Wednesday, July 31, 2013

everyday life

While looking through recent photos there were many little snippets of relatively uneventful, but no less special, little moments. It's those little things that you tend to forget over the years though, isn't it? But when you look back on older photos, often the seemly uneventful ones - at the clothes you were wearing, the small objects in the photos, the food you were eating, well, it is often these things that help us remember. The smaller details of everyday life that we don't want to forget.

It's been good to see that an old garage sale find a few months back has been getting a bit of use again.


One of the very few things in Daniel's culinary repertoire. Zabaglione taught to him by his Nonna. Made by hand whisking egg yolks with sugar. We tried  it with rapadura which lent quite a nice caramel like flavour and a little extra colour.

Our latest (grain free) pancake recipe, cococut flour pancakes. They are a little trickier to flip, but taste pretty good.

Knitting, this time for Luca. Rediscovering the joys of double pointed needles. Not quite.

Leftover soup (lamb stock, lima beans, tinned tomatoes, carrot, Italian herbs) as an afternoon school snack.

Trialling grain free bread (while still dreaming about making sourdough) and it's not too bad with plenty of butter and peanut butter.

Hoping that your week has been kind to you.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

tea leaves

I've had my (finally finished!) Tea Leaves cardigan sitting in my cupboard, nicely folded, and with a few wearings under it's belt for several weeks now. Goodness knows why it has taken so long to make an appearance on the blog. Perhaps it had something to do with the poor lighting for photos lately or just plain procrastination on my part.

Nevertheless, here it is, almost one year after that bundle of wool arrived at my gate. Apart from a scarf when I first started out knitting, this was the first project that I  had attempted for myself. There is quite a lot more to consider when knitting for oneself. Unlike knitting for children it is a little harder to get away with guessing of the sizing and fit. Kid's knits are much more forgiving in that way. True to usual form I did not do knit a gauge stitch. Although having knitted the Tea Leaves cardigan before, albeit in children's sizes (here and here), I was probably a little ahead of myself. Then there was the time it takes to knit a more substantial piece. Row after row after row. There was a certain comfort in the monotony of it for the most part, and once past the yoke, it seemed to come together quicker than expected. It is the largest project I have tackled to date.

Bendigo's Luxury Yarn (in the Lake shade) was lovely and smooth to knit with, and I would happily use it again. Drapey and warm are two other qualities worth mentioning about the yarn. I managed to match a few ceramic buttons in almost the exact same shade.

I made the smallest size, but it feels a touch big, though I have been told it is fine. I am pretty sure this is not due to my actual size or the pattern, but my tendency to knit pieces rather loosely. Yes, after numerous projects that came out too big, I have finally realised it was my knitting style all along. So smaller needles for me from now on!

Some of you may have noticed that I was wearing my Tea Leaves in my recent holiday photos. In my haste to wear it, I didn't block it and my ordered buttons had not yet arrived. So I sewed on a set of plain buttons and that did quite nicely for a week or so.

Despite it's little mistakes (of which there are a quite a few) and the patience involved, it is warm and comfortable. It reminds me of the possibilities of knitting. That a large project is not so scary afterall. I guess every project comes with it's lessons, and this one had no shortage of those. But the main thing is that I do love to wear it, and I don't think I could ask for more than that for my first adult sized knit.

Ravelry notes here

Monday, July 29, 2013


Those brief little pockets of sunshine during these short and cold Winter days can be just what is needed. A wander around the garden, a weed pulled here and there with a small dose of vitamin d, can be quite therapeutic. While lady beetle collecting and a kick around of the soccer ball kept the younger ones happy, we talked about our plans for the place. A large vegie garden for the front, perfect for those sprawling pumpkins and zucchini. A few rows of berries beside it. A few more (vegie and rose) beds ready to be filled with dirt. And then there is the chicken coop. The one that we have planned for so long, but were so worried about getting it right that nothing as yet had been decided. But as we sat on the decided space (for the chickens) on the weekend, talking soon became something a little more definite. Some poking around the shed revealed a heap of suitable materials that had been salvaged here and there. Before the end of that day we had our basic chicken frame up. Photos to come soon - I promise!

Monday, July 22, 2013


I've been hibernating of late. The weather, though unseasonable warm for part of the week, was also raining, windy and freezing cold in others. I haven't been venturing outside or even out anywhere very much. I've been doing bits and pieces of little projects, but not really getting very far with any of them. The concentration needed seems in short supply these days, with the  weather causing a little cabin fever in all of us. Some weeks, particularly at this time year with day after day of cold, seem to pass by in an uneventful blur. Days are spent preparing food, adding wood to the fire, trying to get washing to dry and then all the cleaning up. Always cleaning up. When the days are spent indoors it can all get a little too much at times.

It is our fourth winter here. Though I do love the cold, with it's wood fires, wooly jumpers and thick blankets, it can get a little too much sometimes. But such is life in a colder climate, and I daresay that our house is a good deal warmer in winter than the houses I grew up in on the coast. When the sunshine is lacking and the garden is bare, life seems just a little starker somehow. But I do know that it will pass. In the meantime I need to work at rekindling my love of winter.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

simple little bags

I stayed up last night into the early hours of the morning. Sewing.  Which will probably not surprise you. Not tackling a project I needed to do (There's certainly plenty of them.) Of course not. But sometimes you need to break away from the invisible crafting list and just create a little something for the sake of it.

In the back of my mind I had been meaning to make a little bag for Julia to take her (always small) projects to and from sewing classes. So last night, after Offspring had finished, after the kids were in bed, I plugged in the sewing machine and set to work. It was good to be back! I'd been finding it hard to get any sort of motivation going in the way of sewing lately, and I think a small project like this was just the thing I needed. While I was at it I thought Violet may like a slightly smaller similar version.


I love the chance to mix and match old fabrics, and so I teamed a strong old linen tea towel with a mix of scrap florals, all (except the grey lining) originally from the op shop. I cut two squares for each bag, adding a pocket to the front and some lining. I used to be scared of lining. Until I discovered that it can actually be easier to line than to zig zag all the unfinished edges. Besides being a perfect excuse to add another fabric into the mix.

To finish off I quickly embroidered an initial on each. No too carefully because I was getting quite tired by this stage. Such is the way of late night sewing. In my experience late night sewing is really only suited to those free style projects with room for error. It was good that this project was one of those.

It turns out the girls are happy and ended up wearing them most of the morning. Stuffed with an assortment of books and small toys. The only problem was getting a decent picture amongst the school holiday chaos and dim lighting, and I didn't quite succeed with that. But not to worry, I think those simple little bags are just what we all needed.

Because we all know it's not just about the sewing.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

another school holiday day

Hello! How are you all?

Thank you for your kind and supportive words in my last post. I had been feeling a little guilty that I hadn't been posting as often, but your comments were encouraging, and led me to realise that it is okay to slow down sometimes. Some of you also talked about the feeling of needing to slow down in this colder season, and more than one of you mentioned the book The Way of the Happy Woman. It will now be on my reading list for this season. So, thank you.

As we have entered the second and final week of the school holidays, things have continued to be quiet here. The past two days it has been just the girls and I, as the boys have been whisked away to help build a fence. While I have been cleaning out the pantry (Just how many jars containing the dregs of flour could there be? A lot apparently.), the girls have been reading, putting on entertaining puppet shows and playing dress-ups. With a whole lot of Peppa Pig in there too. It seems our youngest is a huge fan.

I always enjoy the slower, dare I say, lazier pace, during the school holidays. The constant whirr of the washing machine makes me feel more productive than I really am. And now? Well, there will soon be washing to hang out, a toddler to put down for her nap (though that is no sure thing these days), a dirty floor to sweep and an extra blanket to add to each bed (it's been so cold). But all in good time.

I hope your day treats you well.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Life feels like a whole jumble of many different things lately. I've been finding it a little harder to sit down and share with you all, and I am hoping that the time I once found for it will return. Until then I do hope you can persevere with my sporadic efforts.

With so much time lately being spent on reading and researching different topics, all squeezed in between the daily demands of family life, my head has been in a bit of a jumble. Not that I mind the jumble. I've enjoyed learning about how to feed the family for less, and just what to feed them. I've enjoyed the research involved in bulk buying whole foods. I've enjoyed flicking through various crafty books, while knowing that it may be some time before I get around to trying any of the projects. I've enjoyed knitting the odd row on a new project.

I could have chosen any of these topics to talk over today. But the school holidays have left me a little tired, a little burnt out, and so I think we can leave all that for another day.

So while the wild wind howls outside, I think we will be bunkering down with another day spent indoors by the fire. Perhaps another cup of coffee may be just the thing.

See you all next week!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

south coast stay


It's been quite some time hasn't it? Amongst other things we have been down the coast. Enjoying a little time away from school or work and taking advantage of the quieter coastal season. We had a pleasant time of coastal drives (not so fun almost getting bogged, but it did make Daniel's day), a little time on the beach and wandering around the towns. Our first cinema visit in years as a family went surprisingly well with our littlest person, and they all enjoyed the movie. Of course there was quite a bit of knitting, reading (on my part) and movie watching. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of cheese we ate (so good!), the prawns and scallops we prepared at the holiday house "home" and dinner at the local Italian restaurant. We enjoyed pizza and pasta for the first time in months, and I have to say, it was entirely worth it.

The dreaded chore of unpacking is almost finished (wish I could say the same about the washing!) and now we are settling back into the routine of school holidays, or rather lack of. Yes, back to real life now.

Wishing you all a wonderful rest of the week.