Saturday, December 27, 2014

Santa Sack Swap

A big thank you to Cheryll for organising the Santa Sack Swap. Cheryll does an amazing job organising so many swaps. If you are keen to be a part of one, there is still time to sign up for her Valentines Swap. I'm joining in and I don't even celebrate Valentine's Day. The more the merrier.
Quite some time ago, I signed up for the Santa  Sack Swap which gave me plenty of time to get to know my partner Wen and make her a few gifts which I thought and hoped that she would like. Of course me being me, I don't have a picture of those to share. I'll have to wait until Wen has posted her pictures to share them with you.

Wen sent me a great Santa sack. Hope used it this year as her Christmas stockings are a bit on the small side or so she says. Inside the sack Wen included things that were just right for me. Thanks Wen.

An embroidered necklace. I've never seen one like it before and I'm quite impressed.

A wonderful little organiser/ notebook and pen. Perfect for a list maker.

And a zippered pouch in the loveliest bright floral fabric. The other items were a set of pot mitts, a KikkiK notepad and some cute coasters.

Wen is a clever clogs and has a sweet blog all about her adventures in crafting and cooking and life in general. Well worth a visit.


Secret Santa Christmas Swap

Firstly a big thank you to Chookyblue for organising this swap again this year. I know that her efforts are very much appreciated by everyone who participates. Thanks Chooky.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my swap partner Marica for sending me such lovely gifts and spending her valuable time making a gift just for me.

My ornament which I opened a couple of weeks ago is a rather cute set of angel wings. 

The main gift is a table mat . The red is quite Christmassy but it is the bluey-grey fabric that I am most taken with. Lovely!

 And a bracelet for me too. There was a package of Santa marshmallows but they are nowhere to be found and have like a lot of sweets, missed the photo opportunity.

Thank you so much Marica.

Of course you don't just receive, you give as well and it is just as much fun. My partner was Grethe who lives in Norway. I'm quite fond of Norway as one of my penfriends from my teen years lived there. I'd really like to visit, even more so after snooping around Grethe's blog.

I sent Grethe a babushka doll ornament and various bits and bobs.

As her main gift I made this table runner. I do hope she likes it.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Shopper's fatigue

Shopper's fatigue is what I  diagnosed myself with this evening. I've been out in town all day. My brain is addled and my feet are tired. I know I'm not alone in this predicament, because town was very busy and very hot and not everyone can be a hardcore shopper surely. Online shopping sounds more enticing all the time.

My remedy is a cup of tea, a quick and easy sweet potato soup for dinner and a turn around the garden.

 And a game of hide and seek in the corn.

Our little chooky, Hawkie, thinks we can't find here there. Actually I think it would probably be quite nice napping in the shade of the corn but I'm much too big for that.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hasty Post

 Between storms I'm writing a quick post. The lawn mowers are happy enough when it is fine but boy do they dislike the storms. I don't blame them. We had some severe wind a couple of days ago and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be out in it. Branches everywhere but no trees down.


My letterbox has been busy this week. Postcards in from postcrossing, penpal letters, Christmas cards and this lovely ornament from Shez. Shez included a few other goodies too and I'm very grateful. It makes me smile and I do wonder how I got to be so lucky to have such lovely and thoughtful friends. Thanks Shez.

What am I giving away today in the reverse advent? A Mollie Makes freebie kit which I'll randomly send to someone who I know has little girls who might like it. Glitzy shoe clips are not for me or my girls.
Bye for now

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Advent Giveaway day 14

I have been sticking with my give something away every day of advent. Mostly things off to the charity store. A couple of bigger items here and there to locals even a dozen eggs. It's a good thing, this giving stuff away especially if I know it is going to be useful to someone. In all honesty, I think I might not stop once advent is finished. I have more than enough.

Today, I'm offering this long stitch kit which has remained in my cupboard unopened and unstarted for too long. Babushka/ Matryoshka dolls are my cup of tea but long stitch not so much. It's just one of those things that in reality, I will never make the time to complete. I hope someone out there wants it.

 I'm willing to post it within Australia. It really isn't worth the postage costs to post overseas. All you have to do is be the first to let me know you want it. Email me here.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

New ornaments

I like to buy a new living tree each year to display the handmade ornaments I have received but thus far I haven't found a tree that I want to spend money on this season. So, the ornaments that people have made me are on the regular Christmas tree... for now.
This lovely cinnamon tree from Vickie was delivered on Thursday. It travelled all the way from Humpty Doo. I do love that name, Humpty Doo. Thank you Vickie one of my very first and best online friends.

A new crocheted snowflake from my #postcircle penfriend Joan in England. Thanks Joan.

A cute Santa Claus painted on a shell. This one didn't travel very far at all because Grace made it for me. Thank you Sissy.

I've shared this one before, it is from Marica who sent me a parcel via Chookyblue's Christmas swap. Thank you for the cute angel wings Marica .
I gotta do some weeding. The great rain we've had this week has given the weeds and grass a boost and they are reaching for the sky and ready to take over.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy Snaps

I'm very happy that I got to have some time in the garden today without the pressure of a to-do list and a schedule. That's the beauty of school holidays.
 Tomatoes ripening up. Yum!

The pumpkins have been absolutely relishing the stormy weather we've had this past week. There truly is something extra special about rainfall for making the garden grow.

Another gladiolus flower courtesy of the corms that Sharon sent me. Very pretty this one, not as bold as the red.

A tiny Turkish Turban pumpkin. Not the best tasting pumpkin in the world but pretty to look at and the animals eat them if we don't.

My first sunflower for the summer and she won't even look at the camera. I'm fairly sure this one was supposed to be a different colour but looks happy just the same.

Finishing off writing my Christmas cards and letters this afternoon and cooking a lasagne too.

Photographic Scavenger Hunt

My friend Joy and Eileen are organising a Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt and I think it sounds grand. So grand in fact, I'm joining in. I do like to take pictures after all. Naturally enough as I'm in the southern hemisphere, my seasonal pictures will be summery.

Here is the list:

1. Reflection in water
2. Someone wearing a funny hat
3. Ornate door knocker
4. Breakfast
5. Something that is over 100 years old
6. Winter weather
7. Someone dressed for the season
8. A fish
9. Festive lights
10. A letter shape in nature or in an object
11. Polka dots
12. Silhouette
13. Stained glass window
14. Partly built new building
15. Bunting
16. A collection (of anything)
17. Texture
18. Shadow
19. Street musicians
20. Nativity scene - compulsory and can't be substituted

If you find any of the above hard to get you may substitute one or both of the subjects below, except No. 20 which is compulsory.  Bearing in mind that you may be living in the southern hemisphere, you may also substitute summer weather for winter weather.

Alternative A - new life
Alternative B -  a decorated tree

To join in, just follow this link over to the sign-up page.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Don't blink, it's December

2014 has buzzed by in a blur. It's the same every year it would seem. These last two months of the year do seem to speed by quicker than the other even if it isn't the truth. It's blink and you'll miss it time. I'm doing lots blinking, my eyes are tired and a little sore. Just quietly, I think I might need spectacles so I'll have to have to make an appointment soon. I'm surprised I've made it this far without needing them. I do apologise to anyone receiving cards from me if my writing is more messy than usual.

Today was a quiet day at home which is really the best remedy for a feeling of being rushed. My mail box was a happy place. A penpal letter from the US, four parcels- two from penpals, one from my Chookyblue SSCS partner and Gary Kemp's book all the way from the UK.

I have been a slack gardener the past couple of days too. Storms have been passing through at odd times during the day and night so no need to water since last Wednesday. As much as I love my garden, it is nice to have a rest now and then.

What I am still doing is my advent challenge, giving away at least one thing a day this month.

I would dearly love it if someone would take this beastie and its cohorts off my hands but I wouldn't do that. AT the moment the nasty ladybirds are in controllable, squash-able numbers so the damage is minimal... thankfully.

What have I been giving away? Mostly things I don't need or want so it's easy. Unwanted clothing, books, DVDs, Christmas tree. Lamb milk.  My time.

I have a microwave oven languishing in the shed which I will probably pass along too but it's one of those things that I have an inkling that if I get rid of it, my own microwave will break down instantly. So silly!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014


The harbour is absolutely always a highlight for me when we visit Sydney. Usually we enjoy it by day but this time, we had the pleasure of a night time visit. Grace was listening to the wonders of the London Symphony Orchestra in the Opera House and the rest of us were sightseeing and people watching.

The London Symphony Orchestra was the reason for the trip in fact. Grace participated in a workshop and orchestra program with them specifically for young regional musicians. I tell you without  Grace's music, I would stay home a lot more. Another violin concert this evening as an end of year celebration.

 It looked a lot like Christmas everywhere. Even a LEGO Christmas tree in the middle of Pitt Street.

 A very pretty tree outside Customs House at Circular Quay. Not too busy there either which was nice.

And one of the countless 'trees' in the shopping complexes. Pretty but really kind of pointless.

The real highlight was coming home even if we did spend 2 hours in Sydney traffic before getting onto the open road and have to stop at McDonalds along the way. Home is best and gives me an extra burst of energy even if it is 12:30am when I get there. That burst of energy has deserted me now and I am playing catch up with sleep.

For my Reverse Advent ie give something away everyday challenge, I am giving away some lamb milk replacer. This is one I am definitely only giving to someone local, a big bag of powdered milk doesn't travel well I'm sure. I can't imagine anyone else would be giving away milk replacer for lambs.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent Challenge

Last week I read this post and it got me thinking. Could I do it too? Of course. The idea belongs to Street Bank and I think it is great.
I actually really like the Christmas season. The nostalgia, sentiment and the real giving, not just the crazy consumerism which believe me I witnessed first hand last week in Sydney.
Some things I will giveaway here via the blog, some I will just randomly give to people and some I will offer locally to friends or via Freecycle/ Gumtree. Whatever way, they will be given happily and freely with good wishes.
My thing to giveaway for advent today is a DVD. It's a region 4 DVD and I am willing to post it in Australia to whoever wants it and emails me first.
I'm liking this a lot already.

Garden Share

Where did November go in such a hurry? Certainly on the very hot days that we had it seemed to be dragging by but it was over in a flash. This post is my Garden Share post for this month and the last one for 2014. All the details about the Garden Share project are at the bottom of this post.

I have missed a few days in my garden this past month with day trips and a sojourn to the city as well and I can tell you that it is good to be back digging, weeding, watering and especially harvesting from my own little plot.

My area is still in drought but we have had 91mm of lovely rain this past month and some not so lovely hale. The minimum temperature was 8.9 deg C and the maximum 43.6 degC.

  • beans
  • tomatoes
  • tomatillo
  • chillies
  • capsicum
  • cucumbers
  • asparagus seedlings
  • basil
  • sunflowers
  • eggplants
  • zucchini
  • squash

  • spring onion
  • garlic
  • zucchini
  • asparagus
  • strawberries
  • spinach
  • carrots
To do in December
  • succession planting
  • compost
  • mowing
  • weeding
  • watering
  • enjoy the summer holidays
The Garden Share Collective is a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills. Creating a monthly community to navigate through any garden troubles and to rival in the success of a good harvest we will nurture any beginner gardener to flourish. Each month we set ourselves a few tasks to complete by the next month, this gives us a little push to getting closer to picking and harvesting. The long-term goal of the Garden Share Collective is to get more and more people gardening and growing clean food organically and sustainably.
The Garden Share Collective runs on the first Monday of each Month

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sydney bound

Leaving the men folk in charge of the farm for the next two days while I gallivant around Sydney. I very much hope that it is raining here at home while I'm away and not raining in Sydney because I will be enjoying the city on foot. Hope and I are going to have a blast and Grace is going to play her violin. Win win.

As I will be away, I won't have internet connectivity. That's what happens when you don't own a mobile phone. So I will catch up with all of you, my lovely friends when I get home. Probably after I have had a bit of a rest.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beating the heat

The predicted heat for today has arrived. My weather gauge is telling me it is 43.2 degC (109.76degF) on the veranda and I definitely won't argue with it. If I had a swimming pool, I'd probably be spending plenty of time in there keeping cool but as it happens, I do not. In an effort to keep cool and carry on, I've been up since before the sun  getting the outside chores completed. I'll do some more when the sun settles behind the hills later. The rest of the day has been mostly inside. It's the best way to beat the heat here.

I've also been sewing. A couple of lightweight shopping totes to send somewhere or other. I like a sewing and a lot of the time I like to make things that require thinking and measuring and careful cutting. Not today! Today it's the easy stitching kind that's best.

Card and letter writing  are absolutely perfect hot or cold weather pursuits. The post office is kept busy with the amount of mail that comes in and out of this house. In fact, if I have your address, expect a little card and note from me next month.

What I haven't done is bake. I need to bake something for the lunchboxes and for my trip on Tuesday. I'll do it when I have the oven on for tonight's dinner- pizzas. Why do I do these things? I should use the outdoor pizza oven but it is rendered useless in these high fire danger periods.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Time Poor

Time poor. That's been my story of late. In all honesty though I don't think I've really been doing a lot. Well not anything that is of great interest at any rate. I'll have to try to change that. I know, I'll take a trip to Sydney next week and then come home to celebrate my son's 21st birthday. That should do the trick.

Quite surprisingly given my homebody tendencies, I am looking forward to the Sydney sojourn. I'll get to visit places I know from my life before the farm and have a look at the sites of the harbour. I'm also planning on doing a spot of shopping and eating out. I guess I'm looking forward to a break from my real life. It's nice sometimes.


Monday, November 17, 2014


As I no longer have to go into town on Mondays, it has become one of my favourite days of the week. It's my day that I feel I accomplish the most. The house gets a good going over, I organise my week and I have a bit of time to myself after I work.
Today I've been busy doing all of the usual chores. I did my exercising early because if I leave it to later, it just might not get done at all and I really NEED to exercise.


 I planted out my 'free' seeds that arrived from Diggers. They are free in that I didn't pay for them but I pay a yearly membership and the seeds are one of the perquisites.

The zucchini are absolutely relishing the hot weather. There are a few zucchini ready to pick and plenty of flowers coming on. I'm sure in a month or two I will be regretting planting so many but for now I'm happy.

 I'm also quite happy with this gladiolus. The corm came all the way from Sharon's garden when we swapped dahlias (Sharon sent me gladdies as well). Thanks Sharon. The dahlias she sent are coming along too but no sign of flowers just yet. I'm looking forward to the surprise as I have no idea what colour or type they all are.

Once I log off here, I will be busy putting together my Christmas swaps which go out this week. I have had a nice time sewing all sorts of Christmassy things but I do think I will take a break from stitching anything red for a while.

Before I forget, I have done a menu plan for this week. Here it is:

Menu Plan
Monday- curry
Tuesday-? takeaway/ toasted sandwiches (I'm taking a short trip tomorrow)
Wednesday- pie
Thursday- Stir fry
Friday- Pilaf
Saturday- Zucchini slice
Sunday- Pizzas