Saturday, June 28, 2008

Country Welcome

This is the scene by our back door. As you walk down the hall into our living room it is hopefully the first thing visitors see, with a message for them:

I started this wallhanging when Emily was a baby, and finally finished it about6 years later, so it's been hanging for a few years now.

I have grouped my favourite country crosstitches below, I still love some of that 90s country style, but not all over the entire house!

Check out more Weekend Decorating over at A Beautiful Life.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Banner

What do you think of my new look? I finally got around to adding a photo to the header. The daisy is from this photo and was in our garden last summer.

Today around here ...
... Laura developed more convincing signs of hand, foot and mouth and got a day off school
... Emily was awarded a school medal (we're proud of you, Em!)
... I bought a 2" circle punch (woohoo!) amidst errands, shopping, piano teaching, medal ceremonies, cooking etc.
... Steve worked hard at home

and tonight ...
... Friday Date Night at home
... dinner simmering in the crockpot
... a video - Waitress
... Easy Cherry Crumble to throw together now for dessert
... a good start to the weekend.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vintage Electric Jugs

I love these vintage ceramic kettles lined up above my kitchen cabinets. (Sorry the photos aren't great - to tell the truth I had to crouch a little while balancing precariously on a tall stool so that you wouldn't see the dust along the top of the moulding!)

It has been fun to collect these - the first two came from a good friend who had rescued them from their family holiday home. That was the beginning for me. The next one I found at a car boot sale for just $4.00, then the cream-coloured one was by the side of the road for council clean-up. The last two were the most expensive, they were also by the roadside, but chained up waiting to be sold. I think the man wanted $25.00 each for them but I was not prepared to pay more than $25.00 for the two, which I eventually did. And although they seemed "expensive" for a "useless item" I was so glad I bought them, because they filled the space a little better. also I've seen them in antique shops for up to $90.00 so $12.50 per kettle wasn't so bad!
Unfortunately one of the lids broke over the years, and the cream one never had a lid, and doesn't "match" the others, but who said a collection has to be perfect?
From a little researching these I think they may range in age from the 1930s to the 60s.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Winter Wonderland

I love this photo of my Nanna skiing, taken in the 1930s I guess. The handtinting is gorgeous (and unrealistic - I'm sure Nanna didn't wear lipstick in those days!)
It has gotten colder again here, and I am loving it. If only if would snow here!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Heavenly Harps

Tonight at our Irish Session we had two harps, a Celtic harp and a lyre harp, as well as a hammered dulcimer and the usual collection of accordion, concertinas, whistles, bouzouki and fiddle.

I wish I had a recording of the beautiful music we played and heard tonight. But instead listen to this lovely performance from YouTube ... and imagine it a tad faster and various other instruments playing along LOL!

Crafting with the girls

Yesterday we had two sick girls, one with hand, foot and mouth disease, who doesn't feel sick but has to wait till her spots go, and the other who came home during the day with a sore tummy (then felt a little better at home). So while dinner was cooking some craft was required. Emily designed a painting for a mug (which she is painting as I type). Laura decided to make some sparkly flowers, which turned out to be perfect for a headband for her dog Coconut.

This turned out to be perfect for Coconut's wedding to Bomber, a cute black labrador puppy (who couldn't be found for my photo shoot just now).

Coconut and Bomber went on their honeymoon last night, but Coconut left her puppy Snowy behind, because (as anyone would know from watching the first episode of The Brady Bunch repeatedly), you don't normally take your children with you on your honeymoon. I just don't understand where Bomber has gotten to now ... maybe the honeymoon didn't work out so well ...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hmm mmm....

So there you go, all you "ladies of leisure" - pop open those cans of Imperial Sheep's Tongues for a beautiful tea for four. The ad goes on to say that " the exquisitely delicate flavour of Imperial Sheep Tongues lends a refreshingly appetising appeal".
From The Woman's Mirror Cookery Book, 1939

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekend Decorating 2

Just a little corner of my home. About 6 months ago we had a white bookcase custom made to fit in our narrow hall. We have so many books, and they keep coming into our home ... somehow! I love this bookcase because it has little sections in it, and no matter how many books we get I am keeping this section free for pretty things.

These photos are of my beautiful girls ( oh and a little one of me). The frames were my Gran's, and are in their original vintage state! I think the dish may also have been Gran's. The ducks are from my "duck phase" that everyone went through who got married in the early 90s, most of the others are packed away. This is directly opposite our study door, so when I am teaching piano and feel in need of distraction I glance over to this little spot and it makes me happy!

This is another cubbyhole in the bookcase which is in the "still being sorted" stage. The old books belonged to my mother and grandparents, the ballerina dish was my aunty's and the flower girl is me at 4. The tiny china bunny was Mum's then mine as a child, and the squirrel mine. I am fortunate to have so many things from relatives still living. I fear this cubby hole might have to be filled with books one day though.
I hope you enjoyed looking!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dad's Money Box

Today I thought I would post about something a little different for me ... and am waiting for some sunshine to begin photographing some jugs and linen ...
This was my Dad's money box. At some time when I was young I began using it to keep my pocket money in. It's made of little pieces of veneer, like parquetry, over solid timber.

The gable over the roof lifts up to make a slot for the coins, and you twist off the bottom when you want to get the money out. I have never forgiven myself for not packing it properly when we moved house, it was full of copper coins and got a dent on the roof. Now it usually sits on some shelves above our TV with some beautiful cloth-covered books.

I love this money box because it was my dad's, because it reminds me of my childhood, and because of the workmanship. I think Dad would like to have it back, though!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stampin' Up Card Gallery

The sun is shining again here, so I've finally been able to take photos of the cards I made a couple of weeks ago (during the I-have-the-trestle-table-up-and-the-stamps-are-here-and-what-else-is-a-girl-to-do? stage I went through)

It was fun (of course) to try out all my new stamps and punches, but also to try and use up stamped images and scraps I had put into a box years ago, giving them new life with a few of my new products - very satisfying. I'm looking forward to doing some more stamping and scrapbooking when certain other jobs have been taken care of ... hopefully next week!

The alligator from the Wild About You set is such a cool creature! I loved how the dotted line from the In the Spotlight set just added something simple to the left side, which was looking bare. The spiral punch is fun, too. And, of course, the bird!

This card, and the card at the top of the post, use the other hostess set I received, A Little Bit of Happiness. Lovely detailed drawings to colour or leave plain.

I finally made a few more Christmas cards! These use the So Swirly wheel and the In the Spotlight stamps. I think I've made about 10 Christmas cards now.

And what is not to love about the Peaceful Wishes set? It is hard to go wrong with these stamps. The background card is more plummy than purple in the flesh, and the white is really a pearl shimmer. I think it's going to be a Peaceful Wishes Christmas this year.

Delicious Aroma!

I wish you could all smell the amazing soup bubbling away on my stove! I'm using this recipe for the first time, making good use of this pumpkin. The aromas of roasted garlic, pumpkin, cumin and onion are keeping me close to the kitchen! Can't wait for tonight to try it!
What are you having for dinner tonight?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stampin' Up goodies

I realised I never wrote about my lovely new stamps etc. from my Stampin' Up party. After they arrived I did some serious stamping for a week or so. I had a cold so it was good to sit and be busy with my hands rather than try to do housework. (well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

Anyway above is shown the products I received from the party, about $170 worth of that was free in hostess gifts, then I ordered more cardstock, the cost of which was "covered" by my recent cardmaking class, and I ordered about $200 more. Lots of lovely stamp sets and punches, as well as cardstock.

A friend very kindly ordered a gift for me too, an ink cartridge for the stamping wheel, which looks perfect with the "So Swirly" wheel I ordered. I can't wait to use this for Christmas cards!
As a thankyou to her I made this little pack of cards and stamped/punches pieces using the So Swirly wheel and the hostess set "In the Spotlight" (sorry the photo is sideways)
I love the way the punches and stamps work together, especially the 5-petal flower punch.
This is a close-up of the label I made using my (now sizable) collection of circle punches. So much fun!
I've made lots of cards, and I'm just waiting for some good light around here to photograph them. Yes, after our day or two of sunshine we are back to grey weather again.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend Decorating

The last survivors of a beautiful mixed bouquet from my husband, in little Italian soft drink bottles, on a windowsill by the dining table.

A Good Afternoon

We had my extended family over, as I said in my post this morning. I was really happy with how it went, the menu turned out to be just right, everyone appreciated the "decorations" and it was mostly nice and relaxed.

As our family arrived we offered them some Hot Apple Cider from the crockpot. This was the first time any of them had tried this! They all seemed to like it, Steve and my brother-in-law were even heard discussing how much they liked it, and how much that surprised them! I used this recipe but added a cinnamon stick as well. Yum!

Then we had Baked Potatoes and various toppings - Bolognese Sauce, Chilli con carne, Salmon Mornay, Creamed Corn, Bacon, Shallots, Cheese, Sour Cream, Tomato, Taco Sauce, Shredded Lettuce. Giving everyone a choice worked really well, although I didn't feel as if I had cooked much. One of my aunts quizzed me on the ingredients of each hot topping, and couldn't believe how simple it was - Bolognese (minced beef & Campbell Tomato Soup & herbs) Chilli con carne (same plus taco powder and kidney beans) Salmon Mornay (homemade cheese sauce & salmon & celery) creamed corn (straight from the tin!) So all were very easy-peasy! My sister-in-law baked some bread rolls so the kids had those rather than potatoes, but they still had some of the toppings.

To make my very mundane (in my mind) toppings more fun I made some little signs in Publisher to label everything and set a theme for the lunch:

...and my very quiet husband was heard encouraging everyone to "roll up, roll up" to get their hot spuds!

For dessert we had Apple Crumble and Easy Cherry Crumble, both made by Laura (so easy a child could do it!) My sister made a delicous birthday cake for Mum with macadamias and cream and vanilla glaze and flaked almonds on top and shall I go on...?

The Easy Cherry Crumble is the quickest dessert ever.

  1. Pour a tin of stoned cherries and juice into a pie dish

  2. Sprinkle over the top a pack of vanilla buttercake mix (dry)

  3. Pour over 100g of melted butter

  4. Sprinkle 100g chopped pecans on top

  5. Bake moderate oven 20mins.

As a table decoration I bought some corn and a pumpkin and used them and some other fruit and veges with some candles, on a little red and white checked cloth. This photo was taken after they left, so it's a bit dishevelled by now:

After lunch we played some old-fashioned quizzes that related to farm animals and crops (from a booklet from my Tupperware dealing days!) Everyone joined in and got smarties for the right answers. Then we gave Mum her presents and soon after that people headed home.

So all in all a very good family party. After everyone left (and I made a start on the washing up) I tried taking a few more photos of the beautiful corn, mushroom and pumpkin. This one turned out best. God is incredible to design such variety in plants!

A birthday gift

Today we celebrate Mum's birthday here at our home. In an effort to keep things simple (huh!) we are having baked spuds with a buffet of toppings, followed by apple crumble and cherry crumble. Since it all sounds pretty country fair-apple pie-down on the farmish I decided to go with that theme.

Hopefully I might have some photos later, if I get to take any in the rush!

Anyway, this is one of my gifts for Mum:

... which was completely inspired by Marelle using one of her gift wallet patterns and then the cards themselves based on the cards she made at my Stampin' Up party. To go with them I stayed blue and bought some lavendar body cream, some blueberry preserves and some Lindt chocolate wrapped in blue. I know she loves blue so hopefully she'll like all these.

This is the card I made for her, actually using some of the scraps from the set above. Lots of fun!

Well I have a stack of shopping, cleaning and cooking to do, so better go now!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Vintage-thingie Thursday

This is my first time participating in one of these ... see Confessions of an Apron Queen for how it works, and others' vintage items.

This character/Toby mug belonged to my Nanna; I remember it sitting on her kitchen dresser, and and now it sits in our kitchen dresser. It is Kelsboro Ware and the character is "Mr Winkle" from Pickwick Papers. Kelsboro Ware was apparently manufactured from the 1930s to 1965.
The yellow/black/white plate behind belonged to my Gran, I have fond memories of it on her lino-covered kitchen table. I love the silhouettes around the edge. I think perhaps the little gravy jug was Nanna's, but I'm not quite sure. I love the way the yellow lights up my dresser! (the little green bowl is a hand-made original by my sister-in-law and not vintage LOL.)

Did someone order some sunshine around here?

Well ... since my last post we have had so much sunshine that I had to strip off some layers of clothing ... now it is a lovely sunny afternoon, and some of the waiting washing is hanging out on the line.

Nothing like some sunshine to lift one's mood, which is just as well because know I have to get stuck into some housework before my family visits on Saturday.

A slave to the weather

After two weeks of almost non-stop rain I feel like this:

As the collections of waiting-to-be-washed, half-dried-in-front-of-the-heater, and almost-dry-but-not-ironed clothes pile up, I'm looking forward to seeing more of the sun in future.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Irish Music

So, as promised, a post about Irish music.
Every fortnight I join in a traditional Irish music session at a local pub (the pub is empty except for us, usually, the bar is closed, but it's part of a larger club, so there's some people around, and sometimes a bit of an audience). I play the whistle, which looks somewhat like this:

(Well my whistle is actually like this but it isn't a nice illustration like the other images here)
There are some other whistle players (mostly all much better than me, and some of bring along a few instruments) and quite a few fiddle players, also of various standards.
Then there are some accordions and concertinas. I'm just getting to learn which type is which, so I won't make any mistakes here by trying to discuss them here.
We have some Irish bouzoukis, pipes, sometimes a hammered dulcimer, wooden flutes, and bodhrans (Irish drum).

I don't really know all the tunes yet, so I can't join in everything. We play sets of jigs, reels and hornpipes, someone starts playing and if you know the tune you join in. I'm getting better at picking up the tunes from ear, I can remember some tunes now, but I can never remember the names. There are some great names of tunes, like The Hag at the Churn, The Geese in the Bog and The Dusty Windowsills, (not to be confused with Smash the Windows) but others with lovely names like The Lark in the Morning and The Mountain Road. Others, like The Burnt Old Man and Banish Misfortune just make you wonder ...

So it's all a new thing for me, since the end of last year, and I am learning VERY slowly, but it's fun, and interesting to be part of a group that is made up of people mostly older than myself, some of them slightly folk-music types and others very conservative. Last night I watched as a bearded bikie-looking man with a tattoo helped out a very gentle retired lady with a bodhran lesson. They had never met before but both had the same type of drum. It's true that music does bring people together.

One day if I am ever any good I will record my whistle playing and put it on my blog. But I think that will be a long way off!