Tuesday, July 31, 2012


  1. Last week there was a glimpse of Spring. But it was a fleeting one.
  2. I accidentally made yoghurt cheese. Which happens when one allows homemade yoghurt to drain a little too long. It was smooth and creamy and not unlike cream cheese. 
  3. A gifted mini cushion from Julia. From this pretty stash.
  4. We rediscovered a bag of vintage puzzles.  And realized that the spare room needs a good clean out.
  5. An accidental love heart. 
  6. Washing up "help".
  7. A gem hidden amongst a shelf of tatty polyester and tacky 90's print cushions. So glad I turned it over.

Wishing you all a very good week x

Thursday, July 26, 2012

on multi-tasking

I often struggle to pay attention to the task at hand. Mid-way through a doing the dishes I decide to quickly throw those clothes in the washing machine. I might spot a recipe that I printed out and take a look at the ingredients list and ponder over whether I can make it tonight. Then forget what job I was doing in the first place. 

I can't talk on the phone without washing up, tidying or even sweeping the floor. I have mastered the ear on shoulder phone hold.

I can't watch tv without knitting.

As I wait for that coffee to boil I will be putting away washing.

I find myself pulling weeds when I'm supposed to be hanging out washing.

Not to mention the almost constant needs of a toddler.

Perhaps I am suffering from some form of housework ADD. Or perhaps it just mixes things up and makes the menial just that bit more interesting.

Are you easily distracted too? Or do you stay on task no matter what? 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

violet for violet - a dress

Going through my youngest's cupboard the other day, I realized that there was no handmade dresses within those racks. Something had to be done. So that afternoon I began and finished a little dress.

I think this dress, the Cupcake dress from the book Make It Perfect was just the right, quick and easy pattern for a done in one afternoon job. The pattern and instructions were very clear and easy to understand. The top half of this dress consists of an existing knit top, which is then joined to a tiered skirt. I once made something very similar for Julia many seasons ago just when I was starting out sewing.

I took a long sleeve top and teamed it with an assortment of vintage sheeting, the top floral layer being a gift from the lovely Amanda, and finished off with a little printed ribbon (of which I cannot remember where I purchased it from).

We popped a thermal on underneath this morning. Which made it almost warm enough for this morning in which the fog did not want to lift. I think it will be a perfect little dress for the cooler start of Spring.

It also seems to be quite suitable for wood carting, running away, and rock climbing. It never ceases to amaze me what busy little people toddlers can be.

Hat blogged here.

Hoping that your week has treated you all well so far.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

cleaning cheats

Running out of something used to mean a quick dash to the shop. But since living out here, and the prospect of a forty minute round trip, I've learnt to be just a little more resourceful when I do run out of something. At such times its good to have a few quick cheats up your sleeve.

Take dishwashing detergent for instance. Though I usually get along quite well with my usual brands (I like to use Eco Store or Herbon brands) there are times when I do run out and dishes still need to be done. I find it very handy to have a pack of Sunlight soap on hand for such emergencies. I use a bar to soap up in hot water (sometimes leaving the bar in there to keep it soapy) and use this to wash the dishes. Rinsing well to prevent that soapy taste in the drinking glasses.

I do love my Sunlight Soap. It's one of those things that can help you out in many a pickle. I've also used it as replacement hand soap, stain remover and grated into homemade laundry powder.

When I run out of washing powder there are times that I just don't feel motivated or have the time to make a new batch of powder.  So I just sprinkle in a good few good tablespoons of bicarb soda into the wash. Sometimes I add a glug of vinegar and enjoy seeing it all foam up. I can't tell you if it really does much. But it does look impressive.

Do you have any quick cleaning cheats?

Monday, July 23, 2012

making the most of the cold

I'm afraid there's not a lot of motivation to spend any time outdoors at the moment. It's been cold. The plants have almost stopped growing and much of the grass is brown from the daily frosts. Once we've braved the cold for soccer (and I try not to think too much about my son running around in a t-shirt and shorts in low single digits) and picked up Julia from her sewing lesson, it's mostly been a return to indoors and back by the warmth of the fire. Shared simple meals break up the weekend days. But the weekend I purposely ignored the steadily growing pile of laundry that had outgrown it's drawer space and was threatening to swallow up the entire pantry floor.

Instead I concentrated on some making. I worked some more on Violet's Autumn Leaves (the free pattern is here),  which encouraged Julia to do a little more knitting herself. I cut up some old magazines for another scrapbook. Something, I admit, I have never grown out of.  Though I think Daniel wishes I would. My mum helped me cut out a dress for Julia. I admire her accuracy with pinning and cutting out. All done so carefully and accurately, a reminder of her time as a pattern grader in the 70's. This accuracy is something I need to work on as I tend to be a little lazy in this department, and then wonder why those seams don't quite join as they should. Julia, too, had a little sewing project of her own to work on in the form of a simple stuffed toy of her own design.

 It is brought home to me again, the contentment that can be found in simple creative things. That is not just about the finished cardigan or dress, but as much about the process involved from selecting colours, the texture of the item in your hands, to the pleasure of knitting by the fire.

And while the weather may be not so nice, and Spring feels very far away, it does feel that we are making the very most of this season in our own way.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

hits and misses

 I thought I would show you some little projects that I've been working on in the past month. Various bits and pieces. Some successful and others not quite so much.

A wool skirt for Julia. Basically a long rectangle of op shopped wool joined together, hemmed, with an elasticized waist and some large pockets made from Anna Maria Horner cotton. I once said I'd never do the matchy matchy thing, but take a look here. Yes, I am guilty. But I have to admit that it not only makes me feel quite frugal, but I actually quite like it. Perhaps because I never had a sister of my own to match.

You might remember my chair project. Well, it seems one of the kids quite enjoyed peeling back a few loose bits on the back of this chair. It started to look rather shabby and not in a good way. Something really had to be done.

I took a vintage sheet, traced a very rough pattern and voila! Ten minutes later a simple chair cover. It will be easy to slip off and wash and brings our chair back some of it's (humble) former glory.

And now for the miss. Yes, it all looks pretty fine and dandy in our picture. A hat that was intended for Violet, but was so huge it actually fit Julia. Obviously my gauge was way out. Something I neglected to test out before diving in and starting it on this weekend. Probably best for me not to start projects when I'm on holiday, as every time I do it tends to not work out. I even tried shrinking it but it stubbornly refused to do so, despite the hottest of temperatures. Lets hope for better luck next time, as otherwise I quite liked this little pattern. Meanwhile I may be able to persuade Julia to wear it with the button undone.

Nevertheless, it is raveled here.

Have you had any hits or misses lately?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

in black and white

I lay awake last night thinking about things. About how fast time really does fly. How fast kid's grow up. How fast our life disappears before our very eyes. How we're not as young as we once were.

Too deep perhaps to get into for a bright, sunny morning midweek post.

 On a lighter note awhile back I began printing black and white photos. I've been collecting cheap and unattractive frames at the op shop. Painting them black with spray paint. Two quick coats.

I knew that what was missing in this house was our memories.

There's not many up there yet, but I look forward to adding quite a few more to that wall.

Hoping that yours is a good day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

back to school

The alarm went off at six this morning. I managed to press snooze until a quarter to seven. Of course there was a blanket of frost and fog just making it that little bit harder to get out of bed. But nothing a strong coffee wouldn't fix. I was grateful that Daniel had put more wood on the fire before he left for work at the ungodly hour of four this morning.

 But there was no getting around the fact that the kids are back to school today. So I need to get my morning act a little more back together. Lunches to pack, uniforms and early starts are part of my days again. Today there will be bedrooms to clean. Majorly clean. Although a part of me will miss the holidays, I have to admit that I'm kind of looking forward to the return of regular toddler naps and just a little quiet.

Wishing you all a pleasant (and perhaps quieter?) day.

Monday, July 16, 2012

weekend, food and goat

I cooked wild goat for the first time ever.  A goat that was brought home whole and I'd watched on as a friend sharpened his knives, lit a cigarette and calmly sliced the animal down the middle. The skin came off, the insides came out and the animal was butchered into large pieces. I'd never seen this process before, and while a little shocking and messy in it's way, I didn't find it the gruesome experience I had expected. It was something, that as an eater of meat, I think I should see. As I put away the meat into the freezer, and prepared a goat leg roast, I was appreciative of where that animal came from. That a life had been sacrificed for those meals and I really wouldn't want to waste any part of that. We don't really have the room to raise livestock here, but I feel that this is the next best thing to that.

The roast was a little tough, but still tasty, and in hindsight it may have benefited from some hanging time or longer slow roasting. The leftovers I cut up into tiny pieces and made Hugh's (of River Cottage) mother's Shepherd's pie. The meat came out crispy and tender. Probably the best shepherds pie I've ever tasted, and I doubt anyone could tell that it wasn't in fact an authentic shepherds pie.

Then there was pound cake, pancakes (the recipe on the back of the buttermilk carton, minus the blueberries) and some quick pastas using greens from the garden. It was one of those weekends that revolved around food and one meal almost ran into the next at times. The cold windy weather ensured that most time was spent indoors by the fire.

How was your weekend? Did you enjoy some good food? Have you ever tried goat meat? Have you ever taken part in butchering?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

George's garden

Sometimes inspiration can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Going through my late grandfather's photos I discovered that my great grandfather (seen here with my great grandmother) was quite the gardener.

Though I never met him and apparently he was a quiet man, I like to think about the conversations we might have had.  So although I never got to have a tour around his garden, or a walk through that little green house, at least I have these pictures here that tell their own story.

His backyard was quite the inspiration don't you think?