Sunday, January 19, 2020

Taking it Easy

Good and bad news this week, sadly I can not go to the Embroidery Expo in Brisbane as that weekend I have a talk on seed saving, at Woolgoolga Community Garden. This is a paid workshop and as this is funding my doll adventure, need to do this. There is always the Stitches and Craft or similar we could visit, later in the year.

Good news is I finished bottling the tomatoes with blitzing them as well as adding onion and garlic, then adding a variety of herbs like rosemary, paprika, thyme, and a couple of stock cubes. Ended up with 6 bottles of thickish mixture. I still kept a third back for eating, so did well I think.

Other than that, because it has been so hot, been concentrating on my dolls and embroidered cloth which I hope to finish in a week or so as  I assume class will start beginning Feb. after Australia Day. I also have been sample knitting little jackets, in cotton 4 ply, and now need to steam block them.

Knitted in cotton for different size dolls

I have been trying a new face for a much more sculptured doll that I didn't like the face to. This one to me has appeal, I shall see once I get some hair on her. I am rather liking the embroidery for the eyes, although it takes more time, rather than beads. It is very relaxing.

My next doll is in felt, and smaller, which will be unusual for me, as I haven't worked with  felt before, and it arrived this week.

I have ordered some different material as well a Kona Cotton, for yet another type. Chasing all this stuff down does take time, so hopefully it will pay in the end, otherwise when I am gone the Children's Hospital will get a great donation in dolls lol. Love making them.

 Yesterday and last night we had a great deal of rain, so I hope you also got it in your area. Would be lovely to see the drought break but I don't think that was it. At least the tanks partially filled up again.

Beetroot on Left Carrots on Right.

I am experimenting with some seeds, by putting in water till sprouted then mixing up a gluggy  cornflour paste, and combining the seeds with the cold mix. This is then put in a zip lock and cutting a hole in the corner then squeezing it along a row in soil. As the seeds are already sprouted should just start growing. We shall see, and will keep you informed.

Tomorrow we are expecting a landscape guy to give us a quote on fixing the back yard up. That should be interesting!!!$$$

Till next time.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Tomatoes, Tomatoes,Tomatoes

Only a short blog this week as it has been such a hot week that I have stayed in our  air conditioned lounge room for most of the time. Good news is I am feeling much better and finally given up the prednisone tablets, which was a real worry for me. Slowly I am getting some energy back as well, although being careful not to go mad and do too much.  The methotrexate is finally starting to work thank goodness.

My Little Nest Area

I have been working on the dolls, mostly, but also the tomatoes have been picked, and one bed cleaned. Soon it will be time to think about cabbages again, in fact I could plant them now, well seeds anyway, but with water restrictions might hold out till February.

Left two tomatoes that started to sprout again and cut the rest back. Basil is very healthy.

These  two areas  also need cleaning up.


So this week I had better sort out the tomatoes, trouble is I have enough puree, bruschetta, relish, and frozen and I don't need sauce.

Still in the fridge

Picked yesterday

Bought home by John  from the community garden today.

At this stage I am thinking of blitzing 2/3rds of them, adding citric acid, and boiling the mixture down a bit, to thicken. Then bottling it in my small jars seeds and all. This I can then use for anything that requires a tin of tomatoes so to speak.

Have to laugh at the potatoes, John has been bringing this amount home weekly so I haven't dug all of mine up, I have a feeling some have sprouted again. Never before have I had so many potatoes.

Other than visiting mum every week, I haven't left the house for anything else, since Christmas, so today we went and saw Jumanji at the local theatre as they had a special of $9 on the tickets. Really enjoyed it. There was a hint in the credits with a trailer that there will be a No.4 as well, which is something to look forward to.

My sister found out there is an Embroidery Expo in Brisbane next month so we have lined ourselves up to go. If anyone is interested this is the web site.

So that's it, for now.  Till Next Time

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Slow Week

It has been a bit of a struggle this week to find the energy to do anything. I cannot decide if it is my health or just the weather or a bit of both. It is still taking a couple of hours first thing to move around and my kness are still painful. Will be interesting to see what my blood results will produce in 2 weeks. What a worry all these fires have been as well. My Brother in Law  and wife are still hovering in Bega and thinks his house is ok in Quaama  NSW as the fire came up to the walls,  but definitely knows he has lost a 2nd car, caravan, trailer and all the land on his large block. Hopefully this coming week they will be allowed back in. Luckily there has been a cool change, that has calmed things down a bit, but NSW and Vic are still in a lot of strife.

This lack of energy and going to our TV room where there is air conditioning has given me a good chance to work on the dolls for the shop. I finished one and really pleased with it.

It has taken a while with embroidering the face and getting to know this pattern with not much time over Christmas/New Year, but finally getting to spend every day doing a little bit.

Over the past 4 months I have been trying out a lot of different body patterns, the heads are the hardest to make a doll cute and saleable, but slowly getting to what I like. I am adding ears and a bit of sculpturing to this particular pattern.

I like using the embroidered eye system so will try doing this on different shaped heads on different bodies I have experimented with, and see how that goes.

One of several experimental bodies.

 The smoke is again over the garden today and we are now only watering on odd number days. We are picking approximately 12 tomatoes every 2nd. day to the point I think I  had better do something with them but can't think what. We have enough puree,relish and bottled ones now from last year. Also the chilli plant which is only small has been producing well. They are really hot too, and I think John will make some sweet chilli sauce with them, hopefully a tomato one lol. Anything hot or super vinegar pickles is his domain as I don't eat it. 

I really don't enjoy this time of year the heat and humidity gets to me, especially now while I get control of RA. When I get enough energy, the tomato plants can come out. Once the temperature gets to over 30 they don't produce any as too hot. I could still put in some young ones just to grow but will wait till February for that, which is also the time to think about cabbages, more carrots, lettuce, bok choy. The potatoes aren't all dug up yet as they stay fresher in the ground till we need them.

I also have a long list of projects to do from decluttering, clothes,books,objects to big renovation projects, but it is all too hard at the moment. 

Mum had another fall this week, and I think both my sister and I are just waiting for her to go. We visit every week, but she is getting weaker and weaker and needs help just to stand up to hold her walker, then she is off constantly going round and round the halls. Her eyes though show nothing.

Prayers go out to all those who need it in these fires.

Till Next time.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Year Ends 2019

Two more days as I write this and 2019 will end. From what I read about the rare lineup of planets, for 2020 the astrology world is very excited about what good things next year will bring. The end of many situations and new beginnings seems to be the theme. When I look back on my 2019 I will certainly glad to see the end of it.

Another Christmas has come and gone and I hope everyone had an enjoyable time. We spent breakfast and present opening with the  local grandchildren. So much squealing and chatter to be enjoyed.

This then was followed by our lunch at home, with my sister and partner, and our eldest daughter and youngest son. Six salads, cold roast lamb, ham,  plum pudding and cherry pie.

Boxing Day is a family tradition to go see a movie and this year it was the last Star Wars one, at our very packed local theatre.

The next day we celebrated our youngest son's birthday, who turned 40 this year. As usual we go down to the river, and always there is a game of darts. We were joined by this time with the Sydney grandchildren, and so nice to have all the family around me, that is except for our youngest daughter in America who celebrated with her husband, Christmas in their new house. So new they haven't had time to get furniture properly yet, but managed to buy a table so 4 of their friends could help celebrate.

Family at large in the river.
We hired a shed for the occasion
Our make shift dart board area, worked really well.
It was a lovely day not too hot, and a slight breeze. The two other Sydney children left the next day for home, while I got the house back into order. I also have put my new Mini Happy Planner together for next year, and trying to get my hardanger cloth finished before the year is up, so then I can concentrate on making cloth dolls for my shop.

I hope you all had had a wonderful time and looking forward to 2020. Happy New Year everyone.

Till Next Time.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Preserving Apricots and Backyard Makeover Plans

I nearly forgot it was Sunday, as I have been so busy this week, and it is a relief to sit down as I write this weeks blog up. My sister arrived back from visiting her daughter in Ipswich and a succesful shopping of fruit and vegetables at the Rocklea Markets. A phone call though let me know apricots were $1.99 kilo, unbelievable!!! So I ordered 5 kgs and some beetroot for christmas dinner and they turned up this morning about 10am. The apricots were fairly ripe and nice and big so I decided better preserve them straight away.

Half went into some pie filling and the other half into jam. Apricot pie and apricot jam is certainly up there with the favourites.

I ended up getting 4 jars of pie filling and 10 of jam. They are cooling on the bench now. Should have ordered 10 kilos haha, so nice.

On another note my Rheumatologist rang me this week and ORDERED me to get an infusion. Not what I wanted to here but his words were "Your blood readings are awful". Well I knew that, by the pain levels, but agreed with him that I needed to calm things down, luckily I got fitted in on Christmas Eve morning, and that should last me to the end of January when I can go to Brisbane and sort this changeover out. I don't think he is in agreement either. The bone density wasn't that good either and if I fall badly, my left hip will break.

This is why I am trying to sort out our backyard with all its loose steps, no hand holds and 4 levels to negotiate just to garden. John will stubbornly, not move house, so next year going to try and get some concreting done,  replacing all the pavers so no more weeding between. Fill in the pool, with all this drought happening, it is never full, and there is a leak somewhere anyway, and grass it over. Hopefully get some one to paint the back verandah  as I haven't done it, and make it all visitor friendly, being just a place to dump junk. You can probably tell I have had enough lol.

Lemonade Lemon tree definitely has died, so will come out. Will plant a new Pierre De Ronsard Rose as the front one has officially died as well. My favourite Rose.

 We talked about changing my garden shed around also as the land is shifting and where it is the fence is moving away, so I decided to put just the compost bins there and rebuild a shed where the chook pen is. They are a lot of work and in the furthest most corner, so sadly not going to have chickens anymore.

Pulling down my  potting shed this week. Crazy paving is breaking up also because of the land shift and weeds growing through.

Chicken Shed also started.

What we will do is put the small sheds opposite each other with a space in the  middle. So we only have to move one then fill in a roof, and maybe an open front area. The shed wall can hold the hydroponics pots so I can still plant my flowers.

 We shall see how this goes. It is at least a start and we don't want to pay someone to do this.

As nice as this pond was, time to get rid of it completely.

By grassing over the pool, we can then have someone mow it. Concreting everywhere else, what are now pavers, will stop weeds growing and save so much time. I have looked very carefully at this as over concreting is no good but feel what we will do will fit in with who ever owns the house, in the future. Still hovering on the middle section whether another spa or a BBQ area. We haven't entertained for so long ( CHAOS.. can't have anyone over syndrome) it is hard to know, whether it is worth the effort. The last makeover in this area was 15 years ago. Hopefully we won't ever do another one.

 With all the drama that has been going on with my health, I haven't decorated for Christmas. Today though I set the dining room table, ready for Christmas Lunch with the eldest daughter and youngest son and my sister and partner. I am really looking forward to this as well. Haven't had a dinner party for so long and part of my career was fancy hospitality, so the table is looking fabulous. Can't show as a surprise. Pulled out a couple of Santas and snowmen for a festive look. Worked out the menu which I will partly do in the next couple of days. The children will turn up tomorrow.

So everyone have a Great Christmas Day. Hopefully you are not in the fire areas, which are once more really bad around Sydney. Stay safe if travelling.

....................................................... MERRY CHRISTMAS ..........................................................

Till Next Time.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Christmas Parties

Would you believe Christmas is only 10 days away. Are you all ready? I must say for me it has been certainly different this year. Not sure what is happening on the big day, haven't got any decorations up, and only know our eldest daughter is arriving on the 23rd.

My health has been a major problem and taking it quiet is all I am doing and letting what will be, happen. I have put myself back on Prednisone a steroid that drains your bones of calcium. I couldn't walk without great difficulty and the pain was just too much too handle. Had the bone density scan done, another blood test  and see my local Dr. Thursday. This will decide if the Methotrexate is doing its thing or if I need higher dosage etc. If all this works I will be free of having a cannula put into my hand every 5 weeks to have a 2 hr. infusion at our local hospital. What I have managed to do Saturday though, as the Prednisone had kicked in by then, was go with my sister to see mum and also a local handmade only market, combined with fruit and vegetables in Bellingen.

Plenty of space at the showgrounds.

There were some interesting items of course, and some shop owners told me they had only been doing it a short while. I am looking at it to see whether I will also take on " a market stall" again in the future.
This one is vetted so no commercial type market stalls get in., which I like.  It is held every 3 months, at the Bellingen Showgrounds.

Toilets at the showgrounds

We got there by 8 am so afterwards it was a bit early to go around to the Nursing Home so had coffee at the Old Butter Factory. Haven't been there for such a  long time. It was certainly a much needed day out. Thanks little sister.

We wandered the shops there and found this lovely Spring Lamb. Isn't it gorgeous?


Meanwhile early in the week when I was not good, John went off to the Community Garden Pizza Night. I made up the flour and we worked out all the ingredients and they had a lovely Christmas break up party.


John with the new Fantastic Pizza Oven the Roccbox.

There were a few problems but all were learning how to make pizzas for future events to sell. These are about 11 inches big.

I also opted out of Carols by Candlelight, and our Choir master asked for John, as they were a bit short of singers. 18 turned up in the end, and John informs me the noise was huge, and the stage very, very hot.
This is a photo of the stage set up. Everyone brings along chairs and food and sit around it. Just a large grassed flat park, and groups of singers entertain everyone till 9 pm.

2019 is nearly at its end, and tomorrow the 16th Dec. is our wedding anniversary, and we will have been 47 years married.

Stay safe everyone,  Till Next Time.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Frangipani, Beans, and a Pie

As a blogger you automatically take photos, as you go along the week. Sometimes I don't even know what I will say unless I look at the photos and this was such a week. I forgot what I had taken.

There has been so much pain in my body that I have had to move to an upstairs bedroom as managing the stairs early morning is so, so hard. Then struggling with breakfast and painkillers just to sit while something kicks in, doesn't stop it but dulls enough to actually do something. It is a bit of a waiting game changing over medicines as my Dr. is being very careful of what will affect me.

What I forgot about was the beans.

Beans dressed and ready for blanching once cut.

If you remember my beans were riddled with a Rust disease so I asked John to pick them all early this week. 2 big baskets full even I was surprised what was there. Some were a bit big so these I shelled and froze them as is. I remembered this idea from Vivi's Kitchen Garden, as she referred to  the word Demi-Sec, for beans that get to hard to eat. Don't know yet what I will do with them maybe with a sauce of some kind.

Ones that needed shelling. Demi-Sec

Thank goodness for my sister, who rings me every day to check on me, but also to take me to mum's, driving being out of the question. This week though we stopped at a Frangipani Display out the front of someone's house, as Jan said a bright light on a smokey day, or something to that nature haha.

It was the yellow one that caught my eye, I had never seen such a bright yellow, so Jan kindly got out and took the photos.

The others were all different colours, so I think they had been collected from friends and neighbours sort of thing rather than buying them.

This is the common one.

We drive pass this house every time and it was so unexpected, to suddenly notice them.

I tried out another pie this week, Chicken Pot Pie. I am really impressed with the Kmart Family Pie Maker. I pre cooked the chicken, mixed veg, stock cube, and just added to the pastry. Took about 10 mins and ended with 2 little ones as well which was lunch the next day. The big pie does us twice. Been doing that a lot lately, having the same meal twice in a row.


So there we go another week gone by. Hopefully I will manage to get to choir this week, I was just too worn out  last Thursday evening, and we have another "gig" at Carols by Candlelight on the14th. and really need to make the effort to go. Not that we are singing any carols, we have never learnt any, but everyone is allowed 4 songs. It will be the first time I have attended this, even though it is held every year.

The fires now are getting really bad everywhere in Australia so stay safe every one.

Till Next Time.