Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

It’s been a bit of a busy time lately. I did manage to start putting a quilt top together.


This is my leader and enders project there’s all sorts of fabric and fabric scraps in this. A lot of this is from a scrap bag of fabric I was given (literally scraps) and vintage quilting fabric from a retiring quilter’s stash.

I made some cards recently. This one is going to a lovely couple who are expecting their first child very soon.

baby card

Colour is a bit washed out in the picture. Huge thanks to my friend Kerin for the circles punched from her stash/scraps.

This one is for a birthday boy/teen.

birthday card

This one is for Mother’s Day.

mother's day card

Finally, the orchids are flowering. Gorgeous Girl took this picture.

orchid 2

I love these curly orchids.

orchid 4

This orchid smells fantastic in the morning.

orchid 3

We are heading off next week. We’ll be dropping Gorgeous Girl in Australia to spend time with family while Gorgeous Man and I head to some conferences in Germany and Poland. I’ve started washing the cooler weather clothes and sorting out craft projects to take while I’m on the plane, and have some down time.

I’m hoping to have internet while we are away, but not sure how much spare time we’ll have. Expect me to inflict lots of photos on you on my return…


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The garden is a work in progress. The cucumbers are doing really well. They’ve only been in for a few weeks.

The plants on the far left of the picture are zucchini. We also have tomatoes and rock melon in as well. This picture shows the garden in it’s full glory.

I love the banana trees. It’s the dry season here at the moment, so it’s very hot and dry.

There’s been knitting going on. I’m loving this beaded cowl. It’s from handspun. It’s leftover from a shawl I knitted in 2010.

Details on Ravelry.

Because beads and lace are too complicated to take out of the house I cast on for some take along knitting. I took these two balls of Nurturing Fibres sock yarn and paired them up.

The ball on the left is left over from socks and the one on the right is left over from a hat. I’m turning it into this linen stitched scarf.

At 400 stitches per row it’s taking a while to build up width. I have to admit that I’m loving this stitch and the effect of the colours shifting as I knit.

I also finished spinning some silk. It hasn’t been washed or set yet. There’s been fires around and I haven’t wanted to put it outside to dry.

I’m pretty pleased with this. I think it’s actually thin enough to embroider with if I was so inclined.


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The coconut tree I wrote about in an earlier post actually turned out to be in our neighbour’s  yard. However, they don’t use the coconuts and so we are welcome to them.

A little while back Gorgeous Girl collected these beauties.

I have to confess that it was a surprise to me that coconuts had the extra shell. I always thought they fell off the tree like we see them in the shops. However, to get them to that point they need a bit of work.

First you get a big knife.

And cut open the outer shell. Then with very strong hands pull the round nut out.

Then cut open and enjoy.

We’ve also been buying okari nuts at the local markets.

These taste sort of like a cross between macadamia nuts and coconut. You peel off the brown skin and it’s a brilliant white underneath. These have become one of our favourite local foods.

The bananas at the side of the house turned out to be cooking bananas so we left them for the parrots to enjoy, and we enjoyed watching the parrots. However, the bananas at the back of the house are eating bananas and are finally ripe. The bananas spent some time on the tree under a bag to protect them from the parrots. Yesterday we cut them (the tree is too dead to support them – banana trees die after fruiting) and hung them under the house to ripen.

On the other side of the bunch are some turning yellow. I have to confess I always thought that bananas grew with the bend pointing downwards. (Can you tell I didn’t grow up in the tropics…)

I’ve had one of the ripe ones, it was delicious!

Finally, a scarf I made for Gorgeous Girl last year, but only got around to photographing today.

It’s early hand-spun from fibre which I dyed myself.

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So, I figure when blogging friends start emailing to ask if I’m OK it’s probably time to update the blog.

I’m struggling to find a balance between work and blogging and life in general.

The garden has been good to us this summer.

The corn was really tasty, we had lots of zucchinis until the heat got them. The round cucumber is an apple cucumber, really delicious and the long light green cucumber is an Armenian cucumber also very refreshing. In addition to this we had lots of yellow cherry tomatoes and some yellow mystery beefsteak tomatoes that were huge, some snake beans and lots of potatoes. Everything is winding down now as we hit the real heat of summer.

Many of you know that I am from Queensland. Being in South Africa watching the floods was difficult. I made some quilt as you go quilt blocks and sent them to this amazing lady.  This was my first time trying quilt as you go, and I have to confess that these blocks took me much longer than they should have and I didn’t get to make as many as I would have liked to.

In addition to making/collecting quilts and blocks for Queensland and Victorian flood victims, Jan is also accepting blocks and quilts to be distributed to those in Christchurch, New Zealand.

A while ago I went to a batt carding workshop. I had the urge to knit the resulting yarn but since the batt was only 28 grams I didn’t have much yarn. So I made some small booties.

The white is a commercial yarn to make my handspun go further and help it ‘pop’.

I also made some booties (at Gorgeous Girl’s request) for her doll.

There is only one in the photo because the other has disappeared into the toys…

I have a stash-buster blanket blocking as we speak. Hopefully I won’t take as long to update the blog next time.

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These two items have been finished for a while and I’ve just been lazy about getting them photographed and loaded onto the computer.

First, Yet Another Hat for Charity, modelled by my Gorgeous Girl, who, I just realised, has Marmite on her face. (Aside: we have nearly finished the Australian jar and I’m going to have to resort to the British recipie 😦 No love to the 12 year old customs agent who confiscated my three jars on our last visit – I forgot that you can’t take gels on board).

After trying this one on for me she asked me to make her a hat, so I showed her my handspun and got her to choose the colour she wanted. That hat is over halfway done, so I should have another FO soon.

Morning Surf Scarf 3 (this one for me!) is done.

I think I have one more of these still to knit.

The garden is going well. The tomato plants are pumping out the cherry tomatoes. We haven’t had any ripe larger ones yet, but they are plumping up nicely. The corn was a complete bust though. Really hard and not tasty – we’ve grown good corn before, this was a new variety for us, so we’ll try a different one next year.

We harvested the pumpkins on Sunday. There are two varieties here.  I think we’ll get at least another 7 butternuts from the vines.

Gorgeous Girl for scale.

She has become quite enamoured with taking pictures lately, her is one of her “Pumpkin Series”.

I do have a very simple point and shoot camera, but I’m still impressed that she can hold it steady.

We are hoping to take a small trip (for both work and pleasure), so I’ve been creating a travel journal before we leave. That way I can journal there, and just add pictures when I get home.

Here’s the cover.

The main paper came from my 2006 diary which had pictures of old maps through it. I tore out all the maps before tossing the diary (I’m embarrassed to tell you that I only go around to doing that last week). Once I know exact dates I’ll add the dates and location(s) to the yellow paper.

This is the first page spread.

Kerin, do you recognise the paper on the left? We bought it when I stopped in Perth on my way to South Africa in 2006 – left over from other projects.

Second page spread.

The map is of one of the places where we are going.

And, that’s as far as I got. I go back to work tomorrow, so crafting is going to slow down considerably.

On Saturday I was taking pictures of Araminta, when Gorgeous Man suggested pictures of the two of us. So here is a rare one of me.

We have finally introduced Gorgeous Girl to the ‘one-eyed monster that lives in the corner of the room’. We’ve been playing her a children’s DVD. We know one of the presenters and it’s fun to see him and his kids (his wife, one of my good friends, even makes a cameo appearance now and then and I get very excited). Even so, it’s scary how much she loves the TV – she calls it “DVDTVD”.

Finally, Happy Australia Day to all my Aussie buddies. This year is the first year I haven’t had to work on our national holiday.

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I have a knitting finish.

Morning Surf Scarf in my hand-dyed, handspun yarn. I’m so proud of how this turned out!

Gorgeous Girl is a tad scarf obsessed at the moment (she turns clothes and fabric into scarves – shame it’s the height of summer…) and she just had to try it on.

I’m giving this to a friend, I hope she likes it. I have enough yarn left over (I hope) to make one for me. I don’t usually make the same project back to back, but I’ve cast on for mine already.

The bounty from the garden continues, last night for dinner the only thing on the plate that had been purchased was the sausages.

Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl dug up one potato bush. This was the haul.

They are really yummy. Also an heirloom variety, but I forget the name.

Here is the candy striped beetroot ready to be covered in olive oil and roasted.

After cooking the beetroot was skinned and tossed in a garden salad.

This year, for the first time, the guinea fowl who frequent our yard have a large brood of chicks. It’s been really fun watching the tiny little babies turn into adolescents. Here is a really bad shot of them, but is the best I can get. They are really skittish!

This is our front yard. The wire will eventually become part of  a chook (chicken) coop. The photo is not crooked, my front yard does slope that much.

We had Christmas Round Two today as some cards and parcels from Grandparents and Uncles and Aunties in Australia arrived today. Gorgeous Girl is thrilled with her new handbag and book. Because of the way the postal system works (or rather doesn’t) she thinks that all major celebrations like birthdays and Christmas are extended celebrations.

I’ve been clearing up my craft room. The yarn/fibre stash is organised, I’ve sorted out the scrapbooking area (which is the top of a chest of drawers on which I store my supplies). Right now I’m working on the sewing table, which has turned into such a mess that I can hardly reach the sewing machine. I’ve made a promise to myself to keep the other desk in the room clear so that I can work without clearing it off first. Two weeks in, so far so good, and I’m finding it does increase my productivity if I don’t have to clear up junk before cutting out fabric or making a card.

What kickstarted the spring cleaning was a certain Gorgeous Man who signed me up for Library Thing. His Christmas present to me was to catalogue my entire collection of History books, which meant that the overfilled bookshelf was sorted out and tidied up.  He banned me from my craft room for three days while he worked on it.

Thank you for all the well wishes for Gorgeous Man. The antibiotics are working and he is feeling much better.

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For not having a working car over the Christmas break. We are certainly saving money – no ducking out for take-away or hitting the shops for some post-Christmas shopping.

Gorgeous Man received a multitude of tick bites while he was away, and unfortunately has a dose of African Tick Bite Fever. If you Google it, you will see some lovely images 🙂 I’ve just linked to a medical explanation with no pictures.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate the day). Our Christmas was lovely. Gorgeous Girl had lots of fun delivering the presents around the room, and opening hers.

I just love this picture of her helping Gorgeous Man to open his gift. She helped to wrap it up.

Gorgeous Man’s mother gave her a plastic tote filled with crafty stuff and she has been gluing and painting and cutting to her hearts content since Christmas. My house looks like a confetti bomb exploded. She can’t cut out pictures, but she can certainly cut up the paper into lots of little bits, not too bad for 26 months.

I finished some spinning. This gorgeous stuff. Merino and bamboo in a colourway called Concord Grapes.

came from the Portland Fiber Gallery in Maine. Gorgeous Man bought it for me at the same time as he got the wheel. If you want some of this fibery goodness, you can check out their  Etsy store.

I don’t know what this is going to become yet.

Before Christmas I participated in Kirsten’s Mystery Sock Knit Along.  It was lots of fun, and I got to use this yarn that has been marinating in the stash for quite some time.

Inspired by the Santa layout, I did another layout for Gorgeous Girl’s scrapbook. This one is of her enjoying the chooks (Australian for chickens) at Gorgeous Man’s dad’s place in July.

I’ve decided that (once the car is fixed) I’m going to take a scrapbooking class. The newsagent at the local mall also has scrapbooking supplies and they offer classes. The classes are always on while I’m working, but I’ve got some leave coming up. I think it will be fun and it will give me some dedicated time to work on it.

Since it is summer here, we have been enjoying some bounty from the garden. This is the second lot of carrots that we picked, and the last of the lettuce. There are more carrots in the ground, but we tend to pick as we need them. The beetroot is an heirloom variety that grows red and white rings, I think it’s very cool. The dark green round thing at the back is a gem squash. We hadn’t had them until we moved to South Africa, but they are very tasty. And the light green round thing is an heirloom variety of cucumber – very fresh tasting.

The corn is now much taller than me (Gorgeous Man will tell you that this is not hard lol) and has lots of heads on it. We also have three varieties of pumpkin coming on. The watermelon is flowering, so we are hopeful that we will have some home grown watermelon before the summer is out.

I started hand quilting the fish quilt, but my frame has gotten brittle with age (it’s plastic) and is no fun. Also, it’s huge (what was I thinking!?) So I’ve set it aside until (I have the car back and) I can get to my local quilt store. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to convince the owner to do it on her long arm. Otherwise I’ll have to look for another long-armer in the area – easier said than done.

I’m also making a skirt for Gorgeous Girl – the tutorial one looks really cute. Let’s just say I’m going to reserve judgment on my version until it is finished.

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