Thursday, September 27

this moment...

this moment inspired by soulemama - a friday ritual. a single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

to make

i was the lucky winner of a give away on thelittlegnomeshome blog recently. i won a gift voucher worth $80 from my favourite online fabric store kelani fabrics. thanks natalie and kelani. i was so delighted to win.

 i have now spent my voucher and the purchases arrived just the other day.

from left to right in the top photo. little apple trees to make a pillowslip for jessica's 'big' bed. i don't know why but i really fancy making a pillowslip. oval elements peaches and cream for a lazy days skirt for jess, a plain orange dress with blue pockets is what i have planned for the material on top, also for jess. lastly a skirt for me. to be made out of surface art mikko green using the makers journal lickety split skirt. it has been years and years since i have made a piece of clothing for myself. 

a copy of happy homemade volume two has made its way to my door too. i love these patterns and i know i will use them for so many years to come. i am having trouble deciding what to make first from this book though as i like nearly every pattern.

another project i am working on at the moment is a steiner doll for jess. i bought a kit as i wanted to make a doll myself since they are quite expensive to buy. i have only just started it and at the moment plan to stitch it all by hand. i can't decide whether i want jess to have the doll as soon as i have finished it or give it to her as a christmas present. i want it to be special and i would like her to see me making it so she gets an appreciation of the effort put in but am afraid she will rush me through the process just so she can have it to play with. so i can't decide whether to sew it up while she is sleeping or while she is awake. 

i noticed the other day that elsie marley has the kids clothing week challenge on again soon. i very much enjoyed it when i joined in last time but i am not sure if i am up to trying to sew for at least one hour every day for a week this time around. i still have time to decide though.

now to get sewing...

Wednesday, September 26

the tale of a frog

about seven years ago, i was working at the florist when i found chirpy our green tree frog. he must've got himself packed in with some tropical flowers from far north queensland and made it all the way down south, jumped out of the box unnoticed while the flowers were being unpacked and survived in the florist shop for who knows how long. i suspect it was a while because when i found him he looked unwell and dehydrated. i was working alone that afternoon and didn't know what else to do with him but to take him home. i couldn't do the deed of putting him out of his misery but i think i thought that the man of the house may be able to.

well, eloise at eight years old back then, took one look at him and decided we needed to keep him (she has a thing for stray animals) and gave him the name chirpy (um... frogs don't chirp they croak). the next day alistair took eloise to the pet shop and bought some crickets for chirpy to eat, a home to live in and got some advice on frogs. we looked up frogs on the internet and discovered he was a yellow thighed green tree frog. the males croak and chirpy used to croak around spring time although it has been quite a few years since we have heard his voice.

... and so we had a frog.

we tried to convince alistair's parents to take him to northern new south wales with them on one of their trips and release him back into the wild but they weren't keen. he holidayed with my florist friend and her children whenever we went away. we bought a box of crickets fortnightly for seven years. we even bought him a friend (thinking he must be lonely) but his friend squirt (tiny when we got him) grew four times the size of chirpy in no time at all and ate all the food. he only lived for six months and we suspect he died of a heart attack. chirpy sat in his tank in our kitchen for years. alone. he was never handled just looked at. sometimes we ignored him for days. he was never really any trouble although we hated cleaning the tank. 

... today he died. 

i watched eloise take him out to the garden and bury him under the rhubarb. i think we both shed a tear or two (me). i wasn't surprised when i went out later to find a little grave with flowers around it. we will miss chirpy's quiet presence in our home.

i told jessica that chirpy had died and showed her where he was buried and said that his spirit had gone to frog heaven. frog heaven is lovely, there are lots of other frogs and they all play games and look after each other. jess seemed very pleased with this. she added a few more flowers and skipped off.

later, as i knew it would, the topic came up again and as toddlers do, jess repeated many times what chirpy was doing, how he was playing games and the other frogs were all singing "lardy dardy da". she then proceeded to sing that frog song (what she can remember of it) for ages at the top of her voice. it was a joyous send off for chirpy.

i believe that children no matter how young they are should be told the facts about death. chirpy was probably quite old, he didn't feel well and died. we buried him and (i believe although i am not religious) that his spirit has gone to a heaven of sorts. i don't think any child benefits in cover ups about death. one day soon we will have to deal with the death of our old dog and that is going to be a lot harder than the frog so i am almost grateful for chirpy's death first.

rest in peace chirpy. we really did love you.

Tuesday, September 25

growing up

the little girl who has all of a sudden outgrown her daytime naps.

it feels like a milestone of sorts. 

a little more of babyhood and even toddlerhood that has slipped away.

Friday, September 21

after the fog

i have probably said it before, i do love a foggy morning.

actually the fog was well and truly retreating back to the sea by the time we went to let the chickens out of their coop this morning but what remained was almost magical.

as the sun just started peaking over the back fence everything began to gleam and glisten. fine drops of moisture covering everything in sight. i was so grateful i hadn't finished cutting down the last of the dill plants yesterday as they looked lovely, sparkling away, almost as if they had ice covering their fine flowers and leaves. 

there was a quietness and stillness in the air that only fog can bring.

as we lingered, jess took the opportunity to walk along the top of the stone wall, one of her favourite things to do outside at the moment. up and back, up and back.

a beautiful way to start the day.

Thursday, September 20

some days...

today is one of those days where i feel totally overwhelmed by how many things i have on my to do list. do you have those days too?

there's shopping to put away from yesterday, food that needs cooking, dirty washing waiting to be washed, clean washing waiting to be hung out to dry, not to mention the pile waiting to be folded. a floor that needs a sweep (at least!), windows i can barely see out of from all the salt on them, toys everywhere, books everywhere, a small child wanting to play. there's a chicken coop that needs cleaning, grain that needs storing, a dog that needs a walk and a pat, seedlings that need planting, watering to be done, a million weeds to pull, a phone call to the man who cuts the lawn (to please come soon), text messages from friends that need replying to, emails to write, paper work galore to attend to, dresses and skirts to make... i could go on and on but you know how this goes don't you?

my 'to do' list doesn't only include the things that need to be done but also the things i want to be done. i would like to get to the end of my list... one day... but that will never happen right? 

for a short time this morning i convinced myself i was the only mum in the world that couldn't keep up with what is life. after reading this post and the following comments i know i am not alone.

Monday, September 17

spring garden

today in my garden...

i am loving the way the sunlight catches the budding echiums in the late afternoon. this hedge, planted just over a year ago, is turning out just as i wanted. it runs along the length of our front lawn and we look out our front windows to this hedge and beyond to the sea. very soon the green buds will begin to turn blue. it will look spectacular.

i am enjoying watching branches that have been bare throughout the winter come to life. the quince, plum and apricot buds all beginning to blossom (oh how i love blossom!). the pomegranate tree bursting out the tiniest of red leaves that you have to get right up close to see ... and the fig tree with its brilliant green leaves looking so luminous and fresh in the sunshine.

i am wondering whether the almond tree i planted this winter will flower, have leaves, grow? there is no sign of life yet and i am getting a little worried as almond trees should be the first to blossom.

i am noticing that we have many flowers on our strawberry plants and that is exciting. i can taste them already!

i am grateful to be able to harvest a green salad of coriander, parsley, red ribbed dandelion, rocket, lettuce, mint and pineapple sage, to bring to the table every evening. 

i am looking forward to harvesting many heads of broccoli. although quite small (maybe because i planted them too close together) they look so prefect nestled between the leaves. mmmm, fresh broccoli is my favourite vegetable.

i am happy to see some flowers in my garden. sweet peas, poppies, calendula, lavender and stocks at the moment and i watch eagerly for the cornflowers and larkspur soon to come.

i am working on getting all those weeds under control. working on finding time to plant more seeds. working on preparing a bed for tomatoes and building trellises that won't fall down in strong winds. 

i am planning on putting the chickens into the tractor and letting them eat the green manure in the bed that will soon be planted with pumpkins. when they have finished with it, i will have an easy job of digging the rest in.

i am wishing for fine weather for the rest of the week, prefect spring weather.

Sunday, September 16



... started with a peach smoothie, carrot salad and scrambled eggs for breakfast (strange i know). i read this last night and decided i would try having carrot salad daily. i thought i would make it at breakfast time and eat it later in the morning but it tasted so good that i had to eat the whole lot right away.

... made some more orange jelly (can't get enough of it).

... had my first taste of kombucha tea (yum!).

... rode to the park and hung out at the playground with my girl.

... lunched on banana and oat pancakes with stewed rhubarb and yogurt.

... spent the entire afternoon weeding (but you wouldn't know it). why do weeds grow so much faster than everything else?

... dinner of leek and mushroom omelet, more carrot salad, green leaf salad with shaved parmesean and of course, that orange jelly with cream.

...watched a bit of telly with my girls while drinking camomile tea.

... another ordinary sunday really, nothing special but nice all the same.

Thursday, September 13

rowan and oak

how exciting!

today i have kindly been asked to guest post over at rowan and oak. i talk about growing my own food and keeping the desire going when harsh climatic conditions are working against me.

head on over to check out amber's lovely blog.

Wednesday, September 12

sowing the seed

i love to grow plants. 

i love that you can plant a tiny seed and in a matter of days it has germinated and in a matter of weeks you can be eating the produce from that seed.

i hope to instil that love of growing to my children.

recently, my eldest daughter daisy, who lives away from home, has rung excitedly to say she has just eaten the first snow pea she has grown. that makes me happy.

my older daughters never seemed all that interested in gardening while they were growing up. they saw me spend plenty of time in the garden pottering around and would sometimes join in but often they were just happy playing their own games nearby.

during their early teenage years they thought i was a real drag... always gardening! they certainly never wanted to join in then.

but now i see a change. daisy has a few pots on her balcony where she grows a few things to pick and at school this year eloise has taken on the school garden as part of her studies. they are often asking questions along the lines of 'how and what to plant'. even if they didn't always garden with me in their younger years they both seemed to have picked up something. they will both know that if it comes down to it they could produce their own food. both the older girls can recognise the difference between the taste of supermarket produce and that which comes straight from the garden. they know the names of fruits and vegetables. that may seem a strange thing to say but i don't know how many times, at the supermarket checkout, a young assistant has asked me the name of a fruit or vegetable (sometimes even the common ones!)

at two and a bit its too soon to say whether jessica will have a love of gardening. she likes to help plant seeds, to harvest and certainly loves flowers but whether it will become a passion or not remains to be seen.

at the moment, if asked 'what did you do today jess?' she will answer with 'gardening' even if we haven't done any!

in the meantime i aim to give her lots of gardening opportunities, to talk about plants with her, to teach her their names and to let her see me enjoying my passion.

i hope to sow the seed!

tomorrow i will be over at rowan and oak talking about where my passion for gardening comes from. pop on over and take a look around this lovely blog.

Tuesday, September 11

the fizz

thanks to some pinterest inspiration here.

a simple activity, just bi carb soda, some jars of coloured vinegar and droppers.

fizz... fizz... fizz...

great fun!

kept jessica amused for all of about... five minutes...

then "i'm done!"

bedtime reading

when i am looking for children's books at a bookshop or at the library i have to admit that i tend to be on the lookout for the ones with pretty illustrations.

it must be one of the reason's why i love beatrix potter's books and the brambly hedge series by jill barklem so much. the illustrations are just sweet, pretty and well just so... english.

these are the books that i love reading to jessica the most and lucky for me she really enjoys them and they are requested often.

so at the moment we have been reading the brambly hedge spring story, working our way through the complete tales of beatrix potter (although peter rabbit is requested the most from this book) and also reading the flower fairies of spring another old favourite (of mine) with pretty pictures.

there are a few others that are part of our regular reading this week. the first one being a first book of nature and we are reading the spring section and talking a lot about the illustrations. this book is written by nicola davis and illustrated by mark hearld and is a lovely collection of poems featuring the seasonal goodness that nature has to offer.

the runaway hug by nick bland and illustrated by freya blackwood is one of our favourite books to borrow from the library. such a sweet bedtime read and freya's drawings are just divine. it is one i would like to own.

another favourite at the moment is the newly released peggy by anna walker. a tale about a chicken that makes us giggle. who can resist a chicken with character? anna is another favourite author and illustrator and we are (i am) keenly awaiting the release of today we have no plans written by jane godwin and illustrated by anna. it is the companion book to all through the year which is just adorable and that i love, as it's very hard to find books that follow our season's here in australia. today we have no plans is due out in october.

isn't the little pink sweet pea just so pretty?. it was the first one out in our garden and looked lonely so i brought it inside. sweet peas are one of my favourite flowers. oh i say that about all the flowers! how could i choose a favourite? it depends on the season (or the moment) of course...

Monday, September 10


lately... i have discovered blissology and i love it. recommended by my dear chiropractor who i suspect is sick of seeing me. yoga is what i need. blissology is great, its easy to download, has new free podcasts daily, is set in stunning locations (i could watch it for the scenery alone) and is quite a fast paced style of yoga which i like as i get bored if it is too slow and the poses are held for too long. i find having my yoga mat set up in a corner of the living room encourages me to use it many times a day. a few minutes here and there whenever i can snatch them and then having it there ready at night for when the little one is in bed so i can really get into a full yoga routine is starting to help my poor old stiff back. it is bringing back the memory of how great i always felt after a good yoga class.

lately... i have had the urge to run and have been trying to get into a early morning routine of going out for a walk/run. not an easy routine to get into when you have a two year old working against you some mornings.

lately... the spring cleaning bug has caught me again (i don't need spring actually, it catches me many times a year). i like re arranging the furniture and yesterday the living room was my focus. its amazing how just a little freshening up can change the energy in a room. i feel like spending time in there. jess's room has also had a few little changes too, organising, sorting and streamlining clothes and toys.

lately... i have really been enjoying the little gnomes home's real food series. natalie has posted a heap of fantastic nourishing recipes and i have tried a few such as the cream and honey pannacotta, orange jelly, coconut and butter balls, fish stock and fish soup (yum!) and i am going to try reducing my cooking time for beef/bone stock after reading natalie's blog post about it. such a lovely blog, you really should check it out.

lately... jessica's interest lies in dressing herself. choosing her own clothes (not always ones that are appropiate for the constantly changing weather of spring), putting shoes on and taking them off many times a day, getting out socks and trying to put those on too. she seems to have such an innate drive to take off and put on clothes at the moment and will run off to get out a clean change of clothes at any given opportunity. one small drop of water and she needs a clean pair of pants or t shirt. hence my washing basket is always full. i try to follow her lead and give her plenty of time as i know its all about the practice and that is what she needs to do until she has mastered it fully.

lately... i have been to feeling the urge to do something creative. its been so long since i did any sewing, crafting, knitting, making. i have been thinking of sewing some summer dresses for jess and maybe a skirt for me. i have plans in my head for making some christmas gifts, of knitting myself a vest, of a piece of artwork for jess's room but so far that is where they have remained... in my head.

lately... the sourdough starter has been resting in the fridge. (i wonder if it's still alive!). too many fails for my liking but i am sure i will try baking sourdough bread again soon. i have noticed that we have been eating very little bread and baked goods or grains for that matter. there has been a definite shift and i find that we are eating more protein, vegetables and fruit as well as more dairy and healthy fats. this has had an effect on my desire to snack, as i feel fuller for longer and more satisfied after eating a meal. i rarely feel hungry between meals anymore so i'm not looking to the carbs to boost my energy levels.

just a bit of what's been happening here lately.

Sunday, September 9


sunday was spent

...making more orange jelly (my favourite snack of the moment).

...indulging my little one at every opportunity, for every request to play, to read, to sing and chase.

 ...collecting a few flowers from the garden to bring a little spring inside.

...riding my 'flash new bike' (jessica's words) to the park.

...enjoying the spring sunshine and a gentle breeze.

...wondering whether my kombucha tea is fermenting the way it's supposed to.

...admiring our rooster "sergent pepper" who is a little strange but rather beautiful.

...wasting time while jess had a very long nap (i wish they would tell you they planned to have a long one).

...drinking far too many cups of earl grey tea.

...walking to the beach to build sandcastles.

...making chicken and vegetable soup for dinner.