Tag Archives: autumn

Little joys and cake

My children will be home in a couple of hours. Hugs and excitement and piles of dirty washing will abound! So I am enjoying my last few moments of peace and looking forward to the love that will run through the airline arrival gates. I have friends who say ‘You must miss them so much’ when they are away. I do. But it isn’t an ache-that-can’t-be-filled sort of missing, it is the quiet gaps that highlight their absence. I have had four years to get used to them being absent for a few days or a couple of weeks at a time. I know that when they are with their father, or their grandparents, they are loved, cared for, secure in their place in the world and as safe as they are when they are with me. Instead of being sad I get to just savour a small piece of time for myself. The change to proper autumn weather has meant lovely colours, crisp mornings, and a snuggly bed, all of which has added to that feeling of having a little bubble of time for me.


You would think that after four years I would be good at arranging to fill the time when they are away with all the exciting grown up things I miss out on when I am being a full time single parent. Wrong. While they have been away I have had one lovely dinner with friends, and have done nothing else social! I have started watching a DVD of the TV series ‘Revenge” that a friend lent me, which gave me time to crochet and build on my afghan, but that is about it in terms of being wild and crazy! I am okay with that though. I have put in 10 and 11 hour days in the office to catch up on some big issues I needed to work on, I have sewn, and have tried to get a few credits in the sleep bank! So I think I have used my time well, and am ready to face the return to their routine, school, winter sports, pottery classes, running club, medical appointments, lost lunchboxes, etc!

I had a little bit of joy yesterday when I won the ‘tastiest cake’ competition being run in my office as a fundraiser for Legacy, a charity that supports families of our defence services. I made a Raspberry Ripple Cake – a recipe I found in a magazine 10 years ago that has never failed me (well – except the time when, sleep deprived and pregnant, I put bicarb soda in by mistake). I was so excited to win (a gift voucher for a cake decorating shop) that I announced it at my team meeting – talk about immodest!

So – I thought I would share the recipe with you.

 300g frozen raspberries (thawed slightly)
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
 125g unsalted butter, softened
 1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23cm spring-form tin.  Place raspberries in a bowl and lightly crush them, reserving a  tablespoon of their juice to make the icing.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.  Cream butter and sugar in a separate bowl, and then stir in eggs.  Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream, mixing  well after each addition.  Spoon about a third of the cake mix into the tin, then spoon over half  the crushed raspberries and any remaining juice. Repeat with the next  third of the cake mix and the rest of the raspberries, and then top with  the remaining cake mix.  Bake for 50 minutes – the cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the  centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool before turning out and icing.  To make the icing, add the melted butter to the reserved tablespoon of  raspberry juice. Slowly stir in the sifted icing sugar until the icing  is a nice runny consistency and spoon over the cake.

Another little highlight was a lovely evening of reminiscing with my sister, her husband, and friends online after we learnt that a house that we had lived in while we were studying at University had burnt down (which was sad as it was a lovely Federation cottage, but not too bad as no one was hurt).  My parents owned it when we lived there, but we shared it with friends, and it remained as a rental for some time after that, so there were many years of great stories to share.  As my brother-in-law said – it feels like yesterday, but it was 25 years ago.  So nice to have a trip down memory lane with so many laughs (many at each others expense!)

I also managed some sewing – some pencil rolls and an art folder as part of an order for my sister. Once again I was reminded of how much I find sewing to make me feel good about the world. How lucky am I?



To add to my list of joys, today is a public holiday, ANZAC Day, and I have tomorrow off work to spend the day with the children, so I have a four day weekend!    Time to play, sew and prepare for the return to school.

I hope that you have found some little joys in your week so far.

Autumn planning

Autumn has finally hit Canberra – it is dark when I get home from work, there are piles of leaves everywhere, and last night I turned on the central heating for the first time this year.  The first frost is predicted for tomorrow morning, and the way that the air feels this morning, I believe it!  It has been snowing in the mountains and the wind is carrying that icy feel very effectively.

This week I had a day trip to Melbourne for work.  The meetings were extremely worthwhile, and I managed to see a beautiful friend for 10 minutes before heading to the airport on the principle that 10 minutes was better than not seeing her at all!  I took my green bag and it had the traditional airline lounge photograph but I have to say that amongst all the traditional Melbourne black and grey it did stand out as I was striding about the city with my glamorous companions.

Then on Thursday I attended the beginner resin workshop I mentioned in my last post.  I loved it!  It was amazing to see the different products that each of us produced when we were all presented with the same options in materials, colours, shapes etc.  I decided to go for a sea feel so used a transparent green tint, with a blue metallic powder (love) and then a swirl of a rich blue at the end.  Although I can see where I can improve on buffing the end results, I was completely delighted with the colour results!  So if any of you are in the Canberra region I highly recommend checking out the Canberra Creatives site – not only do they have great classes, but there is a mega craft day at the Downer Community Centre on 4 May that looks amazing.


So after a week of interrupted evenings and some fairly long days in the office, trying to manage the ever increasing workload, by Friday night I was ready to collapse in a pile when I got home.  However, after doing a bit of tidying up and sorting through little piles that had collected, it occurred to me that what I needed was some sewing (of course!!).  I have been struggling with getting to the quilt I started for the boy last year, and have been feeling all of those pointless emotional responses like guilt, avoidance, etc.  So last night I pulled out what I have done, came up with a plan, and starting sewing and cutting.  I am working on having 6 large blocks that I will then join with sashing, and then make up any size shortfall with a border.


This quilt is a classic example of what not to do – I didn’t have a plan when I started, hadn’t calculated block sizes, and kept changing my mind at each point.  I don’t love the result – but can live with it, and am filing it away as a lesson learnt.  The next quilt will have a design and a plan, and will probably be much more fulfilling to make!  This one will end up like an explosion of colour and pattern and be very scrappy – but I know that at the end of the day the boy will love it, no matter what, because I made it, just for him, and with love.

The rest of the weekend is looming before me, full of possibility.  In fact so much possibility that I am almost (but not quite) frozen with indecision!  I want to make a Tova tunic dress from some lovely fine corduroy (the cold weather is pushing me that way!), to start on orders that my sister sent me when she heard that I was finished the last batch (thanks sis!), and to make a bag design I have been playing with in my head.  On the practical front I need to clean out the children’s wardrobes for the seasonal change over, clean out their toy boxes before they return so that things can disappear to someone who will use them, and attend to a bit more de-cluttering.  So much to do and so little time – I think I will start with a cup of tea and contemplate it all!

I hope that you have a great weekend, whatever you are doing.