Meet Finn

We have a new puppy! His name is Finn and he is 10 weeks old. He is a Jack Russell/Foxy cross and he is very adorable (except for when he’s hanging onto me with his needle-sharp teeth!) He loves to curl up on my lap while I’m working at the computer, and he loves to play with cardboard boxes. We’re all looking forward to when he’s had his final vaccinations so we can start taking him out for walks to run off some of his boundless energy. He starts puppy pre-school tonight. Hopefully he won’t be too naughty!

Finn

Finn

Cover Reveal: Where the Moths Dance

I am excited to reveal the cover for my new book, which will be out in the next few weeks. Where the Moths Dance is a paranormal ghost story, and my first novel for young adults. The design is by Heather McCorkle of McCorkle Creations who, as well as designing fantastic covers, is an author of fantasy novels for young adults and adults.

Where the Moths Dance

This is the full front and back cover, which I am thrilled with!

Where the moths dance

About The Book

Sixteen-year-old Jessie Hale lives in the caretaker’s cottage at the bottom of Gum Tree Hill Cemetery. She feels more comfortable surrounded by the dead than the living, and the graveyard is her sanctuary, a place to escape from her troubled home life and from her mother’s despicable boyfriend, Conrad.

Elliott Rossi has found a way to come back from the dead. He needs to warn Jessie about a demon who can also access the living world and has his new prey firmly in his grasp.

When Jessie learns who has become the demon’s latest victim, she must enlist the help of her friends to battle the evil that has invaded her sanctuary, turning her life upside down and threatening to destroy everything she cares about.

Then there is the small matter of falling in love with a dead boy.

Stay tuned for news of the book’s release!

Wine Country Quilt Show

Every two years, Pukeora Estate in Waipukurau hosts the Wine Country Quilt Show, which attracts visitors from all over the country. As an avid quilter, (although mine are far from being in the same league as the show quilts), I had been looking forward to the show for a while. As usual, I was amazed at the quality and creativeness of the quilts. From traditional to contemporary, there was something for every taste. I can only imagine how many hours of work have gone into making them.

After admiring the many beautiful quilts, and browsing the vendor’s stalls, I returned home with lots of ideas and inspiration, as well as motivation to complete my own bed quilt, which I am about three-quarters of the way through hand quilting.

I hope you enjoy these pictures of a few of my favourite quilts from the show.

"Arum Bouquets" by Anne Yeo

“Arum Bouquets” by Anne Yeo

"Bugs and Blooms" by Shelagh Barber

“Bugs and Blooms” by Shelagh Barber

"Class of 2013" by Wendy Tavendale

“Class of 2013″ by Wendy Tavendale

"Ever After" by Trish Fraser

“Ever After” by Trish Fraser

"Funky Monkeys" by Ros Lusk

“Funky Monkeys” by Ros Lusk

"Growing Up" by Heather Preston

“Growing Up” by Heather Preston

"H.M.S. Endeavour" by Anne Yeo

“H.M.S. Endeavour” by Anne Yeo

"Merry, Merry Snowmen" by Pam Smith

“Merry, Merry Snowmen” by Pam Smith

"Moonglow" by Allie Greenwood

“Moonglow” by Allie Greenwood

"Owl and Pussycat in my Garden" by Lesley O'Rourke

“Owl and Pussycat in my Garden” by Lesley O’Rourke

"Sisters" by Vivienne Franklin

“Sisters” by Vivienne Franklin

"Southern Blue Belle" by Rose Silvester

“Southern Blue Belle” by Rose Silvester

"Sunshine and Shadows" by Pam Ross

“Sunshine and Shadows” by Pam Ross

New Recipe Folder and Great-grandma Jozina’s Shortbread

If you love to cook and you’re anything like me, you probably have piles of recipes tucked away in a drawer, waiting to be tried out. I have manilla folders of recipes cut from magazines and scraps of paper with recipes scribbled down from television cooking shows. Often I’ll go to look for one and spend ages trying to find it. I had a recipe book in which I wrote my favourite recipes, but I filled it up a while ago. Recently, while browsing in a bookshop, I saw a lovely vintage-themed recipe folder that I couldn’t resist.

recipe folder

It has dividers that I can decorate with stickers and embellishments, lined pages for writing in, plain pages for pasting in handwritten recipes given to me by other people, and plastic sleeves for slipping in recipes saved from magazines. I also like that it’s a ring binder style so I can add more pages when I need to.

recipe folder

recipe folder 2

Now I just have to work my way through that big pile of recipes and put the ones that turn out nice into my lovely new recipe folder where I can find them easily.

The handwritten shortbread recipe was given to me by my mother, passed down from my great-grandmother, so the recipe has been around for quite some time. Nice to have with a cup of tea or coffee.

Great-grandma Jozina’s Shortbread

8 oz (225g) butter
4 oz (125g) icing sugar
13 oz (375g) plain flour
1 oz (25g) cornflour

Beat butter and icing sugar to a cream. Add flour and cornflour. Knead well.
Roll out to required thickness (¼ – ½ inch).
Cut into squares or fingers. Prick well with fork to stop rising.
Bake about 20 – 30 minutes at 160ºC (320ºF ) Be careful not to overcook underneath.
Cool on wire tray.

shortbread1

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

As usual, at this time of the year, we have an abundance of zucchini in our garden. I have been cooking them in stir fries and fritters and pizzas, making zucchini slice, and baking zucchini blueberry loaves for the freezer.

Yesterday I made a chocolate zucchini cake, which turned out really nice. Although Nick isn’t a big fan of zucchini, he loved the cake and wouldn’t have even known it had zucchini in it if I hadn’t told him. I used the same recipe as my Red Velvet Beetroot cake, but substituted the beetroot for zucchini, and cooked it a little longer.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

250g peeled and grated zucchini
3 eggs, beaten
1¾ cups raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
250ml oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup white flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180º C.
Beat together eggs and sugar. Mix in vanilla, oil, and zucchini until well combined. Add sifted flour, baking powder, and cocoa and mix well. Pour batter into greased or paper-lined cake tin.
Bake for 55 minutes. Spread with frosting when cool.

Chocolate Orange Frosting

60g butter or dairy-free spread
250g icing sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
grated zest of 1 orange
2 Tablespoons orange juice

Beat all ingredients together until spreadable consistency. Spread over cake.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

My 2014 Art Journal

At the beginning of this year, I started a new art journal. I’m using a sketchbook that I bought last year—I just love the cover!

journal1

Inside, I created a title page. I painted the background and stamped on random shapes using bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard and a cardboard tube. Then I glued down pictures cut from scrapbook cardstock and cards.

journal2

I journaled my goals for the year—nothing too adventurous, just simple things like gardening, writing and crafts. Oh, and most importantly, adopt a dog! Then, throughout the year, I am going to journal about the things that make me happy, the things that make up my everyday life. It might be places that I visit, things I’ve seen, a book I’ve enjoyed, or flowers that are blooming in my garden.

journal7

journal5

journal6

By the end of the year my journal will be filled with thoughts and imaginings, photographs, drawings, clippings, stickers, and anything else I might want to put in there. It will be like a scrapbook, a way for me to creatively document my year, and at the end of the year I will have a colourful journal of memories.