...Homemade Rainbows...

Friday, August 29, 2008

a stolen moment

Usually before our dinner in the afternoons, after Kyle gets home, we spend some time just "being outside" together. We chat... I may potter about just looking at my patch, pulling a weed or two, daydreaming or just watering (this is how I get to know my garden best).....or we simply sit and watch the little ones play (wildly) with a wine in hand before the chaos of eating, bath and bed time. Why is this time so turbulent? You can imagine, not to my later benefit (I take a while to learn) that we enjoy this "outside" time so much we prolong it often.

Today after a busy week of settling home, catching up on laundry, restocking a very empty pantry, back to kindy and replacing lost belongings I stole a moment by myself. Just a moment amongst all that I have in mind that I should and would like to be doing right now.

I stepped outside to renew our fresh jasmine blossoms that are adorning every room. Our house is thick again with it's sweetest perfume, as I anticipated it would be.
I will enjoy it's enticing reminder of Springs coming.

I know we will steal away again today, after everyone returns back to our nest this afternoon, for more outside togetherness to start our weekend.....just don't tell them I've already had some with myself.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Early spuds.....

and a good lesson in rearing them in my cages. I prematurely dug up my first potato experiment sown back in April. The tops were dying down and I was dying too just to see what had been going on down there....so I upturned the mesh and sieved through all that moist rich sweetness with my hands to see what I could find.

As you can see, and as I have a little chuckle, not much, just a few cream and brown bundles..... Not unexpected, as store bought spuds aren't so great and well, being an experiment I learned half way through that I had only done things half way right this time. Gardening....it's always the teacher right?

My seed potatoes are growing at a rapid rate.....actually faster than I can keep layering the sheep poop, compost and mulch, and I have put in two more cages in my "staggering the harvest" plan. I still have about half a dozen to go and am almost at a loss about where to squeeze in all my cages.

And as for this experimental harvest.....it may have been a small indulgence but it was still a sweet result especially when mixed straight from the garden with some garlic and rosemary in my oven. Sweet indeed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We found it.....

... at the other end of our search for some breathing space. We found a speck of escape, a momentary fragment of the serenity we needed in a very beautiful and quiet corner of the earth.
Salty air, smooth velvety driftwood and just too many shades of the most perfect aquas and azures to steal my breath away......
Warm sandy feet......
Cold nights, roasted marshmallows and warm beds to snuggle sleepy bodies into.... almost asleep before touching the pillows....
Fossicking alone on long stretches of beach for shells and the smoothest ocean washed pebbles.... exploring rock pools listening only to the orchestra of wind and crashing waves.....sun, pandanus and bright yellow paper daisies.....looking down from climbing a headland and seeing only my beautiful boys highlighted on creamy sands.
Nature provides.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A winner out of the Bowl.....

I've plucked a winner from the "bowl of unknown origin"!

And...that person is......

Kelly from Two Peas!

Thanks for entering Kelly (and everyone). This was actually really difficult... to draw just one name! Next time I think I should put together a bunch of goodies so everyone can have something. This little tradition has shown me that I have grown some attachments to my fellow blogging "travellers" and I've discovered some great new blogs....all a very good thing. Thanks for reading!

We are escaping the rat race tomorrow for a little bit to re energise, reflect and relax but I'll be back soon enough next week. Take care all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ciao Limoncello.....

Well those past bags of lemons have gone to more good use....
This Mama has made one of her favourite liqueurs (in readiness for summer and some serious alfresco eating and playing)....Limoncello!

It is not as traditional (butt kicking) as I would like because here in Australia you cannot buy 150+ proof grain alcohol unless you are planning on leaving the country and therefore grab it duty free....and seeing as that's not happening anytime soon I made mine with 40% vodka (grain alcohol anyway) and it tastes really authentic, just without any super kick which is not a bad thing as you can then easily enjoy more than one glass.

Here's how I made mine.....

Thinly peel 8 or 9 lemons. I used 9 and next time I will use more....the more the better I actually think. Be really careful to avoid the pith as you don't want your drink to be bitter.
Pop it all into a large jar with the alcohol for one week. Shake it every day to help the alcohol suck all the fragrant oils and flavour out of the peel.
After a week it should be quite yellow and the peels should have faded considerable. The higher the alcohol content the better...the more it will "strip" the peels.
I heated 5 cups of water with 3 cups of sugar until the sugar had completely dissolved and then allowed this to cool. Then you strain your alcohol from the peels and add it to this mixture. If you add it while it's hot you will lose a lot of your alcohol to evaporation. Your mixture will probably turn a cloudy yellow at this point...mine didn't but I'm guessing it's because of the lower alcohol content. I'm going to play with this recipe next time and in additon to using more lemons I might try adding less water.

Pour your liquid gold into bottles and store it in the freezer. It will keep nice and thick there.....Yum. This is how it should be drunk....ice cold and syrupy.

It's so summery and so Italian......well I can almost pretend I'm there....

A note on the giveaway:::

I'm going to draw a winner tomorrow....we are off on a whim in search of some tranquility from Thursday.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Drive....

Today we escaped......armed with these goodies.....lemon, mint and barley salad (using my very own preserved lemons...delicious!) and fresh baked caramel pecan scrolls.......

to here, "the Farm" aka Pottsville.....yep home of those luscious lemons......
We escaped in search of Grandma and Grandad ( who reside there part time as owner builders of the almost finished house on 5 acres in the above photo), some sunshine, time and peace.

We found.....
Flowers to crunch play and roll in and trees to climb......

Faeries and faerie houses... magic in the forest to let our imaginations run wild with joy..... (you may recognise the gumnut beanie which has been claimed by the girl)
The rest of that hand planted rainforest to explore, listening to birds, touching and smelling bark and leaves, watching tiny fish in the dam.....seeing how things have grown and changed.

but most importantly..... reconnection. Grandad and Granddaughter. Reconnection and time that cannot be bought but only cherished in it's precious moments of togetherness. We've all returned home, sleepy but with full hearts and small sighs at our too brief sojourn....and maybe just another large bag of lemons.

Friday, August 15, 2008

::: 100 Posts :::

This is my 100th post!
Time for some changes to the blog, something different to look at.... and some goodies!
It's modest, but in keeping with tradition and because I kinda really like to give things to people (and because I have been the lucky recipient of one too!)...... I'd like to offer a giveaway!

Mine is a little colourful rainbow inspired mix of goodies....something for creating; something for the kitchen; something for the garden; something for the body, and some things to look at and hopefully uplift the spirit.

So there it is..... some homemade soap; that fabric pompom; two little Mister Blue Birds (how much do you love that mobile!); some large vintage fabric swatches; some yoyo's; a little bundle of what's left of my handmade paper; a Rainbow Food book; a bunch a cute vintage buttons, and a pinch of some of my organic seeds for your garden......(of course these are dependent on where you live. I will clarify but I'm sure international plus WA and Tassie are out sorry.)

So please leave a comment, even if you never have before, and I will draw a winner from "the bowl of unknown origin" sometime next week.
I'm actually quite nervous about this... if no one comments I will shed a tear because, of course ;), it will mean no one likes or wants my stuff!...

Good luck! and thanks for reading my little blog.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

:::Jiffy Dress:::

This little vintage pattern was begging to be made....just look at that back.....
So I made it for little Mia. I haven't sewn a pattern piece in a looong time.
Things are a little rusty, the shoulders are a little wide but passable...but I just think I may be finding my clothes sewing mojo again. I added my own embellishments......my favourite being the vintage flowers on the front that I adorned with, yes, yoyo's (ha) and the vintage button on the back.
There's something pretty satisfying about sewing for my girl.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Made my Tuesday.....

Yesterday was one of "those" days and this morning wasn't looking much better. But I have just found I have been given an award from Sherrin at Starashan and it's made my morning. Thanks Sherrin! I'd like to join in and maybe make someone else's day so I am going to pass it on too. My awards go to....
Mama Craft
Bluebirds Do Fly
I Wannabe Crafty
Sherrin also passed on a Tree of Happiness award and in the shoes of Sherrin I'm going to pass it on to the same four people with no obligation whatsoever....just that their blogs and comments make me happy.

So....this is very timely because I spent the afternoon of my dreadful day yesterday outside consciously noticing things that I found beautiful or that made me happy, so I have a ready and very current supply!!

The six things that make me happy right now are:::

(1) I made this fabric pompom yesterday......it makes me happy.

(2) Hot jasmine tea in the warm afternoon sun makes me happy.

(3) Watching Mia draw portraits of all our dogs in chalk and then lean over and grab a snack to nibble straight from the garden. What better place to create some artwork than the garden...the vege garden that is.....which makes me very happy!
(4) The striking contrast of colours on my Kale as I was picking the veges for dinner. It is getting more beautiful as it matures. It is Red Winter. The purple is almost fluorescent against the green of the leaf...I wish this photo did it justice. Watching my garden grow and the beauty in simple veg makes me happy!
(5) This lone little gerbera flower that has just popped up in our front garden. Our front yard is very tropical with various palms, tropical shrubs, bougainvillia, ixora, frangipani, cordylines and bromeliads...with another avocado and oddbod feijoa thrown in...you get the picture. It gets little attention other than our enjoyment so when these old gerberas pop up from almost nowhere, their pretty little faces make me happy.
(6) And 6...well 6 is my excitement over almost reaching my 100th post and gathering together a few little goodies because bravely I would like to offer a giveaway too. Giving gifts to people makes me really happy! Stay tuned!

Thanks Sherrin I think I could actually go on but will save them for now. ;)

I hope everyone can find some happy in their day today.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Homemade Soap....

The cheats (and chickens) way.
I've wanted to make my own soap for the longest time but my fear of using lye and not having any uninterrupted child-free time has stopped me....until, that is, I found this recipe. It is far from my ideal and I feel uncomfortable with the lux as I don't like artificial "perfume" but I had to try it out and satisfy my need to give it a go.
We made this batch over a week ago and I have to say it has cured better than I expected. The soapy smell has settled significantly and it is really quite lovely to use. I do think however it needs a longer curing time as it still feels a little soft.

This lot is bergamot, oat and nasturtium.

When I brave the "real" homemade natural stuff my recipe of choice will be this one....it comes with an excellent, excellent tutorial, but I also have my eye on this recipe as well. In the meantime we will all enjoy being that much extra clean.

Friday, August 8, 2008

What I got for $3.00.....

this extremely cute little pram spied at our local thrift store.....
Just perfect for a girl's dollies......
and for a little brother to tinker with when big sis' is not around.....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

On my doorstep.....

this morning, after returning inside from enjoying a nice cup of tea in the sun was a rather large parcel. I'd missed Terry our local delivery driver (yes, shame, I do know our delivery postie by name!). I knew straight away it must be my Winter Gift-Away that I had won over at The Bird Bath.

Such a pretty parcel needs to be opened carefully.

I know you may have seen it before but here is what was wrapped up so beautifully inside this enticing blue and dainty lace.
Thank you Andreja! Such adorable and charming gifts. You are very generous and your knitting is just A1. I love everything and I cannot wait to put your goodies to use....even if it is just to look at, touch and admire. You have put a big smile on my face today.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bean there...

I know I know.....I'm all "beaned out" too. These things never give up. Guiltily I am finding myself looking at my snow peas and french beans with an impatient sigh in my heart to hurry up and finish so I can replant my beds with spring and summer crops, but also with the thankfulness and satisfaction that so much green produce has been bought into my kitchen this season. The fresh garden nibbling and additions to our meals has been a delicious and abundant attraction in my winter garden.
I am grateful nevertheless this afternoon as I pluck the start of a second (and final) flowering of beans and yes, the last of my snow peas. Half the peas have already been pulled out and thrown to the chooks and the compost, the other half are soon destined for the same. For now their nitrogen producing roots can remain a little longer while my newly sown eggplant and capsicum seeds germinate in their boxes.
I am enjoying cooking and eating what is left as well as starting to "steal" from our Silverbeet and Kale crops and dream in anticipation of what is soon to be growing here along with our budding warmer days.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Makin' lunch....

Saturday's multicultural lunch, made to the tunes of........these guys.

::: Mulch and Magic :::

Knowing our lovely neighbours were having some large trees cut down from their yard this weekend I had discreetly mentioned my desire for some delicious mulch for my gardens.

Well it turns out the tree loppers mulched it all in the truck on their driveway and there was an absolute mountain! They didn't want to take it away with them surprisingly so when the phone rang with the offer of my mulch I replied with a loud and happy "yes!" as I ran out the door and down the road babe in arms and girl trailing behind to check it out and have a chat.

Between our two houses we only took a portion of what there was, the majority generously being for me. So very lucky and so very busy with all the hands we could muster to barrow and bucket it up the road.
Half shifted and half wonderful play mountain.

It now surrounds the cubby house and fills all gardens and just the vegetable paths.

And amazingly, look what popped up in the cubby square over the course of the afternoon. A perfect roost for a little bottom. The Faeries must have been about when we weren't looking......or was it "Bob"??

I've heard these things magically breed too......there will be more.....don't they just make you smile?