Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crocheting a rainbow ...

Just as I was getting into the flow of posting here every day ...
our modem died.
Leaving me stranded with a miserable cold
and no internet!

I had a pile of books and magazines from the library
and a new project

... a crocheted rainbow.
I am loving watching it take shape.

More soon ...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mug Cozy

I've been sick with a cold this week.

So there's been plenty of this:

... morning tea ... plus books, crafts, tissues 
and protactors (?) piled up around me ...
I've barely left the living room -
last night I even had to sleep there,
sitting upright in an armchair
rather than cough all night lying in bed.

But today, while I had to stay home from bible study,
I decided to do something productive
and knitted a cozy (cosy?) for my tea cup.

Now that winter has hit,
I like to have a cup of hot water
while I'm teaching piano.
(alas, no tea these days )
But opportunities to sip 
are few and far between
and my water is cold before I get to drink it.

Not anymore!

Some simple rib and stocking stitch,
3 crocheted loops
and 3 vintage buttons.
All enjoyed while watching
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

Just what the doctor ordered.


My felt needlebook and other sewing items
 I finally attacked the mending pile.

My gran's thimble.  Makes me think of her while I sew ...
Poor Steve had almost no pants to wear 
 - the pockets had all worn through,
and buttons had come off shorts and a shirt.
The towering mending pile was a sore spot near our laundry.

I keep my sewing kit in this vintage tin.

But after just two sessions,
one with the sewing machine
and one by hand,
they were all mended, ironed,
and back in the bedroom ready to wear.

Leaving me feeling frugal and virtuous

with an empty mending basket!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Op Shop Vintage Goodness

Just when I thought the days of 
finding vintage china 
in our area
were over ...

I found this.

A 25-pc dinner set

for $25.00.

Recently I started frequenting a different op shop 
and I am rarely disappointed.
My old 'regular' op shop is now over-priced 
and full of ex - $2.00 shop items,
but they are selling them for more than $2.00!!

I think they are passing on their vintage items 

But back to the china ...

Swinnertons of Staffordshire.

A few years ago I might have passed this set by.
Too pink.
Too rosy.
Too fluted
Too gilt-edgey.

But not now.

Oh no.
Now, it's perfect.

 Since we're not using a dishwasher anyway
these days,
why not use pretty vintage china
for "everyday" sometimes?

I wonder why there are just 5 settings?
Perhaps someone has downsized ...
and kept just one place-setting for themselves
for old times' sake?

I also found these ...

a vintage-style peg bag and an old book.

I also got myself a warm cardigan ...
which was why I was in the op shop at all ...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mothers Day 2012

As usual, I was totally spoilt by my family on Mothers Day.

Emily surprised me with felt fortune cookies.
She is super-clever with felt.

Inside each was part of a sweet message.

Steve gave me a gorgeous silver clay pendant
which we found at markets at Manly

A few years ago I wanted to learn to make silver clay pendants.
I studied online tutorials ... but never got any further.

So now I shall enjoy wearing this one instead, 
it's quite stunning.

I asked for a new shopping list pad 
and a photo album to use as a recipe book

These are lovely ones, chosen by Emily and Steve,
there was a bit of a butterfly theme happening.

Laura gave me a fridge magnet, I love these kind.

and some personalised keyrings she cleverly made with shrinky dinks, 
in real life they are more colourful.

Something else I asked for was the Down to Earth book.

I love Rhonda's Down-to-Earth blog and now am loving reading through the book.
So much wisdom about simple living.
Love it.

I had been expecting the pendant and the book 
... but then Steve surprised me with two DVDs - 
The Help and Mad Men Season 3
and some yummy gluten-free almond nougat.

Unfortunately I wasn't feeling great on the day,
Laura was recovering from a cold/gastro bug
so far I only have the cold ....

and it was a cold and windy day,
so I enjoyed relaxing on the sofa

while Steve cooked a delicious roast lamb dinner :-)
and a gluten-free, dairy-free cake.

Yes, I was truly spoilt.
It's nice to be appreciated :-)

How was your Mothers Day?

Friday, May 11, 2012

An old lady on the kerb

This morning Steve and I each spotted this lovely old dame on the kerb!

Fortunately it was still there a bit later.
It's the same style as a standard lamp we have in the living room,
although that one doesn't have the table.

And what a shade!
Spectacular inside and out.

The lamp needs to be re-wired so I can't tell yet
how RED this will make my craft room
or whether I might want to 
... ahem ...
find another shade!

But it's just right in the craft room, 
don't you think?
(please excuse the lovely but dazzling sunshine)

(Once I did find a real "old lady" lying on the kerb, 
turns out she was fine and it was just her way of hitch-hiking 
from to the next suburb!)

This morning I also found some pretty new things for my craft room
at Daiso, in Chatswood.
The wonderful shop where everything costs just $2.80 ...

Some Cath Kidston-style accessories

And some paper lanterns
(this turquoise one actually given to me earlier by Emily)

For now I have hung them from an existing hook on the ceiling

With a bird flying below
(made with the Stampin' Up! Elegant Bird die)

Eventually I would like to have them 
hanging on different hooks at staggered heights.

So it's been quite a day for my craft room!

. . .

What's that, you say?

You're still waiting to see ALL of my craft room??


Emily's room?


the new upstairs bathroom

and hall?

 ... hmmm ....

sorry about that!!

One day soon ....!

I promise!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pink and frilly

Taken before Easter,
Emily in a frilly singlet top
that we found on special,
with pink accessories.

Loving the vintage floral look.

At school this term
Emily begins an ambitious sewing project:
her first dress!

Complete with
halter neck ... full skirt ... lining ... boning ...
Not something I would want to attempt!

with gorgeous floral fabric
(what else would she choose?)
She will make the version shown in red
in the photo above.

It all began last night after dinner 
with some measuring,
tracing patterns onto interface on the dining table.

Good luck, Em!
Can't wait to see it finished!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slow Living 2012 - April

This month I'm linking up with Christine's Slow Living 2012 at Slow Living Essentials.  I've been enjoying reading her monthly adventures and those of others.  Feel free to join in too!

{Nourish} Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, overprocessed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.
After 8 months, I'm still on a gluten-free, dairy-free, moderate salicylate and low amine diet.  Which means that I have to make most things for myself from scratch anyway.  But with a cupboard full of gluten-free snacks and crackers taking up space in my kitchen, I'm aiming over the next few months to learn to make more of them myself.  This month I tried a gluten-free loaf which is delicious with soups, and baked cakes for two church functions last week.  In the last week I made yoghurt in the Easiyo (using a packet this time), and bread in the bread machine.  I'm also planning to make more of the girls' lunches from scratch in an effort to save money and provide more healthy lunches.

{Prepare}Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season.

This week more than ever I am realising the value of "leftovers", and this post inspired me to do even better.  Without leftover dinner, lunchtime can be pretty miserable on my diet!!  On Sunday night we had a delicious sweet potato/potato/lentil pie, (which included leftover baked potato) and I enjoyed the leftover pie yesterday for lunch.

{Reduce} Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.
Laura needed a winter skirt for high school, so we forked out $50.00 for an ill-fitting, poorly-designed, stiff-feeling skirt.  The last one in the shop.Then I remembered that I had an old tunic that someone had handed down to us (the old uniform style).  So I gathered up courage to do what I didn't dare do two years ago, knowing that I had the bought skirt as backup. 

I cut the tunic in half, 

joined pieces together to make a waistband, put in some elastic, 

and voila, a free school skirt!!  Woohoo!!  

I kept the new bought one for the first day of term, to make sure she was really happy with it at school, although I felt a bit funny knowing that there were no size 8 skirts left in the shop, and I had one not being used here.  Well, it turned out that Laura was happy with her new skirt, and her best friend had stayed home from school that first day because they couldn't source a size 8 skirt!! So ... after a quick transaction both girls are set up now for winter and it didn't cost us a thing! (in fact I think I made a little money!)

{Green} Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.
This month I finally saved up enough milk bottles and made Rhonda's laundry liquid.  For a few years I've been using a dry mixture of lux flakes and washing soda, but now with the liquid washing is quicker and easier, and I'm hoping to eliminate some white marks which sometimes appear on dark clothes after washing.  I'll let you know how the liquid performs after a few weeks.

{Grow} plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints.
With my limited vegetable and flavour options, I'm always thankful for the shallots growing in our garden, adding flavour to so many meals. This month we cleared up the herb bed, which had been taken over by self-seeding tomatoes and zucchinis. I planted some parsley and am hoping to plant some garlic and leeks sometime soon.

Loving having my craft supplies accessible and pretty

{Create} To fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.
With the chilly weather I'm turning back to knitting, starting small with some coathangers, one in moss stitch and one in stocking stitch (for those times I want more mindless knitting) ... I've also been enjoying getting back into stamping now that I have my very own craft room set up!

Card for a friend recovering from a burn.

{Discover} Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.
This month I've been reading through the Down to Earth archives, mostly posts I've read before, but so good to read them again and to be inspired in many areas.  I've also been reading about alkaline diets, introverts/extroverts, and for bedtime reading I'm reading some Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford, and now Cousin Phillis.

{Enhance} Community: Possibilities include supporting local growers & producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group.
Bible study, scrapbooking, Irish music sessions have all started back for me in April.  With a little more time on my hands (now that renovations are complete) I'm enjoying these more more and hope to put more preparation time into them all during the next month.

{Enjoy}  Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.
On Friday night I attended a lovely piano recital with a friend, with free tickets kindly given by a neighbour.  Easter and my father's birthday were celebrated with a picnic in my parents' backyard, in the sunshine before the weather turned cool!  We traveled to Armidale for a niece's wedding and enjoyed time with Steve's family; the girls and I had a few precious laidback holiday days; and Steve and I enjoyed some child-free time at the end of the holidays while the girls stayed with my parents.  We are working at including some physical, outdoor time for the family each weekend, even if it's just throwing a ball around the front yard for half an hour.  All good fun.

Quiet moments with a cup of "tea" are sometimes the most enjoyable of all ...

So ... it's been a strange month with very busy school holidays in the middle and a busier than expected start to term, but all the while my mind is simmering with things to do to make life better for us all.  I'm looking forward to making more positive changes in May, and achieving a bit more order and balance in life!