Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Around the garden

Lots of new growth happening around the garden...
The beans are sprouting
Cabbage seedlings
Carrots are growing

Chickory seedling

The chilli bush is loaded again

The chickens are loving the garden

Corn seedlings

The new fig tree

The garlic are shooting

The new jasmine plant

Some new strawberry plants

Pak choi and coriander

Peas sprouting

Potatoes are growing nicely

Silverbeet seedlings

Strawberry and broccoli bushes

Strawberries are starting to fruit

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Today's wedding

Wedding bouquets and flowers for Lisa's wedding for tomorrow:

Dusty pink roses, white freesias and lisianthus, and silver and green foliage, berries and nuts, finished off with pearls and white satin and organza ribbons....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More expensive is not always the answer....

I am an avid believer in purchasing the best quality product you can afford, and to support Australian manufacturers as much as possible, to ensure quality, Australian jobs and to try and put off having to replace that item for as long as possible, to reduce our consumption. I purchased a few new items for the kitchen a couple of weeks ago, including a new stainless steel kettle. Our existing kettle was really loud, to the point of us having to turn up the tv as it couldn't be heard over the kettle! So I purchased a $90 kettle, which was a "quiet boil" kettle. The first afternoon after bringing it home, it was really quiet, but the next morning it was so loud it was just as bad as the one it replaced. So I took it back, and ended up going with a supposedly "better" kettle, that was $120, which they discounted down to $90 for me....$120 for a kettle....anyway....while it wasn't as loud as the first 2, it wasn't far from it, and I was to the point of taking it back and buying a white plastic kettle...anyway, on a trip to Aldi, I came across this stainless steel kettle, which is lined on the inside, for $14.99!  I figured for $15 that it wasn't a great loss, and I would return it if was no better.

Well, it has ended up being a wonderful kettle, it is lovely and quiet, and does not create any attention on to itself while boiling....ahh....bliss.  Just goes to show, that for some things, even though you try and purchase good quality that will last for a long time, it can work out better buying something not quite as expensive.  In my experience, kettles don't seem to have too much go wrong with them, they just seem to last a long time, so in this case, it seems to have worked out better, both for the noise and our pocket....  :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Michael

Happy 20th Birthday Michael.  We all love you lots. xx  I can't believe we have a 20 year old son, the time has flown by....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Strawberries galore for Jams and Syrups

I caught up on my papework on Friday, well most of it anyway. Saturday we went out early and voted, got there at 8am and still ended up lining up for nearly half an hour, so glad we didn't go any later. I took Kasey to a little friends birthday party as well, and then didn't do too much for the rest of the day. Sunday I got up early and went up to the markets, and returned George the rooster back to the people I purchased him from. I was a bit sad doing this, but found out also that he wasn't actually a frizzle, but a silky cross, so I really did get the dud deal with what I was actually buying, even still, he was a lovely looking rooster. Unfortunately 2 roosters just isn't a workable situation...Sam is so much happier now that he is back to being the only rooster, he stood up on top of the hill yesterday and crowed and crowed and crowed, and was happy hanging around with his girls again rather than by himself up at the pen where George would leave him alone. George was a bit rough with the girls as well, so I think they are much happier with their gentle Sam.

I purchased a 10kg tray of 2nds strawberries for $5 while at the markets, and after I had cut them all up and gotten rid of the stalks and yukky bits, I ended up with just under 6 kilos of lovely strawberries for jam and syrup. I ended up with 8 x large 500g and larger jars of jam, which will do us for the next 12 months.  I would really like to get the strawberries here producing so I can use our own strawberries, rather than buying the unknown.

And I also made up just under 4 litres if strawberry syrup, to use for yoghurts etc.

I also made up another batch of skim youghurt, which once again set really well, and Toni had some this morning with the strawberry syrup and oats mixed through it. I also purchased a couple of new trees yesterday, a new fig tree and a gorgeous jasmine creeper to climb over an arbor at the entry to the vege garden, which will hopefully attract the bees to the vegies to do some pollenating for us. I also purchased a vanilla bean plant, which I need to find a nice shady spot for. I have a couple of spots in mind, but just need to check what type of soil etc they like to be in before I plant it. So all in all, a very busy weekend. I need to cut out some fabric today for a laptop case which I am starting on tomorrow, and a little bit more catching up and storing of last years paperwork etc in the office, as well as working on the silk halos and baskets for this weekends wedding, so all that will keep me out of trouble for the next few days...it is just starting to rain here now, it's been overcast all morning, just the weather for working inside with the fire going...just have to relight it...we have another load of firewood coming in this afternoon apparently, Damian organised it, so I really hope he is home to help unload it..... :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My cute little machine appliqued owl....

I had embroidery club this mornng. We made these lovely little in the hoop machine appliqued owls. These can be made as stuffed toys, or as I have done here, as an applique to attach to clothing, bags or quilts. I was pleased with how it came up, and this is another new technique I have now learnt.

I have also embroidered some towels with the word "Baby" for Mum, as she wants them for the markets stalls she does. I have done  9 of them this afternoon. I was having some problems with them yesterday, as I was using the stabiliser that the lady gave me free with the sewing machine, but it is really poor quality stabiliser and was causing all sorts of problems with the machine jamming and threads catching etc, as the stabiliser was tearing. I bought some better quality stabiliser today, and also the proper stuff to go over the top of the towels while the design is being stitched out, and had no further problems today, and all of the towels stitched out nicely. I have some to do for a couple of friends who have recently had bubs, so I want to do those in the next couple of days and send them off.  I still have this bad cough, and my throat is very dry tonight, making me cough even more, so I really hope this starts to clear up soon, I have started having a couple of puffs of ventolin a few times a day, which seems to help for a little while with the coughing, and helps me sleep at night. I have caught up on the wedding paperwork this evening, and touched base with a couple of brides I needed to chat to. I have to go and pick up some silk flower supplies in the morning for next weeks wedding, as the bride wants silk halos for the flowergirl, and then will get stuck in to the paperwork.....maybe.....   :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cardmaking, Sewing and a nice clean house...

I had card making class on Monday.  It is always a nice relaxing day with lunch provided, and we always make some nice, different cards, utilising a lot of techniques. These are the 5 cards that we made on the day:

Tuesday I had my weekly coffee with Tammy, and afterwards I went home and started on cleaning the house. After doing the bathrooms, I decided to redecorate a little, and went to Loot and bought some flowers, and some potpourri and a couple of decorative items to go with what I already have here in vases etc. I am really pleased with how the bathroom has come up, and Toni says it looks like a resort bathroom now, don't think it's quite up to that standard, but it does look nice, and the kids have managed to keep it tidy for a whole 24 hours now....amazing.....I finished cleaning the house this morning, I only had the floors to finish off, and the house looks so much better, and I always feel really great and organised when the house is tidy...I also caught up on the washing and did a quick grocery shop before Mum came down today to pick up her sewing machine that I picked up for her yesterday. Mum spent the day here sewing and learning how to use her new machine, and we had a nice girly sewing day. Tomorrow I have embroidery club in the morning to sew up the owl...should be fun as I haven't ever done anything like this before. I will post some pics tomorrow after class as it is very cute...I have a really bad cough at the moment, it gets worse late afternoon and evenings when it's a bit cooler, and my stomach muscles are quite sore from coughing...I hope it clears up soon as I am definitely over it....I have a bit of paperwork to catch up on tomorrow afternoon and Friday, so hopefully I can get that out of the way if I can be organised....here's hoping....I am in the process of ordering some books through amazon at the moment, I will try and finish the order off tonight, just want to have a good look and make sure there isn't anything else that I want....Radical Homemakers is one of them, and some homesteading and country living ones, I will have a look at some sewing and craft ones as well before I finish off the order....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wiping the slate clean for 2011???

I gave up my 4 day a week paid employment in August last year, for various reasons, the main one being because I had become unwell due to the job I was doing.  I really needed the time away from working to become well again, as I had lost all ability to focus on the day to day, and to look forward to each new day, or anything in general. I really thought that after a couple of months I would be back on track. I have always been a very organised person and routine is a big part of that for me. But, for the life of me, I just can't get into a routine...the days go by so quickly, and it is absolutely driving me crazy. I started this blog to keep track of what I do actually achieve, and to keep a record of my day to day, as my memory is not that crash hot...I know that I do get things done, and I certainly don't sit around on my bum all day not doing anything, in fact, I hardly ever sit down at all...I even feel guilty sitting down for longer than necessary to have lunch etc..So, why do I still feel that I am not getting where I want to be? Why do I still feel that at the end of each day that I have had no control over what I have done during the day? Why do I still feel like I have no routine to my weeks? Why is the year going so incredibly fast? I am still annoyed with myself that I stayed in my paid employment for so long when I should have left after 12 months because I knew it wasn't doing me any good, instead I dragged it on for 3 years, becoming sick in the process, and it has changed the person that I was...I no longer know how to prioritise,  I can't handle any sort of stressful situation without becoming very anxious and stressed, I suffer from headaches at the slightest hint of stress, and it can be something so small that sets it off, and it is so frustrating...but I think I may have finally worked out what I need to do....totally start again.....wipe my slate clean, and start completely fresh by having no classes to attend, no weddings to do, and no responsibilities to anyone or anything other than my family and friends, and to just chill at home for a few months, and really concentrate on getting my life back and getting my routine back.  I have tried to force a routine back in to my life with lists and routine schedules etc, but it is not working... I haven't completely made up my mind yet, but I think it may end up being the only way to go, start afresh and re-build my routines from scratch.....I think sometimes everyone needs to get rid of the baggage and start afresh..so, unless things drastically change between now and the end of the year, I think this may be the only way to solve the problem.....I just have to put some more thought in to this and then make the decision.....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My week so far and today's wedding....

It's been a very hectic week here. On Wednesday I went to sewing class and finished attaching all of my shapes to the different fabrics. I didn't manage to get them all cut out, but I got a bit more than half cut out, and hope to finish them over the next few days while I am waiting for Kasey to finish school. Thursday morning was Embroidery club, and we were shown how to make a very cute owl completely in the embroidery hoop. The class is next Thursday, so I am going to make one to applique on to a dress or shirt for Kasey. I had a real hiccup with the wedding flowers this week, they were supposed to be delivered on Thursday, but did not turn up until Friday morning, and it was a very big wedding, so I was really under the hammer on Friday trying to get it finished off. I did get it done, but it was a big effort, as there was 10 wedding bouquets to do as well and buttonhole flowers and a corsage and throwaway bouquet. I also couldn't start the wedding until nearly lunchtime on Friday as I needed to give the flowers a really good drink as they had been out of water for so long, and I had to condition them, and the flowers had been stressed, so all of the lovely foliage fell off, and I had to end up having to pick foliage from the garden for them, so I wasn't entirely happy with the end result. My supplier will be getting a serve from me on Monday...grrr....anyway, the bride was very happy with everything, which is the main thing in the end. I have been coming down with some sort of cold/flu bug over the last couple of days, and I am developing a cough which I think may turn nasty, as it feels like it is coming from very deep in my chest. I have decided I am having a day off tomorrow, may have a pyjama day I think!....other than the washing which needs to be done....here is today's wedding for Amanda:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A rainy sewing Tuesday.....

We have had a rainy day here today, so I did some sewing.  I finished off the MAKE sew along project. I am really happy with how it has come up:

It consists of a tote bag, a toiletries pouch, makeup roll, sunglasses case, bits n pieces case and a teeny tiny tote keyring.  I also finished sewing my ruler bag from the monthly sewing club project. It has come up really nicely as well:

Unfortunately, it has ended up being a tiny bit too short :(  It fits the ruler, but it's a tight fit, so I may make another one yet, or I may make a band around the bottom, not sure yet. I think I went a bit wide on the seam allowances..... I am quite behind on housework, and paperwork again though...so I will have to try and catch up, but it probably won't happen until early next week. I have also fallen behind on the washing again....it's a never ending story.....however, it always will be, housework and washing never ends, it starts to build up again as soon as it is all done, so no use stressing about it, it's not going anywhere.... I have the "back on the farm" block of the month class tomorrow, so I will be attaching more of the shapes to the fabric, and cutting out tomorrow. I am hoping to get that finished so I can start arranging the final 4 blocks ready for the free motion stitching, and then I can start putting it all together! I am hoping to start putting it all together at next months class with a bit of luck.  I also signed up for a gift of the month club for 2011 today, which goes over 10 months, and each month is a mystery project, so that will be fun to start on next year. The new vege seedlings I planted yesterday are loving this rain, I can see them standing up nice and tall drinking it all in....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Productive Monday

I didn't get up until about 8am today, I was awake on and off from about 6 though, as Max was being a bit naughty and doing the aimless barking, so I ended up tying him up for about an hour, as that will normally stop him barking at nothing. After breakfast I went up to the vege garden and planted lots of new seedlings:

12 cabbage
6 cauliflower
6 red cabbage
12 silverbeet for the chickens
20 tomatoes
6 tommy toe cherry tomatoes
20 leeks
4 marigolds around the strawberries

I was pretty tired after this, and had some morning tea (a lovely chocolate croissant courtesy of Toni's morning opening shift) and then set to work on finishing off the silk wedding. It has come up really lovely, and I will take some photos tomorrow and post them then. It was a public holiday today, so Kasey and Toni were home, so they have had a nice relaxing day, other than Toni starting work at 5am, but she was home by 10am, all finished for the day, and she gets paid double time and a half for working a public holiday, so she is pretty happy with that.  I still haven't managed to get to my sewing yet....may do some after tea tonight, otherwise tomorrow after my weekly morning tea with Tammy???  I have had a very productive day :)

Harvested from the vege garden:
50 grams lettuce leaves
12 snow peas (to produce more growth)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekend wrap up

I've had a busy weekend....I got up early on Saturday and headed out to do a few things and get them out of the way. I picked up a few supplies, chook seed etc, and went to the material shop to pick up some fabric that matches the mod cushions that I made a few months back. I have had the cushions on our bed recently as I didn't want them to go out in to the shed with the rest of the things from our under renovation spare/craft room, and I have been inspired to make a matching quilt for a change to our bedroom colouring.  After this I went and bought a few new items for the house that I have been looking at buying for quite some time - a new kettle as our other one was so noisy that we had to turn the tv up whenever the kettle was put on, a new 4 slice toaster as our 2 slice one takes too long when cooking meals for the family, and our old one has gone out to the caravan to replace the old and very delapidated one that we have had for about 20 odd years. I also bought a new food processor/blender, as my old one was broken, the blender no longer worked and the processor unit has bits missing from being dropped once or err....twice.....this new one has a glass blender jug which will be good for processing soups, as I will be able to put hot liquid in it, and the stick blender misses big chunks in the pumpkin soup etc, I had to return the kettle this morning and replace it with a different brand as it ended up being noisier than the one it replaced, even though it was meant to be quiet.  I helped Damian in the afternoon to clean out the mess in the spare room from plaster and dust etc, and he has now finished replacing all of the framing timber in there, and it is ready for my brother to come in and replaster for us.  I went to the markets this morning, and found a 4 foot diameter wagon wheel for Mum for $60....an absolute bargain, as she has been wanting one. Mum was coming down today, and she absolutely loved it. Mum also dropped off my singer sewing machine, and it is absolutely gorgeous. It looks really nice and much nicer in the flesh than in the photos. I picked up quite a few vege seedlings at the markets this morning, I was going to plant them this afternoon, but Mum didn't end up leaving until nearly 5.30, so I will do this tomorrow.  I didn't manage to get the bulk lot of strawberries I was after, but maybe next time there will be some more. We have a public holiday here tomorrow for the Ekka show holiday, so I am going to try and have a little sleep in, and finish off the silk wedding I haven't got to yet, and also get to the sewing that I haven't got to either.  Kasey has been unwell over the weekend, running a temp and having stomach pains and headaches, so I will have to keep an eye on that. Panadol and Nurofen are keeping the temp under control, so hopefully she will be feeling better soon. No school tomorrow will be a good thing as it will allow her more time to get well.  I have 2 free days in the diary tomorrow and Tuesday, so hopefully I will catch up on the wedding and the sewing I need to do....

Friday, August 6, 2010

Skim yoghurt was a success....yay...

This is bliss...the groceries are put away, the kids are at school, and I have a yummy lunch to eat and some new mags to read...

A lovely ham and salad sandwich with home made chilli jam, homemade skim vanilla yoghurt with homegrown passionfruit, and a cup of tea.  The skim yoghurt using the long life milk turned out really well, nice and thick. It has a different flavour to the full cream one, more of a baby food sort of taste to it...it's nice, just different to usual, however, with some passionfruit on top it is absolutely delicious. In fact, I am going to make another batch a bit later so I don't run out. I think it will be really yummy with some peach or strawberry syrup as well, I may go to the markets on the weekend, and see if I can pickup some bulk strawberries, and if I can I will make some jam and some strawberry syrup for yoghurt and icecream etc. The recipe I used for the yoghurt was the simple savings one, modified with the long life milk at the suggestion of another member who had good success with it:

1/3 cup skim milk powder
2 heaped tablespoons yoghurt powder
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
I then filled up to the fill line on the easiyo container with long life milk, gave it a good stir and shake, and processed in the easiyo thermos as normal.

Last night I did a bit of attaching my back on the farm shapes to the fabric ready for cutting out, 2 down, 2 more to go. This morning I went and booked in for the new sewing classes from Sep - Dec as the new list came out last night. I am glad I called in early to book as some of them had already started to fill up. I then had a little bit of a look around at the shops, bought a couple of new mags, and then did the grocery shopping, went to the bank to pick up some new cards, called in and picked up a finished preservation from the framers, and then came home, by the time everything was unpacked it was 1pm....the day has flown by....Nearly time to do the school run today, good time to catch up on the reading or do some cutting out or hand stitching etc while I wait for the bell to ring.  I have a silk wedding to finish off over the next few day for a client, and I also need to get stuck in to the sewing and finish some projects and catch up on others.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Toni's formal

Toni's formal was a couple of weeks ago.  She had a wonderful night. The girls all had a great time sharing the celebrations of this very special occasion with each other.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Busy baking day.....

I thought I would catch up on some school lunch baking today, it seems like ages since I have had a baking day, and the school munchies were in serious need of some topping up. I made some pikelets:

I also made some choc chip muffins

And also some cheesy vegemite scrolls

I also put on a batch of skim vanilla yoghurt using the simple savings recipe, I have tried the suggestion of another forum member and used long life skim milk, instead of full cream powdered milk. It seems to be thickening up ok, so I will see how it is a little later on tonight. I have never been able to get a skim version of the simple savings yoghurt using powdered milk to work, so if this works it would be great, it works out about the same cost, maybe 20c a litre dearer using the long life milk.  I usually use full cream powdered milk with a couple of tablespoons of the greek yoghurt starter powder and it ends up so thick that the spoon leaves a scoop mark in the yoghurt, I don't think the skim will end up quite so thick, but as long as it is thickened to a point, then that's fine with me, as I don't usually eat too much of my home made yoghurt because it's not a skim version.  I also gave the pantry a wipe out and cleared out some old, unidentifiable stuff in the bottom of the freezer as it's bin day, so my baking will now fit in the freezer!  So it's been a productive day in the kitchen.

I also sowed about 60 climbing beans, 70 peas and 8 golden nugget pumpkin seeds this afternoon. The corn I planted a couple of weeks ago is starting to shoot through the mulch, but no sign of the (kent/jap?? not sure which one they are) pumpkins yet...not sure if they will take as the seeds are a couple of years old, so I may have to dry some more and plant them out if the ones from a couple of weeks ago don't take...

I am going to have a look at the Ekka program, I would really like to go this year and watch the ring events and look at all of the judging etc....Damian loves the woodchop, I love watching the horses and the sheep dog trials and the night time events....Kasey, well she just loves the rides and side show alley and the showbags of course....so with the clash of what the adults like and what Kasey and her big brother and sister like, it makes it hard to go and for us all to enjoy ourselves.  May have to make 2 days of it, 1 for Kasey and 1 for Damian and I....just don't know if I could stand 2 days of the show....we did go last year, and we usually make a point of only going every 2nd year....we'll see what happens....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ABIA finalist for 2010.....yay...

I have just received notification that my business has been nominated as a finalist in the Australian Bridal Industry Association awards for 2010.  This is my first year of membership in the association, so I am wrapped to have been selected as a finalist.   :)

Today's Harvest

Today's Harvest

15g broccoli
90g silverbeet
3.9 kg sweet potato

Monday, August 2, 2010

The last few days updated, and routine still out of reach....

What a beautiful few days weather wise we have had, beautiful warm days, cool nights...lovely. Friday I went to an overlocker session at the sewing centre as they were doing a demo on the babylock overlockers. These are definitely fabulous machines, they thread themselves and tension themselves automatically, and threading my overlocker is the most frustrating part of using the overlocker. They are very expensive though, $3500 for the model I would look at, which is insane for an overlocker...so I will be sticking to my trusty Janome for now...I don't use it enough to justify that sort of money, if I was sewing in a commercial environment then I would definitely look at it. 
Had a scrapbooking crop on Friday night, haven't been to one for a couple of months because Damian had been away, but it took me a while to get back in the groove, and I forgot the bag with my ribbons and inks etc in it, so couldn't finish the pages I made, but I had a good start on them. Kasey starts ballet lessons this afternoon, she has been begging for months to go, but after doing the insane running around for years with Toni at ballet I just was not wanting to go down that path. But Kasey spends almost all of her time dancing like a ballerina around the house that I felt bad not letting her go. I found a ballet school close by.....in fact it is only 2 doors up in the same street!  I didn't even know they were there, but it is a fully operational studio, and they are going to put her in the end of year production etc..and we can walk to class, which is absolutely fantastic. So I need to go this afternoon before class and purchase her leotard and shoes, all of the shoes I have kept from Toni are from her later years and are too big for her unfortunately.
Damian did a bit more work in the spare room yesterday, we have had to pull almost all of 1 wall out now as we found damage further up the wall, and the door frames are next. We are going to pull the carpet up in there as well and replace it, as the carpet is 18 years old and is starting to look a bit tired like many other things here including the owners! I have been to the dentist this morning and had the tooth that broke off repaired, so that feels much better now, and I only need 2 other very small holes fixed before they start to become a problem, other than that my teeth are all good...nice to know. I think that is everything that I have been up to the last few days updated now....
I am still desperately trying to get some sort of routine happening....I am trying really hard to get up at 6am in the mornings, but it's not happening, I heard the alarm going off this morning on my phone, but ignored it...6 times!......before finally getting up at 7.....I was asleep by 9.30 last night so I should have been able to achieve it.....I haven't been able to implement my daily routine that I put in place a few weeks ago, I have been writing a list each day though and have been getting through that, which is a good start.  I might have to put some more thought in to how I can get past this issue though....perhaps 1 thing a day at the same time each day and expand on that....