January 18, 2015

SUMMER 2014 || PINNING THINGS A RIOT OF COLOUR

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || Things to Cook and Eat for a riot of colour
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || Things to Drop Dough On for a riot of colour
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || Things to Hang on the Wall for a riot of colour
ISN'T the light gorgeous at this time of year? I love looking out over my garden on the mornings I am home and, in the evenings, have been enjoying a Christmas gift to sit and ponder plans for the weekend, and beyond.

THINGS TO MAKE AND DO: I bought cotton cord to make something like this with cottons, fabric remnants from my holiday sewing. Can't wait to give it a try.

THINGS TO COOK AND EAT: Colour on your plate. What's not to love about that? And surely, it's got to make the new year resolutions to eat better more palatable, right?

THINGS TO DROP DOUGH ON: Loose, light pants that sit well above the ankle. I have short legs. These are perfect.

THINGS TO HANG ON THE WALL: Don't you just feel a burst of patriotic pride when you see these works by Pete Cromer? 

#flashback: Pinning had a distinctly summer feel to it last year too

January 14, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || I'VE GOT MY SKATES ON. REALLY, I HAVE

SANTA was good to me. He was a little unconventional leaving my present tucked under a pile of shoes at my local Salvos store, but he knows me well. I zeroed in on these beauties pretty quickly. 

I can't tell you how long I've looked for a pair of booted roller skates. It's ridiculous, I know, to want a pair of booted roller skates, but you have to have ridiculous, childlike dreams, right? And these, I tell you, are my dream skates. I'd scoured eBay and Etsy on and off for the perfect, reasonably priced, in-good-condition pair, but here - a true sign that good things come to those who are patient and wait - was exactly the pair I'd dreamed of. They were even red and white; the booted roller skates of my imagining.

Giddy with excitement and feeling a little bit "am I dreaming", I tried them on. Shut The Front Door! They fit! 

I tucked them up under my arms and practically ran to the counter, paid my $15 - I know, I KNOW - and dropped them onto the back seat of my car, grinning.

This was Christmas Eve. Since then, I've cleaned up the scuff marks, checked over the mechanics of them, replaced the inner sole, whitened the laces and... 

... taken them our for a spin.



I'm terrible. Truly terrible, but oh what fun.

iPhone photos and video by Cathy Stubbs, of Two Minute Postcards

January 11, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || EATING THE BEST OF THE SEASON'S HARVEST

HOW'S your tomato crop going? Mine's flush with plum-size red sphere and I am at the start of the picking frenzy. 

I never, ever plant tomatoes. I just go with the crop that comes up. For years it was a sweet little pear-shaped tomato that one year, about three years ago, just didn't come back. I wish I had saved seeds from it. I figured it would always come back, year after year, as it had done for so many years after we moved in. It didn't. Poop.

The red tomatoes have made up, in punnet-loads, for a lack of those sweet little yellow bulbs. Tonight they'll be cut up into a lentil and haloumi salad, and in the past they've been tossed into all manner of salads, into frittatas and pasta dishes.

My favourite tomato-flavoured pasta dish, shared here previously but back on the dinner rotation, is a roasted tomatoes with basil pesto and pretty much anything made with a homemade pasatta. Perfect for the easiest of summer dishes: pulled together after a day at the beach or enjoying the long hours of plentiful sunshine.

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || roasted tomato and pesto pasta for summer
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || tomato passata for summer
Summer is also my favourite time for sweet treats. I am not a fan of ice cream, but made ice blocks a couple of summers back from a tray of ripening mangoes and, bam, yoghurt-based cold smoothies and ice blocks were suddenly my new favourite thing. Much better than ice cream and pretty much just a fruit and yoghurt smoothie, made thick and poured into the moulds, then frozen. No churning or scratching away the ice crystals, and they're delicious.

Another delicious mango treat I discovered, last summer, was mango butter. Chilled and straight from the fridge, it's heaven in a jar.

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || mango and yoghurt ice blocks for summer
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || mango butter for summer
Easy peasy summer treats that make the best of the season's harvest and that you have to get into now, while all these summer fruits, berries and vegetables are at their best.

Enjoy.

January 01, 2015

SUMMER 2014 || IMAGES FROM A BLOGGING YEAR

JANUARY  |  Home made ice cream for a hot start to the year.


FEBURARY  |  A significant birthday and time away from the online life.




MARCH  ||  My first trip to Europe, for work of all things.


APRIL  |  There's always lots for a busy bee to do at Nana's house.



MAY  |  A finished craft project from a thrifted stash of cotton yarn.



JUNE |  Jam roly-poly and other comfort foods for winter.



JULY  |  Lamenting how fast the weekends come and go, and seasons turn.



AUGUST  |  Cold days and nights call for winter knitting and warm socks.



SEPTEMBER  |  A new addition to the family: Nana Crackers' smiling boy.



OCTOBER  |  Girl Guide camps, ceremonies and well wishes.



NOVEMBER  |  A haul of vintage cook books, with family recipes folded within.



DECEMBER  |  Another month down and another emerging anew.


Happy 2015.

December 31, 2014

SUMMER 2014 || DECEMBER... I'VE DONE IT


TWELVE months. One year. Done and dusted. Can you believe it? Here's to emerging fresh into a new year and finding beauty in what you left behind.

I READ… Jojo Moyes' One Plus One. A good little audio book read. Nothing too taxing, just a good yarn to accompany my work train commute and pottering about the house and garden.

I WENT TO… Bundanoon for the post-Christmas shenanigans with my folks, my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. Bundanoon, in the NSW Southern Highlands, is on the edge of Morton National Park. My partner shot and edited together a little video of one of the bush walks we did while there.

I ATE… My body weight in pavlova, prawns and other Christmas treats. 

I OP SHOPPED… The pre and post-Christmas op shopping was good. I bought my Christmas and New Year present to me on Christmas Eve. My partner thinks I am mad and I am a little shy about it, but will reveal all soon - promise. 

I also found a 1950s school desk. The paint needs to be stripped back from it, but for $50, it was a good find. Solid wood, desk and lid intact and the seat still lifts to let the user pass through easily. 

Other than that, I brought home fabric to make into a dress - done - and there's enough left for a tank top. Pottery bowls for nuts and nibbles, a romper pattern for the granddaughter and a new linen Country Road tee for me. 

I MADE… Christmas decorations for friends and family. I drew what I call the 'fat fairy' and screen printed her on cards and thrifted denim jeans I cut into rounds for the tree decorations. 

I also got the poor, old neglected sewing machine out and stitched up a frock for myself from this month's op shop stash. I modelled it for Instagram.

December 24, 2014

December 11, 2014

SUMMER 2014 || PINNING THINGS EASY FOR CHRISTMAS



THE work Christmas party is tomorrow and I've already started handing out cards and gifts to friends I know I won't see again until the new year. Christmas is definitely here, and I can't say I am as organised as I'd like to be, but it's been busy and I am not going to beat myself up about it. What's the point? Where's the 'merry' and 'joy' in that? 

What I am all about, a mere two weeks from Christmas, is quick and easy holiday ideas that offer maximum impact. We're talking, a 'just do it' approach, rather than and 'over-think it' debacle.

While Pinterest is offering a great deal of Christmas splendour, I think I may be the only person who's consciously self-editing for anything that requires more than what I have in the cupboard, or, in one case, more than a knub of Blu-Tac. 

THINGS TO MAKE AND DO: Seriously, it's way, way easier to pick up a roll or two of wrapping paper as you pass through the checkout, but as I am not even passing through check outs at the moment - all shopping comes to me home delivered at the moment - this seems like a good 'I made it myself' option. I do kinda like it as wall art too.

THINGS TO COOK AND EAT: Five ingredients, three of which you smoosh together, one you drop and roll the ingredients into and the other you wedge into it. BAM! I'm done

THINGS TO DROP DOUGH ON: The work Christmas do has the theme "I Can't Believe I Wore That". It's a cute theme where we have to track down, and wear, our fashion faux pas. That's easier said than done so I've gone for the simpler option of a frock reminiscent of my childhood.

If I had found a shorts like this I would have come a good deal closer to the party theme. The thing is, and now here's the honest truth, if I had found a pair of shorts like these, I'd have worn them, legitimately, party theme or no party theme. I think it's pretty fair to say the fashion faux pas of my youth are pretty much still being played out today.  

THINGS TO HANG ON THE WALL: Are you getting Christmas cards? I've had one. (Thanks Mel). If you are, would you go all out and make a permanent space on the wall for them? Think how easy this would be each year. Pass me a paint roller, and then the Blu-Tac.

#flashback: Christmas prep was very much the subject of my posts this time last year. In fact, last year looks a lot like this year

December 02, 2014

SPRING 2014 || NOVEMBER... I'VE DONE IT

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || op shop sundress pattern
I HAVE been scouring eBay and Etsy looking for a dress similar to the sundress I was wearing in my last blog post. Granted, it was always going to be hard to find an adult version of a frock worn when you were a child but my work Christmas party has a back-to-childhood theme and I was hoping to frock up in a 1970s sundress, navy blue JC sandals, with basket and all. 

There's no time for making a dress, so I am hoping my quick eBay purchase, quite literally just now, will fit the bill - and fit me, what's more. If you think you've something closer to the original lurking in your closet, do let me know. 

I READ… Nothing new. I did start Patti Smith’s Just Kids. I did buy two guidebooks for a planned trip to New York next year (I know, I know, recommendations most welcome) and I did download three audio books to use up my Audible credits. 

I WENT TO… Camp. Yup, another Girl Guide camp. This was a big one. The planning nearly did me in, but the effort was well worth it.

I LISTENED TO… Ani di Franco’s new album, Allergic to Water, and Christmas tunes from jazz greats. Eartha Kitt singing Santa Baby is sinful.

I ATE… Honey drawn straight from a friend’s beehive. Damn, it was good. 

I OP SHOPPED… Another addition to this monthly list but the op shopping and op shopping boasts are far and few between these days so I thought I'd document the best of what meager hauls there are here. Summer sundresses seem to be the flavour of the month at the moment - or at the very least my desire to be wearing them. This pattern will get a run over the Christmas break. I do love a dress with deep pockets on the skirt.

I MADE… A pom pom, or two. Little pom poms to attach to Christmas parcels. I also drew the design for this year’s annual Christmas tree decoration. The plan is to screen print it onto denim, back it with a floral, add a little cardboard in between, add a hanger and, bam! Merry Christmas, one and all. 

You know what they say about ‘best-laid plans’. ‘Til next month peeps.

November 25, 2014

SPRING 2014 || DON'T BE ALARMED, BUT CHECK THE DATE


I AM not much for the #throwbackthursday or #flashbackfriday, I can't be that regular with my blogging, it just doesn't happen that way. I blog more in my head than here. Trust me, there's unpublished gold in this here noggin'.

There's many an unpublished blog post lurking in my back history. For example, there's that handful of formative years spent in Central Queensland - Blackwater, to be exact. The years were between 1979 and 1984 - give or take - and I was aged five to 10.

Of it, there are just a jumble of strange, dislocated memories, more feelings, of things like the heat and dust, of the bats that flew overhead when we drove to a holiday shack on the coast of a Friday night, of wet T-shirt comps and XXXX beer - neither of them indulged in by me, but these are all more 'snapshot' than accurate record.

I remember the snake skin stuck in the bougainvillea, close to where the above-ground pool was. I remember the roller skating rink and though I loved it, it's sticky canteen and raucous, pulsating, hot tin shed, I was never, ever any good. I remember Mum's trips out to the rural baby health clinics she ran and Dad's work Christmas parties, and the time a baby got his hand stuck in the closed door of the fire truck as it went around the streets with all us kids on it and in it - and Santa in the cabin.

They were the Christmases of still believing. By five I was well aware of who Santa was and the delights he could bring, or even withhold if I wasn't deemed up to scratch. At 10, I was still naively, blissfully unaware - and, somewhere in between, this photo was taken.

My sister - with the ever permanent dark rings under her eyes, that I see now in her son - and I. Baskets in hand, totting notecards and paper: gifts that were a nudge, no doubt, to write Christmas thank you cards and letters interstate to distant grandparents. My sister is still a diligent writer of the post-Christmas thank you card. We're wearing our school sandals - JC sandals worn by every Central Queensland child in a colour best matching their school uniform. Ours were navy blue. Our dresses are the only anomaly and a clue, for my sister and I only, that this was unlikely to be taken on Christmas Day. Every Christmas our mother would sew a new summer dress for the occasion - the patterns matching and the fabric often the same simple, printed cotton, in differing colourways. Perhaps it was a Christmas eve photo, or one taken on that terrible trip with Santa, with that poor, broken child wailing louder than the siren.

I am not entirely sure, but I look at this photo and I see all its detail - our little selves, my sister and I. I squint trying to see the people we are today. We are most definitely there, in so many small, insignificant ways; yet also, we are most definitely not. What remains most intact is what you can't see. The traditions we've carried on in both our families - baskets of trinkets, homemade dresses, santa sacks, cutout Christmas cards from the year prior, Christmas baking and all the special effort my parents went to at this special time of year that we repeat for our own.

...

Get cracking, it's November 25 peeps. You've got a month.

November 19, 2014

SPRING 2014 || VINTAGE COOK BOOKS TELL OF SUPPERS PAST

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || vintage cook book frances thompson cookery
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || vintage cook book handwritten recipe
THE Macs Markets are a Central Coast secret. The local grapevine and a couple of hand painted signs dotted along the roads leading into the coastal hamlet are the only advertising the Macs Markets need. 

They're run from the tiny Macmasters Beach community hall on the Saturdays of mid-year public holiday weekends, with a brass band, good old-fashioned cake stalls and a fundraiser barbecue, but the biggest drawcard of the Macs Markets is the second-hand book sale. 

Some of my best-loved tomes are from the Macs Markets, including vintage children's picture books, volumes of garden annuals, paperback classics, knitting books and, of course, cook books.

The cook books picked up on my last visit to the markets, during the October long weekend, were filled with magazine clippings, handwritten recipes and momentos from a trip to New Orleans and Florida, in the States. It's one of my favourite thing about these old cook books; that they're living archives of what was cooked and eaten at a particular time in history, and a record too of what the previous owner favoured. Oil and grease marks give away a favourite cake recipe and a telling sign of a favourite and oft-cooked dish is where a book falls open all too easily.

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || vintage cook book florida orange meringue pie recipe card
With Christmas cooking to start soon, I already know the recipes I'll be digging out, and can't help but think what the op shopper or market-goers will think of our family favourites when they stumble across my solid little collection in the, I hope, distant future.

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || vintage cook books from Macs Markets