21 December 2010

Attack of the 40ft tomatoes


Tom has been giving me a hard time about having a blog called Grow. Cook. Sew. when I have spent very little time in the past few months doing any of the above! I did have a very good excuse though.


So our poor veggie patch has been completely neglected, but its actually been okay because at the beginning of spring we filled the veggie patch with tomato seeds.. 4 months later we have a veggie patch FULL of tomato plants that are now bigger than me!
I have never seen anything grow so fast in my life.. They are taking over the entire garden.

Bruschetta anyone?

20 December 2010

I want.. I need..

A girl can dream, right?

18 December 2010

A (literal) sea change

I had planned on getting back into the habit of blogging again daily since I am now feeling sooo much better and over the worst of the morning sickness and fatigue. But I have just been so busy trying to get all our home-made christmas presents made and send off in time, and I have been very busy making a life changing decision..

In March next year (which is only 3 months away).. Tom, Sophie, the bump and I will be saying goodbye to our home, our friends and our life in Sydney and moving to sunny PERTH!!!

It is a move that we have thought about on and off over the years and we have finally decided that we are going to do it. Tom's family are all in Perth and have (of course) been encouraging us to make the move for years..

I think it's going to be one of those things where we will look back in a few years and say "Why didn't we do this sooner"..
I hope anyway.

petth 2008
Tom, Sophie and me in Perth 2008

13 December 2010

My week..

A day at the beach..
picnic at the beach

The bump..
the bump

The rainbow butterfly..
the butterfly

One of my favourite things about summer..

Bar Italia..

A trip to the city..
train ride


And one very organised mummy.. (or not)

Does anyone else have their entire life scribbled on bits of paper?

10 December 2010

red sandals

red sandals

I bought these sandals for Sophie and I at the beginning of spring. I have spoken before about my new obsession with the colour red, so of course we both got new red sandals. The only problem is that I can't actually wear mine.. I have super small feet. Small in size and small in width, and these shoes are just way too wide for me.. I look like a clown when I wear them, so I'm not sure what to do.. Anyone want a pair of Size 5 Saltwater sandals? Sob.

Mine are Saltwater sandals from Little Pinwheel.
Sophie's are Scruffy Dog shoes from My Messy Room.

08 December 2010

100% home-made christmas

(Image via Geoparent)

I can't believe how unorganised I am this christmas.. I have not put the tree up, decorated the house or sent out any christmas cards and I have not bought a single christmas present! Usually, I would be freaking out.. (I have 6 brothers and sisters and Tom has 5 sisters so there is usually a very long shopping list*)..

But I am not feeling any pressure at all because Tom and I have decided to do a 100% home-made christmas.. we are not going to buy a single present this year.**

jam labels
(Image via Eat. Drink. Chic.

We are going to make bottles of home-made jam, home-made museli, home-made cordial and home-made cookies to send out to all our family and close friends. If we can get it all done in time, I think it will be excellent.. and something that we can continue to do every year.

I am hoping to make some pretty labels and package them all beautifully. I know that I would love to recieve a yummy home-made item and I hope that all our family and friends will too. So, I guess I should get started..

Ceci n'est pas une jam
(Image my first jam making attempt)

*No, neither of our families are catholic.. My parents each had 3 kids when they met so I have 6 older half brothers and sisters and Tom's parents separated after he was born and his dad went on to have 3 girls with his new wife and his mum went on to have 2 girls with her new husband, so he has 5 younger half sisters.. follow?

**Except for Sophie, who really wants a bike with training wheels!

07 December 2010


The tabloids are onto us..


Thanks so much for your lovely comments about my exciting news. I am starting to feel sooo much better in the past few days.. still a little tired, but no longer bed-ridden and nauseous. Now, I just have to start thinking about Christmas and Sophie's 3rd birthday which is 2 days after Christmas.. Ek!!

P.s Yes, can you imagine how much grief I get about being a Katie married to a Tom.. seriously people, it's not that hilarious.. Although, I do love collecting all the headlines. My favourite is on our fridge..


03 December 2010

I've got the magic..

Well, I can finally share my big secret with you..

Sophie's brother or sister..

I am 14 weeks pregnant today!! Wooo hooo!!

It has been a crazy few months. I have spent the last 8 weeks in bed with severe fatigue and dreadful morning sickness.. I was exactly the same when I was pregnant with Sophie, but I was lucky enough to take 6 weeks off work and spend the entire time in bed. This time however, I had a little one to look after and I have just had to do the best I can..

Sophie has watched more television in the last 2 months than she has in her whole life and my poor husband lived off take away because the smell of cooking anything other than toast would make me feel sick. (Usually Tom would just take over all the cooking, but it just happened to coincide with him being super busy at work which sucked big time.)

However, the worst thing about the last few months has been the sheer terror that I have been living with. After 2 previous miscarriages, I have spent the last few months literally on the verge of going crazy with fear. I was just soooooo worried that something would happen again and I had no idea how I would cope if it did.

But of course, I really can not complain at all.. I feel like I have been so hard done by in the fertility department but I know that next year I will have a newborn and a 3 year old and no one would ever suspect that I have had any problems at all.. I guess sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at the big picture..

So, feel free to have a large glass of champagne (or two) for me tonight!

24 November 2010

The pirate and the skipping rope..

my mini monet
(According to Sophie this is a painting of a pirate with a skipping rope)

15 November 2010


Yes, I have been missing in action, but as of next week I hope to be back here with bells on.

sew la tea do

I took a few well deserved weeks off from everything that was not 100% essential.. including blogging and house cleaning (Tom and I made a deal that as long as the kitchen was tidy and we had some clean clothes to wear, everything else could wait.. and wait it did.. you should see our house, seriously looks like a bomb hit it!)

2010 has been a crazy year.. I spent the entire year either trying to fall pregnant or stay pregnant. My mum had a mastectomy and spent the year having chemo. My dad's health seriously deteriorated and I spent a large part of the year visiting him in hospital and on top of being a full time wife and mum, I thought it would be fun (?) to go back to uni full time!

But, it has also been a brilliant year.. Tom and I both think that having a two year old is the best fun ever.. and we have really settled into family life in the suburbs.
Making the decision to move to the suburbs was one of the best things we ever did. Sure, I miss being able to walk to the beach for a coffee in the morning, but we used to live in an apartment where the only plant we had (accidentally) fell out the window one day and never quite recovered.. now we spent hours in the garden and we pull salad and veggies from the garden almost every night before dinner.. who would of thought?

(Tom reminded me the other day that we had a conversation shortly after Sophie was born, about how we would never move away from the beach, even if we had to live in an apartment with 3 kids for the rest of our life..
Funny how your priorities in life change so much after having kids!)

So, despite a challenging year.. It has still been filled with alot of time doing the things that I love with the people who I love.. and that's really why I started this blog.. to remind myself how lucky I am!

P.s Speaking of how lucky I am, I got my copy of Sew La Tea Do last week and I love it, I want to make everything in it.. Sophie and I went and found some lovely fabric to make the 'miss adorable dress' and I cant wait to get started..

08 November 2010

Up in smoke

I found out on the weekend that my dad has been given 2 months to live.

He has had 5 major heart attacks, throat cancer, an aneurysm in his aorta that required him to have his entire aorta replaced.
He has chronic emphysema and heart failure. He has been in hospital twice this year alone with pneumonia and another 4 times because he can no longer breathe without an oxygen machine.

He has spent the last 60 years smoking a packet a day.

Seriously, If you smoke, you are a fucking IDIOT and I hope that your loved ones don't have to watch you die the most slow and painful death I have ever seen.

03 November 2010

Crown Street Cooks

Tom and I have promised ourselves that we would not buy any more cookbooks. We have a bookshelf full of cookbooks that we love, but it got to a point a few months ago when we both thought.. this is getting a little ridiculous.. there are only so many meals you can make in one lifetime!

However, I might have to make an exception for this cookbook that came out last week, because Crown Street Public School was my primary school and this book looks great.. full of simple, yummy, family recipes.

crown street cooks

Crown Street Public was an awesome primary school. The whole school did half an hour of Tai Chi every morning before class started. Of course, at the time it was the most embarrassing thing ever, but now I think its totally cool.

20 odd years ago Surry Hills was no where near as trendy as it is today, but it was still a very cool place to grow up.
My dad had this huge warehouse on Campbell Street, that was just behind Crown Street Public School. My dad is an architect and the warehouse was his office, but being a typical Dutchman (who can't live without his morning coffee or three) he decided to put a coffee machine and some big tables in the front of the warehouse, so that when clients came in they could all sit down and look over the plans with a real cup of coffee.

The only entrance to the warehouse was a huge roller shutter with no sign. One day a guy who was walking past popped his head in to ask if it was a cafe.. my dad said no, but come in anyway because he makes a pretty damn good cup of coffee. (If you knew my dad, that would not seem weird at all).

To cut a long story short, 6 months later my dad had given up architecture all together and was running a cafe full time that saw 3000 people through the doors every week. All the drawing boards had been replaced with tables. A kitchen had been built and a pool table added. My dad parked his 2 vintage 1969 convertibles in the back of the warehouse and there was live jazz most nights. . and so Sanctuary Studio Cafe was born!

I would walk down every afternoon after school and I have such great memories of hanging out there all afternoon, playing pool and taking orders. It really was the best thing ever because my dad had no intention at all of opening a cafe.. it just happened and he went along with it.

Unfortunately, just before the Sydney 2000 Olympics the whole block- 4 huge warehouses were all bought and pulled down to make way for 800 hideous apartments (no offence if you live at 186 Campbell Street, Surry Hills) and that was the end of an era.
My dad spent some time looking for a new venue, but never managed to find a place that was just right.. and warehouses like that just don't exist anymore.

So my dad went back into architecture. But still to this day, almost anywhere my dad goes, he will have someone stop and ask "where is the new sanctuary?"

20 October 2010

The bird dress

Hello my dear readers (all two of you)! Have you missed me?
It feels like forever since my last post and I'm afraid it will be few and far between posts over the next few weeks as life and other adventures will be getting in the way.. you all know how it is!

bird dress

However, I was very lucky to squeeze in a tiny amount of sewing on the weekend. Its not my usual style of fabric but I have been reading this book called Homemade living by Lotta Jansdotter (flicking through the pictures is probably a more appropriate description) and I have been feeling inspired by all the amazing, bold prints that those clever Swedish are so famous for..

little dumpling

So when a little Swedish meatball craving (don't ask) took Sophie and I to Ikea the other day, I was excited to find this cool monochrome bird print for next to nothing. It is exactly unlike any other fabric I own.. not pretty, not delicate, not vintage inspired, but I like it!

I decided that it would make a cool beach dress/ kaftan for Sophie, so I got to work. I couldn't find a kids kaftan pattern so I used a summer nightgown pattern, which worked fine. (No one will know she is wearing pyjamas to the beach, right?)

"I look like a scarecrow"

And although Sophie was happy to pose on the dining table for me, she did tell me that it was far too big for her and that she looked like "a flippy, floppy scarecrow"! Kids...

13 October 2010

Easy no-knead bread

I love making bread but it is one of those things that is always on my 'to do' list and never actually in the oven.
But when I found this NY times recipe, it looked so easy that I thought I would give it a shot..

no knead bread

There is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread filling the house, and this one is actually baked in a cast iron pot, so it looks amazing when it is pulled out of the oven.. Will definitely be trying this one again.

12 October 2010

Welcome back my friend

I am of course talking about my dear sewing machine that has been neglected for the last week. With all the jam making and sickness around here, I had no time (or energy) to sew.


But, before I could get back to my sewing, I decided to give my fabric cupboard a good tidy up -this was a good idea. What was not a good idea was to leave my mess on the dining room table, so when Tom got home he could see exactly how much fabric I had hidden away!

the sewing/ dining table

Needless to say I may be banned from buying any more fabric for a while!

11 October 2010

The cook and the chef

Anyone who knows Tom and I, knows that Tom is the master chef around here. He is just one of those people who is naturally good at cooking. He just seems to have this uncanny ability to know exactly what needs to go together to taste good!
Not only is he good at cooking, but he loves to cook. I would not be exaggerating if I was to tell you that he spends at least 3 hours in the kitchen on any given Saturday or Sunday. (during the week I do all the cooking, but the weekend is all his).

To give you an idea of the difference in our cooking style.. If I come home and find some tuna steaks in the fridge, I will make grilled tuna and steam some veggies to go with it. Dinner = done!
Tom, however, will make seared tuna with white bean puree on a bed of wilted spinach with a garlic and white wine sauce.. on a weeknight! Seriously.. the man is obsessed! One night last week I found him in the kitchen rolling out fresh pasta at 11pm!

Yesterday I woke up to find him and Sophie making eggs with fried tomatoes and wilted spinach for breakfast (okay, pretty normal). But, then at about 10am he made a dozen blueberry friands. For lunch he whipped up a grilled haloumi salad and then he got started on dinner..

But, what's inside?

This may not look like much, but it is actually a whole leg of lamb that has been slow roasted for 4 hours, then placed on a bed of seared chick peas in beef stock and covered in cous cous, apricots, sultanas and spices. Then it is cooked for another 2 hours and served with garlic yogurt and coriander.. This is Tom's idea of a casual weekend dinner!

spiced lamb

Now, please don't think that I am complaining.. I know I am sooo lucky to have a husband that loves to cook.. but my darling, how about we just order pizza this weekend?!

09 October 2010

The jam session

What a busy week! I spent most of the week in bed and whenever I managed to get up, I was forced into the kitchen to keep making all the goodies I had promised to Sophie's pre-school for their spring fete. I made orange marmalade (that's what all the oranges were for) and lemon cordial..

lemon cordial

The fete went really well, but I am now exhausted, so excuse me while I go and have a very long sit down and a cup of tea!

05 October 2010

Lazy days..

Can you guess what I am making...


Yes, I am slaving away in the kitchen (not really) while Sophie hangs out in the washing basket..

my little possum

And Tom pulls carrots up from the veggie patch..

carrot anyone?

30 September 2010

Who ate the spoon?


I actually made these cupcakes a few weeks ago, just after I had finished my spring cleanse and the funniest thing happened.. they were too sweet for me to eat! Imagine that.. a week and a half without refined sugar and my whole sense of taste had changed (for the better I think).

Of course, the rest of the family was more than happy to have my share, and making them with Sophie is half the fun anyway.


Sophie cleaned the bowl and spatula with her tongue (of course), until I decided that she had had enough chocolate and took them away from her.. That is when I noticed that there was a bite missing from the SPATULA! Yes, that's right, she had started to take bites of the plastic cooking utensil! I grabbed another spatula from the draw only to discover that it had a bite missing too!! What the!?

cheeky monkey

28 September 2010



There is nothing like spending the afternoon in the garden, especially if you happen to be collecting dinner at the same time..

sugar snaps

27 September 2010

She's got the magic

I know I am always the last one to join the party, but have you seen this video?
I LOVE it! The music is pretty cool too.. I downloaded the song from itunes and it has been played several million times already!

24 September 2010

Any excuse will do..

The best thing about doing lots of sewing for the Kids Clothes Week Challenge...

size 2


Is that you have an excuse to buy lots of lovely new fabrics...

i heart fabric

How cool is the teacup print?

Hope you all have an excellent weekend!

23 September 2010

Rustic Greek Pie

There are a handful of recipes that we call the 'Porter family favourites'.. and this is one of them. Its so delicious and very easy to make..

spinach+ feta pie


450g packet of frozen spinach
1 sheet of shortcrust pastry (or you can make your own)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
100g haloumi cheese, grated
120g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon oregano sprigs
2 eggs
60mls (1/4 cup) cream
lemon wedges, to serve


1. Preheat oven to 210 degrees Celsius
2. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the spinach
3. Place the pastry on a baking tray and spread the spinach in the middle leaving a 3cm border around the edge
4. Sprinkle the garlic over the spinach followed by the feta and haloumi
5. Sprinkle with oregano and season well
6. Cut a short slit in each corner of the pastry and fold each side in to form a border around the pastry
7. Lightly beat the eggs with the cream and pour the mixture over the spinach and cheese filling
8. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set
9. Serve with lemon wedges (and a big salad)

This recipe now takes me about 5 minutes to make and you can also try other variations like feta and ricotta (I usually use whatever we have in the fridge at the time)..

I hope it become one of your family favourites too..

21 September 2010

And so, we sew

I usually save all my sewing for after hours when the little one is fast asleep and I can relax with a cup of tea, Cat Power and my sewing machine.
But, lately I have been very busy with the sewing (remind me not to volunteer my novice services for a pre-school fete again) so I have been trying to fit in some sewing during the day.

toddler sewing

The problem is that Sophie is not happy to read books or play blocks while I sew, she wants to do exactly the same thing as me (of course). So, I have been setting her up next to me with some felt, some thread, a few bobbins and a jar of colourful buttons and she happily plays for about, oh, 5 minutes or so!


Then last week, I saw this wonderful post over at Childhood 101 about a toddler friendly sewing basket. We rode our bike up to the shops and bought some supplies for 'Sophie's special sewing basket' straight away..

And so, now we sew.. together!

20 September 2010

Too much of a good thing

I made one of the first mistakes of an amateur gardener.. I planted all our broccoli seeds on the same day about 4 months ago.. So, you can guess what has happened, Right? Now we have all our broccoli flowering at once!

broccoli salad

I have eaten so much broccoli in the last few days. You name it, I have eaten it.. steamed broccoli, mashed broccoli, broccoli pasta, broccoli salad.

This broccoli, chickpea and goats cheese salad was one of the highlights, But lesson learnt.. Don't plant a whole packet of seeds at once!

18 September 2010

Kids Clothes Week Challenge

I have decided to participate in the Kids Clothes Week Challenge where you have to sew kids clothes for at least 1 hour each day for a week (oh gee, do I have to? Really, oh okay then.. you've twisted my arm..)

kids clothes week challenge

Its just as well, because I just signed up to do a handmade stall at Sophie's pre-school fete in 3 weeks and I have alot of sewing to do before then..

If you have any ideas for easy things to make and sell, please let me know!

17 September 2010

We craft this city..


I will definitely be checking out this exhibition in Sydney and hopefully even attend the 'crafternoon'..

16 September 2010

Lunch date

After a morning of fabric shopping yesterday, I asked my 2 year old if she would like to go out for lunch, "oh yes" she replied excitedly "I want sushi with pink fish inside". So we drove to Balmain and found a little Japanese restaurant.


We sat down together and ordered our food, she told me exactly what she wanted and as we waited for our food we chatted about the highlights of our morning (She found fairy fabric and I found peach coloured bias binding), we chatted about what we would do after her sleep today (art and craft), what we would do on the weekend (see Justine Clark in concert) and what we needed from the supermarket (milk and apricots according to her).

As I was sitting there, across the table from my little girl I realised something.. It was only a few months ago that I had a loud, wriggling toddler who would not sit still or eat her lunch without it ending up on all over her, and me, and the floor.

But now, here is a little girl sitting in a chair, having a conversation with her mummy and eating her lunch quietly and carefully.. a grown up little girl!

It was not a stress or a production, I was not eating with one hand and holding her plate down with the other, I was not apologizing to the table next to us because they just got rice flicked all over them, I wasn't collecting serviettes ready for the big clean up.. It was just easy and fun.. It was just me and my little friend having lunch.

15 September 2010

Soundtrack of the month

This was more like the soundtrack of last year, but I am still listening to it (almost) daily..

Its the 'Dan in real life' soundtrack. I know, I know, soundtracks are usually not cool but this one is really good.. I saw the movie last year and I was watching it thinking the movie is good but the music is excellent. The soundtrack is almost all by a guy called Sondre Lerche. I am slowly collecting all his albums.. big thumbs up!
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