Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Autumn Adventures


'SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness! 
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,         5
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease,  10
  For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.'

John Keats

A perfect description of Autumn and I am so enjoying it at the moment.

Beautiful, misty mornings, cool evenings, it's time to think about getting cosy and hunkering down against the coming cold weather.
Our wood shed is choc a block, I have put the doona on the bed and filled the freezer with nourishing soups made from home grown vegies.



 
 




While it may be heading towards Winter here, my FB news feed and blogs are full of beautiful Spring images from the UK & USA.
Of course it inspires me and comes out in my stitcheries.




A sprinkle of rain and a sunny day, have mushies popping up here and there in our paddocks.





After spending Good Friday out and about, I had to light the wood heater when I got home. 
It had been raining and was quite chilly.
The fire warmed the room, but I felt icy fingers of air sneaking under the door and curling around my ankles.

Action stations.......

I needed a new draught stopper to replace the saggy, old ones which were no longer earning their keep.
 An old, grey blanket was used and then I snipped and stitched Autumn treasures onto it......success.
No more chilly draughts....

I had so much fun making this that I think I need to make 2 more for the other doorways.




Look who I spied feeding in the Zinnia patch this afternoon!!
I quietly high tailed it back to the house to grab my camera and hope that he hadn't flown off.

I stood there for a good 30sec. snapping pics as this Eastern Spinebill flitted from flower to flower.

Isn't he amazing?......







Eastern Rosellas are regular visitors to our property and they enjoy the Silver Birch seed heads in the 'Wild Wood'.

Love seeing them here, I just hope the bird life at our new property is as prolific and diverse.....I'm sure it will be..








Monday week ago I picked up two very special visitors from the local airport.

My nieces Jacquie (Middle) and Shelley (RHS) from the UK made a whirlwind visit to Oz where they visited their dads family in Perth for 10 days and then flew across to Victoria to spend a week with me.

Jacquie was born in Albany, W.A. and has been back to Oz for a 3 month visit in 2002. Shelley was born in the UK and has never been out here, so it was extra special to see them both.

They are such lovely girls, funny, animated, friendly, happy, delightful house guests and yes I am a very biased Aunt.....

Nice to have some female company about for a change!

We chatted and laughed, drank lots of cuppas, went adventuring each day and before we knew it we were back at the airport again.

They are now back in Edinburgh having moved there just before their holiday. So, busy unpacking and setting up their new home.









Friday we packed sandwiches muffins and a thermos and headed to Mt. Beauty for a late picnic lunch, but when we arrived we decided to head up the mountain to Falls Creek resort.

We watched the outside temp.gauge drop as we drove higher.
We all had a guess as to what the temp. would be at the summit.....7 deg. I won!!

I had the pleasure of making the cuppas (teapot, tea leaves hot water, etc.) out side the car in the icy wind and rain!!
No complaints, I love a car picnic when it's rainy out and you're inside .......happy childhood memories.




We stopped in at Bogong Village on the way back down.
The water level was pretty low in the lake, so we could walk across to the island.
It reminded me of something out of the Hobbit or
 Lord of the Rings.

Beautiful, Autumn colours.....





We lunched at the Milawa Cheese Factory one day.....
Beautiful food and I just love this 'curtain' of foliage.
How gorgeous is this colour?



While the girls were here, I had my sewing machine and fabric etc. packed away......we needed to use the dining table!!
I did have with drawal symptoms, but had my crocheted granny square blanket to work on.......
By Easter Friday, some embroidery thread and snippets of fabric had found their way onto the coffee table and a little stitchery was taking place.
It's now finished and I so enjoyed a change of stitching pace.



It's been such a busy time with Easter falling while the girls were here.
There were two dinner nights with friends and family and we've just finished eating the leftovers!!
My 2 sisters who both live interstate made the trip down so it was a great family get together.

I showed the girls my little corner of the globe and introduced them to the joy of breakfast and coffee in town on a Saturday morning and the fun of doing the Age newspaper quizz with 'the gang'

They cuddled baby kangaroos and got up close to wombats and wallabies at our local wildlife refuge.

We headed to Bright last Saturday and fought our way through crowds at the markets and bumped into cousins that couldn't make it to lunch.

The last night they were here, we wrapped ourselves up in warm jackets, headed outside and lay down on the driveway to gaze at the stars.
They couldn't get over how many stars they could see.
 They were absolutely gobsmacked and I have to say the stars put on a great show for them.


It's been a very special time, who knows when I will see them again, but Jacquie has a spare bedroom in her flat, so if you don't see another blog post for a couple of months don't be surprised if I suddenly post pics from Scotland!

Righto, the sewing machine is back in it's rightful place....the dining table and I've got lots of ideas that need stitching, so catch ya later.


Claire Xx

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Woohoo it's Festival time again......



Welcome to April......Autumn....cooler days and even cooler evenings.
We've had lovely rain these past 2 weeks and the warmish days have seen mushrooms popping up in the paddock.
I cooked some up with garlic, butter and parsley this evening, absolutely delicious.

The respite from the heat and dryness of Summer has been refreshing. The garden has revived somewhat, the clover is shooting and the surrounding hills are covered in green.

The vegie garden is putting forth the last of it's produce.
 I'm cooking up pots of tomatoes, making veggie soup and enjoying the last of the pears and apples.....

There's still some stitching going on and I've enjoyed making some cards.
 Small projects.







Plus a little hanging, inspired by lots of lovely Spring pics I've seen on UK blogs...... 






Up at the new block, trees around the dam are colouring up beautifully.
 Love the contrast between the greenery, the dry grass and the Autumn colour.
The previous owner had a wonderful plan and started planting English trees when he purchased it 12+ years ago.
We now get to enjoy the beauty of his foresight. 







Old gate at the cattle yards.....love the splash of green.

There's a fair bit of work to do fixing fences etc. but they'll hold up for a little longer.
We're going to be busy for a while



Hubby has been busy weeding the overgrown garden beds.
It's been a time consuming chore, but he's making headway and the recent rain will definitely make the rest of the job alot easier.




The cockies have been enjoying, the berries in the Chinese Pistachio tree.
 They've eaten the berries and nipped off the sprigs dropping them on the ground.
They can be quite destructive and noisy birds, but I do love seeing them take flight with a stormy sky behind them.
  





Well 2 weeks have passed since our Folk Festival.
This was the main street on the Thursday before it all kicked off.
Fairly quiet, not too many people around and lovely weather.





Come Friday along with the visitors, the storm clouds rolled in to town.

We had it all, heavy downpours, wind, thunder, lightning, blackout and even a fire started by a lightning strike just down the road.







But the marquee went up, people pitched their tents at the camping ground and the sun showed itself in time for the opening parade.







Richard enjoys playing for a home crowd, but does find it a bit nerve wracking.
It was great to hear the new songs he'd been working on.

Love the 'guitar face'.....





This year we had the gorgeous Mezz Coleman (on the right) from the blog
 Mezz Makes Stuff playing at the festival.
I have been enjoying her CD since I won it in a giveaway she had some time ago.
It was so nice to see her actually perform.
She's one talented gal with such a beautiful voice, lovely personality, generous spirit and check out those gorgeous red sandals.......op shopped of course.
Also joining her over the weekend was Taz her SIL who blogs over at Butter and Buntings
. Taz is wearing a thrifted vintage tablecloth' skirt she made.....gotta love a pair of red sandals as well.


 I'm holding the 1st copy of the great,little magazine they produce called 

Mezz was also kind enough to run a ukulele workshop for the festival......her first ever workshop and if she was at all nervous she didn't show it.
 Everyone had a great time at it and got the opportunity to perform with her at her last gig.

Thanks so much Mezz and Taz and the gang ( Byron, Pete and the super cute Percy) for coming up to Yack for the weekend.
It was great to meet not one but two bloggers and share my little piece of paradise with them........
I hope you'll come back and play again Mezz.....







The weekend was a huge success, our biggest festival in the 17 years it's been running.
It takes alot of time and effort to put these events together and it's all done by volunteers.
A great effort for such a small community......

So now that it's behind us, what's been happening?

Well, we've had rain and it's been lovely.
Beautiful, gentle soaking rain.
Autumn is really starting to put on a show for us, I love it.
I have my 2 nieces from the UK coming to stay in a week or so.
It's going to be alot of fun, there'll be family dinners, day trips here and there and lots of laughter. 
They're only here for a week, but it will be a rather busy week, with Easter in there as well.
There won't be much stitching done, might have to pull out my granny square blanket and finish it off to get my creative fix.

So what's been happening in your neck of the woods?
I would love to hear about them?

Thanks so much for popping by to say 'hi'.....
It's always great to hear from you.

Take care,

Claire Xx




Saturday, March 1, 2014

Goodbye Summer hello Autumn.......




 Hello there, well it's time to turn over another page on the calendar and welcome March......which means Summer is over and we now move into Autumn.....
Of course we can still experience warm weather throughout March, but days of temps in the 40's are well behind us thankfully.

This morning I headed over to Beechworth to visit the Farmers market and check out the op shops....as you do!
I picked up this mans jacket, I've been after some fabric like this for a while. I have a project in mind, but for the moment I've pinned my little vintage van brooches to it.
I made these this afternoon and I have to admit once started it's a bit hard to stop stitching them....







I've been waiting patiently the last two days for some rain. 
I could see it was falling around us this afternoon and I could smell it and eventually it headed our way.
 Not much probably a couple of mls if that, but it was still lovely.
You can see how dry things are.




This week hubby has been heading down to the new property we purchased to do some weeding in the vegie garden.
The garden was set up quite some time ago and was very productive, but hasn't been used for some time.
A good drop of rain would make the job alot easier.
We've uncovered herbs, Rhubarb and Asparagus growing in it.
He's enjoying getting away from the computer and spending time outside.
 It's lovely seeing him so enthusiastic about it as it's a big job and it's alot easier now that the hot days are behind us.








Thursday evenings' sunset.....what a beauty.





There's also an established orchard on the property, just look at these beauties.....

They were absolutely delish eaten straight from the tree.  Despite nets being over the trees, the birds know how to find their way in and get to the fruit.
I lightly cooked some of the softer peaches with a Vanilla Bean, but they didn't last long.....surprise, surprise!!





These most definitely aren't the fruit eating culprits but some interesting visitors from last weekend.
Gang Gang Cockatoos have an unique call which sounds very much like a creaking gate.
The male is the brightly coloured of the two.....
The first time I've ever managed to photograph them.




 Another stitchery finished this week.

'Through the Hedgerow'

It's now winging it's way to it's new home in Devon......








I found another little nest to add to my collection. 
It was in the Chinese Star Jasmine in the front entry.

Unfortunately, the birds chose the wrong spot to build as our coming and going through the front door always startled them and eventually they abandoned it.
 It's such an amazing construction and has blue  baling twine and lovely green moss in it.

Would love to know how they actually start it off......such clever little things.

March is shaping up to be a busy month here, with lots happening and of course there's the Folk Festival from 21st to the 23rd.
We'll be billeting one of the performers so I'll have to turn my sewing room back to a bedroom of sorts for the weekend. At least I've got plenty of blankets for visitors!!
We've also got to get moving on our house plans and make some decisions.
  My head is full of ideas......things I want to sew, house plans, vegie garden plans etc. etc.
Just need to take a deep breath and not get overwhelmed by the 'To Do' list........

So what have you all been up too.
Any exciting discoveries or plans being made?
Do tell......and thanks so much for visiting.
It's always lovely to hear from you.

Claire Xx



Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sunshine, Stitching and Songs.........


Hello girls, I may be wilting in the heat but this Sunflower is loving it.
This is a low growing  variety of but it's certainly making an impact in the garden.
The heat this Summer has been on going.......my poor garden is looking a little worse for wear.......




The tomatoes are red and juicy and fruiting beautifully......and thankfully there's no fruit fly this Summer.

The beans on the other hand are growing but not setting.
There are flowers here and there but leaves are burnt.
I used some old bed sheets to make shade tee pees over them, but I'm not too hopeful of getting any beans.






On these hot days I tend to stay indoors in the aircon. and go out to water the garden in the cool of the evening.

The heat seemed to sap my creativity last week and my sewing machine sat around gathering dust which was most unusual.

But thankfully, my mojo seems to have returned and I've been stitching some little birdies......





The hotter it gets the more I dream about cooler days.
It comes out in my stitching .......




This lady rugged up in her hat, coat and boots seems to be featuring and I think she may become part of a series of stitcheries.
I had alot of fun putting them together



For some time I've wanted to try a different design for a tea cosy.
 I wanted to create a patchwork look and keep it simple.
It's certainly an 'in your face' colour combo.....
not everyone's cup of tea...
 (hehe, no apologies for that one!!)




and on the reverse side......or is this the front.
You figure it out, I'm confused!!





Outside things are very dry, the grass has browned off. 
Living in the country where our water supply is from the tank or dam, we don't waste water on lawn.
It gets brown and crunchy and when the weather breaks in Autumn and we get some rain it greens up again.




Despite the hot days the evenings cool down enough to sleep well....I think I've had a fan on only 2 nights.

Thankfully this week we did get a cool change and a couple of nights I even had a blanket on!!

Temps are back up for the weekend and windy conditions Sunday  mean we'll be on high alert for bush fires.

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of the "Black Saturday" bush fires here in Victoria.

I remember it was still 40 deg at midnight on that particular evening......we certainly don't want to go through that again.



You've heard of Kitty Litter, well there's a new product out called Kitty Mulch!!

Tigger has his own way of keeping cool.
 Not my idea of fun, but you know what cats are like!




2014 is shaping up to be a big year for us here in the SBL household.......
We will be selling our home and building a new one.
There'll be limited time to sew but the creating will still take place to help keep me on an even keel!!


Our little Folk Festival also takes place in March.
I'm really excited about this years line up as one of the performers is a blogger from Melbourne........

Mezz Coleman from Mezz Makes Stuff will be performing.
 I won her CD in a giveaway last year or was it 2012?!!
 I suggested she put in an application for the festival and she was accepted woohoo.......
Can't wait to meet her and see her perform live.

If you'd like to have a listen to her singing
 Shelter by Eric Bogle,
 here's a link, be warned it's a powerful song
 you'll need to have your tissues handy.


Righto, girls that's it for me......time for a cuppa and ooooh maybe some stitching, better dash, see ya and thanks so much for all your lovely comments last post....♥

Claire Xx




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Coooeeeeee!!!

Hello girls, are you still talking to me? 
I certainly hope so........

I'm still here doing what I love doing, just not blogging about it as much.

I'd like to think that I would put up a weekly post, but I'm afraid that's probably not going to happen.
Facebook has won me, it's quick......post a pic, a few lines and there you go....done.
I know a few of you play over there, so come visit and say 'hi'.

This little, happy string of bunting is now hanging in my sewing room.I whipped it up on the weekend, it's thready and teeny, tiny and there's polka dots......♥♥



For much of the past year I've been interested in eco dyeing or printing and I finally gave it a whirl this week.
I gathered some Eucalyptus leaves and garden flowers and made a 'sandwich' between layers of watercolour paper and then steamed the bundles.
The Eucalypt leaves left a very strong print the garden flowers barely made an impact, but it's all experimental at the moment.
It's quite alot of fun wondering what results you'll get.
Eventually I want to try this on fabric and potentially eco print on clothing.
If you google 'eco print images' you'll see some amazing photos.






The Magpie family which have made our house yard  part of their territory continue to visit daily and entertain me with their antics.
The birdbath has been a popular spot in the recent heat wave.
We're due another hot week, so I'll have to keep an eye on the three birdbaths dotted around the garden and top them up each evening.




January has been an extremely dry month, but thankfully we got some rain last Friday..... a bit hard to see it in the pic.
This young maggie was enjoying a change of weather and not at all perturbed by the rain. The weekend was lovely and cool and I enjoyed sleeping under a blanket for a change!!






Christmas day is pretty much no great event in our household, at least. The 'reason for the season' is very important to us just not all the hoo haa and consumerism that goes with it.
So we have a no fuss, no stress, no debt, but a very relaxing day.
We breakfasted late and then finally did what we've been saying we'd do for years.
 "Have a ham sandwich, down by the river for lunch"
So at 3pm we found a lovely, quiet spot, I had packed a picnic basket, tray table, chairs and fly spray which was an essential.
It was so peaceful and relaxing and we had the yummiest ham sandwich followed by........





Trifle in a glass......it's easy peasy and can make individual serves which means no tempting leftovers.
 Hands up all those who overate at Christmas time!!

This little beauty has crushed Oreos for the base, sliced strawberries with a splash of Balsamic Vinegar ( if you've never tried it, it's wonderful) Strawberry jelly, cream and a dusting of chocolate.

Then a cuppa to finish off a lovely lunch.

Guess where we'll be having Christmas lunch next year?
Maybe we'll find a different spot further up the river for a change.




And two days after Christmas guess what appeared in the supermarkets?

Greedy supermarkets, out for every dollar they can get.
Easter eggs were out as well.

 No wonder the year flies by...... no sooner is the Christmas dinner table cleared than they're pushing Easter on us.








So the creative journey continues here. I won't bore you with all the things I've been working on but I particularly liked this stitchery.
Some different elements in it for me. 
It was fun putting it together and seeing how it turned out.

It's quite surprising how long it can take to make. 

Here's a little insight into what's involved.....

First the design, then finding and choosing fabrics, cutting out all the individual pieces. Placing them, rearranging, changing, deciding if it looks right or not. By this time quite a few hours have passed by.......I find it's not a process I can rush through.
Once you have everything sorted just the way you like it, it's time to start stitching.

Oops, too late, it's time to tidy up and start thinking about doing a couple of jobs before dinner.
Next day with fresh eyes you start stitching, oops forgot to find a saying to stitch on it.
Ok, time for a coffee and find the perfect saying an hour goes by. Found the saying, happy, happy, keep stitching.....darn the bobbin's run out.
 Wind thread onto a couple of bobbins, keep stitching.
 Feeling peckish, so have lunch.
Back to it, several changes of colour, stitching, snipping,
 looking, assessing.

Well, I think you get the picture, hehe.......

But I'll keep making them as I do enjoy it.






One thing I have achieved this Summer is to grow a bed full of Hollyhocks.
They self seeded last season and popped up here there and everywhere.
I have dark pink doubles, pale pink singles and white singles.
I love them all and some of them are at least 2 metres high.
The heat we've been getting has burnt some of the buds and the rain knocked them about a bit, but they make me smile and I love them.
In the rest of the garden the Tomatoes are fruiting nicely and we are getting loads of Cherry toms and Romas. The zucchinis are growing nicely and the beans are doing well too.
The pumpkins have been very slow in getting going, so I doubt we'll get anything from them before Autumn and the Capsicums are slow as always, but it's so nice to pick fresh veg from your own garden.
The self sown Zinnias are flowering away, but I don't have as big a crop as last year, but there are enough to cut and bring some inside.




And finally I asked Tigger to pose for me.
 I needed to draw a cat for the stitchery and this is what he gave me!!

There's one in every household, cheeky thing.




Well, thanks for popping by to visit.
I hope the year is going well for you.......

I hope it won't be so long until my next post, but in the meantime you know where to find me!

Take care,

Claire Xx