Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Rainy Day, Yarn and Tea - Perfect!

Gorgeous rainy day here. And boy, do our water tanks need it! Already, and we aren't even into summer yet. Looks like a hot, dry, LOOOOONG summer this year.

Until recently I didn't know that this is what I am:

Pluviophile - a person who loves rain. That's me! I feel so refreshed when it rains, and the smell!

Ombrophile - person who loves being rained on. Maybe not so much, although I love weeding in light rain. I think I'm more a watching the rain run down the windows kinda rain lover!

Working on a baby jacket from a vintage Patons book. It is called Puss and there are some lovely examples on Ravelry. Sometimes I just like to knit babywear in bright colours - sock yarn is great for this.

Original photograph from pattern book Patons R30. 

And I am reading Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English. I am always drawn into a book like that by photos and this book is simply gorgeous. The recipes sound delicious and all the ideas for gatherings would be such fun.
Here in Australia, we are heading into summer, so two gatherings that caught my eye were the Fruit celebration and the Cookie Exchange for Christmas. The idea of a Cookie Exchange has always appealed to me. Maybe next year, when we aren't moving house on 18th December!

Our peach tree is covered with little green wannabe peaches, so look forward to enjoying them like this little girl.

And look at the gorgeous knitwear. If anyone knows the pattern of that little red jacket or the yellow cardi, I would love to know!

I love this book for the photos alone, but the whole book is great. 

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things for Yarn Along.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Keep Calm Craft On - That Toadstool Fabric

Remember the gorgeous toadstool fabric from last week? Thanks to a few great suggestions, this is what some of it will be turned into. Not much progress as yet though!

There were a few suggestions for napkins, but being the perfectionist that I am, I knew I would spoil every meal but asking them not to dirty their napkins! So I have gone with napkin rings instead. I am also making a matching table runner and some bunting. Hopefully I will actually have some sewing done by next week!

I found this blog post the other day at Fresh Stitches. It is a tutorial about how to use Ravelry's stash feature. I have looked at this feature many times and just thought it looked way too time consuming to log all my stash. This tutorial got me thinking about it again. Is it worth it? Once I spend all the time logging the yarn, will I actually keep using it? 

Hmmm, what do you think?
I would love to hear from you - whether you use the stash feature and think it is great, or have used it but found it not worth the time and effort. 

And finally, Cuddlepie, being crafty with paint.

Linking with Frontier Dreams today for Keep Calm Craft On.

Meal Plan Monday - Let's Go Frugal!

Linking today with At Home With Mrs M for Meal Planning Monday and Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

This week I am going frugal! I am, at heart if not totally in reality, a homesteading, canning, self-sufficiency, Tom and Barbara Good kinda gal! When I was a teenager, my idea of a great Friday night was hanging out for The Good Life to be on TV. When the theme started and the little bird flew round the petals, I was not moving from that screen! Nerdy, I know! (I also had an exercise book with lists of names for all my animals, cows, pigs, chickens, all had names! Now that is super nerdy!) 

Ah, Tom and Barbara were my first inspiration and I still love watching the show. Them, and John Seymour. I was hooked, still am.

Anyway, at the library this week, I found this book, Delia's Frugal Food. I am always drawn to books with words like frugal, thrifty, etc. in the title, so scooped it into my trusty, always over-loaded library bag.
It wasn't until I started reading that I discovered this book is a re-print and it was actually published in the 70s. Which is what reminded me of Tom and Barbara. (I am beginning to sound like that book 'If You Give A Mouse A Cookie'!)
There are some fabulous recipes in this book. Great for budgeting, and aren't we always on a budget! In fact, there are so many recipes I want to try, I am only using one book this week.

Monday - Stir-fry chicken with vegies and thin hokkien noodles and a sort of trifle thing made with jelly, yogurt, fresh fruit and chopped hazelnuts.
Tuesday - Spinach Cream Flan (from Delia's Frugal Food) and oat crunch biscuits.
Wednesday - Devilled chicken drumsticks (Delia's Frugal Food) with salad and roast potatoes. Chocolate Victoria Sponge Sandwich cake from At Home With Mrs M.
Thursday - Traditional Cornish Pasties (Delia's Frugal Food) with roast vegetable salad, minted peas and corn on the cob.
Friday - Fishcakes with Capers (Delia's Frugal Food) with green salad and coleslaw. Spiced Bread and Apple Pudding (Delia's Frugal Food)
Saturday - Bangers braised in cider (Delia's Frugal Food). Get the good sausages - I know, it doesn't seem budget, but life is too short to eat bad sausages! with mashed potato, carrots in ginger and honey and steamed green beans.
Sunday - And I couldn't possibly cook from a 70s frugal cookbook without cooking - Lentil and Vegetable Curry! The go to meal for all 70s vegetarians! And Blackberry cheesecake (both from Delia's Frugal Food). This cheesecake uses curd cheese instead of cream cheese to make it more economical, so interested to see how that turns out.

Look forward to reading everyone's meal plans.
Happy cooking!

P.S. I am loving this idea from I'm an Organising Junkie for Christmas (and other entertaining). For a person with only 8 or so wine glasses, this will be super handy! 

Now, I have to come clean and admit that, until last week, I did not know what washi tape was. Never heard of it! Where have I been, you may ask? I am not sure how I have missed the thousands of blog posts on the amazing and varied uses of washi tape, but rest assured, now I am hooked! I have been on ebay and the designs are endless. I think washi tape will have to replace my 'how many colours of ric-rac braid does one person have to have?' quest.  

I would love to hear, what is your favourite use for washi tape?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

This Is The Day . . .

"This is the day that the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

One of my favourite verses, but do I always live it? No, not really.
I could lay the blame at the changes in my life that have occurred. After twenty years of thinking that we were moving towards one destination, everything has taken an about face and I realise that they were only my plans all along, not my hubby's. 
And I am struggling with this. I am tending to wallow in misery. But I am trying not to.

Just because this is not my plan does not mean it is wrong. Because it is God's plan and therefore it is right. I have to remember that. In fact, I am hanging on to that like a life raft at the moment and I know it will get me through eventually.

Again, I have been reading The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace.

"Generally speaking, to have the happiness, joy and fulfillment you desire, you must put yourself aside and place God and others first. In regards to earthly relationships, you must put your husband first. In regards to your relationship with God, set your heart on glorifying God whether you ever have your way or not."
The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace pg 85

This passage really spoke to me as I realised I have been doing exactly that. I have not only be railing against my husband for changing my life plans, but also against God. How could God do this to me when he knows it isn't what I wanted? I have to understand though, that it is what God wanted. And that is the important thing.

I will try my hardest to choose happiness every day.

Linking today with Darling Downs Diaries for Good Morning Mondays.

P.S. I would appreciate some advice. How do you all do Bible study? So far, I have just been reading beginning to end and then starting again, plus reading a few devotional books. I would like to do some more in-depth, specific study. Could anyone point me in the direction of some Bible studies, preferably free, on-line ones as I am trying to eliminate stuff in our home and buying any new books would be a no-no? Particularly relating to submission and surrender to God's plans? Thank you so much, I would so appreciate your help.

What To Do . . . . .?

Do you say, 'no boys, you may NOT put tomato sauce on my lovely Mustard and Bourbon Glazed Roast Pork?'
Or do you just throw up your hands in disgust and let them at it?

What would you do?!

Needless to say, they did have the tomato sauce.

And this is the size bottle I would need!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Creative Friday - Some Cross Stitch and Embroidery

Linking over at Natural Suburbia today for Creative Friday.

I really love cross stitch, but it is something that I never seem to get to. I have been stitching away at this design for years. I really love the Amish designs - I have the whole set that, one of these days, I will finish.

I have also been working on these embroidery designs from Red Brolly that were given to me. Normally I wouldn't use stamped designs. 

Not sure what I am going to do with them yet. Maybe a project bag?
And do head over and check out the Red Brolly website - it is awesome! I particularly need to make the Felt fairy mushroom house pincushion, except it would be a toadstool, of course! And the Family Sampler, which is an embroidery of the Holy Family. 

Hope you are having a creative Friday. Not many Fridays left until Christmas. In fact, as I write this it is 33 days, 22 hours, 52 mins and 10 secs until Christmas! How do I know this? The Xmas Clock told me so!

Friday Finishes - and a New Challenge!

Joining with Chrisknits today for Friday Finishes.

Love, love, love dishcloths! I always have a stash of them knitted up, ready to be gifted or used myself. I keep all the little odds and ends of leftover cotton and use them to knit the mixed colour ones like the two at the bottom. That's about all I have finished for this week! Other than my little lantern children, who I have posted a few times as I love them so!

Now, does any else have this problem? This is a photo of a project that I found in the deepest, darkest recesses of a cupboard - and have no idea what it was going to be! I assume I removed the pattern book at some stage to use elsewhere, thinking there would be no problem, I would be able to remember what this was. Nope, no idea! I am looking at all that stocking stitch and thinking of all the hours wasted!

So I have implemented a new project organisation system, hoping that this will, well, keep me organised! 

I have purchased four of these plastic containers and am only allowed to have a project in each box on the go at one time. Four projects at once, that is the theory. Hopefully this will help to keep me under control!
How do you organise your projects?

And I am joining a new challenge - The Love Your Library Challenge at Snapdragon Crafts

Great idea! Here are the challenge details (from Snapdragon Crafts blog):

" .. when reorganizing, I came to the harsh realization that my knitting and crafting library is expanding at a rate that is much faster than my actual rate of making from said books. I don't even want to think about how few items I have created from my library of crafting-related magazines ... shudder ... I had heard about the craft book challenge, which calls for making one thing out of your craft book library each month. Unfortunately, I discovered that the craft book challenge was no longer active. So I am reviving it for myself, but with a few tweaks:

  • Knit/sew/craft at least one thing from your current library each month. (I include magazines and pdf patterns within my definition of "library," so don't limit yourself to just books).
  • I am setting the goal for myself of not purchasing any new knitting patterns this year, and trying to only knit from my current pattern library.
Want to join me? On the first of each month, post your plans of what you'll be working on that month as part of the "Love Your Library" challenge and post a link to your blog post in the comments of my "Love Your Library" challenge post. At the end of the month we'll post again to assess our progress and applaud our finished projects."

And what better time than Christmas, when we are all busy crafting, to take up this challenge? I can't even take a photo of all my craft books, magazines, patterns as they are stashed all over the place. Another challenge - to reorganise them all!

And imagine the time you will save? Hands up who spends untold hours on Ravelry, trawling the patterns for new ones, when you have thousands at home? Yep, I have two hands up for that one! And if I also do no more yarn or fabric browsing / buying, wow, I will save hours that I can spend actually crafting!

So please join in and post your progress at Snapdragon Crafts. Look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Childrens Hour and A Basket of Inspiration

I am re-reading an old favourite at the moment, Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride.
I have just been reading the chapter called The Childrens' Hour, where the author talks about having time every day for children to read or be read to from the classics, to craft, to potter with any little thing that takes their fancy. 

It made me realise that I have let this ritual slip in our home. Since I am no longer homeschooling, the opportunity for spending time together and reading aloud for hours if we want is much more difficult to come by. I will have to consciously carve this time out of our day if I want this to happen. And I do want this to happen. Mr Lego, who is 10 now, is slowly losing his interest in history, myths and legends, and learning is becoming a chore for him rather than an interest. I have to do my best to reverse this trend at home. 

Op shops are wonderful places and I found these different sets of childrens encyclopedias or compendiums. They don't seem to publish these volumes anymore, which is such a shame as they are so perfect for just dipping into and sparking that little bit of interest in a child that can often be enough to flame an ongoing passion. 

Another favourite of mine are The Childrens Hour With Uncle Arthur books. 

Now I have spent so long talking about that, I haven't even got to the yarn part yet!
I have finished some of these little lantern children - you can read about them here.

But mainly just looking through lots of books, Ravelry, magazines and getting lost for hours planning Christmas crafting. Oh, and ordering lots of yummy goodies! With just a click of a button, wonderful things arrive in the mail!

How gorgeous are the colours of the Drops Alpaca? I couldn't resist, as it is quite reasonably priced for alpaca and I had a 10% off code from Love Knitting. And if you spend $80 or more, you get free shipping. 
Is that enough perfectly valid reasons (read, excuses!) for ordering all that gorgeous yarn? Methinks, yes!

Linking with Ginny's Yarn Along at Small Things.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Keep Calm Craft On

I am having lots of fun with all the free vintage images available, as you can see!
These are some of my favourites so far:

Free Pretty Things For You 
The Graphics Fairy
Cute N Cool Freebies and Other Stuff
Sweetly Scrapped
Shabby Blogs
The Cutest Blog on the Block

And the editing is all done on PicMonkey

With our Laternenfest coming up on 28th November, I have been busily working away on some little lantern children

I do love this pattern! I'm thinking a red one next, to be Little Red Riding Hood.

I saw this gorgeous fabric on sale and just HAD to purchase a fat quarter of each one. How could I resist toadstool fabric?!


Now the question is what to do with this wonderfulness? Any suggestions? There are nine fat quarters in total. 
Happy crafting to everyone and I look forward to seeing you all over at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Meal Planning - Let's Get Going!

Linking today with At Home With Mrs M for Meal Planning Monday and Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Now meal planning, hmmm. One of those things that I always mean to do, but somehow always gets shelved and I end up with the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of meals. And as we all know, this really doesn't work!
I figure if I participate in this link-up, it will be an incentive to actually organise this part of my home life. 
I'm not quite sure why meal planning always falls apart. Normally, I am very organised (I was an accountant in my previous life, for goodness' sake!) Maybe it doesn't seem spontaneous enough, maybe I'm just plain lazy. And I know all the good things that will come from organised meal planning - more time in my day, less stress, less complaining as everyone will know what is coming for the meal and be able to mentally prepare themselves if it something they are less than pleased about!

Not sure this is how I look in the kitchen!

So let's just meal plan already! 

My plan is to choose one or two books a week and try some new recipes from them. I am really over cooking at the moment and I think it is because I am totally bored with serving the same few things that my boys will eat! Maybe if I mix it up a bit, they will have to try something new.

This week's books are Thy Hand Hath Provided and D.I.Y Delicious.

Thy Hand Hath Provided has a fantastic blog and many of the recipes from the book are available over there. 

Monday Pasta with Asparagus, White Beans and Mint and Peach Crumble made with the Peach Pie Filling recipe from this post, that I canned last summer.
Tuesday - Homemade pizza - the boys will have ham and pineapple, I'll make a supreme type one, and Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion and Feta Pizza.
Wednesday - Frittata (we have lots of eggs at the moment, and lots of chicks coming out of some of them!), potato wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce, and peas, carrots and corn. Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Brownie Bars.
Thursday - Chicken wraps. Fruit salad
Friday - Mustard and Bourbon Glazed Roast Pork (from DIY Delicious), roast root vegies and creamed spinach.
Saturday - Chicken and vegies in lettuce parcels with Spicy Southeast Asian Peanut Sauce (from DIY Delicious). Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream. I have made this ice cream before - it is to die for! I don't have an ice cream machine, so I just put it in a Tupperware container in the freezer and remember to whisk it every hour until it freezes (probably about 4 times or so). 
Sunday - Leftovers of some sort or toasted sandwiches - that sort of thing!

Well, we see how this goes! 

Submission - does it mean being a doormat?

Submission certainly gets a bad rap from non-Christians, as to most it seems the perfect way to keep women below men and isn't that what the feminist movement worked so hard to alter? However, there is an enormous difference between Biblical submission and subjugation. 

I am struggling in this area, without a doubt. My husband has made some life changing decisions lately that are against everything I believe in and everything I thought we were working towards for the last 20 years of marriage and I am struggling with submitting cheerfully to this. 
Also I was brought up in a non-Christian family and still have no Christian family members, including my husband. So how does Biblical submission work if your husband is not Christian? Do you need to bother at all?
I have been doing lots of reading in this area, including The Excellent Wife by Martha PeaceA Virtuous Woman by Ruth Mast and A Wife After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George.

This article called Unbelieving Spouse from Christian Broadcasting Network sums it up for me.

In other words, you can stop trying to change your spouse, which causes strife in your home, and start believing for a miracle instead. God is working to convert your spouse through you, but by your actions much more than by your words. In fact, God may prefer to do the work without your words.
 "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives." (1 Peter 3:1.2)
The wife of an unbelieving husband is to biblically submit to his headship regardless. In fact, it is probably more essential as you will provide the living example of Christ to your husband, probably the only such example he will see. This can be extremely frustrating as he may not have the same values as you. In my life, this frustration often comes out in angry words, which are later regretted but cannot be undone. I found the points made in Elizabeth George's book helpful here. She has a checklist of actions to follow when frustration starts to set in.

learning to pray - at the first hint of frustration or self-pity
learning to say nothing - this is what I am struggling with
learning to wait - the emotion will dissipate if we can wait it out while saying nothing
learning to make a list - while waiting, list the items you need to discuss
learning to make an appointment - rather than discussing in the heat of the moment
learning to write it out - plan what you need to say
learning to 'take the blame' - come to the discussion with a meek and quiet spirit

So who should we look to for inspiration? Forget the celebrities on TV, sportspeople, superheroes. I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman when I grow up! I will admit, the Proverbs 31 woman scares me - how could I ever hope to be like her? But I figure if I strive after her ideal, something will be achieved just in the trying. Even if I just focus on one verse at a time, it will still be an improvement.

I found this article at Ordinary Inspiration blog called Practical Ways You Can Become A Proverbs 31 Woman. It goes through the chapter and for each verse lists something you can do to enact that verse in your life. Very simple, very effective, very useful.

I am trying hard to lay my frustrations at the feet of Jesus. And always remembering this verse at the moment. 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Linking today with Darling Downs Diaries for Good Morning Mondays.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Creative Friday - a little lantern child

My local community, Tarrington, holds their lantern walk on 28th November this year. It is held later in November than Martinmas to combine with the local German festival. Laternenfest is shaping up to be fantastic this year!

So I am making some of the little lantern children to display around the festival. I have altered them a bit, in that I am using these peg people from Caseys Wood as the base rather than a wine cork.

Caseys Wood are fantastic - and they ship to Australia. Which is lucky for someone who is addicted to making peg people of all sorts!

I also changed the body piece to be knitted in the round.  To fit the large peg doll, I cast 16 stitches onto 4mm DPNs. Knit in the round until the right length for the body. K2tog across row (8 stitches remaining). Thread yarn through remaining stitches, slip over peg doll's head, then tighten and tie off yarn. The cloak I made the same as the original pattern. 

The first lantern child has a rainbow cloak and an off white body. The yarn is the hand dyed yarn I mentioned in this post. I love the way it is knitting up. 
I have also started to make a doll dress from it - she will be a cute little hippy doll with a dress like that! I have discovered this gorgeous doll pattern from Mary Jane's Tearoom. Her patterns are so adorable. 

Don't look too closely at the lantern! I just made a very quick one to take the photo - we will play around on the weekend with some different lantern designs.

And some other colours for more lantern children.

I just love how these turned out. 

Linking to Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia andFibre Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins In Wonder.