Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Big boy!

Mannie is doing so well. The little man is now about a month old, and has such an appetite!

Of course it's hard to refuse this little face..... If you look closely you can even see his little horns starting to come through!
When he's not downing a stubbie full of milk, he's nibbling grass.
Mannie's having heaps of fun chasing the chooks and hanging out with the other sheep and goats. What a life!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I have competition, and new tenants.......

My darlin' and I went for a leisurely stroll down to our dam on the weekend. The kids were busy up at the house, DH had finished his chores (hence the grubby clothes and beer in hand) and we finally had some "us" time to have an uninterrupted chat. Or so we thought........... until a gorgeous blonde muscled in on my man!!!

She may be beautiful but she sure ain't too smart! Nothing a pair of wire clippers couldn't fix lol.....

Look who's moved in....... There must be a notice board in the animal world that has our address on it ..... These lovely geese have lived over the road from us for years, and have stayed on as various people moved in and out of the property. They seem to have decided that our dam looks pretty good after it's recent clean out and a good drop of rain. I think they're gorgeous.....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My new crafty blog

Yep, I've set up another blog, not to replace this one just to tidy stuff up a bit. This one was getting a bit messy so I decided to make a new one just for my crafty stuff. I have called it Clever Chook, not cause I'm vain but because that's what my darlin' calls me! I also hope it keeps me more focussed on making stuff, cause I'm thinking of setting up an etsy shop. Let me know what you think......

Friday, August 29, 2008

A new addition to my flock.....

On Tuesday I was sitting outside in the lovely sunshine, sorting a fleece ready for washing, when around the side of the house came my DH. In his arms was this beautiful boy! I must have smelt nice and sheepie because he snuggled in to me quite happily. DH found him abandoned after a fox had killed his twin. He was less than 24 hours old.Here he is watching DH prepare his bottle. At 4 days old he is drinking 6 bottles a day, 200 mls each. More than his own body weight almost!

Nutmeg made him welcome, washing his face for him. I have called this little guy Mannie. He is my only boy sheep ( hard to call anything this small a ram lol), and will be a nice friend for Pearl and Louie. They have been mothering him all day, but he sleeps in the bathroom at night.

Of course he sleeps a lot as babies do. What a sweetie......

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hey, this felting thing is pretty cool!

Yesterday I decided to have a go at using last year's fleece from Pearl. As we did the shearing ourselves the fleece was VERY bitsy, lots of short bits. It was also filthy with our red soil, and had loads of debris such as thistles, burrs etc. After some net surfing to find out how to do it and six washes later (next time she's having a bath!) the fleece was finally clean. I carded it to remove any remaining organic matter and then had a go at dying it. I used food colouring as it is cheap and easily available. I just wet the fleece, added the food colouring and zapped it in the micro for 2 mins at a time until the dye was all taken up. It was fun, and very messy lol.... BTW that is purple not black, I was a bit heavy handed with the first lot!

This morning I pulled it into little tufts and randomly placed it on the bubble wrap to begin felting a bag. I got the pattern for the bag from here ages ago.

Because Pearl's fleece was so bitsy my bag was different thicknesses in places so I will make a lining to strengthen it. I haven't decided yet how to do the handles.

Turned out ok for a fully homegrown amateur effort. The colours are different to what I'd usually use so it was fun to try something new.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Revamped felt cushion top

The cushion top I made in the felting workshop wasn't quite how I wanted it to be. The raw silk moon wasn't very visable under the felting. So I snipped away the felting, removed and ironed the moon and replaced it. I used the scraps of felted wool to make clouds and needlefelted it all in place. Now it looks right! Well, to me anyway....

Mongolian felt making, this is fantastic!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I learnt to felt today!

And it felt goooooood lol...... After many moons of reading felting books and looking at people's work on the net I finally had an opportunity to attend a real live felting workshop. It was so much fun, we made a cushion top and a scarf. Such a bargain, all the needfuls were included and so was lunch and morning/afternoon tea, all for $65! Here are my attempts.

The cushion top was inspired by my insomnia, so it is a cloudy night with a silk moon and some stars. The moon is a bit dodgy so I will probably add some embellishment to it to make it a bit more secure.
The scarf was heaps of fun to design, and I was pretty chuffed with the result.
The pic is a bit dark, it's a gorgeous rusty red with olive green vines and leaves. I am so inspired to do more felting now, thanks Cindy for teaching the workshop, and to Bron for letting me know about it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And there's even more!!!

I have been totally spoilt by Tan with a lovely rusty pinkeep and a sumptious melt that she made herself! It smells sooooo good....I wanted to show you the gorgeous cuckoo clock I received from my parents. It was my Oma and Opa's clock which they brought from the Black Forest in Germany about the same time I was born! Mum and Dad had it restored for me and every time the little bird pops out I grin, even at 4 am lol....

I was thoroughly spoilt by my lovely hubby, with dinner and a show on the Saturday night before my birthday. The show was fantastic, the local players put one on every year and it's all written and produced by locals. Lots of great costumes and songs with appearances by Abba, Gilligan, and the Beverly Hillbillies! The topic they chose was the development of a waste facility on prime agricultural land, one which we managed to block in the Land and Environment court! Great night! The catering is all done by community groups and the funds raised all go back into the community. My darlin' built me a new garden which am busting to plant out, and made me a rughooking frame. I also got a book on rughooking a hook and some soapmaking books. Boy am I going to be busy.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

But wait, there's more!!!!!!

Christina and Karen's parcels arrived this afternoon, now I am really spoilt!!!!

Christina made me a wonderful altered art wall hanging, with is personalised with pics of me! Love the red arrow pointing at the number 40 on the tape measure lol.....

Karen sent me a divine painted box with a gorgeous stitchery lid and some rusty goodies too. This has been a fantastic swap everyone, thanks so much ladies.

Happy Birthday to me, I'm a hundred and three!

Well, not really, I turn the big 4-oh today. I have been so spoilt by my family, and also by the wonderful girls in the P4P birthday club. Here's some pics of my loot!

From Relle, a gorgeous framed painted stitchery, two crow ornies and a lovely pumpkin scented melt which I have melting as we speak.
Lisa sent me a beautiful prim pinkeep, love the fabrics, and a cute little tape measure in a tin.
From Mill I received a lovely prim angel doll, how on earth did you get time to make her with the wedding? She's lovely! Amanda made me a fantastic art journal, so much detail, it's amazing. Must have taken ages!
And last but most certainly not least was the brilliant note book Leanne made me, love the recycled paper pages, and the altered art cover is divine, the poem is so sweet.
Thankyou all so much, I am feeling spoilt beyond belief!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


You may have noticed the cute little fish banner at the top of my blog. Fishpond is FANTASTIC! I have bought books from Amazon many times and I've finally found an Aussie alternative. This is a quote from their site.
"We guarantee that is Better than AmazonTM. If you order a book that is more expensive on than AmazonTM, we will refund the difference and give you a 10% account credit."
How cool is that? There's a huge selection and free shipping on orders over $50. And if you click on the banner on my blog I get a commission (now that's cool!). It's great to be able to support an Aussie business and reduce all those carbon emissions used to fly your parcels from overseas. Check it out!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Me 30 years ago.....

Finally found these pics taken around 1978-79, I've been meaning to blog these for ages. As you can see I had the same pets then as now! Check out the funky mini dress.... The first pic features Frankie the goat, the second one of many poddy lambs we cared for...

Look how grubby my jeans are lol......

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's cold!

Bit chilly here in the central west.... Good weather for snuggling up in front of the telly, with any thoughts of style thrown recklessly out the window - big-time! A perfect night for granny rugs, fingerless gloves, a drop of red and a daggy beanie. And of course a cat lol......

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Check out my buns lol.......

I recently bought a breadmaker and I'm gradually working my way through the recipes in it's manual. These buns started life as a fruit loaf, but guess who forgot to press the button to release the fruit into the mix? So I had to quickly salvage the dough and mix the fruit in by hand. They turned out pretty well after all, Braeden (13) ate most of them. Boys are just bottomless pits! Braeden has shot up by 5 cm (2") since Christmas!
Note my sneaky addition of the kitchen timer to the pic in the hopes that no-one would realise a bun was missing? Guess you know now lol... Had to show it off anyway, I loooove this timer. I picked it up at the op-shop a couple of weeks ago for $2. It is a 5 hour timer, made in great Britain by Smiths. Works a treat, and nice and loud too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bean burgers

Thought I'd share this recipe with you. I keep this in the cupboard for occasions when the carnivores in the family are having meat and three veg and I want something quick and easy for me. I always double the recipe....

Bean Burger Mix

½ cup chickpeas
½ cup soybeans
½ cup raw peanuts or sunflower seeds
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup pea flour (I used soy flour)
1 tbsp dried parsley
1tsp salt

Measure first four ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Using a food processor grind ½ cup of this mixture at a time until it is the consistency of dried breadcrumbs. Be warned this is extremely noisy!!!
Combine ground beans with remaining ingredients. Store mix in an airtight jar until needed.

To make 2 large burgers:
1 cup burger mix
½ cup water
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 clove garlic
1-2 tbsp oil to cook
Mix ingredients (except oil) together and stand for 15 mins. Cook over moderate heat for 5 mins each side, covering the pan to allow the burgers to steam and speed up cooking. Very yummy, especially on a burger with sweet chilli sauce and some sour cream...... yummmm.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My new chook-chooks!

I have 7 Isa Browns left from my rescue chickens, a few died of natural causes and Angel the cattle dog (who is anything but) finished one off. So it was time to get some more. Instead of propping up the battery hen industry by purchasing their poor worn out girls we decided to buy our new chickens from a reputable breeder. Last Friday we took delivery of my gorgeous new chickens.

They are White Sussex pullets. They are only babies so it will be a while before they lay. I have a rooster amongst them so hopefully we will have some chicks one day!
I rang my sister for her birthday and she told me what she'd ordered for my birthday in August. More chickens! They haven't hatched yet, so I won't get them for a while lol... We had chatted recently about Aruacana's which lay a blue egg, how cool is that? So Lisa is getting me six, yay!!!
Here's some info on the breed....

A very hardy and reliable breed, hens lay 180-200 pale blue to turquoise eggs per year
When the Spanish arrived in South America there was one tribe they could never subdue - the Aruacanas from northern Chile. But the local poultry crossed well with lighter Mediterranean birds. the new breed, with its unusual egg colour, earmuffs and beard, was first recognized in the mid-sixteenth century.
The pic is of Lavender Aruacanas (Sydney Royal Champion progeny). Mine are supposed to be lavender too, but they come in a few colours. May have to add extensions to the hen-house!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Well at least we'll be clean lol.....

Is it normal for one person to do so many different things? Most people seem to choose a hobby or three and concentrate on doing them well. Not me, I flit from thing to thing like a voracious honey-bee in a flower garden. I sew, embroider, spin, make soap and candles, do punch needle and rug hooking, make prim dolls, knit, crochet, make braided rag rugs, and so on. And that's not to mention the preserves, bread, pickles, jams, etc etc etc. I just love producing things with my hands. I may not be an expert at any one skill but I never get a chance to get bored! I am in full-on soap mode at the moment. It's becoming an obsession. First it was the olive and lavender soap with oatmeal and hemp. Now I have produced a massive 3. kg lot of canolive soap which I am in the process of hand milling, or re-batching, into different varieties. Merran (11) and I made chocolate and vanilla soap today, and tonight I made a batch of cinnamon soap. It has real cinnamon and cinnamon leaf essential oil in it. Yummo! I had no idea how long it would take to melt down the canolive soap, it took about an hour. The first batch we did in a saucepan over a low heat. I was stressed out thinking it was going to burn. So the following batch I did in the Pyrex jug over a saucepan of hot water. Took just as long but not as scary. Apparently it can be done by double bagging the grated soap and immersing it in hot water. I'll try that next time.
This is the canolive soap curing so it can be hand milled. Who ate the top of the bread? Hot bread is just soooo good.......If I can't get the hand milling process sped up I'll just make small batches of the gourmet soaps. I made extra of the canolive so I can use it to make my laundry liquid anyway. Hmmmm, wonder how long this phase of my creativity will last?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Busy, busy, busy......

It's been a busy couple of weeks since my last post. Of course the spinning has kept me busy as has a few weekend jaunts to my parent's place. Since then I have acquired yet another pet, this time from Geoff who we met through a great site - Aussies Living Simply. He was giving away a gorgeous Angora goat called Billie Jean, how could I resist?

Her fleece is mohair and should be a delight to spin. I have also been making candles and soap, I will show you pics of the soap when I cut it into bars. I made the candles from recycled old ones, they look pretty but don't burn terribly well. After a while they "drown" in the wax. Got a lot to learn there....

Off to peek at my soap, shouldn't really I know, but I can't resist!!!! Only made it today, from my parent's homegrown olive oil and lavender oil.... smells divine.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wow, what a pro!

Looking for spinning info on the net I came upon this, isn't it great! Something to aspire to lol......

The youtube member says this video is of Mrs Helen Maddrell (Isle of Man) demonstrating carding and spinning wool.(This was definitely filmed in 1938 - I have a letter written by her inviting my Grandfather to tea. And a letter from him in which he refers to the film of her spinning.)

Friday, May 2, 2008

How adorable is this?????

Ok I've got the spinning bug bad now.... I was op-shopping (thrifting) today and came across a gorgeous little upright wheel. What's a girl to do??? Yup, wheel number two was soon on it's way to it's new home. After a bit of research on the net I finally found a matching wheel. Here's a pic, mine is missing the Lazy Kate on the side (where the extra bobbins go) and only has 2 bobbins. I am lucky to have a very handy hubby who will surely make me a new LK, if I ask him right lol......
Isn't it cute? The real selling point for me was that the action is just sooooo smooth. I found out a little bit of info about the wheel - Bressay wheels were made from 1971 to 1975 by Rotorua Woodcraft Ltd, makers of all kinds of small wooden items. These double drive wheels were based on a 100-year-old wheel brought from Shetland. They are made from Fijian kauri (dakua) with a veneer wheel. About 2000 were exported to the UK, Canada, Australia, and a few to the USA. Now who wants to buy my other wheel? In perfect order, Ashford traditional $175 lol....

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm spinning around, get outta my way.......

No it's not the Kylie Minogue song I'm referring to, I have spent this evening teaching myself to spin! Not as easy as it looks, I'm tellin' ya....... I have had my spinning wheel for about 2 years now and finally got around to having a go. Thank goodness for the internet, I found some great videos and sites that are so helpful. Books just don't do it for me I'm afraid, gotta see and do. Check out my results, not bad for a first go. (Ok, maybe the second go, or was that the fourteenth?) Not quite sure why it bunched up like that on the bobbin but I guess I'll work it out.

I also found some great tips on this forum that has info on all sorts of fibre arts such as spinning, knitting, weaving, felting etc. Can't wait now to have some hands on instruction from a real teacher ........

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy blogiversary to me!!!! My 100th post.......

I am truly hopeless with anniversaries. My hubby and I actually forgot about our's this year until about a week later! And it was only our second lol...... how are we going to remember when it's our 20th? Anyway in keeping with my live for the moment concentration span I missed the anniversary of my blog. Yes folks it's been a year already! But I didn't miss my hundreth post, and this is it! Yay for blogging!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Crafter's toolbelt

I saw a great tutorial for this toolbelt here and decided I just had to have one! Now I have pockets for all my tools as well as the essential mobile phone and iPod lol....I have lost my mojo with sewing lately so I decided to get organised and tidy up the craft studio as well.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Project number one!

Here's my first project from the book I mentioned in my last post. These came up a treat and are so comfy. I might make the next pair a little smaller, I think I might have to felt these a bit more to make them fit my feet better. I tarted them up a bit with the button and topstitching, not too bad I reckon!

I did it!!!!!

Yay, I can make beanies!!!!! I came home from the expo very inspired with lots of ideas for new projects. So I finished my (Toddy's) beanie last night to clear the way for more creativity. I was pretty happy with it, and he loves it! Louie the lamb thought it smelt pretty good too lol.... I saw some skeins of handspun wool at the expo yesterday for $20 each, so that made my seven skeins for $3 a real bargain. There was some great stuff at the expo, and lovely people too. If anyone wants to check it out (Bron) it's on every day this week until 12 noon Saturday at Kinross Wollaroi school in Orange NSW. I left there determined to find a spinning teacher so I can make use of the coloured fleeces I've been given and eventually spin some of Pearl and Louie's wool. I am thinking of taking the girls to a coloured ram for a "sleepover" when Louie is old enough, much cheaper than buying handpun wool. I must learn to dye the white fleeces too, so much to do and so little time lol.... Off to check how my recycled jumpers are felting in the washing machine. I bought this book yesterday and I am keen to get started!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wonderful wool and fabulous fibre......

I am so into raw, natural fibres at the moment. I found this gorgeous handspun wool at an op-shop a while ago and decided to make Toddy a beanie.
He's been after a heavy, greasy wool beanie for yonks. I have only knitted scarves and one or two simple jumpers so the whole shaping thing is new to me. Oh well, worth a go. The wool cost me an unbelievably cheap $3!

I am off to a fibre expo today, I'm so excited.... I only had a very short time there last year and the goodies were divine, camel fibre for goodness sake! Never knew it was available! Can't wait to see what they have this year...... kids are on holidays but I managed to farm them all out so I have a whole day to touch and stroke and smell and..... ok I'm rambling but it's gonna be great!