Saturday, December 31, 2011

Endings and beginnings

Image from here

'another year over... a new one just begun' - John Lennon
So ends my first year of blogging.. I wonder what's ahead in 2012?
Best wishes to followers and readers.. see you next year!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 24

One more sleep!
This post is to wish all my followers and readers all the joys of the season. Take care everyone, especially if you are travelling to be with loved ones. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 22

Yesterday I made another of my 'traditional' contributions to Sunday's feast, peppermint log. This recipe was given to me by my late mother-in-law, and was one her offerings at Christmas along with rum balls and apricot balls. She kept containers of each in the frig to be brought out with coffee all through the Christmas season.
I have made the log for years now (so long in fact that my grown-up nieces and nephews refer to it as "Auntie Carolyn's peppermint log") and recently added the apricot balls. I had never had the recipe until I found out that MIL had given it to one of my sisters.
Both recipes are the kind where all ingredients are combined with condensed milk. I now use the 'low-fat' milk; yes, I know it still has all that sugar!!!... please leave me to my delusion that I'm providing a 'healthier' treat.
Only three more sleeps! I suppose I'd better get on with finishing the gift buying. I'm such a procrastinator.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 20

Well, today was pudding day. I had intended to do it last weekend but was overcome by lethargy and a general out-of-sorts feeling. All better now.
Last night the fruit was set to soak in rum.

 This morning all the other ingredients were combined...

...and into the boiler it went for three hours. Ahh, the smell!

Here it is just out of the boiler, before being turned onto a plate. I haven't taken a photo of that because somehow it doesn't look as attractive as the ones you see in recipe books. I had a tiny taste (cook's privilege) and it's not too bad.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 15

I have been putting together a 'white' Christmas corner, just with stuff I had on hand. What do you think? I think it needs something more, just not sure what. Candles? Pine cones? Fairy lights?
(I know lavender isn't white but it needed something in the pot and I didn't have anything with white flowers).

This is a close up of the heart wreath I made using calico, tulle and organza ribbon tied to a heart shaped ring I got from Spotlight a couple of years ago. I pretty happy with it.
I am pleased to announce that my give-away winner is Sheila across the world in Nova Scotia. I'm afraid my  gift won't arrive until after Christmas but it can go into the stash for next year. Congratulations Sheila, just e-mail me your address and I'll get it into the post as soon as possible, with a few extra goodies from Oz as well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 14

A little peek at some bits of my 'white' project. Still working on it.
My give-away closes tonight. It's not to late to join in.All comments from recent posts will be included in the draw.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Treasures

My treasure today is my mother's Christmas pudding recipe.
She almost always waited until Christmas Day to make it and the smell of it cooking while we put together lunch for the hordes (I have a large family) is something that is with me still. It took a lot of coaxing to get the recipe as Mum had made it so often she didn't need to consult a recipe book. At one stage I even sat down while she was making it and wrote the recipe down. She did eventually write it herself and the picture shows a copy in her handwriting.
After she died I took on the mantle of pudding maker for the family, and have made one most years since. I have to halve the recipe because not so many gather together these days. It took a bit of trial and error at first, because it is cooked in a cloth, but I have made progress.
I will be making this year's later in the week... no way am I confident enough of success to leave it until Christmas morning!!!
Why not visit with Melody to see who else is sharing today.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 11

What with Christmas parties, birthday lunches and drinks with friends, I haven't been home much in the last three days. However, the decorations are almost done, so I thought I'd share a bit of a peek.

My collection of angels

My bit of bling

No presents yet!

Still working on some 'white stuff'. Remember all comments over the next few days will put you in the draw for my Christmas give-away.
Blogging along with Car and others until Christmas... join us!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 10

Yay!!! my 100th post!!!
To celebrate the occasion I am having a give-away... just a few Christmas goodies. If you would like to be in it, just leave a comment over the next few posts. I will close entries next Wednesday (December 14) so that the winner has a chance to receive it before Christmas.. provided they live in Australia of course.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 9

It's started... the cards are arriving... Christmas must be just around the corner! Eek! I had better get writing.
My cute little folk art letter box was a gift from my grand- daughter many years ago. I think she bought it from a school Christmas stall.
Ooh... just noticed this is my 99th post. I promised a give-away for my 100th. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 8

O dear... missed another day. Yesterday was a rather dreary day, so naturally I spent it curled up with a book. My camera is doing weird things at the moment (maybe time to consider a new one), so I decided to play with the scanner instead. This is another vintage card.. I added the text at the top. Christmas card? gift tag?
If you would like to blog-a-long 'til Christmas, you can join in here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 6 - Tuesday Treasures

Another Queensland summer favourite for my treasure today. I am lucky enough to have this lovely tree in my garden and look forward to the first blooms. They have the most wonderful fragrance and also remind me of my mother. These were one of her favourite flowers.

As we usually had a frangipani tree where we lived, or at least nearby, Mum always used the flowers for decoration, particularly at Christmas. I can remember threading them into garlands to put on the table for Christmas dinner.
Don't forget to visit Melody to see who else is sharing treasures today.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 5

How cute is this? I bought it here. There is a red one with white lettering too.
Dont' forget to pop over here to see who else is blogging along. You can join in too!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 4

Whoops... missed a day!
For many years I saved Christmas cards from one Christmas to the next ( I know... I'm such a hoarder) until it finally dawned on me that I could recycle them. No, not through Planet Ark, but by re-using them as gift tags. A hole punch and a pair of fancy scissors and... Voila!

Does this mean I'm thrifty? or just a cheapskate???

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - Day 2

For some reason I am being drawn to the idea of a rustic decorating theme this year, although none of my current decorations lend themselves to the idea. These images from the Christmas issue of Family Circle magazine are partly to blame and I have been looking at the twigs which regularly fall from my camphor laurel tree and thinking about white paint.

The longing for the 'white stuff' has also been fueled by visiting this blog. Still... twigs and white paint... a bit of wire and paper...wouldn't break the bank, would it???

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent blog-a-long - day 1

It seems that Christmas is coming whether we are ready or not. I usually try to begin my decorating on the first of December, but probably won't get to it until the weekend. To put me in the mood I am joining in with Car and others, blogging along until the big day. I probably won't be as diligent as I was with Blogtoberfest, but who knows?
My picture was scanned from a book I have of delightful vintage images, published originally for decoupage I guess, but who could bear to cut them up?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Craft day follow up

The Christmas Craft day we had at Wolston House last Sunday was a great success. Lots of people came and spent lots of money which will be used to improve and maintain the property.
Some photos taken on the day.

All of our home-baked goodies were sold.

Our Trash & Treasure stall is always full of bargains.

We have had these dancers a few times before and they are great to watch. I didn't envy them dressed like that when the temperature was around 33 degrees Celsius!

This is a group of re-enactors who set up a bushranger camp and entertained us with mock thefts as well as children playing colonial games and damper baking. I must hasten to add that the thieves were apprehended by the very diligent troopers, although, sadly, one person was "injured" in the cross-fire!
All in all a good day, in spite of the heat!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Craft day

I have been very busy today making goodies to sell at the Christmas Craft day at Wolston House tomorrow.
I'm sorry the photo is a bit blurry, that is how I'm feeling at the moment. I have made passion-fruit butter, date loaf, apricot balls (a bit like rum balls but with apricots), and Anzac biscuits. There is Banana chutney too, made a while back. Our Home Baking stall is always popular.
If you're in the neighbourhood tomorrow, drop in and say hello.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A bit of sewing...

After a very hot and steamy few days, the rain came yesterday to cool things down and I finally got into the sewing room. You may remember the delicious oilcloth I bought a few weeks ago; this is what I made from some of it.

I'm off to lunch today with some of the "girls" I caught up with at the school reunion I went to a little while back, and needed a bag. It is interesting working with oilcloth - I've not sewn it before.

I also made some new curtains for the dining room - something on my to-do list for ages. The fabric is some I've had stashed for years... bought for use in another house in another time but never made up. I will post pictures when they are hemmed and hanging.
It felt good to be sewing something at last.. it's been a while. Now maybe I can move on to some more creative stuff... as long as the weather stays cool!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Treasures

As summer is well and truly with us here in Queensland, my treasure today is something that represents that season for me more than anything else. What else but the Mango!
Image from here

Growing up on a small farm on the Sunshine Coast gave me a childhood of wonderful experiences. On our farm we had five mango trees, and my brother and I spent most of our summer holidays climbing the trees or gorging on the fruit. Surprisingly, I still love them and look forward to the first fruit of the season to tell me summer is on its way! 
Don't forget to visit Melody to see who else is sharing today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday treasures

I'm back for Tuesday treasures with Melody after a bit of a break. By the end of Blogtober, I was totally 'blogged out', but it's good to be back.
Last weekend I travelled to Toowoomba for the National Trust conference and would like to share as my treasure the fabulous B&B where my friend and I stayed. It is called Vacy Hall and was built in 1899 after a previous house on the site was destroyed by fire.

This is the room we stayed in. You could practically dance the tango in here without bumping into anything.

Image found here

The garden was delightful to walk around in, and there were all sorts of little touches to make you feel like a very welcome guest.

Our breakfast was delicious, served on the verandah just outside our room. Bliss!
Vacy Hall is a real treasure- as is Toowoomba in general - with lots of interesting places to see and things to do.
Don't forget to drop in on Melody to see who else is sharing today.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blogtoberfest - the end

Ha! bet you thought it would never come and you'd forever be reading things that weren't interesting just so I could keep up the post a day!. Well today's post isn't very interesting either, just me rejoicing that the end (of Blogtober) has come. Stubbornness can be a pain in the....
I meant to have a give-away and everything, but let me tell you folks- posting every day sucks the creativity right out of you (me anyway). Maybe I'll save my give-away for my 100th post.. coming soon.

Thanks for putting up with my sometimes witless ramblings... things should return to normal soon!
PS the rose photo has nothing to do with anything.. it is pretty though.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 30 - Blogtoberfest

One of my favourite things to bake is scones and I have a great recipe I make using buttermilk. Lots of people rave about Lemonade scones, so I finally got around to trying a recipe. I was pretty happy with the result, they are dead easy to make. I found several recipes on the internet but this is the one I used.

During the month I have managed to visit some of the other people who signed up for Blogtoberfest.
Check out the the blogs from herehere and here.
Only one more post!!!!.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 29 - Blogtoberfest

Today I went back to the 60's.. sort of. I attended an open day to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the High School I went to in 1961-2. I was in the first group to start at the school. This is the uniform we wore then! Very glam!!!

Here is my class. That's me on the right in the row of three.

And this is me today (on the left) with two of my besties from way back when. We haven't seen each other for over 20 years!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 28 - Blogtoberfest

I was in Brisbane today to have my hair done (yes, they do have hairdressers here in Ipswich, but...) and hoping to lunch with a friend who lives in the suburb of Bulimba. Unfortunately, she got a last minute call to work, so I was on my own. I had hoped to lunch here at my favourite bookshop/teahouse, but sadly the deck was full.

After lunch elsewhere, I wandered down Oxford Street to check out a couple of shops including this one, Just Plain Gorgeous.

The owner, Simone, stocks a beautiful range of decorator items as well as jewellry and hand-made soaps.
You can check out her blog here.

I just had to buy some of this delicious oilcloth.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 27 - Blogtoberfest

The humble banana

Bananas have been a bit scarce here in Queensland following the floods and cyclones in January. A bit expensive too. Unless you happen to have some of these in your back yard...

I cut down a bunch the other day which ripened all at once so today I made banana chutney. 
Here is the recipe,(although if you don't have them in your yard you might have to wait until the price comes down).
Banana Chutney
12 bananas
2 1/2 cups malt vinegar
1 cup stoned dates, halved
1 cup raisins
1 tblspn salt
1 cup sugar
1 tblspn cinnamon
1 tspn nutmeg
2 tspns turmeric
  1. Peel and slice the bananas, put into a saucepan with half the vinegar, bring to boiling point, then simmer, stirring all the time, for 5 minutes. Add rest of vinegar and stir for another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for about an hour. Turn into warm, sterilised jars and seal airtight.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 26 - Blogtoberfest

More quilts. Yes, I know what you're thinking... doesn't she have anything more interesting to blog about?
The answer is NO.. not today, sorry. I am so close to making it to the end of Blogtober, only five more posts! I'm exhausted but determined.
Anyway more quilts from last Saturday.

Below is a close-up of the one above. I love how the trees are different.

Maybe tomorrow will bring inspiration.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 25 - Blogtoberfest - Tuesday Treasures

After a busy day today teaching a rather lively group of Year One children, I decided that my treasure today is TIME (and energy!!!). Time to sit on my verandah enjoying the view; time for craft; time for family. There just isn't enough!
Don't forget to pop over to Melody's to see who else is sharing today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 24 - Blogtoberfest

As promised, some more quilts. These two are my kind of quilts because of the stories attached. The women who made them are part of a quilt study group run by Queensland Quilters.

The arcs of this Double Wedding Ring quilt were bought in the US. They are genuine depression-era  fabrics and have been finally put into a quilt by the maker.

The hexagon quilt has a similar story, although in its case, the top had been completed and just needed backing and quilting. Apparently there was some minor repair needed.

Both women have hand quilted their quilts. I think their stories make these rather special.