Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wish I was a garderner!!

There, I’ve made a confession….I am not a “green thumb” and I don’t enjoy working in the garden, whether a flower garden or vegie garden. Yet I love flowers!!!

Thankfully we have a number of fruit trees on our property and have access to many orchards and fruit sold a lot cheaper than the supermarkets. I’m also thankful when someone passes on a bag of produce from their garden, no matter what it is, because that is when I can do what I like doing. I love bottling fruit - did diced tomatoes this year. I love making relish, jam, pickles and sauce.

I made a batch of my “Zucchini Relish” today. There is the “yummy smells” of spices, vinegar and sugar lingering in the air.

I reckon the perfect solution would be to have someone who just loves gardening and have them do all the gardening side of it, then I would take over and do all the cooking and preserving for them and us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Droughts and Flooding Plains

Australia is very much a country of contrasts. “Droughts and Flooding Plains” is mentioned often in the talk of politicians to everyday people, especially the farmers.

It comes from a line of this poem, in the second stanza:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding plains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

The full poem “My Country” can be read here.
I remember when I was young learning the song "I Love A Sunburnt Country".

We saw the evidence of great contrast earlier this year, while the same time Victoria suffered devastating bushfires, further north in Queensland and New South Wales, there was extreme floods.

We have had days of rain here and all the water ways are just overflowing. Our dam in the lower paddock has banked right back through the paddock. Water is racing from our dam, out through a creek and into the Wilgarup River.
The first two photo’s are of our dam, then water logged paddocks further down from us, right over the road from the Wilgarup River.

These photo's are of the Wilgarup River, near the old Dingup Church.

My friend Elaine is having a “45th entry”giveaway on her blog.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Health, well-being and Thankfulness

It’s been an interesting five weeks for me.

Firstly, my 15 year old son flying out from our home state with his Year 9 school class group for a week at Canberra.

He got to visit the old and new parliament houses, other national monuments and places of interest.

Secondly, illness became the “family occupation”! In the middle of his time away, he started with a sore throat and caught what was already racing through the students, a bad flu. When they all flew back in they were so tired and sick. My son stayed home the following week and had gotten over things, when the school rang to say one of the students had been confirmed positive with the swine flu. It was decided to keep my son home an extra day and go to school the following week.

He woke in the early hours of the Monday, of the following week I referred to above, very distraught and in a lot of pain with a very severe headache. It was starting all over again for him.
In the mean time my daughter was ready to walk off to the school bus, when she told me she had a headache and sore throat. I just said, “You’re going to bed.” Both of them had severe fevers, very hot and nasty dreams. My son ended up with antibiotics as he had tonsillitis.

All of this caused them both to miss the last week of school, of term 2. Now we have just completed two weeks school holidays.

Yesterday they were so glad to be getting back to school!!

That then leads me on to mention my niece. She was about 9 months old when she had complete kidney failure. She then went on a dialysis machine and had to grow and be of a certain weight before she could have a kidney transplant. She was about two when she got a kidney from her own dad. It was a successful transplant, but then later developed cancer in her kidney’s, which had been left in place. This required their removal and followed on with chemotherapy. This was all a very hard and stressful time on the family, with much separation from each other.

She is 12 years old now and doing amazingly well. I call her “Twinkle Toes”. She is small and slight in build and runs like the wind. She has a brilliant, intelligent mind and already advanced a year in her schooling.

However, with the possibly of the swine flu around our community, she is at “high risk”, as she is immune-suppressant. So the family have had to isolate themselves from school at the end term 2, right through the holidays, even from other friends, family and attending church. It’s been a tough time.

It makes me think of that film some years ago “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble”. The film was based on the life of David Vetter.

We don’t realize what other families live through and how much we take our own health for granted.

INTERESTING FACT: We are God’s wonderful creation. Did you know that nearly every organ in our body has more than one primary function? Kidney’s also are important in relation to blood pressure and the production of growth hormones.

I’ve mentioned all of this so that we can:

Be thankful as the sun came up over the horizon and
gave light, for another day.
Be thankful for the air you have to breathe, for another breath.
Be thankful for God’s keeping power of another heart-beat, for life.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another "Christmas in July" giveaway

I can't help myself.......I love Christmas as I've posted about before.

Here is another lovely "surprise" Christmas in July giveaway.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Siggies and friends around the world

About 18 months ago I joined Annelies International Siggie list - a follow-on from swapping siggies (signature blocks) based on the Dear Jane block, D-13. There is an annual Dear Jane Siggie swap also. It's been a wonderful way to get signature blocks and met some wonderful people.

This is a photo of the siggie I was sending out to those on the international list. I had to buy another lot of "wattle" fabric as I eventually ran out of the fabric shown in the photo.

This is how the quilt top looks so far, with all the blocks I received in 2007. Those I received in 2008 are still sitting in there special bundles and bags along with Birthday Siggies I received last year.

One of those people I got a siggie and letter from was Micki. She is having a giveaway on her blog. She is a very "crafty and productive" lady!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Christmas in July

Last year we celebrated, as a family, "A Christmas in July" evening. It was really fun getting the Christmas decorations out and having the full "hot" Christmas meal. Something we don't worry about at Christmas time, when it is sooo hot!!!

Those who know me, know I love Christmas time and Christmas decorations. I put them up early and still have them up sometimes right throught February. Why? I love the colours, the glistening of the tinsel, it makes me feel happy and the kids love it as well.

Each year I try to make something new towards my Christmas collection.

Barb is having a wonderful "Christmas in July" giveaway.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Amy Karol: "Bend-the-rules Sewing"

A while back I saw someone mention on their blog about the book “Bend-the-rules Sewing” by Amy Karol. She has a blog as well. What was said, the project made and shown, got me interested. So I got a hold of the book.

I mentioned my daughter knitting in my previous blog, so from Amy’s book I made two of the “Charming Handbag” - one for my daughter’s knitting and one for me (mine has the crocheted heart on it)!! I made it from a fine corduroy.

After that I made the “Artsy Clutch”, “Pleated Beauty Bag” and the “No Cash Wallet” (Why that name? it’s to carry loyalty cards, credit cards and so forth). I made them as a set.

The front panel for the “Pleated Beauty Bag” I used a design from Cinderberrystitches. I also used an element from this stitchery design for the “No Cash Wallet".

I really enjoyed making them.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Knitting and Crocheting

I had a pleasant surprise nearly a month ago when my daughter came off the school bus carrying some knitting in her hands. Her Year 5 class, in Technology and Enterprise, were being taught how to knit. They are making squares for a blanket to donate towards the terrible Victorian Bushfires we had earlier this year.

Here’s an interesting blog to read about Snuggle Quilts and their story on quilts for the bushfire victims. There has been an amazing “giving spirit” from people all over Australia and around the world for quilts and also in the knitting arena. It’s been lovely to read of the response of adults and children on receiving a quilt. The expression of deep thankfulness, how they feel they haven’t been forgotten, and that someone they don’t know, cares for them.

I’ve been going to the school and helping with crocheting, in black, around the squares and have stated to join the squares together. I should say “squares” loosely, as the kids do some amazing “increasing designs” as there are some funny shapes!!!

My daughter has decided she wants to make squares for a blanket for herself, so yarn has been bought and the squares have started. She’s had two squares given to her from her 95 year old great-grandmother (my Nanna), two from her Nanna (my Mum), a few from me. We will also get a couple from my hubby’s mum. So there will be a few “generations” represented in this knitted blanket.

I finished this week, my first pair of knitted socks!! The pattern is from this DIY Net Work program. I now want to venture into getting the thinner yarn known as “fingering yarn” in the US and the small needles then make some socks they will fit me well. My daughter has requested some socks for herself!!

Last month I crocheted this “Perfect Purse” as it was called from Lion Brand. It now carries all my crocheting hooks.

It was really funny that first weekend my daughter came home with her knitting. I had my brother over to a meal, which we followed up with watching a DVD, on Egyptian History. There was my daughter knitting away sitting next to her uncle, while I was in the other chair crocheting the "perfect purse". I had a good chuckle to myself.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Past Christmas Gifts

A couple of years ago hubby made the suggestion that for Christmas we make or give something we already have, as gifts in our immediate family.

I was very happy with the idea, an “excuse” to make something different.

The first Christmas for my son – I converted a cartoon he had drawn, in to a small wall hanging.

My daughter got a Manicure Set from HOMESPUN March 2007

I was taken with the knitted Plum Puddings in HANDMADE Vol 24 No 12 (2007). I knitted up three of them for a small display. I made some extras as the Christmas Swap gift for our local patchwork group.

IDEA: If you make something you like, make another one and keep it in store for a birthday gift, “just because” gift or Christmas gift. I do this often. I figure if I “like” something, then someone else would too!!

Last year I made a valet tray for my son, from COUNTRY THREADS Vol 8 No 8 (2008). It involved recycling a skirt.

For my daughter she got a Babushka Doll from HANDMADE Vol 25 No 10 (2008).

My daughter celebrates her birthday two days after Christmas, which means I have to be very organized for her. For her 10th birthday she got Little Miss Mushroom from HOMESPUN.

I added the magazine details, because I know I often see something someone has made and "wonder where that pattern is"!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blogs, Diaries : Books, Libraries

There will be some friends happy to see this!!!

How did I get here? Well it certainly isn’t because I’m a great one for personal dairies or journals. My husband is great at that!

He’s kept a daily diary since his teenage years. I know only one other gentlemen we’ve meet in our years of living in Sydney (NSW), Adelaide (SA) and Manjimup (WA), that keeps a diary. It would be interesting to know how many men folk enjoy this discipline. It really is a personal self-discipline to keep up with a diary.

Further to my husband’s interests are books!! He has a personal library of over 8,000 books. Thought you might enjoy a “look-see” in his study. The books in his study, which are wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling, are only a portion of the collection. We have book shelves in every room of the house. There is another large portion of the library outside in a fully-lined, back store-room.

So what does his library mean to me? Well I get to use many books on many subjects whenever I need them. I have a wonderful supply of books to read right here in my home. It means he supports my own desire for books for all my crafting needs and I can add to that, “magazines” as well!!

When we lived in Sydney and were studying at Bible College in preparation for church ministry. We had a lecturer say “go without bread, to buy books.” Thankfully we haven’t had to go without, to enjoy our interests.

So here I am joining many friends and like minded “crafty” people in “blog-land”. I will be sharing all sorts of things from my part of the world.