Monday, February 28, 2011

That little bit of sewing

Remember I did some sewing the other day, and whipped up a cover my new toy (silhouette cutter).

Made one for my sister in law's birthday, which has now passed so I can share it here - I didn't want to spoil the surprise in case she happened to read my blog.

_MG_5810I guess I could have ironed it. ;-) I have a heap of tulle pom pom things that came on a hand me down shirt (god awful!) for the girls, which I cut up - singly they are very cute, so I stitched one on to show which was the front of the cover.

And for the sewing purists:  I couldn't find any black cotton.  I used a blue that matched the blue flowers on the fabric - which is real, old, proper retro fabric, that came from my mother's cupboard, and before that I think that it was in my grandmothers - destined for a house dress or something?!  (she died when I was six, some thirty years ago, so who knows just how long that fabric has been around!)

Man, sometimes I feel old, especially when I can say:  thirty years ago, when I was.... sigh.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Or rather, re-reading, this book for the I-don't-know-how-many-eth time, since 2007 (when I got it in the mail, signed and dated by the author!)

gar It wasn't a cheap book to purchase, being self or independently published, but if you are any sort of gardener, and living in areas of challenging gardening conditions, then you will love this book.

Full of images and wonderful stories from gardens on properties around western Queensland, whenever I go back and re-discover this book I am again given lots of ideas and inspiration for my own garden.  While I don't have hectares, I do have a large space, with the problems of bore water, and challenging soil types, as well as differing weather conditions to contend with.

If only I had a bobcat or my own little personal tractor and trailer to play with - but one of the challenges of living "in town" is that I can't just duck down the cattle yards for a load of manure when I want some, like I would if I lived out of town.  I have to wait, and plead, and go through complex negotiations with The Husband to bring home my requirements.

However, I am quite pleased with the very recent, albeit temporary, acquirement of a little trailer that goes behind my beloved John Deere mower, which makes the moving of mulch, and tree trimmings etc much easier (it holds around three wheelbarrow loads).

So, I am slowly reading my way back through this book, savouring each individual story (each garden has its own little tale) and re-examining the photos for ideas to solve my current gardening dilemmas...

Perhaps you will see some fruits of my labours soon, perhaps not.  It depends on the outcomes of some complicated negotiations! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mowing, washing and watering

We've just got home from being down in the city since Wednesday (well, to be specific, we got home yesterday afternoon) and this morning I started on attacking the rather alarmingly large pile of washing, and mowed the lawn.  I deliberately left the lawn un-mowed before we left, to try and conserve some moisture while we were away.  Boy, can I see the dry spots now that it is mowed! So sprinklers are running full steam this morning....

_MG_5903 I do enjoy looking across the garden once its all neat and tidy, and get all sorts of ideas in my heads about getting out there and doing some planting to fill in gaps, and starting new garden beds.  But I get these ideas when its stinking hot, and they don't seem to proceed much further...(see the empty spaces in the bed below...)

_MG_5904 While we were away we called in to see The Husband's brother, wife and kids, and while the kids were running around quite ferally  having a great cousinly catch up ;-),  I raided her garden for some things to help fill those gaps.  And came home with this little bundle of cuttings.

_MG_5908 A few different easy-to-strike (she tells me) plants, currently shoved in some water.  Everything appears to be in good health after the trip home, so hopefully they will survive my striking attempts.

One thing that seems apparent to me, after filling two trolleys at the supermarket before coming home:  we are going to have to become more self sufficient, or spend rather a lot more money on groceries and fresh produce. Without going too far into politics, this carbon tax they are gabbing on about will have a significant impact on the price of all food supplies, affecting all facets  - growers, manufacturers, transport - and if the bloke producing it doesn't go broke, the price of the end product will go UP.  Which means we all pay more for what goes on our table.

So this vegetable garden business has to get more serious.

_MG_5906 I couldn't get lettuce, broccoli or zucchini seedlings, which is a bummer.  I did get seeds, but seeds aren't as instant (I like brooding over my seedlings!)  I've spoken to The Husband as well about getting the vegetable gardens fully bird proofed, in a way that doesn't give the vege gardener the total grumps when it comes to tending the garden.

Right now it give her MORE than the  grumps, it inspires more than a bit of foot stomping and use of quite unladylike language.

So that is what is on my horizon in the next little while, doing some gardening, and hoping that it isn't too hot and too early for the seedlings I have bought.  I normally wait until April/May, so this will be quite an experiment to see if the seedlings can thrive.  I am trying capsicum again - they are the slowest growing and most annoying plant ever to grow, and every year I swear never to put them in again.  Last year I had a dreadful time with both cauliflower and broccoli - some nasty bug just annihilated them (the local ABC gardener guy on the radio is heavy on using urine + water to repell all nasties from the vegetable garden, so lets see if I get desperate enough to start collecting the family's pee every morning!)

Hooroo for now - off to tend to the washing and coo at my seedlings!

Monday, February 21, 2011

before and afters and being out of practise

Nicole emailed me this morning, wanting to play with one of the photos I took at the cubby house.  Here is a before, straight out of the camera, as I published it.  I am getting l-a-z-y. Live Writer has made me so!

_MG_5835 Here is the AFTER, which I was quite delighted to receive - a photo that I wasn't overly bothered with, suddenly was special!

_MG_5835what a difference!  and then she said I had to scrap it. 

Now, I can't remember how long it is since I have done any scrapbooking whatsoever (since before the Christmas School Holidays) so am feeling most out of practise.  And it shows.  I was originally going to do a double digi page using all of the whole of the cubby house photos, but seeing as apparently I can hardly take any photo without automatically tipping the camera sideways (ie portrait style) I gave up trying to use a template as a bad joke. (remember I am l-a-z-y!)

But instead, I came up with this:

big sister

I started off with this being about the how the cubby house came to be, and how it gets used, but when I ended up with just this photo, the story had to change. Sure, the cubby story will still get told, when I find or make a template to suit, but this story matches the photo.

Based on a CZ template that I butchered  changed a little bit.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

cubby house

Some time ago, my husband made a rash promise to "build a cubbyhouse" for the kids. Rash, as they hadn't ever forgotten that promise.  And neither had I, putting suggested building designs on the fridge to inspire his building creativity.(somewhat like the images below, although simplified)

imagesCA2W24WJ imagesCAPG7ZRD - Copy

I won't tell you his opinion on my subtle suggestions.

Anyhow, the blessed day came when he announced he had started building the cubby house! From an old cattle crate. Although the hope of a little verandah with ladder seemed dashed, the kids were excited, as a cubby is a cubby, no matter what.  Even though after the initial announcement, it took quite some time for the thing to be actual useable.

But it is now! (even though we need to make the floor, um, not dirt, with some rubber belting)

IMG_5837Always finding or acquiring stuff for free or in exchange for a carton of beer, or "take this away before I dump it" (you should see my back paddock, sigh)  The Husband had a nice pile of colour bond roofing cover sheets that he screwed onto the metal frame of the old cattle crate for the walls and roof. Some time with the cut off saw and welder, and he made windows and doors.

IMG_5839It backs onto the car shed, so he only had to wall in one side and the ends. It resides under a big old tree, near the sandpit and swings, and is furnished with spare school desks, and my old dishwasher, and other assorted "dead" household appliances.  Some weathered garden furniture sit outside in an attempt to give it some "rustic charm".

_MG_5835 Wonderful concoctions are created.  They even do "take away".

And other mischief occurs as well:

IMG_5831 Hammocks are hung for kitties, wether they like it or not!

IMG_5830All parties, human and feline, seemed quite entertained, so I left them to it.  Georgie came in five minutes later, desolate because the kitty wouldn't stay in his intended resting place. ;-)

I have some old sheer curtains to hang at the cubby, but am waiting for the belting floor to happen first.  Its never going to be clean and tidy, with the amount of sand cakes being baked, but the kids are happy - they have their cubby.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

a wee bit proud

Yesterday was our "small schools swimming carnival" where the three small one teacher schools, as well as the Distance Education group in our area, met for the annual swimming carnival.

_MG_5845 (3)

My kids are FAR from athletes in in way or form, but they do love participating, and are very water confident, in fact love swimming full stop.  I credit the little Intex pool I bought a couple of year ago for a lot of that water confidence, however they did love it before the pool came along.

My biggest girl, now being in grade three, had to swim all of the strokes and went in all of her races on the day.  That means 3 full laps of the pool (a looooong 33 metres) plus one half lap for butterfly.  Plus the two relays she went in...5 and a half laps!  (I think I'd be passed out half way up the first!)  This is a pretty big deal for a kid (and for most of the kids in the small schools) that only see the big pool once a week, and I am pretty certain she would not have ever swum a lap of that same pool ever - and they've not long been working on strokes etc.

Being the only girl in her age group, she got Age Champion, which was terribly exciting for her. (I told her should wouldn't necessarily get it , just because she was the only one!) However she did complete every race and tried her very hardest, and all with a smile on her face.


But what makes me that wee bit proud, is that she actually managed to BREAK A RECORD!  in butterfly of all things!  Butterfly is actually her best stroke, and as the race was 1. early in the day and 2. only half a lap,  the kids (she swam against another kid similar in age, who also was alone in his group) really powered up the pool. Like I said, she is not an athelete, and in fact she appears to have a lead bottom with most of her swimming - but NOT with butterfly!

And as for my other daughter, who DOES own a floaty bottom, and seems to have the making of a very nice freestyle stroke?  She swam her first little 1/2 lap race (freestyle) pretty much under water! and then did the same for the second!  Funny child! 

_MG_5854And just so you didn't think that I left him behind:  the cheer squad.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

He wouldn't stay at home

Despite my pleas that he was "too little to go to Kindy!" and that "I will be lonely if you aren't at home with me! who will I talk to? what will I do?!" he went off to Kindy with joy on his face in and a spring in his step.

A lot like his father, this child.  He told me that I could "talk to the dog and the guinea pig, and you can do jobs". 

IMG_5814Kindy is every Tuesday, 40km away, and it goes nearly ALL DAY!  This week was his third week, with the previous two weeks I picked him up early for swimming lessons. This week, due to the little pool being shut, I let him stay until finishing time.

It was such a SAD little boy that I found there.  We'd had a weekend filled with late nights, and he'd gotten up early on both Monday and Tuesday mornings (if the sun is up, and his eyelid is a crack open, its time to get out of bed!).  He fell asleep during quiet time at Kindy, and I have to admit, on the rare occasion that he sleeps at home during the day, he doesn't normally wake up cheerfully.  When he woke up at Kindy (they woke him) he was just sad sad sad.  Despite the efforts of his wonderful teachers, he was most woeful, even after the girls and I arrived.  You've never seen such a heartbreaking scene as this little boy trying SO hard not to cry,holding the sobs back, but tears welling and overflowing, when it was his turn to do a little song/puppet show with a little friend (five little speckled frogs, sitting on a speckled log, eating the most DELICIOUS flies, YUM YUM! one jumped into the pool, where it was nice a cool, then there where four little speck- led frogs.... is that in your head now, playing over and over and over? good!!)

We took the poor, overtired little man home. He had another little nap on the way, clutching his backpack (which he also cried over, as I didn't zip it ALL OF THE WAY SHUT).  He then didn't go to sleep until after 10pm that night.  I know, as when I went to check on him, as I do every night before I have a shower, he had this funny little smile on his face, and when I kissed him, he giggled.

But he still loves Kindy, and won't stay home with me. And he won't be allowed to have a nap at kindy again.  Best for all concerned!

Monday, February 14, 2011

all gone

For the past few weeks, these little rascals have been quite entertaining, and we have spent many a late afternoon lying on the lawn in the shade, with the specific purpose of playing with them.  Quite a nice way to spend time actually.

IMG_5818 (2)This little Blue Dog was my favourite - he concerned me for a little while that he was going to be too shy, too timid, the last to come out when we called them.  But with a lot of love and time on the lawn, he came out of his shell. And was the first to discover how nice it was to live at the house, under the back steps.IMG_5819  And this big girl, so very cheerful and happy, with such a destructive and thumping tail!  She'll do damage with that happy tail when she gets big!

There were two others, but I was slack and didn't get any shots of them before they left, but we'll be seeing one of them again - he went just down the road to friends - and to where his daddy lives! ;-)

And we'll be seeing this boy again too - my father in law took one look, and declared he was taking him home (I would have kept him myself if I could, I have a weakness for stumpy tailed blue dogs!)

IMG_5823 So now its awfully quiet when one comes to the back steps, with no wiggly little bodies there to welcome you with ecstasy, or run away with your thongs (only mine, no one else's) or lick your feet, and chew your toes.  Puppies approach life with such JOY and their affection knows no bounds. 

That being said, we really hope this will be the last litter.  Keeping a close eye on their mother and her behaviour, and any gentlemen dog visitors!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

the old fashioned way

an old fashioned scrapbook, sort of like the paper and glue version of tumblr and that new pin board thing I have heard about around the net. 

I like this video clip though.  Its Cute.


yes, indeed a random post, sort of in the light and fluffy /internet goodness vein, that I haven't done for awhile!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Too big

I bought a necklace and ring set as a gift - which I don't need anymore as I found something better and cooler to give to the recipient.

I like the jewellery, adore the ring, but I dunno...I am short and chubby (snort) in statue, and have fingers that have never ever been long and elegant by you, dear readers, think its too big?!

(please ignore the rainbow nail polish - tried out the birthday girl's nail polish, which is surprisingly very bloody long lasting, and we don't' appear to own any polish remover!)_MG_5813 (5)  It only fits on my ring finger (remember my stout and stubby fingers) which isn't so bad, as I am used to having a ring on that finger (wedding band).  When I wear anything on my other hand it gets in the way and I just keep fiddling with it all of the time.

Oh well, I can always wear it around home as I feed the chooks and mow the lawn! Or put it away out of sight and indeed give it as a gift for someone's birthday or Christmas gift!

Friday, February 4, 2011

my sewing machine is in shock

I've used it twice in two days!  Let me show you a before shot:

_MG_5806 (2)New electronic cutting toy there on the shelf - getting dust and gecko poop in it just by its very location.  And if I stick it in a drawer, it wont' get used.  So a solution was needed.

_MG_5808Ta-daaaah!  Dusted off my rusty sewing machine, dug through a very large box of very neglected fabrics, and decided to "bugger it" and cut into this pretty, new and not-cut-into-yet, fabric.  Its a drill weight, and I am pleased that I used it as its a bit heavier and sits nicely in position, on the machine. I like the slightly retro flavour of the fabric (and why can't they use this sort of drill on my work shirts?!  It would be so much nicer to sit behind cow's bums wearing a nice floral drill shirt rather than ordinary plain ones, would it not?!)

I was so pleased with myself that I have today made another cover as a gift, slightly fancier, and have plans for another as well.

Sewing machine in slight shock.  And because I am finding this cover thing so easy and so much fun, I have eyed off the sewing machine itself and think it needs its own pretty cover!  (hope the rainy days hold out!)

She is eight, and other ratbags

Whew! a lot has happened this week!  You remember last week, the big girl in this family turned eight? here she is, on her birthday morning:

_MG_5798Yep, straight out of bed and into the pressies. (and bearing the remnants of Australia Day tattoos).

Photos for the day are pretty light on. Someone let the camera battery go flat, and didn't have another one charged. However, I did manage to get this one:

_MG_5803The kids exploring down at the creek, where we had morning tea with family. As you can tell, the water level had dropped a fair bit in the week between visits.

I also was told by these ratbags, that they needed some attention too, not just their big sister. Ratbag 1:

_MG_5802 (2)and ratbag two (who did his first day of kindy ever on Tuesday, and who would not let me take a good photo. I plan to sneak one on his next kindy day!)

_MG_5801I think the jarmies really suit him. Monster indeed!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


my sister in law doesn't want to see any more cyclone images (and yes, I am over it, I would like some rain now, thank you very much) and due to my camera batteries BOTH being flat, I don't have much to share.  However, I am about to embark on a little project....

DSC_0106_thumb[1] a dust cover for my new Silhouette toy. Possibly I should be using it instead of making the cover, but not in the right mood...instructions are HERE if you want to make one for yourself (source of image as well).

I did have a fabric selection dilemma, but seeing as both batteries are flat for the camera, it is one that I will have to resolve for myself!

(PS still windy but not bothering us greatly!)

not faring too badly!

Woke at 3am with strong winds, went back to sleep.  The winds have increased from about 6am, with some, but not MUCH like predicted, rain (just quietly, we were looking forward to a couple of inches of rain!).  According to the B.O.M, we are within the area of "damaging winds" but apart from a lot of leaves on the ground, and a few broken branches, we are not feeling it too much! (apart from kids going stir crazy already! I have just allowed them to don raincoats and scamper over the shed to play with the puppies...)

So, for those map loving folk, here are the details:

thur am I feel for some good friends of mine, who live on stations right about where that big 2 is right now!  Remember we are west of Charters Towers, near Hughenden, so we are within that nice pinky coloured region at the moment.  Winds are gusty, have long periods of strong wind and driving rain, but then it almost calms.  But nothing too scary, or unlike a normal "storm" apart from the length of time is has been going on for!

sat thur amIt certainly has picked up speed since jumping over the coast last night, travelling very fast now.  Hopefully as it passes we might get some more rain, currently barely enough rain to even water the garden!

I'll take some photos later on, but really, there isn't all that much to see!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Starting to Get Busy

and taking things a little more seriously...just in case! Battening down the hatches, as much as one can - picking up crap, things that might blow away and so on.

IDQ65003IDE00035_201102012130The cloud mass doesn't seem quite as wide in this image, but perhaps its tightening up a little.  Anyhow, off to wander around the garden and see if there are any other things that need putting away, husband is busy on forklift shifting all of his accumulated CRAP, lord knows he has much metal stuff that could be deadly if indeed the wind does get here.

I'll come back again later with a report from the now WARNING zone! ;-) 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'm not worried....yet...


I live in part of the orange area, west of Charters Towers. Normally a cyclone doesn't bother us too much, with the buffering factor of the Great Dividing Range blocking up most cyclones - normally we western folk don't mind a good rain bearing cyclone! However, due to the sheer width of TC Yasi...well even if it just touches the coast, they expect it be felt inland. Look at her spread in the satellite image. (hey does this picture remind you of that movie with Dennis Quaid and the big snow storm and he had to trek into New York to rescue his son sheltering in the library?...or not!)IDE00035_201102011030 So we have done a few little things to get prepared, although not having had to deal with cyclonic winds ever before, I am not sure quite what we can do.  My list includes: take down fairy lights (don't want them blown around and wrecked, they are new!) relocate mini-pig cage when and if the wind picks up, and re-arrange the shed so both vehicles can be parked properly inside. Push the kids trampoline up against the side of the shed - and maybe tie it there.  And as for the wind worthiness of house and outbuildings, well we shall see if it gets to that stage.

I guess I am a very laid back Aussie with the "nah, she'll be right, won't get here" attitude, however Council and Education Dept are obviously in slight panic mode - with school being cancelled for the next two days! (never mind that we are not meant to have any affects at all tomorrow!  so the kids could at least be at school then!) but they are overjoyed at the bonus two days off school.  Oh well, they can help run around and pick up their crap so should we get a bit windy it won't end up a missile.

I'll update with more exciting BOM pics tomorrow, for your cyclone tracking enjoyment!

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