Monday, 30 November 2015

"A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight. Walking in a winter wonderland"

This past weekend saw the Christmas tree and decorations go up! I was too impatient to wait until December 1st and talked hubby into it. During the week I'd started sneaking the odd decoration up around the house, so I think he may have sensed my keenness. It was an interesting family experience on a Saturday afternoon; the baby had to be contained in the playpen so he wouldn't eat the tinsel or get covered in glitter, and the toddler was suitably grumpy and wasn't really interested in doing anything other than watch Peppa and occasionally try and put a bauble on the tree. We had the usual Christmas carols on in the background as part of the annual ritual. Everybody listens to carols whilst putting up the tree, right? I'd love to know what other things you do as part of the Christmas decorating process? Do you have a favourite Christmas carol? Mine is 'Winter Wonderland' and I will belt it out all December! We usually watch The Holiday as well but by the time we got everything up we all went to bed. Kate Winslet is an absolute star and I adore her in everything. Heavenly Creatures is a good one. Speaking of which if you haven't seen The Dressmaker yet, you need to get your butt to the movies. Hands down one of the best Australian films I've seen. 

Sorry... back on track...

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. It means hubby gets his holiday for the year and can spend it at home with us without having to worry (and it means he can grow a beard for a month or so. I think every Defence member does that), it means wrapping presents for the kids, which since having them of course has become one of the most delightful activities in the world for me. It means I can hand make Christmas gifts for family and friends which you will be shocked to know that I have actually FINISHED this year! Don't die of shock, I know. They still have to make it to the post office yet, and the Christmas cards still need writing. And finally, it means FOOD. Food is amazing. Inviting people over to consume food is also amazing. Everybody getting fat together is amazing!  In fact this years dinner party is Downton Abbey themed. Mainly because I want an excuse to make a Charlotte Russe hehe

I thought I'd collate the photos I took into a collage this time, and you may notice other posts this week with the same thing. I'm still trying to find my groove. 
Don't come to my house in December wearing tight pants. You'll regret it. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

My go-to chicken sausage roll recipe

 I make these ALL the time. My whole family loves them, except the baby of course but he'll be munching on them in no time, no doubt! This is a good one to make with kids, it's a one bowl recipe. Nothing fancy about it. Enjoy!

I misspelled 'parsley', hence the patch job. Oops!  





 Et voila! Deliciousness is now yours.



Monday, 23 November 2015

Deck Interview ~ The Wizard's Tarot

Wizard's Tarot by Corinne Kenner

How could I resist? It's a witchcraft and wizardry deck and handbook that takes me through a year at Mandrake Academy! I was utterly powerless, of course I had to have it. I'll admit it's been in my possession for a few months and I'm only just looking into it now but a vision came to me as I was meditating and urged me to begin my tarot journey with it.

I saw a woman, an enchantress, clothed in black and green with her long thick dark hair bound with gold, barefooted and dancing around a fire that wasn't touching the ground. Right away I know she is a woman of  Fire. She sways, twists, turns, moving her hands through the night in a trail of shining embers. She moves to the regular rhythm of a beating drum before the bonfire. She chants under her breath and as she moves, feels the moon upon her skin, taking its power within her as she gives herself to the magic. She is two women; dark, knows of earthly desires and delights, her heart is in the woodland and her feet well and truly grounded into the earth, but she also walks upon the astral realm. It is a gift she has been given and she knows that to keep it she must give her thanks. She steps among the leaves, bare feet grounding her so that the Earth's power rises up and entangles her heart like vines. She is a creature of ritual, takes what she needs from her surroundings and the elements, manifesting the unseen into reality and giving it freely to those who seek her help. The dance is an offering of intention and spirit, connecting her to the universe. She feels the heat of the flames and feels fuelled by it continuing to weave her hypnotizing dance well into the night. The strange calls in the darkness do not disturb her, she is safe here. Passionately her hands and arms weave together the earth and sky to make the magical flame grow higher and hotter.
When the dance is over she stops and glances over her shoulder back at me through thick lashes. She lowers her eyes and smiles, and the fire before her once cackling and burning with life vanishes into a wisp of smoke and is carried away by the breeze. All falls silent. The light of the moon envelopes her and she takes in the cooling light to calm the exertion.
She collects her shawl, wraps it about her shoulders, and turns to begin her journey back to the castle in the clearing.

'Come', she says softly to me as she passes me by, and I follow her. She has given her sacrifice, made her promise, and will take her renewed power back with her until she feels the pull of the next moon, and it is time to dance again.



Coming out of my meditation the resemblance struck me of the woman I saw and the Initiate and that's how I knew it was time. I was the woman dressed in a white cloak watching the enchantress.

So on with the interview!

What is your most important characteristic?
Strength. In this deck, Strength is represented by the professor of familiar creatures. Interestingly enough, the thing I noticed first in the Initiate card, the first card of this deck, was the white rabbit in the young woman's arms. Just this past week I dreamed that I bought a white rabbit!
Strength in the tarot is typically not the 'brute strength' we usually associate with the word, but the ability to show both courage and composure. Strength isn't always an outward show of force. So in asking about this deck's most important characteristic I know now that it will help me find my own courage and composure, and help me discover my own animal familiar. This is good news! I've always been curious to know what mine is.

What are your strengths as a deck?
The High Priestess. The professor of divination. A lady of the moon, a master of tarot, and the key to lifting the veil between realms. Need I say more?

What are your limits as a deck?
The Initiate (fool).  I'm going to be presented with so many new and exciting aspects of magic and divination, it's going to be difficult to take it all in. There is no sense in being a jack of all trades and master of none. The Initiate is me right now at the beginning of this journey. The only limitations will be those I impose on myself.

What are you here to teach me?
The Chariot. In this deck The Chariot is a witch on a broom flying above the pyramids of Egypt and observing the world below her. She has the ability of astral travel. This card being depicted as a witch also tells me without any hint of a doubt that this deck and this year long course through Mandrake Academy will bring out my own inner witch. What more could I ask for? Exciting!! This deck is my ticket to the astral plane and all that lies beyond.

How can I best learn and collaborate with you?
Queen of Wands. The Guardian of Fire. As an Aries in both the sun and rising signs, and Aries being ruled by Mars, the planet of fire and representative of the the warrior, this could not be more of a sign that this deck is for me. A guardian and protector, born and raised to defend and preserve the realm of fire. Fuel my inner flame and hone my physical strength to reach my full potential. Willful, strong, self-assured, dynamic, and confident, this card is me. It can be me. By truly embracing this part of myself I will be unfazed by the heat and intensity of what is to come, if anything I will learn to preside over it and use it at will.

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Three of Swords. Well. That's thrown me off. Hello to you, stalker card. I audibly let out a slow and disappointed 'whaaaaat?' as my own heart sinks into my feet. This is NOT what I wanted to see in this position. How can this be? When the rest of our interview was going to well and resonating so strongly with me? The phrase that comes to mind when I see this card come forward is 'scarred but not bleeding', hurt by the betrayal and feelings of heartbreak, but alive. What could this mean? I look for anything that stands out to me and right away I notice the colour red. Again the Arien in me is intrigued; weren't the apples in the initiate card red? Didn't I notice those first to begin with at the start of this journey? Perhaps my expectations of this deck will disappoint me? Our working relationship will bring heartache, pain, and feelings of abandonment? No. I refuse to believe that. After all, the tarot is a tool for healing. Maybe this is not what it seems as is often the case in life.
The release of hurt and pain. I can heal my scars. King Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, and I pull the swords from my heart and lift the burdens I've been carrying for so long. My heart is still telling me this deck has something to offer me... although I don't want to end up estranged from it! Maybe that means it's only here for a short time? That word... 'estrangement'. It will only suit me for now, to find my inner witch. But after that, it's purpose will have been fulfilled.

I pull one more card to fill the space in the centre of my interview spread: who are you?

Three of Cups - A strong trait I notice in this interview is how feminine it is! The Three of Cups is three woman standing close by one another holding up three silver cups to the sky. They're celebrating a successful autumn harvest. Water is emotional, fluid, and is the opposing element to my fire. I need both to form a balance. This deck is all about friendship, giving back, beauty, joy, abundance, and emotional depth.


And so begins my studies at the Mandrake Academy!









Saturday, 21 November 2015

In love with the Lenormand

Today during class, which I actually remembered to attend, we were introduced to the Lenormand deck. Now this type of deck is renowned for being tricky, and before today I actually had no idea what it even was other than it was used for divination the same way I use tarot. I assumed they were similar but I was SO wrong. One thing that was mentioned very early in the class was to leave intuition at the door! That isn't easy to do when you've learnt tarot, and spent a long time doing so I might add! The tarot relies on intuition to be used as a tool whereas the Lenormand is literal.
What you see is what you get in a sense. Literally literal! Now that isn't to say they're easier to interpret, I can't say that as I've not used a deck before, but from what I learnt today alone it's a whole other bucket of fish. Did I mention how literal it is? There isn't much room for speculation and I believe the phrase 'be careful what you wish for' comes into play VERY heavily when using these cards. Now I'm more eager than ever to get my hands on them, The Gilded Reverie has caught my eye (it's sparkly... need I say more), but as the symbolism and images are universal to all Lenormand decks I've instead decided to design one of my own. That's neither here nor there at the moment... my point is that my fabulous teacher Eric, and Kirsten, our resident Lenormand expert, have opened up another chapter in spiritual exploration I absolutely must know more about. My list grows longer with every class! I've barely touched the surface of astrology and my natal birth chart yet. The Arien in me is jumping up and down delightedly with all these new aspects of study to absorb. If any of my fellow classmates are reading right now I'd love to know what you thought of today? If you've been bitten by the word and smitten with the deck, by all mean let me know so we can jump and down delightedly together!

Did I mention that I recently found my natal birth chart? It's incredible to see your life, your personality, your ability (or not) to get along with others, your relationships both past and present, and your future laid out before you in the planets and stars. I keep going back to my chart and wondering how people can be so skeptical about astrology when the accuracy is so breathtakingly astounding. Information about our generation's future, every aspect of my inner and outer self, how I perceive myself and how others perceive me, lessons to learn, things to overcome, and my overall purpose in this life just there before me. I teared up a little then went to share my joy with my husband, who then asked for his, and then he teared up as well. It's such a comfort to know that you are the way you are on purpose, and that in the grand scheme of the universe you matter, and the universe understands and accepts you. You're perfect!

Whilst listening and learning I was also crocheting. I have to keep my hands busy, I can't seem to sit still! I made myself yet another tarot pouch, and NO I can't have too many, and yes it is purple. Well it had to match Shadowscapes of course! I'm particularly pleased with myself as it is quite lovely *puffs up with pride and a teeny bit of egotistical charm*. The beautiful little clear quartz hemp key chain was the perfect final touch. That I didn't make, it's from Jen's Dark Delights and she does indeed make such beautiful delights.
Also fresh  off my hook this week is this teal pouch to keep my Rider-Waite Smith deck in made with Bendigo Woollen Mills pure wool. I told you I was obsessed with pouches.
I'd crochet myself a pouch to hop inside if I thought I had the time. Now there's an idea...

Monday, 16 November 2015

Jelly Pinwheels

Check out these groovy little things! Jelly Pinwheels were on my Good Eatin' Pinterest board and I keep scrolling past them thinking "I wonder if I can make those?". Turns out I can! Whoop! Anything jelly related gives me the heebie-jeebies because it can be so temperamental but the solution to that is to just use a packet of jelly crystals *wink* I used strawberry jelly and since the mini marshmallows came as a mixed pink and white pack I didn't bother separating them. These are REALLY easy. The hardest part is just rolling them up. I found that when greasing the pan, you want to use a little more than the recipe calls for paying careful attention to get in the corners. That's where I came undone a bit, but otherwise they're straightforward. 
Be warned, these are ridonkulously sweet so I would recommend either using a shallower pan (10 inch x 10 inch instead of 8 x 8) to get a larger roll and consequently smaller slices, or slice them 1/2 inch thick. The jelly consistency is closer to that of a soft gummy bear. Providing you leave it to set for long enough you won't have any trouble. As you can see from mine I struggled with rolling them up tightly enough at the beginning, grease your pan well and that shouldn't happen. 

If you're a fan of strawberries and cream lollies then you'll probably like these :-) Only thing is that now my son won't eat it them (they're new... anything new is bad apparently), and I'm willing to hazard a guess that hubby will take one look at them and flat out refuse. I may be wrong! We'll have to wait and see. 

I used this video recipe as it lays out it all plain and simple and is super easy to follow. Bon chance, my friends! I personally like them. And hey! That's another one of my Pinterest pins conquered! Shazaam :-) 




Sunday, 15 November 2015

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!

Christmas is sneaking up on us fast... again! It does come around faster every year, doesn't it? It isn't just me? This year I thought I was being organised by starting my gift-making mid-year, but then life happened, as it does in the usual unexpected way, and my preparations halted. I'm only just picking them up again and it's November! NOVEMBER! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
I've been trying to finish off little presents here and there when I can but finding the time is so difficult. I feel awful that I may not get enough done for everyone, and consequently I don't have the money to fill in the gaps if it came to that so to say I am stressing a bit is an understatement. For once in my silly life I'd like to be able to finish something I set out to do! Nothing makes me feel worse. Ah well... there is still a little time. We'll see. 

 This is a cotton mandala I finished this morning, it can double as a small doily or coaster which I love. I am hoping to find where on Earth the rest of my cottons went when they were packed during the move; there used to be a system to my yarn and now I have absolutely no idea! Also on my to-do list are some snowflakes, mini stockings, a garland or two, and a few little amigurumis.
 Wrapping inspiration if you needed some! This year we decided to use our eldest son's paintings as wrapping paper. We set him up with sponges and brushes, and with green, red, white, and silver glitter paints and let him do what he wanted. I have a nice stack of beautiful 2-year-old artwork to re-gift. I like the personal touch it gives, and sending paintings to family from the kids is something I always mean to do but never get around to so I feel like it's adding something special by using them this way. Then I just added a strip of Christmas paper and tied on some curling ribbon. I think they look great! Perfect for the smaller gifts :-) We also attacked the dry painting with some owls in Christmas hats rubber stamps. You can't really over-do the Christmas-ness really.

It also happens to be day five of my daily tarot draw that I'm doing this week, so today I've posted it here for you. Temperance. Again this card is about balance and resonates quite strongly with yesterday's card (check my Facebook page for the previous four cards). This cards calls for moderation, temperance, and balance. The heron is depicted here blending opposing elements. Your life is in need of harmony right now; perhaps you've been over-indulgent or excessive in one area and letting another area fall by the way? Show some self-restraint.
Tomorrow's card will be back at Dear Doily Handmade, be sure to check back for it. And remember that not every card will apply to you; if you feel like it doesn't resonate with you, don't force it. A personal reading can help with anything you may be struggling with of late, but these messages I am giving this week are simply reminders to stay focused on your inner-self and perhaps awaken some awareness.

I have a lamb roast to get into the oven, and another one or two pressies to sneak in before bed time.

Tash Xx

Monday, 9 November 2015

Apple Sour Cream Slice




A month ago I had no idea about the possibilities of using sour cream for more than just potato wedges in the kitchen! As it turns out it is quite the versatile ingredient. My first baked morsel featuring sour cream was the Country Women's Association 'Sour Cream Cake' made with fresh dates, and it was just heavenly. My second baked morsel is the star of today's post! Apple sour cream slice. Did you know when you bake sour cream it comes out like a custard? Not AS firm mind, but delicious none the less. I may not have left it in the oven for long enough but it had the right wobble to it and I didn't want to risk ruining it. After all, it takes me half a day to get something simple cooked and having to re-do the recipe was not high on my list of priorities. Also can I just take a moment to add how much I hate when a recipe states 'cook for *insert length of time* or until set'. How am I supposed to know when it's set? What do I look for that might indicate that it's set? The sour cream doesn't have egg in it, it's just sour cream, what does set sour cream look/feel like? Ugh.
I'm not confident that this slice will indeed slice particularly well... I think we now have more of a pudding BUT it is delicious none the less. I used a recipe from Taste.com, something I'm not often prone to doing simply because I've had so many failed recipes from that site but the reviews on this one convinced me. You can find the recipe here!

Did you notice something different about the blog? No it did not get glasses, and no it hasn't had a hair cut. I now own my own blog name! We are officially www.ofcrochetandlife.com, hooray! Neat huh? If you come across and glitches whilst visiting though I'd appreciate if you could let me know. I'm not 100% sure that everything is working tickety-boo so if you notice anything amiss, shoot me an email to deardoilyhandmade.gmail.com, or leave me a comment. Thanks a bunch of bananas :-)

It's Monday, another week. This time I am not doing a 'Hello Monday' post and listing what I'd like to have happen this week because the last time I did that our household got two doses of the dreaded lurgy, which resulted in not one, but two trips to hospital. I'm not jinxing myself this week. Surprise me, oh Gods That Control This Shit! In a good way though, if you would be so kind. We already no longer have a car (long story), funds are looking pretty dismal, but we are healthy for the time being and I'd like to keep it that way!. Please and thank you. I'll share my slice with you? *wink wink*

In crochet news I have a few things on my hook including a glittery rainbow unicorn. Wait til you see it! It looks like it has galaxies for feet. It's pretty amazeballs.

Check back for that later on, and until next time

Tash Xx