Monday, 4 August 2014

On my hook ......

Oh wow, has it really been that long since I've posted??   I have good intentions of writing, but life is so, so busy and most days I run out of time, so for now I'll fill you in on what's been on my hook;

Crochet bunny comforter - this little cutie was made for my gorgeous nephew who is now all of 6 weeks new.  I made this with natural undyed cotton and for the ears and face I used a bamboo yarn, so he's lovely and soft and all natural. The only trouble I had with this project was embroidering his eyes and nose! I had to unravel it a few times because I just couldn't get the expression right.  I was going for a sweet serene look, but unfortunately my embroidery skills are somewhat lacking and he was looking either very angry or maniacal.  After a few attempts I finally managed to get it right.

These sweet little wrap around booties were made for the wee one, complete with wooden buttons. 

This ribbed pixie bonnet is the latest off my hook.  The colour in the picture doesn't quite do it justice - it's actually a deep, rich wine coloured red.  Just gorgeous.  It's a tad too big for her, but I love it.

I've also made some basic slippers for myself and my big girl.   I'm not fussed on the colour she chose (think green camouflage) so I won't be posting a picture of them. They have a cute popcorn style stitch on top and just plain double crochet underneath.  Super cute and super warm!!  I did ask the boys if they'd like a pair but crochet slippers made by your mum apparently aren't the cool thing to be wearing this winter. Huh? Says who?

What's next, you ask?? Well I'm linking up with Kate from Foxs Lane and making a granny square hot water bottle cover.  Pop on over to her blog and have a look at a couple that she has finished.  They're are lovely.

What have you lovelies been hooking lately??

Ps These photos have been taken with my IPhone;  partly because my phone is always handy and quick and partly because I'm doing an online photo course (more on that soon) and the first part of the course focuses on taking pictures with your iphone.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

in my kitchen - July

I missed last months 'In my Kitchen' posting, so this is a combination of May and June.  I contemplated not joining in anymore with these postings because I feel like a bit of an amateur compared to some of the fabulous food blogs that contribute each month.  I really like sharing my little adventures in the kitchen though, so here we go... another a small peak at what's been happening lately ........

In my kitchen this month there's been;

 Ginger, honey and lemon tea for sore throats and headcolds,

stunning white roses,

another unsuccessful attempt at making Sauerkraut but a
very successful first attempt at Raw Blueberry Cheesecakes - oh my they were good!!

...and picking the Cumquats off my trees and making Marmalade with them.  I used honey instead of sugar and added some freshly squeezed orange juice for the liquid.  I'm very happy with the way it turned out - it has a sticky jam like consistency with a lovely delicate taste.  It goes very well spread thickly on sourdough rye with a strong cup of tea!!

tina xx

I'm joining in again with Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and taking a peak in to kitchens all over the world. 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Returning to work....

In less than two weeks, my maternity leave ends and I will be returning to work.  It is only for two days each week but I have mixed feelings about it.  Mostly I am sad and apprehensive.  I love being a stay at home mum, love pottering around the house, at my happiest when I'm baking, playing with the littlies and nurturing my family.  I am worried about how I will pull it all together, the long work days, being away from the little ones, the general stress of having another ball to juggle.  I have started to mentally prepare myself and make lists on what needs to be done to ease the transition.  There is no other way around it though, I have to go back, so I am determined to focus on the positives.  

tina xo

PS Where did that time go?

Photos: Fog surrounding the Pecan tree and Winter daisies


Friday, 13 June 2014

Road trip

Last weekend, we packed up the family and went on a road trip to the Southern Highlands, New South Wales.  My sister in law was having a 50th birthday lunch at Berrima so we decided to make a weekend of it.   It was a little cosy for the 6 of us (plus luggage) in the car but I have to say I love a road trip!  Not only did we get to explore new country but it was also a break from routine; a break from the laundry, the meal preparation and the everyday chores that take up such a huge part of our day.  For the most part I am a home body and these everyday chores are comforting and satisfying for me, but I also love the little breaks to our daily routine where I can spend every minute of my time with my family; no interruptions, no keeping an eye on the time, nothing to be done other than be completely in the moment with them.

This weekend will be a relaxing, staying at home affair.  It's meant to be raining the whole weekend, so I'm thinking p.j days, crocheting, reading and lots of tea drinking!

Hope your weekend is a lovely one,

tina xo

Monday, 9 June 2014

On my hook - a twisted cowl.

I finished this twisted cowl last week and I know I say it each time I crochet something, but I loved making this, it really was a joy to pick up and work on.  I made it especially for my lovely sister-in-law who celebrated her 50th birthday yesterday.  I loved sifting through the yarn at the local yarn store, picking out the colour I thought she would like, choosing the type of yarn, and browsing online for the right pattern.

The pattern is a fan stitch and done with a 180 degree twist on a 5mm hook so it's nice and chunky.  I absolutely LOVED the yarn too - a superfine Merino (Zara brand) which was incredibly warm and soft, just perfect for wearing around your neck.   The photos really don't do the colour justice - it is such a gorgeous blue and suited her perfectly.

What's been on your hook lately?
tina xo

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Creating and Crafting - simple toys

In my efforts to declutter the house and rid ourselves of all the excess 'things',  it was inevitable that I would end up in the children's rooms.  I worked and sorted my way through their toy baskets, the shelves and wardrobes, gathering up toys they had outgrown,  that had parts broken or missing, thinning out the excess;  a multitude of mass produced toys slowly being replaced by a few toys that encourage imagination, creativity, and gentle play.  Slowly, but surely there is more paper, pencils and paints, fabric, thread and simple toys inspired by the natural world.

 Recently we made these little Autumn Acorn gnomes, Walnut Boats filled with beeswax and fabric sails, and tiny sleeping babies wrapped in soft felt blankets. 

tina x

Thursday, 8 May 2014

In my Kitchen - May

The two oldest children went back to school on Monday after a two week break over Easter, so I've been on the hunt for some new lunchbox treat ideas.   I came across this lovely blog, The Lunch Lady, which had an interesting sounding recipe for brownies using Zucchinis.  The kids loved them and I'm happy because I can sneak some veggies into their 'treats'.  I don't think my zucchinis were moist enough though, so next time I make these I'll add another one.  I also tried out her Oaty Flapjacks and sprinkled Chia and Pumpkin seeds on top.  Butter, golden syrup and oats are always a winner.

There are always flowers of some kind on my windowsill or kitchen bench.  I love having a little bit of nature inside; sometimes picked from our garden or foraged during our daily wanders.  Today there is some Rosemary on the kitchen window sill - picked from our garden and growing roots.  I'm also experimenting with the end of a baby Cos lettuce.  I've put it in a glass of water, and wouldn't you know it, it's growing some new leaves.

Continuing on with my love of fermenting, I tried Sauerkraut for the first time.  I had high hopes, but unfortunately my first attempt didn't work.  I don't think I mushed up the cabbage enough, so there wasn't enough liquid for the cabbage to sit in.  I'm inspired by the lovely Brydie over at City Hippy Farm Girl blog, so I'm not giving up with this one just yet.

With the cooler weather I have been trying out new soup recipes.  I came across this recipe for Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup at Damn Delcious blog which was delicious.  The juice of a lemon is added just before serving and really gives it a lovely little kick.  I've also made the Cauliflower Chowder from the same blog, which was my favourite; thick, creamy and so very, very tasty.

Its apple and pear season too, so I've been making the most of their sweetness and using them in baking.  I love making the Normandy Apple Cake from Jane Websters book, At My French Table.  This is one of my absolute favourite recipe/travel books.  It has the most stunning photographs, and beautiful, simple recipes.  The pages are thick and textured and it smells like a book should; all papery and lush.  And it's French.  Need I say more?

What's happening in your kitchen this month? 
Tina x

I'm joining in again with Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and taking a peak in to kitchens all over the world. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

On my hook...

I have been quietly crocheting away at any and every opportunity which unfortunately for me hasn't been as much as I would like.  We are slowly getting back into a routine now that school has returned, so here is a little peak at what I've been doing.

...this lovely little pixie hat for the wee one, done in a pretty shell stitch.  I ADORE this stitch - it's so lovely and repetitive, and so so pretty.  I also did some leg warmers for her in the same colour and shell stitch, but sadly I underestimated the chunkiness of her thighs.  I had to unravel them as they were WAY too small.  Would you look at those cheeks??  A babe with cheeks like that AND a pink bonnet - it doesn't get any sweeter for me. (Did you notice that I put her hat on upside down in the last photo.  The scalloped edge is supposed to be at the front - oops!)

I have started on a cot/pram blanket in a lovely ripple pattern.  My little sister is due to have her third babe in June and I have several friends due in August/September so my plan is to have a few small blankets done in different colours and patterns.  I'm loving the browns and blues in this one and the ripple pattern is another favourite stitch.

I have had a skein of Alpaca wool sitting in my basket for a few months now.  It is the most divine earthy, autumny red, russet colour,  I love it.   It sat in my basket for a while because I just couldn't decide what to do with it.  I only had one skein of it, so I was a bit limited with choices.  In the end, I decided to do a simple double crochet cowl for myself.  When I finished it though, I just wasn't happy with it; it didn't seem to be long enough and the stitch just didn't seem to do the wool or the colour justice.  So, I unravelled it and did another cowl in a ribbed stitch.  Again, it just didn't look and feel right, so I unravelled it again.  It is sitting in my basket all rolled up, just waiting for me to something else.  Any suggestions with what I should do?  It's just too lovely a yarn to have sitting in my basket for too long.  Any suggestions would be most welcome!

tina x

Saturday, 12 April 2014

slowing down

I've been away from this little space for a few weeks now, a self imposed break from everything but the basics.   Things have really busy around our little house and I was feeling not quite myself.  Each day seemed busier than the last and I was stretched and irritable.  So over the last few weeks I've been reflecting and evaluating; reflecting on how I spend my time and looking at ways to streamline, simplify and slow down.  I thought about what made me happy and what made me uptight and stressy.   It's no surprise to me really that the days that I felt stressed and tired I was running from one thing to the other, dragging two little ones around with me and even with all that running around, it still felt like I wasn't getting anything done or more importantly I wasn't getting to spend time with the little ones.  The days when I was most happiest was when I was able to potter around the house,  spend time playing with the two little ones and prepare dinner without rushing.  The days were slower and loosely structured.   The house was tidier and cleaner and I had time for some crochet and other crafty pleasures. 

So there have been some gradual changes for us, a shifting of priorities and it feels good.  I am beginning to feel like the old me;  I am breathing again.  There is still a way to go but our focus has shifted and I feel like we are on the right path.  

I thought I would share a couple of ideas with you which have been working for us and given me a few extra hours in the day.

Meal planning - I'm a big fan of doing this.  Each Sunday evening I'll sit down and work out our evening meals for the week. By doing this we cut down on food wastage, save time ( I can shop for the following days rather than ducking to the shops every day),  and I don't feel rushed at the end of the day. 

The school run - up until recently I was driving the older two children to and from school. I worked out though that I can save almost two hours a day if they take the bus to and from school.   TWO HOURS!  That's two extra hours I've got at home instead of getting a toddler and baby in and out of the car, sitting in traffic, adding to my stress.   So I save time and money, plus the kids love doing it, so this is a winner all round.

Limiting activities during the week - Some weeks I was out every day; grocery shopping, general errands, morning teas with friends, dragging my little ones from pillar to post.  I was at the stage where each day I was wishing for extra hours in a day and an extra day in the week.  I realised that I needed to limit the amount of activities I committed to each week.  Last week was lovely as we only had one commitment.  The other days we pottered around the house; playing, baking, tidying, planning, crafting. 

It's been nice to be able to slow down, breathe and enjoy our days rather than jump out of bed and not stop running until I collapsed into bed each night. I'm getting so much more done and feeling so much better in myself.  I've been doing some crochet, lots of little crafty things and even making some yoghurt (more on this later).

So tell me, what do you do to save time?   Do you have any ideas for me?

tina xo

Thursday, 10 April 2014

In my kitchen...

I'm linking up with Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and taking a little peak into other people's kitchens.

In my kitchen this week ....

...there is Choc Raspberry Ripple from Sarah Wilson's 'I quit Sugar'.  This is the first time I've made this and honestly I was a little doubtful, but This. Was. Amazing. Coconut, raspberries and raw chocolate, and it's good for you!  Need I say more?!?

There is also a slow cooker on my bench full of warm milk which will hopefully become yogurt. This is another first for me - I've never made yoghurt in my slow cooker, so I'm so excited to see how this turns out.

There is a Thermomix brochure - I've been to a demo and had a demo at my place yesterday, but I'm still not convinced that it's worth the whopping price tag?  I mean, apart from being able to actually cook a meal in it, I'm thinking a food processor would be able to do the same thing?  What do you think?

......and these lovely roses picked from my garden yesterday after a night of rain. 

What's happening in your kitchen this week?

tina xo

Note: I must apologise about the quality of the pictures.  They were taken on my phone as my 'real' camera is out of action at the moment.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Happiness is.....

:: making stock from here in preparation for the cooler soup and stew weather 
:: making lists - oh yes, lists make me very happy; lists for our meals for the week, lists of craft and crochet projects, weekly to do lists!  There is something very satisfying about getting things out of my head and onto paper.
:: Chunky thighs (the baby's - not mine) and tiny toes. 
:: our Eat Local Thursday where I can buy lots of fruit and veg, organic lamb sausages, honey, olive oil and so much more; all seasonal and locally grown. Today we bought plums, nectarines, a kilo of blueberries and end of season tomatoes.
:: falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof.  We've had a few days of rain and I'm hoping for some more on the weekend which will mean a pyjama day;  DVD's, some crochet and crafting, and reading while listening to the rain.
:: Creating and crafting whenever and with whatever I can - today was upcycling some greeting cards into wall art in the children's rooms.  I love the villains and superheroes.

I hope you're finding little bits of happiness in your week,
tina xo

Sunday, 16 March 2014

A christening....

Last weekend we celebrated the christening of our two littlest ones...

It was a beautiful day, surrounded by our family, most of whom travelled long distances to be with us.

 There was lots of food ..... great conversation......

hubby's birthday ...... backyard cricket .... cake ....

and of course two beautiful little people ....

we are so very, very blessed.

tina xo

I actually didn't take my camera or phone to the church so I didn't get any pictures of the little ones at the christening service!  I am eagerly awaiting emails and pictures from family who were (thankfully) snapping away with their cameras at the church.