Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fly My Pretty, Fly!

When one of your babies flies the coup, it can be pretty scary. Emotions running hot and cold........ from both of us.

But some opportunities are just too good to pass up. My first-born decided to defer uni for a year and get a job. And what a job she got. She is now a full time staff member in this fabulous place. 

It is an outdoor education centre up in the high country. She is doing a month of intense training, to take groups on adventure hikes.

Adventures include skiing, horse riding, kayaking and the like.

It will be a huge year for her, but I know she will rise to the challange, and love it!

Her own little log cabin.

Some of the residents

Sally the Goat.

She'll be looking after this handsome feller.

This place even has its own scratching post!

The Gear Shed.

The Saddlery.
I gorged myself silly on the fruit in the orchard.

There is always just one more.

Now that is an oven!
A huge thank you to my fabulous brother, Des, who drove us up and back. My car would never have made it.
While the young 'uns were busy on their orientation, we were able to enjoy the ambiance.

Wrap Skirt with a Twist.

Here is one of the many wrap skirts that I have made from Nicole Mallalieu's fabulous book, You Sew Girl.

This skirt has made a previous blog appearance, on me. But it looks much better on my lovely daughter.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another Day, Another Adventure.

This morning I stumbled out of bed in the usual bleary eyed manner. Made a cup of tea and wandered out into the back garden.

Imagine my surprise! The neighbour's lovely old bluestone shed had come to visit.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pumpkin Time.

Which one first? Wee B Little or Potimarron?
If you have been reading my blog, you may remember that I went a bit silly with buying seeds from Diggers last spring.

There were so many interesting varieties of all the veges that I love to grow, and some that I hadn't thought of. There were even some that I had never heard of.

So of course I had to try as many as possible. The greenhouse at work was full of my experimental crops. Seedlings were in abundance. Luckily I have an understanding boss. When they were big enough to plant out I had to dig up most of my yard, and make up some extra planter boxes to accommodate them. Carrots are growing in an old bath, capsicums in an old cabinet.....

Friends, family members and pretty much anybody that came within cooeee had excess seedlings thrust upon them. Thanks for your help everyone, hope your gardens are thriving.

There were so many lovely varieties of pumpkins to choose from. But I was strong and only bought four packets of seeds. The miniature varieties are already ripe. Tonight I picked the first one. The choice was, Potimarron or Wee B Little.

The winner was potimarron. A lovely French pumpkin with a delicious chestnuty flavoured flesh. I had a slice with my dinner steamed with a dollop of butter, salt & pepper. It was divine! 

Tomorrow I might try this,  roasted potimarron
Yep, it really is that colour. No Photoshopping.
My little buddy, Gyppie models for scale.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jamarch's Menagerie.

Historical fiction is not for everybody. But I really enjoy a good fictional romp through real events. This one brought to life the characters, lives, sights, sounds and smells of its time.

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch is an engaging story set in the eighteen hundreds. Jaffy Brown spends his early childhood surviving poverty and street life in London's East End. He lives with his mother in an overcrowded dwelling where they manage a meager existence. 
Things change, when eight year old Jaffy chances upon an escaped tiger. Jaffy pats the tiger on the nose and it picks him up in its mouth and carries him a short distance. He is rescued by the owner of the beast, one Charles Jamarch. 

Strangely, this part of the novel is actually true. German born Charles Jamrach was a well known dealer of wild animals in London at the time. He would pay sailors to bring him exotic animals from all over the world and sell them to zoos, naturalists and private collectors. And there was an actual Bengal tiger that escaped its enclosure and picked up an eight year old boy who patted its nose. The boy was rescued by Jamarch himself, and was unhurt. There is a statue to commemorate the event in Tobacco Dock in Wapping.

Back to the story, Jamarch gives Jaffy a job where he stays and looks after the animals. He makes friends with another young employee, Tim. The boys, and Tim's twin sister grow up together and Jaffy falls in love with the sister, Ishbel.

At the age of sixteen Jaffy is employed, with Tim by Dan Rymer, an agent for Jamarch. They are to travel on The Essex, a whaling ship to the Dutch East Indies to catch a dragon. I'm assuming that they went to what is now Indonesia to catch a kimodo dragon, the world's largest lizard.
And catch a dragon they do. After that disaster strikes, and as sailors are traditionally a superstitious lot, they blame the dragon. The Essex was a real whaling ship, and the events that happened to both ship and crew are also true.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Project #2 for 2012- Sunroom Make-over

Do you have a dingy room your house? One that you'd rather not linger in? One that you tend to dump stuff in and forget about?

Well I used to!

That was until a couple of weeks ago when I cracked it and went on a cleaning rampage. My dirty-little-secret room was the sun-room. A room not only full of stuff, but bearing the scars of teenage abuse. Several layers of stickers, posters, photos fastened to the walls with blu-tack, sticky tape, glue etc. Marks in biro, texta, paint.... All manner of substance spilled, dried and crusted over.

I didn't take a 'before' photo, mainly because I was too embarrassed.

So the room was cleared. What didn't go to the op-shop went out in the hard rubbish. The small amount that couldn't be thrown out fitted into three boxes, (would you believe it?)  These fitted nicely into the cupboard where some of my fabric used to be pre-studio.

Next step was to add a splash of colour, and what better place to go for that than the miss-tint bin at our local paint shop. After much dilly-dallying I chose 'Gold Dust', but as it was a miss-tint we have renamed it 'gold-dust-gone-wrong'.

My good friend Rob kindly donated some paint that he had in his shed. It was called 'Regency White' and it was fabulous for the trim and the doors.

He also donated a lot of his time and energy helping me with the job. Rob is not only a dab hand at renovating, but a creative and lateral thinker. The result was far better than I had ever envisaged.

And it was fun. What would have been a boring job was filled with crack-ups, belly laughs and silly banter.

And so we scrubbed, filled, sanded, painted........

All was going well, and Ted, a mutual friend, offered us his whiz-bang fancy-pants sander for the tired and grotty old floor. Rob spent a good part of the day on all fours sanding up a storm. I had no idea how stunning the wood was underneath.

Ted gave us his magic recipe for treating floorboards, linseed oil and turps. As you can see, they came up a treat.

For those of you wishing to try this at home, make sure you get Pale Boiled Linseed Oil and Mineral Turps. The ratio is 2 parts L: 1 part T
Re-apply when dry.  Give it a good few coats, it really makes a difference.

Sadly we had to pull apart a once glorious Edwardian wardrobe. Not only was it battered and unstable, but it has been sitting in the main walkway for about eleven years.

Then Rob had yet another flash of brilliance. We used the panels to line the wall.

Another magic formula, this time linseed oil, turps and metho was in order. (Same mixture, we just added 1 part metho). We rubbed it down with steel wool and watched in wonder as all the marks and scratches disappeared.

Now it is a room that we can be proud of.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Projects for 2012.

There is nothing like new fabric and a birthday to kick start the year's projects.

And here is project #1.
From Thea & Sami I scored a gorgeous piece of organic cotton/hemp with a hand printed peacock design. If you are not familiar with Thea's work, please follow the link to her website/blog. Her designs are stunning, and always hand printed on simply delicious natural and eco friendly fabrics.

So my dear friend Jackie has a birthday in a couple of weeks. For those of you who don't know our girl, she loves cycling and is an amazing writer, story-teller and entertainer. In fact, she is the writer and narrator of this beautiful story. A true tale, brought to life about a young male lyrebird who befriended a woman early last century. Do watch the clip, it really is lovely. And the fabulous music is also played by two good friends, Michael Stewart on piano and Greg O'Leary on fiddle.

But back to the project. What do you give a bike-riding, lyrebird-loving mate?  Well how about a bag to wear on the bike. The peacocks translate wonderfully as lyrebirds, (I hope that is ok with you Thea).

I used the Wrap pattern from Nicole Mallalieu which is a great carry all and super-comfy to wear. I teamed the feature fabric with some denim and plain red drill from the stash, and had a bit of fun mixing and matching panels.

Of course I couldn't wait three weeks until her actual birthday, so it was given as a belated Chrissy present.
Le Bag!
Back View
Inside Pocket