Saturday, 31 December 2016

Summer days

The New Year has come in and Summer is making its presence known giving us hot days. I've been cleaning up my container plants and cut a lot of the herbs back. I dried them, then added the herbs to jars. I have Thyme, Lemon balm, Apple mint, and Oregano. The mint needs to be cut back too, I'll dry that and add that to jars as well.  Having a store of dried herbs in the cupboard is useful for cooking and for adding in sachets to place among linen to keep the insects out of the clothes. 

Oregano is one of those useful herbs to keep in your garden as it is easy to grow and it grows well in a pot. Oregano has a strong camphor scent which makes it useful in potpourri sachets to be placed among linen. 

In culinary uses Oregano can be used for all different pizza’s and pizza sauce. A little can go in tomato juice. It an be used for all egg dishes, salad dressings, meat marinades and mixed in all types of sales. Oregano is a useful herb for casseroles, meat dishes, meat balls and poultry stuffings. Add Oregano to fish dishes as well. Oregano works well in soups - particularly: Tomato soup, vegetable soups, minestrone and in mushroom sauce and soups.

Oregano is a useful herb to grow in your garden and can be planted with Parsley and Thyme. Mixing together these herbs also make a useful Italian herb mix.

Hand painted tea towel. 
I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Saturday, 24 December 2016


I just want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday, or Merry Christmas, or how ever you celebrate this time of year. Keep safe in the New Year and I hope to be posting again soon after the New Year. 

I also want to thank everyone who has left a comment through out this year, although I don't always reply, I do read, and I appreciate every comment. 

My surgery to help fix my voice also went very well. I have a good clear volume and can speak longer without breaking. Although the voice is a little raspy with the healing, I'm happy with the out come.

Have a good day or evening where ever you are.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Rambly things

We've had some really nice weather of late, a little warm, but still pleasant. My container pot garden is enjoying the weather and so are the caterpillars which I had to spray for. Hopefully the spray will keep the loopers away. I had to replant the mint but I'm sure that will grow as it likes to take over. 

In other news the house my parents are renting is being sold. They've been there for about ten years and now have a lot to pack up, they have found another place on the other side of town not too far away which eased the stress of moving but still they have a lot to pack up.

Also I have an appointment next week with the anaesthetist which means my throat surgery is going to be soon. For those who don't know for years I had doctors looking at my voice and was told: There's nothing wrong, I need to speak up, speak properly, and all that. On a good day my voice sounds like I have laryngitist, on a bad day it's a whisper.  I'm generally a shy person and talking was just painful to do and listen to so eventually I just got by with saying: Hello and a smile. The surgery is meant to give my voice back it's volume. I have a paralysed vocal cord and they can now fix that with day surgery.  I will be awake for the surgery and have an over night stay at the hospital, my blood pressure will probably sky rocket like it did for my hysterectomy and I'll end up staying another day or so. This video explains vocal paralysed vocal cord for the curious. I haven't had throat surgery or a stroke or any trauma to the neck, my voice just went this way. A cat scan cleared my lungs and throat of any tumours so I'm excited to get my voice back to a useable level.

While helping my folks and my surgery this will just mean my blog posting will be a little quiet.

While that is going on I've the crazy quilt stitching mojo back. This is for a round robin swap, the request was for bright summer colours. The geisha girl is from Q is for Quilter.

At home I've been pottering around. We've been making some biscuits (cookies) and slices from an old vintage cook book for slices and biscuits, so far they have all been a big hit.

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

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

fabric tea towel edge

 How to sew a fabric edging to a tea towel

Materials needed:

Tea towel. I used the ones from our cheap stores here. They come in a pack of three or five for a couple of dollars. I pre-wash and iron everything before use.

Any scrap of fabric that will match the bottom width of your tea towel. You can patch together scraps of fabric to make up the length and width you need.

Quick unpick

Usual sewing equipment: Scissors, pins, thread, ect.

If you don't have a sewing machine this can also be done by hand.

Step 1: Unpick the bottom edge of the tea towel.

Step 2: Unpick the sides of the tea towel. Making it long enough to match  the height of your combined fabric edging.

Step 3: Choose scraps of fabric long enough to go across the width of the tea towel. I had fabric left over from the baby quilt and the kitty baby bib on my Etsy store. Add in extra length for when you have to fold over the edges towards the seams.

Step 4: Your first scrap of fabric fold together and match the raw edges together and press with an iron. Sew the raw edges to the second scrap fabric using a narrow seam.

Step 5: With fabrics wrong side to right side of tea towel sew the second fabric scrap with your first fabric scrap sewn, to the bottom of the tea towel where you unpicked the seam. If the tea towel edge is crooked you may have to cut it to straighten.

Step 6: Flip the scrap fabric edging up towards the right side of the tea towel fabric. Top stitch along the first scrap fabric at the top to hold into place and top stitch along the bottom edge of second scrap fabric to keep it neat and sitting flat.

Step 7: At the sides, fold over the seam to match the original seam of the tea towel. Match your sewing thread to your tea towel thread and if you have to; match the thread to your scrap fabric. I just used white thread through out.

And you are done adding a fabric trim to your tea towel. you can also add a crochet edging to your tea towel as I have done too.

Original hand painted design appliquéd to tea towel

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

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Steamed crock pot chicken - Slow cooker.

Steamed crock pot (slow cooker) chicken with vegetables


Chicken pieces. (You may be able to do this with a whole chicken too but you might have to adjust the olive oil, lemon and herb amounts.)
Olive oil, 1/4cup.
Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, fresh or dried. I used fresh. Use what ever you think will go with chicken and vegetables.
Vegetables: Potatoes - quartered. Peel them if you like, I never did with mine. Carrots - trimmed and peeled if you want, I never peeled mine. Add in any softer vegetables, such as green beens, towards the end.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/3 cup.
2 teaspoons of crushed garlic.
Salt and pepper to season.


Place chicken and vegetables into the crock pot. Mix the Olive oil with the lemon juice, add the herbs and garlic into the oil and lemon juice. Then pour the mixture over the Chicken and vegetables. Keep the lid on the crock pot as the steam will cook everything through.

Cook for 4 hrs on High or 8 hrs on Low.

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Home time

After some rain then hail this month we've been having really good days of nice fine weather. I've been harvesting a few items from my container plants, salad mix, tomatoes, and strawberries. Eventually I'll be adding a few more vegetables as I go along.

I've been pottering around at home. We've had a couple of days with baking and cooking so expect a few recipes up soon for those. 

I attended my first craft fair and enjoyed the experience. It was a learning curve and I expect to do  things a little differently next time. I had sales and made a profit after I counted out my float. 
I've also opened my Etsy store: Hilda and Lillian. I do custom orders, so let me know if you would like for me to do anything for you.

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

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Hilda and Lillian

I've been busy preparing for the Home School markets which is going to be held on the 15th of October.  Nanna Chel of going grey and slightly green wrote up a post about the event, here, so I'll link to her post. It'll be my first craft stall so I hope to learn a lot from attending. 

Below is a video tour of what will be on my craft stall table. Of course, a lot of the items are made from vintage fabric, thrift store ribbons, beads, buttons and a lot more from my stash. Even my business cards are made from my craft stash.

I also plan on opening an Etsy shop too, which also will include the same kind of items including more of my art. I named my shop Hilda and Lillian, after my Grandmothers; who are deceased. I think it is a nice reminder of them and being at their homes which had the usual fancy work doiley's and crochet items.

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

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Apple Crumble Cake


220 butter, chopped, melted
4 eggs at room temperature
2 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/3  cup custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Sour cream
800g can apple pie fruit

Crumble topping:
3/4 plain flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
75g butter, chilled, chopped


Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a deep roasting dish or slab pan.  Cut baking paper to line tin and leave 2cm over hang.

Using an electric mixer beat melted butter, eggs, flour, caster sugar, sour cream, custard powder and vanilla essence for 3 minutes or until pale and fluffy.

Pour half the mixture into prepared dish or pan. Spread apple over mixture. Top with remaining mixture.

Make crumble topping: Combine flour, white sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl. Use fingertips to rub butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle topping over cake mixture. 

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Serve warm with cream Or custard and ice cream.

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

Friday, 23 September 2016

Flower colours

We had a lot of rain and it finally cleared up, though it did bring a bit of wind and chill through the air. September in our part of the world brings the Carnival of flowers, that is held each year. Every year a garden is selected as a winner and visitors then can tour all the gardens open for the Carnival.

My aunt and I, took a visit to the reserved champion garden, and it was a glorious show of colour and flowers. I took a video so will have that up soon for everyone to have a look at.

The reserve champion won last year and I don't know why it didn't win again this year.

I've also been at home puttering around, preparing for a craft stall in October. I'm not sure if I need some kind of intervention or if I should even admit that much of the material shown here came out of my stash. I've used up a lot of scraps. The little folk art paintings, I brought the canvases in a packet of six and never quite knew what to do with them; now they are being useful.

Over all this is definitely a learning curve. I'm learning I'm rubbish at trying to make things all the same. I really can't do a production line.

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

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

this and that

Spring is well and truly here.  We've had a bit of mix bag when it comes to the weather but it has been mostly glorious. I've been planting away in my tiny container garden and it is coming along nicely. The tomatoes are turning red and it looks like there is more on the way. Not bad for a freebie plant I picked up off the swap table at the Simple Living group, the plant I picked up in the winter workshops and dad said it would die. I also brought these 'mums mostly because of the cute little water can pot but mostly because they were half price at Woolies.

At home we've been trying to use up what we have with the food as we don't seem to go through it quick enough. So we made up some fritters to use up excess ham and such. The burnt ones are also yummy. 

I've also been pottering away at the work desk. I agreed to do a table at a craft stall in October. It'll be my first craft stall and I hope to have enough. You'd think I'd have more but as I do things they end up going so I'm not left with much. Besides I like to do things fresh and make more new things, keeps me interested that way. I'm hoping to have a quilt on the table too, but I don't think there'll be enough time for that.
I found the pattern for the brooch lady and bird on line, a vintage pattern which says to make them up in applique and add beads and bows. I used crayon tinting and added beads and bows as suggested. I backed them with felt and added a safety pin for the brooch pin. I think they turned out nice for something that uses up my material scraps. There be a few on the stall table for pennies...well, cents.

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

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Windy August

August has started to blow up a gale after we had rain and it has brought another chill in the air. We did have some fine days, fine enough for me to take some cuttings from the flowering containers and dry them. I have mint, cat mint, pansy flowers and parsley drying. A random mix which has the scent of mint more than anything.

I've also been working on a few craft projects. I'm getting more adventurous with crochet and trying different things. Youtube is so handy for someone like me who is a visual learner rather than a text learner. Even though I like today's technology I still write down what I've learnt so I can understand written instructions. You never know when you'll be without the internet or computer and can't access  electronic things, always write down what you can. This pom pom edging looks complicated but it is super easy. I'll put up a lesson for that soon, get your notebook and pen out.

I've also been doing some new tea towels. I've a half dozen checked tea towels and was trying to think of what to do with them, eventually I cut up an old white table cloth and I intend to appliqué  to the tea towels and embroider button hole stitch around the edges in different colours at least that is the plan.

The crochet motif is a strawberry dishcloth, looks cute with the fruit designs.

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

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Garden Markers

Spring weather is trying to make a showing. There were a few cold day, although, not really cold. With the warm weather a lot of things are starting to bloom and grow in my container gardens.

I saw these garden markers or plant pokes on line to buy and I thought to myself: Oh, I can make those. So I did. As always you know if I'm making something it will be frugal. The spoons are from the thrift store and depending on where you buy they are pretty cheap. These ones were a bit pricey at 50 cents but I liked the decoration down the spoons. They are all different size spoons but that works for me. 

The Basil I have growing came from an 'Italian Herb' mix from bunnings on sale. I also have a larger one growing amongst a tomato plant. The plant I picked up off the swap table from the simple living group and it surprisingly survived the winter. The Basil plant growing with that came from Dad's garden. 

The Parsley I have also is from Dad's garden. I changed it over from a smaller pot into a bigger pot. The pots I have came from an Aunt.

 The Rosemary is also a cutting from Dad's garden and the pot from the collection an Aunt gave me. 

The Thyme is planted in a vastly reduced in price terracotta pot I brought from bunnings. I thought $10 was a bargain. I brought that and dirt and some more plants out of the money I received for the baby quilt.

The Sage is from the Italian Herb mix I brought. The mix has Basil, Parsley (flat leaf), and Oregano.  I still have to give the markers another coat of indoor out door varnish to protect them against the weather, I can likely find that in Dad's shed.  If you want to make these, first paint  a base coat in Gesso. Then paint. Then varnish. I used an artist varnish but I do intend to use a good outdoor weather varnish to make sure the markers hold up in the weather.

Gardening can be expensive, but there are a lot of things you can get for free if you ask around or try your hand at making something your self too.

With Christmas advancing these plant markers would also make really nice gifts for a gardening friend.

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

Friday, 29 July 2016

Crochet Shawl

Crochet triangular shawl

My video for crochet triangular shawl:
Original instructions for the shawl came from: Bobwilson123 youtube channel.


Chain 4
join to make ring
Double crochet into ring three times
chain 3. turn 
Work 2 double crochet in stitch at base of chain 3. Chain 3 counts as 1 double crochet
Work 3 double crochet into chain 3 at end
Chain 3. turn work
Work 2 double crochet in stitch at base of chain 3
Work 3 double crochet into next space.
Work 3 double crochet into chain 3 at end
Chain 3 turn work
Work 2 double crochet into stitch at base of chain 3
Work 3 double crochet into next space

*Repeat until shawl in required length and width

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

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Use it up

Un-ironed quilt.

I've been offline pottering around. We've been having some really nice weather mixed in with odd weather, rain and fog. It won't be long before spring is around the corner although we still have windy August to go through yet. 

While at home I've been trying new recipes. I made a goulash and I'll put a video of that up soon along with instructions for a crochet shawl. I've also been managing to get some finishes done.

I've been working on and off of the baby quilt and it is finally heading to it's new home. A baby girl will hopefully like this.  The only thing I brought for this quilt was a flannel set of double bed sheets on half price and I used the flannel for the batting. I wasn't sure if it would work as a batting but it does make the quilt very soft and warm, but not hot. 

nicely ironed

The rest of the fabric came from my stash. I used, yes, another bed sheet to for the embroidery blocks and coloured in the blocks using crayon tinting technique: Technique can be found here. I embroidered through out in one strand of embroidery thread in DMC 310 black. 

The gingham fabric came in a bundle from the thrift store a long time ago for about $1 (still had the price tag on it when I pulled it out.) The backing fabric is the same as the bed sheet. I actually used two different slightly pink sheets as I couldn't find the original one. Need to get organised in my stash I think. 

I used up a lot of what I had and even recycled the tag. The clay charm is a fish and it comes from When Laura Meets Clay who is on etsy: whenlaurameetsclay

The designs of the little girls come from : Q is for Quilter. They can be found in the colouring book section.

The blocks on the quilt are 8 inches square. Set four rows across and five rows down.
I also did a video of the baby quilt in this post here.

I'm no quilter and it shows, but I'm sure with more practice I'll get better.

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

Sunday, 10 July 2016


Pastry sheets.
Finely chopped brown onion
Bacon rashers trimmed
grated cheese 
Pure Cream

Great oven to 200/220 fan-forced. Place a baking tay in oven. Lightly grease a  deep dish. Line base and sides of container with pastry and trim excess. Prick with fork. Line with baking paper.  Fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove baking paper with weights. Bake for 5 more minutes until pastry is golden.

Melt remaining butter in large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and bacon. Cook.  Transfer mixture to bowl set aside for 10 minutes to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 80/160 fan-forced. Spoon bacon mixture in pastry case. Sprinkle with cheese. Whisk eggs and cream together in bowl. Pour over bacon mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Cool for 5 minutes. 

Note: I didn't add the amounts as we made a lot to freeze. We also added silverbeet from the garden as it needed to be used up. I don't think I'd use silverbeet again as once defrosted the Quiche was very watery.

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