Friday, 30 January 2009

how to...paint rocks

You may think I have rocks in my head - how hard can it be to paint rocks? Not very hard at all but I thought I would post some photos and ideas from our recent rock painting session.

Rocks - we used smooth river stones that you can get from Bunnings or any garden centre. We buy them to put on the top of our potted plants.
Paint - acrylic. We use Crayola washable poster paint as it really is washable
Paint brushes - selection of brushes from IKEA, Crayola, stenciling 'stubbie' brushes
Glue- if you intend to glue on small eyes
Permanent Marker - for some fine detail

And the rest is pretty simple; make sure your rocks are clean and dry. Paint away! We painted the body colour, let them dry and then painted the faces/heads etc. I used the permanent marker to add some details to some of the creatures.
Let them dry in the sun.

The good thing is that if you don't want to keep them you can wash all the paint off and then put them back in the pot plants.
Have fun!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

tales from the trip...1

We are back. Back to steamy, wet Sydney. We left hot, dry Adelaide. And you know, the heat is easier to handle when its not 800% humidity.
We had a wonderful time with (little) Big Nana. She was not feeling her best when we arrived but Minnie did her very best to brighten her up. In fact Minnie cheered up the entire ward at the hospital with her drawings, her dancing and her general sweetness. The ladies loved every minute of it. The healing properties of one little Minnie were enough to have (little) Big Nana home after a few days (the Dr's were amazed at the healing powers of a 3 year wearing a fairy dress - watch out in upcoming edition of The Lancet for more...) and we got to have her all to our selves.

While (little) Big Nana was putting her feet up in hospital, we visited the zoo. Minnie loved it of course. I always feel torn over the whole zoo thing - yes, its lovely to see the animals and wonderful that zoo's all over the world are doing great things with breeding programs but its sad to see a great lion in a small cage and not running down a gazelle on the plains...

Having said all that, I love giraffes and always feel happier for seeing them.

Minnie did the most extraordinary thing TWICE! She actually fell asleep in her pram! My goodness, this had not happened for about, mmm, a gazillion years. I got to go shopping (yippie - an Aesop store just happened to be right there when I was delirious with the joys of a sleeping child). And with my husband saying 'get whatever you like honey, you never get to buy yourself new clothes' I almost passed out!

The next day, again with a sleeping child in her stroller, I spent 1 1/2 hours walking slowly, calmly around the cool and quite Art Gallery.
Bliss, absolute bliss.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

a little trip away...

An almost 12 month old Minnie with her Daddy, her Oma, and her (little) Big Nana

We are heading off for just under a week. Off to the Festival State to stay with our super lovely (little) Big Nana, Shirley. Shirley is in her late 80's and to all those around her, appears to be in her 50's or 60's. Sharp as a knife and more fun than a whole room of people put together.

Minnie is about 85 years younger than Shirley. Sadly they don't see each other as often as they would like. But Minnie sings songs over the phone and chatters away to her. I am not sure if Shirley understands all the ramblings of the 3 year old but I don't think that matters one little bit.

Oody (Minnie's Oma) is also in Adelaide at the moment so Minnie gets a Great Grandmother, a Grandmother and a Great Aunt and Uncle to play with. Mmm, how much attention can a 3 year old handle? Our Minnie can take all that and more...

We are going for lunch here and may be even stop to sample a few of the best the Barossa has to offer. And if time permits, I will be allowed to visit a few places I have had my eye on, including this one...

See you later next week.

Friday, 16 January 2009

you say tomato, I say gardening failure...

I am not having such a good time in the garden these days. You may recall my excitement and enthusiasm for all things horticulture when we moved to the Blue House. But after some recent failures, my excitement is waining a little. I was so excited about my tomatoes...

We have gone down the organic gardening route for several reasons, including not wanting to poison any of the big, fat blue tongue lizards and sweet little frogs that inhabit our garden. The only spray I have used is a mixture of garlic and chili and onion and gets the organic thumbs up. As you know we have lost all the lettuce seedlings and now all the eggplants. And because of our pesticide free gardening philosophy, we have been susceptible to a gazillion things that have invaded my vegetable patch and taken up residence in the tomatoes. It seems like all the beefsteak and yellow varieties have wormy things in them. Not so appetising... The grosse lisse and Apollo look OK, for now. Luckily the cherry tomatoes are immune to the fruit fly so they are going gang busters (I have added the general directions for this tomato salad below).

I have picked most of the other fruit green (before the un-invited guests move in) so I can make a big batch of green tomato chutney over the next day or two.

Of course I still love getting out there and mucking about in the soil and weeding and watching my things grow. But before next spring I need to do my research and read my companion planting book and find ways to out whit, out smart and out do those bloomin' bugs and flies.

Perhaps I will have more luck with my autumn/winter garden. Now, where is that Diggers catalogue...

The Tomato Salad
A pile of tomatoes - cherry or big, ripe red ones and yellow ones or any heirloom varieties or whatever you have. Make sure what ever you use has lots of lovely flavour as this salad is really only tomatoes.
Some sea salt
1 clove of garlic, crushed (or microplaned as I do to save time)
Olive Oil
Vinegar (Red Wine or Balsamic)
Pinch of dried oregano
Some fresh basil, washed and torn.

Cut your tomatoes into chunks/squares/bits (cherry tomatoes in half). Place in a large colander and sprinkle with some salt. Mix around and then sprinkle with a tiny bit more. Leave to sit for 15 minutes. Some of the excess liquid will be drawn out by the salt - this leaves more of the intense flavour behind.

Transfer to a salad bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of dried oregano and gently mix. Make the dressing 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil - add the crushed garlic and mix. Pour over the dressing, season with freshly cracked pepper (may not need any more salt but check). Toss in the basil and serve.

We have been eating this a lot - in the photo we had it with a roast vegetable fritatta and some left over caponata. Lovely.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

I sew, I really do (2)...

The gorgeous Robbie modelling a new outfit

You may not believe me given the lack of evidence posted in recent times here on this blog. But I do sew, I really do. I admit things have slowed down a little over the Christmas/summer period but my list of ideas is growing. Does a list and a sketch book count as actual sewing/craft? I think it does...

And when I have made things I have failed to capture them on the camera. We made a lovely tea cosy from this book for our Big Nana and I sewed gifts for the beautiful new babies Belle and Robbie.

I have added a few more fabrics to the growing collection and found some great craft bargains at the op shop in the lead up to Christmas. Bags of wool for 2.00 and embroidery thread all neatly bound on card for 2.00 and a huge bag of leather for 5.00

And now my little Minnie is ready to go with her very own sewing machine. I had a toy a sewing machine as a child and I loved it (its still at my parents house). So for the big 3rd birthday Minnie received her very own vintage Vulcan Countess. I have cleverly left the needle out for now. So far Minnie has 'sewn' silkies (security blankets) for her toys, a hat for her bears and some bibs for our friend Jude. Of course these are all little bits of fabric that she zooms through her machine and come out looking very much like little bits of fabric. Very cute.

Whats on your crafting list for 2009? My top 5 are; sewing some new clothes for Minnie, making dresses for the shop, hemming the curtains in 2 bedrooms (I think 4 weeks is enough time for them to drop), cushion covers, and other new exciting things for the shop. I think Minnie is working on a quilt...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

betty and things 'so random'...

Minnie in her 'gobbles'

So you may remember that I had a little giveaway in this post. I have finally got around to picking the winners using the 'psychic science' website (how completely bizarre...). Anyhoo the psychic scientists chose these numbers '7 12 '. That means the winners are Tiff and PottyMouthMama (who I know is down with the plastic needle caper). Please email me your details (if I don't already have them).

Its going to be stinking hot here today - I hear talk of 41'c in the west. Crazy talk. Fingers crossed its not that hot here. We have the lovely sea breeze that may hopefully cool things down.

And we are housebound today. There has been a long running drama with my car. The car that costs me a fortune at the mechanics and only goes when it feels like it. I have been using the good car and leaving my husband the contrary car. But Betty (my car) stopped last night and does not want to start again. This is happening more and more often. I still love her. She is green. She goes fast and corners oh so well. Its the car my husband had when we first started seeing each other. The car that I sat in so primly and properly as we drove to his old place in Terrigal for the first time... And our tiny little Minnie came home from hospital in that car.

But the time has come. She is going to be retired. And I am getting a new (well 2007 model) car that I hear starts easily and continues to go and doesn't die on the F3 or require me to call NRMA on a weekly basis (although I have now got to know most of the NRMA men, which is handy).

Its been fun Betty. But the time has come. All good things must come to an end...

Sunday, 4 January 2009

3 years ago today....

I was very, very hard at work. Nothing like any work I had done before. A bit like a marathon. Using muscles that I didn't know I had. Doing nothing from my Janet Balaskas book. Calling loudly for drugs. And more drugs. Begging for an epidural. Calling pathetically 'please, please, please' while waiting for the OB. Ripping parts of my body I don't think I had ever seen. Showing the world my front, middle and back bottom and not caring.

But all this work at the most happy ending of all. The most amazing outcome. And today she turned 3. Sometimes it feels like yesterday. And sometimes I can't imagine a time before her.

Happy Birthday Minnie. Happy Birthday to you. xxx

Thursday, 1 January 2009

a new year, new hope and new possibilities...

new years day 2009, pearl beach
So the year is over. And a new year has begun. I am pleased that 2008 is over. Loosing our baby Alice was the worst thing that has ever happened. 2008 was not such a good year.

So I am looking forward to what a new year may bring. What exciting things could be on the horizon? What could unfold in the next 365 days?

I am sure there will be tears and sad times and days when I feel that 2009 is as crap as 2008. I know there will be days when I am so angry that Alice wont be here.

But there will be days when we laugh and sing and dance in the garden and grow to love our blue house even more.

I hope that you join us in this new year. This new year of hope and new possibilities.

We wish you a year of smiles and laughter and not too many tears.