Saturday, July 20, 2013

Christmas Stocking for Nate

It is hard to believe that our gorgeous little grandson is now 9 months old.  He has become a very busy little man, crawling everywhere, walking around the furniture, and at last to the relief of his parents, now three teeth.  He is just such a joy to us.
This is Nate last week getting up close and personal with my Charlie Bear stock, I think he thought it was Christmas time.

As is the Christmas tradition of our family, each family member has a stitched Shepherds Bush stocking stitched by me, including David and myself which now our three children take in turns to fill, which has become another fun aspect to our Christmas celebrations. 

Of course Nate has to have his own, and for the past few months I have been happily stitching up one.  I chose the Reed pattern for Nate, which depicts a Shepherd in lovely shades of blue and grey, highlighted with burgundy and of course featuring a sheep, which are such a hallmark of the Shepherds Bush company. Also sheep are very much part of Nate's Dad's family as Dane was bought up on the family sheep and cattle property in remote N.S.W. I have no doubt that the land will be very much part of Nate's upbringing, as he has had several trips to the family farm already, so the sheep is very poignant.  I haven't quite finished the stocking, but all the stitching is done and I am about to attach the trinkets, which gives the stocking it's individual look, then I will choose the backing fabric and cording and  have it made up.  Once finished I will update here with the finished product, just in time for this Christmas.

Rapt Up have all the Shepherds Bush patterns, kits, materials and threads to have you all stitching your own family heirlooms which our stockings have become.  Shepherds Bush release a new stocking each year, this year it will be a boy stocking.  Expert advice is always on hand, I am more than happy to share my knowledge.  The stockings are easy to stitch as the linen used is quite a large count, and the beautiful overdyed colour threads that Shepherds Bush have chosen, make it a joy to stitch.

Once I have finished this stocking I will be looking for my next project, but I think it will have to be Nate's birth sampler which still hasn't been started.  Something for me to share with you at a later date.

These are two of the latest I have stitched.  David's being Thomas stocking and mine is Anna's stocking.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Winter Warmers

It has been such a cold and rainy week, but the perfect weather to cook a real winter warmer.
My family loves this recipe and has become one of our winter favorites.  I thought I would share it with you.


Chicken and Prosciutto Cannelloni.

50g butter  - 1/4 cup plain flour  - 2/3 cup milk - 375ml chicken stock.
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese - 400g fontina cheese grated - 1 tab spoon olive oil.
2 medium onions finely chopped - 3 clove garlic crushed -1kg chicken mince.
2 tab finely chopped fresh sage - 850g canned tomatoes - 125ml dry white wine.
70g tomato paste - 12 fresh lasagne sheets -24 slices prosciutto.

Heat butter in medium saucepan, cook flour, stirring, until four thickens and bubbles. Gradually stir in milk and stock, stirring until sauce boils and thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and a quarter of the fontina.
Heat oil in large saucepan, cook onion and garlic, stirring until onion is soft.  Add chicken, cook until browned.  Stir in sage.  Combine chicken and cheese sauce in large bowl and cool.
Combine undrained tomatoes, wine, paste in large pan, cook and stir for 10 min.Cool then blend or process until smooth.
Cut pasta sheets and prosciutto slices in half.  Place two pieces of prosciutto on each piece of pasta, top with 1/4 cup of chicken mixture and roll to enclose.  Repeat.
Oil 2 ovenproof dishes. Pour a 1/4 of the tomato sauce into each base, place pasta rolls seam side down in each dish.  Pour remaining tomato sauce over rolls and sprinkle each dish with fontina cheese.
Bake in moderate oven for 30 min covered, then uncover, further bake 15 min till brown.

I use Robert Gordon bakeware to cook my cannelloni. I have found the Robert Gordon bakeware absolutely remarkable for baking.  They don't craze and any baked on crusts wash off very easily.
Rapt Up stocks the Robert Gordon range of bakeware which includes varying sizes and colours. The bakeware comes with a 10 year guarantee and that is recommendation enough.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Colours of Autumn

I love all the seasons in the garden, but I especially love Autumn.  The summer heat has gone, which I am sure all the plants appreciate, the roses are still gorgeous and the colours of the deciduous tree are just something else. We have had some Autumn rain that was very welcome which helps with the daily grind of watering.

The capital pear (pyrus calleryana) trees that I have many of in the garden, are the last of the ornamental pear trees to change colour and lose there leaves, along with one of my favorite plants Spirea Cantoniensis ( May Bush ).  In front of these plants I have a prostate Rosemary which falls over a wall and is in constant bloom.  It's a lovely garden bed at any time of the year but especially in the Autumn.

The roses are almost at their end but are still producing blooms that last much longer than in the Summer.  My two favorite David Austin roses are Redoute and Glamis Castle which I couldn't resist photographing.

Our back garden is still very much a work in progress.  Just recently we have added a wooden structure to connect the garden and have a walk way up to very back of the yard.  It now needs to be paved through the middle which is a job for my ever patient husband. Still to be decided what to plant over the top of the structure, but am thinking about an ornamental vine, to give even more Autumn colour to the garden.

The website www.  has been extremely busy but my garden is my sanctuary and I always make time every week to be out in it. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chaos Rules

After the excitement and the hype of a gift fair,then comes the anticipation of the goods arriving. I have not long returned from attending the February gift fair where I had a wonderful time ordering all manner of stock to add to my already bulging website. As the law of averages go stock started to trickle in then on one day I had so many boxes arrive I could barely see the floor. Strangely enough though as I am standing in my own chaos, I seem to work better under pressure, and by days end all boxes had been unpacked, photographed and started to be entered onto the website. I am excited with all the new products and would love all of my customers to have a look online at all the new stock that has been appearing in all the categories. Some of the products that I am pleased with are a range of gorgeous cot quilts with matching cushions, The D Lux brand of baby blankets and wraps are the best on the market and there are some lovely designs amongst those. Some very clever handbag/wallets, which I can't stop talking about. They are genuine leather, small in size but hold everything that you need. I just love mine. Kate Finn dolls are just gorgeous and the Charlie Bears are to die for. This is just a small sample of new stock so best to check out all the categories at For all my Sunraysia customers, I am preparing for my twice yearly open day to display all the new stock. Details are on the website and all email customers will now have received their invitations. My open days are always wonderful, I really enjoy catching up with a lot of my old customers that would come into the retail shop on a regular basis, and it's lovely to be able to display all the wonderful new stock.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Time Fly's...again

I can't believe that is was March last year when I last updated my blog. Personally it has been a wonderful year. We have become grandparents for the first time, to a gorgeous little grandson Nate. Everyone can wax lyrical about the joys of grandparent hood but till you experience it, you then know what all other grandparents are talking about. He is now five months now and he is such a joy. We feel so blessed that he lives near us and that we are so much part of his life. Through this blog I will update his progress as he grows.