Catching up

Well after a restful wet weekend I am back into my usual cleaning and house tidying routine today. The in laws flew back to the UK on thursday and we had a public holiday on friday so the kids were home and it was raining. Today is the first chance I have had to get things back in order. Cleaning really fell by the wayside with guests in the house. They spent quite a bit of time reading books or snoring on the sofa. I felt I couldn’t really barge in with the dyson blaring at full whack and ruin their peace and quiet. I am happy now the house is all back to normal. I even managed to catch up on some blogging and try a new crochet pattern, these little granny squares from Lucy’s great tutorial at Attic 24.

crochet granny squares

I did a few of these while waiting at the doctors with my my daughter. Such a great portable little project for when you’re out and about. I’m not sure what I will make yet, maybe a cushion.

crochet granny square

We had a wet weekend which was good as we needed some rain to top up our water tank. With seven of us in the house it was dropping steadily and I was starting to worry how we’d manage during the dry season. We have more guests turning up in a couple of weeks (family of 5!) So the rain was a good thing and the tank is now overflowing. I placed a laundry tub under the overflow to catch the excess, which I will use to fill up the chicken’s water container.

collecting rain water

It was nice to just chill out at home and enjoy cosying up watching movies and playing cards with the kids. They love the game ‘go fish’ and will play it for hours. Its easy enough for the 6 year old to play, and entertaining enough for the older ones too. No weekend would be complete without a spot of baking though, I made this yummy, sinful white chocolate and raspberry slice, gluten free. This is mine and hubby’s favourite.

IMG_5413 whist chocolate and raspberry slice

On sunday we made a rare trip to the movies to see Jurassic World. I thought it was going to be awful, after the last jurassic movie sequel, but I really enjoyed it. Very similar to the original Jurassic Park movie, with some almost identical scenes, but very entertaining. You can pretty much guess from the start who is going to get eaten. The story is predictable, the lab nerds create a ‘super dinosaur’ from a cocktail of DNA selected from the scariest, fastest, smartest, meanest, biggest dinosaurs, with a few other bits thrown in. Of course this monster dino figures out how to escape its enclosure and creates havoc on the island (I’m not spoiling the movie here, its obvious from the get go). Of course there are a few raptors and T-Rex thrown in for good measure. All good family fun. We came home and had scrambled eggs on toast for dinner! Not our usual sunday fare, but it was quick and easy which suited me, and no one seemed to mind. Our chooks are laying heaps of eggs now, so it was great to use them up and eat them fresh. We had 11 eggs today, the most so far.

free range eggs

eggs drying on the draining board. While eggs and the nesting boxes are clean, chicken’s feet are not.

After all the cleaning and house organising today I took my daughter down to Caloundra for her gymnastics class. I did my usual walk along the coastal pathway which I can fit in before dark. Its such a nice time to be out. The light is slowly failing and the shadows are long. There are a few couples and families out walking dogs, jogging, cycling or kicking a ball around. Its a very nice way to end the day.

bulcock beach

In this next photo you can just see a Kangaroo on the beach in the distance. I stood watching him for a while hopping along, then stopping to graze. I see him every week. Its probably not the same one but I like to think it is.

kangaroo on beach in distance

The coastal path connects Bulcock Beach with Kings beach via this boardwalk that juts out over the rocks. There are steps down to the rocks and little patches of beach where you can hunt for crabs and shells.

caloundra coastal path

Kings beach is pretty much deserted, except for the odd fisherman and surfer.

Kings beach caloundra

 

Bulcock beach caloundraIt was almost dark when I got back to the car. I made a quick trip to Woollies for the groceries, picked my daughter up then headed home for dinner. Bolognaise tonight, made earlier in between the school run and gymnastics run. Just call me super mum!
I hope your weekend was a good one.
T x

 

Advertisements

My blog anniversary

This sort of crept up on me. My blog anniversary was actually yesterday! I knew it was coming up, but we went away last week, and the in-laws are still here visiting, so I’ve really been off the ball with blogging lately. I have made no plans for celebration as yet, but in the meantime I thoughtI would reflect on the past year and what we have achieved here in my little corner of the world. My first ever post a told of our exciting plans for our tree change, and how we might actually do this one day. I remember being so nervous when I hit the publish button. Here we are one year later already 6 months into our new life in the country.

view of the country

Our change has made us the proud owners of 10 acres, a house, a dam, 14 chickens, a dog and a ride on mower.

acreage life

IMG_4939

The girls like helping dad do the ‘farm jobs’ as they get to ride in the trailer

acreage duties using ride on mower and trailer

We have experienced floods, snakes in the house, 96% humidity and the hottest nights ever. No cold weather yet though, which is lovely as I mind the cold terribly.

flooded land, sunshine coast

carpet python in the kitchen

The python that turned up in our kitchen

It has been hard work, managing the land by clearing the lantana that bordered the entire fringe of our property. We are almost there with it now and hope to get a few head of cattle soon, perhaps 4, and see how we go. We built a chicken coop, adapted from an existing outbuilding that was previously an animal shelter. This was serious hard work, hammering in endless nails in the heat of summer. I built the door! And it hasn’t fallen off yet!!

chicken coop

Now we are reaping the rewards as our lovely chickens are finally providing us with eggs, averaging 8-9 a day at the moment.

free range chickens

fresh free range eggs

collected fresh today, lovely eggs

It has been a great experience, with more adventures to come. I am hoping to get back into a proper routine with blogging, and visit all the lovely blogs I like to follow more regularly. I seem to spend my days doing chores and errands, leaving little time for anything else. I think its time for change of a different kind, and focus on why we actually left the city and came here in the first place. I really must get that veggie patch growing! I also really want to continue with my craft too. I have had a few projects materialise over the past year. Some of the most viewed posts are the recycled t-shirt crochet basket and a toadstool, super cute knitted mini toys, and the knitted bunting.

crochet project

half finished basket with cut up t shirt yarn

crochet toadstool

knitted toys

A rainbow of cuties

knitted bunting

Some of my favourites have of course been the tapestry crochet dishcloths and the crochet snake!

crochet snake

crochet snake finished

tapestry crochet dishclothsI have only achieved 48 posts in the past year, but its nice to look back and see just how much you can do in one year.

A big thank you to all my lovely followers and commenters. I do love your comments and enjoy visiting all your blogs. I love the endless source of motivation and inspiration I get from reading all your posts. Here’s to another year of blogging!

Five on Friday – country life update

Hello there, joining in with Amy from Love Made My Home for five on friday, this time I thought I’d give 5 snippets from my week.

Fresh produce
I came home yesterday to a this box of fresh fruit on my doorstep. My neighbour had stopped by while we were out and left us some surplus produce from his place. There were bananas, passion fruit and limes all from his trees. The passionfruit have filled my kitchen with the most beautiful scent, they smell delicious.

fruit box from neighbour

Our very own chooks
On tuesday we went out and finally got our chooks! So exciting. It was a bit of a debacle as we had to catch them, and we wanted 14! Thank goodness I took my hubby with me. I was hopeless and only managed to catch one, while he got the rest. He has a broken nail and scratches up his arms as a result. I ended up falling over and landing on my backside in the chook poo. I’m sure the chook lady had a good laugh at us city-folk turned wanna-be farmers trying to catch these hens. They are a couple of weeks off laying yet, but when they do we certainly won’t go short for a while.

chooks in the coop

The kids are loving the chooks and after school they run down to the coop to see what they’re up to. We have to keep them in for a week or so before we can let them out to free range. They seem to be happy though scratching and pecking about, and making little hollows to wallow about in.

brown and black chooks

Growing
We have quite a bit of our own produce growing at our place. I had a little walk around to inspect what was happening and was surprised to see the sweetcorn doing well, despite zero attention from me. It has been so hot here, the hottest march for 60 years they say, and very little rain since the cyclone last month.

sweetcorn growing

The lime tree is bursting with fruit and the limes are full of juice, I have been using them in salad dressings and adding fresh coriander to my salads and the flavour is wonderful.

lime tree

We also have a papaya tree and the papayas are huge! Unfortunately none of us like them, but my neighbour does so it will be our turn to leave him a gift at the door soon.

papaya fruit on tree

We have a tiny mandarin tree that is also bursting with fruit, just look at these! I love mandarins and can’t wait for these beauties to be ready. Won’t be long now.

mandarin tree

Crochet
I finally finished off the babushka doll. It didn’t take long in the end, I just had to get motivated and find a quick half an hour to get the sewing-up done, then added the flowers, hair and face.

crochet babushka doll

I decided to add a white bow for her scarf, but I am now thinking I should add a white trim around the base of the scarf too, to tie it all in. What do you think?

crochet babushka side view

I purchased the pattern online here. I made the larger version to the one pictured on the pattern link.

Time out
I felt really washed out yesterday and ended up enjoying some time out with a cuppa, some chocolate and my magazine stash. I love leafing through magazines and can’t bare to throw any of them out, no matter how old they are. I really like Home Beautiful and I bring these out again and again and just flick through, re-reading some of the stories, and getting inspiration for my own home.

magazines tea and chocolate

Most of the products and homes displayed in these mags are way out of my budget. Many of the home owners featured are displaying their second home, or ‘weekender’ which is renovated to perfection with high-end finishes and endless marble bench tops. I sit there imagining what their lives are like, walking through their amazing house and stepping onto their deck overlooking the sparkling water somewhere on Sydney’s northern beaches. Jealous? Me? Actually no, we have made our own paradise here overlooking the peaceful countryside, with our chooks and our fruit trees and the frequent wildlife visitors.

our piece of paradise, acreage land

6am early monday morning shot over the side paddock, still a bit misty and very dewy

Happy days 🙂
Thanks to Amy for organising this blog link up. If you would like to join in next time please click the image below which will take you to Amy’s blog where you can find out more.
Have a lovely weekend 🙂 T x

Time out

tewantin marina

Sunday lunch at Tewantin

Hungry Pelicans

Hungry Pelicans getting a free feed

stingray

A stringray drifts past the jetty

gluten free chocolate lava pudding

Homemade gluten free chocolate lava pudding for Valentines day dessert

crochet

Some chill out crochet time

I don’t know about you, but does this year seem to be going quick? The weeks are whizzing by, the weekends are a blur, and we are hurtling towards the end of February already. Where does the time go? I am enjoying my new stay-at-home-mum status, but I feel I am disorganised. I thought having all three kids at school would give me plenty of time to pootle around, get chores done and get a whole heap of craft projects done but no. The lack of a strict work routine has left me feeling like I’m chasing my tail not knowing where to start. Moving into a new house has given me lots of things to fix, paint and clean (oh the cleaning!). Tradesmen are in and out doing various jobs. Its full on!

So, Valentines weekend was a time to sit back and treat ourselves to a day out and a special family lunch. I even managed some crochet time. After all, the cleaning can wait, I’m not working to a deadline, and it will all get done eventually.

Here’s to a chilled out week xx

Recycled T-shirt basket and a crochet toadstool

Hello there! Well, kids are back at school today and we are slowly returning back to the normal routine. Even though we had the kids home for the holidays I managed to get a few crafty things done. I finished my first crochet project, the amigurumi toadstool, using the pattern supplied for free at annabooshouse.

crochet toadstool

I am so pleased with it, despite the odd little mistakes here and there. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to get photos before my girls played with it, took it to bed, and then took it to school today! I had to snatch it back for a quick photo opportunity when they came home. Its looking a bit bobbly in the picture. My daughter made the little mushrooms with a bit of help from me. It was such a gloomy day today it was hard to take nice pictures.

crochet toadstool

My next holiday project was inspired by Heike at made with Loops, who shared a free pattern to make a basket. Her creations are lovely, my efforts do not do her pattern justice at all. You should definitely check out her blog. Unfortunately I had no chunky t-shirt yarn for this basket project so decided to improvise and cut up some old t-shirts I found during my school holiday clear out to make my own yarn.

t shirt yarn

Cutting up one of my old t-shirts to make continuous yarn

I actually used up almost 6 t-shirts to make Heike’s small basket. I ran out of the royal blue colour with only half a row left to go, so had to add in a darker blue to finish off.

crochet project

half finished basket with cut up t shirt yarn

I am pleased with the result, although the seams in the t-shirt made it look a bit scruffy, but its a great size for a project basket which is ready to go when you’re out and about.

crochet basket

 

crochet basket being carriedAs a complete crochet novice it really wasn’t too hard to do. I might try another one with the nice proper yarn that Heike used, and maybe tweak the pattern a bit to make the handles smaller. See, I’m getting quite confident with this crochet malarky already!

crochet basket with wool

I Hope you enjoyed my holiday projects!

Tx

 

Gluten free shortbread and a crochet project

I don’t know where the time has gone, these school holidays have been busy. During the past week and a half I have experimented with some gluten free recipes, and also learnt to crochet! Yes me! Avid knitter, afraid to go near a crochet hook because it all looked too hard, and here I am crocheting an amigurami toadstool! More on that later, first I will share my gluten free shortbread experiment.

IMG_3759

I am so pleased with how these shortbread stars turned out, and the recipe only has three ingredients and is very easy. These biscuits were wonderful and buttery, and we could not tell they were gluten free. Kids loved them too.

Gluten free shortbread Ingredients
100g butter (I used unsalted)
150g Gluten free plain flour (I use macro organic – I get the best results in all my baking projects with this flour)
50g Caster sugar

Method
Cream butter and sugar
Add flour gradually, then use hands to bring together into a ball
Roll out to about 0.5-1cm thick, depending on how you like your shortbread
Cut and place on lined baking tray
Bake in 160 degree oven for 15-20 minutes
Sprinkle with sugar while cooling.

shortbread dough

dough ready to roll

shortbread stars ready to bake

I sprinkled these with icing sugar before baking hoping to get that dusty look but it didn’t work.

These shortbread biscuits would make nice christmas gifts, packed up and tied with some ribbon. You can substitute gluten free flour for ordinary plain flour. Enjoy them with a cuppa. As usual I couldn’t stop at one.

tea, crochet and shortbread

To distract my attention from the shortbread, I got busy with the crochet. I have never crocheted anything until last week, when me and my daughter made some crochet flowers. It was a bit tricky, but we managed to make some 5 petal ones, although my pink one ended up with six petals, not sure what happened there.

While browsing my favourite blogs, Heike at Made with Loops posted some lovely friday finds, and one of the finds was a pattern for a gorgeous amigurami toadstool by Sarah at Annabooshouse. I decided to give it a whirl, despite my minimal (i.e. non existent) crochet knowledge. Well see my progress below – not bad for a complete beginner! I’m about half way through. I learnt how to do the magic ring, single crochets and decreases from various youtube videos.

crochet

I will update you on my progress and the finished project. Sarah offers many of her gorgeous patterns for free, and also has an Etsy shop.  Go and check it out.

Lastly, I thought I would share my photo of the beautiful sunset we had tonight. I found a ‘sunset’ setting on my dodgy old compact camera, and the photo is not too bad. I normally miss these sunsets as I’m in the kitchen at this time and it faces the wrong way. Luckily I caught this one while taking the bins out. My life is so glamorous!

sunset behind trees

Hope you are all having a good week. We are off on a day trip to the Blue Mountains tomorrow.

Tx

Knitted bunnies

I’ve been busy lately with a cute project of knitted bunnies from a lovely knitting book I borrowed from the library. I love my local library, it has a nice stash of knitting and crochet books. This one is ‘Soft toys: 36 characters to knit and crochet’.

knitting book image

I haven’t quite mastered the art of crochet yet, but plan to one day. My mum and grandma taught me to knit when i was about 8 or 9 I think. I taught my daughter to knit when she was 7, and she is getting quite good now. I love the idea of passing on the old traditions from mother to daughter.

The knitted bunny patterns are for 2 sizes, and are so easy to make, ideal for a novice knitter, all done in stockinette stitch with some basic increases and decreases for shaping the body and ears.

They don’t really look like proper bunnies, but you could always change the stitching on the smiley face to look more bunny-like.

 

knitted bunnies IMG_3634 IMG_3636

I quite like them as they are, but you could do a few different designs of your own. Anyone else knitting toys? What is your latest knitting project?

Happy Knitting!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin