jacket for DD. I have pink and lavender silk fabric that I can use with it.

We did manage to get at least 1 walk in each day. You can only felt so long before you need a break. This was a really cool Eucalyptus tree. I love the smooth bark and the way it has twisted over time. There was a whole grove of them near the beginning of the hiking trail. The smell of the pods as they were crushed under our feet, reminded me of the street in Southern California where my Grandmother lived. The streets were lined with them. As high as you could see.

The damp forest was a perfect place for the trees to be covered in moss. It's like shag carpet. Vintage 60's - 70's plush.

We had a great weekend and the ladies made amazing things. The best part was just being able to hang out for hours and days on end. Great time!