Tuesday, 28 September 2010

food: tea cake

Some of you may disagree but we think that cake represents a necessary food group so it rightfully has taken a place on this weeks menu at the Blue House.

I always use the recipe from 'Central Cookery Book.' Every true Tasmanian will know about his book written by the wonderful Miss A.C. Irvine, the late former Mistress of Domestic Sciences with the Education Department in Tasmania. Miss Irvine included many wonderful recipes in this book including like Tripe Fricassee and Fish and Pineapple Loaf. The book was used as a text at high school and then at home. I don't think you really Tasmanian until you own and cook from the 'Central.'

Minnie and I whipped this one up yesterday and enjoyed a small warm slice for morning tea.

Tea Cake
  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 60 butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1 1 2/ cup Self Raising flour

  • 3/4 cup milk


  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp caster sugar

  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Prepare oven to 190'c. Grease and paper base of 2 x 16 1/2 cm cake pans or a slab tin 27cm x 18cm.

  2. Sift flour.

  3. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat well. Fold in flour and milk alternatively, blending all carefully.

  4. Pour into cake pans or slab tin. Bake 25-30 minutes or until done.

  5. Cool in tin for a few minutes, then turn onto cake cooler and reverse so top of the cake is uppermost.

  6. While still hot 'spread' top with butter and sprinkle with mixed sugar and cinnamon
  7. Serve sliced hot or cold

Friday, 24 September 2010

thank you...

I didn't mean to be gone from here for so long. The 11th and 12th came and went. We had a happy/sad weekend - playing in the sun and the sand, eating great food and enjoying every second of what we have while being very much aware of what was missing. We were sent some beautiful balloons from a lovely friend and we released the great big butterfly balloon. We watched it float away and we kept watching until we could see it no more. We tried to find it in the big sky, searching and scanning until our eyes hurt. Then there was such an overwhelming sense of loss - no matter how hard we searched, we would never find it again. I often wondered why people released balloons. Now I know.

I wanted to thank you for all for your kindness and your lovely words about our Alice. I think that Jodi encapsulated what all baby lost mothers feel - we just want acknowledgment of the baby or babies we have lost. We don't want to necessarily talk about it every day but when we do, we just want some acknowledgement of the great big awful thing that has happened. So I thank you all for acknowledging Alice and our loss.

I feel a bit like 2 people sometimes, here and in real life. The baby lost mama and then the sewing crafting cooking mama. People must find it odd that I can mix the two parts of my life here. I know how you feel as sometimes I do too. But there are days that I need to write about Alice and there are days that I need to write about danish furniture, pretty fabric, roast carrot soup or the perfect pair of pants.

So I will be back with more recipes and photos of the family and sewing projects and tales of the dog and her ongoing vet bills. And sometimes with posts about how unfair life can be.

Thank you again for your kind words and for being here to 'listen.'

Saturday, 11 September 2010


It is 2 years today since our sweet Alice Buttons was born. Tomorrow it will be 2 years since she died.

2 years.

After 2 years I have nothing profound to say about life and about death. Nothing insightful or all that meaningful. Life can be short. Death can be unexpected and unfair and at the wrong time. I have learned that people don't like talk about death. And when you say you had a baby that died, it is as if they didn't hear you. They move on in the conversation. They leave those words hanging. I imagine that if you could see these conversations, you would see those little-big words, 'dead baby,' just hovering there, waiting for the person to let them into their ears and into their brains. Most people don't. They don't want to think about what that means.

Some very special people do let those words in. They ask you about her and they talk about other babies that have died. They send beautiful balloons on her birthday and messages of love. They are the people that say her name, that say how shitty it is and they talk about her like she was here.

Because for us, she was here. She will always be here. What I have learned about life and death is that every day of every week of 2 whole years you can think about someone and you can desperately miss someone that you never knew. What I have learned about life and death is that I am sure for every day for every year for the rest of my life, I will miss someone that I never got the chance to know. What I have learned is that you can fill up your heart with a new life but a bit of you will always be missing.

Someone will always be missing. Alice will always be missing. Missing and missed.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


A big cloth nappy bum. So cute on a tiny little person. Little legs sticking out from the layers and layers of cotton, bamboo and soft velvety fabrics.

Now that the weather is getting warmer and the sun is shinning a little more, I am finally going to start using washable nappies more often. When I was pregnant with Louis I posted about my plans to use modern cloth nappies as I was (and still am) lost with the many types and brands available. I have been so lucky to receive some cloth nappies as gifts from lovely, lovely people so I have been able to try out a variety of styles. When I first had Louis there was no way his little bottom was going to fit in the cloth nappies I had (mediums and OSFA) and I didn't really want to buy the smallest sizes given how expensive they are. And given the vast number of poo's in the early weeks, disposable nappies are just far more convenient for us in these early, wintery months.

Louis is getting bigger (in a very petite way) and his cloth nappies are finally starting to fit. I have used them a dozen or so times now and amazingly they wash so well without soaking or bleach. I was dubious at first as to whether they would clean so well as Louis is quite fond of pooping once he has one on. But they wash up like brand new. So now I will slowly add a few more to the collection.

In all honesty, I don't think I will be able to be organised enough to use cloth nappies full time but if I can use them part time, I think it's a start. If I can cut down the disposable nappies we buy, it's better for my wallet and for the planet and that has to be a good thing.

Friday, 3 September 2010


Even with a few tears she looks gorgeous. They all are.


Even when some of them don't sleep, when one of them snores and when the fluffy yellow one barks. Even when they drive me banana's, when they don't eat their dinner or when the fluffy yellow one eats the babies toys.

They are perfect.