Wednesday, December 28, 2011


A lot of happiness and relaxation around here, I'm glad to report.

We had nine wonderful days on Kangaroo Island, staying at a remote spot called Cape Forbin, with a beach and river down the bottom of the hill all to ourselves. Magic. Although a little scary at the beach when I felt Charlie was drifting too far out on his surf mat, and I started screeching and threw off my dress and plunged in after him, but when I got out to him he said "are you alright?" so I guess he was okay.

Here's a snapshot-ish list, some of which goes with the pics and some does not:

  •  we caught loads of marron (freshwater crayfish), and ate delicious 'marron-ara' pasta and pizza
  • we caught a number of blue-throated wrasse, which are easy to catch but not great to eat, but we ate them anyway
  • we were caught in an incredible downpour ("those dark clouds are coming in rather fast") and had to slosh our way up the very steep hill back to the house, through rivulets of kangaroo poo washing down
  • we actually lit the wood stove, in late December, to get clothes and shoes dry
  • the water on KI is more crystally-clear than you can possibly imagine
  • Clem has started drawing pictures that look like things
  • the vegetation that grows in some amazingly exposed, windswept places is remarkable
  • Remarkable Rocks really are, even though we've seen them several times before
  • the camera was accidentally on a setting that deliberately underexposes photos for at least half the trip, and I didn't figure it out until we got home and I read the manual, so a lot of the photos are not as good as they should have been, sad face
  • we got home on Christmas Eve and left carrot and apple out for the reindeer
  • Clem's new giant Beanie Kid (his one request) takes up half his bed
  • my brother asked his girlfriend to marry him on Christmas morning, via a written proposal on the Kindle he gave her, and she said yes, and we are all thrilled, especially my mum, who has been bugging him about it, since they are living together and having a baby already, teehee
  • Andy is spending a large amount of time gazing lovingly into a jar of San Francisco sourdough starter, which he is tending like (more than?) a baby
  • our chicken babies, at four weeks, were well looked after by relatives and neighbours, and are looking decidedly teenaged and growing some very pretty feathers
  • our cat had some choice words for us after she was fetched home from the cattery
  • I really hope the sourdough works, I'm surprised he hasn't given it a name yet.
Happy days, and more to come. This time of year really feels like catching our breath from the entire rest of the year. Aahhh.

- Jane x

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

one, one hundred and a holiday

This little blog turns one on the 18th of December, although it started with such a crap first post the date seems hardly worth celebrating. Our little family however will, on that day, be in the blissful world of the un-connected somewhere on the north coast of Kangaroo Island.

Spookily enough, this is actually my one hundredth post. How did that work out?

In light of these vaguely interesting numbers, I'd like to take a few centimetres of cyberspace to say thank you to all the lovely people I have connected with via this space in the last (almost) year. I'm immensely grateful for the internet that allows the connection of like-minded souls across the world or around the corner. I love youse all *sob~hic~invade personal space~collapse in corner*

I started this blog for two reasons:

1. to keep a record of the things I sewed
2. to better join in the online sewing/crafting/parenting community.

Well yay, mission accomplished!

Additionally, it's encouraged me to take more photos and in particular, keep a journal in pictures and words of our boys as they grow and do all the silly things they do.

Other blogs have taught me and inspired me so much and I hope I'm 'giving back' a little too. I feel more committed to trying to live mindfully and sustainably. I like how this little space reminds me of the wonderful things I have in my life, and of what's really important.

And now back to our regularly scheduled frivolity... I think it's time for a picture of something completely juvenile. I call this "from our fertile garden".
two garlics and a um, leek
We'll be back right before the big man comes down the chimney.

- Jane x

Sunday, December 11, 2011


It's pick-your-own cherry season! We went to 'Stella Creek' at Forest Range, probably a half-hour drive away and in some of the loveliest hills country. Last time we drove nearby here we saw a country cricket match that could have been straight out of Midsomer Murders. Although perhaps without the mystery gunman hidden in the scoreboard.

We met up with Andy's sister and her little boy Ori (in the blue stripes above with Clem). It was very well-organised and they charged a small entry fee so nobody felt guilty about tasting, and more tasting.
There were more cherries than we could possibly have wished for and we picked nine kilos. Yup. Nine kilos. It was kind of hard to stop... ooh look, but this one's perfect, and this whole branch! And if you pick over three kilos they refund your entry fee so really... we had to, right?

Back home with our nine kilos and some brand new Fowlers Vacola preserving equipment, we dove into the world of bottled fruit.

(The boys had a bit of fun with the foam packing sleeves from the jars.)

The cherries were picked over to eliminate split or spoilt fruit. The chickens had a little cherry feast too.

Fruit was de-stemmed, washed and packed into jars. A simple sugar syrup (2 cups sugar per litre water, heated until well dissolved) was poured over and the seals fitted. Then into the water-filled preserving unit which is electric and self-contained, so we can use it on our outside bench and not heat up the house on hot summer days. After an hour you drain away the water and take out the jars. The clips can come off after a day and the fruit should keep for over a year!

It's much easier than I imagined. I think we might be haunting eBay for a bunch more Fowlers Vacola jars now. I don't think our garden will be yielding enough to bottle much this year but there's always markets and more pick-your-owns. Hooray for cherries and jars!

- Jane x

Thursday, December 8, 2011

sewing down the stash

A little bit of Christmas present sewing, but not so much I feel panicky. And all from the stash. Yay!
For my nephew who's 12 and developing a love for photography (developing! ah so funny):
In Australian-made Stella knit with velour iron-on, both from Crafty Mamas. I probably could have bought a grey t-shirt from Target for about $5, but the fabric was in the stash, the pattern is tried & true Ottobre Best T-shirts and... I am justifying my purchase of a coverstitch machine a few weeks back. Ahem. I mean really... a hem! Check that hem! (Terrible pun, I blame it on living with Andy The Pun King for so long.)

A skirt for my niece who's 8, has fiery red hair and looks awesome in citrusy tones:

In Hilco 'Ringel' rib knit and Anna Maria Horner voile that I was saving for I-don't-know-what, but I figure Ms Horner isn't about to stop releasing gorgeous new voiles just yet.
I used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew. I keep walking past this skirt and thinking gosh, that looks comfy and fun. Probably a style best left to the eight-year-olds of the world though.

Not for Christmas but long overdue, a wall pocket for Jasper's loft bed, seen here in action holding many treasures:

He chose the fabrics from my stash, showcasing his opulent tastes.... Backing is a lush upholstery velvet I found in an op-shop and the pockets are silk brocade that my Mum brought back from a trip to India.

Jasper has been in on the sewing-for-Christmas too. We were lucky enough to attend the book launch for Hop Skip Jump, by Fiona Dalton who lives locally, has a daughter at the same school as my boys, and is completely lovely. It's a beautiful book about sewing eco-friendly toys and the boys and I are very inspired to create some of the lovely critters. The day after the book launch Jasper decided to make this adorable cloud pillow from the book, as a Christmas gift for his Dadda.

Cream flannelette for the front, green chenille for the back. We used some new corn fibre stuffing I'd bought recently which was great. Jasper did almost all the work: I just started off a few threads, demonstrated a few embroidery stitches and guided the fabric through the sewing machine while he pushed the pedal.

And what would a current update be without a chook pic or two?

We ended up with eleven chicks but - sob - lost one when we were all out on Tuesday. I suspect it slipped under the gate and was snaffled by a cat. I've now netted over the whole chookyard and blocked all gaps under and around the gate. They're still so tiny but growing fast. You can just see in the photo above, they're starting to get proper but miniature wing feathers! It's so lovely to see the mother hens teaching their chicks to scratch about and eat weeds and bugs.

Boys all home. Chaos. Time to hit publish.

- Jane x

Friday, December 2, 2011

early birds

We were not expecting these little balls of sweetness until the weekend - if at all, since I could barely imagine it would really happen - but I heard cheeping this morning!

It's been twenty days since we popped a dozen eggs under our pair of broodies and four, maybe five perfect little cheeping fluffies have hatched so far. Just twenty days! That seems something pretty close to magic.
I'm not sure who's more excited, me or the boys!

- Jane x
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...