Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Garage Clean Up

Council pick up was coming up so I set my mind up to clear up the garage and organize it better
Lots of stuff that seems to accumulate - the garage is our 'catch all' place in the house

It floods when it rains heavily so everything needs to be off the floor that can't cope with the wet.

I took down the old shelving in the corner that was sagging.  See the chipboard bookshelf thing on the left?  It's rotting so it had to go.

Another view of the garage

Built shelves with wood leftover from other projects and used the angle braces from the original shelves in the corner to lift stuff above our heads.

Got rid of the rotting bookshelf.  Should be able to put more shelves under there now - but that will be a later project :)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Scrap Material Rug/Mat

I've only ever seen these rugs/mats in Malaysia.  It's made from scrap material.  My grandmother used to make them from leftover scraps after quilting.  I used to admire their brash blends of colour.  This one I bought from a shop in Malacca (in Malaysia).  I've been trying to work out how to make one - it looks like there's a lot of folding involved.  This one is too small as a floor mat so I've used it as a table decoration.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Oven Is Full

I've never been really good at planning my baking.  In the interest of rising energy costs and the fact that the principle applies to clothes washing as well (ie always do a full load of laundry), I decided to plan better and put some stale wraps cut up so they come out like chips as well into the oven whilst the bread is baking.  It does call for some planning and diligence because the bread would take so much longer in the oven than the 'chips'.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Lessons learnt from Breadmaking

Notes to self:
1. You can (surprise, surprise) let the bread rise in the fridge overnight.  I found this out when I tried to make a loaf too late into the evening only to realize that if I kept on baking the bread wouldn't be done till 11pm... and I didn't want to leave it on the counter to cool when there was risk of creepy crawlies that appear magically at night sampling some of it.  So I let it rise in the fridge that night.
2. If you so choose to do 1., then make sure you sit the loaf pan in a shelf that has ample space for the bread to actually rise!
3.There is a reason why they say to let it cool BEFORE slicing into the bread - witness the result in the pics above, bread 'deflating'...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Homemade Lemon Cordial

Inspired by L from 500m2 in Sydney, I decided to give cordial making a go.  I didn't have citric acid so I left it out of the recipe.  I wasn't as brave as L as to use up kilos of fruit so I had to start small... and went with this recipe instead.  It's a hit with everyone in the family!  It's a keeper!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

First Signs of Autumn

I guess even though I can't quite come to terms with the summer that never was in Sydney, autumn is upon us - or so my garden tells me...
First Camellia bloom - I adore their fuss free habits.

Crab apple showing hints of lovely autumn colour

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sitting Pretty

Miss Nutmeg

Miss Nutmeg and Miss Chloe - sitting pretty.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Down the back

Supermarket egg on left and Butterball's (she's a bantam) on the right

Pretty Passionfruit flower

Do I spy a faint hint of yellow on the passionfruit?  O hasten the day!

Pumpkins burgeoning size

Another one!

I think this is a sunflower (?) - there are sunflower seeds in the chicken feed - I guess this came with the mulch in the run turned to compost...

Monday, 20 February 2012

A Repurposed Drawer

Tilly is getting bigger and she needed a bigger bed.  This caught my eye and it so happens that in the last Council pick up, I did score 2 drawers so I started to paint...
Started with a plain drawer

Painted it white

Modge podged cute cat-related saying and added sleeping cat drawn on free hand.

Added old pillow with stained pillow case (stain on underside!) - Finished.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Spoke Too Soon

Remember how I lamented about the lack of eggs because I thought all the girls were moulting and gone off the lay?  This morning I heard the infamous 'egg song' from the hen choir and dashed out to find the very lovely Miss Butterball looking terribly pleased with herself and I find this in the nesting box...

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Using The Harvested Garlic

Remember the mushy garlic that I harvested here?  With all the moisture in the air, it's not drying out as it should.  So I decided to just use it in cooking.  I picked one of the driest ones and started to peel the cloves.  It wasn't easy because the papery dry outer skins I was used to was non-existent and instead it was moist sheaths that covered the cloves and the cloves didn't look quite ready... but I cooked them anyway in a stir-fry and no-one complained!

Friday, 17 February 2012


This is the favourite hang out spot for the girls during the rain and also when they feel threatened... everyday I have to sweep out the feathers and poop... they are moulting something serious.  No eggs for a while I'm afraid.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Homemade Pork Jerky

Our recent trip to Singapore has brought back food cravings of a different nature... 'Bak Kwa' is a tasty dried/BBQ'd pork meat that is a delicacy which is terribly expensive especially come Chinese New Year.  I decided to give it a go at home following this recipe.  I wasn't entirely satisfied with the taste of it in the end but it was good enough as a first attempt.

Rolled out and flattened - on hindsight I should've flattened it more

The finished product

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Very Lovely Butterball

The fading light and broodiness has meant that the girls have gone off lay altogether - no eggs from them - no, not even one. So we've had to resort to buying eggs again from the supermarket :(

There are some chickens that just leave a lasting impression on you - Butterball is one of them.

The very buttery Butterball

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Harvesting Garlic

With all this rainy weather, the root crops have really suffered in the sodden soil so whilst I knew the garlic didn't even look ready to harvest, I thought I'd better dig them out anyway.  It was a poor harvest with a lot of the cloves just rotting in the ground.  Washed off the dirt to try to salvage as many as I can and allowing them to air dry under the pergola.

Early garlic harvest
Tilly playing with her reflection in the muddy puddles from rinsing the garlic

She brings me lots of laughter!

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Monster Vine

The monster pumpkin vine is growing at a rapid rate - EVERYWHERE!

Been trying to play 'match maker' by aiding pollination by hand with limited success

Another failed match...

But wait... I think this one is a go-er!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Vintage Planner II

Chose a page per month and laminated it together with side tabs
Ta-da - now all I need are the metal ring binders - my local newsagency didn't have it so I'll have to look at other shops.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Vintage Planner

Inspired by Deb at homespun living I wanted to create one of my own Vintage Planners.  Serendipitously, as we were browsing the bargain bin in a second hand bookstore, I happen upon this gem...

Positively providential!  With dates and inspirational Bible verses... I intend to use some of these pages as 'Month' markers in the book

I followed her tutorial but was too quick to drill holes and hammer in grommets - it was only with hindsight that I realized that I neglected to add the paper to the inside cover before adding grommets... so I had to cut around the grommets after sticking down some nice paper over the yellowing inside of the book covers, added personal touches on the inside... voila...

Now all it needs are the internal pages! I had a lot of fun. Thanks Deb!