Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday garden

Mid summer garden - the tomatoes are ripening, the parsley has gone to seed and at last a foxglove has bloomed.  Last year I planted white foxgloves and they didn't flower at all.  I planted multi colour ones this year down the side garden with the herbs.   The yellow rose is not a favourite.  May rework that for next year.  We'll see.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bed head and skirt for me

Last December I made myself a bedhead.  Nothing too fancy - just a rectangle of timber recycled from an old desk we had, some foam, wadding and some fabric.  No photos to share but the process is the same as the one we made awhile ago for Sofie.

Last weekend I made a matching bed skirt.  To minimise seams, I bought enough length to cut each side in  one piece and a smaller piece for the end.  So one 2.2 metre length I cut 2 x 40cm x 220cm  and 1 x 40 x 160cm.  The fabric was cut lengthwise rather than crosswise - railroaded.  I cut the depth  deep enough so that it came up over the base to ensure no peeking of the base fabric.  After sewing the end to the sides I pinned the corner to shape before sewing the mitre in place.

I used some old unused upholstery fabric for the top end and also for the base cover to attach the skirt.  Pins worked ok but I found when I took it to the machine it didn't sit in place properly and I had to take it back to the bed.  More pins would work better but as I didn't have any more I used some hemming web and stuck parts of it together before sewing.  I simply sewing the skirt onto the base fabric.

I also made the the blue and cream floral quilt cover and matching Euro pillowcases.  Not sure if they are December 2012 or Jan 2013.  Either way, very recent.  I think the look is very boutique and Prinny certainly approves!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another day an a few more weeds hit the dust.

Today I finished my sister's gift.  Unfortunately can't show it yet in case she sees it. Hopefully I will be able to catch up with her on the weekend.

I also pulled some more weeds and noticed my poor lemon tree now only has one little green lemon.  Where did the other go?  Do possums like lemons?  I bet they don't eat Paul Bangay's lemons (the photo above is just part of Paul's veggie patch.  Yes I am jealous.)

Edited to apologize to all possums out there - the missing lemon was taken by miss Sofie who thought it was a lime and decided to make a drink with it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Making art

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday and I am making a surprise for her.  I hope it works out.  Prinny the cat has been helping.  What is it with cats and wanting to be a nuisance?

And yes, I did spend 15 minutes pulling weeds. Still plenty left!

And great excitement, I got a call from the furniture delivery guy and my new mirrored furniture is coming Monday - yeah!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tidying up the garden

This a photo I took of a Jacaranda tree not far from my place.  This photo was taken a few years ago but it is currently in full bloom just like this.  I detour just so I can drive or walk past it. Beautiful.

Tonight after work I spent some time tidying up my side "garden".  This is where I have my veggies,  herbs, lemon tree and some other plants.  It is a narrow strip down the side of the house with a retaining wall put there by the builders when they excavated to build our house.  As I mentioned yesterday, the neighbour on that side did some work on his driveway and in the process there was collateral damage on my patch.

My poor lemon tree that I planted about a year ago was almost uprooted.  I put the dirt (and the neighbours gravel) back into the hole and cleared up around it.  I also have a yellow banksia rose growing in that corner which I also gave a trim.

Close up of damage:
I gave it a good drink of Seasol.  It needs some more compost and a layer of mulch.  Hope it survives.

To have that beautiful garden I long for, I need to spend time maintaining it.  So starting today if I just give it 15 minutes a day attention, in no time at all it should be looking much better.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Moroccan slow cooker lamb casserole with mashed sweet potato

Tonight I made the yummiest sweet potato mash to go with our slow cooker lamb casserole.  Unfortunately I didn't take a photo (not sure how that happened as I take a lot of photos of the food I make).  I think we were hungry and just dug in.

I generally don't follow recipes, and promptly forget what I make and how I made it.  So the successful meals I plan to record here.

First the casserole - sautéed half an onion, celery stick, clove of garlic and a carrot in ghee.  I have a slow cooker that you can put on stove top to sauté.  Then added a heaped tablespoon of Moroccan spices (make sure your spices are all spices and not filled with salt, onion or garlic powder) and about 1kg of diced lamb.  Once all browned added chicken stock to barely cover, a quarter of a preserved lemon and put into slow cooker on medium for about 5 hours.  It could have done with less time as it was well cooked.  I sprinkled it with chopped fresh coriander to serve.  Any veggies can be added.  More onion and garlic would be good if you can tolerate it. Too much gives me a stomach ache.

Sweet potato mash - chopped some ginger and a large clove of garlic in some coconut oil.  Added about 4 small sweet potatoes.  Added some chicken stock to cook.  Not too much as don't want it too watery.  Once cooked mashed with some coconut milk to get nice consistency.  Yummy!

We also had sauteed silverbeet straight out of the garden.  Our neighbour decided to dig up his driveway which is the other side of the fence from our veggie patch.  Not happy!  I had to harvest the full silverbeet plants due to their disturbance (see poor plant in photo above).  The lemon tree is not looking happy either!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Doona cover for Sofie.

Way back in September 2011 Sofie and I made a bedhead for her bed.  This was to be the first part of the decoration to be soon followed by a doona cover and other soft furnishings.  I can now say more than a year later the task has been completed!  Where does time go?

We made the cover out of vintage sheets I had inherited when my mother in law died back in 2000.  We used an embroidered double sheet on one side and other the other side we joined single sheets with a strip of headboard fabric at the join.

Back when we purchased the fabric (quilting cottons) we purchase coordinating pinks and greens.  Sofie is now a bit less keen on the pink and green so we concentrated on the green with white.  We used a coordinating green and white piece for a runner on her dressers.
I feel better now!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Look.....I've been sewing!

I have set up a sewing place in the kitchen.  We live in a townhouse without any spare rooms to set up for specific tasks.  Sofie was using this area to study.

There is a wasted space upstairs that we (We meaning my daughters) tended to use to dump stuff.  We cleared that out and put a desk there for her.  The same space has a sofa bed for visitors.  Small homes need to have multi use rooms.  This space is not fully enclosed, just an area at the top of the stairs:
So still plenty of more work to be done, but we have started. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Still clearing out the debris.

Two more days of cleaning, sorting and clearing out.  We have overflowed the rubbish bin, taken two trips to the Salvos and still more to go.  I have washed and ironed the slipcovers, vacuumed the shutters and generally worked non stop in a Melbourne heatwave.  I have found space for my sewing and another for Sofie for her interior design school work.  But still plenty of "piles" to be sorted.

What surprises me is the fact that I am doing all this!  I seem to be possessed.  I just don't want to stop until I get a clean, serene environment.  Lucky my bedroom is an escape when it all gets too much.  As you can see Prinny, Sofie's cat, finds it a good place to chill out too.  I just wish she wouldn't leave her hair behind!

Notice the bedhead?  And the pretty floral bedspread with matching pillow cases?  I made those.  I still have the bedskirt to make and a cushion for the coffee table at the end of the bed.  Stay tuned....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Making space

I have spent a good part of my break from work since Christmas decluttering and reworking my wardrobe.  I have a small walk in robe all to myself - one of the perks of being a single lady.  But even this was not sufficient to hold all my shoes, bags and clothes.  Oh dear!  I have had dreams ever since we moved here 3 years ago to rework the layout.  After much thought and deliberation (over the said 3 year period) I decided something quick and easy is the way to go.  Surely I could add a couple of extra shelves and hanging  bars?  How hard can it be?  I have a drill, the Internet and ideas!!

Hmmm, a supposedly quick project took me 4 days and one of those included a lie down and cry.  It also involved 7 trips to Bunnings - but we won't go into that.  Suffice to say you should check that your drill is going forwards and not reverse.  Sheesh, but I now feel accomplished in the tool department.

Anyway, the picture above is a sneak-peak of what I have done.  The photo below is a before shot.

Sorry about the blurry iPhone shots but that is all I have for now.  And you can't see much but where I had one hanging rail I now have 3.  And extra shelves.

I have ordered a mirror tallboy to store my delicates and a matching chest of drawers for tops and gym gear.  An ottoman was also purchased so that I can reach those top hangers. I will do a complete post when they all arrive.  I am pretty excited.  By the end of the year I hope to have lots of new made by me garments hanging there.

I am cleaning out the old and no longer loved and making room for life, fun and creativity.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Where did I get the idea (or should I say courage) to start this blog?  Well there is a ton of inspiration on the Internet but the one that tipped me over the edge was this post on the Daring to Live Fully website by Marelisa.  The challenge to do a 365 day project in 2013.  This seemed the solution to many things:

  • What shall I blog about?
  • What do I like to do?
  • If I blog about sewing only, I may not get to other projects I want to do.
  • So many dreamt of projects unrealised
  • Commiting myself to working on my creativity in 2013.
My daughter Ellen kept a 365 picture blog a couple of years ago, so the concept is not completely new to me.  I may end up with some posts here being just a picture.  I am finding my feet.  My ultimate dream would be to earn a living by blogging.  So I can at least pretend that is what I am doing now, no?  Playing if you like.  And you never know if you don't give it a go.  Perhaps over the next say 5  years, I can reduce my days at "real work" and supplement my income with a passion.  Hey, I love to read blogs so blogging about things I think are fun should be better still. Wish me luck as I put this out to the universe.

The photo above is of the Jamieson River in Victoria, Australia last July, when my sister and I went on a road trip.  I think the disappearing river is symbolic of the unknown journey.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

About this blog...

I've started this blog to document my creative explorations over the year.  My "word" for 2013 is create.

For many years I have not had the energy or passion to create my dreams, whether it be gardening, decorating or sewing.  In 2012 I used the word Passion as my word for the year and went about trying to find my missing passion.  I undertook the 12 week journey of The Artist Way.  I went to Bali on a women's retreat, saw a Balinese healer and finally in December  undertook the 30 day Paleo challenge. All of these could be detailed in separate posts (and maybe they will be some time in the future).

While I was away in Bali the word Create came to me as the word I need to focus on in 2013.  In the end to find passion you need to create.  You need to do things that inspire you.  By "doing", you create passion.

This blog will be my journey to create.  I already have a sewing blog that has been neglected but I felt I need a new space to focus on all the things that I am interested in.  Things that I believe I can be passionate about.  No doubt things will change over the year as my journey progresses.  Overall, I want to have fun!