Saturday, April 18, 2015

Crochet, Knit, Sew, Bake .....

Last night was FNSI  where 53 ladies from around the world joined in with Wendy from Sugarlane Quilts to do some stitching of various types and then blog sometime over the weekend to share what they did.  It's fun to see what other people are working on, and it's always nice to get ideas or a bit of inspiration - mostly I find its nice to think there are others that wish we had ladies sitting around a table having a natter, coffee and stitching together, but for many of us that seems to be hard to find - so this is a nice way of filling that gap :) 
 I decided this time I'd make a start on Friday night working on a bit more knitting of my Sandpiper Shawl which I'm trying to get finished by the end of April.

 My little buddy was busy snoring his head off - he's gradually beginning to improve after doing his crucial ligament a month ago, but being over 12yrs old the cooler nights are starting to tell! Can you even see him poking out from his handknitted woollen blanket???

This morning I decided to continue on with a bit more stitching and after finding my sewing machine (it's been covered in a bit of this and that of late).......

I managed to get a few mug rugs made (some for the grandies and a couple of gifts), plus decided to whip up this little purse for holding knitting stitch markers and such.

After a bit of sewing I got moving on some crochet work ....... DD has requested a couple more of my crocheted topped kitchen hand towels ...... I'm still working on those so I'll wait till I finish to show you.

I don't know about your place, but it's still raining here and seems to be getting cooler ........ since we haven't yet lit the fire, I figured I would soon warm up if I did a bit of baking........ out of the oven just in time for afternoon tea.......   Yum!!!  I used my simplicity cake recipe and divided it in half ....... one half I added 3 tablespoons of cocoa to make a chocolate cake ........ and the other one I popped into the tin then added half a dozen teaspoons of homemade blackberry jam and just simply swirled the jam through the cake mixture.  (The jam was made using blackberries picked a couple of months ago).   And that sounds like the sausage rolls are finished, so I best go and pull those out of the oven.

I'll leave you with the cake recipe which is super simple, and has been one I've used for 30 odd years - its great as it makes 2 cakes, can be altered to make any flavour you can think of and is a nice moist cake that always gets compliments wherever it seems to go :)  Enjoy!!
Simplicity Cake:
2 Cups Self Raising Flour
1 Cup Sugar (use white or raw sugar)
180gr Softened Butter
1 Cup Milk
3 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Put the flour and sugar into a bowl (no, I don't sift them), then add all the wet ingredients.  Now combine them all and then beat on high for 3mins.
If you are making chocolate cake add 4 tblsp cocoa - adjust this if halving the mixture to make 1 chocolate and another flavour cake.   You can also pop sliced apple, apricot etc onto the mixture.

Pop into whatever baking tins you wish to bake in (you can also choose to pop the mixture into patty tins to make small cakes for the children) ....... Bake in a moderate oven until it looks ready - test by placing a skewer or toothpick into the centre and having it come out clean.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hibiscus Happiness

Good Morning!  And yes, it is a good morning here in the cottage - It's your typical Autumn kind of day, somewhat overcast this morning and it may possibly rain - I don't mind if it does, since today is not a "going to work " day....... and its, at least at this point, a 'taking your time' to get things done, kinda day!  
 So why Hibiscus Happiness for the title??  After my last post I had a comment left by a lovely fellow blogger that did indeed sum things up in a nutshell! Also during the week, DH and I have been able to randomly "mull things over" and have decided at this point in time to just continue to remain here in our little cottage on our 1/4 acre block with my very special little craft cabin and continue to make mortgage payments (a large debt with only a few short years left till DH will need to retire). I'm sure we are not alone in this headache/heartache and   Perhaps in the next year or two a miracle will occur that sees our mortgage paid out.  
The found Hexie Flowers and scraps
 Anyhow, this heartfelt comment  sent me over to her blog to see what her latest post might be ....... indeed, it seemed to "sing" to me and did indeed lift my spirits ..... ok, it was the big wonderful group of pictures in the header first with the lovely cheerful Hibiscus flowers and the stitching of the girls having coffee and cake lol....... Then I got to the post ...It was all about getting back to doing those paper pieced projects again....... and that kinda reminded me of a much simpler, slower and happy pace at which I was living life back a couple of years ago...... So I went rummaging in my cabin to find the tin that held those  little hexie flowers I was making  each Wednesday ..... I'll be able to start working on those again........ 
and  I had also begun a hexie project that would hopefully turn into a quilt for our bed!  What do you know, the container for those was right beside the tin of hexies, so it has been pulled out as well ....... So I am linking up with Anthea from Hibiscus Stitches today and these UFO's will now begin to get some attention again :)   Thanks Anthea xo

Just yesterday I came across some research that mentioned using rosemary tea to assist with reduction of prostate cancer cell growth  - DH has never had a herbal tea in his life, but he is giving this a go and I guess we shall see if he continues with it, what becomes from it......... Anybody else have info on Rosemary Tea?

Hugs Sharm   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A New Face?

I managed to get the dog blanket (would you believe its middle is my sleeping bag from when I was 13!!),  and a couple of pot mitts sewn up on the weekend which can now be ticked off that list I had/have. 
 My knitting continues on various projects which keeps my hands busy, but my mind tends to wander off onto musings..........

Things have been changing a little around the cottage - as with most places changes are always made here and there - here, Hubby has taken charge in the yard - removing the vegie patch, fixing up the chook yard and extending
Some lovely deliveries of yarn that arrived over the past couple of  wks.
it so they don't need to go out into the yard everyday, and just last weekend finishing off the front fence ............... as some of you may have guessed, this has now reduced the garden areas dramatically - less weeding, but less garden area.  The vegie patch really was not doing well in its position due to all the gum trees overhead and the spreading kikuyu grass at ground level.  I salvaged some plants from the front garden and they are sitting in pots around the cabin.  In fact the little cabin seems to be gathering its own little garden of potted plants.  The herb garden sits just near the cabin and I've dug it up a little removing wandering herbs that had escaped from pots .... and I will likely use this spot to pop in some silverbeet as I like to have it on hand for the chooks.  Its only a small space, so it's not going to take much at all to fill it.

As my daydreaming continues, thoughts of my long, long time dreams come into play ........ I wonder if there is the slightest chance of them coming to pass, as it becomes less likely as the years pass and as our ages go up -  the finances always seem to be that bit short..........  It can be downright depressing at times!  We recently thought we were going to be able to get a bush block of some acres - but with no house, sheds, fencing or power etc........ turns out we would not be able to afford it.

But now I find myself in that "where to now" world.......................... You know (or maybe you don't), but when the reality check says "forget it, you got not a hope of achieving that goal"........ so here I sit, pondering ............ looking, searching for a new goal ....... trouble is, I don't want a new one, I like the one I have/had ....... perhaps there is a possibility of changing its shape to fit into this lifetime ................ I'm sure with a bit of creativity there might be, just might be,  that little ray of hope there......................  I'll let you know in a little bit, but in the meantime I might continue to pray that we find a few acres, preferably with an old house and sheds already there, for a price we can actually afford!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Busyness

Easter around here turned out to be somewhat busier than I had hoped it might be.  My plans had been for joining in with Cheryll and everyone else for Friday Night With Friends and continuing with sewing, knitting and crochet all over the Easter period.   While I did manage to get some work done on my shawl in dribs and drabs ............. I never did make it to getting sewing done that I really did want to get started on!  

Part of that was due to having to work on a
Old Fence and pick up of new fence from Wodonga
couple of major outside projects ......... DH decided it was time to replace the old wire fence line along the front which we just couldn't stop the grass from growing through and between two lots of chicken wire netting making the place look rather unloved!  Since he is currently working away during the week, I was sent on the mission on Thursday to drive up to Wodonga to collect the parts for the new fence which he had ordered...........

Son and I had cleared away just about all the lavender bushes and other shrubs and plants along the  43 mtrs (approx. 129ft) fence line.   Friday morning DH and I were outside early to begin the task of pulling down the old fence.  Post holes were dug and then welding commenced to put up the bars between.  
 So while the welding and post hole digging was going on, I decided to take advantage since I still needed to be within earshot of them, ........ and finally get to cleaning out the pond ready for winter.  Its been a couple of years since we cleaned it out and I was aware that it had a lot of silt and muck in it ......... turned out it had more than I had bargained for!!!  Not for anything was I able to suction out the water .......... so was left with the back breaking task of bucketing the water out ............ not just throwing out the water, since it was full of black thick yuck ...... and fish ...... meaning each bucket had to be carefully emptied ........ eventually I hit the bottom and had it cleaned out as best as was going to happen after hours of bucketing!!!

Seems the Kookaburras have eaten all but 2 of the bigger gold fish, but we seem to have a good lot of medium and small fish in lots of various colours who were all keen to get back into the pond after spending most of the day in buckets!! Good Friday was quite a long day, finished off by the annual event of the Royal Childrens Fundraising at the Boorhaman Hotel ........ a tiny township in which we lived before our move to Townsville ...... this year the locals raised over $21,0000!!

The Fence project continued over Saturday (having to stop due to rain) ...... Sunday .......
and Monday, when finally this big section was completed!!!  PJ (son currently living with us) helped at various stages, but also required a few lifts into or out of Wangaratta over Easter where
he was catching up with friends (which is how I seemed to loose more of my time ....... driving ...... hopefully he has his license back this week), plus those trips into town to grab extra screws, searching for those screens that go into welding masks, and a quick trip Sunday morning with DH to the Yarrawonga market -    The finished Fence does look good though ..... and now today we head back to work lol!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Arrives

It would seem that April has arrived ..... already!!  Is it really the 4th month of the year here
already??  Things seem to have been so busy thus far, I sure hope April brings a leading to a somewhat slower pace, ....... but I have my doubts lol

I was pleased to get my knitted dress completed by the end of March so I could have a finish for OPAM and since it was a major finish, I'm ok with that!  Progress continues on the other projects and naturally, one down and another project gets picked up ........ my first attempt at lace knitting, I'm working on this little number
Sandpiper Shawl another of Laura's patterns, and with a KAL attached any questions get answered and you have the company of others knitting the same pattern with you!  Plus as an added bonus/incentive there are little random prices throughout the kal ........ last weekend I won a pattern of my choice from the  Laura Aylor Collection - I chose the        which is a unisex pattern - meaning I can knit one up for DH.  I mentioned this to him and happened to have the latest swatches from Bendigo Woollen Mills sitting on the table .......... not so long afterwards I was given the name of the colour yarn he would like his sweater knitted up in lol - I take this as testament that my knitting skills have improved to a standard worthy of wearing a "handknit by wife" out in public lol

DD has been up for a couple of nights with us as she had a specialist appointment to attend.  It was lovely to catch up with her, although she did miss out of seeing her dad since he is currently working away this week.  If she wasn't working all over Easter she would have stayed a bit longer..... perhaps next time :)   She did make a couple of requests before leaving - more thick pot mits, a couple more of my crochet topped handtowels and a knitted scarf.  It's nice to know they like using the handmade items and when they start to request them, you know you are doing something special!!   Homegrown/made/laid  eggs, apricot jam and soaps all went back to Melbourne with her as well :)

I'm now at a point where I need to make a written list/queue of the handmades needed/requested:
the start of Sandpiper Shawl

Currrently working on: Ingonish (thick jumper for me); Park Slope (tee for me); Sandpiper shawl (for me)
Requests/ Needs:
Shoalhaven Sweater for Pete
Scarf for Stace (not sure which pattern I'll use yet )
Potholders for Stace (nice thick sewn ones please) - mine seem to be wearing down a bit too, so I may need to make up a couple more and perhaps put a few away for birthdays/Christmas??
Crochet topped handtowels (the ones with my crochet flowers on top)
Shawl for my Mum (she is happy to sit in the docks and wait patiently - I have some handdyed yarn on order to make this one up)
Featherweight Cardigan - for me and its been in the queue for about a year now....... could really use it about now!!

Very soon I need to leave to go with the trailer to pick up the front fence Pete has ordered!  The old chicken wire one has seen better days and the garden there became overgrown with the grass, so we have been pulling out all the lavender bushes, some of the roses, lots of other bits and pieces so we can get the wire down and the new fence up.   
Easter begins tomorrow, I'm guessing I'll have plenty to keep me occupied .............
Have a great day :)
Hugs Sharm