Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010................

Well Christmas has been and gone for another year.
As usual it was a very relaxed affair in the Sweet Birdy Love household, no stress, no fuss.
A day to relax, but Boxing Day was the biggy for us. My sister and various family members came and had lunch with us.
Very enjoyable, but it meant clearing all my sewing gear off the dining table!

My sewing bits and pieces were banished to the spare room for a couple of days and I must say it was nice to get reacquainted with the table .......

Well, after Boxing Day, various things started reappearing on the table, a snippet of fabric, pair of scissors, thread and finally sewing machine.
It had to happen.......

As I have 2 weeks off work, I have had a number of new projects swirling around in head and finally I started one.
I had been wondering how to use up a recycled woollen blanket and pot holders sprang to mind. Something I had tried earlier in the year but wasn't happy with my design.
I trawled the net for an appropriate saying and once I had that, everything else just fell into place.
There are ends which need to be tied off and tidied up, a job to do while watching TV. Backing to be sewn on and voila, all done.
Click on the photo to enlarge, the saying is by George Miller -
"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again"
And of course it had to be polka dots.

With all the rain we had recently the garden has gone berserk. The Aggies are almost shoulder height.
"Morning Tigger"

Summer has finally reared it's head and with temps edging 40deg I thought I better rescue some roses which were putting on a beautiful display.
I couldn't bear to go outside and see them fried to crisp!

Beautiful Buddleia, filling the room with waves of honey scented perfume.

A bunch of artichoke flowers from a friend, just stunning and will last for months.
Purple, just looove it.

Well, the new year is just a few hours away.
What will it bring?
Do you make resolutions?
I don't make resolutions as such but in a reflective frame of mind try and make a few changes here and there, avoid pitfalls and bad habits and move into the New Year in a positive way.
Oooh, getting a bit deep, better finish up now.....
To all those who have dropped by to read my ramblings throughout the year thankyou and to those who have posted comments an even bigger thankyou, for your friendship, encouragement advice and interest.
However you celebrate New Years Eve, enjoy it, stay safe and all the best for a happy, healthy and creative 2001.

Until next time, take care,

Claire X

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Of Flowers and Feathers......

I knew the little crocheted flowers from the last blog post, would come in handy for something.
I had an end of year catchup with a friend recently and we exchanged gifts.
I made her a cover for her sketch book.
It was something she had asked for, unfortunately I didn't take a photo of it.
When I had wrapped the pressie I knew just what needed to be added and was very happy with the look.
Might crochet a few more in different colours to add to gifts throughout the year
My friend's gift to me, is one of her beautiful paintings.
A very special one which I shall blog about when it's framed.
I 'll give you a little hint what the picture is about.
The subject is red and feathery, yes, you guessed correctly.....
The nectarines this year may be just a few, due to the wild storms we have been having BUT what we do have are ginormous.
I hope the birds don't sneak in under the netting and get to them before we do, they are pretty cunning...............
Love the rich red in amongst the greenery....
Does it remind you of anything?

My Sunflowers are blooming........
Love the rich burgundy, dare I say Autumnal tones, of this flower.
I had seeds in an envelope in the shed and actually didn't read the description so I have been pleasantly surprised by the colour and size of the flowers.
The chooks love eating the seeds so they serve a dual purpose.
I barrowed loads of cow manure into this garden bed and I think all the effort has paid off. One of the plants is well over 2 metres high.....

The Buddleia is also putting on a lovely display. The butterflies love it.
I just love the rich, dark, purple and the scent, mmmmm.....
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to last long when cut and bought inside, but that won't stop me...
Recent storms have weighed the branches down and I will need to have a serious pruning session, but not till it has finished flowering.
As you can see there is still quite a tinge of green to the hills in the background. It's nice that everything hasn't browned off and gone crunchy underfoot....
The weather is finally starting to warm up a bit, but more rain is forecast for the weekend. Hopefully not in such great amounts as we have experienced recently.

Another photo shoot for mum and bubs. They are growing quickly and beautifully marked feathers are sprouting. I let her out each evening so she can forage and have a dust bath. It's so much fun just watching them.
I love hearing the chirping noise she makes when she has discovered a tasty morsel. The chicks come running over and then there's a tussle over the tucker.
Well, that's just a little bit of what's been happening here.
I would just like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for a happy, healthy and creative 2011.
Take care wherever you are particularly if you are travelling.
Thank you all so much for visiting my blog throughout the year and commenting..
It's so nice to connect with people near and far, I hope you will keep visiting in the New Year.
Till next time, take care,
Claire X

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? To See The Polkadot Dinosaur

I have my last market for the year this Sunday morning and it looks like it's going to be wet.... yet again, so the market will be held indoors.
I wonder if it's worth even going as it's alot quieter when the weather's miserable and being this close to Christmas people maybe finishing off their shopping in town.
Oh well, it's worth a try......
Last market I was asked if I had T shirts with designs for little boys. I only had T's for girls so I said I would have some this month.
I thought about designs - cars, trucks, robots, rockets, all the sorts of things little boys would like but nothing was really inspiring me, till I looked in my fabric stash and that's when I decided it had to be polka dot dinosaurs......... Of course, it was obvious!
I think they look rather cute, that is, if you can call dinosaurs cute...
I hope someone else like them too.....

Dorothy has finished hatching her eggs, from the five she was sitting on we have 3 chickens but that was very nearly 2.
I cam home from work on Monday to find she her out of the cage and out in the chook run with her two little chicks. I was a bit concerned that the other chooks and the rooster might be a bit too curious and accidentally hurt them, but she was being a very protective mother. It was amazing to watch her with them. When a crow flew over head she hid them in some long grass and they were very well camouflaged.
They're not the fluffy, yellow type, more brown and grey, much like their mums. Dorothy was sitting on a variety of eggs. But they are still cute as and it's amazing watching these little creatures, scratching, eating and drinking.
One morning, one of the chicks found a little beetle and ran around the pen with it in her beak, trying to find a spot where she could eat it in peace and quiet. Mum was following her to see what she was up too.
I refer to them all as she, hoping that we have females and not roosters in the making......

This is the one that nearly didn't make it.
When mum got off the nest and took the older 2 out into the run, she left this poor, newly hatched little chick on the bottom of the cage.
It wasn't moving when I saw it and I was worried that it hadn't survived, but when I picked it up it gave a little cheep and was moving.
I raced inside with it, straight to the bathroom and got the hairdryer out. Well, it needed to be warmed and I thought that would be the quickest way. Gently blowing some heat onto it. Bit of a rub with a towel, place it in a box on a hot water bottle and a couple of hours later it was moving and opening it's eyes.
24hours later and it was up and chirping and moving around in it's new home.
I kept it in the box with a lamp for 2 days till it was strong enough to go out to mum. As it was smaller than the other two, I was concerned that it would be picked on, but it seems to have settled in nicely and happy to be out of the box and with other chicks.

Here she is with her brood the one to the left is Noddy (named because she kept nodding off under the heat of the lamp) she is quite a bit smaller than the other two which are already developing feathers. They have beautiful fine markings on them.
The chick in the middle of the photo is Dorothy's bub, you can see she is the same colouring. I think the other two are Barnevelders, but not 100% sure.
It's been a very interesting week, with all the goings on. Certainly a lot of time is spent in the chook run, watching these cute little bundles of fluff.
This is the first time I have had chickens hatch and I am sure it won't be the last, it's been a lot of fun.

Talking about nests and feathery things. No 1 pointed out this little nest that has 'appeared' in a Silver Birch tree in the 'Wild Wood'.
Amazing structure, very soft, made from spiders webs and other bits and pieces.
I had to google Birds Nests to find out what bird it belonged to but had an idea as I saw a little red breasted fellow nearby.
It actually belongs to a Mistletoe bird and whilst I love birds and Mistletoe birds are rather similar to Robins which I love. I am not so keen on the ways of Mistletoe birds.
They eat the berries from mistletoe and spread the parasitic growth via their sticky droppings. We have lots of mistletoe growing in gum trees and they can kill trees.
We have a beautiful, big old gum growing on our verge and it gives lots of shade to the paddock in summertime,
It's old and gnarled and has been there many, many years, but the amount of mistletoe growing in it, is not good. We would have to hire a cherry picker to reach it and cut it out.
Earlier in the year I discovered mistletoe growing on one of the Silver Birches. It was like someone had grafted a branch from a gum tree on to it, bizarre.
So these sweet looking birds with their amazing nest building skills, have some rather unpleasant ways.
Well, another weekend is upon us and it's going to be quite a cold, wet one here. There's even talk of snow in the December.
I hope wherever you are you've had a good week and enjoy the weekend.
I shall let you know how the market goes on Sunday morning.
Thanks, for stopping and taking the time to read my rambling, even more thanks if you read the rambles AND commented.
Take care and please visit again,
Until next time,
Claire X

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That.............

I had the opportunity to do a little crocheting over the weekend and came up with these flowers.
Quite festive looking, don't you think?
They look a little like crocheted jelly fish, with all the ends still dangling..............
I went away to Daylesford for the weekend and as usual I always pack a few bits and pieces to do when things are quiet.
With limited wool, I decided to do these flowers, the pattern is from a crochet magazine and as you know these things can be a little addictive...............
I have been meaning to take a pic of these flowers ever since they bloomed recently.
Any idea what they are?

They're Feijoa flowers and they are just gorgeous with their red 'bristles' with little yellow spots on the end.
Feijoas are a fruit, for those who have never heard of them.
Also known as the pineapple guava, they are a green fruit, shaped like an egg and about the size of an egg.
They were discovered in Brazil by a German explorer.
They taste, somewhat like a cross between a strawberry, lemon and a passionfruit.
Not every ones cup of tea but we all love them.
With loads of flowers on the bush, hopefully we will get a crop of decent sized fruit this year.

I spied these gates, right next door to where we are staying..............

There are alot of very creative people living in the area.

I would loved to sneak down the driveway and see what other wonderful creations were hidden behind the fence, but I restrained myself .............

Another favourite destination in Daylesford is Cliffys cafe.
An older style building, it's like stepping back in time.
Quite dark inside with shelves and dressers brimming with products and vintage kitchen ware.
It's quite crowded inside but very popular and the staff wear lovely retro aprons, just like your mum or grandma wore.
I bought my hubby some locally made 'apple pie' muesli, sounds rather scrummy doesn't it?

Shall have breakfast there next visit, they have a lovely little corner in the window with couches, just the spot to while away an hour over coffee , the papers and maybe a spot of crocheting!

Am I game enough?
Yep, you bet..........

Well, another lovely visit to a favourite destination comes to an end and it's back home to washing, cooking etc. etc. etc.

I have some more crochet flowers to make this evening in colour combinations that I have been itching to try, so we wont' get too serious about the boring 'housey' stuff until the working week starts..........Monday!

Just wanted to show you a pic of where Mrs Kafups likes to spend some of her day...........
This is the underneath of the Wisteria.
She's in there, if you click to enlarge the photo you can see a little, green eye, peering down at you.
She blends in very well, doesn't she?

Just another little interesting fact for those of you who live in Victoria.
The bakery in Lancefield sells the best Vanilla Slices in the state, according to a sign out the front of the shop.....................
So, of course Big Sis and I had to buy one.......... to share.
Really didn't think we needed one each.

It would have to be one of the best I have eaten and I have eaten a few over the years.

I did buy one for No. 1 Son as well.
It's sitting on the kitchen bench taunting me................arrghhh I wish he would just eat it!

It's nice to go away, but even nicer to come home.

Hope you've all had a good weekend, whatever you did.

Thanks for dropping by , love reading your comments, so if you have time, please say 'hi',

Until next time, take care,

Claire X

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Of Droughts and Flooding Rains...................

Don't you hate it when you check, double check and even triple check and you still get it wrong?
Or does that never happen to you?
I said I wasn't going to make any more Grumpy Bunnies, because, by the time I finished making them it felt like I had turned into one. But after the local art show, there were people asking for them, so I thought "why not?"

Oops slight interruption... don't you hate it when you are in the middle of a blog post and hubby calls out "there's a cow in the house yard.".. someone has left the gate open, grrrr.

Where was I? Oh yes, I decided to whip up some more grumpy bunnies and I did the 'right sides together' with the fabric and I thought I checked, but you guessed it! I hadn't checked properly.
Pin together to sew and guess what, yep, one is the wrong way round.
Please tell me, I am not the only one who does this.....
Don't you hate it when you get 5 inches of rain in little more than an hour , the garage floods the window in the bathroom develops a leak, the roads and bridges flood .
That's what happened yesterday, the above picture is the bottom paddock of our property the trees in the middle of the 'lake' are actually the far side of a dribble of water we call a creek!

This is the bridge over the creek, fortunately we don't need to travel this road.
The raging torrent did alot of damage to the road surface, tearing up huge chunks of bitumen.
Large plastic wrapped bales of silage were washed into the railings and bobbing there like giant
green marshmallows.
I think everyone was caught somewhat off guard, not expecting quite so much rain and damage.

Closeup of the same bridge.

Head down another nearby road and it's worse, pretty sure this house had water through it.
This bridge had just been widened this year, to allow trucks to cross it. The water washed away huge chunks of the road side.
The council were out early this morning, clearing trees off roads and working on the bridges. I can still hear the trucks driving along the roads as they try and repair the damage and it's 7.30pm!
We are surrounded by creeks, so until the above bridge is repaired we will have to detour through town and out the other side.

A little of what my yard looked like.... the rain flattened the Lavender and there was a river running through it, gardens flooded and the shrubbery is half the height it used to be....
Never mind, we haven't lost our livelihood, or the roof off our house, or had water through our house, so we are very thankful that only the garage was flooded.
The poor farmers can't take a trick. First it's drought lasting close to a decade in some parts, then the threat of locusts and now floods.

On a much happier note, may I present to you Dorothy and her little chick.

Mum and bub are doing well, she still has a few eggs under her, one of which has a chick in it, so fingers crossed for another little fluffy bundle, of adorable, cuteness.

Dorothy is taking her role of mum, very seriously and she won't let you near her bub, but it wanders around cheeping and I have to keep going out there and checking to make sure that all is OK......

Well, another week almost finished. I am heading away for the weekend to a family get together which should be alot of fun.

I hope your week has been a good one, wherever you are.
If not, don't forget to count your blessings because you will very quickly realise that despite your problems there are also alot of good things going on in your life.

One of the good things in my life, is the lovely comments you all leave, so thankyou very much. I love hearing from you all.

Till next time,
Take care,
Claire X

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In the Summer Time................

Summer is officially here, not that you would necessarily know it considering the weather we have been having, but it is starting to warm up and as they say "it's getting a little sweaty around the armpits".......
Friday I happened to be in town so thought I would visit a couple of op shops and hooray, after a bit of a drought I found some 'pretties' to take home.
The above tea cloth was purchased for the princely sum of $1.00.
Needs a little soak to remove a couple of marks, but apart from that is perfect.
The design is red and blue ! Tulips.
I was thinking maybe a bag or some such, but once I got it home and had a good look at it, I really don't know how I could even think about cutting it up.
I will pop it in the drawer with the rest of the tea and table cloths (which are actually starting to take up a bit of room...) and think about it for awhile.
When I say "think about it for awhile" I probably mean ..... put them away and forget about them until I need a table cloth, which may be quite some time.....

I also spied these doilies in another op shop and felt they really should come home with me. They were priced at $1.50 each which for this particular op shop is quite cheap.
Some lovely lady with alot of time on her hands had taken them home and laundered them and then carefully sewn them onto card to display them and keep them looking lovely.
I know there are bloggers in the UK who would pick up this lot at a car boot sale for as little as 50p but unfortunately I never see bargains like that around here.

After seeing such beautiful snow photos on blogs I felt I needed a little Wintry Wonderland of my own to enjoy.
You all know how much I love Red Robins..................... well, what else could it be but a beautiful little Robin sitting on a Holly branch fluffed up to keep warm against the falling snow.
This is the first embroidery hoop picture I have made and it was so much fun I made a couple more.
If you would like your own Wintry Wonderland to hang in your home, I have a couple for sale, just send me an email .

Here is a closer pic, just click on it to enlarge.

We have been having alot of tropical type rain recently and it has sent the garden into overdrive, which means there is plenty of weeding and pruning to be done.

The Lavender is in full flower and fortunately hasn't been flattened by the storms.
The Wisteria is sending out tendrils, which, if you stand still for too long, threaten to envelope you!

With the rain comes flooding and it's amazing to see nearby rivers and creeks overflowing. I mean this is December, quite unusual.

As I was reminded by my BIL (brother in law) this was pretty much normal weather back in the 70's.
He is a few years older than me, but I do remember quite a few major floods back then, in the Winter time not Summer!

The first Dahlia of Summer, alot brighter in colour than the photo shows.
Last year they never flowered at all, so it's nice to see a few buds.

With the warmer weather a certain four legged, furry person spends alot of time doing the above.

Doesn't seem to matter where he is, he can close his eyes and be oblivious to the noise and commotion going on around him.
Wish I had that ability.....

Well, that's just a little bit of what's been happening in my corner of the globe.

Sewing and gardening are almost getting equal time at the moment!!!

One of my chooks is sitting on a few eggs and by the end of the week there maybe the sound of some chickens cheeping away.
I have never had chickens hatch before, so this is all very exciting. I am in the process of fencing off an area for her and her brood.
We have crows that do a fly by the chicken run at feeding time and I can imagine a fluffy little chick, would be very tempting to them.

This week I shall be trying to stay cool as the temps. rise, but there is more rain forecast as well......

Windows need cleaning too, so that can wait for a nice cool day.

Might rope No 1 in to help, certainly handy to have a 6' high fella around to reach those corners you can't.....

I'm sure he'll be more than happy to help out !!

Well, wherever you are and whatever the weather, look after yourself and thanks for stopping by for a visit.

Big thanks to all those that leave a comment, always lovely to hear from you and what's going on in your corner of the globe.

Till next time, take care,

Claire X