So…I’m back! So much has changed over the last three years. Uni has been put to the side, I’m working in a full time job that makes me happy but pays less, I have some hobby time, I have a ridiculously adorable nephew, my baby sister and best friend moved home for work, my baby sister just moved to London for work, I still garden, I still draw, I sew more and really, I still haven’t figured my life out! 

But for now, I would just like to get my blog back running so I have somewhere to talk about and share my creative endeavours. I’ve been sewing, drawing, painting and even trying my hand at a little typography. I’ll have to figure out an image hosting solution as I seem to recall that Flickr changed their photo hosting methods and it threw me for a loop. I need something simpler. Or just a change. 

For now, you can have a little peek into the other things I’ve been doing on the internet and in my life…

Here is a little link list…

Pinterest – Of course I have Pinterest. I use it as a visual bookmarking tool for inspiration in my creative adventures.

1000 faces by rosie – My tumblr blog is pretty self explanatory. I’m up to 272!

Kollabora – This is a pretty recent one. It’s for my sewing projects. It’s a nice small community that has helped me jump on the self-made clothing bandwagon. I’m maybe preparing for Me Made May next year? I would wear at least one self made item of clothing each day for the entire month of May. Sounds good to me!

So that’s a little of what I’ve been up to!

Love.

(This will just be a quick post because I have a doctor’s appointment soon)

I was talking to my sister this morning and she mentioned that she’d read my last blog post and she commented on the fact that most of my recent posts have all been about gardening and I completely agree with her! I’m reminded of it every time I choose my tags for the posts and am confronted with a tag cloud that shows me how often I use each tag and ‘garden’ screams at me very loudly! It’s not that gardening is all I do – the truth is far from that! The fact of the matter is that the garden produces the most beautiful photos and I am loathe to post anything without pictures. I am too visually and aesthetically minded to omit a visual aid  in most of my posts!

I am going to try and get a greater variety back into my posts but today I have yet another gardening related post that I have to share with you.

Yesterday I had a small revelation. It began when my aunt told me about a family friend who is going through some unexpected financial problems and is having trouble getting food on the table for her family of three. My aunt is planning to visit her and give her a supermarket voucher and it was without hesitation that I said I would get a box of veges from the garden to give her family too. This is the reason everyone should grow their own veges and fruit – so we can share! God makes an abundance of goodness grow from tiny little seeds and it only makes sense to share what we can’t use.

And so yesterday and today I have been gathering vegetables and packing them into a box to be given to this family who we love. It was pretty amazing to see how much the garden has given us. My dad works the hardest in the garden and it’s to his credit that it’s so productive. I think we have a responsibility to share all our blessings whether they be food or time or the ability to listen.

Anyway, the vegetables looked so beautiful on the table so I had to take a photo to share with you.

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It’s not a great photo but you get the point. Everything on that table was from my parents’ garden. Just for interest and so you can see what we harvest in late spring in a subtropical climate I will list what’s there. Sweet potato, pumpkin, leek, brown onions, cucumber, squash, cherry tomatoes, pepinos, carrots (in the paper bag), green and brown mignonette lettuces, tatsoi (an asian green that’s great in stir fries and salads), beetroot, lebanese eggplants, celery, bean yam, choko, a lemon and a jar of freshly made strawberry jam my mum made from home grown strawberries. The best thing about this food is that it all came from the garden and it’s just the extras.

So it was with lots of love and a little pride that I packed it all up into a box to be given to some people that my family and I love.

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If you’re wanting more motivation to start growing your own veges you’ve got it. I’ve always loved the idea of being able to grow a big lemon tree that produces so much fruit you have to give it away. The same could be done with tomatoes or chokos or whatever else your individual green thumb can nurture. It also fits into my ideal world where community and family means everything. But I can tell you more about that idea later.

I love you all.

ps. Did you see my new bunch of zinnias? This time I picked all the little flowers. Some of them are amazingly detailed!

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’m still alive and getting through all that life throws at me. So much has happened since I last blogged three months ago!

I remember thinking I could be one of those regular bloggers who maintained an up to date blog full of all sorts of lovely things but then reality kicked in. I have uni and assignments that make me far more stressed than I should allow and I have practical experiences in schools that leave me so exhausted by the end of the day and I have a lovely family and beautiful friends who I want to talk to and spend time with.

Life for me is crazy at the moment and I think what makes it the hardest is that I haven’t really found my rhythm yet. I feel as though I have hit the wall with my studies and my assignments (which really aren’t that hard) make me feel like I am tackling Mt Everest! I think 5 years of university in a row is far too much for my brain. But I will stick it out.

Life must continue and I would like to find my rhythm wherever it is. I’ll let you know when I find it.

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But in the meantime I will always find my little joys like these flowers. They’re zinnias and I grew them from seed. They have to be the most satisfying flowers to grow. They just pop right out of the soil and grow so vigorously and produce long stemmed, bright, happy blooms that are perfect in a vase inside. I love the way there seems to be tiny little yellow flowers around the centre of each one…ooh and the colours! Pink, yellow, red, orange, white, peach, orange and every colour in between!

My zinnia plants are growing in the bed where I had my old tomato plants.

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The garlic is still chugging along in there and I’ve also got some californian poppies and some pink and white everlasting daisies (also known as paper daisies!). The curly parsley has just died so I’ve scattered some heartsease seeds to fill in the gaps. They’re my new favourite flower!

Fresh flowers always brighten my day! What’s been brightening yours?

When I was younger I remember going to the house of an elderly family friend. They lived on a smallish block of land and they had an overgrown rambling garden that was a little scary but fun to explore. It used to have this vague quality like a sense of age and establishment. It’s a very elusive quality and difficult to explain. Anyway, the other day I was out exploring and I suddenly realised that after the 18 years or so of gardening and growth and change on my parents’ property it had reached that point of established-ness. It’s so hard to explain. Maybe you can see it best in those little forgotten corners that are left to grow on their own and develop their own personalities. It gives a lovely sense of permanence with a tiny tinge of decay that reminds me that nature can soften everything. Maybe it’s the same as sea glass.

So to show you what I mean, I have a photograph of one of those forgotten corners. This one is in my aunt’s old greenhouse. It’s not really a greenhouse anymore and has sort of taken up the role of emtpy plastic pot storage place. But every now and then you see a surprising little orchid flower peeping out of the greenery.

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ps. Uh oh, flickr has changed a bit and my normally smooth process of putting photos on here has suddenly gotten bumpy…I will have to use html now. Not my favourite.

Check out these lemons!

This is just one branch on my aunt’s lemon tree. I have this list in my head of all the trees I must have in my own future garden and lemons are definitely on that list. There’s something special about having an over abundance of lemons. I’d love to have a bucket of lemons and be able to give them away and make homemade lemonade and make lemon meringue pies and lemon marmalade. I just hope I can grow a lemon tree better than my dad…they seem to be one of the only plants that he just can’t keep alive!

Some other trees on my list include mulberries, mandarin, pecan, cumquat, orange, pomelo and a few other subtropical varieties of tree. Oh that reminds me of a challenge on the finale of Masterchef the other night…the contestants had to name three fruits and I could not believe they didn’t know cumquats and guavas! I tend to forget that what we grow where I live doesn’t grow in all parts of Australia. I feel privileged.

Speaking of fruit trees, I had a great conversation with my aunt this morning about using fruit trees and vegetables and herbs as part of your garden. I don’t believe there should be a distinction between a garden and a vegetable garden. Why not combine them? If you’re going to be looking after a flower garden anyway, why not just add in a few edible plants  or fruit trees? It makes sense and you know it. Plus, it would make gardening more fun if you could reach over while weeding and grab a snow pea or a cherry tomato.

Until next time,

xo

ps. Did you click on all the lemony links? I was doing a search for photos of lemons with a creative commons license on flickr and I just had to share them. Lemons make beautiful photography subjects!

This is one gardening project I haven’t told you about yet. Remember my ridiculous excited craziness over the joy that is a bean teepee? Well, soon afterwards my dad and I got our brains together on a drizzly afternoon and we collected bamboo and created a massive bamboo dome like structure over which I intended to grow purple climbing beans and purple podded peas, purchased from Eden Seeds.

I planted the seeds and waited for them to pop out of the ground. I seriously would go out to the garden first thing every morning and examine the soil. And they all pushed their way out and started growing vigorously. My excitement was increasing day by day…soon I would have the bean teepee of my dreams!

However there was an unforeseen factor in the growth of the beans. A subtropical pest known as the bean fly. I had never heard of such a dastardly beast, but suddenly my beautiful beans ceased to thrive and they just stopped growing. With a heavy heart I pulled them out and burnt the infected plants. I was a little disheartened but I decided to try growing them again. Dad said I should probably spray them but neither of us really liked that idea so I thought I’d just try my luck again. They ended up the same way.

But the peas that I had planted were perfect and before I knew it they had sprung up and up and up and then they were like this.

I know it’s probably a little difficult to see here, but they are now taller than me! The alternate garden beds were growing beans but the only thing left in them are the smaller sweet peas whose flowers I can’t wait for! I have planted some more purple peas in those beds too, so maybe I will have my green shelter at some stage in the future. But speaking of flowers, check out the flowers on those purple peas.

They smell amazing too. When you walk through that part of the garden there’s this beautiful subtle sweet pea-ish scent. The next stage of their growth is the peas! Today they were big enough for me to pick.

And from that, to this…

I cooked them for a few seconds in boiling water and just gobbled them right up. They tasted perfect. Some people might think that the labour of planting and picking and podding just wouldn’t be worth it, but I would disagree. I think it goes along with part of the slow food movement. When you grow your own food you gain an appreciation and respect for the environment and what can be produced when you embrace it.

The preparation just adds to the enjoyment of the final product. I will definitely enjoy these peas for weeks to come. I feel privileged.

xo

I just had to drop by and let you know what little things have made me happy today. My day didn’t start so well, I almost fell into the ‘wake-up-grumpy’ trap but I avoided that one with a little side step and I actually had a really productive day at uni. The little joys happened this afternoon and they really are little. Let me make a list…

  1. Untying Georgie when I got home this afternoon. She is a wriggly bundle of joy.
  2. Catching the last few minutes of a Full House repeat that luckily showed a sweet moment with Jesse, one of my earliest TV crushes (of which there were and are many).
  3. Having a big chat with one of my beautiful aunts. I love my family.
  4. Getting the kitchen clean. As much as I hate it, it does make me feel much better when it’s done.

It probably seems thoroughly domestic, but these little things are what gets me through a tough or a slow day. I love the little things. Thanks for reading my little blog.

xo

Yesterday was my first day in my new uni course to become a primary school teacher. I had a fantastic day and I’m feeling really good about this direction I’m going in. I even made a few new friends and contributed some meaningful discussion! Yay!

I still found the time to enjoy the little things, like the sky and the warmth of the sun. The sky was so blue and there were these amazing clouds just rippling across like the texture of the sand at the beach. It was perfect. See?

I love the winter sky.

xo

I can wear tights. I am developing quite a collection at the moment, despite my tendency to put holes in them at inopportune times. These ones are actually ones I bought last year and they may possibly be my oldest pair.

I also like sleeping and lounging in the sun.

xo

Or rather, I’ve already baked three cakes. These were the cakes I baked and decorated for my sister’s 21st party a few weeks ago.

It was a cherry chocolate cake iced with chocolate butter icing, glacé cherries and homemade pink fondant icing. Well, it was supposed to be red, but it was impossible with the ingredients I had on hand. The cake recipe itself was quite simple but somehow I managed to break one cake in half as I turned it out of the pan but it was nothing a good lashing of icing couldn’t fix!

I liked the way the cake decorating turned out, but it didn’t exactly measure up to the grand cake I had envisaged in my head. I had imagined making a vibrant red fondant icing and rolling it out and cutting out beautiful crisp letters and making a big red flower out of various red food stuffs like fruit roll ups (I bought some but the red was really an anaemic pink), raspberry licorice (I ate it before I decorated the cake) and other sweet delights.

What I didn’t anticipate was the difficulty and fussiness involved in making fondant icing. I mean, it wasn’t too hard making the icing as such, but the colour was impossible to achieve with liquid food colouring! And when I finally rolled a sheet of the pinkish red icing out, after having it stick to everything, the lovely letters I cut out stretched horribly when I picked them up. So I made a compromise, I rolled out long sausages of icing and wrote on the cake with that.

I actually really like what I ended up with and the best part is, of course, is that my sister loved it and the cake tasted delicious on the day and there was enough for the 80 plus guests we had. All in all, despite a few hiccups along the way, a success!