Saturday, 17 March 2018

Saturday Snippets

Saturday, that precious beginning-of-the-weekend day, has dawned here with a clear blue sky and a slight breeze.  All is very quiet here though I fully expect someone will start up a mower sometime soon! (The grass is growing very enthusiastically after all the rain we've had!) My beautiful boy and his Dad headed off to cricket early this morning and left Sir Steve dog and I happily mooching around here at home. It feels already like a gentle, slow day that will unfold in ordinary moments and home-work of a kind that lets contentment settle in. Here's a snippet of what I think I might do today:

 Make lovely lemon curd from these fresh lemons & eggs. 
(A gift from a good friend's garden.)

Cut back this sweetly-scented star jasmine.
(It's now finished flowering.)

 Wash & then decide what I shall do with these used linens my mother sent me.
(They are old pillowslips and cushion covers.)

Cast on the scarf that I want to knit with this soft & sandy coloured wool. 
(Wish me luck!)

Make another one of this nutty & caramel-y alternative to the LCM bar.
(No plastic wrappers & unpronounceable ingredients here!)

Have a leisurely read of this Australian Permaculture magazine.
(I love the teapot on the cover!)

So, that's how my Saturday is shaping up. No plans to go anywhere but thoughts of happy, ordinary things that bring a simple joy. The lawn does need mowing but I'm sure we'll get to that in good time before I have to start calling it a jungle instead of lawn;)

Enjoy your weekend days. May they include some simple joys of your own.


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Here & Now 19

We've had a lot of rain here. Not as much as other areas to the far North, where torrential rain has caused widespread flooding. For many, this rain is a welcome relief from a drought that has parched their landscapes. 

Where I live, there is blue sky again now, dotted with clouds. The returning sun has brought with it the feeling of a season turning. Summer is fading and my favourite season, Autumn, has begun. 

Two skeins of a beautiful hand-dyed yarn.
(from Saltwater Yarns)

 A delicious Pear & Dark Chocolate Loaf.

Milky brown cotton for a new washcloth,

Loving //  The change in the season from Summer to Autumn.
                      Autumnal is one of my most favourite words!  💛

Eating //  Slices of lovely pear and dark chocolate loaf eaten warm when the chocolate
                      is still little sweet puddles.

Drinking //  Water, as always! A twist of lime or lemon too. 

Feeling //  Quite tired and sore. I have developed tendonitis in both feet!

Making //  A few washcloths in latte and chocolate brown cottons.

Thinking //  ... that I may swim laps and knit a lot while my feet heal.

Dreaming// ...   of a first shawl made with yarn the colour of sandstone cliffs.

Over at Say, Little Hen, you will find the lovely Sarah and others who post their own monthly Here & Now lists.  Why not make yourself a cup of tea or coffee (or pour a glass of whatever you fancy) and visit with them awhile? 


Friday, 9 March 2018

Just a Bit More Sewing

While I've been waiting for this glorious rain we've been getting to ease up, and for the sun to break through the clouds, I've squeezed in just a bit more sewing. (I think my knitting needles are beginning to feel neglected!)

 A home sewn skirt and top.

I made one of my oldest and closest friends her very own wrap skirt. She requested something in blues and I found this gorgeous floral fabric and a very sweet fabric, dotted with tiny little flowers, for the trim. I think these wrap skirts lend themselves to having fun with fabrics.

A pretty Cloud 9 poplin called "Blooming Buds".

 A sweet cotton lawn for the trim.

From the leftover fabric of the skirt's trim, I was able to make another sailor top.  I shortened the top this time, according to the pattern's instructions, and am happy with how it has turned out.  I have made up both of these patterns before. The second time around was easier because I remembered what I had done before. More confidence and less unpicking this time! 

There won't be any sewing on my radar this weekend. We are heading off to the beach. The forecast is for partly cloudy days so we will see what the weather brings. Think I will pack my knitting needles though seeing I am leaving my sewing machine behind;) 

Have yourself a really happy weekend!


Monday, 5 March 2018

A Little Bit of Boro Mending

I tend to live in my favourite pieces of clothing until they are worn, ragged and frayed.  I  keep wearing them unless and until decidedly embarrassing holes, in less than strategic places, emerge in the faded fabrics. Such garments are then piled up for mending where they may languish for a long time. Either that or they become "gardening clobber". My favourite (and only) pair of denim shorts reached this point recently and, rather than send them to a pile from which they may not return any time soon, I decided to mend them but in a way that makes a feature of their patches. 

 Patched shorts.

Boro is a traditional Japanese patchwork where scraps of cloth were used to mend clothing and quilts. In doing so, the life of garments and quilts was extended and they were often passed down through generations as they remained useful. I used this simple online tutorial to help me try a little boro mending to extend the life of my very worn shorts. 

My well-loved shorts.

I cut patches from material scraps I had left over after sewing this dress. I love that this process uses scraps of fabric, reducing waste and finding a purpose for what otherwise may be thrown away. After pinning my little fabric patches in place, I stitched little sashiko running stitches, worked over and on top of the fabric patches. It was a lovely, repetitive and quiet process. While I gather there are certain dos and don'ts in regards sashiko, mistakes are imperfectly perfect too!

My imperfect sashiko stitches.

Stitches securing patches to denim of my shorts.

I experimented with little criss crosses too ...

Little crosses.

I love the little mushrooms, seedheads and flowers that peek out from the patches I've stitched into my old and much-loved shorts. No only have I mended them and extended their life but I've added something to them which I like very much. 

Making some of my own clothes and learning ways in which to mend and alter the ones I already have is in direct contrast to the culture of fast, cheap and disposable fashion that sees Australians dispose of 6000 kilograms of fashion and textile waste every. ten. minutes! It seems too that there are many other home sewers like me who are developing or rediscovering their sewing skills and making their own clothes in order to bypass fast fashion and waste associated with it.  As Jane Milburn, whom Chel over at Going Grey and Slightly Green wrote about recently, asserts that we develop a true appreciation of our clothing when we have made it ourselves. I certainly would find it hard to throw away the garments I've made ... I know just how much unpicking I did!

I've no doubt I will need to continue adding patches to my well-loved denim shorts. It might get to the point where they are more patches than original material! I might have to patch the patches even!

Do you sew or mend your own clothes?

Friday, 2 March 2018

A Walk Along an Island Foreshore

Crossing the Bribie Island Bridge, that takes you from the mainland, across the protected waters of the Pumicestone Passage, to the island on the other side feels like a slow exhale to me.  A walk always awaits; a chance to breathe in the fresh air and see the sea.  My most recent walk here, on a windy day in February, took me along a section of foreshore that was calm and breezy and peaceful.

Bribie's  Bridge. 

A row of little red "tinnies" .

 Boats bobbing on the waves.

 Large, shady gums.

Pretty purple flowers. 

Gorgeous greens & greys

Mangroves on the shoreline.

Pigface tendrils in the sand.

Four feathery fellows. 
(I just love the antics of these birds!)

A peaceful view towards the mountains.

As I walked, the Glasshouse Mountain peaks filled my view, enveloped in a curtain of cloud. These iconic Sunshine Coast mountains stand tall on the distant horizon, connecting the waters of the passage with the land. The waves, for a windy day, were fairly calm and gently lapping the shore. Little boats bobbed up and down upon them like corks. 

Pelicans gathered in one spot, their black and white feathers ruffled by the wind. I love to see these birds for they seem such funny characters. Did you know a group of pelicans can be called a scoop? I think that's very apt considering the fish they scoop up into their bills and hold in their net-like pouches of such delicate pink. I'm not sure Bribie's fishing folk quite see them as endearingly as I do given they are always on the hunt for a free meal!

While the colours of my windy day walk were muted by the cloud above, this offered up its own beauty; a contrast to the strong light and blinding brightness of an Australian beach in Summer. 


Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Roasted Carrot & Quinoa Bake

I adore roasted carrots and I'm fond of fluffy quinoa so I was always going to love this delicious dish. A flavourful and nutritious bake, all roasted in the one tin, makes a perfectly simple meal just as it is or a lovely side dish. Leftovers most definitely make for a healthy lunch salad the next day too! 

Simple & delicious!

There are roasted parsnips along with carrots in Rukmini Iyer's original recipe from her cookbook, "The Roasting Tin:  Simple One Dish Dinners". While I don't mind parsnips, I didn't have any so I just roasted plenty of delicious carrots instead! Here's how it came together in my kitchen:

Carrot & Quinoa Bake

4 - 5 large carrots
2 cloves garlic
fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs 
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
salt & pepper
120g quinoa, thoroughly rinsed 
350ML boiling water

1.   Preheat oven to 180C.

2.   Peel carrots and halve lengthwise then cut into long chunks.

3.   Put carrots in a roasting dish with crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, bay, olive oil & 

4.   Toss together with your hands so carrots coated in herbed & honeyed oil. Season with
       salt & pepper.

5.   Bake, uncovered, for approximately 40minutes. 

6.   Remove from oven. Carefully mix in rinsed quinoa and boiling water making sure you 
      loosen all the caramelised goodness from the bottom of your roasting tin.

7.   Cover with foil and return to the oven to roast for further 20minutes.

8.   Remove from the oven and lift off the foil. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork and then leave
      for a further five minutes. 

9.   Serve with a wedge of lemon so it's lovely juice can be squeezed over the top. 

This beautifully simple bake can be served with peppery rocket, as it is in the cookbook, or you could mix in some baby peas, bright green and sweet, instead.  Either way, it's delicious!


Monday, 26 February 2018

Weekend Days in the Garden

We've had a couple of welcome wet days here.  Friday saw some very heavy falls. Low, dense clouds blanketing the sky and rain drumming loudly on the roof and gushing from gutters. An inside day for everyone! Sir Steve dog's walk was cancelled due to lashings of precipitation ... but try explaining that to an enthusiastic Labrador who feels hard done by!

The rain continued to fall in heavy showers throughout Saturday. Breaks in the weather, peeks of sunshine now and then, humid and warm. Beautiful boy's cricket match was cancelled, much easier to explain than a Labrador's missed walk! The garden beckoned, that sense of impatience and optimism that I find comes along with soaking rain.  So, on with my old, torn and soil-stained gardening clothes and gumboots (that I keep for just such occasions) and outside into the rain ...


The main veggie patch was cleared of its tangled cucumber vines and frazzled celery amongst other things.  Ready for rejuvenation!

Cleared veggie patch.

Cranberry Hibiscus and yellow Clivia Lillies were planted in the garden that surrounds the spot where our son's sandpit used to be. There are established shrubs there; a Little Gem Magnolia right in the top corner and two Michelia Cocos either side. I'm trying to grow this garden cheaply by using plants that I propagate from cuttings or through division. I hope to add salvias around the birdbath at some stage too. The pumpkin vine keeps wanting to spread out into the lawn so something more compliant is needed in that spot.

 The sandpit garden.

One of three tiny Cranberry Hibiscus that I grew from cuttings.

Division of one yellow Clivia Lily now makes for three!

Sunday dawned a little brighter and so, after a walk with the beside-himself-with-joy Sir Steve, I returned to the veggie patch I'd cleared. I lifted the soil gently with a garden fork, loosening it without turning it over. A sprinkling of little leguminous leopard tree leaves that I collected on our walk and some torn pumpkin leaves from that pesky vine up the back. As they break down, they will nourish to the soil.

Little leopard tree leaves & torn pumpkin leaves to nourish the soil.

  A layer of manure and compost over the top.

Watered in with worm tea & protected with a blanket of pea straw.

In a few weeks time I will plant in our rejuvenated veggie patch. I'm already dreaming of lettuce, spring onion, silverbeet and kale. Definitely beetroot too! Perhaps we'll have a few more wet days before then. 

What did you get up to during your weekend days?


Friday, 23 February 2018

Summer's Stormy Skies

Several scorching hot days here this Summer have finished with late afternoon storms rolling in over the ridge. We have watched the beautiful sky; the change from that high, clear blue of the earlier day to the ominous dark grey of swelling clouds as they gather. 

A brewing storm. 

Rain-laden storm clouds above the trees. 

A stormy sky above our place.

Rain falling off in the distance.

 The colours of a storm cloud.

These stormy skies have inevitably crackled with lightning as thunderous rain has fallen; at times so heavy we've heard its drumming before it's reached our place. Welcome storms that have cooled some late Summer afternoons and left behind a clearer air scented with rain.

How's the weather at your place?


Monday, 19 February 2018

Escaping the Heat in the Hinterland

During a week of soaring temperatures, we headed an hour or so north, up to the Hinterland of our Sunshine Coast. While it was very hot everywhere, and those further west certainly felt the worst of it, we found the cooling shade of the trees and refreshing water of local creeks a welcome relief from the heat. 

 A green and shady "umbrella" of trees.

The cool, gurgling water of the Obi Obi Creek, Maleny.

Fresh, clear water.

 Gardeners Falls and rock pool.

Old trees casting shade in the paddocks.

A hazy view over the Glasshouse Mountains.

A dizzying drop from the  Mapleton Falls Lookout.

A trickle of water runs over Mapleton Falls.

The lush, green Obi Obi valley.

Walking and picnicking under an umbrella of green, the cooling and calming colour of nature, was a lovely way to escape the heat for a while.