Thursday, November 1, 2012

Surprise come back post!

Oh, hi. 
Or as my friend (blogless) Cath says when I see or talk to her (far too infrequently) "Oh, hi, friend". I really like it!

I feel like this is an odd 'come back' post- I have done heaps of sewing latley, and in my usual style some has been gifted without being photographed, I have done a decent amount of baking- including being back on the sourdough path after a break of about 15 years! And I need to show you 'around the grounds'- we're talking flowers, asparagus, strawberries, onions...and less excitingly to me, broad beans- but I need to be thinking of creative and fun things to do with them, because the 10 year old planted them and it's her first 'crop' (note to self: get her planting corn next time!).

Cathy (tinniegirl) has inspired me to tell you a story, after reading her post on Kat's blog.

This story is from actually probably nearly 10 years to the day.

We were renting an "off the grid", solar powered house on 100 beautiful acres including cliffs and waterfalls (pity it was mid drought and no water was falling). It was isolated. I had a 2 year old and a baby. My health was crap- I was sore (fibromyalgia was that diagnosis), I was tired (chronic fatigue syndrome was that diagnosis) I was teary (post natal depression was that diagnosis) I didn't feel right (Hashimoto's disease was that diagnosis) and, depending on whatever other specialist I saw at the time, they also had a specialist diagnosis to add to my growing toolkit (that's what they do, specialise)

The upshot is I was at my wits end- regardless of all those unhelpful diagnosis, it's always going to be a challenge (which some might respond to better than I did) to have broken sleep and the constant physicalness of two young children, not being around any 'old friends' (the day we left Melbourne was the day I found out I was pregnant, after a good 2 years of hoping to be)..etc.

I did have a small handful of cool women I had met in town. One day, I must have been vulnerable and told the truth to one particular women, who oozed authenticity and genuine-ness- when she said 'how are you going?', I reckon she meant it. I can't remember the details of the conversation but I must have responded with 'yeah, not great, so tired, just hanging in there'- or something along those lines. A few days later her partner visited our house and said 'Ms. Wonderful said you're not travelling great'- and then reiterated her offer- "if you ever need one of us to come and hang out with the kids while you sleep- please let us know". It touched me, made me realise it wasn't a token offer. These people lived maybe 25 minutes away, and had two little tackers of their own, we weren't at all 'besties'- I just really liked them!

At some stage in the coming weeks, I rang. Ms. Wonderful turned up- and while it would have been really fun to sit and chat with her and hang out, I didn't have it in me and she knew that's not what she was there for. She walked in, she said 'what are the kids up to' (eg- that one will have a sleep soon, the other one will wake up)...and when I had 'handed over' she said "now, off you go, go sleep".

Seriously- what a gift. I don't know how long she was there for, no longer that a few hours probably, but here I am, ten years later, telling you just how much that meant to me. Actually, how much that meant to me is beyond words. 

It was hard to ring and ask for help. Having low energy is crap. I must continually not compare my efforts of living to those of other people (some of whom seem to get so much done- and be able to handle 'simple' things like looking after their two young children!)

As I get older, I appreciate diversity and figure, although I am very conscious of all the balls I am trying to juggle and dropping, I am just travelling along side you, trying to 'be humans' together.  People value different things, that's okay, fair chance there are some similarities amongst the differences.

I still have times of stuggling with my energy levels.  I am so thankful when people with more energy than me can just be with me and not tell me that 'the more you sleep the more you want to sleep' (I take that as implied laziness, beat myself up, question myself and then resent the person who said it- overall, not helpful!)

And I was so thankful the day Ms. Wonderful turned up on my doorstep, to offer her hand and practical skills without any sense of 'the do-gooder' or 'the judger' , just with herself and her recognition that we are travelling the road of life together, and it's good to help each other out. 

How very decent!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Six. The City Shopper.

My designer/ teacher/ confidence builder/ tips and tricks sharer is mumbling about writing another book. So, how am I going with my Tanya and Nicole project? It's slow and steady with a few articles at different stages of construction, as is my tendancy! With the prospect of a new book I think I might go 'the big statement' and say, my intention is to finish all the projects in this book, so complete my Tanya and Nicole project before the next book is out. The belt I made as a pattern tester was quickly snapped up by my girl at the time and she has now outgrown it

I finally finished my 'city shopper'- seriously, it's ridiculous I didn't have it finished twelve months ago. Does anyone else get within 10 minutes of finishing a project and stall? I had the "o rings" I wanted to use, but didn't think I had the tri glider thing to make the strap adjustable. After months of getting annoyed looking at it being so close I went through my 'bag hardware' box and was surprised to find that I did actually have one that I had purchased at some stage and proceeded to finish it. So, this is bag two for Cam's sew along...can I get my last one finished by tomorrow, to make three for the month?

I know the above photo isn't that great of the bag- but it's actually equally about my tulips at the moment, I am so in love with them. I haven't grown tulips for years and years (I seem to be saying 'years and years' now that I am 40...generally referring to my 20's!)

I needed to show you the button close up- I love this button for this bag- the design of the button really matches the design of the fabric, I was pretty happy to realise that. What's odd is that at the time this was a special button, but the reason has actually slipped out of my long and short term memory and I have no idea now what was so special about it. That's abit sad!
Just thought I'd add in a 'behind the scenes' photo to show you my 'helpers' (and because I thought my little friend might like to see this brown dog). We are dog sitting at the moment. Pippi is the gorgeous, well behaved dog minding her own business in the background (um, so, that would be, she's my dog!). Kellie is my parents dog...she's a puppy still, and not as innocent as she might look here!

I love the shape of this bag, and I was pretty happy with the fabrics- it's certainly not a shy, retiring little bag!
Oh, and there they are again, the tulips, how nice!

And tonight I just read the happy news that Carmel is hosting a hat sew along in September. I'm keen. You?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Well,  I might be jumping the gun abit with the 'Spring' call, but gee, what a bit of blue sky, sunshine, fruit tree blossoms, flowering bulbs and a new lamb can do to cheer one up and inspire one to drag out the light cotton florals for a sewing frenzy!
But first, I was so keen on posting my bag early in bag month that I couldn't wait for good light to get a nice photo so I promised a better one, where you can actually see the feature fabric and get a vague idea about the shape of the bag...

The fabric came with a bundle that my crafty friend/ inherited cousin brought over with her when she visited from America not last time, the time before that...for one of her sisters weddings, no doubt, because there has been 3 of them in the past few years! She was silly  kind and generous enough to say 'Anything you want me to bring over with me?'...I can't remember the details of this 'shipment' but I may have just said something like '$40 worth of fabric?!'- the reason I think that is because I don't remember actually choosing these prints but just winning the lucky dip! Nat did a great job of selecting a variety of different prints and lengths she thought I would like and this was one of them.

So...Spring. A few weeks ago, our neighbour rang us (which is odd, because we live pretty close and usually he would pop over). He said 'our sheep has just had a lamb'- I said, great, we might come over and check it out. I assumed he rang because he thought the kids would be keen on a bit of baby lamb spotting, but when we got over there he was on the phone again  and I realised he was actually really excited, like a proud new dad ringing lots of his mates. It got better when I asked 'how long did she labour for?' and he informed me that he had no idea he didn't realise she was even pregnant (in his defense, she is a very very woolly sheep).  They are new to farming, having sort of retired to their place from the city. They are wonderful community minded neighbours...who I don't think read my blog!

 They also have new chickens, which are very cute as well.

And if that is not Spring-y enough for you...
Hopefully now I have found my camera, and camera battery, and sewing mojo, I will be back before too long to show off that sewing frenzy I alluded to. Although, some items have already been gifted without photos...hmph, and I call myself a blogger!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I'm just playing with my phone...trying to remember how to do a blog post from here, Obviously if you are reading this, it has worked! I do remember being amazed by it in the past, weird how some of this "modern technology" works...I can't think about it for too long or my brain might explode.
This is a Large Satchel (You Sew Girl pattern-hyperlink on phone way to hard)- started & finished in Curlypops' bag month, posting photos so it's blogged in bag month too! It's fun & I love it. More denim with fabric print feature from me. Flavour of the month here. Notice its different than the bag I mentioned in my last post? I do that, I had a plan but this one just snuck up on me. City bag is also well on its way. Not sure if I'll get to sewing today, it's amazingly sunny & I think I need some outside, fresh air kind of activity.
I hope to find my camera and show some more presentable photos in the coming days.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Nearly August (gosh, and isn't it appropriate to say "where is the year going?"!).

Do you know what August is? It's Cams "Choose your own bag adventure sew along", I don't mind abit of pressure accountability in the sewing department. Like in May, I said I would make a skirt...and I did. I didn't manage to blog about it in May, but I certainly did come up with the goods. 
This time round,my friend Delwyn is thinking about joining in...yey Del. 

A group sew along is fun and a time line often works quite well with me (any pressure is self imposed  because there are no rules...well, I assume Ms. CurlyPops won't be going after anyone with a big stick). 
You see, otherwise I can quite easily get stuck at this stage
procrastinating about patterns...or this stage
Auditioning fabric...folding and refolding and well, just generally patting and enjoying fabric!
But no, a bag sew along, was it? Okay, well, I'll be onto that...

(I don't know why this photo keeps coming out upside down...but i am an 'overall effect' girl rather than a perfectionist, I'm afraid so I am not wasting any more time faffiing around in Photobucket trying to fix it)

Anyway, what I am getting at is that in 30 minutes I have gone from narrowing down pattern (I am doing a City Bag and if I am really energetic I might get a large tote/ satchel done in August as well but I am not going to make any big statements), I have narrowed down the fabric and done a bit of a rough cut- and put away the bits I won't need (amazing).

Loving myself sick here- can you tell? Well, until Mr. Apple comes out and says..."reckon your cake would be ready by now?". Oops. Yep, it would have been ready half an hour ago if I hadn't been oh so efficiently getting on with bag making preparation!
And, in true 'choose your own adventure' style I am going to decide on which direction to take with the straps when I get up to that bit.

By the way, who knows what people are talking about when they say "kitchen table business"? I am tipping it's not grafting fruit trees that they are suggesting should be done on ones kitchen table...I would tend to agree.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


That thing has happened again, where I accidentally get all caught up with the stuff of life (more on that later!)  and neglect my blogging space... which is a bit of a shame because, it shows (rather publicly) that  I have a bit of an 'all or nothing tendency  and, possibly get distracted easily. By the way, the accidentally link was just a special treat for those of you who like to follow links...oh, okay, here's another one).

Having said that, about exposing myself, my inconsistencies...well, it's okay, I'm okay with that, because I have had a 'significant' birthday, and whilst I didn't wake up wise, mature and content (that was abit disappointing!)- I do believe I am 'growing into myself'. I feel like I have been getting better at embracing- liking even, who I am, and also that I am better at some things that others-and (to my shock)- that's okay. I did feel a bit disappointed when I realised that tidiness, quick thinking and decisiveness (among other things) might always be things I don't 'master', but with that knowledge in hand I can go a bit easier on myself and try and develop some strategies to assist me in those areas. At the same time, I also realised I might find some things easier than others. I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed writing that- is that stuff common knowledge? Not everyone is good at everything and that's okay- it was a revelation to me! My sister in law said 'Happy 40th birthday- welcome to your best decade yet'. She said it's been her best decade yet because she is more comfortable in her own skin, and I hope to continue to head to that place.

Oops, wrong picture. This was my 5th hair cut- obviously during the game of 'hairdressers' with my brother, I was the 'customer'. There was no rock chick or bogan option for me, I think I just looked like a boy...not helped by the orange plaid 'slacks' which look like they were made out of a blanket or the neck strangling skivvy...although I am sure the crocheted vest would have been rather 'on trend'. 
Thanks Mum, wonder why my smile isn't wider...maybe I hated that girly pink cake...I love it now though. I really wanted my girl to chose a 'dolly varden' cake one year, but I think,sadly, I have missed my opportunity. This year she was pretty happy with this cake...I was too actually, it was fun to make and not too tricky, although I did try to make 'meringue butter cream icing' and totally stuffed that up- I googled a recipe and in retrospect, think it had way to much butter in it because it  ended up very yellow and buttery and I ditched it and reverted to my standard buttercream icing.
My lovely neighbour and friend Corina knew I was a bit keen on the Dolly Varden, and she turned up on my doorstep in time for birthday morning tea with this:
My other neighbour and friend Annie, turned up with a chocolate and orange cake (one of my fave flavour combinations) so I felt pretty spoilt. 
I wanted to acknowledge this 'milestone by embracing the people I love and who love me. In a world that seems so busy- particularly at this time of the year  (fruit tree season) my 'people' are what are most important to me and I want to have time for them. What has ended up happening, which has been pretty lovely is that I am catching up with small groups of friends here and there over 'birthday month'- that suits me better because it means I am not overwhelmed and get to enjoy good conversations in a less intense setting than a party. 
The whole thing- turing 40, thinking about, and hanging out with 'my people' - has made me feel extremely thankful for the beautiful, kind, fun, generous, thoughtful friends and  family I have in my life- and creative of course, just look at that cake- and this.
Funnily enough I don't think I got any 'birthday photos' of me- until I hung out with a few of my 'bloggy friends' last week- a camera was produced over dinner- any bloggers surprised? More about that, and some other thoughtfulness, later- and now that I remember how much I enjoy hanging out here at Apple and Tangerine, I suspect it won't be too much later!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

MIssed it by that much...would you believe...that much?

So, you may know that CurlyPops had a 'Make it in May' Skirt challenge...I did make it in May. Just wasn't so good at blogging it in May!
Both of these skirts were made at Sewjourn. Arrhh. Sewjourn. It was only a few weeks ago but seems far too long ago. What a great weekend with a group of champion women. I don't think my machine has been in action since. 

This patten is from 'Sew U'  by Wendy Mullin. It's a basic pattern which I enjoyed sewing. I called it my "year 7 textiles' skirt- in an affectionate way. The above photo is the fun facing, which I am sure will make me smile when I put it on! 

I also whipped up another really simple skirt that I will wear to work; think- two bits of fabric shaped kind of straight skirt shape sewn together at the sides, with an elastic waistband casing added at the top. It's a bit of a dodgy photo, but I was trying to show you the really nice fabric it's made out of- it's embroidered and quite heavy and has a bit of a stretch. 

Let me know if you can't see the photos, I am having 'technical issues'...
Edited to add: The photos seem to have totally gone missing from cyber space and I have no idea how to get them back. I think I will stick with Photobucket, because I get how that works!

Monday, May 7, 2012


These are some of our papershell almond havest...which we picked in the height of Summer.

Left a few months to dry out, the outside bit is then easily peeled off revealing...

Almonds...then this layer is peeled off- and hmmm, I must have put the camera down to join in and 'help' at that (the eating) stage!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Complete. How novel.

I have big dreams of projects to complete, some started, some ridiculously close to finishing.
This project had me- as I was sewing, I couldn't wait to see what it was going to look like.
It's funny, I am not known for me patience, but sometimes sewing really slows me down- in a good way. It helps me focus and follow through- I feel like it's great for develop those skills in me.
This pattern can be made in so many styles- I bought it planning a satchel but then I found these handles (amazing what you discover when you clean up your craft space- I have no recollection of where they came from). I thought they would suit this bag well (but gee, they were such a pain to sew around). The denim is pretty heavy weight- it cost me 20 cents from an op shop! I think the print is from Alexander Henry. I was making it as a gift, but now I am not so sure...
When I bought my sewing machine, I remember saying "I don't care much about the fancy stitches but I want a machine with a good strong motor"- and the lady doing the demo got a piece of denim and folded it so it was 8 layers thick and sewed over it without any strain. That really helped sell me my Bernina. This bag required me to go through a few more layers than that and I broke a few needles and pressed on. The next day I went into my local sewing shop and bought the needles that were specifically for denim (closely woven fabric, the pack said)- I think they were size 16, or 18. Anyway, what a difference a needle makes (which may be obvious), it just went through all those layers so much more smoothly.
It's such a nice feeling to finish something!
Look what Ms. Curlypops is organising- I'm in. You?

Sunday, April 29, 2012


See those quinces in my last post? This is what they look like now...
Turned to bottles waiting to be labelled. The white flecks are the old label that I haven't cleaned off well enough- funny how you only notice some things when you see them in a photo!
I took this bottle outside, hoping to catch the amazing red colour in the photo, but haven't quite succeeded. It's so pretty! I'm in love with quince jelly- it was so easy to make and its a bit of a 'win/ win' because you can eat it like jam, on toast or whatever, and serve it as a condiment. Tonight we had it with roast lamb- I was trying not to ration everyone's portions being the first day, and all (as in- NO- we don't need to eat the whole bottle in one sitting!) 
There are plenty more quinces where they came from and I'm thinking there will be more quince jelly as well.

Friday, April 27, 2012

In Production

I could show you abit of sewing that is in production... which is fun, because lately I have been sewing and have several things in production. At times I frustrate myself because I am not a 'linear' sewer, you know- start a project, finish a project, move on to the next project...but I am comforted to note I am in good company. I wonder if Nikki's floor gets as messy as mine!

Anyway, I have distracted myself- I could show you sewing in production, but that's not my plan, I am taking you on a little walk around my backyard and showing you some fruit (and nuts) that are in production.
Chestnuts- aren't they funny looking fellas! Many of the plants in our garden are not considered 'ornamentals' but seriously- I call them 'productive ornamentals'- because I think that they look great. And fruit tree blossom- oh my, how that makes me happy!
Pomegranates- I think I will have a go at making pomegranate molasses, or syrup this year- any one else made that before? If you have- any tips?
Quinces. I think I will go will 'quince jelly' as well as some in the Fowlers for later in the year. I'm keen on making quince jelly rather than paste because I just chop them all up (skins, pips- the whole shebang) and put them in a pot with a little bit of water, cover them with a lid and slowly simmer them till it's 'mooshy'. Strain through a 'jelly bag' overnight (I use a piece of muslin fabric)- then find a recipe that gives you a ratio of this liquid to sugar, and often I reduce the sugar a bit. 
Some people find quince paste is dead easy to make but I reckon I was scarred for life (at least for a few years) when I made it and painstakingly stirred it for, I'm sure it was it thickened and thickened- and then, in the when it was so so close to being ready, it burnt (so really, that sentence should read- when it was actually over ready and should have been taken off the heat already!). I was abit beside myself! My friend has made it in the microwave and reckoned it was a cinch, but, like I said, I am not up for trying it again just yet!
Apples. I realised my children were spoilt for (some types of) fruit when we had friends from the city stay with us and we were picking apples and pears- our kids would walk along, pick one, if it wasn't 'to their taste' (too sour, too floury, too tart, too dense- don't think I've ever heard a 'too sweet'!) they would piff in and pick another one. My friends children were looking on- in retrospect I realise they were waiting for me to pull out the 'don't waste fruit' lecture which was obviously familiar to them because as their mum cottoned on to the 'gee, if we chucked out an apple, we'd get in to trouble' looks that were being thrown around and  I heard her talking about how it's okay because there are heaps of apples and it won't be wasted, really because the pigs will get to eat it!
Passionfruit. Now there's an ornamental flower- if I was sensible enough to put tags on my blog I could show you because I am sure I have posted a photo here before. I can't wait until these turn purple. Mmmm, mmmmm.
Avocado. Yes, we have frosts and yes we can grow avocados. Some varieties do better in cold climates, but if you protect the tree for the first few years while it gets established. This is the first year this tree has fruited and it's got about 4 on it, I think. Well done tree.
Persimmon. I am generally happy to leave persimmons as an ornamental- although I really like them dried (possibly because of another scarred for life experience maybe). My grandma had a persimmon tree in her front yard when we were growing up and we did not know what it was- it was an astringent variety so if you tasted them too soon (before they were 'mooshy') our  faces did involuntary contortions because, well, of the astringency- or as wikipedia would say, because of the 'dry, puckering mouthfeel'! 
As an ornamental they are really amazing- they will get much more 'orangey' than this, the leaves will fall off the tree and (often) the garden won't have much colour- until you see the persimmons and can't help but smile! I often think they look like they are waiting to be sketched because they are so interesting.
Madarins. Just starting to ripen. Hurry up, I say, because these are a family favourite.
Kafir lime. We don't actually eat these but I wanted to include this photo so you can see the funny bumpy skin. I use the zest of these, and the leaves in cooking often combination with green chilli, coriander, fish sauce and coconut milk. 

I mentioned that most of our garden doesn't have 'ornamentals'. One exception is the bulbs I mentioned in my last post- well, imagine my displeasure on Anzac Day when I got home from the Dawn Service (first one I have ever been to) and our six 'free range' pigs were 'free ranging' through my newly planted daffodils. Yes, it's happened before- but I didn't have lovingly planted bulbs then.

Oh- and because it's getting closer to the time of year when you plant bare rooted fruit trees, I should remind you that you can get them here, from us! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The brown vest.

Ahhh, it's nice to sit down and type.
Means I can catch up with myself (anyone else ever feel like that?).
I have been enjoying the Autumn weather- so sunny, but crisp nights...I tell you what, I haven't been enjoying the mozzies- they are so little but gee, bzzzz in your ear is really annoying when you are trying to sleep.
I got out in the garden yesterday. I am abit of a 'wanna be' gardener, really. I do herbs- they are pretty hardy, but in recent years, that's been the extent of my domain in the garden. Until yesterday, when I planted a big patch of daffodils, I'm imagining a sea of yellow that will make me smile in Spring.
I've been sewing, been knitting- I'm not really a knitter but a new baby was on its way (his way, as we know now!) and I thought I would pick up the needles. I searched Ravelry for a vest pattern and found this free one It's very straightforward, all in one piece, little vest thing. I also bought a copy of the Milo vest pattern, but I think I will have to work up to that one- knitting in the round sounds daunting (but hey, so did invisible zips until earlier this week).

I sent it the day I heard the baby had been born, because I wasn't sure how many wears it would get otherwise, it was pretty little (quick to knit!). I used pure wool that hadn't been dyed, I don't know much about yarn, but it felt nice to knit with.
Modelled so elegantly by the 'baby doll'...

If I get off the computer I might just have time to finish off the bag I am working on, and still get a decent amount of sleep. I was making it for a present...but now I am not sure, it's really quite 'me' I think, and I haven't made myself anything for ages. I'm looking forward to finishing it, and showing you a photo...but that bit wont be tonight!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tradition, expansion!

As usual, the tradition continues...
I did a bake up for my neighbours on Good Friday...7 visits this year. 

The year the old man down the road wasn't home when we visited (me and Miss 9, who was keen on the 'dropping off') . So we left them on his table (it's the county!). He appeared in our driveway about 30 minutes later with chocolate easter eggs for us. I think he's about 93...he's lovely- he said 'you're a very kind lady Karen' (my names not Karen!). I told one of my other neighbours that he'd dropped in eggs, and she smiled and said he'd mentioned looking forward to my hot cross buns! Gosh (lucky it IS a tradition!)- I felt chuffed, but also sort of, confronted- if he looks forward to my yearly hot cross buns, well, I could be alot 'kinder' than that. I resolve to visit him more than annually with home baked treats. 

The helpers chipped in again. I love having a tradition that they are so willing to participate in. This year I also baked an extra 5 dozen and gave my workmates some too, the helpers were happy to join in the delivering of these ones as well, fussy around with brown paper bags.
I reckon we did 11 dozen 'wheaties' and 2 dozen 'gluten frees'.
And guess what happened to me this morning?
My 'down the road' neighbour, who had just come off night shift got busy making hot cross buns when she got home and brought some up for me for morning tea- I tell you, that was the nicest hot cross bun I have tasted this Easter! She uses my recipe, but hers taste better, which is a little bit rude, I think!

I hope whatever you've been up to this weekend, you've had some nice things happen to you.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Many hands...

On the weekend (allow me to interrupt myself and say I feel like I am doing a grade 4 piece of 'reflective writing'  and that it should be Monday morning...but it's not) I was saying, on the weekend we had a crowd here and boy, were we productive.
Between us all (12 adults, 2 kids and 2 babies) we:

  • picked two wheelbarrows full of butternut pumpkins
  • picked and bottled about 40 kg of apples

  • turned 13 1/2 litres of milk into feta cheese

  • turned 7 litres into another soft white cheese 'queso blanco' (the link is not the recipe we used but similar, it's an easy peasy cheese that needs no special cultures or rennet, it's coagulated with vinegar. We experimented with both a basic white vinegar and apple cider vinegar- the latter worked better, I thought). Apparently it cooks quite well, I'd make it again as a cheese for ravioli, I reckon. The kids were happy to hook into it 'as is'.
  • turned 3 1/2 litres into a soft white cheese called 'fromage blanc'. We added this one to a ravioli filling with roasted pumpkin, roasted garlic and sage. Ravioli is a great 'bang for your buck' pasta to make at home, I reckon. it's just flat sheets you make but add little tasty morsels, cut them out and they look just smashing (unfortunately eaten before a photo was taken!)

  • Made bread- 3 loaves wheat flour, 1 loaf gluten free
  • Made pasta- wheat flour ravioli and fettuccine, gluten free ravioli and fettuccine
  • Vanilla ice cream
I had other 'big ideas' but I had a friend who was more sensible than me saying 'let's just see how we go'! I arrived at work yesterday and a colleague said 'gee, you look tired!'...I've been to bed early the past two nights and I'm planning to do the same tonight. I am not known for my ability to 'pace myself'! 

My blog 'by-line' is "crafty fun and the goodness of home economics".
I tell you, this weekend was all about the goodness of home economics. 
Good food (our food!), happy times, hard work, laughter, chatting  and a cider at 4pm on Sunday arvo with friends, tired but satisfied friends. They headed back to the city with cheese, apples, a fruit tree if they were lucky, herbs to pot up, garlic and memories of stars and lovely fresh air. 
I'm planning on heading down for my 'city fix' of lovely coffee, quirky cafes,  interesting sights, tram trips, city noises next week. I love Melbourne.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Life, oh life, ooooh, life.

Today is the first time in a really long time that I have been in my home by myself. 
Ohhh, I love a home day by myself. I am one who relishes my own 'space' and tends to feel claustrophobic when I look in my diary and realise that I might have say, 3 nights out this week, or 3 out 4 busy weekends for the next month. So today I was happy to send the kids to school and wave the farmer (who rarely leaves here during the day) off.
I am still in my PJ's and my breaky dishes aren't done, there is a list, I am a list kinda girl...but I don't think much will get ticked off it today and that's just fine!

It's been a strange and intense few months and I haven't had, or made the space to blog. 

Our set up means one has to be intentional about their computer use. The computer doesn't live in the house, it lives in what I call the 'sunroom' (and the farmer calls his office, and my crafty friends think of as the craft room and our longer distance friends might refer to as the 'guest quarters'!). And our computer is old- actually it's not that old, but it's slow (things just don't seem to last as long these days, do they?) as is the internet connection. 
What I am saying is, it's a bit of a rigmarole! 

Most significantly, my friend died.
I don't feel like it's my story to tell, so I wont go on about it (although I don't think my friend would mind because she was all for raising breast cancer awareness). I am aware that her young girls and husband are trying to get used to working out how their life goes on without their mum/ wife being there. I just wanted to acknowledge her, and them, here, for a moment. 

My community has been flooded, A and J had two weeks off school because we couldn't get into town. They are back for two weeks and then have two weeks school holidays. I don't think those two weeks were 'a holiday' for my children. They filled sandbags and helped prepare for the water. On three occasions we boated in to take supplies to my parents who were isolated on their farm- a whole day affair each time (usually a 10 minute drive). They saw a lot of people with an unusually high level of stress and anxiety. They saw their grandparents have water through their house and choose not to evacuate. 
There is usually no water anywhere near here.

They also did some fun things- one day I had 8 children from 5 different educational institutions at our house and they filmed each other and put together a local 'news bulletin' . My neighbour is a wonderful kinder teacher and comes up with some great suggestions of cool things to do! Miss A (she's 9) rediscovered the tree house decided to renovate...with the assistance of her dad and brother they decided to 'go up'- so now we have a two story tree house. We preserved peaches, picked tomatoes, apples and pears, read alot and overall had a pretty nice time hanging out with each other. 

There was some crafting- I got knitting, me knitting deserves a whole blog post all of its own! I started and finished a present for a new little baby who was born last week who I am looking forward to meeting. And there was even some rag rug sewing up. One day I will have a rag rug!

Our longer term plan is to build a house down at mum and dads- can you guess what we are calling this green bit of land on a farm that dad reckons was 80% underwater? 
Potential house site!

I am not telling you how many unread items are in my google reader...but it's alot. I've missed my bloggy friends and have appreciated those of you who know where I live emailing me 'checking up' messages, thank you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rag rug action

Aren't blog archives interesting...I knew I hadn't made much progress on my rag rug for awhile...I flicked back to have a bit of a look (which is where those labels, which I haven't really ever got into the habit of using, would come in really handy)- anyway I was surprised to see that this picture is ummm, rather similar to the one below, taken tonight...oops (while it may not be obvious to the naked eye, there has been a little more plaiting action happen!). I was also surprised to see that I wrote the post nearly a year ago- 28th January 2011. Like I said, oops!
What would move 'one' forward on a project that has been met with such apathy? Why, solidarity, of course.

So there I am, reading Jodie's news the other day when I see a lovely picture at the bottom of her blog post, a rag rug- those fond 'rag rug love' feelings make me smile and think of my own poor neglected pile of raggy braids...before I know it, Jodie has declared not only is she making one, but she's discovered heaps of others are keen too and all of a sudden I've been caught up in the whirlwind of a 'rag rug along'

Actually, that's not strictly true- my response has been far from whirl wind like, but I tell you, some of these other rag ruggers, well, they get things done. There is talk of techniques, methods, ripping or cutting, ironing or folding (which may be where I realised sometimes instructions might be useful). Not just talk either-action (eg, this one involves a crochet hook, and this one, an amazing needle). Having seen these and the progress that's been made, I think that my naive idea of making a big plait and sewing it together may not be the wisest, strongest, easiest, most effective method. I will have to reconsider my rag rug options!

I am looking forward to see lots of rag rugs. So far mine has got a fair bit of white in it, which is an old sheet, the green is a dress of my grandma's (at least, I think that's where it came from). I really quite like the 'Little House on the Prairie'-ness of it all.

It's still school holidays here for another week and abit and we have been enjoying some pretty nice family times, including the odd board game..or twenty!
I tell you what, this was the best 50 cents I have spent in awhile- thank you op shop- "The Game of Life" (I may have been the happiest to find this because it's one of those- 'oh, I really wanted that when I was a kid' games, involving abit of nostalgia!). 
I did make a comment during the game that it's actually not that much like my life, and I don't necessarily agree with the title- there are no squares saying 'your peach tree is loaded and the fruit are going to rot if you don't stop and pick them- miss a turn", or "you have got up early and fed the pigs, move forward 2 spaces". And then, within a few quick spins, I had had twin girls, followed by another baby girl, which made me think, oh, well, it does bear some vague resemblance to at least bits of some peoples lives!

If you are super observant (or have amazing eyes) you might notice the dvd I borrowed from the library- that was inspired by Lara (it's North and South, I also borrowed Pride and Prejudice). 
Can you guess where I was sitting? See that hooking action on 'screen right', yep, still enamoured with learning to crochet.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

She's got it, yeah baby, she's got it!

If you are over the age of...what? say, 37 (?), you might be busting out some neat Bananarama moves after reading that title...well, join me as I dance around celebrating the fact that, however late I might be, I am finally coming to the granny square party. There are a few technical issues to sort out (namely starting a new row, changing colour & reading instructions) but that's neither here nor least I am finally on the right track. Now, I was warned that it might be see ya later...that hook is whispering my name

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Project 5 and some little sewing

This little dress was started at Sewjourn, which feels like AGES age, it was finished shortly after but I haven't blogged about it because I wanted to wait till I met the recipient (Isabel), and gave it to her (well, her mother, really) before I blogged about it. Isobel flew over the Pacific for a few weeks in December, I met her briefly and had a cuddle- she's very lovely (I meant to ask her mum if I can put a photo of her up here, but haven't yet- I will edit this to add one once I have spoken to Nat).

I really enjoyed choosing the fabric for this little Oliver and S "Ice Cream Social Dress". When I was in America, I stayed with Natasha for a few days and she took me to Mood in New York (now there's a store to be awe struck and overwhelmed by, it was pretty amazing). Nat likes fabric. I know she likes orange, and I wanted to include some of me in it- so it was the apples in tangerine, and in green -funny that you can have apples in tangerine and lime, really, huh. How appropriate that the fabric range it comes from is called 'Farmers Market' (designed by Sandi Henderson). 
I asked Nat's sister, Amy what colours Nat likes and she said something like 'vintagey type hues'- or that's what I took it as. So the floral and the pocket fabric completed the fabric choosing- and I forget what range either of those are from.
The other thing I made for little Izzy is project 5 from the Tanya and Nicole project- I didn't take a photo of it- oops. but Nikki did, it's over here. Nikki was generous with her interfacing knowledge- and it was SO GOOD to see her get her hands onto it and fold, bend, squash etc to see how the different interfacings responded (cause I like that inexact, it depends how it feels kind of style).  That was where I first made up a bit of a swatch pack for my different interfacings...and a new appreciation took hold (yep, I want to be the interfacing apprentice!).
So, there's a few older sewing projects...crafting with the girls on Saturday night so hopefully I will get something done and remember that sewing is my hobby and I love and sewing have both been on holidays at this house- and not together!
I am back to work tomorrow, I have had such a nice break, relaxed, restorative. Ahhhh. 

Crochet update: thanks to those of you who pointed me towards the left handed crochet tutes on youtube- I was listening to one and my girl said- "Are you actually watching that video about how to crochet?", "Yep", she said "but you already know how to crochet" (she's seen my chain stitch- bless her!), I said "kind of, but I don't actually know alot, there's alot to learn" and she replied "you don't need to know everything, you know"