Monday, January 17, 2011

Flood Relief Appeal Auctions

The water has gone down, the sun is shining again, and things are slowly getting cleaner here in Queensland. But the photographs, the video footage, and the memories for those who witnessed it first-hand will ensure that the devestation from the past few weeks lives on for much longer. The floods too, have not completely gone, simply moved state to wreak more havoc in New South Wales.
As people rebuild their lives in the wake of all that has happened they need money - money for furniture, clothing, kids school books, even essentials like food and a new roof...or door...or whole house.
Having seen some of the other auctions mine seem pretty sad and sorry, but even if they only bring in a few bucks, it's a few bucks more that someone can use to buy something so sorely needed. So here's the items:


 Item B
Item A: This is a skirt upcyled from a vintage dress. The skirt is a medium, measuring 47.5cm (lying flat) at the band and 52cm long. The material is an off-white with blue-black faded lines and buggies all over it - sorry, the wording under the buggies is unclear. Being vintage material there is a couple slight tea-coloured stains on the back of this skirt, however they are very light - I didn't notice them myself until I measured the finished product. I think, given a good soak, these would come out - and the material was too sweet not to use! The skirt has been soaked and is now stain-free!

Item B: This sweet little bow-shaped bag came about almost by accident, but turned out so perfectly cute you can't help but love it. Made from 70% Acrylic/30% Milk, the yarn is beaultiful and soft but still very sturdy. the inner lining is a vintage yellow floral fabric, and (I believe) is 100% cotton. The colour-matched zipper has been machine-sewn to the lining and then hand-sewn to the outer to give added firmness.I'd envisioned this as a clutch but discovered it fits knitting needles perfectly as well, making it a stylish knitting caddy, or even a fun pencil case.
Length: approx. 29cm (11.4 inches) x 11cm (4.3 inches)

How the Auction Works:
1. Bidding on each items will start at $10.
2. You can place a bid by leaving a comment on this blog stating you are bidding for either ITEM A or ITEM B, your bid amount and email address ( if you're not keen on having your email available to the world, post your bid amount and then drop me a line via my etsy store with your email address and the name you posted under.)
3. Please make sure your bid is higher than the previous bid amount and is in whole dollar increments.
4. Postage is free for all Australian residents. Bidding is also open to all international addresses but will incur postage fees (sorry).
5. The auction begins NOW and ends midnight on Monday 24th January 2011.
6. At close of auction, I will contact the winners and. At this point the winner of each auction will deopis the winning amount directly into the Premiers Relief Appeal and send me proof of payment (in the form of a recepit number) via return email, along with a postal address. Once I've received that, I will post your goods to you.
7. Ckeck out all the other auctions here. HAPPY BIDDING!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hell from the Heavens

That right there is what my backyard looked like earlier today (and still pretty much does because the rain just won't stop!). And this is my brother's poor dog, Zari, who can't understand where all the wet stuff is coming from - and why it's about to eat her nice dry bed:

It's wet. Really, really wet. It's been raining here almost continually since Christmas, and isn't supposed to let up for at least another twenty-four hours. This morning, because of the amount of water flowing from our neighbours overflowing pool, I spent a good half hour digging trenches in ankle-ankle deep septic and pouring rain, to relieve the build-up that was causing our grey water to back-up into out kitchen sink.
Today I got covered in poo-water, and have still had a far better day than residents in towns like Dalby, Condamine, Chinchilla, St George, and Gympie. Today my own town joined the ranks of the disaster zone, with Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley being pummelled by a torrrent of water that has left businesses and houses in ruin, at least 6 confirmed dead, and many more people unaccounted for.
The water rose within minutes, causing waves of water to sweep down the main streets of Toowoomba, washing away cars and furniture, and shattering store windows in the process. In the Lockyer Valley, a number of small towns - towns I grew up in and around - are fully submerged, with over thirty people unaccounted for in Grantham alone.
And there's more on the way with another downpour expected tonight.
There has been an outpouring of help for the affected areas, with almost $AU30,000,000 raised already, which is amazing! But that's not nearly enough - in fact it would barely cover the costs to help out the least affected areas of the state. Thousands have lost their homes or businesses, many have nothing left but the clothes on their back. Farmers have lost not only their crops, but their livestock, pets, and machinery. And after fifteen years of drought, it's too far back for many rurals.
So if you can - even if you're on the other side of the world - give a little, please. Many of these people are not only having the worst possible start to the year, but they missed Christmas as well.

Donate to the Queensland Flood Appeal here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Breakfast spread

Breakfast. Supposedly the most important meal of the day, but also possibly the most contentious. Among my friends there’s a broad selection of breakfast eaters: the never-skip-it, the eat-it-because-it’s-good-for-you, the coffee-only, and the never-eat-it (also known as the don’t-have-timer). I myself used to be a staunch supporter of the don’t-have-timer club, frankly because I much preferred the extra twenty minutes sleep I could get if I skipped breakfast. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised how much better I feel (and function) with the help of a morning kick-start.

My problem has always been finding something to eat that is both quick (still like that extra few minutes), yummy, and healthy to start the day with. When I’m feeling energentic I’ll get in and cook up some poached eggs, or practice my less-than-spectacular omelette skills, but for the most part I’ll stick to cereal or toast, usually with vegemite or homemade jam slathered thick.

Since I like homemade jam so much I figured it was time to try (again) to make my own. I had a pile of peaches that had to be used, so it was the perfect time to try Tartelette’s Confiture de Peche. SO GOOD! So, so, so, so, SO good—and so incredibly simply it’s impossible to screw up. The only problem is stopping myself eating it straight from the jar.

While I was making jam, I figured I’d keep the breakfast train rolling and make another batch of my absolute favourite breakfast cereal. To be honest, I’m usually pretty anti-cereal. For the most part it’s either sugary or flavourless, and always gets so soggy so quickly.

Enter the super-cereal: granola! It’s filling, flavoursome, stays super crispy, and is pretty healthy if it’s made right. So how do you make it right? You make it yourself! I’ve spent the holiday season perfecting a granola recipe that was super delicious but also not too sugary, and finally came up with the one below last night. It’s a bastardisation of this one from Nigella Lawson, via Not Quite Nigella, which is also yummy but just a bit boring, and probably a wee bit too sweet, for me. Best thing about this granola—it tastes awesome straight from the packet as a late night snack.

Cranberry-Hazelnut Granola

2 ½ cups oats

½ cup sunflower seeds

175ml apple puree

2tsp cinnamon

½ cup golden syrup, or maple syrup

4tbsp honey

¼ cup brown or raw sugar

250g hazelnuts

250g macadamias (or any other nut you like)

250g dried cranberries

250g coconut flakes

1. Combine all ingredients, excluding cranberries and coconut, in a large bowl, mixing until everything is covered with sticky goodness.

2. Spread mixture over two baking trays (or if you’re lazy like me just use one and turn the mixture more often).

3. Bake at 160-170C for about an hour, turning halfway through baking, until everything is golden.

4. Once cooled crumble any large chucks, and stir through cranberries and coconut, and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Birthday boy

My Dad and I don't always get along. Hmm...maybe I should say we are sometimes friends - it's probably more truthful. You see, my dad and I both have quick tempers - mine inherited from him - and are very stubborn - also from him - but that's about where the similarities end. In every way, we see things from the exact opposite angle which, more often than not, leads to a debate, which ultimately ends in a fight. We've yet to officially declare war, but it has been on the table once or twice.
It wasn't always like this though. As a kid, I remember seeing him as my hero, he could never put a foot wrong. In fact, most of my childhood memories throw him in a shining light. As a child he was amazing, and I was definitely a daddy's girl.
When highschool hit  I began to develop my own opinions about the world, and our relationship started to crumble. Bit by shining bit my dad's rockstar aura faded until I found myself disagreeing with pretty much everything he said. He drives me mad with his small-mindedness, and I think I scare the pants off him by being so liberal and open-minded. Often my mother has to step in and tear us apart before we rip each other to shreds.
Even with all the fighting, and the general frustration he often stirs in me - and I'm sure I in him - I love and respect my father very much. After his dad died when he was a kid, he helped run the family farm. He left school at 16 to get a mechanic apprenticeship, and eventually worked himself into machinery sales, working as the top sales manager for firms like Case, Hardy, and John Deer. He has never been paid overly well - earning less than the average teaching salary while often working 60-hour weeks, and on the road 80% of the time.
The photo above is of us the day I graduated from university. As crazy as I've made him with my seemingly endless studies, I knew he was proud of me that day, and I know he's still proud of me - even if I am once again in studentville. I'm thankful for that and appreciate that he supports me when he quite clearly thinks I'm nuts.
Along with mum, he's helped instill in me a sense of responsiblity and pride in myself, and a belief in my actions and opinions - even if he doesn't often agree with them. He's also helped me out a hell of a lot when I've been short on cash, had to move house, or needed a lift around the corner, or interstate. He doens't understand me too well - I'm pretty much another species as far as he's concerned - but he tries to help, and I know he means well.
Today (or yesterday, as it's now past midnight) was his birthday. He's now seventy-one, and looking mighty good for his age, I think. He reckons he's got another twenty in him at least.
So here's to my dad - Seventy-one and every bit the rockstar he's always been - personality and all.