Monday, July 10, 2017

green love.

it's been a wee while since i shared what was going on out in the garden, but what a perfect time to share now that everything has well and truly slowed down a bit!

lemon tree, full of lemons!

the lemon tree is absolutely laden once again... best get to some lemony baking i think... lemon butter, curd, tart, cake! oh the possibilities!

despite it being super chilly outside, there are one or two things ready to go into the ground...

little broad bean seedlings poking their heads up out of the seedling tray

a few broad beans...

and some sugar snap peas too!

sugar snap pea seedlings, in desperate need of a plant out!

hopefully they're ok with our frosty mornings once i get them in the ground!

these little lettuces are coming along slowly, with some wee beetroot in the foreground too.

garden bed with tiny beetroot sprouts, butter crunch lettuce seedlings, and established kale and rainbow spinach plants in the back

and way back there at the back, some kale and rainbow spinach keeping us well supplied with greens to put into soups and pasta sauces and well, just about everything to be honest!

in this bed, we've got a good mixture of stuff! hopefully the combination of lots of different leafy bits will keep the cabbage moths confused and give everything a chance to grow nice and big without getting eaten to the ground by caterpillars...

a section of our patch, featuring big butter crunch lettuces, garlic and cauliflower plants

wish me luck on that one he he!

what's growing in your garden at the moment?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

plastic free july.

a little collection including a reusable coffee cup, a stainless steel water bottle, a stainless steel straw and cutlery set and a crocheted mesh bag

it's july (!!!) and this year, i've decided to join in with the plastic free july challenge, in a bid to reduce some of our consumption of single use plastics...

i'm definitely on board with reducing the big four, being straws, plastic bottles (such as water and soft drink bottles), plastic bags and coffee cups, but i've set myself a few additional challenges too!

the first is to cut down our use of disposable nappies!
we've got a good stash of cloth nappies ready to go, so it's just a matter of making sure they're what we reach for when it's nappy change time!
BR> the second is to avoid the drive thru. nothing we buy there is any good for our health, our budget, and the amount of single use plastic that you end up with is crazy town!

the third and final challenge i've set us, is to start a collection of soft plastics that are unavoidable at this stage, to recycle at our new local redcycle point. not buying food items in soft plastics would be the ideal situation, but i definitely don't have time to be home-making everything we need at this stage in life he he.

are you joining in with plastic free july too? what are your favourite things to do to reduce waste?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

taking stock.

baby head looking out for whales at the beach, dressed in a mama knitted milo vest beautiful beaded shawl snapped at knitting group sewing the bind off of the bottom of my cardigan avocado on toast with a cup of tea, big glass of water and a mug of broth knitting away on a milo vest in the beauty shop waiting for a massage

and just like that, it's nearly been a month between drinks! despite having blogging on the mind, i've been neglecting to actually sit down, with my laptop and get to typing. and then of course, the longer it went, the harder it seemed to get back to it.
but i just couldn't let it go any longer!

a little taking stock action, as a means to catch y'all up on where we're at, and to get me back in the game he he!

Making : lots of things, since i last posted, there's been a couple of milos off the needles, and a cardigan for myself. not a lot of sock knitting though so i'm running a bit behind on my pair of socks a month plan...

Cooking : some pretty terribly boring meals to be honest. even a truly terrible one. off my game in more than one area apparently he he!

Drinking : too much soft drinks. back on that bandwagon unfortunately. time for some cold-turkey time.

Reading : blog posts! for the first time in a while, my blog reader is empty! tempted to add a few new blogs to the reel... any recommendations?

Trawling : the real estate app. my heart loves a fixer-upper.

Wanting : to get motivated, set up some routines... my brain is instantly rebelling against any boundaries i give myself at the moment though. good on ya brain.

Looking : around at my trashed lounge room. how does a 9 month old make so much mess? he's not even crawling yet!! Deciding : what to do with the afternoon. need to go op-shopping for some curtains for ag's room and have some friends i want to catch up with too. can we do it all? we shall see he he!

Wishing : time would just slow down a bit! we're midway through june already!

Enjoying : baby giggles. how can you not?

Waiting : for said giggly baby to wake up. hopefully after a bit more of this post gets written he he.

Liking : this chilly weather. the fire is going, we can rug up in woollies, so cosy!

Wondering : what we should have for dinner. probably need to add grocery shopping to that list of things i want to do this afternoon!

Loving : re-watching game of thrones before the new season starts next month. i do it every year as my memory is terrible!

Pondering : lunch options. vegemite and avocado on toast is on high rotation at the moment.

Listening : to a kookaburra outside.

Considering : a wee road trip tomorrow.

Buying : things to keep us cozy. hopefully some curtains to keep the warmth in for ag's bedroom. and a door snake to keep the drafts out from the front door!

Watching : the fifth season of orange is the new black. taking it a lot slower than in previous years... hard to binge watch shows with a baby around!

Hoping : the kookaburra doesn't wake the baby. little ag is not a happy chappy when he gets woken up from naps!

Marvelling : at just how quickly the days disappear. what have i even got done today?

Cringing : at my inability to get my shit together some days.

Needing : to clean the oven. it's terrible!

Questioning : what it means to be feminine...

Smelling : not much at all. blissful when you're thinking about poo many many hours of the day.

Wearing : my new cardigan constantly. oh and handknit socks. all day every day.

Noticing : birds. specifically rosellas on my drive home this morning. they were hiding all over the place!

Knowing : that things will work out eventually.

Thinking : about bulk shopping. what we could use and such.

Opening : the fire door to put more wood on.

Closing : some of the 8 trillion tabs open on my phone.

Feeling : the cold a lot more already this winter. last winter i was pregnant, and although it seemed cold at the time, maybe it kept me cosier than i realised!

Celebrating : my little bro getting a new job. well we did over the weekend anyway he he.

Pretending : i haven't deleted a couple of these prompts... it might have happened, oops!

thanks pip for the little list to get me back into this blogging lark! now to keep it up!

Monday, May 22, 2017

why.

homemade soup and bread for lunch

i've been listening to the slow home podcast for quite a while and the episodes always get my mind going, thinking about things in different ways and from different perspectives as well as giving me lots of ideas in ways to slow down and simplify...
last month though, brooke and ben spent the month (on mondays) talking about their 'why's', as in why they do what they do. the values and beliefs that shape their long and short terms goals and daily life too.

i loved this concept, so have been doing quite a bit of thinking about it...

the first part of the podcast series introduced the concept of what a why is, the ways that it can shape your life and world view and in the second part of the podcast series, the how-to begins.
brooke recommends writing your eulogy. what would you want said about you at your funeral? what parts of your life would you want people to remember?
after a bit of pondering, i realised that what i would want remembered of me, is my hard work to make our house a home. a warm and safe place that is welcoming and nurturing. and despite working hard at this, to have had time to be there for those that need me, children, partner, family and friends.
they're the things that are important to me.
the third segment involves pulling values out of that eulogy, boiling it down to a couple of key words to help shape those everyday decisions and the fourth makes recommendations of how to use those values to actually shape those everyday decisions.
the values i gleaned were home and quality time, and i'm really already starting to think about them when i'm making decisions on the daily.

have you ever worked on an exercise like this? are you a slow home podcast listener too?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

wool gathering.

woweeeeeee! what a weekend!

the weekend just gone, marked the hosting of the inaugural wool gathering event at tarndie, and boy was it a great one!

i spent the weekend, wearing an apron, helping out to ensure everyone was having the best time they could be! though those tasks kept me pretty occupied, i managed to flit around and take a fair few photos too!

the event started out pretty nicely for us "staff" (helpers and teachers) with some beautifully motivating words from karen, and some bubbles with a side of tea and a spot of knitting.

bubbles and tea around the dining table while karen says a few words the very start of a milo vest for ag with a glass of bubbles and a cup of tea

before we got settled in to start welcoming folks at the registration desk.

bonnie and kate getting the registration desk set up

after some dinner, and (hopefully) a good night's rest, the attendees flocked back to tarndie on friday, saturday and sunday for some excellent woolly classes.

shawl shapes class with clare in full swing around the dining table sue's short row class participants crowding around to get a good look spinning up a storm under janet's watchful tutelage a pair of newly skilled hands, feeding the fleece into the twist briony showing off the depth of dye on a skein, all the way to the core of the yarn! beautifully coloured skeins, drying on the clothes horse

knitting, spinning, dyeing, and that was just what i managed to snap photos of! there was also weaving, crochet, embroidery and farm touring happening too!

with all that fun, thankfully there was still a bit of time for resting (knitting) too...

saffy the collie resting outside the tarndie cafe window

unless you're saffy the dog, then there was LOTS of time for resting!

after a slow few days this week to recover, i'm really looking forward to getting started on next year's event! one or two kinks to iron out, and then next year's should be even better! can't wait!

Monday, May 1, 2017

a tale of two socks.

around this time last year, i was talking to a friend and together we were trying to figure out a problem she had come up against while sock knitting. she wanted to keep her pretty yarn for the instep and upper portion of the sock, and use a plain, contrast colour for the sole as well as the heel and toe.
after a bit of brainstorming, we came up with a solution!

fast forward a year, and i've knitted myself a pair too to test our theory.

vanilla socks with the toe, sole, heel and ribbing knit in a slate grey yarn with the remaining portions knit in a self fair-isling yarn in blues and greens

these are my two-toned vanilla socks. quite the success i think.

i used this vanilla sock pattern as my basis (as i have for almost every pair of socks so far this year... it's a great pattern!) and went from there!

vanilla socks with the toe, sole, heel and ribbing knit in a slate grey yarn with the remaining portions knit in a self fair-isling yarn in blues and greens

the basic premise i used was to begin the socks, knit the toes in the round as per the pattern, and then when it came to knitting the body of the foot of the sock, i split my stitches into sole and instep stitches. i knit the sole first using the same yarn as the toe, backwards and forwards, slipping the first stitch of every row. i continued knitting backwards and forwards, completing the gusset increases and then the heel, before moving back to the instep stitches.
using my fancy yarn and the instep stitches i had on hold from the toe, i began working backwards and forwards again, to create the instep but instead of slipping the first stitch of each row, this time i picked up the slipped stitch from the sole in the corresponding row, and knitted (or purled) it together with the first stitch of my instep row, using an ssk decrease or a p2tog.
once i'd knitted the full instep and had picked up all of the stitches along the sides of the sole and heel, i went back to working in the round, continuing to work with my fancy yarn.
i decided to do a contrast ribbing section too

vanilla socks with the toe, sole, heel and ribbing knit in a slate grey yarn with the remaining portions knit in a self fair-isling yarn in blues and greens

they were a little slow going for me, though i think that was all to do with my mind!
i think i was a bit scared of them not working, and having to pull them out.
i had a stern talking to myself though, it's only knitting, not brain surgery! it's ok to make mistakes when they're so easy to fix! and look how well they've turned out?!

they're aaaaaalmost perfect... unfortunately, they're a wee bit big on my feet. damn!
not to worry though, i'm sure there's someone out there with bigger feet than me he he.

what do you think? would you give these a go?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

dyeing to knit.

the last little while, i've been playing around with a bit of yarn dyeing.
i talked about one project in this post, but since then, i've been doing even more!

a pot and jars containing yarn dyeing away

i had these few vessels just slowly ticking away, doing their thing.
the pot in front, had a bath of acidified avocado pits with half a skein of bendigo bamboo sock wool, anticipating a nice light and subtle pink.
the white lidded jar, housed the other half of the skein of sock wool. after not getting a nice light pink from it after soaking it in with the avocado pits, i popped it in here with some red food dye and added some vinegar to the avocado bath to see if that changed anything...

two balls of yarn, one dyed with acidified avocado pits for a subtle cream colour, one dyed with red food dye for a mid pink colour

as you can see, i didn't quite get the subtle pink i was after from the front pot, but the food dye, well it sure did the trick!
i'm knitting these two together for a hat project i'm hoping to share a little more about soon.

the orange lidded jar, well i have no results from that one as the yarn is still in there! perhaps i'll find some time over the weekend to fish out what's in there and give it a rinse.
i'm hoping for a nice green gradient for a pair of socks. we'll see what happens!

before that though, the jar housed a different dye experiment...



i put together another solar dyeing jar with walnut shells, though this time with a skein of linen, instead of woollen yarn way back in november.

after four months, the results were a little lighter than last time...



but still a nice little bit of warmth to what was a very cool skein of white...

that might be the end of my dyeing for a little while, i'm basically out of white yarns in my stash he he. plus i have plenty to knit with for now too!

have you ever tried any fiber dyeing at home?

Monday, April 10, 2017

green love.

hrmmmm so it would seem i've missed a week again...
i had the best of intentions last week, i got out and snapped some pictures, loaded them onto flickr and worked the html magic to get them onto this here page, and then i was done.
i had no words... i think i've found them this week though!

there's a little bit going on in the garden at the moment, so i thought i'd take this opportunity to share...

white flower growing on the chilli plant

the chilli plant is putting on it's annual flower display. no fruit to speak of, even now a week later, but they are beautiful and delicate flowers to look at all the same.

you wouldn't know from looking at it, but this is my finger lime pot...

small finger lime tree in a metal bucket pot, overrun with native seedlings

it's become completely overrun with native seedlings! the seeds from which have obviously drifted in on the weather and wind and found this to be the best place to spring up!
i think i'll have a crack at replanting them, could use some natives to plant around the farm.

after moving some soil around to top up this section of the bed, i've got a bit of garlic in the ground to harvest come summer!

green garlic shoots coming through the soil

it feels a bit weird to be thinking about, when we've still got SO much garlic from the last harvest, but it won't last forever... particularly the way we go through it!
the cloves are pretty happy in there, a lot more have popped up since i took this picture too!

last year, i picked up some berlotti beans from a local produce shop and kept a few on the windowsill to dry...

purple striped beans hanging on the bush

now, we have some of our own!
i've been picking them while they're little like this, and then steaming or boiling them to have alongside dinner. sadly, the beautiful purple colouring doesn't survive the cooking process he he!

ever seen a pomegranate seedling?

single green shoot of a pomegranate plant

now you have!
i popped a few seeds in the ground from a fruit i found on a tree in melbourne before we moved and i've had one lonely seedling pop up! hopefully it survives and gets nice and big, fingers crossed!

also in our makeshift hot house (ie. the windowsill of the shed)...

green sprouts from a turmeric root

some turmeric!
this was grown from some fresh turmeric, picked up at a local produce shop. i'm super interested to see how it goes, and how it grows!
so far it's looking super happy and green!

how's your garden growing? ever grown pomegranate or turmeric before?

Monday, March 27, 2017

creatively...

as promised last week, i thought i'd share a little about what i've been up to creatively in recent times...

this month's socks are well and truly off the needles.

a pair of jo torr's vanilla sock with gusset heel and eye of partridge heel flap in naturally waikiwi prints yarn in a red/pink colourway

i cast them on on the first day of march, and finished them up in a little over two weeks.
another pair of vanilla socks, but this time, they're for me!

i also played around a little with some dyeing...

skein of cream alpaca yarn, dyed with drops of food colouring

little droppers of food colouring, onto pre-soaked alpaca yarn, allowed to dry and then rinsed, before casting on...

second imagining of the textured shawl, with extra colour, but without knitting errors

the shawl project i was working on in this post, was ripped and cast on again. i wasn't loving the cream colouring at all, and i'd made a couple of mistakes in the edging when i wasn't concentrating properly...
i truly love it now, and it is finished and blocking as i type. hoping it will be dry tomorrow and the weather cool enough to give it a great first outing!

and because i couldn't possibly have the needles languishing...

the yoke of an orange milo vest

i cast on a milo! it's been a while between knits of this ol' fave and i'm knitting it up in rowan wool cotton, picked up on sale from sunspun a couple of weeks ago now. it's very enjoyable to knit with but i've got quite the decision to make as to which cable pattern to choose!

i'm hoping to get the milo finished up by the end of the month, so i can get started on my april socks! now if only i could choose what they'll be...

do you have a favourite sock pattern? which milo cable pattern would you choose?

Monday, March 20, 2017

taking stock.

chunky thighs and vegie sticks, some strawberries too! a quick shop for celery, onions, mushrooms and potatoes, ready to go home in my basket using a sharp blade to cut some swirls and whorls for a screen printing project beautiful blue green water on the golden sand two big baskets of apples, presenting a world of opportunities

Making : lots of things, in the kitchen and craft-wise too. maybe i'll have to share a bit of creativity next week...

Cooking : quite a bit, there's bread proving on the bench, i've all the makings for a stock, and some thoughts on what to cook to accompany the asian style pork belly we've got planned for dinner are ticking away in my brain.

Drinking : a hot chocolate. treating myself while i sit and type in the relative calm of NOT home.

Reading : actual books! would you believe it? i've just finished 'fight like a girl' which was quite thought provoking and eye opening and stimulating. and i'm just about to start on 'big little lies' after being recommended it by a friend.

Trawling : facebook a bit too often... i think i talked about this last 'taking stock' too, but haven't done a thing about it. deleting the app now!

Wanting : a few more hours sleep. i think this will definitely be my default for the next few years he he.

Looking : at instagram a little less these days, that might change now i've deleted the facebook app though! hopefully not though, it's nice to check in and out without feeling like i need to see every single post which was my default for an embarrassingly long time.

Deciding : on some big picture things at the moment. work-wise, life-wise, it's all up in the air... that would normally terrify me but i'm dealing with the unknown better than i would've thought.

Wishing : people could be a little kinder to one another. it would sure solve a lot of heartache on a global scale don't you think?

Enjoying : not having to stress about money too much at the moment. and letting go of the stress when it crops up...

Waiting : for some images to load. one thing that is not great about country life, internet speed.

Liking : that even though the internet is a bit slow, there's lots to look at while i wait. bees buzzing, birds chirping. the complaints list about this country life is a short one, that's for sure

Wondering : if i know someone local that has a tomato machine i could borrow for a couple of days... i have a hankering to get busy saucing some of the mountains of tomatoes we have around us, but don't think i have the patience to sieve them by hand like i did last year!

Loving : how the skein of wool i dyed last week is knitting up. what a tease, i'll show you more next week he he.

Pondering : what kind of socks to cast on next month... my plan to knit through my sock yarn stash by the end of the year is well on track, cranking out a pair a month!

Listening : to the birds, some sweet cafe tunes, the traffic, people's conversations and low down in the background, the ocean. bliss.

Considering : my plans for the rest of the day. i know what needs doing... but i'll be flexible and roll with what the day brings i think.

Buying : well bought... i broke the yarn buying drought when my fave yarn shop was having a sale. looking forward to picking it up this week! now, no more purchasing! at least until the end of the year. i have my eye on one of these. the perfect antidote to christmas craziness, knitting 15g of sock wool a day! crazy stripy christmas socks for the family he he.

Watching : quite a lot of netflix... we just hooked it up to our playstation, and it's super easy to watch now. we've done 'the crown' and now working our way through 'iron fist' at a rapid pace.

Hoping : for a good week!

Marvelling : at how well one can function having not gotten more than 4 hours sleep at a time for months!

Cringing : at the number of flies currently buzzing around me... they're mighty sticky today!

Needing : to stop eating so many sweets... unlikely to happen in my sleep deprived state though, think it's the only thing keeping me going he he.

Questioning : everything. a lot. there are a few issues lately i've been vacillating wildly on. think it's driving poor bb spare.

Smelling : something delicious being whipped up in the kitchen in this cafe, might need to be off soon to make some lunch!

Wearing : this! who says you can't wear handknits in the warmer months?

Noticing : how distinctly uncomfortable i was in the city last week. we were there for a couple of hours while ben went in to chat to his boss. so many people, so much hustle. just not for me anymore.

Knowing : we're in the right place for us right now. yep. it is known.

Thinking : i've been sitting for too long! my coccyx lets me know these days... boo!

Admiring : parents everywhere. making it work on the daily. it's hard work and i feel like i've got it super easy! feeling lucky!

Getting : excited to catch up with some folks i haven't seen in a while later in the week.

Bookmarking : airbnb places. hoping for a little getaway soon...

Disliking : these flies. seriously! shoo!

Opening : packets of seeds. time to get some winter seeds into pots and on their way!

Closing : the doors and windows, and then opening them again, and then closing them again. the weather has been more than a little mercurial...

Feeling : ready to pop back home and see my fellas. it's good to have a bit of time out, but equally good to chat and play.

Celebrating : easter soon i guess... looking forward to some nice family times for sure! and maybe even some catch ups with friends who are like family. my fingers are crossed!

Pretending : i'm not interested in the new seasons of terrible reality shows that have started recently... for the most part, i've convinced myself... fake it til you make it right?

Embracing : my hair at the moment. it's crazy... curly and frizzy some days, smooth and sleek on others, and the greys, well they seem to be taking over he he. definitely other things to think about at the moment, but i'm hoping to maybe do something drastic soon. we shall see!

what have you been up to lately? care to 'take stock' too? there's a blank list over on pip's post if you want to join in!

Monday, March 13, 2017

6 months.

half a year. that's how long little ag will have been with us tomorrow.

life has never been more different, but i struggle to remember a time without him.

ag, all snuggled up having a nap

the joyful smiles, crazy giggles and ever moving legs and arms never fail to light up our days and nights and i snap ALL of the photos and try and soak up every little facet of you every day, you'll never be this age again.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

let me show you around.

i feel like, quite a few times, that i've said i'd show you around our little country mouse house...
well i'm finally doing it!

won't you come inside?

our green front door, framed by our little porch

don't mind the cobwebs on that there screen door... no matter how many times i remove them, they're back within a couple of days... never mind.

care for a cup of tea at the dining table?

table with a couple of chairs and a high chair, with a wall of black framed pictures and artworks

our house is a little bit of a mish mash of furniture that's for sure... dining table care of my grandmother's house, which was care of HER parent's i think... definitely some provenance on that one. paired with an ikea chair and high chair, and a chair with a fabric seat we picked up from the opshop for $2 (one day i might even reupholster it...)
oh and there's the oddball collection of 'black framed things' too he he!

alongside this little arrangement, is the kitchen sideboard...

fridge covered in photos and bits and a sideboard for our crockery, cutlery, glassware and appliances

picked up for $100 off gumtree, it's a solid little number and sits perfectly between the fridge and the front door, housing all our crockery, cutlery, glassware, appliances and all the random crap that accumulates in the spare drawer...
the fridge was one of our first grown up purchases when we got proper jobs and our old one died (the day after i had all four wisdom teeth removed, the WORST!) and is covered in photos and postcards and the meal planning whiteboard AND our spice jar collection.
it's a busy little corner of the house!

a quick peak into the baby's room...

100 year old cabinet for ag's clothes

and you'll see this pretty ancient old cabinet... again, picked up from grandma's house and again, harking from her parent's place too. this guy used to be in my grandparent's shed, housing tools and such, and before that, housing my great grandfather's beer making supplies.
before that, i'm assuming it was some kind of pantry cupboard as it has wire mesh in the bottom section (meat safe style) and a little metal lined cold box too!
for now though, it's the perfect wardrobe for ag's clothes!

and finally our bed'room'

our bedroom: lit by lamplight on either side of the bed with a blue curtain behind

our main living space was built as a pool room, and thus has NO windows! after moving ag into the single bedroom, we've moved our bed into the living space, tucked into a corner to give us a wee bit of privacy if we have guests over...

it's a wee bit unconventional, but hey, it works! plus we get to use our awesome lamps a wee bit more often too!

what kind of space do you live in? massive pool table in your living space he he?