Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On getting stuff done.......

my front garden is in need of some serious attention!


Well, it is nearly the end of October and Blogtoberfest, and I have to say I did not do very well at the 'post every day' bit.  Pretty damn poorly really!   I should know better that to commit to these things, but I like to be involved, even if it ends up in a half-arsed way.  
So hope I make the last post tomorrow, it would be nice to go out on a high note. 

I have noticed a few other interesting bloggy type things going on, and am tempted to join in those as well.  I might do a better job of keeping up this time! (but no promises!)

There is the Month of My Creative Spaces in November that might be just what my lack lustre creative mojo needs to get reignited.  I have not been feeling like making things recently, very unlike me, I have to say.  There has been a lot of things happening in real life that have left me feeling restless, unsettled and a tad anxious.  Life has also become super busy, with a heap of helping commitment for the school taking up a lot of time and mental energy. 
Not really conducive to quality creative output, and I feel like my crochet along has stalled due to lack of time for calm crocheting.  I really want to change that soon, I feel I am letting my little band of crochet-alongers down with such sparse posting, and am so sorry for that, I am going to try and settle tomorrow for some guilt free creative time and hook a few rows just for me.
 (and then post them for you!)

I also like to make a softie at  this time of year for the Softies for Mirabel charity here in Melbourne, I think it is a nice way to share a bit of creative love with kids who might not have much to smile about.

And I have joined the Christmas decoration swap over at Christina Lowry's lovely blog.  I have actually had an idea for this, so am trying to work up a prototype to see if it looks like I imagine in my head.  

So there is plenty to keep me busy at the moment, and I am sure I will bite off more than I can chew, but you know what they say, busy people get stuff done and something great might come out of it too!

Do you over commit to things?
Or do you know your limits?
Are you joining in the Month of Creative Spaces?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy days....

How has your week been?  Busy? Quiet? Middle of the road?
Mine has been spend in a haze of sneezing, coughing, and nose blowing, just generally feeling pretty ordinary really, as I finally came down with the cold that has been visiting our house for the last few weeks.  I think I also had a dose of hayfever to top it off, 'allergy eyes' are not much fun.  
Anyway, enough with the whinging, I'm feeling on the mend now, so should be back to normal tomorrow I hope.

And I did some good things this week too! 
 Last night I went out and saw a fantastic concert in Melbourne.
My sister, a couple of her friends, and I went to see Mumford and Sons, and what a great night!!
They were supported by Willy Mason (who we missed because we arrived too late) and Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros, these guys and girls are just so amazing!  Their music is so joyous and fun, I had a smile on my face for their whole set, and so many different instruments!!  I'm sure everyone knows their sweet, sweet song 'Home', it was awesome to here it live, and Edward Sharpe is such a character on stage, very,very entertaining.

Mumford and Sons were totally brilliant.
 That voice of his!! 
 Soooo much passion and feeling, and who can resist a bloke who can play the guitar and keep a bass drum going with his foot at the same time as singing pure musical poetry!  Completely blown away by all their talent!
Had to be one of the best gigs of the year.  I came home so full of happiness and I've been on a musical high all day.  ( Maybe it's because I don't get out much!)

So today I have been out shopping with my mum, always a nice way to spend some time.  We went to the Robert Gordon factory in Pakenham, about an hour from here, for their pre Christmas sale.  There are always lots of lovely things at this place, they are basically a ceramics factory, but they also import lots of cute homewares from overseas.  
Wanna see what I bought?
Well I'm going to show you anyway! Haha...

Some cute asymmetrical cups and little ceramic bottles that look good as vases, in the top photo,
and I bought a few more milk bottle vases in various sizes and colours, I really like the yellow striped one.  I have quite a few different ones of these now, probably enough I think!

......lots of cute cupcake holders and muffin papers  (I am doing some cooking for a friends wedding next week and thought mini cupcakes in these would be nice)

........a couple of small baskets for crochet projects, (they keep multiplying when my back is turned) and a  bag for carrying stuff to the beach (you can't tell from this photo, but it is that water proof type fabric)...

...and mum bought this super cute Advent Calendar for the boys (and me), looking forward to filling the windows with little treats for the kids. Yes indeedy, Christmas is on it's way!! Yikes!

Some of these things are destined for Christmas pressies, so I don't feel quite so guilty about my big shop, it was fun and I don't shop often so I go for it when I do!  I also bought some lovely shallow asymmetrical bowls that match the cups, but they were in the dishwasher by the time I got around to taking a few piccys.

In other riveting news, Gary has had our eternally dripping tap fixed! Yay! I will miss it's gentle dripping all night ( like a hole in the head), it has been like that for over 10 years. Several earlier home handyman efforts have given no joy (I am married to a brilliant accountant!), so it was time to bite the bullet and call in the professionals, and half an hour later it was fixed! Hooray.
We do live an exciting life  :)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yarn Along....

Joining in with Ginny for Yarn Along today......

Still making crochet circles for a my Christmas decoration idea.  
Hope to have a prototype to show you all soon. 

Today I received some books in the mail that we ordered a few weeks ago. 
 I love online shopping, I have usually forgotten what I have ordered by the time it arrives here, 
so it is like getting presents from myself!  haha...

Anyway, the books I ordered are some that I have been drooling over for a while so I am very happy to have them in my hot little hands.  
'Print and Pattern' and 'Print and Pattern 2'  both by Bowie Style.  
The Print and Pattern blog is awesome and although I've only peeked inside my books today, they look so full of colourful, eye candy gorgeousness that I am going to give each one of them their own post!
A lot of inspirational design and pattern to soak up inside these covers I think!

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ornament Swap start.....

How's your weekend going?
We are having a good one, I've worked today, and tomorrow we are having a family catch up.
The boys have been mooching around doing their own thing, we visited my parents after I finished work and they had a hit of tennis and a bag of chips.  Nice cruisey, quiet weekend kind of stuff.

Last night I started a new little idea, nothing very complex, but I'm it hoping it will turn out ok.  It is hopefully going to be for a Christmas swap I have joined.
 The Handmade Ornament Swap is over at the lovely blog Christina Lowry Design, I think there is still a few days left to sign up, if you'd like to join in the fun!

I am using some of my cotton yarn that I bought from Yvestown shop, and am finding it lovely to crochet with, not splitty at all.
These are much softer colours than I usually use, but I am quite enjoying the change.

Hope you all have a fun day!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yarn Along.....


I'm joining in with Ginny and the other lovely crafters over at Small Things today.

So here is what I am hoping to work on tonight, I need to get a few more rows completed so I can do another update for the crochet along.  It seems silly to to an update with only 2 new rows, but I think I may have made this blanket a little bit too wide, each row is taking such along time! 
 Not to mention a heap of wool!!  Oh well, it will be an epic when I finish it, somewhere far off in the future! haha...

I have started reading a quick thriller called Fatherland byRobert Harris.  It is basically a crime thriller set in 1960's Germany in a world where Hitler did not lose WW2.  I am about 1/3 the way through, and so far it is an easy read.

What are you making today?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Caldo Verde - a recipe

Tuscan Kale


Today was my work day at the primary school, and one of the dishes we made was a version of a Portuguese 'green soup'  with potato and kale.  
It was a big hit, with everyone saying it was yum, so I thought I might share the recipe we made with you all, as it is heading into soup weather for my northern hemisphere friends.  It is always good to have another great vegie soup in your repertoire !

 So here it is, easy, delicious, fresh and using great stuff grown in the garden


650g waxy potatoes such as Desiree or Nicola
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions
3 garlic cloves
5 cups water, (or vegie stock, or chicken stock)
2 bay leaves
9 - 10 large leaves of kale or other cabbage
100g chourico sausage (we used bacon instead)

Peel potatoes and cut into chunks.
Finely chop the onions and garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a largish saucepan, and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for one minute.  Add the potatoes, water, salt, and bay leaves and cook until tender - about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, wash the kale leaves and remove the hard stems, then roll up the leaves and cut into fine shreds.
Once the potatoes are cooked, mash the mixture with a potato masher, then add the kale and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes and check the seasoning.  Remove the bay leaves.
Chop up the bacon into little pieces and sauté in a frying pan for a few minutes , until just brown.  Add the bacon to soup.
Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy! !

(This recipe came from the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation website and was tweaked a little bit by me, changes are in the brackets.)


I was able to use the Tuscan kale growing in my garden for this recipe, it is such a great vegetable to grow at home, very easy to grow and at its best growing through autumn and winter around here.

I will be making this soup for my lunches later in the week as there is still plenty of kale ready to go in the garden!

The other dishes we made today were a winter tabouli,  mixed berry jam, lemon butter, and scones.
The children seem to have fun in these cooking classes, although I find them a bit chaotic, but I think that is just having 24 kids in 4 different groups all doing their own thing at the one time, it is bound to get a bit noisy!  Thank goodness for the great volunteers who help each group!!  I am getting more accustomed to it each week, and it is bothering me less, so that is a good thing!

Hope you all have a great day!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Things I have noticed this week.....

1. It is lots of fun shopping for little girls.  There are so many seriously cute things around these days, it is hard to choose what they would like best!  
 A new toy shop has opened in our town and it has 
soooo many things that  I would have loved as a child, I bought my niece a super cute marionette puppet ( I loved puppets when I was little) and quite an ornate heart stamping set and a few pretty erasers for her birthday tomorrow, but there were so many things I could have chosen!  
Oh, and I came home with these Russian dolls for me, just because I love their colours and couldn't resist!

2. I think we are going to have plenty of apples this year if the amount of blossom is anything to go by. I can't remember the trees being this laden before, they are really stunning.

3.  The scent of lilac is starting to be noticeable as you walk in the front door, so lovely!  The bushes  are flowering above the roofline, so you don't really notice the flowers until you look for the source of the scent.

4. My craft space is in need of a big clean up again!  I am not really using it to make anything in, just to dump materials and then whinge that I can't find anything!  Must do something about that!

5.  There are lots of interesting swaps around blogland at the moment, many to do with Christmas.  I think I will join up with a couple maybe.  Do you do swaps?

Ok, I could go  on and on with this, but I had better stop there and go and do something constructive, like clean up my craft room!   Might do some more tomorrow....

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A visit to The Crib......


The other day I went to our local community garden for a visit.  It's been a while since I was last down there, I really must try and get down there more often, there is so much happening and growing.

I am actually the Treasurer on the garden committee, so I feel quite bad that I don't spend more time there helping out, I go when I can, but life is very hectic and sometimes it's thing like this that get pushed down the priorities list.  I try and compensate by growing lots of seedlings and cuttings to plant in the garden when I am actually there.

....quite a few ladies were working the morning I popped in, they are a hard working bunch and really get things done!  (This is about as busy as it gets though, we only have about 30 members!) 
These are some of the individual plots members can take on for their own growing.

.....we have a frog pond, with lots of edible water plants around the edge......

...and a herb garden.....

...the chookies are a recent addition to the garden, they free range in our orchard, see how they have already eaten and scratched nearly all the grass, they save us a lot of weeding! 
(and we get lots of lovely eggs!)

....there are big communal areas where we grow lots of different vegetables and share the produce with whoever happens to be working there on a Wednesday or Saturday morning.  All members of the garden are entitled to work and harvest from these communal areas and everyone can have a say in what gets grown.  
We have a big site, so there is plenty of space to grow everything people want.  I can't believe more people aren't involved really.  It is such a lovely place to spend some time and the produce is really great, all organically grown and the freshest that you can get!

We started this garden about 6 years ago, and still I meet so many people who have never heard of it!
We have done heaps of advertising, been in the local paper lots of times, won big grants to have the orchard fenced and huge water tanks put in and are next to the community house, but I guess we are just a little town and it is a bit out of the way and set back from the street so people just don't see it.

It's a shame because it is such an asset for our community, I wish more people could enjoy it and the benefits community gardening provide.

So if you live on the Western Port side of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, and want to join a great little community garden, come and check out Crib Point Community Garden! 
(Don't actually think any locals read this blog, but you never know...)
(Email me and I'll give you the address, and a tour if you like!!)

Anyhoo, that's probably enough from me now, better go and get the crochet out........
Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yarn Along

I am joining in with Yarn Along today, so here is my current knitting,  the hexagon blanket.  I didn't get very far last night, still getting confused with the 4 needles, it is not coming naturally yet, but I will persevere and hopefully I will get in a rhythm.  

I am reading The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe which is an interesting book about food gardening for times of uncertainty.  Lots about seed saving and how to produce staples and get the most from your garden.  Carol is a very knowledgeable gardener and a scientist,  and her opinions make a really good read.  It is American based, but I think there is a lot  can take from her experiences and adapt to my gardening.  Yes, lots to mull over with this book.

What are you making and reading?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New knitty love.....

Last night I started a new little project that I came across while doing a bit of blog browsing.  It's a hexagon blanket, and I am smitten!  

Firstly I came across the lovely blog Thornton and her hexie blankie really caught my eye, and following the linking trail, I found the pattern on Ravelry, and 10 minutes later it was downloaded  and printed ready for me to try! 
Gotta love the internet!!

Have a look at Bobby's Garden, a pattern by Megan Rogers, it's really lovely and I can see a nice big knitty, patchworky blanket somewhere (a long way off) in my future!

So this is my first hexagon.  I was hoping to do a few more last night, but I forgot how tedious challenging I find it using double pointed needles, so there where a couple of false starts while I ironed out a few teething problems.  But I got there in the end, and tonight I am ready to add 1 or 2 if I am lucky onto this first one.  

It is supposed to be done in Noro (totally gorgeous by the way), but I am using sock yarn, as the only double pointed needles I had are that size, so my blanket is going to be much smaller than the pattern says, but that's ok.  I have a heap of 3ply soft baby merino that I think will work ok for it too, so hopefully this will be a stash busting blanket too, bonus!

Ok, better go and get clicky clacking,  the stripey blanket can have a rest tonight I think, I have new shiny things to play with!

Have a great day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crochet along update #4

Hello ladies, here is the latest bit of my mixed stripey blanket! 
Once again, apologies for slowness of my progress, I am doing my best, but crochet time is short at the moment.

Anyway, heres what I have done,

I finished my block of 5 rows of granny stripe.  
The colours,  watermelon, mint, blue, mint, watermelon. 

Next row in light blue, sc across, with every 3rd st sc into the space between watermelon clusters.

Next row,  in pink, (on right side), hdc in each st across, turn, ch2 (count as as 1st st),  (on wrong side), hdc in each st across.

Next row in light blue, sc each st across.

Next I did a section of chevron stripe in dark blue with an aqua stripe.

After the chevron stripe section I did a chunk of 5 double rows of sc (10 rows in all) in the colour sequence red, mid green, pale pink, pale blue and lime.  

If you prefer, you could do double rows of hdc or dc if you want thicker stripes, and you could do more rows if you like, or less!

So that is where I am at right now, slowly growing!

Have a great day, and happy hooking on!

PS. Thank you all for the lovely comments on my last post, I get a lot of joy from gardening and spending time outdoors pottering around, I am glad I could share it with you all!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Early Spring Snapshot (what's going on in the garden)

It's been a lovely day here and I've been able to get stuck into the garden.  
This is an early Spring snapshot of what's happening in the vegie patch and other bits of our garden.

Above are the new box beds my dad and I made, I have planted them with potatoes, Otway Reds in one and Kipflers in the other, I still have 4 more varieties to plant, so will need to find some more good spots for potatoes.  
This is looking back towards our back fence, you can see my main vegie areas and the back of the chicken yard, you can just see my colourful fence over the other side surrounding my little chicken orchard run.

Inside the hot house, tomatoes seedlings are growing well........

....and my lettuce box is keeping us in fresh leaves for our sandwiches and salads, such an easy way to grow salad greens, I am planning to get another couple of these on the go with summer coming up.......

......basil seeds have germinated......

....and a new batch of kale seedlings are looking good, I'm going to try and grow these through the spring into summer, until the cabbage moths get too bad.

I bought a couple of boronias the other day, the most divine perfume in the garden I think.  Got to find the perfect spot for these, as they are difficult to keep alive through the summer, I can't let them get too dry.

The bearded iris are starting to flower, lots of lovely shades of blue and purple, I think I have a few dark ones too somewhere, looking forward to spotting them in the next few weeks.

The broccoli still has a few heads left, and the first planting of kale is tall and lush.......

.....I have spent today clearing out this bed of silverbeet and old peppers, and have given it a nice thick layer of mushroom compost.  I will let it sit for a few weeks and then plant it up with some summer things, planning to use the wire fence for climbing beans if I can get the chickens to leave them alone.

...I have been growing iceberg lettuces for Andre, and they are not too far away from picking....

....The raspberries are suddenly covered in green,with lots of little white flowers that promise a bumper crop (fingers crossed).......

.....while the flowering cherries have finished their blossom, the apples are just starting.  The ballerina apple tree in the middle of my main vegie patch seems to fruit every second year;  judging by the amazing amount of blossom on it, I think this is an on year for fruit....or maybe it's just because we have had a lot more rain this year compared to the previous 10 years.

......and the same goes for the crabapple, lots of pink buds ready to burst into gorgeous flowers, 
I will have to take a photo in a week or two and show you it in full bloom, it's quite spectacular!

....I have planted the last box bed with several different types of capsicum, hoping to be able to have nice colourful capsicum salads and all home grown too!

....in this garden I have heirloom snow peas, broccolini, red spring onions, celery and normal brown onions , plus a huge amount of weeds!

...I have a couple of blueberry bushes that need to go in the ground.  Just trying to find a nice acidic part of the garden where they can thrive, maybe up near the raspberries........

Well, that's about all I have to show at the moment, how's your garden growing?

Bring on Summer I say!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Giveaway winner is....

Just a quick post today to let you know the winners of the Crochet Boutique Book Giveaway.  I have decided to give away 2 copies of the book, I wish I had something for  all you lovelies, but 2 winners will have to do this time.

So the winners are Alma and Anny. Congratulations! 
Drop me a line with your postal details and I will pop it in the post for you!

Have a great weekend!