Housewife, cheapskate, crafter, mum. Trying not to go crazy, trying not to go broke.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Creative Space Debut!

Today I have been getting rid of the old, un-used recipes in my recipe folder, and putting in the new successful recipes.  I always shove random photos and letters in with my recipes, it just makes browsing through more fun!


My life is an autumn day of darkness and light.
  This morning I awoke naturally after a whole night of undisturbed sleep!  I went into the spawns' lair where they were quietly awake in their beds.  We sat in bed and made shadow animals on the wall with a torch, we laughed at someone's dinosaur, we waved the torch around like a little disco, we shushed each other because Daddy was still asleep.

In the moments of darkness, I scream too much.  Trying to brush my teeth, someone grabbing everything to throw in the bath, banging my nobbly elbow, someone crying and pulling on my clothes.  Trying to go out, someone's taken their shoes off again, someones pooed in their pants again, someones standing on a biscuit on the loungroom carpet, someones scratched someones face, someones got Daddy's glasses.

Bushman's Biscuits, baked with all the leftover little bits of dried fruits, nuts and chocolate from the pantry.  Delicious!  But the spawn don't like them.  They will when they're teenagers.  I hope I become a mother of teenagers.  I am very aware that my present is their past.  I hope they remember the moments of light, and forget the dark.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My What a Pumpkin!

As you know, I'm a fan of making the most of what you have, and at the moment I have AN ENORMOUS PUMPKIN!  Home grown in Nona Panda's garden.
 So far we have had Roast Pumpkin, Zucchini and Cherry Tomato Salad with balsamic dressing.  Mmmmmnn.
We have made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, but I used brown sugar instead of white, and put double the spice amounts!  And I'm sorry you can't have a taste, because they are an unexpected delight!
We have also made this Spicy Roast Pumpkin dip.  I surfed the internet for a while, then just made up my own recipe by throwing in salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and some sweet chilli sauce.  As you can see, even the spawn didn't mind it!
  I've given some of the pumpkin away, but still have 1/3 in my fridge!  Anyone got any more ideas?  I think tonight we'll be having Pumpkin Soup anyway!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Would you like a Speculum with your cuppa?

In my family we could never remember the proper name for these spicy biscuits of Danish origin, and so referred to them as 'Speculums'.  And whilst I really wish that every two years when I went to visit my GP she would offer me a small spicy biscuit, this is not the case.

  I have been busy playing with my new toy, a biscuit press.  They work kind of like a gap gun, but you put a stencil in the end and push out biscuit dough in cool shapes.  This recipe for Speculaas from worked really well, and I'm terribly impressed with myself for producing such a professional looking result!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ugly Old Men's T-Shirts

Recycling old fabric is a fantastic cheap way to get your hands on some funky and unusual fabrics.  I have always loved the thrifty mentality of mending or re-using something you already have.  Some of my favourite bloggers do the same, check out this cool printed tea-towel cushion, and this cute smurfy linen/fabric.

One of my favourite ways of re-cycling is to get an ugly old man's t-shirt (I'm describing the t-shirt, not the former owners, who are probably quite nice) with a cool print.  This idea came from a t-shirt I bought the panda for a costume party.  He never wore it, but I loved the 80's emu print and couldn't throw it away.  After a few months of looking at it, I re-shaped it into a ladies t-shirt, and I loved the result!

The pattern I use is one I made myself, it has a deep v front and back, and you just lay out the pattern piece and cut - the existing sleeve seam forms a cute cap sleeve effect.

I now keep my eyes out for cool (or just odd) prints on t-shirts, like this "Ballan Skate Park" t-shirt I got from my favourite $1 bin.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good Morning Mum

Good Morning! The sun this morning just seems so nourishingly warm and bright that I feel hopeful. I've had some long, long nights, both as a mother, and as a worrier, but this morning, and this day might just be okay.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Goodbye Dad

It has now been about seven weeks since my father died, and it is really sinking in now that he is dead. It sounds strange, because I knew that, but now as time goes on and he doesn't call to nag me, and everytime I think "I'll tell Dad! No wait, I can't" it is really, slowly, penetrating through that this is the world without him now. When I was in high school I wrote this poem:

Like an old white shirt now frayed and anaemic,
From too much wear,
My parents have lost their starch.
Limp and pilled, strained seams and loose buttons,
They're collar-grimed.
Too much stress and tugging children,
Have caused their inner pockets,
To stand out and show how time,
Has leeched their life,
Depositing lint in its place.
Eventually they'll be shoved in a cupboard as rags,
And the offspring that pulled them apart,
Will only come when an old rag is needed,
Heedless of the shirt, it used to be.

I wrote this about my parents, but now its about me! And I think I'm ready to cut up Dad's old shirt, and make sure the memory of him remains a part of the fabric of mine and mum's life. "For fabric thou art, unto fabric shall thou return."

A Cunning Plan

I have discovered a cunning secret! The spawn and I have been doing a bit of baking lately - its a great indoor activity, and I know exactly what's going into them (I was horrified when I read that 'animal fat' was one of the top 4 ingredients in some cupcakes at the shop!). Some of my first tries at new recipes have been a bit ordinary, but I've discovered that when I include these average baked goods on our morning tea platter, the kids have learned that fruit is the best option, and largely ignore the cakes and biscuits! Ha! Ha! But then, I start to wonder,... Will the kids remember their mother as a woman with a sharp voice, cold hands AND inferior baking abilities?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bursting Bounty

So, bargain finds. I managed to find a bra at the op-shop, new with tags, for $3! It fits perfectly, in fact the only problem is that it closes at the front, and as I look down at that pretty plastic silver clasp it seems a likely possibility of popping and my bounty bursting forth. And then I'm saddened, because I remember that after feeding three spawn and losing all the weight, I no longer have bursting bounty. The worst that could happen now is a small swaying forth of my redundant bosom - which is, after all, not so bad. So I will wear my bargain bra, and find other ways of busting forth.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Biscuits for THE WHITE CLOUD

Today's episode begins with our heroine SCREAMSTRESS holed up in her brick veneer tower, beseiged by her nemesis BAD WEATHER, and threatened on all sides by approaching INSANITY. But wait.. What's this? She still has her most powerful weapon, her mobile phone! She's sending a distress signal to her trusty sidekick THE WHITE CLOUD. Shining through BAD WEATHER, THE WHITE CLOUD once again fends off INSANITY by allowing Screamstress to escape her tower for an hour or two. To thank THE WHITE CLOUD for her heroic efforts, the spawn and I are baking peanut butter biscuits. Only three ingredients, cheap and easy. Today I only have smooth peanut butter, so I'm adding some chopped cashews and almonds as well. Peanut Biscuits 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter 3/4 cup castor sugar 1 egg Mix all together, form into a big playdough style snake, chop and layout on a baking paper covered oven tray. Bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees. Makes about 24.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Current Quilt

So, at the moment I'm working on a scrap quilt for my mother. I'm using all of the scraps from the quilts I've made for my children. I am using a bluebird because when we were children my mum used to sing to us "there'll be bluebirds over, the white cliffs of Dover". I am also intending to use one of my recently deceased father's shirts in the quilt - when I am ready to cut it up!
   I spent last night painting my roller derby name onto the back of a romper I got for $1. All the donated clothes they can't sell at their op-shop, they sell for $1 each at this warehouse shop, and kids clothes are all 50c. Its like a factory outlet for an op-shop, you can't get cheaper than that!
  My last success story for this post is my couscous recipe. I love couscous because all you have to do is pour the kettle and wait 2 minutes. But the celebrity chef pre-spiced mix is really expensive, so I tried my own and it turned out even better! I serve it as-is to the kids, and for Panda (my husband) and I add salad vege, leftover roast vege, tinned vege, tuna, ham, chicken, pretty much whatever I have in the house. So now I will share it with you!  
Screamstress' Couscous Emergency Mix
Add the following to one kilogram of plain dried couscous, then to prepare add equal parts couscous and boiling water to a bowl.
  • 4 tsp ground cumin,
  • 4 tsp ground coriander,
  • 2 tsp paprika,
  • 3 tsp vegetable stock powder,
  • 2 tbs dried onion,
  • 1 tbs dried garlic,
  • 2 tbs dried parsley,
  • sunflower seeds.

The Beginning

AAAAAHHHH! Screamstress, first post ever! I am complete novice at blogging, so we'll go for a basic background to start. I grew up in a regional town, dropped out of uni, met a man (the panda) blind drunk in a pub, married him, had a baby, got pregnant with twins, moved to Far North Queensland, had twins, got diagnosed with odd and unpredictable disease, moved back to regional hometown, got depressed. Take a breath, the story is not quite over.. Scraped pieces of myself from the corner of the kitchen floor, lost 25kg, started making quilts, joined roller derby, feed and clothe myself and family stylishly, trying not to go nuts, doing it on NO money EVER (sigh).
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