Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Great Debate

A lot of random thoughts pop into my head over the course of a week. According to my extensive Google research the number of thoughts an average person has in the course of a day is somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000. That’s a lot of information to process, actions to action and questions to ponder.

One of the random thoughts I had this week came while I was watching TV and saw an ad for low fat cheese. I just want to put it out there that one of the joys of my life is cheese and I think any tampering with the fat content is pretty much an abomination against nature and a slap in the face to the poor cows that work so hard to give us the milk that makes our cheese.  But watching this ad led to a chain of thoughts about diet and ”healthy “ food products and I wanted to assault your eyeballs and to see if you had any thoughts on the subject.

Take a trip to any supermarket in the western world and your brain could very well be overloaded by the sheer volume of food choices available.  And over the last ten or twenty years an increasing number of diet based, low fat , reduced sugar , reduced fat, no fat food alternatives have popped up on supermarket shelves for consumers to buy.  And why not – according to a World Health Organisation study done in 2008 , 1.4 billion people world wide are overweight or obese. With a potential market like that low fat /diet products are a big potential market.

I just want to chuck in a little disclaimer here so this whole post doesn't make me sound like a hypocrite. Its well documented that I eat junk, that I’m addicted to salt and vinegar chips and that I put wayyyy too much butter on pretty much everything I eat. I actually like McDonalds. Hand me a triple cheeseburger and I’ll be your minion for life. This is not a preachy holier than thou post about whether I'm better than anyone else in the eating stakes. We all know Im not. The questions I’m pondering  here are whether low fat /diet products are a case of clever advertising and whether what we really need is better education  around healthy eating and portion control.

Obviously someone is buying diet food products because there so many alternative versions of them out there  but it’s certainly not me. Pop into Maison Pyjamas and the only thing you’re likely to find that resembles diet anything is reduced fat milk and several bags of chips that have the label “now with 75% less saturated fat” . I didn’t ask the Thins people to reduce the fat content of my chips – they just took it upon themselves to do it to provide an apparently healthier product - and does anyone else find it ironic that a product that in all likelihood contributes a fair amount to my own less than slender frame is called Thins? )

Manufacturers  are  careful not to label their products “ diet”  because they don’t want you to think you’re fat – they want you to think when you buy them you’re making healthy choices so you can continue to feel good about yourself.  Nobody wants to actually think they need to diet. And in fact I don’t think the majority of us actually do need to diet – I think we just need to make different food choices.

My take on this whole question is that it’s OK to eat full fat yogurt – just not 5 litres of it a week. It’s perfectly acceptable to eat takeout –just not three times a week. And full fat cheese is not the enemy here – so long as you don’t eat 150 grams of it every single day.

The simple antidote to the need for diet food versions is to eat less and practice portion control. We need to eat a more balanced diet and we need to not be putting highly tampered with food into our bodies under the guise of it being healthy for us simply  because it’s low fat. Many low fat yogurts are incredibly high in sugar or modified sugar substitutes. You practically need a degree in chemical engineering to work out whether it’s really a better alternative and whether while sacrificing fat (and in my opinion taste) you aren’t going to give yourself diabetes or aspartame poisoning.

So I won't be buying low fat anything any time soon. But what about you - what do you think? Are diet products a viable and needed part of what we have available to us as consumers or are they just a clever marketing ploy ?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Everything here seems to be moving very slowly of late. Except weekends - they always seem to be gone in the blink of an eye- what's up with that?  

So, last week Indy decided to impale himself on a tree branch in our yard (you have to ask how that's even possible really) and we had to make another Sunday night trip to the vet. It was pretty nasty - the tree branch went in about 3 inches and ricocheted off his rib cage. Post surgery he enjoyed very cool drugs and tolerated the drain for 24 whole hours before he pulled it out meaning we had to do another unexpected vet run. At least he has a great near death story to tell the neighbourhood dogs.

In keeping with the slow theme of last week I've been busy hand stitching some more hexie flowers. 29 down ...20 to go. 

I've been ignoring Superheroes 2 for the most part. I was sailing along beautifully with the inner quilting and now I'm doing the outer quilting it's giving me grief. It would really help me out if at least some of you could reassure me that you lose interest in a project when it isn't going according to plan. And I'm really hoping those puckers will magically disappear in the wash.

I've decided our guest room needs a makeover. I'm over the look of  black and white and have decided to go for something completely different. I'm desperate to start this quilt as part of the process but I've promised myself Superheroes and the large hexagon quilt need to be finished first. That's meant to motivate me but honestly it just feels like a punishment. 

Inspired by this very clever lady who I intend to shamelessly copy  
Little P came for a sleepover on Saturday and we made lamingtons together. If you look carefully you can see the dents where he was heavy handed with the cake while dipping. They still tasted awesome. 

He had a crack at making jelly and had to wait all night for it to set properly.

Which was actually quite fortuitous because it meant he could eat his jelly on pancakes for breakfast. Ugh!

And we finally got round to planting the Hyacinth and Tulip bulbs and this was the look of disappointment  on his face when I told him it would be 12 weeks or more until the flowers appeared.

Hopefully I'll finish something this week .....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Adventures with Pinterest

I know I'm addicted to Pinterest because I spend hours on there pinning things I'm unlikely to ever make, do or cook. Before Pinterest I used to store "Things I was never going to get back to " under the heading "Things Im probably never going to look at or find again" in my bookmarks on my computer. But with Pinterest I fool myself into thinking if I pin it I've almost made it I don't need to go to the trouble of actually doing the work. 

Aside from the fact I've invested a huge chunk of my life in my co-dependant relationship with Pinterest when I could have been using my time for productive pursuits like brokering world peace or discovering a preventative cure for ingrown toenails I've come to realise that Pinterest makes me really angry.  If I have to look at one more salted caramel dip, cake, cookie, cupcake, icing, frosting, donut or sauce  I may just go postal. I'm so over salty caramel ANYTHING. Let it go. It's the Tiramisu of 2013. Let's all just move on shall we? And peanut butter - every second thing I look at has PB in it. That's right up there with Salty Caramel too. 

And all those talented people out there pinning DIY home gorgeousness - don't they realise that just makes the rest of us feel inadequate? Stop showing off ! Why cant they just live in chaos and disorder like the rest of us? 

Anyway this post does have a point. I've decided to beat Pinterest at it's own game and start making at least some of the stuff I pin. And blogging about it - or submitting my attempts to Pinstrosity because I'm pretty sure there will be stuff ups galore along the way. And being the worlds most prolific Pinterest stuffer upper might be my ticket to fame. 

At some point in the last few weeks apparently I'd taken the adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away " a little too seriously and I had about 6 kilos of apples slowly desiccating in the bottom of the fridge. I like to tell myself that those kind of things are science experiments so I can leave them there with no feelings of guilt when we all know I'm just waiting for them to go so bad I can legitimately throw them out.

But yesterday I was on a "waste not want not" kick and so I turned to Pinterest for inspiration with apples. 

And came across a lot of recipes for apple butter (and salty caramel apple butter too) It seemed straight forward enough and I thought of all the cool places I could use apple butter- like on toast or pancakes or on ice cream and in cakes and on cakes and as a dip. So I set about peeling and coring umpteen million kilos of apples (OK about 3 kilos worth) and dumping them in the crock pot with Cinnamon, all spice , a ton of sugar , some extra liquid and a teeny weeny bit of ground cloves. And then I checked it every few hours for about 10 hours and occasionally gave it a loving stir.

Before bed I turned the crock pot down to warm for overnight ...because I wanted to gently coddle my apple butter into submission. And I went to bed and dreamed of apple butter pancakes for breakfast. 

And when I woke up this morning I checked out my apple butter goodness and realised that we had obviously had intruders overnight who broke in to turn the crock pot up to high.

All my apples had gone from filling the pot to barely covering the bottom and you could literally stand a spoon up in what was left. 

Not to be deterred I was still confident I could save it. I added some water, mixed it up, turned the crock pot off and waited for it too cool so I could put it in the food processor. I'm an optimist and it's never over till the fat lady sings. 

I processed the apples to within an inch of their lives while the fat lady did her thing and then Mr. P and I bickered over who was going to be the taste tester (and who was going to be the person who ultimately lived) I won and Mr. P drew the short straw because I didn't want to eat something that looked like it belonged in a toilet.  And I kept mentioning that too as he was trying to eat it. 

Its quite funny to see man who will eat almost anything bar beetroot and brussel sprouts struggling to swallow a mouth full of apple whatever the hell that was  because his wife was deliberately blocking the sink so he couldn't spit it out. 

When Mr. P had finally recovered the ability to speak he squeaked out "Ugh - it tastes like medicine-it's horrible ". I thought he was over exaggerating until I put a tiny bit on my tongue. The consistency was like eating a mouthful of wet sand. While I lamented the waste of apples and time Mr. P muttered "Some one at work might like it" and pointedly followed up with "YOUR work"...Enough said. 

I think I'm calling this a fail. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


You seriously have to sing that post title to David Bowie or it doesn't have the same impact. 

The only excuse for my recent absence, aside from being a slack arse,  is that I've been deep in thought this week contemplating change and making deep and meaningful decisions about my life.   

We finally having planning permission to erect a structure, so now we move onto the next step , which is  to get approval for the actual building we want to erect. Sigh. Councils do like to make you jump through hoops to get anything done and now that the wet weather has hit it seems unlikely we'll be able to move forward on putting the footings up before Spring-approval or no approval.  That means we're looking at possibly having my studio finished by about November. I can't get excited about something that's 5 months away. Rolling with the punches.....

I wrote a post here about our planned holiday this year to Fiji. What I didn't say was that we were taking Miss P and Little P on their first overseas trip as a surprise. That was the whole reason for going to Fiji. It's a great destination for a first overseas trip because it's close and the culture shock to Miss P and Little P would have been minimal. Unfortunately Miss P has a different life agenda at the moment so Mr. P and I are going to Vietnam by ourselves instead. 

Vietnam is the Russian roulette of travel because it's entirely conceivable I could be poisoned at any moment because the Vietnamese love sprinkling nuts on and in everything. I'm highly allergic. Like epi -pen allergic. I've spent the weekend teaching myself to say  "Em dị ứng với đậu phộng" as insurance. Other than constantly cheating imminent death I'm really excited about going. 

Lastly, nobody guessed what my secret project was. I was kind of mean about giving you clues. I turned the last seam yesterday and this is my only finish for the week. I got the idea for a fabric/sewing diary from Pinterest (my one stop shop for all things inspirational) and decided to have a go at making my own.  I do have manky jotting down book but this just seemed a lot more classy.


I'm planning to paste fabric scraps in it as well as pictures and descriptions of my quilts and any thing else that takes my fancy. I probably should have started this 40 quilts ago. 

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Thoughts That Wont Leave My Head

Last week at work was taken up with starting to get ready for the roll out of Australia's new disability scheme since I work in one of the trial sites. It was an insane week and I finally finished the last thing at 20 seconds to 5pm on Friday night. I let out of whoop of joy so loud that I'm sure they heard me cheering about 5 kilometres away. I was home by 5.15,  in my pyjamas by 5.30pm and I crashed out on the lounge embarrassingly early. I'm going to make an awesome old person because I already have the pyjamas/sleeping/napping/ grouchy thing down pat.

I made a conscious decision early in the week to do something a little crafty every day to maintain my sanity. Progress was made on apple cores, my infinity scarf (I'm really a bit over that now and I bought 4 of them over the weekend- so there's no rush to finish now) and I did some more of the appliquéd hexie flowers. 

This weekend I finally basted Superheroes 2 and did some more work on the recycled shirt quilt too. I'm hoping that this time next week at least one of those will be finished. 

I did slip yesterday. I ended up spending the morning making three stroller blankets. 

I was curious how long they would take to make and how much I might be able to sell them for. I've been consumed all weekend by thoughts of running a market stall later in the year. For those of you that have done it - any pointers? And for those of you that have thought about doing it and haven't - what were your reasons for discarding the idea?  I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to shake this idea until I do something about it. Feel free to talk me out of it. 

Retail therapy this afternoon included these lovelies (as well as a pile of Minky in chocolate, a soft taupe and some pink fur- I dont even want to guess what kind of animal that came from)

In other scintillating news from Maison Pyjamas I cleaned out my freezer this weekend and discarded some meat that was practically prehistoric.  Fortunately Indy and Lola don't care if you give them dinosaur meat. I also found some frozen berries that have been there so long that I cant even recall buying them (I'm vaguely recalling 2011) so I made a raspberry-blueberry-pear pie. And then made Mr. P eat it first in case they were poison berries.   

This week I'm going to be working on this secret project (another idea that wont leave my head!) Cardygirl has been making us playing guessing games with one of her projects so I'm going to ask for guesses about you think this is going to be  (assuming I dont mess it up so badly it becomes a pot holder)