Monday, August 6, 2018

Spring Seed Swap?

I had big plans of sharing a late Winter garden update with you all this post, full of beautiful pictures of Wintry produce such as peas(as pictured above), garlic, onions, kale, lettuce, beets, winter herbs, brassica, spinach, and oh so much more.... But, unfortunately, while away with my farmer on a recent week long trip to the city for specialist appointments my entire vegetable garden was wiped out by local wildlife, namely kangaroos! The only plant that is left (from some hundred odd) is a wee rosemary bush - note to self; grow rosemary hedge around garden, asap!

So, after a week of grieving (and tidying up) I've decided to look to the future and start with the planning of my Spring/Summer plantings. Every year I wish that I had started my tomatoes earlier, so this year I am, tomorrow, in a makeshift hothouse like this one.

Do you have a favourite tomato variety that you like to grow? Mine is the Mortgage Lifter, hands down! I have been saving these seeds for as long as I can remember, and it has me wondering - would you be interested in a little Spring Seed Swap? If you are, simply leave a comment letting me know what Spring seeds you have available to swap and we'll make it happen.

Happy Gardening x

Sunday, July 22, 2018

simple gifts

I'm such a sucker for a simple, handmade, heartfelt gift. I'm not too sure exactly why that is, maybe it's the time and effort that goes in to each and every aspect of them. Like with this super sweet bag with little cross stitch embellishment - made by my biggest girl (almost 12) as a gift for her Mumma before her latest trip away (see my last post for the details)

You see, the fabric is one from my stash that I've been hording for quite some time (waiting for the perfect project), the cross stitch is her first ever attempt at that craft, the simple timber beads and natural leather strap were carefully chosen for their 'earthy rawness' and to tone the whole project down, the size and shape of the bag were designed to fit perfectly into my favourite handbag (and to house just the right amount of yarn for a decent sized project), and the whole thing was made with the most important ingredient - love!   
So, are you like me?
Do you value simple, heartfelt things in your life?
Do you take the time to make gifts like these for those who you hold near and dear too?
If you're not a craft-y type to you give heartfelt gifts of another kind? 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

lost my voice

I know that I don't frequent this space as much as I'd hoped to this year, for many reasons, but the main one is that I feel my blog writing voice has somehow been lost.

On a recent trip down south I had the pleasure of sitting and chatting all manner of things with the gorgeous Kate over knitting. We touched on the topic of expressing ourselves in a way that escaped the instant realm of other social media types and I mentioned how I missed actually 'writing', and that the Instant-ness of Instagram has somehow lost its shine. Typing meaningful words, as in a journal entry, and publishing them without instant recognition can be daunting, but to me it's therapeutic, somewhat releasing, and a wonderful way to clear and free the mind. 

Her words of advice to me to find my blog writing voice were simple, just 'write', don't think about it, the words will just come.

So, here I am, just simply writing, not about too much, just life as it is today on this chilly Winters morning. 

Today I'm .....

Plating : : the first of my Spring plantings with my littlest two, early I know, but each year I seem to be wishing I had started earlier so this year I am!

Missing : : my biggest girl very much!!! She has embarked on a 10 day father daughter trip, the first of many I'm sure. Where they are there's no mobile coverage or television. Their days will be filled with adventures and their nights will be mostly spent around campfires with other friends, chatting and playing cards. She's been gone for 2 days now and I'm sure that they're both having a wonderful time.

Reading : : this incredible book that's making so much sense to me and where my life is at the moment.

Baking : : so many things from this divine book, and wondering why it has sat unused for so many months on my shelf!

Creating : : my first ever 'for sale' crochet patterns and marveling at how wonderful it has made me feel on the inside.

Dreaming : : about how wonderful a window planter box would be, hanging outside the window at my kitchen sink, the one that frames my favourite part of my garden.

Loving : : that a simple, restrained, purchase of a sweet leather bracelet on a recent trip away is bringing me joy daily.
So, how about you?
Have you lost your writing voice before?
If so, how did you get it back?
Or, maybe you haven't yet? xx

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Today, I'm pulling inspiration from Pip, and TAKING STOCK!
Making : : A cardigan, this one, for myself.
Cooking : : From this cookbook, for most meals.
Drinking : : Icy cold white wine in the evenings, which is totally not like me - I'm a red wine girl all the way. 
Reading : : Cookbooks, and loving this one full of beautiful interesting recipes and stories. I especially love how Hetty gives you loads of substitutes for ingredients that might be tricky to find.
Next read : : Cut Flower Garden
Wanting : : A new worm farm.
Looking : : At the Soul Craft Festival Schedule and planning a trip down south for June so I can attend.
Playing : : The Podcast 'A Plate to Call Home' and loving the latest episode with Tamsin Carvin.
Deciding : : Which Masterclass to attend while at Soul Craft Festival (if any at all) and thinking this one or this one would be fun!
Wishing : : The school holidays weren't over. My littlest guy started school and I'm missing him like crazy!
Enjoying : : The heat of Summer now that we have a pool to cool down in.
Waiting : : For my next batch of cucumber plantings to get their legs and grow, grow, grow.
Liking : : That water at our new farm is so much easier to come by and our vegetable garden is producing amazing produce as a result.
Wondering : : How long it will be before I can light my wood fired oven again - it's way too hot to light it today!

Loving : : That we bought a boat! And that trips to the water to take the kids skiing are now a regular part of our days.
Pondering : : Expanding my vegetable patch for the next Spring/Summer planting.
Considering : : Raised garden beds for my leafy greens and small herbs.
Buying : : Nothing!!!!! And embracing bartering where I can.
Watching : : 'The Good Life' on DVD with my family, again.
Next watch : : Not too sure, any recommendations?
Hoping : : The Kombucha Scoby that an Insta-friend sent me in the mail arrives safely today.
Marveling : : At the kindness of complete strangers.
Cringing : : At the waste people create without even noticing - that's a topic for a whole other post one day soon.
Needing : : A hair cut! It has been almost 18 months since I stepped into a hair salon - gasp!!!
Questioning : : Whether I've planted enough tomatoes to make our annual sauce/relish/pasata for the pantry to enjoy over the cooler months.
Smelling : : Salvia flowering in my garden - its sweet smell is absolutely intoxicating!
Wearing : : Simple cotton dressed and bare feet, daily.
Following : : The Soul Craft Festival Instagram feed.
Worrying : : About the influence of full-time school on my littlest guy.
Noticing : : That over the holidays my biggest girl grew that much that she's now almost as tall as me!
Knowing : : That I must savor everyday - my little people are growing up way too fast.
Thinking : : About taking my family on an extended overseas holiday and tossing up between Africa and Europe.
Admiring : : Amanda Blake Soule, as always!
Sorting : : Through boxes of fibre and planning a blanket project for 2018.
Getting : : Excited for the year ahead and what it has in store for my little family.
Bookmarking : : New recipes to try from this book.
Coveting : : The last of the Xmas chocolates!
Disliking : : Nothing really.
Opening : : A special present from my dear friend Kylie.
Snacking : : On Zucchini Walnut Cake from this book.
Hearing : : The wind as it whips through the big Iron bark trees outside my window.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Xmas Tree Tutorial

Can it really only be 6 days to Xmas!?! 
For those of you, like me, who'll be crafting up to the last minute, I thought I'd share a super quick and simple ornament tutorial for you to whip up as last minute gifts or to adorn your tree.

Before we begin, here's a little breakdown of the basic stitches. I'm using US crochet terms, because I always do.
sl st [slip stitch] :: insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch, then through the loop on your hook.
sc [single crochet] :: insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (two loops on hook), yarn over and pull through both loops on hook (this is the same as UK dc stitch)
dc [double crochet] :: yarn over, insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (three loops on hook), yarn over and pull through two loops on hook (two loops left on hook), yarn over and pull through remaining two loops (this is the same as UK tre stitch)
I am using 8ply cotton and a 3mm hook for this tree to keep it a nice compact sized star, but you could use and yarn and hook that you like, or have on hand.

Okay, gather your supplies! - you will need 3 contrasting shades of 8ply cotton yarn, 3mm hook, darning needle, scissors, a firm piece of cardboard, star shaped button, cotton drill tape for tag, embroidery thread, and string for hanging. 
You will be making 2 crochet trees and joining them together.
tree 1 
To start, using shade 1 and leaving a tail of approx 25cm make a magic loop (great tutorial here). 
Row 1 - Chain 3 (this is your turning ch) and work 6dc into the magic loop as pictured below. 
tree 2
Pull the magic loop up tight before you begin Row 2 like so...
tree 3 
Row 2 - Ch3 (turning ch) and turn your work. 
dc into top of the last dc from the previous Row and into each of the next 2 dc. 
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next 2 dc.
2dc into the 3rd chain of the ch3 (turning ch) from the first Row. 
It should be looking like the picture below, right?
tree 4 
Row 3 - Ch3 and turn your work. 
dc into top of the last dc from the previous Row and into each of the next 5 dc. 
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next 5 dc.
2dc into the 3rd chain of the turning ch from the previous Row. 
tree 5 
Row 4 - Ch3 and turn your work. 
dc into top of the last dc from the previous Row and into each of the next 8 dc. 
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next 8 dc.
2dc into the 3rd chain of the turning ch from the previous Row. Fasten off.
This is the first colour section of your tree complete, we now need to add the trunk.
tree 6 
Using the 25cm tail that you left at the start slip stitch across 2 stitches at the base of your tree and ch3 like so.
tree 7 
Turn your work and work 3 dc evenly along the bottom of your tree to create a trunk and fasted off, as pictured.
tree 8 
Now make another tree exactly the same. 
tree 9 
Row 5 - Using another shade of yarn and working into the back of your work, slip stitch into the 7th dc from the egde and ch3. 
1dc into the same dc and into each of the next 5 dc.
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next 5 dc.
2dc into the next dc and fasten off.  
tree 10 
Row 5 - changing shades and working into the back of your work again, slip stitch into the 5th dc from the egde and ch3. 
1dc into the same dc and into each of the next 4 dc.
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next  dc.
2dc into the next dc and fasten off.  

Repeat row 4 and 5 for both trees but DO NOT fasten off on the 2nd trees final shade like so - you will be using this yarn to join and edge your tree to finish it off.
tree 11 
Using your cardboard, cut out an insert to wedge between your 2 trees, this is to keep your ornament flat and stiff for hanging.
tree 12 
Now, time to join your trees together.
With the right sides of both trees facing, and the tree with the yarn still attached at the back, work 1sc into each stitch along the top of both trees to join them together as pictured below.
tree 13 
Now work 2sc into the 1 corner stitch and 2 sc down the edge of the trees.
When you get to your loose ends simply tuck them to the inside of your tree and continue to crochet around your tree - this saves having to sew all of those ends in later on.
tree 14 
Continue working sc around the outside of your trees as pictured,
tree 15 
tucking in all of your ends as you go and working 2sc into each corner.
tree 16 
tree 17 tree 18 
tree 19 
When you get to the base of the trunk you will need to insert your cardboard cut out.
tree 20 
Then continue working sc around the remainder of your trees.
tree 21 
Finishing with a slip stitch into the base of the 1st sc. Fasten off.
tree 22 
Thread in your 1 end, sew on a button and attach a loop for hanging. I like to personalize my tree's with a little stitching of the year but you could stitch anything you like, a name, picture, date, etc - or skip this tag altogether, it's totally up to you.
tree 23
These trees would be great made on mass and hung in a garland. They'd also make great gift tags or why not try making just 1 tree in a chunky cotton for a cute Xmas washer or coaster.

Merry Xmas - Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

right now I'm....

...pulling up baby turnips with the sun on my back....
....noticing a mammoth beetroot hiding amongst my beet patch, pulling it up also and planning to slow roast it, like this, to enjoy with red meat and a salad for dinner tonight....
....trialling new Sourdough recipes, in search of the perfect loaf. For the loaf below I used the LunchLady recipe from her 3rd magazine, it's pretty good and super easy to make - which is a bonus.
....but I think I'm almost there with this loaf here - I've increased the hydration of my normal (original) loaf from 70% to 85% and its worked a treat!
....eating a different cake E.V.E.R.Y day. Today we're enjoying Donna Hay's Lemon Pound cake from this book, and it's simply divine...
LEMON CAKE about you? what are you doing right now?

Monday, August 29, 2016

At the End of August

Unfortunately the recent month has seen my family travelling more than we would normally prefer to. Our farmer has fallen ill, very ill, and there's been many tests, specialist visits and stays in motels over the past month, as we try to nut out just exactly what is wrong with the {rock} of our family unit. There's still a long road ahead, with many more tests still to come, but at the moment we are home, enjoying the simple pleasures and thanking our lucky stars to have a beautiful home of our own and to live the life that we do.

So today, I'm reflecting on my garden and how amazing it is producing this year despite the neglect of the past 4 weeks. I currently have Baby Turnips slowly plumping up, and this recipe will definitely be what I make with my first harvest - baked turnips, YUM! 
turnips 1
There are Peas growing in abundance almost everywhere, with lettuce and kale planted amongst the vines in spare patches of dirt. We're enjoying all parts of the plant this year, before it sets fruit - flowers, young shoots, and baby pods before the peas form. They're all simply divine and deliciously crunchy in a salad, especially with this Lime Cilantro dressing drizzled over the top!
peas 3 peas 2
We have hundreds of onions, in neat uniformed rows down the centre of most beds.  
peas 1
And at least 50 Broccolini plants which are all flowering. We're harvesting this delicious crisp veg daily at the moment, and adding it to most meals. This simple Broccolini Pizza with a sourdough base is a big hit with all members of my family.
broccolini 1
Then there's the Lettuce and Asian greens, OH.SO.MANY! With the weather slowly warming, in anticipation of Spring, I love that Salads and stir-fry's are in full swing here!  
lettuce 1
Then there's the Broadbeans, flowering and setting their pods.
broadbeans 1 broadbeans 2 broadbeans 3 broadbeans 4
With lettuce, kale, and baby turnips planted in their understory. I can't wait to try out this recipe for Broadbean pesto very soon!
broadbeans 5 broadbeans 6
And of coarse there's the beetroot, hundreds and hundreds of delicious blood red beetroot.
beets 4 beets 3 beets 2
I simply love beetroots and every year I grow an abundance of this delicious root to preserve for the months ahead.

Are you growing an abundance of produce to feed your family where you are?

Spring Seed Swap?

I had big plans of sharing a late Winter garden update with you all this post, full of beautiful pictures of Wintry produce such as peas (...