Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Last thursday I got one year older. This year was for many reasons the best birthday I can remember. I think this is a reflection of the wonderful people I have in my life and where I am with being me. I can honestly say I feel blessed.
I got the most amazing hoard of goodies which I am thinking I shall devote a whole post to.

I spent the morning as I do every thursday at the SPCA walking and hanging out with the dogs. Shared custard and fruit croissants and rocky road with the other volunteers, and had lots of cuddles with the puppies. Even took one home for the day.
That evening Ben planned a BBQ which I loved every minute of, being surrounded by the most genuine and beautiful big and little people. Yummy food, delicious lemon cake, sitting by the fire with the puppy cuddled on my lap and the ten year old next door neighbour along with her mum singing their hearts out. It really was perfect.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The elderflower cordial tastes so amazing, sweet and summery and just like it should do. We have been drinking it with soda water. Trialled using brown sugar instead of white which made a beautiful amber coloured cordial but I think white sugar is the best.

This is the recipe, I wrote down a while ago. Most of the recipes I have come across are similar. Main difference was the soaking time of the flowers and whether to boil it or not. The following is what I did

Elderflower cordial

1500ml of water
1kg of sugar
50g of citric acid
2-3 thick slices of lemon
20 large heads of elderflowers

Boil the water, dissolve the sugar, add the lemon slices. Some say cool the water and add the elderflowers, I added the flowers when it was cool and then the next time added the flowers when it was still hot, seemed to make no difference.

I did'nt wash the elderflowers just shook them to get the spiders out. Leave the mix soaking for 48hours. I then added the citric acid and boiled the mixture pouring it into sterilised bottles.

Following the way I always cook I did a lot of estimating, some elderflower heads were little some big so I added them until I thought it looked a good amount, I also probably only put about 30g of citric acid. 50g seemed like a lot and it worked out fine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

In the garden

For the last two months we have been able to go out to the garden to gather the greens for salads. It is the most satisfying thing. We have had red, cos, and chinese lettuce, lots and lots of rocket spring onions and a little leafy plant called dutch corn. Coming home from work and spending time in the garden watering, weeding and checking up on progress feels almost as good as a back rub (almost!).

Plus all day I am washing my hands and sterigeling between patients and coming home and getting dirt all over my hands and under my fingernails feels rebellious.

I love the snap pea flowers and the tomato has gone crazy.

I have been monitoring daily for the apperance of the little broccoli head. It is amazing how fast everything can grow, it seems in a day the broccoli plant has formed what we know as broccoli and the zuchini has grown lots of little flowers.

I have high hopes for the watermelons, and hope in a couple of months I will be rocking in my hammock with a massive slice.

p.s photos all out of order but for some reason I cant cut and move them!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Where did that time go. I never intended to stay away for so long. Life has been fun, with work crafting, trips here and there and there is so much I have to share but lets just begin with today.

I am all excited about decorating for christmas, I have already got the christmas tree up (well sort of a tree, but I will share soon) and am holding out till December the 1st when I can start decorating. That is a self approved date I don't follow any set rules but feel December is the official christmassy month.

Also I found out that buying candy canes mid november is a serious lesson in self control and I seriously failed.

Today we have been walking in the sun, eating a delicious lunch of bread cheese, pesto washed down with pear cider. Swimming in the river and attempting to create elderflower cordial.

Ever since I had a year in England when I left school I have been in love with elderflower cordial. I thought I spotted some elder flowers the other day, I picked a whole lot and when I got home googled elder flowers and found that what I had picked was a common and most likely poisonous

Well yesterday while out booking the wedding venue I came across the real deal, (inner scream of delight). I so hope it works, one recipe said stay clear of any elderflowers smelling of cat pee. Sadly I am getting a whiff of what could be cat pee from the whole entire pot of soaking flowers.

Fingers crossed I am just being paranoid.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cupcake day

Cupcake day was a success, sold all the cupcakes and also quite a few sausages.
Harper helped bring in the punters with his doggy cuteness. Was a nice sunny day and had lots of fun the day before baking cupcakes with some other volunteer friends.
We made about 100 cupcakes and iced them all with crazy coloured butter icing.

Ben hates any kind of adornments for dogs, bows, studded collars a
nd especially coats. I don't exactly like the idea of dressing up dogs but I couldnt resist putting harper in this coat just to enjoy Ben's reaction. As soon as he spied him through the glass of the door Ben's face dropped.
Ha Ha it was absolutely hilarious. That coat was taken off pretty quickly but not before I got some photos. I think Harper quite liked it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cat naps and puppy love

Another slow and sickly day. Was hoping I would be better by now but seems not. Have spent the majority of the day chasing the sun around the house then curling up and sleeping away the hours like a cat. Harper is not so keen to be my sick buddy anymore and even though he seems to be constantly sneezing (googled this and it seems no, dogs cant catch colds off humans!) he has escaped more than once out the front door. The first time he raced down to see his girlfriend down the road but was disappointed that there would be no playdate today. Izzy (girlfriend dog owned by my friends down the road) was very pleased to see him and they howled to each other as I pulled Harper home. Puppy love.

Harper being slammed by Izzy

The following escape was to the next door neighbours. I had to quickly hang the phone up on my sister as I spied him out the window squatting and ready in position to foul up there perfectly manicure lawn. I was amazed that the group of high school boys walking past only wanted to pat Harper and kindly re-framed from commenting on my crazy ruffled hair, bright green blue and brown pajama pants and red gumboots.

I have had some productivity, made a sock monkey for Ben to take to his little cousin in Australia, whitened some whites with a mix of lemon juice vinegar and baking soda. No good at removing stains but came out beautifully crisp and white and have started on a felt necklace that I will put up a photo of when I have finished. I am off to eat chocolate.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Castration and Donuts

We spent a rainy weekend inside, I have been sick and still am. I have an extreme case of cabin fever caused by the flu. I have watched every episode of Glee, and I was so desperate for entertainment this afternoon that I started watching the Bachelor on tv nz on demand. It drives me crazy and I ended up googling who won. Very disappointing. It would be horrendous to be one of twenty five women all vying for one males attention hoping to be his chosen bride. Of course the Bachelor thinks it is the most amazing time of his life, sure it is when you get to date and makeout with a different girl every day and then watch them squabble over you. Amazingly the bachelor/bachelorette (how do you spell that??) has had some success stories.
Other than watching a humongous amount of tv I have been eating and getting excited about trying out the recipes from the Australian master chef. We had a go at these donuts. They were so yum and me and Ben polished off about twenty of them in 24hours. Pretty impressive aye!

Harper has been my recuperation buddy. He has had a visit to the vet for the snip snip and also the snip of these funny claws on his back legs called dew claws which seem to be there for no other reason than getting caught on everything. He was understandably feeling sorry for himself on the first day buy in less than 12hours is back to his usual self.

Post castration the instructions are to not let your dog jump or run for at least three days. He was zooming up the the set of eight steps to the deck racing around the house up and down, escaping out the front door for a leisurely roam around the neighbourhood while I tried to track him down. He thought this was a game and would wait till I got within a foot of him then would take off. He managed to tear the cone off his head, but not before he had chewed both bandages from his feet (whilst the cone was still on) and then got his whole back leg in his mouth and had a good old chew on his stitches.

He has been sleeping inside since his surgery so we could better watch him and discourage him from ripping his sutures resulting in a expensive trip back to the vet. This morning he thought he would really try his luck and milk this whole sick deal and jump on the bed. He is so extremely cuddly like a big teddy bear so we let him snuggle in by our feet. For that kind gesture he thanked us by vomiting on my pillow two chunks of bone, a hunk of plastic off the scrubbing brush and a wad of dental floss the size of a golf ball.

He also stole a massive piece of steak from the bench, two donuts and a piece of wool. They say castration should calm them down, no sign of that yet.

Maybe it would help if I disciplined him instead of taking photos to show Ben.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cupcake Day

August the 30th is SPCA cupcake day. I love cupcakes and cant wait to bake some and decorate them with cute animal themes. I am thinking rabbit ones with marshmallow ears and licoricce whiskers. Chocolate paw prints. Any other ideas?

We then walk around town and sell them, everything goes to the SPCA of your choice which you register online. I think cupcake day is a pretty awesome idea because I don't know many people who don't like cupcakes!

Ben is running a cupcake day at his work office, isnt he cool. All proceeds will go to our local SPCA. I have taken a few photos of the resident canines to help incase the look of the scrummy cupcakes is'nt enough to attract buyers. Thought I would upload a few here so you can see how incredibly cute they all are.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Hmmmmm well I havent visited here as often as I intended, but none the less I am back with camera in hand.

A lot has been going on since I last updated. I am bubbling with excitement as I have sold five pairs of fingerless gloves through the Bounty and I have just had my first two sales through felt of my felted scarves. Super super excited.

It feels really cool to have someone buy my creations and even cooler because I am having so much fun.

I have been really enjoying helping out at the local SPCA and am getting organised for cupcake day on the 30th of August to raise fund for the Thames SPCA. Above is few pics of what I have been working on. I am selling under the name DamsonMoss in felt and etsy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

More baking and a little crafting

I am really missing our camera. Blogging just isn't fun with out the photos. I have borrowed my parents to take some photos of the scarves I am making to upload to felt to sell but I cant seem to get a good photo or focus it. I did manage to get some yummy looking photos of these buns.

I am very excited that I got up courage to show my scarves and was so happy that they will now be sold here at Bounty. It is a lovely shop full of so many beautiful NZ handmades. The owner is extremely friendly and encouraging but is also very specific about what she will have in her shop, so woohoo I passed . She will be stocking some of my alpaca scarves and some fingerless gloves. It is so fun making labels and getting things ready.

These cinnamon rolls are so sticky and just the right amount of sweetness, it is very hard to stop at just one. Definitely not something to make often if you have little self control. I am usually the the sweet tooth but Ben out did me and has eaten five today! I got the recipe from here.

I love this cake stand that I got for my last birthday from Mum and Dad. Such a thoughtful gift. It constantly sits on my bench and often I just bake something so I can put it in there and just admire it looking all pretty and posh. Of course the eating of whatever is in there is a bonus.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Felt and Creme brulee

I have been busy felting scarves. I am using alpaca and merino fibre. I think they are good but it is so hard to know and I feel very critical of them when thinking I intend for other people to possibly buy them. I have never sold anything I have made and I am really scared if someone does happen to buy one they will complain about the quality or something. It is really hard to judge your own work from the point of view from someone elses perspective ie what would you pay for them etc

I did plan on posting some photos and if there was the possibility that I was not the only one visiting here I might get some feedback. But I have lost the freaking camera charger!! So that will have to wait.

I did manage to take some pic's of last nights pudding before the camera died. I love food and food photos. This space has no real theme but it seems food seems to feature here a lot.

Creme brulee is my favourite dessert. Last week I tried to make a dairy free alternative for Ben who is lactose intolerant, poor poor him. I used coconut cream, lime and passionfruit. It was yum but for some reason the sugar wouldn't crisp up. With straight cream they were oh so delicious, the sugar was a little over crisped but was lovely and crunchy.

Harper thought they looked good, this photo never ceases to crack me up, he is a crazy dog.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Koru ice - ice cream love

When we were in wellington I was reading the dominion post and found a review of a New Zealand ice cream company called Koru Ice. They have received awards for there innovative and yummy original recipes. Such as easter bun, Christmas pudding and pumpkin spice. I love trying new things and was really excited to see that they were only just down the road. We pulled up to the shop on the side of the main highway that with its almost psychedelic yellow exterior did not look like the home of gourmet ice cream.

There was so many flavours, cranberry and apple, quince, pineapple lump, peanut butter, apple and cinnamon, rhubarb, chocolate and so many more they were either a gelato, sorbet or organic ice cream.

For only $2.50 I had a waffle cone with a massive scoop of organic pumpkin spice ice cream. I have been craving pumpkin pie for a while. This ice cream not only tasted like the best pumpkin pie I have ever tasted but by far the best ice cream.

The next day I went back and there was even more of a selection. This time for only $2.00 I got pumpkin spice and apple and cinnamon.

You all better get in quick because there is no way this ice cream is going to stay this cheap once the masses find out. I cant wait to go back and try the newest flavour which is kumara and caramel.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scaredy Cat

This morning was my first time volunteering at the local SPCA. I have been allocated to the dog section so along with another volunteer we wash out all the sleeping places, empty and replace water, feed the dogs. Pick up poop from everywhere and hang out with the dogs and puppies. You enter one of the big enclosures and about four dogs bowl you over in welcome. They are jumping on your front, on your back, front legs on your shoulders. There was a friendly nip or two but so many lovely cuddles. I will have to be very careful too not fall in love with them all and create my own dog sanctuary at home, becoming the crazy dog lady who only communicates in barks!

They were short on people so I also cleaned out the cat enclosures. My first encounter with cats was at age five. I awoke to my fish I was taking along to pet day floating on top of the tank. Mum packed me off with an ice cream container of snails but later came along with a cute little grey kitten. Looks can be deceiving. I never bonded with Saidy the cat and was more scared of her than anything. She became my sisters cat and our only link was the times she would wait on the steps and claw my ankles as I stepped down, scratch me from under the kitchen table, pounce on my moving foot under the blankets sinking her claws in and the multitude of hair that would cover everything causing double bung eyes and my skin to itch. The photo above is of when she is older and I tried to buy her love by sharing the leftovers of my breakfast, if allowed she would lick the butter off your toast and drink your tea.

There was some beautiful kittens at the SPCA that looked in need of a cuddle and I have just read the book Cleo by Helen Brown so thought I would give being a 'cat person' another go. It did not end well. Cats paws can move like lightening bolts!! There claws are like filleting knives. With scratched up hands and one cat escaped and hiding behind the washing machine I admitted defeat and said I would stick with the dogs. I am seriously a scaredy cat!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


These two fat kererus were hanging out in our garden yesterday. We see lots of tui's and kereru's around but these two looked particularly well fed. Are'nt they beautiful and plump. They almost look to big to be flying so gracefully through the air and perching up high on flimsy branches. Don't worry I did not break any laws and they are still flying plump and free but I did have a thought that I could totally see why they were historically the equivalent of roast chicken.

I read about ceramic drawing/painting here and was keen to give it a go. I bought two pens at spotlight, black and peacock. I got the milk jug and sugar bowl at a farmers sale and had a go at making them a bit prettier. I really love the final result, and the whole process was so simple. The picture on the milk jug is inspired by a pattern from a paper cutting website, that I painted free hand on to the jug and the sugar bowl is just a simple vine. I think the milk jug is really sweet.

At the farmers sale I also picked up this gigantic cup and saucer. I was in the midst of a bit of 60% off histeria and couldn't seem to control myself. It has made a really cool herb pot though.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Adaptation of the food pyramid

Baking is not always such a good idea, so far florentines have served as lunch yesterday and breakfast this morning. I suppose you could say it is a balanced meal with 'good fats' from the nuts, dried strawberries could scrape by as fruit and dark chocolate for a healthy heart.

Here is the recipe,(adapted from two different recipes) it makes meal time fun!!

115grams of dried or glazed fruit
345grams of nuts
1/3 cup (45grams) plain flour
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (100grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (120mls) honey
Melted dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius

Place your selection of nuts on baking paper and bake till roasted. I used macadamias and almonds. Cool, roughly chop and set aside.

Chop the fruit and add to the nuts. I used dried strawberries because I don't like glace cherries or mixed peel but you could use any dried or candied fruit.

Add flour, allspice and nutmeg

Heat sugar and honey till sugar dissolves. Place dessert spoonful sizes on baking paper and bake in oven till golden.

Spread melted chocolate on one side.

Eat for breakfast lunch and tea