Prepping

Im not a prepper. I guess im more of a boy scout, be prepared. There have been times in my life where im left out on a limb and wonder why on earth i wasnt more prepared. The power goes out and we all flounder, cant boil water, cant cook, cant charge our phones. I think we rely on technology and modern conveniences too much. We can duck down the shop when ever we like, run 20 things in the house at once. Well i love it lol I do. Modern conveniences are excellent but i also think that you need a back up plan. So yesterday i went online and got me some oil lamps. I have always loved the ones my grandparents have up on a shelf at the farm. Not used but still charming. They also had a wood burning stove which heated the water too (we installed a hot water system and electric oven when my nan passed as its not practical to keep it burning all day).

Anyway, the oil lamps are darn hard to find. I have checked a few op shops with no luck and the ones i have seen online are a bit flowery and glass and old ladyish. I wanted trendy metal ones. Then i found these!

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How super cute are they. They only stand 8′ tall and i thought they could be great at bbqs on the tables. So cute. They were cheap too at $10 a piece. Only problem, they are in America. Postage was $50! so i got 4 with some oil and spare wicks to make the postage worth it. Cant wait until they arrive and i hope they are ok because the only review on them said that the bottom stuck to the bubble wrap as the color came off the glass…I was willing to take the risk for them as i have never seen any as cute as these. ( i secretly also thought they would work on the tables of a wedding *cough cough*)

I got them from here if you want to grab a set for yourself 🙂 And i got the aladdin oil as it seems to be the one with no odour even after a while of burning. Might see about using citronella oil too for bbqs.

Breastfeeding

I find myself bombarded everyday with images of women breastfeeding. On social media, on the TV. Women claiming that they have the right to feed in public, that its the most wonderful thing in the world. That those who dont breastfeed are disadvantaging their children. Well folks. I wanted to tell you my own story. Because breastfeeding is the best thing for your child but frankly not everyone is able to feed and we shouldnt be made to feel inferior for it.

When Rue was born he went straight to the nursery due to a low temp and low blood sugar. I didnt get to see him for a full day. When i did he had been fitted with a nasal feeding tube because his nose had been compressed in the womb and he wasnt able to breath through it. This was a temporary problem that would right it self in a few days. Until then they had to start him on formula. Due to a traumatic labour i was bed bound for the first two days. Rue was brought to me on the evening of the first day and i tried to breastfeed him but he couldnt breathe and feed so wouldnt latch. I expressed into a syringe a few times a day which the nurses gave him before his formula.

On the third day i was aloud out of bed in a wheel chair so could only go and see him when my partner was in the hospital which was about 3 times a day. They gave me the use of their breastpump but i could only use it when i was in the nursery. I expressed about 10ml of colustrum each time. It was not much as due to my haemorrhage my body was busy trying to make blood rather than milk. The nurses said it was a really good effort to get that much in my condition. On the forth day he got his tube out and i tried him on the boob again. He could latch but wouldnt suck and quickly pulled away. On the sixth day we went home. I continued pumping with my home pump and got about 20-40mls each time in about an hour of pumping, It was time consuming and exhausting for my body which was still trying to heal. I tried to breastfeed him everyday but he now wouldnt latch and would scream every time i tried. After 2 weeks my supply had gone down to 20ml a day. I knew i couldnt keep it up. At three and a half weeks i packed the pump away. I felt terrible. I felt like i had failed my little man. Im nearly in tears now thinking about it. At one month i made one last effort and bought nipple shields thinking he might think it was his bottle. Nope. Hated them. So that was that.

My baby was happy, gaining weight and healthy. I had to accept that. Alot of women are in the same position as me. I have friends who were in tears daily because they couldnt breastfeed. They tried everything.  Some went to clinics for weeks to try get their babies to feed. They ate special diets, lactation cookies, went on medication to increase supply. They battle masatitis and thrush. All because we have it drilled into us that we have to breastfeed. Well you know what. I think thats a horrible thing to do to new mothers. Its hard enough without laying that much pressure on us. Sure breast is best but if you cant, if its affecting your mental or physical health then we need to be accepting of formula. As mothers we should not pressure other mothers to breastfeed. We should be 100% accepting of formula feeding babies. Dont shove breast is best campaigns in our faces. Dont look pityingly at us when we tell you we formula feed. Dont tell me that statistically my child will be dumber than breastfed babies, dont tell me that he will be sickly because he didnt get my immunities. My baby is healthy and happy and there is NO benefit to making us feel like crap about a decision that we did for the health of our selves and our babies. The decision is hard enough without shoving breastfeeding guilt trips in our face everyday. I guess you could say that breast is best campaigns have actually gone one step too far. In trying to get us all to breastfeed they have alienated those who cant. Much like the feminist movement that gave us so many options but now its considered a controversial decision to be a stay at home mum. We have to justify a decision that used to be the norm.

So stop and think before judging. Even if you didnt mean it your words and actions can cut. And dont worry if you read this and think im talking about you, none of my friends do this, its mostly a side affect to being a member of mothers groups where there are alot of opinions floating around.

Quilt in a week

I actually could have finished this in a day but, well, i have a 4month old baby lol This is for my step brother who became a father on the weekend. I meant to make it a few weeks ago but never got around to it. I went for simple. Squares, polyester batting which i already had and some backing leftover from Rues quilt. Im sorry to say that when i was quilting it the fabric bunched on the back. Not sure if i will give it to them now…I also ran into a few hurdles. When i was sewing the rows together i realised that some rows were one square short. I couldnt work out why until i realised that when i was laying them out on the floor the dogs were jumping on them so i was piling them up to one side, but the later rows i was piling up next to the other piles and forgot that that meant i was one square down because the piles were piled on their last square…does that make sense? Then when i was quilting it the needle bent and snapped! I went slower after that and avoided the edges which were thicker from excess batting. Not my best work but still a cute play mat.

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Frozen Ciabatta garlic bread

My fave pizza place does the best garlic bread because its on ciabatta bread which is yum by itself but great with garlic and butter! Sadly BD got food poisoning last time we had it and refuses to go there again. So i thought i would try whip up a batch myself. How hard can it be?

Ciabatta Garlic Bread

What is different to Ciabatta and regular bread is that this has a sponge. Combine one cup flour with 1/8 tsp yeast and 1/2 cup room temp water. Mix and cover with glad wrap then set aside for 8-24hrs. Best to do this the night before.

Next day: Add 2 cups flour, 1.5 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp yeast, 3/4 cup water and half a cup milk both at room temp to the sponge mix. The recipe actually calls for rapid rise yeast but as i havent been able to find it i assume its an american product. Mix it all together with the paddle attachment on your mixer (or by hand) on low until combined then on med for 3-4mins. Then change to the dough hook and kneed for 10mins on med (or kneed on bench). Dough will be sticky.

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Cover with gladwrap and leave to rise for an hour. Spray a scraper (or spatula) with cooking spray. Insert it into the edge of the bowl and pull the side of the dough up and over being careful not to deflate the dough. Turn the bowl 90deg and repeat. Do this a total of 8 times so the whole dough has been stretched and turned. Replace gladwrap and leave for 30 mins. Repeat this step once more, leaving to rise for 30mins again. Turn it out onto a well floured sheet of baking paper being careful not to knock the air out of it.

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Cut it in two and place each piece cut side up on the baking sheet. Flour the top of each well. Poke the dough down until each piece is about 12×4 (or loaf shapped). Fold each short side over like you would fold a letter in thirds. Turn so the seam side is down. Flour well and cover with glad wrap then leave for 30mins.

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Poke them out again until they are 12×4 again. Spray with water and bake at 230c for 5mins spraying with water twice more during this 5mins. Bake for a further 20-30mins until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for atleast 1hr. Slice nearly all the way through, leaving the base intact, then spread a mix of 2tsp butter with 1tsp garlic into slits. Wrap with a double layer of gladwrap then a layer of tinfoil and freeze. Will freeze well for up to a month. To reheat remove plastic and place in oven at 180c until heated through. About 10-15mins. OR 6-8mins if thawed.

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This smells incredible during all stages. I love that yeasty smell. Mine didn’t get the big bubbles like the recipe said which may have been because i didn’t use the fast rise yeast. Still looks and tastes great though!

Photoshop

Photoshop has received a bad name over recent years. I personally love it but i dont use it to change how people look, i use it to turn happy snaps into framed photos. I remove powerlines, drink bottles, pimples. Little things that distract from the main subject. All of my pictures of Rue are taken on my phone as happy snaps, not posed. This means that they often have odd backgrounds, he isnt wearing neutral clothes and there are things in the frame that i would rather weren’t. So i thought i would take you through how i changed this happy snap to one of my favourite pictures of Rue and BD.

This is the original image from my phone. You will notice the background is the TV with credits from the Simpsons rolling.

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The first thing i did was use the clone tool on the black and using it to swipe over the credits so that it looks like the background is solid black. I didnt use the paint tool for this because its not actually true black and it can make the people look odd when you change the background color too much.

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Next i wasnt sure what to do with his clothes. I knew i wanted to keep this image in color because the contrast of BDs skin against Rues pale skin and the black background looked really good. First I tried to use the clone tool again to take out the cars on his onesie but it wasnt working well. Then i used the paint tool on 75% opacity to paint over it. This sort of worked but it took out the wrinkles and shaddow which made it look fake. I tried using the sharpening tool to make the edges more solid and not glow but it took out some of the detail.

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I strongly suggest saving each stage as a separate image so you can go back if you dont like your changes. So i closed this image and opened the file with just the background changed. Next i tried a different tact. I used the lasso tool to select his onesie then the wand to add and subtract selected parts until i only had his onesie selected. Then i used the color and saturation to remove the color. I love the effect. The grey cars are now more of a background then a feature. They work well against BDs tattoo too, (which are 2 of his 6 nieces names, not ex girlfriends).

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And vola, the final image. I think its a new favourite. Its not perfect but it meets my needs 🙂