Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A big catch up.

This last month has been a bit of a write off for me for various reasons which I won't go into but I think I am now back in a place where I can focus on things of a more positive and creative nature.

One positive thing I have maintained for the last six weeks or so is walking everyday for about a half hour which is about a two kilometre walk.  I decided that there would be no excuses, winter weather or not I'm out every day and feeling better for it.  I now have wet weather gear so I go out even when it's raining.  I purchased a warm and waterproof coat for Sophie too and as she is an older dog now, just turned 12, she is appreciating protection from the weather too when we are walking.  Each day on our walk we say hello to these two Labradors named Molly and Clancy.  They are always ready for a pat through the fence, Sophie has a quick sniff and then shows no further interest whatsoever.

Another part of our walk takes us past this beautiful Hardenbergia violacea, currently in flower.

Last week I noticed some workmen down the end our street with diggers and earth moving equipment and enquired what they were doing.  It seems the little creek that runs along in the gully was eroding toward the footpath so council decided to step in before any more damage was done.  I must say I was rather pleased that something positive was happening with the council rates we pay.

During the past two weeks on our walk I've seen a pair of Australian wood ducks which come back to the same spot to nest each year.  They are quite shy and are not to keen on remaining close so it was hard to get a good photo of them.  This particular property has a very large yard with a creek running though it which they appreciate immensely it would seem.

I have finally got back up into my studio.  The new heating unit which blew the second time it was used is finally fixed and making being up there much more pleasant.  I've yet to feel my oil painting
 mojo kick back in so in the meantime I'm pottering with some art journaling, putting some photo albums together and enjoying some alone time.  As colour is a very important part of my life especially in winter, I worked on a crazy little art journal piece chock full of colour.  It's rather fun just to let yourself go creatively and see what happens.

As can be seen in the photo above there is a lot of colour in the studio.  Colourful markers, a gorgeous owl mug a gift from my niece, washi tape and an inspiration board with illustrations I've drawn in the past and a birthday card from my parents from some years ago which has words on the front which are inspirational and encouraging.

The sun came out the other morning and the light was lovely.  Not too much of it comes into our backyard but the brightness gives plants and flowers a different look than on an overcast day.  I couldn't help but wander outside and snap a few photos.

Eucalyptus trees in the distance.

Tiny Fuschias that the Eastern spinebills love so much.

Even the Continental parsley looks good.
I took a couple of photos inside too.

The one indoor plant that seems to thrive.

I love the blue of this planter and the crazing of the glaze.

In other exciting news, hubby has taken to the notion of keeping bees.  As the bee population is in decline worldwide, he/we would like to contribute to the bee population and perhaps in our endeavour to do so might be rewarded with some natural honey, honey that has not been treated commercially.  Hubby attended a workshop to educate himself thoroughly and then bought some equipment to get started.  He has been putting together the hives in readiness for a bee colony to move in perhaps in the spring when they begin to swarm.  (We will have to purchase a hive from the people who collect them when they swarm.)  He is fascinated by these amazing little creatures, their habits and all the different things they actually produce within the hive apart from honey.

Bee boxes in the making.

Every now and then I pick up my crochet and am currently working on a shrug which I'll hopefully finish before winter is over.  We do see cold weather well into spring so I'm sure I will have ample opportunity to wear it when finished.

For those lovely people who follow this blog, thank you for sticking with me in my absence.  That's the way it goes sometimes, either you feel you have nothing to share and write about or life gets in the way and other things receive priority.  I have been continuing to read your blogs although not always commenting.  It's been lovely to see lovely summer scenes in the northern hemisphere when it's often been bleak here downunder.

Anne xx

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Dressing up

Last night Genevieve went to a Great Gatsby themed 21st birthday party.  She pulled her outfit together using mostly what she had on hand with a few shop charity shop purchases.  The little dress I found in Target in Merredin, Western Australia (of all places) for $15, a bargain.  You just never know what you'll find, a purchase made the last time I was visiting Mum.   I saw it hanging there and I knew it would be perfect for Genevieve although at the time I had no idea she was going to a 1920's era party.   So here is the young lady all dressed up.  I love how she styled her hair, worked out a head band from a necklace and wrist jewellery from another necklace.


Friday, 27 June 2014

Winter days

Winter has finally hit Victoria and with a bit of a vengeance too.  Some days in May were quite mild  but now we have cold winds, rain and even snow in the high country which means the snow resorts will be breathing a sigh of relief.  

I've been making an effort this past month to get out and walk every day for my benefit and for my gorgeous Labrador Sophie.  Usually in winter I don't want to walk because of the cold so the purchase of some wet weather gear and making a few crochet items is helping to make walking more pleasurable.

Please excuse the quality of these next photos, it's a bit hard taking selfies when it's freezing and you can't quite get the angle of the camera right.

First up I made a scarf in an 8ply teal acrylic.  I chained 250 stitches with 4.5mm crochet hook, crocheted 2 rows of double, 7 rows of treble and then 2 rows of double.  I did a simple picot stitch around the edge to finish off.  This scarf started life as something else entirely but adjustments were made when I ran out of patience.

I'm thinking Stripey makes a better model than me.   :)

I rather fancied making a shawl or something similar to throw over the top of my clothes when venturing out.  I finally bit the bullet and purchased a pattern from Etsy that I fell in love with.  Big mistake.  Nothing is wrong with the pattern, it's wonderful but trying to find a similar yarn in the right ply was a nightmare.  I finally found (after spending about 1 1/2 hours in Spotlight) a yarn I thought might be suitable, Patons Midnight, an acrylic, wool, metallic polyester and nylon mix made in Italy.  The wool was heavily discounted at $5.00 for a 75g ball so it being the best affordable option for me, a purchase was made.  Trying to find a nice 12 ply yarn in this country for a reasonable price is rather challenging so I hoped my yarn which seemed more like 8 ply than 12 ply would suffice.  Of course the right hook size for the pattern wasn't in stock in Spotlight so I decided to wing it with 6mm hook I had at home instead of a 6.5mm.  I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to crochet but I did think to add more stitches to increase the size of the wrap.  My wrap is o.k. but it's not at all like the one in the pattern picture which looks soft and drapes beautifully.  I've opted not to use a button to secure it with, rather using a large kilt type pin I embellished a couple of years ago which doesn't show up particularly well in the photo.

Oh the joys of developing ones skills  :)

As our days are cold, gloomy and overcast I decided to bring a little colour into the house with these Camellias from the garden.

 I'm eyeing off the Daphne that will be in flower soon too so I can bring some of the fragrant blooms inside.

Have a lovely day everyone.

Anne xx

Sunday, 15 June 2014

A 21st birthday celebration

Our baby Genevieve turned 21 yesterday and I'm struggling to comprehend where the time has gone.  We had dinner with family and close friends at an Indian restaurant and then came back home for the birthday cake.  The day before her birthday, the power was out all day so the cake was made at 9pm Friday evening.  Unfortunately the power went out again yesterday afternoon and didn't come back on until about 10.30pm.  So it was celebration by candle light and not as many photos were taken as I would have liked.  Fortunately I had taken some earlier in the day just after I had decorated the cake which is a white chocolate citrus mud cake.  It's the first mud cake I've made and was topped with a ganache of white chocolate, sour cream and lemon and lime rind.  Here are some photos of the celebration.

We are most fortunate to have two beautiful daughters who have turned into beautiful young women.

Anne  xx

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Sometimes I get to the end of the day and have to stop and think if I actually achieved anything.  So a couple of weeks ago I decided I would write down everything I did during the day in a journal.  It's not meant to be anything significant or soul searching writings, just a record of the day.  It actually turns out I do more than I think I do and it's a good way to keep track of what I've cooked for dinner or done in the garden, family events that have happened etc.  I've had this pretty notebook for quite a while so now it's being put to good use.  I can barely read my own chook scratchings though and my writing use to be so neat.


Charlotte had a birthday on Wednesday and she is now the ripe old age of 24.  How did that happen?  We are going out today to have lunch to celebrate but on the day she requested lasagne for dinner to which I was able to add this beautiful, healthy, home grown organic perpetual spinach.

I scrounged around in the garden and found enough flowers to make a little floating display to put on the table.

Candles, serviettes and a glass or two of bubbly turned our evening into a lovely little celebration.  For dessert Charlotte requested meringues with fresh fruit so strawberries, kiwi fruit and passion fruit was well accepted.  Adding some ice cream and cream made it rather indulgent but then birthdays only come around once a year.
 It's been mostly a pleasant week although saddened by the death of hubby's elderly aunt who was 91.  She has been mostly well in body and definitely in mind into her old age so for that we can be grateful.  Issues relating to a younger extended family member have been bubbling away under the surface, things that are troubling and keeping me awake at night.  In amongst this though there is much to be grateful for which I will endeavour to focus on.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anne  xx