Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My hidden pen and notepad holder for the kitchen.

Before we renovated, we had a large colonial looking drawer unit that the phone sat in, and it had a drawer underneath it for pens etc. It was very purpose built, and I didn't want something that large for beside the phone, but we still need somewhere to put the pens and paper for when we need to write down a number or a message. I found this old timber crate at the op shop last week, it was pretty ugly, and only $3.
I wanted to make something to do the job, but decorative as well.  So, this is what I came up with.
It hides the pens and notepad at the back, but looks pretty at the front.
    I'm very happy with it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What possesses them?

No...it's ok...I don't need a heel in my gumboots, or toes....

Cattle dogs under 2....gotta love em...only 6 months to go until Diesel and Reg turn 2, that seems to be the magic number with cattle dogs to grow up and stop chewing, and digging, and making a mess...these boots have been sitting outside the back door for a couple of months, why last night was the night to chew them I have no idea...grrrr....

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Late night cleaning....and territorial guinea fowl.

Up late tonight after watching the state of origin on tv. Suddenly had the urge to do some cleaning...so when I have the urge, it is best not to fight it, as the desire to mop my floors does not come too often. So out came the steam cleaner, and the floors are now all lovely and clean. While I had the steam cleaner out I steam cleaned the rugs and mats, and the main bathroom shower and the toilet, oven, sink and stove. Tomorrow I am off to pick up some floral supplies for the business, and then down the Gold Coast to look at some seat covers for the car, and then off to Ikea...yay...I love going to Ikea, I have only ever been twice, and the last time I was in a rush, as I needed some vases for a wedding,  so didn't really get time to look around. Toni is going to pick Kasey up from school for me, so I have plenty of time to look around, and have lunch there.
I also moved the remaining 3 new chooks over to the smaller pen, as the guinea fowl are being really territorial in the big chook pen, and really giving them a hard time, and it has not improved at all in the couple of weeks the chooks have been here. So I am not sure at this stage whether I will move all the chooks to a new pen and keep the guinea fowl where they are or whether I will divide up the big chook pen and try and integrate any new ones that way....I have been doing some research and apparently it is quite normal for the guinea fowl to be very territorial, and it can take 6 weeks or so for them to accept anything new in to their territory, I suppose that is why they are so good at keeping snakes at bay, as they don't accept them in to their territory and attack them or drive them away. They were so bad that I had to start putting food and water in the top nesting area for the new chooks as they would not let them come down to eat or drink. So, they will have a chance to have a reprieve for a few days, and as Michael is home for a week tomorrow night, I might see if he can help me divide up the big pen...baha....wishful thinking there I think....anyway, better go to bed or I'm not going to feel like getting out of bed to go anywhere tomorrow  :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pretty French inspired craft

Went to a workshop yesterday with Mum. Mum wanted to do a cushion and another lampshade in keeping with the Whimsical workshop we did last year. I was going to do my dress form, but after decoupaging it in vintage sewing paper, I liked it very simple, which will allow me to change the displays on the dress form to suit my mood at the time. So, after much deliberating at the last minute on what I would make, I decided on a hat box. I am still going to paint the base white and use a computerised cutter to put some french sayings on the box, which will finish it off nicely.
While I was waiting for the paint to dry on the lid, I cut out a heart shape from some thin fabric I had in my toolbox, and stuffed it with wadding, and then embellished the heart in some stretchy rose trim I had, along with some pearl accents in the centre
I also made up a large corsage of velvet roses and lovely trims, which I will use in various displays, for the moment I will temporarily attach it to the dress form on her hips
I also changed my toolbox embellishments slightly, I incorporated more greens in to the design, and thinned some areas down, I am happier with it, but now need to touch up a couple of painted areas, which I will hopefully do tomorrow, I will then upload the updated photos. So the display of the items I finished yesterday ties together one corner of the bedroom nicely. I still want to add in some rustic features just so it is not quite so feminine, and more in keeping with the overall style I am wanting to finish off the decorating with.
We had a lovely, relaxing fun day of crafting...looking forward to doing it again some time soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Craft Toolbox

I have had my craft toolbox for about 10 years at least, and it has always been a very boring dark green with beige lid, absolutely no personality. So, it has been on my mind to decorate it, so that it is more crafty and pretty...so I have gone a little crazy and repainted it purple and pink, and had fun embellishing it. It has come up very feminine, and looks much better than plain old dark green and beige.

 So, a nice relaxing way to spend a couple of hours on a Friday night, instead of watching tv..much more enjoyable that's for sure.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A few more finishing touches

Been doing a little bit of shopping for some finishing touches to renovating the house. I purchased a couple of french inspired pieces, a lovely big wall clock, about 700mm in diameter
I also purchased this lovely Eiffel Tower decoration

And last night I made this fabric wreath, while watching Offspring on TV. All of these items are going in to our bedroom.
Today I also purchased a lovely timber roller blind for the window behind our bed, which will go in well with the design. I like the french provincial, vintage look, but I don't want it cluttered or too feminine. I am going to go to the recycling shop tomorrow and see what I can find over there, as I have it in my head how I want it all to look, but just need to find the right pieces. I have found some beautiful design ideas and craft projects on pinterest, which is inspiring me to get my act together and start putting the finishing touches on things. I am off to a workshop with Mum on Monday, I am going to work on my dress form mannequin that I purchased last year with the intention of giving it a facelift, which will go in well with how all the designs are coming along. Anywho...off to hang a roller blind....
Update: I have now installed the blind, and put up some fabric as a finishing touch on the top and sides of it, it's starting to come together...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Today was going along swimmingly....I had even headed out to the shed to start on a craft project, when I heard a ruckus coming from the chook pen which did not sound normal, I ran up there to find Michael's dog had broken in to the chook pen, I still do not know how, and he has killed 3 of my new white leghorn's and 1 of my guinea fowl.....he is now tied up while I figure out what to do...Michael isn't contactable right now as he is in WA but he is going to have to find somewhere else for Reggie to stay or else pay for him to go to a trainer, it's such a shame as Reggie is a lovely natured dog, he just can't control himself around my chickens...damn....he used to be fine with them, I could go out all day and the chooks would be out with all 3 dogs, but all of a sudden he turned, and started killing them....why do they do that?

Monday, May 7, 2012

A bit of crafting on the front verandah

I decided to paint the cabinet that used to be inside which we were using for the tv and audio equipment. It used to be purple, but I painted the outside white, and left the inside purple for a bit of interest. I decided I would use it to decorate part of the front verandah, to make a start on prettying it all up. I gathered lots of bits and pieces from around the place to decorate it, I quite like how it has all come up, I still  have a few finishing touches to add, and once I start to add more decorative pieces around the rest of the verandah, it will all start to tie in together. It hasn't cost anything so far, as I have just used what I already had, and I now just want to buy some jute type fabric to make up a couple of wreaths. I also want to paint the concrete, which will lift things substantially. I have used pinecones that the neighbours collect for us, to use in the fireplace, as accents to balance out the display.
 I got these chicken statues for free on freecycle last year
 This rooster was lots of different washed out colours, I painted him in white, with some gold accents
 I also painted this hen to match in white, with gold accents, and made her a little vine nest to sit in
 I gathered up some sticks from the yard and tied them off with some natural string and some gold painted accents, I also added some horseshoes that I had here from reshoeing the horses
 Toni gave me this little farm girl for my birthday, she goes really well in this setting
 I have lots of these galvanised buckets here from when I had my florist shops, and the fairy statue I got with the chicken statues for free. I have also had this window frame sitting around for about 15 years, waiting for me to do something with it. And the mirror is from the bathroom before the renovation, I also painted it white.
 This is how it has all come together
 I still have to put handles back on the cupboards and drawer, but will get those from the hardware later in the week.
I am hoping that everything is still in place tomorrow, and that the dogs haven't decided to "rearrange" things for me. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

New additions, and building my first shed...

I decided I would retry building my chicken stocks again. I went and picked up a couple of replacement chickens for the neighbour after Reggie took some of their chickens before we had the invisible fence put in. I also picked up 4 white leghorn utility point of lays to try and keep us in some eggs over winter, a 2 anconas.
 I also picked up 6 day olds to put under the Plymouth rock hen who has been clucky, there are 4 anconas and 2 Plymouth rocks. Unfortunately the hen didn't adopt them successfully so I am bringing them up in a brooder box.
 I don't actually mind this idea at the moment as it allows me to micro manage their environment easier and control things a bit better with them, so I am crossing fingers I can get these ones fully grown without any disasters. I am keeping one of the anconas separated at the moment as it appears to have a respiratory infection, I should contact the seller as it was showing signs on the way home, I have her on medication which should see her right in a couple of days, but I shouldn't need to nurse a chook back to health that I have paid a breeder good money for.
 I purchased a small chook pen from the hardware to give me another homing option when needed as I find the chook tractor hard to get in and out of, and this other one I can walk in to. Both have their merits, so I will use them for the best suited purpose at the time. So I ventured in to the world of putting up a small shed on my own, it was a learning curve, but it's all finished and looking the part.

 I have learnt a LOT over the last few months though with all of the chicken disasters and I can definitely deal with losing stock much easier than I could 12 months ago, I have definitely toughened up in that regard. Today I was watching the gourmet farmer dvd's that I borrowed from the library, and I actually managed to watch the dispatching of a chicken ( after covering my eyes the first time I watched) I made myself watch it, and I also watched a sheep being slaughtered and a large tuna fish, and while none of was particularly nice to watch, it was all very quick and as humane as possible, and all of the animals had led a nice, free range life up to that point, much better than the factory farmed animals. Makes me much more conscious of what we are eating and to really try hard to get away from the supermarket meats, especially as I learn how unethical and cruel a large portion of farming animals for meat methods can be. Learning about what goes in to the meats we eat and how they are raised is really opening my eyes, I am now seriously searching for local, ethical, organic producers, who care about their farming practices and how that affects both their animals and the land, and not just their pockets. I am really starting to look forward to moving up to the property full time to be able to keep our own animals for meat, I didn't think I would be able to cope with that, but I now think I could manage. I would definitely recommend to anybody to watch the Gourmet farmer series with Matthew Evans, it is brilliant and I am really enjoying them, and learning a lot.
Kasey made us pancakes for breakfast this morning, she did a fabulous job, and did the whole lot, from mixing, cleaning up, to pouring in to the pan and flipping them.

 I also moved the chicken tractor with the mother hen and the last remaining day old from a few weeks back up to a dryer area of the yard, and place some corrugated sheeting on the ground to keep the floor area dryer with woodshavings. It was hard work moving it all on my own, but I am much happier with the flooring being down in here now as it will be easier to control any soil borne bacteria now with them having no access to the dirt at this point while they can't come out to free range.
 Just got the large pen to do now, and then hopefully all will be good for a while, as it will keep things much drier and I think will be more economical as the mulch and woodshavings wont get walked in to the mud and will last longer. As I had worked so hard moving the pen, Kasey made me lunch, a lovely salad sandwich for a surprise...gotta love that.
I also made carrot cake with cream cheese icing last night...yum...first time I have made carrot cake, it's been very popular so far. I made it in the thermomix, so it was really quick and easy to make, and the icing is absolutely delicious.


140g self-raising flour
140g plain flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g vegetable oil
100g lightly packed soft brown sugar
4 eggs
150g golden syrup
300g carrot, roughly chopped
60g walnuts

180g cream cheese
60g butter
170g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 160° and grease a deep 23 cm round cake tin...you may wish to also line the base and sides with baking paper.
2. Place walnuts into TM bowl and chop for 2-3 seconds on Speed 4. Set aside.
3. Place carrots into bowl and grate for 5 seconds on Speed 7. Set aside and rinse bowl if necessary.
4. Put vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs and golden syrup into TM bowl and mix for 5 seconds on Speed 7.
5. Add self-raising flour, plain flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda. Mix for 5 seconds on Speed 5.
6. Add the carrots and walnuts and mix for 20-30 seconds on Reverse + Speed 2.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, using the spatula to completely incorporate the carrot and walnuts if necessary, and smooth the surface.
8. Bake for an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Clean or rinse TM bowl whilst cake is cooking.
9. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack.
10. To make icing, place cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice into TM bowl and process for 15-20 seconds on Speed 9.
11. Spread the icing over cooled cake.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

This is a quick and easy dinner meal, that is delicious. The combination of the chicken, mushrooms, bacon and cream makes this a creamy, hearty dish. Yum.

1/2 kilo chicken - diced or sliced
3 rashers short cut bacon, diced
1 onion
250g mushrooms sliced
1 clove garlic
1 tbspn wholegrain mustard
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
300ml cream
Butter and olive oil for frying
Cornflour and water to thicken

Put chicken and bacon in a hot pan with a tablespoon butter and olive oil, and fry until golden. Add onion and garlic and mustard and fry for 2 minutes, add worcestershire sauce and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and  2/3 cream, and stir over a medium heat for 2 minutes, add a teaspoon cornflour in 1/4 cup water to thicken, turn down heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Add remaining cream, and serve.

It's been a quiet couple of days here, I have become a little temporarily addicted to Pinterest, while I find my way around it and look at lots of inspiration for around the house. I have nearly finished the dimensional artwork piece I have been working on for our bedroom, and I have also started a block of the month project for another piece of artwork for the walls, which will be stunning when finished (hopefully). I have the choice to either make tomorrow very full on with running around, or very quiet plodding around here, will just depend how I feel in the morning....the plodding is winning out at the moment, hopefully I feel a bit more energetic when I get up in the morning.