Monday, 31 August 2015

Spring thoughts

"One swallow doesn’t make a summer but for gardeners, the first sprig of jasmine makes it spring."

Spring is here, and we've had some really lovely weather to bring it on. I feel the weather has been a bit on the chilly side the last couple of days, nothing like winter weather at all though. 

The lurgy that has been hanging around our house finally seem to have gone and we are all back to eating more home cooked meals. Lamb neck chops are always a favorite in stew, it never last long. With the change in weather and now things are warming up we'll change over to more salads and the like later on and hot meals will be less.

I haven't had much chance to do any large paintings, and by large I don't mean very large, I usually stay around A4 size canvas's, but little Artist Trading Card size paintings (the size of a playing card) helps me with keeping painting going.

I'm also tackling that UFO basket of sewing items I want to get finished some time this century. This month I am planing on doing 'a use what I have challenge' and buy nothing new. Which means I might be able to finish some of the projects I do have and buy nothing new to add to things. Should be interesting as there is a fete on the 12th and they have plants, books, and such. I can see the challenge ending badly. Although I shouldn't do too much damage as I am also intending on trying a $10 month personal spending budget. I think that works out to about $2.50 a week. Trust me I can do a lot with $2.50.

Here's a sewing tip I thought might help: When using a embroidery pen that doesn't wash out or fade away, mark a dot for the lazy daisy stitch instead of marking out the whole loop. This way you are only covering the dot.

I have three different embroidered flowers I hope to make up into cards to send off. I also want to use these designs on my crazy quilt, as they are so pretty and quick to do.  
But it is not all fun and games, there's laundry, washing up, some heavy dusting and cleaning to do. We did all the bedding in the last two days to get rid of any nasty lurgy lingering and the weather just says spring cleaning. I think it is safe to say spring is here. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Old Petrie Town

We've had some rain during the night and during the day it has been really nice weather. On Sunday my aunt and I took advantage of the nice weather and we went for a drive to go look at the markets in Old Petrie town. 
The place is very lovely, with old restored cottage houses for some of the shops in main street. There are also a few museums to go look at too.

The Ole Lollie shop is a good visit to pick out some old fashioned lollie favourites. 

One of the cottages had a lot of old fashioned hats on display
There was lots of bric a brac, books, and the like.

I liked this rag rug basket, but I think I'll be making one of my own instead of buying one. Looks pretty easy to make.

 We had a quick tour of the fire station which had a few room displays set up from days of past.

 I like the bicycle in the fire masters bedroom.

And the common room kitchen had a few things I recognize my Grand parents used to use. Overall, I really enjoyed the time I spent wandering around looking. It is free entry and well worth a trip to visit, especially if you like old fashioned living. I came away very inspired by everything.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Humble Potato

 Best tips for Mash Potatoes

For light, fluffy mashed potatoes stick with using starchy potatoes. A ‘All rounder’ Potato that also fries, boils, roasts, mash is a good choice to keep in the kitchen as they are more versatile) Types include Golden Delight, Dutch Cream, or Sebago.
Add seasoning to the water at the start of cooking potatoes.
Start with cold water about an inch above the potatoes and place the pot on the stove and begin cooking, bring the water to a rolling boil. Test the potatoes with a fork if soft, they are done.
Butter and milk added to potatoes should be at least room temperature.
Try not to over work the potatoes, which will make the mash, gummy and unappetizing.

Mash Potatoes Recipe

Peel Potatoes
Cut into even chunks
Add salt and pepper to water
Bring to boil and boil until the potatoes are soft (test with a fork. If they fall away from the fork they are done)

Strain the water from the potatoes and place the potatoes in a bowl. Add butter, and a dash of milk, salt and pepper to taste and mash with a masher until light and fluffy.
Left over mash potatoes can be used in the following:

Bubble n Squeak
On top of shepherd’s pie
Potato patties 

Potato Bread Recipe

1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
1 tablespoon yeast
¼ cup water
4 cups of flour (bread flour)

Mix mashed potatoes, milk, butter, sugar, yeast, and water. And mix until ingredients are well combined.
Slowly add in the flour until it forms a dough.
Place dough in lightly butted bowl. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes until double in size.
Punch dough down and flatten into rough rectangle. Fold the top over the middle and then fold the bottom up. Fold the ends in.
Flip the dough over and shape into a loaf. Place into buttered 9x5 loaf pan and press down the edges.
Cover loaf pan and let rise for a second time of 30. Preheat oven to 175 -200 C

Bake loaf for 35-40 minutes until brown on top and sounds hollow when thumped.

Baby Potato plants. Growing in our back yard.
 I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

House notes

Record Keeping

The art of keeping a record of the home has a long history. Many have recorded in writings the happenings in their daily lives, births, deaths, marriages, hints, recipes, garden notes, along with items purchased and sold. Journals of the past were well worn collections of the highs and lows of making a house a home, and became mementos of the work efforts of past generations.

Record keeping is a helpful tool for all households. There are many ways to record information needed to upkeep the home. A good tip for starting record keeping is to have three books; one is a working note book. The working note book is used for information you find but haven’t used yet. The working note book is a book to scribble down anything you think is useful. The next book is a day book; this is for any daily happens, from daily expenditures, to weather, to garden stocktaking, family happenings and the like. The third book is a final book of sorts, this is where you put everything you have tried and know to be successful. It is also a place to record from your day book anything important you think is worth noting too.

When including hints and recipes include the name of the source, and check the validity of the information against other sources. The best way to check the validity of any helpful tip you find is to try it your self.  Included the original information then write in any notes you have, changes, or omitted information that needs to be included. Also note if it was successful or not.

Your information can be printed out and stored in protective plastic binder sleeves. Notes can also be handwritten, always use a good quality waterproof pen when writing in pen and never write in pencil as pencil fades. However, if you must write in pencil, a quick spray with hair spray will set the pencil and save it from fading and smudging.

A finished home keeping folder can be divided into useful sections devoted to a particular hint, recipes and other helpful tips. Information can be stored in a variety of ways, a binder is useful because it allows the option of changing the order of pages and taking out any pages that are unnecessary; these pages should be transferred to another folder and kept as the information might be useful at a later date. A bound book can be also used, but pages can become bulky and the spine can split. Once the pages are written in they can’t be changed. Another possibility is making the pages and leave them unbound until you have enough to create a book. The pages can be bound using book binder’s methods.


Record keeping is important for any home; it creates a library of useful information during times when access to digital/interent or city libraries is unavailable. Record keeping does not require anything fancy or expensive all that is required of record keeping is the simple act of doing. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Summer memories


This charming book mark uses a length of heavy card stock, which is decorated with a wide satin ribbon and pressed flowers, then backed with thin card. It is covered on both sides with a protective layer of clear plastic film.
Choose the colours of the ribbon to complement the colours of the flowers.

You will need:
A length of 4cm (11/2 inches) wide satin ribbon. The book mark measures 29cm (11 1/2 inches) long. Pressed flowers. Thin card cut cut a little wider than the wide ribbon ( see image) , wet glue, tweezers.

Arrange ribbon on the card, cut the ends into a point and glue the ribbon down. Then arrange the pressed flowers using a paintbrush with glue, and tweezers, fit the pressed flowers around the ribbon to make a pleasing pattern. Finally cover the book mark with a clear plastic film (contact or have the book mark laminated with a laminating machine, make a few more book marks so you don’t waste the laminating sheet)


I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Bright Spring

Spring is almost here. We've had a few foggy, cloudy days, but no real rain to speak of. The flu has been hanging around, but I seemed to have shook it off. Since my hysterectomy last year I've been having issues with bad dry skin and itching, so I was prescribed Promethanzine. The last couple of days have been awful with the itching so I took, a bit of one tablet ( I can't take a full one as it knocks me out) and the funny thing is not only did it stop the terrible itching but it seemed to have killed off the flu. Maybe I am kidding myself, either way it's nice to be flu free.

The monthly jumble sale was on, which is just around the corner from us. I came home with a new sewing basket. For $2, I don't think I could have said no. I like this one as it is deep. The lady serving me told me she was happy someone brought it as it used to belong to her and was her first sewing basket. 

The teapot embroidery is for a Luncheon cloth, there's one pot in each corner. This is to go with the other finished items for the 'one day home'. I hope to get this finished, it's just one of the items from the UFO basket. I brought two vintage books with crochet edgings so I can finish it up nice. I'll include instructions for the edging when I'm done.  Those french knot flowers take ages to do.

I've also had some incoming mail. This was for a swap, send three things, receive three things. The gal who sent these is from Australia, she said the bookmark came from an orphanage in Thailand. Isn't it cute?

I've been sending out mail. This one is for a Pet themed letter swap. So I am writing about Mister Simba, who technically is a Pom-Pom Chow, but still in the Pomeranian family. I made a little Zine up explaining all the things you should know about Poms.

I hope every one is having a good day or evening where ever you are

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Gentle pursuits

Today was really nice weather, even if I didn't get out side much. It was a good day for doing the laundry and there was some chicken soup to be had. I've also managed to do some stitching on my crazy quilt. 

Victorians considered spider webs were for luck and always included a spider web on their elaborate crazy quilts. While I was stitching this spider web I was contemplating what was lucky about spider webs. If you've ever ran into one you know it's not so lucky. Or seen a huge spider dart across the room and disappear leaving you wonder where it went...not so lucky. I concluded perhaps it had something to do with the thought the Victorians considered it lucky because a spider was industrious and busy all the time, they did value work. I think I'm going to be busy with this crazy quilt as there is still yards of fabric left to stitch, it fits the top of a double bed. I just want to be able to say: Oh, yes I finished one of those quilts! It won't be pretty, but it'll be finished.

I've also been working on some pages for Zine ideas about being at home. Simply put, a Zine is a mini magazine, often hand drawn, hand written, or cut/paste printing and scanned/printed out then folded into a little booklet. I've two issues, so I like to make some more...I'll probably pop these in snail mail to pen friends for something to read along with the usual letter.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Caring for the carer


There comes a time when every household falls to an illness of some kind. The illness can be severe or mild depending on the circumstances when a family member becomes ill, the care giver of the home can look after them. What happens when the main care giver falls ill?

Planning ahead for these times is most effective way to be ready. Becoming in poor health is not a matter of ‘if” but ‘when’. A simple plan can help prevent too much of a major disruption to the routine of the family home.

The first step is to prepare the medicine cabinet. The most common household illness is the flu. Make sure there is a good stock of supplies to treat the most common of  flu symptoms: Fever, headache, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose. Include in your kit: fever and pain relievers. Cough syrups and drops. Nasal sprays. Decongestants. Thermometer. Tissues.  (Always seek medical advice before giving any to children)
Keep a check on the medicine cabinet supplies making sure all contents are still in their used by/best before date.

For the medicine cabinet:
Homemade vapor rub
8 tablespoons of coconut oil
10 drops eucalyptus oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
10 drops lavender oil
Melt coconut oil in a double boiler. Add essential oils. Pour in a jar and let cool completely.

If the care giver can not be cared for or someone else can not be found to replace them, the care giver can do small steps to keep the home clean and running smoothly.

In the kitchen:
Prepared meal mixes, frozen pre-made meals, and the crock pot will be helpful in making sure daily meal needs are meet. Meals, such as soups, do not need constant tending. Pre-pared meal mixes might only need hot water added to them. And froze meals simply need reheating.

Meal mix simple cream of soup mix:
2 cups powdered milk
2/3 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon parsley
½ teaspoon thyme

To Use: Mix 1/3 cup mix with 11/3 cup water in small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and stir in choice of:
Chicken or Beef Bouillon
Potato – Dry or mashed
Cheddar Cheese
For a creamier version substitute milk or cream instead of water. (source:

Around the home:
A tidy house can be maintained by allotting some chores to other family members. If this is impossible, continue a cleaning routine by taking things slowly and in small chunks of time. A cleaning routine helps take the ‘bug’ out of the house and keeps the home looking at least respectable. Bedrooms only need to be clean by making the bed and vacuuming the floor. And if permissible opening the windows. A light dusting can be useful until a deeper, heavier, dusting is achievable at a later time.
A cleaning kit is also useful to create and have on hand when needed.   
Fill a bucket with:
An all purpose cleaner
Cleaner for toilet and bathroom
Dust pan and broom
Mop and bucket

Basic natural cleaner:
Baking soda

Vinegar and Baking soda are natural, inexpensive, and versatile cleaning products. Vinegar can be diluted with water and kills mold and mildew. Baking soda can be used alone, as a scrub, combined with other natural cleaning products, and also be used to absorb odors.

Keep supplies together and use when a light house cleaning routine can be done.

Finances in order:
If the care giver is also the main money maker of the home, a good idea is to start putting a little away each week or fortnight for emergency money, some sources suggest at least a month or more wages in advance. A well stocked pantry will also help in difficult times. Both of these types of savings are best done a little bit over time. Stock the pantry with only what you generally think you would eat or need. And be cautious about keeping too much money in the house in case of theft, or some other natural calamity. 

From the garden:

When you’re suffering from cold or flu, steep oregano in a pot of water and inhale the vapors, which are antibacterial, antiviral and decongesting.
This immunity – enhancing herb also settles digestion and prevents bloating.

Gargle for sore throats.
Rosemary is antiseptic and antibacterial. It is often burned in sick rooms.

Thyme Tincture
Use to clear respiratory congestion and sore throats. Pour apple cider vinegar over the thyme and leave in a dark place for two weeks. Use 10-20 drops in a glass of water. Up to 3 times a day especially before bed.

(Consult with your doctor before taking any herbs. Never take when pregnant. Never give to small children unless you consult a doctor first.)

The main goal when the flu or any illness has you bed ridden is to keep rested and take in lots of fluids as needed. As always see the doctor if symptoms persist. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Simple happiness

Windy August arrived, and we've been having a mixed bag of weather. I think the changes in weather has brought on the flu that seems to be doing the rounds. I've been sick with the flu and that leaves me puttering around at home taking it easy.  I honestly can't remember the last time I had the flu, probably why this one really hit hard.

I spent today recently changing the look of my blog, with a new header and background. I've also updated the library links at the top adding in new links I needed to include. I've added a few more home making titles as I would like to focus on those aspects of creating a home as well. 

I have some writing I would like to start as a home making series to add to the new links. I expect I'll be able to get that series going shortly.

As usual there is some crafting but not much. I've been trying to get the ufo's finished in the basket of sewing I have. This flu really takes it out of a gal.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Heart n Soul

The weather changed and we had a bit of a cold snap. I did the mistake of walking in the cold wind and ended up finally getting the lurgy that's been lurking around our place. I'm all sniffles and snuffles consuming hot lemon water and honey. Meanwhile I'm playing with paper. For these book marks I used an old Thomas Kincade calendar my aunt gave me.

This are part of a e-swap. Which means you send something electronic to your swap partner. For this we had to choose a scripture from the book of Joshua. I chose:
"Make sure you obey the law that Moses commanded you: Love the Lord your God, do his will, obey his commandments, be faithful to him, and serve him with all your heart and soul."
- Joshua 22 : 5

Of course, I'm always the odd duck in the pond who does everything different.

 So instead of just sending a link with an image made by someone else.

I used the images to create book marks of the things my swap partners like. I'm in the mood to make more book marks so stay tuned for that.

Now, it's time for more hot lemon water with honey and I think I need a nanny nap.

Hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.