There’s something amiss…

I have a huge desire to sit and stitch today … I’d forgotten what that feels like!  I haven’t really touched a needle for an entire month, if not longer … and now all I want to do is blob out in front of the TV and have a quiet little stitching session while I try to keep my eyes open …

And therefore that is what I shall do … housework be damned! 😀

Chocolate Cake recipe

This is mainly for my Mum’s benefit 🙂

Those in my family who know me the best will know I’m a crappy baker – one particular cake I tried making (an orange cake, from memory) sank nicely in the middle and had a heavy texture.  Dad loved it!  And afterwards asked me to make another “sad cake” ‘cos it was so lovely … I’ll never forget that “sad cake” 😉

Anyway, last weekend I had a HUGE urge to bake something … not being a baker, this was EXTREMELY unusual, as I just don’t bake anymore – but even MORE unusual is the fact that it turned out to be the best damned cake I’ve ever baked in my life (and those good ones can be counted on one hand with a few fingers left over!) … and I’d even go so far as to say it was one of the best damned cakes I’ve ever eaten in my life!  Yep, BIG words!!  Anyway, I thought I’d share it online so Mum can try it out – I should really try it again myself too to make sure it wasn’t some kind of huge fluke that it worked out so nicely!! 😛

ALL-OCCASION CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 cup (250ml) water
1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar
125g butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour
2 eggs

Grease deep 19cm square cake pan, line base with baking paper.

Combine water, sugar, butter, cocoa and soda in medium saucepan; stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves.  Bring to boil, simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.  Transfer mixture to large bowl; cool 10 minutes.

Add flour and eggs to mixture; beat with electric mixer, on low speed, until smooth.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake in moderate oven (180-190C / 350-375F) about 40 minutes.  Stand cake in pan 10 minutes; turn onto wire rack to cool.

Top cold cake with 1 quantity Fluffy Cocoa Frosting.

FLUFFY COCOA FROSTING

50g butter
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (120g) icing sugar mixture
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Combine butter, water and caster sugar in small saucepan, stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved.  Sift icing sugar and cocoa into medium heatproof bowl; gradually stir in hot butter mixture; cover, refrigerate until thick.  Beat with wooden spoon until a spreading consistency.

Cut and serve and may the drooling commence … 😀

Audible Offer & Reminders

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If anyone is interested, Audible.com are offering a 14-day Free Trial for friends that I refer to them – this includes one free audiobook.  I also receive a $10 credit for anyone that stays on as a member beyond the free trial, but I’m not particularly interested in that.

If you are keen to try Audible out as an audiobook provider, this is a really good opportunity to trial the service – if you want to, please feel free to leave me a comment, ensuring you include your email address, and I’ll complete the form and send off for you.

Note, the offer ends 6 November to sign up for the trial 🙂

I have to admit I’m pretty biased towards them – I’ve been a member for a couple of years now, and I absolutely love them!  Unfortunately not 100% of the books on the site are available to Australia for downloading, but I’ve had a pretty good success rate on the books I’ve been looking for in particular.  I was stunned to be able to download Diana Gabaldon’s Echo in the Bone a week or two ago, and for a SUPER cheap price thanks to a special member’s offer (I’m talking approx $11 here for the unabridged version, which is approx 46 hours of listening pleasure!!).

Anyway, leave me a comment if you’d like to sign up for the trial, and I’ll complete the form for you 🙂

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Pay It Forward copy  Also, while you’re at it, don’t forget that the PIF (Pay It Forward) offer ends at the end of the month, and I still need one more person to make up the three – details can be found in the original blog post HERE 🙂

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And … lucky last … don’t forget to put your name into the hat if you’d like to go into the drawer to win 1 of 4 beaded scissor fobs for my 4th Blogaversary Prize Draw – just leave a comment on the original post, which can be found HERE … there are 10 fobs to choose from as your preferred winning choices.

Fob Collage

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Lastly – Have a great weekend! 😀

Congrats to Giovanna

Tonight we drew the name of the lucky winner of the Summer threads out of the proverbial hat (actually it was numbered tiddlywinks out of a little plastic container), and Giovanna’s number came up (number 5, ‘cos that’s the order the comments were received in) – Giovanna, if you let me know your mailing address, I’ll try to get them into the mail tomorrow for you – otherwise it’ll be next weekend when I get to the Post Office next 🙂

Tomorrow will be a very busy morning for me – time to swap my expired Victorian drivers licence for a brand spanking new New South Wales one … yippee!!  Then it’s off to pick up my sewing machine from the repair shop so I can get back to sewing some quilted wallhangings etc – the poor thing has not been a happy camper and hasn’t sewn in a forward straight line for some time – serves me right for not getting it serviced straightaway after being gifted it, but never mind, it’ll be as good as new when it gets back home tomorrow and I can start putting it to good use … double yippee!!

And a TRIPLE YIPPEE is due for it being a public holiday on Monday and having a long 3-day weekend … it’s been the week from hell at work (I’vwe been giggling all afternoon for the last couple of days due to over-stress), and quite frankly I don’t want to think about it again until Tuesday morning when I have to.  Of course, if things continue to not go well next week, there’s a slight possibility of me having to fly up to Brisbane for a day’s work, so in some ways that’d be good LOL 😀

I have to admit I’m having major misgivings about my job at the moment – the job itself is um, ho-hum, kinda – very stressful, and not particularly rewarding in itself … but the worst thing is that since a couple of new team members have started, I really really dislike our team of staff!  And we recently had to have a desk shuffle which put the two main characters that I dislike with a passion right in my aisle, with me sharing floor space with the one person that I really and truly struggle with.  Perhaps that’s impacting on my level of enjoyment the most at work, but I have to admit I’ve never ever looked forward to my weekends and home time like I do now … 5pm just can’t come quickly enough for me each day – BIG words from a workaholic like me!

Anyway, enough whining about work … it’s time to hit the hay for the night … Katie and I just sat and watched a soppy chick flick which had us both in tears tonight (PS I Love You, which I’d never seen before … serious tissue supply required for that one!), followed by the latest episode of Supernatural, thanks to the magnificent world of downloading online due to the fact that Channel Ten can’t be bothered screening it until next year (insert as many expletives as you’d like in here, as they’ll be accurate) … after a great night in viewing and watching Katie dress up in her upcoming holiday gladrags, we polished off almost a big bottle of cider (Katie) and Chardonnay (me) and it’s time to get some shut eye before the alarm goes off at 0800 for me to put my ugly face on for my drivers licence photo 😀

I’ll just close with a further quick Congrats again to Giovanna! 😀

Photo Hunt – Orange & Electric

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This week’s theme is ”Electric” and here are my choices for this week.

England-Blackpool
Blackpool lights – print photo scan

Arthur's Seat 5 copy
Arthur’s Seat, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

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Last week’s theme was ”Orange” … not “Curved” as I originally posted!! It appears I stuffed up last week’s Photo Hunt, as I accidentally published a post meant for December 5 instead of September 5!!! So here are some choices for last week’s theme of Orange:

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Sunset at Oia, Santorini, Greece

Carp, SYD Chinese Friendship Gardens
Carp in the Chinese Friendship Gardens, Sydney, Australia

What is up with Blogger?

Apologies to my online friends who use Blogger as their blogging platform – for some reason I’m unable to comment on any blogs with the stupid new commenting format … please, please Blogger do return to the old one, or fix the new one … I want to be able to comment on my pals’ blogs!!! (

Praying for a reprieve

I have to say I’m not religious in any sense of the word … but I’m praying for a reprieve for those poor people who are suffering so badly in the tragic bushfires raging south of us here.  It is heartbreaking to see the death toll steadily climb each day, and anyone who does not feel touched in some way must have hearts of stone. 

Watching the news tonight had tears rolling down my cheeks.  One generous soul who had lost his own property and seen so many of his neighbours properties destroyed spent 6 hours driving around the township helping living victims to safety.  After saving 12 lives, he was found by his brother laying in the street in front of the local pub with his dog at this side.  On asked whether he would go back to live there, he said how could he?  He would be forever haunted by what he had seen – that people were normally trained to view such horrors as he had seen.  I can’t even begin to imagine what he went through in those 6 hours, not to mention those other poor souls who have been at the centre of this tragedy.  I don’t know what else to say … it breaks my heart …

The death toll is now sitting at 131, and the possibility to hit the over 200 mark … such devastation … such loss … such tragedy 😦

On a different note, it’s unlikely I’ll be online much over the next week or so until a new modem turns up.  My modem has died a horrible death (it actually died almost a week ago now) – I just remembered on Saturday night after working all day (thankfully in air-con) that I’d forgotten to cancel my old mobile broadband account with “3”, so I’ve managed to log into my emails over the last day or two.  It doesn’t have much upload/download space, though, so my online time with be very limited for a short while.

I did a whole heap of stitching yesterday on Winter Queen, but I haven’t taken a photo yet … I’ll be stitching most of the upcoming weekend, so will likely take a photo then.

In the meantime, please keep those affected by the bushfires in your thoughts and prayers.  As for the mongrels that set some of the fires in the first place, I truly hope there is such a thing as karma … and hope you’re not sleeping too well with that death toll on your conscience!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Just a really quick drive-by as a head off to work …

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Here’s hoping that 2009 brings you peace, joy and happiness, and everything your hearts desire. 

Thank you for your continued friendship and support throughout 2008, even though I don’t post/comment as often as I used to. 

I look forward to catching up with you all in the New Year.

Anne-Xmas-2008

Love,

My computer is home again!!!

I’m very very happy … even more so because I just got home tonight after having an awesome girlie weekend away with Lisa (my flatmate) and Katie (friend from work) in the Hunter Valley.  I’ve uploaded a few photos of from the weekend into Facebook, but it’ll be a day or two before I upload them all into Webshots and into here … I have a couple of hundred emails to go through and clean out, as well as over 1800 unread feeds (likely I’ll mark all as read instead of trying to catch up!).

Anyway, it’s nice to have my laptop back again, and I’ll update with my stitching progress etc over the next couple of days 🙂