Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Canberra OBDM

I'm sure you noticed from my previous post that I was pretty excited to be heading off on my own to meet up with a bunch of girls in Canberra.  The girls are all knitters from one of the groups on Ravelry and we were meeting up for the annual wool festival at the Old Bus Depot Markets (OBDM) held in Canberra each year.    Naturally that involves spending a few extra days, (especially with it coinciding with my birthday!!), and particularly when we had girls meeting up from all over the place ..... Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, NSW Coastline, Canberra and of course Bundalong lol.......  So let me share a bit of the adventure with you......   
 
It's about a 5 hour drive from Bundalong to Canberra and my first time to Canberra ..... being on my own I stopped in at Jugong to check out the Long Trail Café on a suggestion from a work colleague and she was right - definitely worth the stop!  It's a very small, cute little place .....


Finally found my way to the Australian University House where we were staying ....... what a great place to stay!!
Grounds at University House Canberra


Chris and I outside the war memorial
Friday we visited the War Museum ........ wow!  We didn't see all of it, its pretty full on with settings that are just amazing!  I think if my photos have turned out it might need its own post!

Vicki and I out for a morning walk around the lake














Knitting was the theme for the weekend, which did mean having something portable to work on wherever we went... ..... the variety of projects were great and once again I managed to learn so much from this talented group of ladies ...... all those knitted items you see in the photos are all made by the wearer, so keep an eye out :)  It was also a time for purchasing from each others "destash" - I managed to increase my stash with these beauties......
Saturday was my birthday, and oh, what a way to celebrate the day!  First off a morning walk with one of the girls I had met in July last year at the Bendigo Wool get together......

Followed by High Tea at the Hyatt Hotel ........ I may have over indulged ....... a fraction....... but oh was it yummy!!!  We thought the doormen were so dressed up, we should include a photo with them.....
Sue & I loved the way the doormen at the Hyatt were dressed for the occasion
 
High Tea at the Hyatt Hotel, Canberra


The afternoon was spent knitting in the Uni courtyard, soooo relaxing ...... before we all headed of to dinner in the city precinct
which was naturally followed up by the most amazing "dark chocolate - hot chocolate"....YUM!

 Sunday morning we all packed up, headed to the Old Bus Depot Market to look for other fibre related goodies ....... and I was not at all disappointed ..... ahem!  Gotta love market prices

Goodbyes were said and each of us began to make our separate ways home.  What a fabulous group of girls to spend the weekend with, reviving old acquaintance's and igniting new ones!  I can't wait to see some of these girls again in a couple of months time at Bendigo!
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Arrivals and a Trip.....

Tomorrow I head off to Canberra for a girls long weekend ....... a group from Ravelry are headed to meet there for the Old Bus Depot markets Celebration of Wool where we shall apparently be delighted with lots of woolly goodies to drool over!  Naturally that calls for an entire weekend ...... or extension thereof to get in lots of chatting and knitting or handwork .  Many of the girls I met at Bendigo last year will be in Canberra, so it should be heaps of fun.   Even more so, since it will also be my birthday during that time.

One of my friends from work gave me this little present yesterday as an early birthday gift ....... I think she knows me well lol

And when I arrived home last night I found my first ever order from loveknitting had arrived.  I've had emails from them for a while, but I saw something for some cotton yarns the other week and decided I would order some seeing as it was free delivery from the UK to Australia!!  I ended up

with 7 balls of cotton that I'll use in household projects, but I have to say I was really impressed with them.  They sent emails to let me know when shipping had taken place - I placed my order on the 4th May and received it on the 12th May!  It came with a sticker on the back telling who had packed the items, and inside the individual yarns I had ordered where all placed together in a lovely organza bag - kinda like they actually cared about the order they were sending out! 



 The colours are nice and bright, the yarn feels lovely even though its a cotton and each ball is 100gr - giving 184 metres/201yrds!
I look forward to sharing with you what I plan to do with all these.......... after I get back from Canberra that is!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Snail Mail Group

8 yrs ago come June, I started a very small snail mail group..... Country Scents Snail Mail ...... over the years we have had ladies come and go, but we've also had a few who have managed to keep part all those years and the friendships (a bit like blogging) have grown during those years of group snail mail letters.  We mostly do robins, which are circle letters ..... (I send off a letter to A, who then reads my letter, writes one of her own, pops both letters into an envelope and sends to B - who sends to C and so on until the last lady on the list sends all the letters including hers back to me ..... I finally get to read everyones letters, pull out my old one, write a new letter and send the package off to A ...... and round and round it goes ).   However, over the past few years as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and endless Facebook Groups have grown and become more "instant gratification" and many ladies began to find that "Life" became far more hectic or complicated, some of our ladies have had to drop out.  We are now down to 9 members, but only 5 or 6 of those members continue to remain "active".  I do try to keep our numbers no more than 15 at any one time (and often memberships have been closed to keep the numbers lower), since it allows for everyone to get to know each other and also to keep up that accountability.  We also used to do about 3 or 4 swaps during the year, which was always a bit of fun ...... something most bloggers seem to enjoy :)   So for a short time I am opening up the memberships again ..........
Do you enjoy receiving letters in your mail box?  Do you like to write snail mail letters about various topics (we try to have different topics going on various robins to keep a few letters dropping into our mail boxes....... things like gardening, sewing, knitting and crochet, anything food, homesteading, and of course general chit chat which is always a very popular one lol).  You do need to be accountable to sending on letters and while some may be sent locally, some will also be posted overseas.  We currently have members in Australia, USA and UK.    If you are interested please either leave me a comment or email me at
sharmshere@yahoo.com     If you are a "no reply" blogger, please leave me a way to contact you.

Hugs Sharm

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sandpiper Shawl

I'm absolutely thrilled to be able to say I've finished my first ever knitted shawl! I worked on it Friday night and over the weekend!  It's also my first venture into lace knitting, something I didn't think I would attempt for at least another year, but when Laura Aylor decided to host a KAL on her Ravelry group for her new shawl, it seemed the perfect opportunity........and Voila!





These yummy yarns from Berry Colourful Yarns that I had won in the KAL I took part in last year (remember my first jumper, which was the hooded one )........ They seemed to jump out as the perfect yarn to make this shawl, and wow, they were so soft and light and easy to knit with!  I loved using them and I still have a bit of the main colour (sea breeze) left and heaps of the other two (driftwood is the dark grey, and sea glass has a green blue colour that seems to change depending on what it's close to).

If you've ever wondered about washing a just finished project and blocking, it's a must ( as I discovered) for this type of knitting especially since it helps to give life to those lace stitches and gives them the definition they don't have prior to blocking!

It's been just over a year since I picked up the knitting needles and started this new journey with so many interesting bits to it....... Yep, loving it!!!


Friday, May 1, 2015

April.....

It's Autumn here - Love the Tree with its seasonal changes
April arrived......and now it's gone!!  I'm not sure what happened to the past 30 days?? Perhaps a quick recount to find some of them ? You might like to travel April with me........  Down here in my little corner of the world it's Autumn and we are getting some cooler weather, so you might want to pop on your scarf and a light jacket .....









There was Easter which brought with it the front fence changes and lots of yard maintenance which seemed to take up a couple of our April weekends......

There were a few little projects to work on for others, like the pots mitts and another little hand towel for DD ....... plus a couple of other little projects that are in the process of winging their way to a swap partner overseas..... so I cant share those little bits just yet.   Scruffy also needed a thicker rug to lay on the floor now that he has 2 bad back legs.  I cut up my old sleeping bag from when I was 13...... so its the very old, very basic cotton and padding.  Its also very roughly sewn, since I just needed to use some material to cover all the holes to stop the stuffing coming out! As soon as it went on the floor he took possession of it

I pulled out my EPP hexies to get started back on again and enjoyed some home baking and lots of knitting .....
 and I even made it back to the Corowa Spinners and Weavers Group (due to the issues from last year, my last visit with this group was back in September of 2013 (see this post)

Received these beauties from a wonderful fellow who has had them stored in his shed for too many years and gave me the choice of my place or the tip.......... not that I have ever used or even seen a knitting machine set up and working....... guess that will be coming up before long... and I would be interested to hear from any of you who have experience with knitting machines :)
 
And as April came to a close, the lovely chrysanthemums that DD usually gives me for Mothers Day
have started to bloom.  I'm so pleased to see these as a number died in the garden last year, and with the changes I dug up and moved the last couple survivors into pots in the hope of keeping them.  I think they look lovely in the pots around the cabin, and I get to see them more often in this spot as its also right where we park the cars.    Unfortunately my favourite mug that has been with me for about 20 yrs and survived 5 or 6 interstate moves, plus a couple of local ones...... ended with a crash onto the concrete verandah!  I have only myself to blame, which is probably a blessing lol  But you know when you just have that "right" mug, it keeps the contents warm, it has the right feel to it ......ahh well......


For the last day of April, I managed to make the  2 1/2 hr drive down to Melbourne parking the car at one of the outer suburban train stations and catching the train into the city where DD met me.  We had a lovely few hours together and caught another train to her place, found a lovely little café to have lunch in, did a tiny bit of shopping, and then she drove me back to my car to head back up the highway. She also gave me an early Mothers Day gift (a very large box of chocolates that has already been started on), and an early birthday gift which I'll share later.  I left home about 6am and managed to walk back in the door just before 5pm in time to get the afternoon/evening chores done and dinner going by the time DH walked in the door.

And apart from work and the normal bits and pieces, ...... that my friend, was April!



 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Crochet, Knit, Sew, Bake .....

Last night was FNSI  where 53 ladies from around the world joined in with Wendy from Sugarlane Quilts to do some stitching of various types and then blog sometime over the weekend to share what they did.  It's fun to see what other people are working on, and it's always nice to get ideas or a bit of inspiration - mostly I find its nice to think there are others that wish we had ladies sitting around a table having a natter, coffee and stitching together, but for many of us that seems to be hard to find - so this is a nice way of filling that gap :) 
 I decided this time I'd make a start on Friday night working on a bit more knitting of my Sandpiper Shawl which I'm trying to get finished by the end of April.
 

 My little buddy was busy snoring his head off - he's gradually beginning to improve after doing his crucial ligament a month ago, but being over 12yrs old the cooler nights are starting to tell! Can you even see him poking out from his handknitted woollen blanket???

 
This morning I decided to continue on with a bit more stitching and after finding my sewing machine (it's been covered in a bit of this and that of late).......

I managed to get a few mug rugs made (some for the grandies and a couple of gifts), plus decided to whip up this little purse for holding knitting stitch markers and such.

After a bit of sewing I got moving on some crochet work ....... DD has requested a couple more of my crocheted topped kitchen hand towels ...... I'm still working on those so I'll wait till I finish to show you.


I don't know about your place, but it's still raining here and seems to be getting cooler ........ since we haven't yet lit the fire, I figured I would soon warm up if I did a bit of baking........ out of the oven just in time for afternoon tea.......   Yum!!!  I used my simplicity cake recipe and divided it in half ....... one half I added 3 tablespoons of cocoa to make a chocolate cake ........ and the other one I popped into the tin then added half a dozen teaspoons of homemade blackberry jam and just simply swirled the jam through the cake mixture.  (The jam was made using blackberries picked a couple of months ago).   And that sounds like the sausage rolls are finished, so I best go and pull those out of the oven.

I'll leave you with the cake recipe which is super simple, and has been one I've used for 30 odd years - its great as it makes 2 cakes, can be altered to make any flavour you can think of and is a nice moist cake that always gets compliments wherever it seems to go :)  Enjoy!!
Simplicity Cake:
2 Cups Self Raising Flour
1 Cup Sugar (use white or raw sugar)
180gr Softened Butter
1 Cup Milk
3 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Put the flour and sugar into a bowl (no, I don't sift them), then add all the wet ingredients.  Now combine them all and then beat on high for 3mins.
If you are making chocolate cake add 4 tblsp cocoa - adjust this if halving the mixture to make 1 chocolate and another flavour cake.   You can also pop sliced apple, apricot etc onto the mixture.

Pop into whatever baking tins you wish to bake in (you can also choose to pop the mixture into patty tins to make small cakes for the children) ....... Bake in a moderate oven until it looks ready - test by placing a skewer or toothpick into the centre and having it come out clean.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hibiscus Happiness

Good Morning!  And yes, it is a good morning here in the cottage - It's your typical Autumn kind of day, somewhat overcast this morning and it may possibly rain - I don't mind if it does, since today is not a "going to work " day....... and its, at least at this point, a 'taking your time' to get things done, kinda day!  
 So why Hibiscus Happiness for the title??  After my last post I had a comment left by a lovely fellow blogger that did indeed sum things up in a nutshell! Also during the week, DH and I have been able to randomly "mull things over" and have decided at this point in time to just continue to remain here in our little cottage on our 1/4 acre block with my very special little craft cabin and continue to make mortgage payments (a large debt with only a few short years left till DH will need to retire). I'm sure we are not alone in this headache/heartache and   Perhaps in the next year or two a miracle will occur that sees our mortgage paid out.  
The found Hexie Flowers and scraps
 Anyhow, this heartfelt comment  sent me over to her blog to see what her latest post might be ....... indeed, it seemed to "sing" to me and did indeed lift my spirits ..... ok, it was the big wonderful group of pictures in the header first with the lovely cheerful Hibiscus flowers and the stitching of the girls having coffee and cake lol....... Then I got to the post ...It was all about getting back to doing those paper pieced projects again....... and that kinda reminded me of a much simpler, slower and happy pace at which I was living life back a couple of years ago...... So I went rummaging in my cabin to find the tin that held those  little hexie flowers I was making  each Wednesday ..... I'll be able to start working on those again........ 
and  I had also begun a hexie project that would hopefully turn into a quilt for our bed!  What do you know, the container for those was right beside the tin of hexies, so it has been pulled out as well ....... So I am linking up with Anthea from Hibiscus Stitches today and these UFO's will now begin to get some attention again :)   Thanks Anthea xo






Just yesterday I came across some research that mentioned using rosemary tea to assist with reduction of prostate cancer cell growth  - DH has never had a herbal tea in his life, but he is giving this a go and I guess we shall see if he continues with it, what becomes from it......... Anybody else have info on Rosemary Tea?

Hugs Sharm