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Monday, November 30, 2009

Stairway Christmas Stockings

G'day from Oz sweet friends! Thanks for dropping by to visit me in my little corner of the world Down Under.

Today I had a sick little boy at home with me so I didn't get time to do much decorating. Alastair has a summer cold and he was quite miserable about being home...that was until I suggested that we make some cookie batter! We decided to make the dough for the Sugar Cookie Cut outs that I included in my last post. It is in the fridge now so will we will cut out the shapes tomorrow...I will let you know how we go!
After we made the cookie dough Alastair decided that we should hang our Christmas stockings and so that is what we did. So today's Met Monday post is about our stairway Christmas stockings

Stairway Christmas Stockings, Natasha in Oz


We have just had our house painted and the staircase area is bare and very boring at the moment. Eventually I would like to decorate our staircase walls just like Susan's staircase (I told you her blog is fantastic!) I was really inspired by her  post about her staircase so I think I might try out some of her ideas in the new year-thanks for the great idea Susan! Anyway, here is a picture of our very bland stair case. Please don't look at the broken light -we are getting it replaced soon!

Stairway Christmas Stockings, Natasha in Oz

Like I said....Boring!

Here is our Stairway Christmas Stocking display! Still a little bland but at least it is a bit more festive.


We have collected our Christmas stockings over the years on our travels.

This is Alastair's stocking adorning our Festive Staircase! He bought it just after he met Sponge Bob himself at Universal studios!

Stairway Christmas Stockings, Natasha in Oz


Mr Attorney's stocking was a gift from our dear American friends, the ones who are arriving very soon from Cleveland to spend Christmas with us.

Stairway Christmas Stockings, Natasha in Oz


Madeleine bought her stocking last year at Harrods!

Stairway Christmas Stockings, Natasha in Oz


My stocking is from New York-Isn't Minnie looking lovely as Lady Liberty?

Stairway Christmas Stockings, Natasha in Oz

Here is one last view of the staircase...

Stairway Christmas Stockings, Natasha in Oz

Next year I will do a Met Monday post on the transformation of our staircase but until then, thanks for checking out my Stairway Christmas Stockings and for visiting me here at Natasha in Oz

I'd better go and check on my little patient. Have a great week!

Best wishes always,

Natasha In Oz 

Please join me each weekend for the Say G'day Saturday Linky Party!
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Friday, November 27, 2009

I'm dreaming of a white.....cookie!

I hope that all of my American friends had a beautiful Thanksgiving. I made a Thanksgiving feast for my family but was so busy and flustered I forgot to take photos of the table and the food. I am so angry because I found some great recipes from the November issue of BHG ("A Thanksgiving Celebration with Friends").

The pictures below come from the BHG website and if you click on the link you will go directly to the recipe.

Along with the turkey I made the Chardonnay Glazed Carrots.

The hint of Cinnamon was truly delightful! I used Maggie Beer's Verjuice in this recipe.


This was unbelievable! I have never had marshmallows with sweet potatoes before...what a taste sensation!

I also made some Brussels sprouts with bacon and, of course, lots of green beans. My mum made mashed potatoes and my Mother-in-law made stuffing balls (I ran out of steam and just couldn't make stuffing/dressing...maybe next year).

For the first time in my life I made pastry and this was made to go with the Pecan-Cranberry Tart

This tart was so delicious and I really loved the addition of the cranberries.

Before we ate we all gave thanks for something (Big Al gave thanks for chocolate...) and then the feasting began! I was so happy with how everything turned out and these recipes really were really delicious.

But now that Thanksgiving is over I still feel like I need to bake-I am on a roll in my new kitchen!
I think I should try to broaden my baking horizons though, so I think I am going to make some cookies!! Some of my regular readers might already know that I never usually have time to bake and cook at this time of year because I would normally be marking papers, writing report cards and going to end of year functions for my school and for my kid's school. Since I am a SAHM now, I am going to bake and bake and bake!!!

Here are some cookie recipes that I found on BHG.com and they look quite manageable. Thank you Better Homes and Gardens- I love your magazine and website!

If you click on the name of the cookie you will go straight to the recipe.

Spritz Blossoms

 
These look simple, elegant and very cute!

Chai "Spice Girls"

 
How cute are these? Move over Gingerbread boys!

Nut rings 

Chocolate Crinkles

 

White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

 
These look so festive and Christmassy don't they!

Cinnamon Wreaths

 
Must get a wreath cookie cutter

Sugar Cookie Cutouts 

 
This recipe comes from Diabetic living on-line

I can't wait to start baking these little cuties!
Before I get ready for my glass of Friday night wine I just want to thank my beautiful friend Nat from Girls are made of sugar and spice. She has given me 2 lovely awards!


Thank you my friend! Keep cooking up a storm and posting your delicious recipes!

I would like to pass these awards on to 2 new blogging friends. These beautiful people have great blogs and I love going to visit them. I hope that the beautiful Jill from Woodsy Ivy will accept the Happy Mama award because she is such a wonderful Mum who is truly devoted to her family and that Tammy from A Doctor in the House will accept the Honest Scrap award. Tammy's blog is full of great pictures of her beautiful home and family. Please go and visit them if you haven't already met them.
Coincidentally, as I am acknowledging my blogging friends, Dr Weil has also posted some very interesting information today about friends.


Dr Weil has highlighted the fact that studies show that social connections can result in good health and even prolonged survival among patients with very serious diseases. Dr Weil refers to one study of 75 medical students which found that those who were lonely had more sluggish natural killer cells than students who were social. Dr Weil also suggests that people who have companion animals have less illness than people who do not. Thank goodness for friends!

So, thank you friends for coming to spend 5 minutes with me today. I hope that you have a safe and happy weekend and if you need some recipes for any left-over turkey click here and you will find some great ideas at Epicurious.com.

Best wishes,
Natasha In Oz


The thing I'm most thankful for right now is elastic waistbands. Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three Pop Art Nutcrackers

As many of you know I love Christmas and started decorating our house for Christmas a couple of weeks ago. I started collecting nutcrackers 3 years ago and I would love to show them to you today.

Nutcrackers have been around since about the 15th Century and they usually always have a large mouth which can be opened by a lever at the back. These days we associate nutcrackers with the beautiful fairy-tale ballet which is always performed around this time of year. ETA Hoffman wrote a story called "The Nutcracker and The Mouse King" which was then adapted by Alexandre Dumas and Tchaikovsky composed the score for the ballet version of the story in 1892. 




I have only got three nutcrackers but, since I have 3, I am going to join Three or More Tuesday over at Tams's place and since my Nutcrackers have some red in them I will be linking to Ruby Tuesday over at Mary's Place, The Work of the Poet.

So, here are my Nutcrackers



This was my very first nutcracker
 
He is only a short little fellow!

Here is No 2! He is very talented-he can play the drum and the tambourine at the same time!

Here is this year's soldier-he has a very happy face I think!

Aren't they a handsome bunch!

I think they are so fabulous that they should become Pop Art Icons for Nutcrackers everywhere..


 Do you like my Andy Warhol Nutcrackers!? Aren't they gorgeous!


I am having so much fun playing around at Big Huge Labs!  If you haven't been there yet you must go over  and have some fun experimenting with your photos!

Here is another Big Huge Labs creation based on the work of David Hockney. It is a picture of the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Centre that I took in 2004.


You will have so much fun over at Big Huge Labs!


Many thanks Tam and Mary for having me today and thank you all for coming to spend 5 minutes with me today. I loved seeing you!

Best wishes always,
Natasha.

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.  W.T. Ellis

Monday, November 23, 2009

A change is as good as a holiday...isn't it?

Hello and welcome to Natasha in Oz!

I am sure many of my dear American friends are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. We will be having a little Thanksgiving dinner at our house on Thursday and I am trying to find an easy recipe for Pecan pie so I will be visiting many of you very soon. If you have any good recipes please let me know-I would be SO VERY grateful!!! I am even going to try and make the pastry from scratch!

Well, another metamorphosis has taken place at my house so I would like to share some pictures with you for today's Met Monday post.

So, we finally got our bar-stools for the breakfast bar but our dining area is only small so the stools were bumping into the dining chairs and the room was feeling a bit claustrophobic. Here is a picture of the space before the stools.

Our antique Chinese sideboard looks lovely against that wall but I am just not sure.....

Here is another view looking into our lounge area from the dining area (before we got our new window treatments).....


And another view; this was from my first ever Tablescape!

Here comes the metamorphosis...I thought that maybe the space could be better utilized if I moved the Chinese sideboard and moved the dining table and chairs around. Just a few little changes.....


 

What do you think? Who was the wise person who said that a change is as good as a holiday?

I really like this new arrangement and the sideboard is the perfect height for the wall I placed it against.

Now, to decorate the sideboard.....

My youngest sister and her husband just gave us this gorgeous Royal Albert Santa Cookie Jar! Isn't it cute!


My parents gave me this cake stand for my birthday-it is filled with spiced muffins and minced fruit pies.

Here is one final look at the newly decorated sideboard in its new home!

I think I will leave it like this for now...well until I feel like another change....What do you think of our re-arranged dining/kitchen area? 

Thanks so much for visiting today and for spending time with me in my little corner of the world Down Under!

Best wishes,
Natasha In Oz 

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oh Christmas tree....

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.  Larry Wilde The Merry Book of Christmas



 






 

 Above images all from Country Living

 Hope you are all having a lovely weekend. See you Monday!

Best wishes,
Natasha.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Maddy's Tablescape Thursday & Foodie Friday

Welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting me in my little corner of the world Down Under!

Today I would like to share some pictures of a table that Maddy set for Tablescape Thursday and a recipe for Foodie Friday. You see, my whole family seem to love visiting blogs just as much as I do and they offer suggestions, creative advice and and lots of input for my blog based on their observations. Maddy decided last week that she would like to do a tablescape for Susan's Tablescape Thursday  and to help me make a salad for Michael's Foodie Friday. She often looks at Susan's blog Between Naps on the Porch so she has seen lots of examples of amazing tables but I haven't yet to introduced her to Michael Lee's Blog Designs by Gollum as cooking doesn't interest her...yet!!! (she is only 12!).

So without any further ado, here are the photos that Maddy took of her Christmas inspired tablescape!




As you can see she used our Christmas placemats and coasters and she used our everyday Strachan silverware.


She also helped with dinner that night. The salad we served was our favorite Oriental Crunchy Noodle Salad.

All you need is:

a packet of crunchy noodles
 

1/2 a Chinese cabbage all chopped up, washed and dried


some grated carrot


and a dressing made of:

1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 white sugar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tspn sesame oil and 1/2 cup olive oil.


Combine all of the dressing ingredients and zap in your microwave or gently simmer on the stove top until the sugar is dissolved. When it is cool, mix with the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the noodles. The noodles have to be added just before serving so they don't go all mushy and soft!



I often throw in some toasted almond or pine nuts and it is sensational with spring onions or salad onions.

We served the salad on our spode plates with a yummy herb crusted salmon and chips:


 

What a delightful family meal we had that night! Mr Attorney and I had a lovely cold glass of sauvignon blanc and the kids had a glass of cranberry juice.




Thank you Maddy for setting this very lovely table and for helping me make dinner- I loved it! I hope we can do it again very soon.

Thank you, dear friends for coming to visit NatashainOz.com-I am so glad you came and thank you Susan and Michael for having me!

Best wishes always,
Natasha.


The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love, for those you are cooking for. Sophia Loren

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