Saturday, November 29, 2008

Flood waters at 6m today

I forgot to take my camera into town today, but here's part of a screen capture from the abc news:

I hadn't realised 11 people had been rescued from the waters! That would have been scary. The worst we've been affected is that I had to take a few detours to get to a friends house this afternoon to do some quilting... Oh, and a big rut or two in the driveway.

And still more rain...

Yesterday's deluge gave us 83ml of rain! We had one of those amazing thunderstorms last night where there was almost constant lightning, and we could see a few rivers of water running through our yard. We have lost some of our driveway again, but nothing more. And we're trying to use water in the house because the tank isn't coping very well with the overflow! I'm thankful to be out of town, as it has been split in two by the flood waters (some parts of town had 160ml of rain), and there are reports of damage to houses in town. The fabric shops are on this side of town, though, so I'm set.... (just kidding!) A friend told me that they're looking after some sheep in their backyard after the field across from them flooded! And still the rain comes....

Last night we stepped out of the house and could hear two things: the chorus of frogs enjoying the rain, and the roar of flood waters going down the street.

And now for brunch: I sautéed some mixed berries with banana and honey and spread it on home-made bread toast... Mmmmm...

Extra prayers today for the people in India experiencing strife, and those in the world experiencing floods that wash away their entire livelihood.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rain, rain & more rain

We've had a good 30ml of rain today. Littlest chicken celebrating by throwing up all over the place. Poor little thing. It's rotten when they're sick. The other two celebrated by stomping around in the puddles in their gumboots. Tomorrow I might sum up courage to ask where they left their sopping wet socks....

Later in the afternoon we were able to watch a ripper of a storm passing us by. Definitely one of the benefits of living on an open plain. It was fascinating to watch the front 'anvil' cloud come across, and the swirling clouds around the eye of the storm.

You'll be pleased to know that I resisted the urge to photograph my pumpkins and tomatoes again today, despite my amazement at how much they've grown over the last week! I couldn't resist commenting on them, however....

P.S. to Reuben: hope you're recovering well from your operation. Was lovely to see you and your mum. xo

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's in the bag!

Well I managed to capture about half the bags on film, from all the recent homeschool sewing extravaganzas!

Most of the boys made camouflage bags:

Hmmm.. I'm not sure I'll comment on this one. ;)

The older girls made more complicated bags:

And everyone had fun.

And one lady was so inspired by the bags, that she has made at least 8 more for Christmas.... (I'm not entirely sure if she has, in fact, eaten or slept over the last week....). I love the one with her children's hand print's best - good idea for grandparents, eh?

A lizard wanted to be in on the fun:

I did think of showing you more pictures of the pumpkins, and the beans winding their way up the posts in the garden.... but I considered the fact that maybe you don't need to see their progress every week.... And I could show you a photo of the bag I made this afternoon, but I'm still reeling over the fact that I forgot to interface it!! You know when it's time to take a break...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thinking about Christmas?

If you're thinking about handmade gifts for Christmas here are two lovely lists for you to peruse, from the Little Travelers, and the Crafty Crow. (Click on them)

And of course if you want to give a gift with a broader impact, you can visit GFA, or Tear Fund.

(Of if you want to buy a bunny/dinosaur heat pack or handbag you know where I am... tee hee!)

I've already finished and wrapped all our gifts, bar one. (I know, I know, I'm a bit crazy like that). This is where my mum will tell the story of when we left Papua New Guinea I was packed and ready 4 weeks early... What can I say? I seemed to get an extra dose of the organisational gene. Although you probably wouldn't know it if you looked in the study at the moment.... Possibly also because I also have the nasty habit of staring about 20 projects at the same time... Hmmmm.

And here's a peek in the garden again. I tried my hand at hand pollination of the pumpkin flowers, and here's some results:

I don't think it was actually necessary to do the hand pollination, as the bees seem to have quite happily done quite a few others, so I'll probably not bother in future.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Turning drawings into toys

It's been one of those long, slow weeks. Lots of rain, which has been lovely, but not a great deal else to report.

I thought I'd show you a very cute drawing that chicken no.1 made some time ago, and the toy we made based on it. She loves it because it was her design and she chose the fabric.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Gingerbread Houses

The children made Gingerbread Houses today (with varying degrees of help from mama!). We used dried fruit instead of lollies. After a while littlest chicken decided it would be more fun to lick the fruit and icing off the house...

They're nice little houses, anyway. I made my own template and it seemed to work (phew!). Now we'll see if they'll keep till Christmas... I'm not sure if my home-made gingerbread will keep that long... hmmmm.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hats off to the garlic

I'm sorry, but don't these garlic flowers look like they're losing their hats?

And what about the groovy bend on this one? (No commenting on weeds allowed!)

(Am I the only one fascinated by my veggie patch?? Is it a bad sign of things to come?)

Oh, and the pumpkins. Oh, the pumpkins. A wise person might perhaps have done a bit of research before the planted them. But me, oh - they'll be right! Chuck them in! Watch them grow! Now that they have so completely gone crazy in the bed they're in, I think to look them up in my marvellous fruit and veg book (Diggers Club). 'Can grow up to 10 metres' it says!!! And I planted 4 of them!! In a metre wide patch!! So I spent a bit of time this afternoon painstakingly encouraging the vines to head towards the back fence so they can ramble over it at their leisure. Boy, I hope I have a lot of friends who will want pumpkins this autumn! Yes, you seasoned gardeners may laugh, but I'll be the one with the truckload of pumpkins at the end of the day! (Hopefully)

We had a lovely day yesterday in Nundle with some friends. I drooled over the wool (they have a wool mill), and managed not to buy too much. Also drooled over the fabrics at the Cottage on The Hill, but was convinced not to buy anything at the moment... And the children had a lovely time playing in the park. A nice day, over all.

Oh, and littlest chicken - oh what a chicken she is. Does anyone else have a child who will run nude all day, but refuses to use the potty and insists that a nappy is the only appropriate place to... you know... (I'm trying to be sensitive here).. do her business?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sew, girls!

Sewing day for the girls today at homeschool group. Very fun. I'm very exhausted. Being hit by a truck-like cold didn't help. I took the oldest three girls and helped them make more complicated bags. I find that in the beginning I have a very cavalier attitude: "Yeah, it'll be really easy", and then as the morning wears on I find myself admitting more and more "This bit is actually quite tricky...". Hmmm. Hopefully I haven't put them off bag making!

More later when the cold has worn off....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gardening Wednesday

We're being overrun by ants at the moment. Oh, and flies. Obviously both insects like a good shower of rain and hot weather to breed. Well I guess it's good motivation to keep the kitchen clean and tidy! And keep the compost going out to the bin - oh, do they love that compost! I was thinking of a picnic this weekend, but not before I've found a good insect repellent!

Most of the plants are thriving in the garden at the moment. The strawberry plant is giving us strawberries... one at a time.. every few days... (We have to cut it 5 ways!!). Hmmm.. I really should have bought more than one plant!

The pumpkin vines are really going wild! 4 weeks ago a could have held the entire plant in my cupped hands, and now they're all over the garden bed - I have to keep curling them over each other. 4 plants was definitely too many for one garden bed!! I have no idea how many pumpkins will be produced per vine. And my note to self for next time is to plant the sweet corn first, so it can get growing before the pumpkin vines take over!

And we have a strange looking experiment happening in our kitchen at the moment. The children think it's a space ship, but it's actually an avocado seed which I am trying to propagate.

I'm really trying to focus on the good things happening in the veggie patch at the moment, because the first flush of flowers on the trees have now died off, and with the hot weather the thistles, prickles, and other nasty weeds which we have in great abundance are really getting going. It's rather depressing. I think I'm going to have to get my act together and cover great sections of land in mulch and start planting garden beds with cuttings that I have stolen - er, I mean, been given from others. It's a slow thing, this gardening business. I really can't complain, though - every time mum comes to visit she brings a box of cuttings, or plants which have popped up in her compost heap! I love you, mum! (Not just for the plants, you understand...)

Monday, November 10, 2008

You know you're procrastinating when...

... you sew a little bag to hold safety pins...

(Front and Back - excuse the blurry photos.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gingerbread & frogs

I had a lovely time at a Gingerbread House making night last night. Nothing like going out somewhere with a bunch of good friends and being creative. My method with making the house was to use lots of icing and just slap the lollies on in whatever pattern came to mind at the time, but let me tell you, some of these ladies plan. I mean, seriously plan. If I had taken my camera I could have shown you just what kinds of houses some of these ladies made - they were works of art!! Ah well, you'll have to be satisfied with a piccie of my little house, complete with broken icicles (which Robyn tells me are not really a romantic spectacle on a house at all, but a sign of bad insulation) and broken front fence. Ah, it was fun, though! Next year my plan is to ditch the lollies and bring packets of (organic & peanut free) dried fruits & nuts. And probably make my own gingerbread too. Then my children will actually be able to eat it!

I'm finding frogs everywhere around the house at the moment. Lovely green tree frogs. One has taken up residence in my watering can again. Which is, you know, lovely and all that, but does makes it a little difficult to water the seedlings in the morning! This little fellow was determined to snooze, despite the children fighting over turns to 'pat the froggie'.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New bags

Some new bags ready for sale:

And I finally made one to replace my handbag (modelled on one I saw on U-handbag). It's lovely and roomy and I like the co-ordinating fabrics and covered buttons. It was my first try of putting in eyelets, and I think I'll save that job for Don next time - it's much harder than hammering in snap fasteners!

So now that that fun is out of the way, I need to figure out how to:

1. rescue my tomato plants from being eaten by whatever it is that eats them during the night (just as well I planted 22 of them), and

2. get rid of the wasps that keep hanging around in the shed and coming inside the car when I open the doors - very annoying!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A new resolution

Cuppa, anyone?

I have made a new resolution today. Wait for it - it's very profound: I'm only going to pour myself cups of tea (as opposed to mugs) because the majority of the time I only get through half a mug anyway (if that). I wish I could blame the children, but unfortunately it's mostly sewing which distracts me. And who wouldn't want a cuppa when they have a pretty cup like this to drink from? So there you go. You're glad you dropped by to read that, aren't you?

On a different note - my word for the day is abstruse. Anyone know what it means? I found it in the thesaurus when I was looking up profound. Abstruse is such a groovy sounding word. My favourite word when I was a child was obstreperous. Did you have any favourite words? (No, I'm not going to tell you what it means. Here, look it up.)

Check out the growth on this pumpkin vine over 3 weeks - nothing prepared me for how fast it would grow! I don't think the veggie patch is going to be big enough for 4 vines! Speaking of veggie patches, click here for a link to lots of interesting Diggers Club articles. One, titled "It's now or never" says 'By growing your own food at home not only will you cut down CO2 by up to 20% but home grown vegetables use 90% less water than a basket of commercially grown food'. Not to mention how much nicer they taste.

Ah, and after a short tea break I remembered the other reason why I don't finish my cups of tea, and it's all children - launching themselves at me, wanting to have a taste. Sitting down for a quiet cuppa is to children like a red flag to a bull!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Quilts & Plants

Inspired by her brother's new teddy bear quilt, chicken no.1 made another dolly quilt. FYI: for those who also have little girls wanting to make dolly quilts, I simply lay out a square of calico, and my daughter places all the pieces where she wants them to go, she pins them in place, then I zigzag stitch around the outside of the pieces.

And check this out: our Wollemi pine tree had strange little knobs on the end of it's branches for ages, then yesterday they all popped open to reveal very soft new leaf growth! It looks quite strange, as the rest of the leaves are dark green and very spiky. I was quite fascinated by it, and amazed to think of all the creative ways God made plants to grow. I've also been quite excited about all the little sweet corn, bean, and carrot shoots popping up in the veggie patch now.