Tuesday, March 29

my feelings can no longer be repressed.....

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you...."

Don't you just love it??  Well, I do!  I remember back in 1995, I was in Year 9 English Class and my lovely and favourite teacher Libby devoted a whole term to Pride and Prejudice and we watched the BBC adaptation... which was only just released. 

Of course I was too young to realise the full power of this story but I was fond of any love story!

But a few months ago, I purchased the book and it sat idle on my shelf.  Then a few weeks ago I found myself with nothing to read and hence it started.  I will not tell a lie...I struggled at first.  I usually only read at night, at the end of a long day and perhaps this was not ideal when one is getting one's head around the language in which Ms Austen uses.  The subtleties in the plot and development of character is delivered in such a crafty way, that I found myself having to re-read passages over and over until finally I understood. 

Once I got part way in, I was hooked and found it a joy to read!  Of course I then had to re-watch the BBC version again - which solidified my love for this classic love story.  It was strange, but even though you know the ending, I was concerned the broody, proud and mysterious Mr Darcy and the bright and eloquant Ms Elizabeth Bennet wouldn't know of each others love and not get together.

Luckily - they do!  The gorgeous Colin Firth is just a dreamy Mr Darcy and Jennifer Elhe is the perfect Lizzy!  One of my favourite scenes is Lizzy's rejection of Mr Darcys first proposal to her. He was certain of a favourable answer - my goodness how wrong he was.  Despite all his fortune she brings him back down to earth with the shattering truth of how to be a gentleman!  My other favourite scene is of course his being caught by surprise by Lizzy after taking a swim in the lake and his subsequent change of character that ensues.

Now a little search of 'Pride and Prejudice' on Etsy yeilded this result for any other fans out there!! 

Do you have a passion for Classic films or novels?  if so, do share...

Sunday, March 27

fancy pants {at the market!}

It was market day today, down at Erol St, in North Melbourne.   I love packing up the car with my hand-made goodies and setting off after waving goodbye to my little family as they wish me a day of fun and delight.

Well, the day started slow, but soon people were starting to flow in and a gorgeous friend of mine came to visit and deliver a much needed caffeine fix.

I got home as the sun was shining, and I had not even put my keys down (notice them hanging off my wrist) that I joined the kids in the backyard for some fun (and some snaps).  Hubby had home-made pizza's on the menu for dinner and it was nice to catch up on stories of the day with a glass of vino.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend - and join in with this gorgeous girl and show us your fancy!

Jeans - Sass & Bide (on sale!),
belt - dotti,
Striped top - Dotti,
Suede Vintage Jacket - was my mums (only thing she kept from the 70's!!!),
Flower brooch, keyfob & earrings - made by me!,
Sunglasses - Versace,
Long tassel necklace - bought online (on sale!)


Saturday, March 26

I'm grateful for.....{unexpected loving}

I'm an emotive person - most of the time.  I wear my heart on my sleeve, I'm expressive and will cry at the sight of a sad commercial.  I love laughing with others, and pondering with intrigue at hearing an interesting tale.  That's me, that's who I am.

Joining in with the ever ingtriguing Maxabella Loves.... (over at And Then There was Four)

Today I'm grateful for......

 Hearing those sweet little unexpected words from my three special people....yep....without coaxing or requesting.

1.   "Mum, I love you big massive all the way up to the sky" as he stops to give me a cuddle one day.....

2.   "Oh mum, you look beaud-i-foll today" she says as I buckle her in the car.....

3.   "I love you"  A text I got yesterday from my man, totally by surprise - just those three words - perfect

I love these three special people like crazy.

Happy Grateful day


Thursday, March 24

my creative space.....

With another market fast approaching, I should be sewing up a storm of bits and bobs to sell, but instead I've been working on yet another garment for myself!  This time a dress! 

It's quite an eyeful with all those colours, but it's a lovely sturdy fabric (with a bit of stretch!) -  perfect for this structured dress pattern.  

A classic style really, high neck-line, cinched waist, sits just above the knee and all those darts just make it a proper lady-like dress!  I do love the low back too!

I should have cut the dress one size smaller in the top section so I needed to take it in and adjust some darts, but I think it's taking your time doing these alterations that make all the difference.   After all, it's made to fit only one person!! 

Again, I doubted my fabric choice....but now that it made up I like the brightness and pattern.  Hubby said "ohh that's a dress you have to bring to Italy" - So I know I've done good ;-) Plus, unlikely we will have any summery weather left now....

No need to get dressed up - just head over to here for more handmade delights!

Rest in Peace
Dame Elizabeth Taylor

Wednesday, March 23

We Play: Paper Roads

Ohhh I am so excited to be linking up with this clever and inspirational Mum over at Childhood 101.

I love getting idea's and inspriation and when it comes to play idea's for my kids, the more idea's the better.

Well today, I thought I would share a little game we play here in MiraNarnie-Land.  It's the game of the The Paper Road.  My son asked to make a "new one" as his current paper road was getting a bit worn and weathered....  

And here is all you need (because the best play ideas don't cost a fortune!)
-  long piece of brown packing paper (I picked a large roll last year from Officeworks and it's still going!)
- Coloured texta's or crayons etc
- matchbox cars or other small toys

Lay some paper out on a hard surface - like floorboards and begin to draw some roads.  Fill in details like traffic lights, roundabouts, street signs, shops, train tracks and car parks. Decorate as you wish basically!  My son basically chose what he wanted me to draw - he then added some others and coloured in signs and lights.

Get your little match box cars and play till your heart is content.  When finshed - Roll it up and store away till next time!!! 

You could also draw heaps of other scenes - playground, farm, picnic scene, forest, racing car track, fairy garden etc - the limit is your imagination.  Speaking of which - fill your imagination up to the brim here!

Monday, March 21

Stone, Grossi & Ramsay {The menu}


From Curtis Stone - Surfing the Menu

Figs and prosciutto with balsamic vinegar reduction
and homemade salami


Homemade fettucini with veal ragu
From Guy Grossi


Chocolate coffee pots with creme fraiche, raspberries and slivered almonds
From Gordon Ramsay - Cooking for Friends


Like I said yesterday I have so much fun working out what to cook dinner guests and this menu was selected for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it's seasonal - I used what is in season now that we have come into the autumn months.  The figs were from my tree (even though it's had a poor season due to little sun).  Secondly was ensuring this menu was manageable.  By that I mean choosing food you are capable of preparing, and also not having all of you dishes required lots of work whilst your guest are here -where would the fun be in that!!  

 The antipasto is a no-brainer, you just have all the ingredients ready to go before serving.  The ragu can be made in advance and warmed up prior to serving and the dessert needed to be made the night before for chilling time allowing me to get that out of the way and not think about it.  Perfect. 

So here are the recipes. 

Entree - ingredients

12 slices of think prosciutto
4-5 figs, cut into quarters
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
Anything else you think will add to the the plate - we put out some homemade salami we made last year, some homemade sundried tomatoes and some bread sticks. 

Reduce the balsamic vinegar to a glaze in a small saucepan.  Add the other items on a main platter and drizzle the vinegar around the prosciutto or place in a small dish. 

Main - Ingredients 

500g fettuccine (we decided to make our own - just becuase, but any good quality fettuccine will be great!)
500g veal topside, cut into 1cm cubes
200g porcini muchrooms, sliced (I couldn't find porcini so I used swiss)
1 lt stock
1onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1 red chilli, seeds removed, chopped
1 tsp chopped sage
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
3 tbsp parsely, chopped
1 tbsp basil, chopped
1 large tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 cup of red or white wine (I used red)


1.  Heat oil in a large pan, saute onions and garlic until translucent, add the carrot, celery, chilli, herbs and cook for a few minutes allowing all the vegetables to caramlise.  Add the veal and cook until well coloured, then add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly, add the mushrooms, deglaze them with wine, add the stock and season. 
2. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 1 hour until meat is tender and sauce is reduced*.  Check seasoning.  

*  When I went to re-heat the sauce prior to serving it wasn't as reduced and thick as I wanted, so I added to tablespoons of plain flour and whisked until combined.  On a low simmer it thickened up beautifully!!  

Cook fettuccine in lots of water and cook until al dente.  Dress with the ragu sauce. 

Dessert - Ingredients

200ml double cream
100g dark chocolate
50ml single cream
2 large egg yolks
30g caster sugar
2tbls cold strong espresso coffee
4 tbls creme fraiche

1.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees.  In a medium saucepan, heap the cream until just beginning to simmer, then add the chocolate, and stir until it has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in the single cream and leave to cool. 

2. Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Using electric beaters, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in ab owl until pale and thick enough to fall from the whisk in a ribbon. Fold in the chocolate cream, followed by the espresso. 

3.  Divide the mixure amoung 4 individual ramekins (about 150mls each) and place in a deep baking tray.  Put the tray on the bottom shelf of the oven and then gently pull out the shelf so that you can bring your kettle to the tray and fill it up with water until it is half way up the pots.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges appear just set.  they should be slightly soft in the centre. 

Take them out of the water and let them cool completely.  Chill overnight and remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving. Add a dollop of creme fraiche to each pot and I added some fresh raspberries and slivered almonds also. 

So there you have it - my three course menu
Enjoy all or some

Sunday, March 20

fancy pants - dinner guests

I love cooking, so when we have people over for dinner it's a lovely excuse to take some time to think about the menu and cook some wonderful food.

Last night, we had some friends for dinner.  I was so focused on cooking and preparing that I didn't really think of what to wear until just before they arrived.

I decided quickly on my new fab little jersey pencil skirt from asos and teamed with an oldie but a goodie top from Portmans that I picked up five or so years ago.  This top is lovely and feminine, accentuating curves and the bold print I've always adored.

teamed with my cute little patent wedge shoes - I was in the hostess spirit!  I shoved the camera in my hubby's hand and said "quick, take some snaps for fancy pants!!"  Needless to say I got a weird look in return, but he obliged and snapped away...

Dinner went off with a bang and we chatted the night away!  Tomorrow I'll post my dinner menu...

Did you get all fancy this week?  If so, link up with this fabulous gal....

WEARING; Skirt - asos, Top - Portmans, Shoes - Miss Shop, Earrings - gift from Italy.


Saturday, March 19

I'm grateful for...{bad days}


I know a little weird - why on earth would i be grateful for bad days....

Well - Joining in with Maxabella Loves today, most times I opt for a Grateful that's positive, obvious and sometimes a little cliche.

But today I'm grateful for -

Bad days - Yep, we all have them, don't lie.  Whether you are a working mumma, stay-at-home mumma, mumma to newbies or grown ups or not a mumma at all, we all have them.  The other day, things didn't go right.  Kids were a handful, bickering constantly and not listening.   A quick trip to the shops had me running around like a chook with no head, only to feel like it was a constant battle, with the kids, the items on the shelf, the staff and the carpark - even the wonky trolley copped a serve from me.  I screamed, I cursed and I felt like the day would never end.  It was a total right-off day.

And that's what I did.  I accepted that that day was a Bad Day and let it be - I stopped fighting it.

Next day was heaps better - and I think I was able to enjoy it more, appreciate it more, live it, love and let it make me happy more.

So thankyou Bad Day - for coming but more importantly going - leaving me to enjoy my happy days a little more.   I know that I'll see again soon!


Tuesday, March 15

conserva {The Sauce}

This weekend we made The Sauce - or Conserva - to the southern Italians.

A box of tomatoes.
A big pot.
A handful of salt.
Elbow grease to wind the puree machine.
Basil, sterilised bottles, tops, a funnel.

And then into a pot of water to be brought to the boil by a raging fire for at least 2 hours.

we'll do two more boxes next weekend xx

Sunday, March 13

fancy pants {saved}

Why is it when I wear a skirt I feel, just a little more dressed up...or a little more ladylike even?
Even if the skirt is a five year old, black jersey skirt?

One that is more comfy than my "good jeans"
And has me twirling about and feeling lighter on my feet.

I salvaged this skirt from the very very top of my cupboard as I was still doing some major shedding, sorting, cleaning and re-arranging. I tried it back on, and  remembered how comfy she was.

Well, I think I've worn this skirt about three times this week.  It's uneven, and un-hemmed (it came like that - luckily i can fix hems!) and it has exposed seams - to some it seems, well, unfinished.  But I love it.

I laughed when I went to visit our host - she has a similar little skirt story too.   I love the way accessories can add a bit fancy too.  I made this little scarf years ago from some satin I loved at Lincraft.  I only bought 20cm of it, and whipped up a small scarf.  I wear it around my head or neck.

So this skirt, is getting a new lease of life and heading back into the territory that is my wardrobe. 

Have you saved an item of clothing you forgot you had or were planning on ditching??  Sometimes having a break from a piece of clothing does make the heart grow fonder (hahah!) 

Join up here to share your fancy pants xx

WEARING: top; dotti, skirt; portmans, scarf; made by me, shoes; bought on my last overseas trip, unruly hair; courtesy of getting caught in the rain! 

Thursday, March 10

my creative space...{loving the Berry}

....and my this I mean, loving Joel Dewberry - the fabric designer!

I love his designs and flare for creating amazing themes and combinations and pattern and colour.  His approach has been referred to as modern eclectic and I can see why.  I love that some patterns are lovely, soft and floaty, whilst others use strong, bold and geometric lines.

When I was motivated to make some fresh couch cushions, I popped off to my favourite fabric store, GJ's discount fabics and perused the designer collection they have in vast amounts.  I settled on Joel's range due to the beautiful colours (not too girly),  pattern and how they could compliment the rest of the room.

I cheated a little and only used the fabric for the front of the cushion, opting for just a plain navy poplin for the back, thus making my dollar stretch further. I inserted a plain zipper for easy removal if grubby little hands find their way towards these new additions.  I have two more cushions to make, the last being a geometrical print in just white and and that soft sage green.

I love how a new splash of colour can brighten up a room and lift your mood.

Now get cozy for more creative folk here!