26 April, 2011

Progress on goals - part 2

Remember my holiday goals??

1. Spend some quality time with my neglected friends - Becc, Lisa and Kylie. Check!
2. Improve one thing in the garden each day. Check!!
3. Spring Autumn clean the house (particularly the study also known as 'the bomb site'). Check!
4. Price all my left over tupperware from my demonstrator days for our combined Garage Sale... Check!
5. Move all things to be sold at the garage sale into the shed to free up space inside - links to goal 3
6. Plan for next term - start timetable
7. Do the photo challenges Moira has been sending me to get me back into taking photos... Check! (Am posting slowly about each of these challenges....she hasn't sent me one in a while, I'm thinking I might start using the POTD {photo of the day} ideas that Becky Higgins posts on Facebook.)

So I'm doing pretty well. It has been far to wet after the 4 1/2 inches of rain to work in the garden...soggy is the word, but I'm pleased with what I have accomplished so far.

I have also started to make some serious moves to construct some dresses for which the smocking has been completed (long long ago). I have the manual for my new overlocker out and ready to read, the dresses pinned and I plan on stitching them up tonight. Watch this space for photos after I convince Becc's darling girl to model for me!!

I can't cross out number 5, because there are garage sale bags and boxes stacked in various parts of the house - I'm worried about the mice in the shed and I can't afford to buy plastic boxes for it all. I also haven't started my timetable for next term...but that's ok...I'll get to it!!

Happy Easter everyone!

Emily xoxo

Photo challenge #4

#4 - Take a close up of some smocking, stitches, embroidery, fabric, etc.

I started this little dress called Morgan ages and ages ago. When I originally blocked the top of it, the threads were too tight, so to block it properly I had to cut them all out, I accidently also cut out the very top guide thread, which meant it had nothing to hold it in place when I stitch the neck binding on. I was frustrated, so I put it away. I got it out this week, finished the embroidery (above) and hand stitched a guide thread back through so that I could get the neck to the right size. It is now all pinned up and ready to go. I also finished the embroidery on a green gingham Morgan and a blue gingham Morgan! Planning on sewing them together tonight at craft!! Yay!!

Emily xoxo

24 April, 2011

The Great Garden Makeover - Part 3


In the past week we have had over 4 1/2 inches of rain. All my seedlings have been singing in happiness ever since! I can almost see them growing right before my eyes!! I can't wait to start eating my own produce!
Lettuce and Cherry Tomatoes!

Blurry looking Cabbages and Beetroots!
The vege garden! All mulched up and planted.

Becc and I have even discussed the possibility of me getting some chooks. I'm worried that Nugget (our dog) would eat them. Worth discussing with my darling hubbie...Becc also offered to 'board' a couple of chooks for me. I'll have to think about it, work out if it's worth trying to have them here first.... hmmmm.... not sure..

Emily xoxo

23 April, 2011

Photo challenge #3

Photo challenge #3
Daylight! Take a close up/s and wider shot of one interesting leaf or cluster of leaves. Maybe find an interesting colour?

Some palm growing in our yard...

The rising moon..

A Roma sunset... glorious!!

Emily xoxo

22 April, 2011

Photo challenge #2

Photo challenge #2
Take a photo of what you're drinking - water, pepsi, tea, whatever. I decided to photograph my gorgeous new coffee cup - with dandelion tea in it....trying to give up the coffee....

I bought this gorgeous mug at Teacup Designs and it is a Maxwell Williams design in partnerships with the Breast Cancer Foundation. Love it! It is just delicious to drink out of!! They come in blue, pink, mint and purple!

What an enjoyable way to contribute to finding a cure for Breast Cancer.

Emily xoxo

20 April, 2011

Photo challenge #1

In June I'm due to go on a scrapbooking weekend with my scrapping girls from Warwick and Brisbane. While organising such an event, we banter about all manner of things via facebook, and amidst the frivolity I made the comment that I have not taken a photo since Christmas and that I had no idea what I would be scrapping this time around. Moira was shocked and horrified that I have so neglected my camera and as a result she decided to send me a text containing a phot challenge each day. Now given that she started last week - and I was in my crazy last week of school mode - I have only just started.

Photo challenge #1: Take a photograph or a series of photographs of object/s in your home that you love, that tell a story or have history.

The story of our table is one of chance meetings. In 2007 we bought a house in Warwick, a high set house, and the previous owners left a lot of stuff behind - the old kitchen benches, timber, bricks and an old paint covered table. We decided to keep it all and put it to good use as storage up off the ground. A year later I was offered a job in Roma and we moved. The removalist arrived to look at our things so that they came with a truck big enough for our stuff and I hadn't put any of the gear from downstairs on the list. He came up to me and said, "are you taking that silky oak table with you?" I replied with "What silky oak table?" He took me downstairs and showed me the table the previous owners had left there. So we decided to take it with us. Only a few weeks after arriving in Roma, we met a man who restores furniture and asked him to restore our table. He pulled it appart, put new dowling in it and polished it for us. You would never know it was the same, dry, paint covered table. It is one of the joys of our house. It is where we sit to eat together. It is where I have tea / coffee with my friends when they visit. It is where I blog. It is where sew. It is a wonderful table.

18 April, 2011

Progress on holiday goals

It would be great to have check boxes on my blog so that I can tick off each goal as I reach it over the holidays!!

Today I have made a good start on my goals. I spent two hours with my lovely friend Miss Lisa and we chatted like crazy!! We are catching up again tomorrow, then Becc and I are going to garden on Wednesday (providing this rain goes away).

I also blew goal 4 out of the water!!! I have been putting off this job (pricing my left over tupperware in preparation for our joint garage sale) so today I went to the reject shop and bought some nice big plastic containers and as I priced, I packed into the boxes - so now it can all live in the shed rather than in the spare room, AND it will all stay mouse free!!!!

Yes, there are two large plastic boxes, 5 medium plastic boxes, 2 small plastic boxes and two zip up bags full of tupperware ready to be sold!!!! Bring on the garage sale I say!!

Now goal 2 (improving something in the garden each day) has not been one I could work on today as it has poured all day, however I feel that the glorious rain will be doing my job for me. It is, after all, giving my little planties vital nutrients and a soaking. I can hear them singing and growing as I peer at them through my window.

Just look at these little darlings....just poking their little heads out of the soil. Welcome to the world little ones!!!!

I also made a start on the spring  autumn clean of the study!! I'm going to power through these goals so I can have a few days to vege out on the couch I think!!!

Emily xoxo

16 April, 2011

School holidays at last!

It has been a long, long, long term. 12 weeks is an insane amount of time, however I did make it mainly one piece.

I now have 12 days holiday...but this is the list of jobs I have to get done:

1. Spend some quality time with my neglected friends - Becc, Lisa and Kylie.

2. Improve one thing in the garden each day.

3. Spring Autumn clean the house (particularly the study also known as 'the bomb site'.

4. Price all my left over tupperware from my demonstrator days for our combined Garage Sale...

5. Move all things to be sold at the garage sale into the shed to free up space inside - links to goal 3

6. Plan for next term - start timetable

7. Do the photo challenges Moira has been sending me to get me back into taking photos...

Hmmm...I think that is plenty...it may not be much of a holiday, but at least I won't be at school - then its a very short term with lots of public holidays!

Enjoy the school holidays!!!

Emily xoxo

15 April, 2011

Another sleepless night....


Yes...I'm awake. Tonight has been my second sleepless night this week. I'm getting worried that something may be wrong with me...other than that I'm a chronic worrier... I am one of those people who lie in bed and can't stop my brain, my thoughts snowball and before I know it I'm lying there stressed out of my brain.

So tonight I lay there, tossed and turned for 2 whole hours, then decided to get up and use the time for something constructive....like blogging and reading other blogs.

My favourite blogs at the moment are:

Sew Many Ways, Make it and love it, Frugal and Thriving and Smiley Mum, Crafty Mum, Busy Mum (my buddy Becc). Seriously, if you are interested in living well and spending less, while being addicted to craft (sewing or whatever) then you will enjoy these blogs. I just spent an hour reading the latest blog on Sew Many Ways - clicking on each link and reading the tutorials. Just love it!!! I have heaps more blogs that I regularly read, and honestly my favourites do change a lot.

So here I am, relaxing in one of our glorious new recliners, reading back through posts getting ideas about how to recycle, re-organise and provide home grown produce for hubbie and I to eat, therefore saving at the supermarket. When I started this post, I did actually have something interesting in mind, but got side tracked with telling you about the blogs I like....oh well it may or may not come back to me, until then stay safe!

Emily xoxo

14 April, 2011

Alan Jackson

For Christmas last year I squirrelled money aside so that I could buy Marko and myself each a ticket to Alan Jackson's first ever Australian tour! I gave him the tickets for Christmas and in March we went to the concert! Aside from the weirdos sitting behind us constantly bashing my chair or bitching about how bad the support acts were, we had a great time!!

Unfortunately my phone doesn't have a flash so the picture is quite dark. We'd definately go again if we had the chance and we've been listening to all his albums ever since!

Emily xoxo

13 April, 2011

Preserving - the verdict on the peaches

If you read my post some weeks ago about my new preserving hobby (here) you will know that I spent a weekend in a preserving frenzy after Sam the vege man was in town. I preserved Peaches in diet lemonade (just to see how it would go and to reduce the sugar content) and tomato sauce for pasta!

I decided that we should probably use up the tinned peaches from the cupboard before cracking open the first of my home preserves. So with those cans all used up, we hooked into the peaches. Now when I originally learned to preserve, Ruth  showed me how to use diet softdrink in place of the high-in-sugar syrup and at that time we used an orange-mango diet softdrink. This variety was unavailable on the weekend that I was ready to preserve, so I thought, why not...I'll try diet lemonade. Now if you are a lemonade fan, then I'm sure that you would quite enjoy the unique flavour sensation I created...but I'm not so much a fan. I am persisting (as they aren't completely disgusting), but I won't be using lemonade again.

I'm looking forward to trying another flavour, and will see if Sam the man has any peaches next time he is in town...unlikely though as the season is just about over, but I'll keep my fingers crossed...you never know.

Emily xoxo

12 April, 2011

The wait is on....

So it has been nearly 3 months since my darling hubbie had the operation that will hopefully see me barefoot and pregnant, and it is another month before his follow-up appointment, where I'm assuming they can tell us if it has been successful. I didn't know how long it would be before he was ready to start trying for a baby, but it seems not a lot stops my man!!! (sorry too much information for some!!)

So, now I wait.

Wait to find out if the operation was a success......

Wait to see if I fall pregnant.....

It feels like I've been waiting forever for a baby of my own, with all those around me falling pregnant, and now the weeks seem so slow.

I can't wait to hold our beautiful baby in my arms. One day soon I hope!!!

Emily xoxo

11 April, 2011

The Great Garden Makeover - Part 2

Yesterday I decided that the garden had been given as much resting time as I could afford to give. I wasn't planning on watching my beautiful home grown seedlings die while I waited the full 2 weeks. So I mulched the vege garden and deepened a section of the front garden in readiness for planting. The seeds I planted a few weeks ago were in desperate need of planting, so I got in and planted out all the corn into the front garden. I also went to the nursery and bought lettuce, onion and snow pea seedlings (didn't have seeds for last two and lettuce seeds taking a while to grow).

Then I punched holes in the bottom of a couple of polystyrene boxes and filled them with potting mix. Into them I've planted two cherry tomato seedlings each and am planning on tying them to the wire mesh to keep them from spilling all over the place. I saw on an episode of Gardening Australia where this Italian bloke kept all his tomato plants tied up and stopped them from branching too much, which meant they grew really tall and fruited a lot. So that is what I'll try to do. They are under shade cloth too, so they shouldn't get too affected by frosts when they hit.

 Next I planted out my very late zucchini and cucumbers...I figure it is still warm enough and maybe I'll get a few off each one and if not - it's only cost me a couple of seeds. I also planted out the cabbage seedlings and beetroot seedlings.

 In the blurry photo below the cucumbers are along the back near the shade cloth, with cabbages and beetroots in the front.

Snow pea and lettuce seedlings which will need planting tomorrow, but need to decide where to put them. I'm thinking I'll put the snow peas out the front and the lettuces in the back vege garden.

This the next batch of seedlings - silverbeet, cauliflower and tomatoes. I also planted sweet pea seeds and peas.

Well getting my hands in the dirt has made me very happy! I can't wait to start harvesting. I am hoping I get lots of small cucumbers before it gets too cold. My hubbie is a big gerkin fan and I'm planning to preserve a batch for him. I also have a great recipe for preserving beetroot which mum and I used last year. Oh so yummy!!!

Emily xoxo
PS. I've worked so hard over the last few days that my poor back muscles spent the night screaming at me and I had a full 1 hour of sleep. Needless to say I am not at school today, I am instead going to try and catch up on some sleep and enjoy the overcast and drizzly day that it is.

PPS. I'm terribly excited that I planted out all my seedlings at the perfect time - a day before some lovely gentle rain. Oh I can hear them singing out in thanks from inside...yep I'm just a little bit insane....

10 April, 2011

The great garden make over

For a while now, I have been planning a make over of epic proportions for my gardens. I live in a rental property so I don't want to put an extreme amount of money into it, however I am determined to  deepen all the existing garden beds in our yard and fill them with some yummy soil. I plan to mix vegetables in amongst my flowers. Unfortunately my neglect over the last few weeks months has caused most of my flowers to die, so it is the perfect time to start this make over.

I have been umming and ahhing over how to attempt this project for some months. In fact this post has sat here as a draft for ages...I know shocking!! But I have finally made some decisions...

I have one vege patch out the back that is approx. 3m long and 1 m wide but only about 20cm deep. Out the front I have two garden beds that run along side the path, one forms a reverse L shape with the bottom of the L running along under our bedroom window. These beds have some native bushes growing in them but they are tall and scrawny rather than short and bushy.

In February we recieved a flyer in the mail about council collections for Greening the Maranoa. Basically we could dump our green waste and other crap we wanted to get rid of on the footpath and the counicl would collect it. Well my very eager husband got out the chainsaw and was a little over enthusiastic. As I said earlier we are in a rental, but we thought we could tidy up some of the smaller bushes. I asked him to trim down the natives at the front, hoping it would force them to bush out... well my darling husband cut those natives off at ground level. And yes, that is our pile of green waste out the front of our gate. It was the largest pile in  our street!

I was quite shocked and worried about what our landlord would say, but then my neighbour informed me that our dear landlord has no idea what is growing on his property - that he rang him to ask if he did indeed have any big gum trees growing near our other neighbours fence (a point of contention about getting them lopped - and yes there are two VERY big gum trees there). Surprisingly the hardy little natives are coming back and have lots of fresh new shoots on them. Yay!!

At this stage I still had no idea how to deepen the beds so they sat dormant for another month. Then a few weeks ago Becc and I were in Home hardware and I found a garden border on special - 3m long and bought 3. I had no idea which garden to use them on, but I was keen. I dug out the round logs at the side of one of the beds at the front, but soon realised that I'd need another 10 or so rolls to do the whole garden - a little too expensive at 30 odd dollars a roll (not on special). So yesterday inspiration struck. I went back to the hardware and bought the pegs needed to hold the border in place, and headed to the nursery. I decided that I would use the border for my very shallow and sad vege garden out the back, but I also needed to double the soil volume and in doing so I wanted to improve it. My dear mother had told me that in the most recent Gardening Australia episode they had given the following recipe for improving a vege patch:

Mix chicken manure (in pellet form from nursery!), mushroom compost, compost and cow manure.
Dig a trench, put a layer of the mixture then put the soil back.
Dig another trench beside the first trench, then put the soil back and repeat.

I had to buy all the parts for the improver from the nursery and limited myself to one bag of each. First I dug away the soil from the small sleeper border and removed them, then placed down the new border only to discover that the bed is closer to 6m long than 3....oh well. I hammered the pegs in and was very pleased with the result.

In the wheel barrow, I mixed half a bag of all the above mentioned ingredients. I then dug like crazy and lifted half of the soil out of my garden onto the other side, spread out the mixture of improver then shovelled all that soil back. By this time I was very hot and sweaty but I persisted and did the other half as well. I will probably have to buy a load of soil from Daisy's because the added improver plus the soil hasn't filled the garden and I know the soil will settle. However for the time being I'm very very happy with the result!

According to Gardening Australia, the bed should be left to mature for 2 -14 days. Well my seedlings aren't going to be able to wait too long, so I'll plant them as soon as I can.

Happy gardening everyone!!

Emily xoxo