Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas Bunting.

Christmas buntings for three beautiful friends.

Working on these was so much fun

Each bunting has 'wearables' attached...

...and messages with meaning.

It soothes my Soul.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Happy weed.

How hard would this life be?

Making a home as best you can nestled into in a crack in the footpath.  

Surrounded by a few bits of scratchy old stray seaweed that has just blown in.  

Right by the front door too...every time someone went in or out you'd have to duck wouldn't you?

I've deliberately sidestepped this little weed for days and days.  Just to give the seeds on that tiny white flower head a chance to procreate somewhere more lush and somewhat safer.  Enabling weed happiness. thought I meant something else didn't you?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Soap labels.

As exasperating as it is, there are definite bonuses when both the washing machine and vacuum cleaner give up and die at the same time.  

Can't do any housework so might as well crank up the old sewing machine......

I've been experimenting with labels for my handmade soap.

Sewing round and round in circles...happy as can be...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Back to the X-rated info.

My lovely daughter Megan...knower of all things technical...well mostly, has explained what happened with the X-rated 'hits' on my Blog.  Apparently when there is a lot of activity on a blog, little robots, blogbots, steampunk-wearing-fusebots...or whatever they are, target high activity Blogs and try to gather something (I forget what she said) and use that info to get traffic to their own site.  Or something like that?  So....they're not real people being creepy, just blogbots!
Anyway,  I'm no longer worried.  I'm just going to blog to my little heart's content.   

Thank you Meegle.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Major Vegie Patch Haul.

I went out into the garden this morning with my little red riding hood basket to forage through our half acre garden for morsels of nourishing yumminess.  

Sing, sing, skip, skip, skipitty-doo-da.  (You can imagine can't you!)  

Three tomatoes from a tomato bush we didn't even just grew out of the side of the compost bin all by it's own little self.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Deafening Silence.

Ok, ok I've been really quiet around here I know.  For some weird reason, I'm getting lots of 'hits' on my blog from an x-rated site.


What are they looking for on my blog anyway...a pattern for dishcloths, a recipe for chutney?  For goodness sakes! It really has unnerved me.  I'm just not techno savvy enough to figure all this I just stayed away.  You know, put my head in the sand like an ostrich.  Works for me.

So...if you're visiting here from an x-rated site...GO LOOK UP CHUTNEY ON GOOGLE!

Thank you.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Allergic to cats apparently?

I've been looking after my daughter's little cat while she's on holidays with her beautiful man in Bali.  I'm allergic to cats so it's a bit of an 'episode' most days.  My routine for the first couple of days...and this took some planning!...I fill the kitchen sink with hot soapy water ready to wash my hands after each time I touch something, get the tissues out and put them on the bench ready for the inevitable sneezing fit, (and make sure there's a toilet roll handy!) keep the front door open for fresh air and have my Ventolin inhaler stuffed into my bra ready for 'Quick Draw McGraw'.

Funnily enough, my nose has been behaving (honestly it looks more dangerous than it is) and I've only had a couple of sneezing fits.  Most days I get to enjoy an A M A Z I N G coffee from the coffee machine, which I've only just figured out how to operate despite detailed written instructions, (my daughter knows me too well) while I get to have lots of fun with this adorable little cat.

Waiting for me to get dinner..."C'mon slow's just a tin can for goodness sakes!"

"Like my pretty bow?"

"Where did that little red light go?  Oh...I'm on to I'm invisible...and this is my silent stealth creep" 

"Ok now it's disappeared again...hmmm...I need to keep a vigilant watch."


"And just for the record Miss Marple...I don't pounce until I'm good and ready...I'm just plain sick and tired of slipping on the tiles!"

I thought cats were know...cats.  But it would appear that they are also silent and conscientious investigators of paranormal sightings.

Can you guess who has been having more fun?

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Eco Dyeing

Magic things have been happening in my kitchen this weekend.

A lovely friend lent me a magazine article about Eco Dyeing on paper.  I've tried a similar technique on fabric using plant material bundled in little fabric parcels, as part of a research project last year, but have never tried that same technique with paper.  I really don't know why because I just love plants, flowers and all things nature related in any type of image.  I'm one of those annoying people who photograph flowers and plants wherever I go.  I sniff them too.  Probably why I have been so graciously endowed with a generous 'snorkel'.

I had visitors for most of the day so I couldn't 'get my craft on' until night time.  But when I did...OMG it was so worth the wait.

The first step in the process is to layer leaves and flowers between pieces of printmaking paper.  I used watercolour paper as that's all I had.  The whole bundle is then clamped between two sheets of perspex and plopped into a boiling bath.  I used half dead roses from my vase but even so, I felt sorry for the poor little blossoms.  It looked really hot in there.  I chucked a few more dead roses in for good measure.  You in numbers.

After a good couple of hours (I was enjoying a nice happy hour with yet another visitor!) the papers came out of the pot, were rinsed and left out to dry overnight.

The article in the magazine said that roses don't generally release any colour although can leave a nice impression. So I wonder where this colour came from?

I think these images are absolutely stunning!

I can't wait to experiment again, although I need to do a few sensible things first like housework, washing and mowing the lawn before I lose track of the whole weekend...happy-houring and dyeing!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Making Soap

 I've been 'soaping' again.

Such a Zen passtime.

Good for the soul.

I love watching the process.  The emulsifying of water, oils and butters.
I don't love wearing gloves to protect myself from burns.  But I do anyway...because I'm a nerd.

Sometimes (well actually most of the time) I worry that I'm going to blow up my poor old overworked stick blender. I imagine that I'll be soaping away, caught up in a world of my own...when 'BANG' the stick blender blows up and our whole half acre is suddenly smothered in creamy bubbles.  Can you imagine? "Honey I've managed to get rid of ALL the aphids off the roses".  
Thankfully that hasn't happened yet.  The bubbles, not the aphids.

The whole process takes a quite long time and you have to 'be' with the soap...not leave and go put the sprinkler on, not hang the washing out, not check the letterbox and get caught up yakking to the need to BE with the soap.  It's a miraculous process...

Roses are also miraculous...don't you think?

(These roses still have aphids).

Monday, 26 August 2013

Rant over

Ok rant over.  I'm over it.

This appeared on Facebook and it pretty much says it all.  Must have been a message!

Lots of people get tired and can't find clean socks or a couple of stray rissoles....right?  No need to carry on about it.

I've just had the best weekend.  Lunch with one of my gorgeous daughters for her birthday on Saturday.  Plenty of 'me time' on Sunday. Sewing, knitting, art making and letter writing.  Sitting by a beautiful log fire in my Jim-jams.

PS  Just for the record, last time I 'copied and pasted' a quote from Facebook, it disappeared from my Blog a little while later. If it happens again......sorry!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Two Jobs

I'm working two jobs at the moment. 

That statement was just for anyone left in the Southern hemisphere that I haven't already told!

I'm holding my eyelids open with matchsticks.  I wish I could show you with a picture...but I can't focus.

I'll be back.  I miss Blogging...weird I know.  And thank you to the beautiful regular followers who keep checking my Blog each day, and find...absolutely nothing.  Sorry about that. There is nothing happening in my life at the moment except work, eat, sleep, scrummaging round for batteries for my meditation CDs, looking for clean socks, hoping there is another leftover frozen rissole in the freezer so I don't have to cook, getting annoyed with the Postie because he hasn't delivered my new 'Apronology' book.  
(Like I need  new apron).   

Sunday, 28 July 2013

A Glut of oranges.

We have such a glut of oranges at the moment. Despite arguing with the pesky fruit fly all season, we have still managed to get a huge amount of healthy fruit.

So I had a big 'orange weekend' this weekend.

I peeled the rind off all the fruit fly affected oranges to make a citrus cleaner.  It's easy to make.  Just fill a jar with orange peel (the thinner the better as the essential oils are in the orange part of the peel, not the white part), and top up the jar with white vinegar.  The peel needs to steep in white vinegar for a couple of weeks before it's ready. When the vinegar has taken on some of the orange colour, strain off the peel and put the vinegar solution into a spray bottle.  It can be diluted 50/50 with water and used to clean as you would use a shop bought bathroom or kitchen spray cleaner.  I don't use this on wooden furniture though.  I think it could be a bit too strong for good quality wood (not that ours is!)

I also made some orange chutney with the good oranges.  I can't wait to try this.....I just love anything orange flavoured.  Especially Cointreau on the rocks!

The following recipe made these five jars above plus one more medium sized jar which is already in the fridge waiting to be sampled.


1 kilo fruit (see note)
1 onion
1 cup sugar
2 cups vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
A handful of sultanas
Spices to suit fruit (see note)

Method:  Chop fruit and onions.  Simmer all the ingredients together until nicely thickened to a good consistency. Depending on how much liquid is in the fruit, this usually takes about an hour.  Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal.  
Note :  Any type of fruit can be used.  For this orange chutney the 1 kilo of fruit consisted of four large oranges (with peel) and one pear. The spices I used were 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, 2 teaspoons minced chilli and 2 teaspoons minced garlic.

Of course larger batches can be made, but I prefer to make smaller frequent batches as the extra fruit becomes available.  Then I don't end up with a great big all day episode in the kitchen.  Plus it gives me a chance to experiment with the spices and flavours.

And there's still more beautifully home grown oranges in the fruit bowl.  Checked, double checked and just perfectly ready to eat!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Making an apron or 'pinny' from a man's shirt.

Ok people.  Close your eyes if this looks like it's going to be a bit too dorky for you.  I fully intend to get my blog into print form using 'blog2print' or something similar, at some that when I'm old and probably demented, I'll have something interesting to read and reminisce about (that I understand).  I'll also have easy instructions to follow when I want to sew, make soap, make washing powder or maybe piece a get the drift.  My own little 'Funk & Wagnall'.

I also posted this tutorial on Rhonda's blog here because I'm always endeavouring to get my brain around the internet world and doing things like blogging and uploading tutorials is fabulous practise.

Ok here we go..............

How to make an apron or 'pinny' out of a man's shirt.  
(I think it's called 'repurposing').  

 Choose a shirt that has a good length and plenty of room.  
 You'll need one with long sleeves.  Don't ask why, just wait and see.  

This sturdy denim one cost me $3.50 from the op shop.  I have to buy shirts because I think (just between you and me) that I'm fatter than my husband.

Leave the shirt buttoned up and cut off the sleeves and neckline.

The rebel in me just loves to do this to a perfectly good shirt.  Yes, I do live dangerously some days.

Try on to see how the fit is and trim if it's too wide on the shoulders.

I like to use really large shirts to get the length, but that often means they are too wide across the back.

If the shirt that you have chosen is too wide, make a little pleat in the centre back. Try on for size.
You want it to be loose and roomy, but not falling off your shoulders.

When you are happy with the fit, stitch down.

Try on again (the pinny may bit a bit 'gapey' under the arms if you're using a very large shirt) and when you're completely happy, overlock or zigzag all raw edges, fold over 1/4" and stitch down.

The neckline and armholes can also be finished with bias tape, however this denim shirt was a little too bulky for that.

Now for the pockets! (I love this bit). This is where you can get really creative, depending on the shirt you have chosen. Sometimes I'll choose a shirt solely on the design of the cuff!  I found a pale green hemp shirt recently that had a retro floral print inside the cuffs.....but that was chopped up for a quilt.

Cut off the cuffs about half way up the sleeve.

Turn the cuffs over so the buttons are facing the table and cut straight up the middle of the sleeve on the opposite side to the buttons, through one layer of fabric only.

Iron the cuffs out flat, measure and trim to desired pocket size. I like to sew corresponding pleats along the bottom of the pocket as it gives me lots of room for pegs etc or picking things up as I'm going round the house.....(and hiding the odd block of chocolate). 
This is also the time to decorate the pockets if you want to with some ricrac, braid, appliqué or maybe some embroidery.  

Fold a narrow edge over on pockets and attach to front of apron/pinny.  (I must have been in the midst of a 'sewing frenzy' at this point because I forgot to take a pic).

And here it is finished!

And modelled (ha ha!)

This idea can be adapted in countless ways. It can also be worn with the buttons down the back and the pleat at the front as a maternity smock - remove the chest pocket or you'll end up with a pocket on your shoulder blade.

I really love this apron/pinny idea made in white linen - (if you're ever lucky enough to find a pre-loved luscious white linen shirt), with some embroidery added around the neckline and on the pockets. 

I hope you take this idea and make it your own.
"I dreamed a thousand paths. I woke and walked my own".......Chines Proverb.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A retro caftan for Summer


Here's my latest project.

Stop laughing.  I think it's funky and fun.  Especially the fabric.  It's by Prints Charming, a small Australian owned fabric design company.  You can read more about them here.
The caftan pattern is also by an Aussie company called Make it Perfect.  Check them out here.

In progress.......

......and Voila!  Another fab creation laying on the floor because I have no models!
I'm certainly not going to put my bathers on underneath a caftan at this time of the year and attempt to photograph myself in the mirror.  Believe me, it looks better on the floor.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Getting to know my Iceberg Roses.

I'm participating in a six week e-course by Jane LaFazio at the moment.  I'm hoping it will help me build sketching confidence and enjoy a regular sketching habit without feeling guilty every time my backside hits a chair.  Why is it that we always fill our lives to the brim with a continual 'bombardment' of noise, activity and commitment?

I'm also currently reading a book called 'The Zen of Seeing' by Frederick Franck.  It's all about drawing as a meditation.  The book is written in his own handwriting which in itself slows down the process of reading and absorbing the information.  He talks about allowing your pen to 'caress' what you see....
"What really happens when seeing and drawing is that awareness and attention become contemplation.  Seeing and drawing is not a self indulgent 'pleasant hobby' but a discipline of awareness and unwavering attention to a world which is fully alive."  

Pretty deep huh?

Anyway, this weekend I put some of what I have learned into practice.....and I didn't feel the least bit guilty!