Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beautiful and useful.....and not so much

Beautiful! I swore was thinking I wouldn't buy any more pretty china but while trawling through Vinnie's the other day, I spotted this gorgeous plate. You can't see it, but there are indentations where the floral motifs are - similar to a devilled egg plate. I just love it. When I got home, I looked at the back and it has the initials B.H. and 90 so I'm assuming B.H. made the plate in 1990. I thought it was a lot older than that but it doesn't matter.  I hope B.H. knows that it has gone to a loving home and will be admired and appreciated for a long time to come.
Totally useful.  This is the best funnel in the whole world. It is a milk container cut down and I use it for so many things. It has a very wide neck and the handle is just so good for holding the funnel steady. I also use it to bottle my jams and pickles. It's marvellous!
Not so useful. When I went to pickle school, I bought all manner of things that looked like a good idea. This funnel is one of them and it's totally useless.
It comes apart and is supposed to be three funnels in one. Ha! The biggest bit is too big for most bottles. That grey bit in the middle has a slanted hole and is supposed to be the bee's knees for putting peppercorns into grinders (who knew?). I tried it once. Peppercorns still shot all over the floor and there was a lot of mucking around.  Not too sure what that little red bit is for. Maybe pouring oil into something? Who knows? I am willing to concede that it could be operator error, but in my view, this expensive little item is a total waste of time, money and space.
Back to beautiful. My poor old Iceburg rose. Always being belted with wind and rain; always being munched on by all manner of critters and yet, still gives me sweet smelling flowers.
Useful. We had solar panels fitted some time back. Wish I'd tidied up the back patio before I took that shot. I just got a power bill and there was about a month's worth of solar in it. The bill was $364. The previous bill was $411, the one before that $410 and the one before that (before I started making a concerted effort to reduce power costs) was $552. I am thinking that the solar will be worth around $50 a month, based on the previous bills.  We are paying them off interest free and if I got the cost of the panels back, I'd be one happy camper. Either way, I figure we have to be better off.
No comment!

Monday, March 11, 2013

After the rain.........

The amount of rain we have had over the past few weeks has been truly amazing! I am so happy that I screamed and yelled and threw an hysterical whammy  requested a tin roof when Bill the Builder built our house. I do so love to be snuggled in my bed, listening to the rain on the roof.  When I mentioned to beautiful grandbaby that it was lovely to sleep in the rain, he told me it wasn't lovely at all. That we'd get wet!  Although I fear my feet are about to web over, I am delighted with the tree in the front yard. It is in such beautiful bloom and in the 19 years we have lived here, I have never seen it looking like this.
The rainbow lorikeets, the bees and even the flying foxes are having the best time in amongst the lovely flowers. I can't remember what tree it is now, but it's some kind of native.
Our tanks are full, the yard is beautiful and green but best of all, my herbs are doing so well. A great source of pesto for home made pizzas. Friday night's dinner was prawn, camembert and chilli pizzas with the freshest pesto made with basil, mint and garlic chives. Yum! Beautiful grandbaby said I could probably work in a pizza shop, if I wanted. I don't.
Of course, all this greenery brings out the munching critters and those evil cute little green grasshoppers are all over the place.  I mixed up a brew of garlic chilli spray and hosed everything in sight. That fixed their little red wagon for a while but with all the rain, it didn't last too long.
I seem to have lost my sewing/crafting mojo lately. I started to do some dressmaking again, after many years and after having given all my patterns and fabric to Vinnie's in the great clean out but haven't continued on with that either. I think I need to visit my favourite inspiration place. Beautiful daughter gave me a voucher for Christmas but with significant birthdays happening over the next few weeks, I'm going to have to think of something else.  Mind you, there is some hindrance to any kind of sewing here.
Vicious cat with damaged psyche Beloved family pet takes up residence on anything I am working on. (Tongue is out because he's having a rare bath, not because he's about to vomit!) And so begineth another wonderful week. After waking to a glorious sunny morning, the clouds have gathered again.  I blame Bill the Builder because I blame him for everything he washed the car yesterday.
Off to the library. They are threatening to lynch me would like their books returned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

....and a happy New Year!!

Well, another year over and a new one to look forward to. What a wonderful Christmas we had. Lots of family gatherings.
Christmas breakfast out on the front verandah. On Christmas Eve, we went to the six o'clock mass at the kids' school then came home and had cold chicken, prawns, ham and all the salads. It was such a lovely lead-in to the main day.
Christmas lunch, a beautiful roast meal with all the trimmings. About half the presents had been opened by this time so we needed to boost our energy levels to be able to get back into it!
Mum loved her quilt, even though I had to do the yank-back because the binding and label wasn't done. I'll pick it up today and finish it for her. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.
Four generations.
I was absolutely delighted to unwrap this excellent ruler holder. Darling son made it for me and it is just perfect. I've loaded up all my rulers, ready to go! I had floated it as a suggestion earlier this year, but didn't get much of a response so presumed it was a non-starter. I don't know why. Every time I ask him to build me something, he always does and does a marvellous job.
Ready for action! These things shoot foam bullets and for a tiny while, it was decided that a lot of fun could be had, firing at me.  I told the four of them that I would beat them all around the ears till they bled I gently discouraged that plan and they took themselves off down to the pool area.
The day after Boxing Day, still recovering!

Then my brother, his wife and two little daughters came over for yet more food for a BBQ on Friday night. They had come down from Townsville to see us all for Christmas. We have had the most wonderful family time over the past few days. Now time to clean up the mess, put everything away and start the new year.
SBS is under way! I finished Cross and Crown this morning. I wish I had used a different fabric for the small points though. They're not showing up very well and the ones in the top don't have any of the pink in them but it was all too much mucking around, so this block is also as done as it's going to be!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas time, misteltoe and wine.........

Another really busy week and a couple of goodies ready to wrap.
Gay Paree apron for beautiful daughter. Each year, we try to outdo each other with a Desperate Housewives pack.  This year, Angie's pack will be this apron, some crocheted dishcloths, rubber gloves with fake fur pure maribou trim, Bella champagne and Lindt chocolates. I will pack it all into a Coles cooler bag.
Another apron, this time for darling son who has built an amazing bar on his deck. It's not very clear, but I have embroidered the Cheers logo in black at the top of the apron, which is just made out of white cotton. With it goes two black hand towels, Cocktail Parties for Dummies and a half dozen bottles of what I truly hope is cordial to put in champagne.

We took Mum and gorgeous grandbaby up to Yandina to the Ginger Factory. What a great day we had.
We visited Santa and pondered the difficulties of getting around the world on nought but reindeer power
and had the best train ride! Hannes is looking a tad more manic than usual, due to having eaten some of a lolly pop which was bigger than his head.
Good news! A giant Christmas parcel arrived at the front door and I told Hannes he could open the bag. 'But what if there's a present for me in there?' he wanted to know in typical male fashion. Told him he needn't worry but as he was unpacking the goodies and putting them under the tree, he spotted a tag with his name on it!  He was ecstatic! Inside was a present from Yinda! A Christmas badge making kit so of course, we had to get to work on it right away.
Ooooh! The concentration required!

In the same parcel was a gift to Suby from Merc. Hannes was delighted about that too but Bill the Builder was off in the Suby so we had to wait for another day. Finally!! Suby is decked out in his Christmas clobber!
And the end of an era. Graduating from kindy. No more babies. Only school children now.  How quickly this year has gone by. In nearly every photo I have of the milestones in Hannes' life, Angela is also in the frame taking the same photo.

There's been lots of sleepovers, lots of visits, lots of shopping, absolutely no lots of housework so I am totally freaking shattered am feeling a wee bit weary. Hang the misteltoe. Gimme the wine. I might wander off for a good stiff drink cooling beverage and put my feet up before making the final decision on whether or not to quilt a quilt for Mum for Christmas. I hope everyone's Christmas preparations are tootling along beautifully! I love Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

At this time of the year.........

things start getting busier and slowing down. How can that be? I think that by this time in the year, everyone is starting to feel a wee bit tired and in need of a good break. I have had some happy days and some a little bit sad. All my babies are growing up and next year will see the littlest guy going to Prep. My happy days have been having all the grandbabies have a sleepover and put up the tree and decorations.
After some tense moments lively discussion, a spot was decided on for the tree. Then after much mucking around and threats of tears and tantrums sorting out of boxes, the final decisons were made on the decorations and lights. So many special things to put on my tree. Handmade and store bought decorations from dear Lynda, a special bauble I bought from the most amazing Christmas shop in New York, some bows my beautiful daughter made for me when I had my first Christmas home alone and put the decorations up by myself, bawling, chugging wine and howling along to 'I'll be home for Christmas'. A music box ornament that Hanney bought for me last year "because it looked like Gramma" though I'm not sure what part of Santa patting a lamb looked like me and I don't want to think about it;  a string of leather reindeers that Holly bought for me in Canada "because Grandma loves cats" which makes absolutely no sense to me; the most amazing little house from Las Vegas that Jack bought for me "because Grandma likes weird stuff" what makes him say that?? So after much oohing and aahing, we finally had the tree!  Taa daaah!!
My happy and sad day was when I went to Hanney's kindy concert to see the little ones do the nativity play. Happy, because they were all so beautiful and innocent and keen to get it right. Sad, because it is just a fact of life that they are growing up and things will change - for them and for me.

Hannes was Joseph, although he told me he was Joseph and Mary so I was waiting to see how that panned out.
Here, Mary tells Joseph 'we gunna haff a baaaby' to which Joseph replies 'um, well, OK'. Fairly brought the house down. Joseph tells Mary that they have to go to Bethlehem to pay Joseph's taxes. Mary says they'll take the donkey, to which Joseph replies ' yes, well, that's probly a good idea, Mary'. House came down again. The good news is, they got to Bethlehem!
When they woke up, guess what?? They had a baby! Surprise!!!
On Wednesday, 12th of the 12th 2012, we had our anniversary. Here I am, looking totally shattered after three full days of little guys. Everyone said the world was going to end. That's what Mum said 42 years ago. But it didn't and we went out to dinner at the Courthouse Restaurant in Cleveland. Bill the Builder had the Oysters Kilpatrick. If you go to that restaurant, do not have the Oysters Kilpatrick. They were minute oysters that were overloaded with finely ground bacon I think and wildly overcooked. When Bill the Builder questioned the quality, he was informed that was how they got them. Clearly, the restaurant does not make its own Oysters Kilpatrick but buys them in, ready made. Poor form.
Our household is very big on trying to keep calm and usually failing dismally keeping calm so when I saw this little stitchery on Bronwyn Hayes blog, I just had to stitch it out as a mug mat for darling daughter, after I saw this perfect coffee cup! I am going to fill the cup with homemade Russian caramel that I saw just today on the Down to Earth forum. It is a recipe that my mother made for many years until our dentist bills got too high.
Here are some of my snazzy dishcloths that are going as stocking fillers, along with some hand made soap. I've given some of these to Mum and darling daughter already and they love them. I keep the ones that are dodgy don't turn out so well for myself, and I'm thinking that green number in the background is a contender!
Moist Orange Cake that I make just about every second week and Christmas cake is finally in the oven.  Smells absolutely divine so clearly the extra extra long soaking did no harm. And what is a blog post without the latest roses?  The pink ones and some of the white ones are from my bushes and the red one and the rest of the white ones are from SIL.
Did I mention that I love Christmas??

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Who's looking at me.....

looking at them and wondering what on earth they're doing?
We recently took Mum for a drive up through Fernvale, Esk and Toowoomba so she could check out the new car. We called into the Wivenhoe Dam area to have our lunch and spotted this little guy up in the tree. How cute is he?? Billy Connolly says that you have to love a country that has an aminal called a hairy nosed wombat. Well, I say you also have to love a country that has these little guys so close to a capital city. Why do we refuse to take better care of them?
Mum really enjoyed the car because it is higher than the Commodore and she was very easily able to get in and out of it. She was also able to sit in the back in comfort because there was plenty of room and she was easily able to see out. She had a lovely day out, as did we all. We certainly live in a beautiful country.
This road was closed. Do you know how I know that?  Hint - it wasn't because of the sign!
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! This is my favouritest elf in the whole world or any other big place. I just adore him and while he was horrifed to discover that his elf suit from two years back had disintergrated into a handful of powder, he quickly recovered when beautiful daughter brought out this outfit. Hannes loves a good dress-up and is always so willing to get into the swing of things. Such a joyful little critter.
Bill the Builder and I went over to help decorate the tree and how can you decorate a tree without a flashing red nose? We had a lovely night. Memories are made of these, as the song says. All the grandbabies are coming to decorate our house and put up the tree next week. Each year, I buy Hannes a tree decoration and scored no points last year by getting a musical one.
The collection so far! I absolutely love this time of the year. I've been beavering away on gifts but have nothing finished that I can show at the moment. Needless to say, SBS has taken a back seat where it spends a lot of time but the new year will see it moving along again. No idea what I'll do with it when I'm done. It's very busy. Need to get a wriggle on with everything. Bill the Builder is away to Victoria on his motor bike so I'm home alone for a few days which is always good for getting lots of things done.  I just love Christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Isn't it funny.....

how one can own thousands a lorry load quite a few recipe books and magazines, yet still come back to the same recipe, over and over.
This is a mixed fruit and walnut slice that I got from Peg's blog. I discovered it ages ago and have made it so many times. It is always a winner. Very easy to make, lovely to eat and makes a large quantity. I didn't have enough mixed fruit this time round so added some dates. I love that beautiful green leaf plate too. Mum gave it to me years ago and I kept it safe and sound in the dresser. Then, one day, I just decided to start using all my beautiful things and it gives me such pleasure.

One slow contribution to SBS this weekend. This is Crossed Canoes and is something of an odd block, I thought. The colours haven't come up very well here. The pale fabric is a light apricot with a white spot.
I do have enough to make a good sized quilt but am starting to look on this project as a learning experience. I've never had patchwork lessons so working through these blocks, and trying to do the very best I can with them, is certainly giving me some good lessons. This block is foundation pieced.

My babies are certainly growing up. On Friday, the kindy kids were allowed to wear their school uniforms for next year for a 'show and tell'. They all looked so grown up in their uniforms but when they changed back into their kindy uniforms, they were just babies again. Time goes so quickly.
Hannes in his new school uniform. He will be in prep next year. And what blog post from me would be complete without a photo of the latest flowers from SIL's garden? The white roses are mine but the goregous red ones are his. Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend.