Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Colour Therapy

My mind is overflowing with projects and ideas at the moment (which normally happens around this time of year, when the weather cools down!)

Strangely I find myself influenced by two styles that couldn't be more different! I am loving this style of drawing, and am at the same time, since I started crocheting can't stop looking at Attic 24 and now Greedy for Colour.

So, I'm doing a bit of both, and finding them both good for my brain - both stimulating and relaxing.

I bought some Pitt Artist Pens in warm greys, and have been experimenting with them, and even went so far as to start a journal.

My journal title page was completely taken from the video "Pam's New Pens' by Pam Carriker

Then I tried a daisy (my own design)

and tried the grays with a stamped image. Couldn't quite keep colour out of this one, though!

Now I'm working on colouring an image (I didn't draw this, it's from a colouring book)

With my crocheting I'm keeping to a cool palette at present, making a cushion front for the living room.

I'd love to make something really colourful, but need to finish this first, and build up my yarn supply slowly, plus work on my crocheting skills - keeping an even tension and so on ... anyway there are plenty of ideas floating around my mind while I work on this!

I'm also knitting a scarf I started a few weeks ago (before I learnt to crochet!) which is on the colourful side ...

... not a great photo, sorry. This is a really cheap yarn from the Reject Shop with all the colours of the rainbow included. It's nice and soft for my sensitive neck and should match lots of outfits.

So I'll keep drawing and crocheting and knitting and dreaming in my sometimes grey and sometimes colourful world ...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


"Life is just a series of small adjustments."
- Steve Douglas in My Three Sons

Which I guess is true, in a way.
Just wish some of that adjusting wasn't so darn difficult sometimes!

Photo from here

Saturday, April 24, 2010

St Albans

Today we visited the St Albans Folk Festival. St Albans is a tiny town about 1 hour's drive from home, through quiet country roads and over a ferry. St Albans was overrun by festivalgoers camped all round the town, and the strains of folk music came from all directions.

The festival lasts all weekend, but we just went for the day. We saw about 6 acts and enjoyed walking round the town and participating in workshops too. We loved Mothers of Intention, and andRacz & Water, but I think most of all we loved these clever young girls who charmed the audience with original songs, violin, ukulele and guitar.

We learnt to play the bodhran and bought one! Another instrument to make us happy! Steve and Laura learnt to Morris Dance and we enjoyed some delicious food (Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon and Chilli - yum!) I even found inspiration for future crochet projects in the market stalls (colourful and cool headbands, bottle holders, and singlet tops).

As it was growing dark we left St Albans and headed for home. While we were on the ferry we had rain bucketing down and we thought of all those campers at St Albans tonight ... however we stayed dry and drove through the dark winding roads and arrived home, feeling that we had been gone for much longer than a day ... a great day out.

Monday, April 19, 2010


It's official, I'm hooked on crochet.

Here are my three first granny squares, still working on the whole 'starting new colours' thing, and the centres are not quite right, but I'm getting there.

The girls are getting used to asking questions and me answering
"... hang on a sec ..."

... but I think Steve looks at me working on my granny squares ...

... and imagines ...

... the worst ...

Don't you just love it!!!

This afternoon I took a break from crocheting to look at the op shop for hooks and patterns.
No hooks, but a few old books of patterns, with classic designs like this one (words fail me!), which I look forward to sharing!

Takes me back to the 70s ...

Sunday, April 18, 2010


This school holiday week's favourite activity ...

... from morning till sunset.

Waste not, want not

From an old, dusty, tarnished light fitting that a husband always bumped his head on ...

... to a beautiful tealight holder.

Crochet & Carrots

In which Fiona learns that cooking and craft never mix.

Photo Good Taste magazine

On Friday I learnt how to crochet! Yes I've tried before, and even produced stitches, but never really quite got the hang of holding the hook and the yarn properly until Helen taught me. Since then I've been practicing trebles and today crocheted my first granny square, which I finished at a park while the girls rollerbladed and scootered, and model aeroplanes zoomed overhead.

When we came home we decided to harvest the rest of our carrots. This is our first attempt at growing carrots, and we have many carrots growing, but because of the poor soil (and who knows what else?) they haven't grown to full size and tend to be fairly runt-ish and sometimes grotesque.

We found about 40 little carrots, then proceeded to wash them, first outside, then at the kitchen sink. We rubbed them with our green enjo vegetable cleaning cloth to remove most of the soil. Then I peeled them (do you know how hard it is to peel a 2cm carrot?) because we've found that even at that size they can taste bitter without peeling.

My plan was to cook Cinnamon Glazed Carrots, recipe from Good Taste magazine, and photo above. I put 42 little carrots (of all shapes and sizes) in a saucepan with 1/4 cup water, 30g butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and a large pinch of cinnamon, and brought them to a simmer.

Then, with crochet on my mind, I went and checked out my wool collection. Back and forth to the saucepan, until I decided to tackle this massive tangle:

And that was the end of the carrots. The next thing I knew Steve was telling me the pot was black! The house was full of smoke!

I managed to save some carrots and cut off the black bits - they were delicious! But oh, after all that work! Starting last spring when we dug the garden and sowed the seeds!

One day soon I'll show you some of my crocheting. Just working now on the finer points ... my granny square is looking more like a sort of "great aunt square" ... it closely resembles a granny square from a distance, but close up there are a few little differences!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pretty fabrics

... waiting for the right projects ...
... maybe an apron or two ... or three?

I bought these during my child-free time last week.
Laura and I have already used some of the polka-dotted fabric to cover a noticeboard in her bedroom.

Turkish Sauce Dish

A little sauce dish from Turkey, which we found at a local Multicultural Night.

I love the vibrant colours.
But I can't help thinking that that flower in the middle has a face!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Before and After Verandah Chairs

Now that the hot weather is past us at last I am enjoying using our verandah again. On a warm day it is the perfect spot for reading, morning tea or lunch. In the early afternoons the western sun is too strong at the moment but the late afternoons are more pleasant.

We have a set of cane furniture which used to belong to my Nanna, a table, 2 chairs and a footrest/stool. When we first got them the cushions were covered with some 60s fabric in a bright red, and I just made cotton covers to slip over the top. (Recently I took one off to check that 60s fabric, hoping maybe I had forgotten how groovy they were, but they weren't groovy at all) The colours on the cotton fabric coordinate well with our walls and at the time I used what I had, left over from another project.

Fast forward ten or so years and now the cotton fabric is dirty from the weather, lots of insects and lots of dust, comfy but not so nice to sit on. Spiders love to lurk around this furniture. But if I re-cover them (spending lots of money to do so) I will have the same problem soon of faded stained fabric. Bringing the cushions inside is not an option, we just don't have room. What to do ...?

On the weekend I had a brainwave. I dug out a double quilt cover that I bought a few years ago at an op shop (sitting in my fabric box ever since) and cut it into quarters. Then I stitched up the open sides making 4 big rectangles, each double thickness.


Four covers that I can throw onto a cushion (tucking in the sides) and then bring inside when I've finished on the verandah. I can wash them after every few uses andthey will dry quickly and iron well. They won't take much room to store. Our clothes will stay clean and we won't feel grotty.

And most of all - they look pretty!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Brontë at Bedtime

Reading: Agnes Grey, by Anne Brontë in a lovely but decrepit 1877 edition.

Makes for an interesting challenge as I doze off ...

Phone Pouch

Last week the girls stayed for a few nights with my parents, and I had most of 2 days and one WHOLE day while Steve was at work to amuse myself! Those hours which are normally taken up with "before school" and "after school" make such a difference to a "free day"! I felt like I had time to get my sewing machine out again - yey!

Time to make all those 'To Sew' items that have been floating round my head for a few months ...

First this phone pouch. I followed these great instructions to make a zipper pouch but I modified it a bit - I wanted a pouch that would hold my phone and a key for when I go walking, but I didn't want the key scratching the phone, so I made a pouch with 2 sections.

I attached a piece of twill inside where I will attach a keyring, and a piece of ribbon on the outside can attach to a lanyard to hang the whole thing round my neck when I go for a walk.

Next project on my list: Go for a walk!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Autumn Sunshine

We have had a lovely sunny weekend, filled with good things ...

Being together

Lunch on the verandah

Orange & Lemon Yoghurt Cake (yum!) Recipe here

Games of tee-ball in the front yard

Some home projects completed and some progress made

Some gardening (Steve, not me!)

Washing on the line

Cupcakes baked by Emily

Walking around the neighbourhood in the sunshine

A successful visit to a bookfair, and now some lovely "new" books

A guitar and flute duet composed by Steve and performed with Laura

Sitting by the window and reading in the warm sunshine

Candlelit soup & crusty bread

Jonquils blooming strangely out of season ... again

... and filling our living room with their heady scent ...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Showbag Fashion

Yesterday we were treated to a fashion parade of this year's Royal Easter Show showbag fashions. Emily wears a very cute hat from the H2O bag which suits her just perfectly and coordinates with many of her clothes. In her bag she also had two nice bags, a wallet, a necklace, a book and an address book.

And Laura wears every little girl's dream outfit - pink cowgirl hat and vest (and she even had her horse t-shirt on underneath! In her Mega-Pony bag were also a cuddly hot pink pony and 2 cute pony toys. Apparently a 10yo is still not too old for these things. Which is just as well, because that vest and hat would be enormous on a toddler!

Royal Easter Show

On Thursday the girls and I went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. We hadn't been for years, and had a wonderful day.

Laura was performing at the Show with her school band, so Emily and I, with Grandma and Grandad, travelled in by bus and met her at the performance. They performed brilliantly for a band which has only been together for 1 term! Laura is sitting right in front of the conductor, playing flute.

(All photos were taken with my phone, so some of them are not great, sorry!)

We sampled lots of yummy delicacies, saw cows, pigs, alpacas, lots of horses for Laura (including "Noddy the World's Tallest Horse"), ducklings, deer, goats, donkeys and more.

The girls bought, stuffed and dressed their own teddy bears, and I couldn't leave a certain monkey sitting unloved at the Show ...

At lunchtime we saw the incredible (but ridiculous) Robosaurus breathing fire and squashing cars.

One of the most popular pastimes at the Show is looking at the Cake Decorating competition entries. This was probably my favourite:

A pool and BBQ scene by Joanne Ong, complete with miniature food and thousands of cut-out pieces of grass! Very cute!

I took photos of quilts I particularly liked, but it's hard to photograph through the glass and unfortunately I didn't photograph the names of the clever creators. These were my 2 favourite quilts:

I loved the colours and modern fabrics on this one ...

... and this one had sweet homey embroideries on the white hexagons.

The girls went on a log boat ride and we bought showbags.
As it got dark we sat in the main arena and watched a rodeo, trick riding and stunt driving before we headed home, lugging our treasures, and arrived home at 10.00pm.
A perfect show day!