Monday, September 30, 2013

Learning New things....

I must admit, I fell into a bit of a rut before I closed the doors on my little ol' shop in Cobar town just over 6 months ago. I'm not exactly sure why it happened, guess it was an accumulation of several things but one thing I do know - I was simply 'burnt out'!!!

It feels so good to SLOW things down, breath again so to speak! Get out and smell the roses, play in the dirt with my kids and learn new things - something I haven't had the desire to do (if I'm totally honest) for far too long...

These past couple of weeks in the evenings, when all my little people are snug in their beds (sometimes asleep), I've been searching... And searching.... And searching... For some form of chevron colour-worked crochet type pattern but do you think I could find one - ANYWHERE!!!???? Well I couldn't!!! So, that got me thinking - why can't I simply make a pattern up myself???

A few YouTube video's later and the help of this amazing lady and her super handy graph paper and I have now completed my very first piece of 'Tapestry Crochet'!!!

What do you think???!!??? (it's a washer for my 'Spring Washer Swap', don't forget sign-up's close tonight - I'd love you to join!)
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I feel invigorated, inspired, refreshed, recharged!!! I can't remember the last time I got this involved with a craft that it totally engulfed me and it fells amazing... I can't learn enough!!! I'm now planning my next piece, with the help of my 7yr old daughter - she's thinking SPOTS...

And because my days are filled with many other things I thought I'd share a picture of what we harvested and preserved today - bulls blood beets... This is by far one of my all time favourite pantry staples. I dread the moment when I reach for the last jar of beets, usually months away from the next growing season. This year I'm trying my hardest to have a regular crop of this gorgeous root to keep me preserving for as long as I can - I'm stocking up!!!
blood beets
So.....

Have you learnt something new lately? Something that totally engulfed you??

Have you ever heard of 'Tapestry Crochet'?? 

What are you harvesting on this last day of September? 

What's your favourite preserve? Do you like pickled beets as much as me??

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pin Point....

I'm not sure if I can pin point just one single reason why I love a 'Clearing Sale'... Seeing rows upon rows of rusty old goodies, sheds filled with generations of farming wives treasures, furniture that oozes stories from a time long ago when money was tight and 'thrifting' was necessity (depression era furniture is my absolute favourite - seeing meat safes made from old wooden boxes, cupboards for kerosene tins, I love it!!!), catching up with friends, 
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seeing my littlest people form new friendships - even if they're only for the day, the thrill of buying that special little (and big sometimes too) something that just can't be found in a shop, gorgeous food cooked by gorgeous women - slices and cakes and sandwiches, fresh picked fruit and the like!!!
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We're lucky enough to be able to attend at least 1 Clearing Sale a month out here - some see us travelling for a good 1/2 a day to get there, while others can be just down the road.... I can safely say that over 75% of my home has been furnished and filled thanks to purchases I've made at Clearing Sales and each and every purchase has been remembered fondly!!

Preserves are a constant staple in the pantry of my home and over the past couple of months the shift towards sweet over savoury has seen me producing jam and marmalade over relish and pickles... My cumquat tree is a prolific producer and after gifting several kilo's to family and friends I picked 1 last big bucket for my family and set to making the cumquat marmalade recipe with my girls that I found over here!  
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I loved the slowness of this recipe! Usually - in my kitchen anyway, it's all hands on deck as we slice and chop and cook up a storm to preserve what ever is in season on the farm at any particular time. But with this recipe you take it slow; an afternoon spent slicing, an afternoon soaking and simmering, and an afternoon finishing it all off... This recipe is now a new favourite and has been added to my trusty old 'cookbook' and I can't wait to revisit it when my cumquat's are in season again... I've also made a batch of strawberry jam - a real favourite!!

In my garden, hidden in a corner nearly forgotten about are a dozen potted plants... I'm not sure if you can remember, but back here I struck some cuttings of a tree call 'rose of sharon' in a pot of water on the window sill in my kitchen... About a month ago I potted them all up and left them in a sheltered spot in my garden, hoping for the best, and now they're nearly ready to be planted out - awesome!!!!  
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Lastly, don't forget, sign-ups for my 'Spring Washer Swap' close on Tuesday so if you'd like to join pop on over to this post and leave a comment...

Here's the Washer I made for the Swap I currently have running on my Facebook page... 
swap details
I loved making this!!! This is a new crochet stitch/pattern to me and it was so nice learning something new for a change...

So.... 

Have you ever been to a Clearing Sale??? Where? When? What did you buy?

Do you preserve?? What have you been making of late? Sweet? Savoury?

What's new in your garden this week??


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Recipe and A Swap...

Thanks for all the interest in my yummy slice from my previous post... Here's the recipe... 
slice 
Jelly's Muesli Slice

ingredients : : 1 cup of organic rolled oats, 1/2 a cup of a sunflower/pumpkin seed mix, 1/4 cup of poppy seeds (sesame seeds are good too), 1/2 cup of coconut (dessicated of shredded - the choice is yours), 1/2 cup of white(or brown) sugar, 3/4 cup of organic plain flour.

Mix all these dry ingredients in a large bowl. 

Next - In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of good quality butter and approx 3 Tablespoons honey... You want to bring this mixture to the boil for approx 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the following; 1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda dissolved in 2 Tablespoons of boiling water. A reaction should occur and your butter mixture will froth up and become deliciously foamy. Pour your butter mixture into your dry ingredients while it is still frothing and mix well. note : : if a reaction does not occur your b-carb soda is no good!

You are aiming for a slightly sticky dough so add more oats or seeds if you think it is too wet.

Press into a lined slice tin and bake at 180'C for approx 30mins - let your nose tell you when it's ready... It will smell heavenly sweet and look deliciously golden brown when cooked. Allow this slice to cool completely before cutting. I think this slice tastes better the older it gets!

Sometimes I cut back the butter and add dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or apricots... Sometimes I add nuts too.. The possibilities are endless with this slice which I love!!!

Enjoy!!!!

Also, for those needing a little crafty pick-me-up why not enter my 'Spring Washer Swap'!!! Sign-Up's close at the end of the month and you can enter here...

Here's some more FREE washer pattern inspiration for those joining in!!!
more washers
Washer's pictured left to right, top to bottom; Log Cabin, Scallops, Firestar, Fluffy Meringue, Grandma's Kitchen, Easy Crochet, Sunburst, Dishtowel, Shell Cloth

ENJOY!!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Holidays...

School holidays are here and with it comes an essence of unstructured routine that we can't seem to get enough of here on the farm... It's so nice to be able to put the school books up for 3 weeks and enjoy each others company...

I always enjoy the Sept/Oct school holiday break - I'm not sure if it's because my b'day falls over this holiday or that the garden seems to be glowing at this time of year and there is always many a job that needs tending; planting, weeding, pruning, building, harvesting, re-planting, transplanting, propagating and the list goes on...

This past week I've been harvesting golden beets, my first for the season... 
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I pickled this bunch the same way that I do my 'blood beets' here... From 4 medium sized beets I was able to fill a 400ml jar - approx 1 1/2 cups of chopped beets...
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I've also been transplanting seeds that I've been raising with my girls - 'mini muncher' cucumbers (6 plants planted - for a start) 
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and more 'bull's blood' beetroot (20 planted with this lot)...
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My girls have there own veg on the go again this year. Their pea plants are by far their favourite! They grow so fast, the flowers are gorgeous and it's always such a thrill to see how quickly a delicate flower will turn into fruit practically right before their eyes.
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My trusty old passion-fruit vine got a much needed pruning this year and has bounced back with glorious new growth to thank me...
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After attending a garden party back in May and being super excited to rush back home and plant my 100+ cuttings I am happy to report a good 4 months down the track 75% of them have struck... So this school holidays I've started planning where all my new roses will live - in, amongst and around my garden...
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My girls and I love a good slice!!! This slice is packed full of all the yummy things I love; organic oats, poppy seeds, local honey, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, coconut and good quality butter!!! (if you'd like the recipe simply say so in the comments, I'd love to share... )
slice 
And with the weather simply divine in the evenings at the moment we're still enjoying regular camp-oven dinners...
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I now have a little 'fire-pit' right next to my vegetable patch (made from the base of an old water tank). So while DH lights a little fire as the sun goes down and works some magic with his old cast-iron pot the girls and I tinker in the garden - weeding, watering, planting and transplanting... A couple of beers and a wine later and we're all enjoying gorgeous food and it's so nice to not of had to cook for a change - I love me a camp-oven dinner... And now that Tobie is up and walking he just potters around too, taking it all in...
bonfire 1
And to finish off a rather long winded post (thanks for hanging in there is you've made it all the way to the end)... This month I've been married for 8 years - WOW!!! Where has that time gone??? 3 kids and a hell of a lot of good memories later and I can safely say that the man that made me his wife back in 2005 is still the love of my life!!! - how lucky am I!!!
wedding
Happy Anniversary Brad... xx

Monday, September 23, 2013

Washer Ideas!!!!

washer ideas
I love me a good handmade washer and to help get those creative juices flowing I've put together 9 of my current favourite patterns. From top to bottom, left to right they are as follows; Old Shale Cloth, Washboard Cloth, Soft Cotton Cloth, Leaf Lace Cloth, Vintage Hankie Cloth, Seamless Circular Cloth, Leafy Cloth, Washing Dots, The Meadow Cloth....

ENJOY!!!! 

Thanks for the interest in my 2013 Spring Washer Swap thus far. Sign-Up's are Opened until the end of month (see my last Post) for those interested...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

SPRING Washer Swap 2013....

Sign-Ups' are now CLOSED!!!
washer swap
Can you believe that it's already 3 weeks into Spring!!!

My first round of Spring plantings are soaring along and today while I tinkered in my garden, planning and planting my next round of seeds, I thought it was high time I hosted another little Spring themed Swap - has it really been 3 years since my last swap, WOW!!!

For this Swap you will be making 1 x washer (out of cotton) and posting it off to your partner accompanied by some yummy vegetable seeds (saved from your garden is fine as long as it's something that can be planted as soon as it's received)... You don't need to be experienced to enter this swap and I am more than happy to host a few 'how-to' posts for people out there wanting to learn the art of knitting/crochet as well as some links to my favourite washer patterns, both knit and crochet... 

 So, if you'd like to join just leave a comment (with email address) and I'll email everyone interested with more details when sign-up's close... 

 Sign-Up's close Tuesday the 1st of October and you'll have until the 15th to get your parcel in the post...

p.s... this is a separate Swap to my one running on Facebook...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Shearing and Rain....

We've been shearing here this week, definitely one of my most favourite times of year by a long shot...
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So with the smell of Lanolin still fresh in the air I'm itching to place an Order with Malabrigo for some more yummy Sock and Arroyo yarns... Before I do I thought I'd offer a 30% discount off each yarn for anyone interested in Pre-Ordering.... To Pre-Order simply email me, jellywares@bigpond.com, (or comment below) the shade(s) and quantity that you'd like. 

Normally $28, PRE-ORDER Sale Price $19.60!!!! 

You will not need to make payment until your Order is ready to be posted out from me in Australia - approx 3 weeks. Postage is $8.95 for up to 5 skeins or $13.95 for up to 15 skeins to anywhere in Australia. 

Pictured below from left to right (top to bottom) are the Arroyos shades available for Pre-Order; Archangel, Prussia Blue, Fresco y Seco, Marte, Purpuras, Natural, Indiecita, Sandbark, Reflecting Pool, Pocion, Vaa, Volcon, Plomo, English Rose, Azules, Arco Iris.
arroyo 
Pictured below are the Sock shades available for Pre-Order and from left to right (top to bottom) they are; Abril, Impressionist Sky, Lettuce, Indiecita, Ochre, Light of Love, Natural, Violeta Africana, Archangel, Cote d'azure, Terracota, Tiziano Red, Ravelry Red, Arco Iris, Eggplant, Marte.
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And because its been so dry round these parts for far too long I thought I'd share a picture of the view from our dog kennels from earlier this week when we received a very welcomed 34mm of rain in a couple of hours bringing with it plenty of run off... A saving grace for us here on the farm as many dams were starting to dry up.... 
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I so hope that if you needed rain at your place it came down for you too... :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Catching Up....

I've had a whirl wind of a month with medical issues but today, as I sit at my computer and type this post, I'm happy to report that I'm finally on the mend...

So, after a trip away to Sydney last week for health reasons I was delighted to return home and after collecting our mail from the week I was super excited to have a delicious parcel from Jane at 'Scarsdale' Station waiting for me... 

Jane is such an amazing woman who wears so many hats - she's a wife, a mother, a teacher, a gardener, a farmer, a cook and the list goes on... A true inspiration of a woman, and one that I am lucky enough to call my friend thanks to the blogging community... In the parcel which she so generously sent me was some of her delectable muesli....  
 jane 
This stuff is DELICIOUS!!!! I'm sitting here eating a big bowl full of it with a splash of yoghurt as I type this post - YUMMO! Thanks Jane!!!!!

Before I headed off to Sydney I got the chance to snap a few picks of what's been happening round my veggie garden to share with you all... First of all, the seeds I planted in my previous post are up - pictured below; lettuce, tomato, carrot...
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Another crop of beetroot is almost ready to harvest - a mixture of both 'golden' and 'bulls blood' have been planted this year... 
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We love pickled and roasted beets in this house and to keep my family fed with fresh beets throughout the Spring and Summer months I've decided to try succession planting this year. I currently have 5 different plantings of beets on the go, all of which are planted from seed 10 days apart. I have plans for another 5 plantings before the season in over - fingers crossed...
garden 3
I have also been striking some more heirloom grapes from cuttings - this lot are just starting to shoot. I'm still trying to cover the entire outside of my veranda (all the way around my house) with grape vines...
garden 4
My sage bush is going strong and I'm currently on the hunt for ways to use and preserve this deliciously scented herb - oil? cheese? soap? vinegar?
garden 5
A bush which I've grown quite fond of over the 5 years that its been growing in my garden is this 'curry' plant... It has an amazing aroma, identical to a curry paste/powder hence the name. I've been told that I can use it in cooking and I do but not as curry as it's flavour is nothing like it - to me anyway... I use it with thyme and rosemary and a little garlic and fry it with vegetables and it's delicious!!! Have you ever cooked with this herb before???
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Another thing that's present in my garden over the Spring months is potty lambs....
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My Millie is such an animal lover and has taken to raising this potty, Maxi, quite well...
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Nothing quite says Spring like a newborn baby lamb - don't you think?? :)

It's raining here at the moment so I can't wait to get back out in my garden this week to snap some more pictures to share... What are you growing??