Friday, April 23, 2010

A right mess

Today is Friday, the sun is shining and there are many things I could be doing- outside or in, we have visitors coming to stay for the weekend and it would be great to have our home schmicko, in a clean and uncluttered sort of a way, to welcome them. 

But I tend to get abit distracted. The room where our friends will be sleeping is also where my fabric stash is stored. Rather than making beds, I decided I might spend some time 'organising' my fabric (read- folding and refolding and admiring along the way). One of the reasons I am prompted to do this is because, amazingly, I am going to use said fabric, rather than just hoard it to look lovely for 'one day' use (I was inspired by Gina to think about my approach). 
I have temporarily misplaced my camera (well, I am not exactly sure where it is and I haven't had a look) which means I can't take a photo of the right mess my fabric is in at the moment. I am pulling it out and prewahing it- being a quilter I have never been a pre-washer before (I like my quilts to shrink abit and become lovely and crinkly) but I am led to believe that as I convert to sewing clothes, not prewashing could get me into strife. My line is looking lovely!
Here's a tip for quilters who don't make clothes- it's amazing, you can whip something up in a few hours rather than several weeks (or months in my case). Case in point- here are some photos of my cap that is now finished.

So, back to the fabric. It's lovely. I am just not sure the best way to store it- by colours, by size of piece, by fabric type (linen or cotton I mean, stretchy fabrics are in the next cupboard). I have had a bit of a system, but I tend to think that some peoples brains are better at organising than others- and if you have one of those brains, I think it would be very nice of you to share your secrets! How do you organise your fabric bits that have been cut into but there is still enough to make something else? And smaller scraps?
Do tell...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Busy bees

Yes, our bees have been busy, as have we today. 
We extracted the honey from the hives (two hives). We got about 28kg's we reckon, which is the most we have got in one haul before, that was from 17 frames. 
We will share this honey with a great family who are our partners in beekeeping. Regretfully they couldn't be here today (I say regretfully because-at the risk of sounding really slack- it meant I really had to pull my weight and I really felt like I was butchering some of those frames as I was taking the wax caps off with a hot knife). 
 This is one of the frames before 'capping'.

 Our friends (the partners in beekeeping!) came over (from Bendigo) last weekend thinking the bees might get a look in, but it was too overcast- which means not a good day to get honey because the bees aren't out and about, they are hanging around the hive. 
No one got stung in the process today, which is not a given...


Still lids to put on and a tiny bit left to bottle.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Things to love about a 7 year old

In the school holidays Annie, who is 7, really got crafty. 
She got hand sewing a couple of bags, then a bit of machine sewing (first time). She learnt abit of embroidery and was patient and careful enough to sit still and make THIS for her mum...
How stoked was I? She had wrapped it up and the first thing she said was 'I made you a present'. She later explained that she knew green is my favourite colour and I love tulips. Also, I am the only one in the family who ever (even if very rarely) uses a mobile phone- it's a mobile phone cover. She used the pattern from this book.
I had taught her running and back stitch but lovely patient grandma (my mum) taught her blanket stitch. Hooray for Grandma and THANK YOU Annie, I reckon it's great.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Construction zone

I think I am getting addicted. I am sewing. A lot. I am choosing sewing over sleep. Not like me. I have got LOTS of projects going on at the moment. 
Including this- I won this pattern from Toni (thanks Toni)

Cool cap and bag. Before it arrived in the mail I found some great fabric and stood in my 'local' wondering how much I would need...I went with 50 cm. Got home, the pattern had arrived and BINGO, 50 cms it is.
So, I have taken great care, cutting it out, not trying to do a rush job, even spent time matching dots and stripes, which I haven't done before. Done some lovely top stitching (if you ask me!)

And then- LOOK- I've put the vespas upside down.

Yep, shoulders sink. I don't even think it was because I wasn't paying attention to detail, i think it was because i was visualising the way the pieces went wrong. Okay- it was a little bit late and probably at a time when I should not have been sacrificing sleep for sewing. But I press on. I was encouraged by Soozs when I read this this morning.  I will learn from this mistake (don't use directional fabric- see dilemma with red cord a few posts ago! Which, by the way, has been rectified, involved unpicking and resewing but me and that project are mates again and it's coming along swimmingly, thanks for asking).

Very soon I will show you my fantastic (finished)  cap, carefully crafted, with the funky feature of upside down scooters!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Eating seasonally

Just thought I'd pop in here to write abit as I process my thoughts about seasonal eating. 
We grow most of our own vegies and a reasonable about of our meat. We have a wide selection of fruit and vegies. We are very rich in this sense. 
At the moment we have apples, pears, the last of the plums, we still have a few berries, carrots, silverbeet, beetroots, capsicum, spring onions, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, variety of herbs, lettuce. I am sure I have missed some things. 
We swap vegies for raw biodynamic cows milk, we have fresh eggs,
So- answer me...why do I want to buy pineapple, bananas, oranges (when we don't even eat all of ours when they are in season), Grapes- again, we had ample to share over summer.
I feel like I don't appreciate the things we have in abundance and want the nice shiny 'other things' that are in the shops. Our food is real food, why would anyone want to buy other stuff when they have access to such good stuff? I am open to your thoughts and suggestions...

Monday, April 5, 2010

The green line!

Inspired by Cam I have been 'banishing the beige'. 


Being a large sort of person, I often don't have the gem picks of the op shops that smaller people do.  I am happy now to have a friend who is a simliar size to me, who much to my puzzlement (and benefit) chucks out clothes semi regularly (she apparently gets bored). 
On the weekend I scored this top (above), which I like but don't really go in for wearing 'cream'- I am pale enough already. I bought some dye awhile ago (for my tea towel swap but the dying of tea towels regretfully never eventuated- I say regretfully because I dyed some spare 'blanks' I had and they turned out amazing. Sorry if any of my swapees are reading this and wondering what could have been).
At the time I was drawn in by the 'one easy step' promise. I really wasn't sure about doing it in my very precious million dollar (not really) front loader- but the ease won over the concern about machine ramifications. So in went 1kg of fabric (2 shirts, a whilte singlet, white t shirt and 3 linen tea towels), with the 'dissolvable' dye packet and 1 cup of soap. I set it to a 95 degee cycle (well, it said the hottest) and a couple of hours latter look what was on my line...and my machine is still fully functional with no hint of green remaining. What fun.

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Friday, April 2, 2010


I often get distracted and am not good at committing to regular events (walking each day- or even a few times a week, writing in my journal, ahem, ahhh, blogging) but some things are annual and I can commit to them.
One thing I do each year is bake the neighbourhood Hot Cross Buns, regardless of neighbourhood. Last year we went camping with the extended family so they scored the buns. This year we are at home so we were a mini bakery today. I didn't count the final total but we made at least 94 hot cross buns plus another 29 (odd number, I know) gluten free ones.

 This year my children were very happy to help...stir, knead, grease trays, shape buns, egg wash, glaze...lick the bowl!

 I changed the way I do my cross mix this year, it's just flour and water but this year I added boiling water and made it quite 'pastey', I think it work better.
Although they don't look as flash, the gluten free ones turned out well.

And interesting this is when my young photographer  downed tools and I have no photos of the 'wheat' ones in their glazed splendour because... he called for a 'bun break'!

I have been doing it for about 10 years I think, maybe longer. I particularly remember baking for Basil. He was our neighbour in Violet Town, a deaf and slightly paranoid old fella who didn't talk to me all that much but loved my baking and called me 'the cook'. He would say to Mr. Apple 'How's the cook?".
Today after the big bake we went round to 5 different neighbours bearing gifts- two lots of buns were left on kitchen tables because their people were down the paddock or not home (it's the country!), we had shortish visits with another two families and then relaxed and had coffee at the last stop and didn't get home until about 7pm.  Phew, alot of baking and alot of visiting - I think I will sleep well tonight!

 Also, my hot cross buns have a special ingredient, and if you guess what it is I will send you a little surprise (if more than one person guesses correctly I will pull a rabbit name out of a hat. It's an ingredient that's not in just any old bun- and it's real, not like 'a sprinkle of love' (although that's in them too!).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pincushion mail

Look what I got in the mail- a brown paper package, tied up with string (and a button).
And look what was inside it... a cool pear keyring- which my daughter tried to snaffle... some great leaf pins (is here where I confess that it took me a few minutes to work out they were pins and not a fancy embellishment!)

And a crocheted apple (could be a tangerine actually too, hard to describe the colour) pincushion.
How happy am I? Very happy. I love it Leah , thanks so much.
Now, rather than smiling dumbly, in a rather chuffed way, maybe I should get on with finishing mine!