Saturday, February 28, 2009

Swap Update

Hello all. Our dish/tea towel and pot holder swap seems to be chugging along just fine. Don't forget to e-mail Rose (rosmar at 1earth dot net) or myself Sharon (cdetroyes at yahoo dot com) if you have any problems. Now for another, ahem, yes, you guessed it, swap. Rhonda would like to start up a seed swap. We will be swapping heirloom seeds only. The rules for this swap are very strict.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Biggest Kitchen Table - Preserving/Canning

The concept of the world's biggest kitchen table was hatched in January when we discussed chickens; now we go on to preserving/canning in a water bath. The idea is that I write my post here, and if you have a blog, you write a post about preserving/canning the way you do it. When you write your post, leave a comment, with a link to your post and we'll all move around, reading all the kitchen

Red Letter Day

Kids- I have great kids and yesterday was a great day for them. Hannah received her first college acceptance "fat envelope" which was fun and Ben called to alert me to his terrific article in the huffingtonpost. 169642.html
I was working at Sue's yesterday and did not get home till late and went to check the mail even later so I called Hannah at midnight to tell her there was an admissions envelope waiting, and she told me to open it, and yippeee! Here we go waiting for the rest to come in. SO exciting!

Sue and I have been working on new designs for her bedroom and last night was the night to hang her curtains. As usual I poked starter holes for the anchors with my Dad's old ice pick. After doing the first side of one I started on the other and hit a stud. Trying to save myself the trouble of getting out my drill, I tapped a little harder on the ice pick with my hammer and then spent the next 35 minutes trying to get the %$#@ thing back out. I guess a "tap" was not exactly what I did, I had pounded the thing about 2" into the stud. After trying every wrench, plier (locking and other wise),I called for reinforcements from Sue's hulky 6'4' son Scott, who, yanked, pounded and pulled another 10 minutes and then he gave up. By now the wooden end of the pick has come off and I am trying to grasp just the slim metal rod. I sent up a silent plea to my Dad for assistance and "poof" out it came. Of course when Scott came back to check, we told him he had "loosened" it for me. We tell that to all the men.....

Today is scrubbing tile day...ugh...and I should get back to it. I'll be scheduling Finish it Day very soon. If anyone has any input, let me know ASAP. I'm leaning toward a Saturday and we'll start at 10:00 am and go until ? Some will be overnight guests...even more fun! You will have to register to attend.

Baking bread

The Basic Bread loaf made yesterday

I was asked my Charis to post about a simple bread recipe and I’m happy to do that because I know there are a number of readers who are trying to perfect their bread or just starting out in the wonderful world of home baking.

First let me say that it doesn’t matter whether you make bread by hand or in a machine. The aim in making bread is to make a good

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pecans, passionfruit and pods

I am still learning about our pecan tree. It sits in the chook run and it is the most beautiful tree in our backyard. It's deciduous, madly green and lush during the summer and a slender skeleton with forking fingers during winter. For many years I didn't know what it was, and I still don't know what variety it is, but I'm happy it's there. Apparently the old varieties of pecan take 12 years

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cleaning the pantry

It looks like a really good swap. I think it's wonderful that so many of you are taking part and I hope you enjoy it. Swapping is a good way of developing new friendships and learning new skills, even if it's straight machine sewing or hand stitching. For the experienced sewers, it's a small project to work on that has a surprise element attached to it, and it helps use up those little bits

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dish/Tea Towel and Hot Pad Swap

Hello Ladies,UPDATE: We have had one swapper who has had to drop out due to a sudden move from one state to another. I have changed her swap buddy and want to remind everyone to make contact with their swap buddy as soon as possible. If there are any other problems, please let Rose or myself (Sharon) know about it so we can get it all the kinks worked out and everyone can start their projects!!

A walk around the backyard

The hours spent at home during Autumn are the sweetest of the year. It's almost here, I feel the change of seasons upon us, and it calls us to do that seasonal work reserved for this, our busiest time. We plant our main eating crop in March, so as February draws to a close, I plant seeds in trays and Hanno prepares the gardens with compost, worm castings, blood and bone, cow manure and old

Friday, February 20, 2009

Helping Jarryd

How often do we get the chance to help someone whose life has been completely turned upside down? Not often. We do favours for people, we give to charities, but when is an act of kindness given to someone who loses everything in the space of one single day?Jarryd needs your help.I just received this comment from Frogdancer and I am happy to help her. This is what she wrote:I was wondering if

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Swap News

Hello ladies. The sign-up deadine for the swap is now over. I am glad so many of you have joined our new swap. I am especially happy that there are so many first time swappers and even novice sewers and crafters who have joined in-this is what a swap is all about! Swapping is about learning a new skill or practicing an old skill and making new friends. Rose and I have made lists, are

Buttons Buttons- Go get the Buttons!

Twice now I have purchased amazing buttons from Karen Vornsand. These buttons are incredible, and Karen hand cleans each and every one. There are no dirty strings and left over wire bits, and her knowledge of types and materials used is valuable info to a novice like me. When I'm sifting my hands through trays of buttons, I have to tell you, it makes me a little giddy. One after another I spy a special one, only to squeal as I grab up another that becomes my "new best one!" It will be difficult to part with these for upcoming classes but that is my intent.

This red beauty nestled in a pile of browns I purchased, is one of her bracelets. Some of you snatched up these bracelets at Doodlebug last December. Each unique and wonderful, but be prepared to be stopped everywhere you go with "Where did you get that?" and "I want one!"

You can see and purchase her buttons this coming Sunday the 22nd at Bead Jungle from 12-4. 1550 W Horizon Ridge here in Henderson. Bring some friends and please tell Karen I sent you. Karen will be happy to tell you where you can purchase her jewelry and about any upcoming button classes etc.

Seriously, dear friends.... Button Button- Go get the Buttons!

Watch for photo of my new wallet from Amy Gonzalez. We played email and phone tag all yesterday or I would already have it. I cannot wait to use it. When I saw Amy's wallet at Doodle, I gasped and said "Where did you get that? and "I want one!" Where have I heard that before? hmmmm. I gave her a stack of favorite brown fabrics and had her make me a "primitive" one but her standard styles are all about bright colors and jazzy fabrics that are too, too cute.

If anyone is interested in contacting either Karen or Amy, let me know and I will forward your info to them. Is everyone loving this weather? My trees are in bud already and my bulbs are coming up!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Growing Luffas / Loofahs

Our luffas (loofahs) are almost ready to pick. They have snaked their way up a very high trellis, grown in the sun and rain of summer, and are now almost ready for harvest. Our season this year has been very disappointing. All the vines grew strong and healthy but there was a lot of rain and lower than normal temperatures, which resulted in very few female flowers. There are only about six

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Doily jug cover and answers to comments

I must have done something good in the past to deserve the wonderful group of readers I have here. I was overwhelmed by the response to yesterday's post and the jump in visitor numbers. Thank you. Those of you who read here regularly know that Mondays and Tuesdays are the days I do my voluntary work and on those days I'm always busy, rarely able to comment during the day. Usually, all I can

Monday, February 16, 2009

The secret life of a happy homemaker

Don't let them fool you, there is joy to be found at home. If you listen to the people who don't know that, you'll be thinking that being at home, and the chores to be done there, are demeaning, demanding and disgusting. If you read magazines, they'll tell you all about how to do this and that, they'll give you lists of "the best 10 holidays ..." and tell you 20 different ways to serve a

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Homemade soap and laundry powder

Having the time and the inclination to make many of the things we use here is one of the most satisfying things about living this way. I love making soap, cooking from scratch, making cordials and fermented drinks, I love to sew and knit, and those activities result in products that are usually superior in quality to those bought in today's shops. It also give me the peace of mind of knowing

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A New Swap

Hello all, Sharon here. I am a bit late in announcing a new swap today. I have decided that we will be swapping something very useful and something that can be very creative- kitchen towels and hot pads. I was going to put up my own tutorial for this, but after doing some research on the internet I found many so good tutorials that I will instead give you links to great ideas. For those who like

A post to read

I don't have time to post today but Eilleen at Consumption Rebellion has written a very interesting and intelligent post at the co-op about Children and the pressure to buy. It's well worth a read.Sharon will be posting later about the new swap. I hope you all jump in and have some fun with it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Establishing housekeeping routines

Changing old habits and establishing new routines is one of the hardest things you'll do when you move from a consumerist mindset to a more frugal and homemade one. When I first changed from my old life, I knew I had to do a lot more for myself but for the life of me I couldn't find the motivation to get all those new chores done. After a period of trial and error, I stumbled onto a good

Permaculture knitting

Thanks for that previous post, Sharon. The money being raised for the fire victims is growing steadily. Australians have always been generous and supportive in times of crisis so it's good to see that tradition remains strong. The Red Cross is accepting donations both here in Australia and from their locations around the world. You can read about their current efforts here.It seems I'm always

Monday, February 9, 2009


It seems that every time my husband and I check the news the death toll rises and the devastation is mind-boggling. I have seen many fires having grown up in the Southwestern US. Much of my home town (Los Alamos, New Mexico) burned down a few years ago in a man-made fire, but nothing compares with the loss of life and destruction in the Victorian bush fires. Here in the US, those who wish to

2 in one day! Blog Info

A friend just called and we realized pretty quickly that being a newbie to blogging, she did not realize that she could scroll down to the bottom of each page and click on older posts to see past blog postings. You can select the month or year from the bar area to the left. I also explained that she could email me directly from the site by clicking on the letter icon under each posting and she could also leave me comments about any posting by clicking on comments. I love to get comments, so feel free.

Now I'm sure most of you are familiar with all of this, but for the few who are new to blogging I hope this helps.

The next Gathering is going to be all about paper. You will not believe how much we can do with such a renewable resource. It will be a series of many stations and each station will be a different paper project. I did this years ago ( oh my, well over a decade ago) and it was a huge hit, and I think it is time to do again. Because of the many stations we have to have warmer weather so that some stations can be outdoors. I was so excited about doing this I bought some supplies already today.

Papier, carta, papel..It's all paper to me!

Queen of Hearts Projects

Pics as promised- 9 projects

Two simple recipes

I didn't watch the news last night but Hanno told me there are over 160 lives lost in the fires now. Of course, there are many animals dead too, heavy stock losses and wild life carers are either nursing burnt or injured animals back to health or are euthanasing them. And the houses! An entire town lost with almost every home burnt to the ground, and many homes in other towns burnt, leaving

Sunday, February 8, 2009

FInish it Day?

I said I would post pics of Queen of Hearts but we were so busy and having too much fun to stop and take pictures. OK, truth is, I just plain forgot till everyone was packed up and ready to go. I almost forgot to serve the white chocolate cheesecake dessert, and would have if Sharon hadn't mentioned it! Whew, thank you Sharon. Five cheesecakes..somewhere a weight watchers fairy is breathing a sigh of relief on my behalf. Poor Sue had to leave a little early to pick up her daughter and she did miss cheesecake! I owe you one dessert Sue.

Everyone made the sweetest little heart soaps and I have a feeling that everyone will be making soaps at home very soon. There were nine projects in this class and not all of them were completed so a Finish it Night was discussed and we are due for another one soon. I think it should be a Finish it Day so we get even more done. How about a Finish it PJ day? Come in very comfy clothes and slippers and we'll have a comfort food pot luck. Mac and Cheese, Hearty soups, that kind of thing. Email me if you are interested and your preferred day Sat or Sun. Day with most votes will win, and we'll shoot for early March. Start thinking about unfinished projects that you want/need to complete.

Thank you to my "Queens" who attended yesterday, regal women all.

I hope everyone has a special Valentine this it spouse, friend or new grandbaby.
Love to all.

Family stories

We had a wonderful weekend here full of family, both old and new. On Friday night, Tricia and I went to cousin Susie's home on her brother Stephen's 55th birthday. Stephen died a few months back and as he didn't have a formal funeral, we chose that day to remember him. My uncle Hal, Stephen's dad, was there, as well as Susie's husband Nick and children, Angie and Billy. It was a good night,

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bushfires and floods

Hello everyone! I've had a few emails asking if Hanno and I are okay and if we are close to the bushfires. At least 25 people have been killed by fires in Victoria, which is at the bottom of Australia. I'm happy to report we are a couple of thousand kilometres away from the fires. There are other fires in New South Wales, where Tricia lives, but they're not near her home at the moment. The

Friday, February 6, 2009

Kits and More Kits

The table is set, the kits are waiting to be opened and the creating is about to begin. The night before a Gathering is fun as I get to see all the hours of work come together. For those of you who have not attended a Gathering, this is what awaits you at your table. Each project is in it's own little kit, a little present waiting to be opened. Queen of Hearts has 9 surprises waiting for each student and a small box of chocolate too! Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Old memories and new patterns

My sister Tricia travelled up from Sydney yesterday to visit for a few days. We have some family events to attend, the first one being a remembrance for our cousin Stephen, which will be held tonight at his sister Susie's home.Tricia caught the train from the airport and I picked her up from the train station. I feel a bit removed from it when I'm in a busy place like that, people going

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Food storage - freezing

I have been using my large chest freezer as a cool room for storing my grains and dry goods. In this humid climate, especially in summer, it's truly been a very good way of making sure bugs and mildew don't spoil our food and thus we avoid wastage. Using the freezer this way I wasn't concerned if the electricity went off, I knew that no matter what, that food would be fine.However, since we

Monday, February 2, 2009

A simple wedding

There was good news here recently. A couple of weeks ago I told you that my elder son Shane and his lovely girlfriend, Sarndra, will marry this year. Their original plan was to go to New Zealand for a few months, return here in September, marry and go to Spain to live for a while. Well, things have changed. The wedding will now be in June!And it will be here at our home. : - )I was really

Sunday, February 1, 2009


What a game! My hat, if I ever wore one, would be off in salute to both teams. Amazing, exciting, nail biting, (gorgeous Bruce), heart palpitating, Ben owes me a fabulous home cooked meal, event! Makes me miss PA, my home, my youth. WOW! STEELERS!

Weekend festival

Bev welcoming everyone with her clapping sticks.(click on the photos to enlarge them)We had a wonderful weekend. I hope you did too. Saturday morning we were up and dressed early to go to our local annual aboriginal gathering - the Bunya Dreaming Festival, a celebration of the local Gubbi Gubbi people and aboriginal culture. It's held when the Bunya pines produce their delicious nuts and for