Friday, February 29, 2008

Im a exclamation point!!!!

You Are An Exclamation Point
You are a bundle of... well, something.
You're often a bundle of joy, passion, or drama.

You're loud, brash, and outgoing. If you think it, you say it.
Definitely not the quiet type, you really don't keep a lot to yourself.

You're lively and inspiring. People love to be around your energy.
(But they do secretly worry that you'll spill their secrets without even realizing it.)

You excel in: Public speaking

You get along best with: the Dash

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How NOT to make soap

Recipe for Soap disaster:

1. Correct amounts of oils.

2. Correct amount of water.

3. Measure incorrect amount of sodium hydroxide approx two and a half times the amount required

4.Mix together.

Trace takes about two seconds. Fizzing commences. Wild potent(toxic?) steam crowds every nook and cranny of kitchen space.

5. Take outside in panic

Yep folks thats one bottle of pure olive oil, half a can of rice bran oil, half a bottle of coconut oil and 285gms of caustic soda down the gurgler.

If anyone finds my brain can they return it please..

This however is the correct way to make


As always find this excellant recipe and great instructions(especially if you are new to this hobby, which by the way I am not although you wouldnt think it by my first effort would you..) at

Thanks Rhonda you are a champion, this end result looks gorgeous!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Part of the simple life is making things, gathering things and not just buying them. Like "Martha" i too have "good things" and this is one of them. Ginger beer.

Now we havent made ginger beer for years and as a rule we dont drink fizzy drinks but Ginger beer is sublime and a gorgeous way to enjoy the last of the summer lemons from Nanas tree.
I asked another simple lifer blog friend from New zealand for her recipe and gorgeous hubby and I (he who is after the perfect Ginger beer) last night set about making the bug. If you want the recipe for the bug you'll find it here on her lovely blog.
There must be something in the air because I have refound my sometime soap making obsession, and last night searched fervently for my resipes on the net. I think Ill give Rhonda at resipe a try. I just have to buy some rice bran oil.
Such a wealth of inspiration on other peoples blogs. I wonder if any one reads mine anymore??

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Simple pleasures revisited

I have discovered the art and the simple pleasures of knitting once more !! The last time i knitted was two years ago when i made some ballet cardis for the girls. Now thanks to these two wonderful blogs: have found the art of knitting dishcloths. These are great things. I have knitted five of them so far out of two and a half skeins of cotton. At 1.99 on special at that friendliest of friendly stores, spotlight I think you will agree the overall cost of dishcloths is a bargin. They are meant to last longer than "normal" supermarket clothes and are yet another thing to add to my growing list of essentials that i dont have to shop for. I also made up a little gift for a friend and it consists of a dishcloth(which can also be a flannel) and two home made soaps bound with some left over plaid strips from a quilt and some lavender from the garden. I think its so pretty I hardly want to let it go!

These blogs are worth a visit to see their patterns and liberty star farm has a well written and photographed picture of instructions.

I visit Down to earth every day that I can . Its the most inpsirational blog i know of and always pulls me from any funk I may be in. Presently the end of summer is nigh and the garden is looking just awful. Everything is brown and dry and dead looking and although I know that sson the place will recover and look better with the cool of Autumn and the rains its almost depressing to see the dry around me. I thought the garden was looking ok until my gorgeous hubby pulled out the weeds...

On a bright note. We planted six water melons that have almost come to fruition and have four or five yummy looking melons to enjoy soon. When we lived in the King Country before we had children we had a gorgeous garden and every year would plant water melons. For some reason known only to the mysterious universe we kept getting pumkins only from our melon plants??? So the arrival of these watermelons is joy indeed.
We make our own compost and everything that is from the earth is returned to it. This is an interesting thing as my gorgeous hubby loads the compost on the garden and in amongst our hedges and shrubs and flowers will sprout tomatos, pumkins, and even three walnut trees. I am thrilled with the walnuts as growing up on the family farm we had two gigantic walnut trees. These wee plants of ours will follow us to our land when we get there.
I am desparately trying to finish my scrappy friendship quilt (pictured above) I am desparate to finish as it is perhaps a little too scrappy and I fear the friendship stars will get lost in the genral coloured chaos. Stay posted.
I leave with a wind blowing through the window , the cicadas still chirping and the chill now and then of an approaching Autumn. The humidity comes and goes reminding us not to get too worried about an early winter.
My week started off well on a retail thereapy note. Now note that I do not like shopping ordinarily. I hate it. Spending the money, joining the crowds, the bustle of town and the rampant consumerism abounding it all. But on Monday my two favourite magazines arrived. Grass Roots the self sufficiency magazine that has the best ever issue ever this omonth and Homespun magazine which fill s my most creative spaces in my head. Then my most favourite quilt shop which is called the Quilters cabin and is up in the sticks of the country and is just beautiful has closed down :( BUT the owner rented a shop int town for a week to get rid of her stock. I thought of my unfinished projects and bought some fat quarters at 2.00 each and a huge bag of remnant for 2.00, plus some Clover gold needles for 1.00 a box and gorgeous and hard to find rusty bells for 50cents each. I find myself clutching the fabrics and sorting through them. Spotlight could never complete... So that is my retail therapy, things I buy to service my need to create.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Summer in bottles


What could be more satisfying than the joys of preserving gorgeous summer fruits? Today I began just that. I was very excited to find early Golden Queens out at a reasonable price and also delicious Black Doris Plums. I spent the afternoon bottling these glorious fruits and they worked out at roughly $1.00 per bottle. A bottle is waaaaay more full and waaaay bigger slices than your average can of peaches that you can buy and absolutely far tastier.

A few people have indicated that they would like to preserve but are unsure how. So here is my beginners guide to this easy pastime:

First gather together your supplies. I use Ajee bottles (i have many from op shops and family but you can buy them from Supermarkets), lids that youcan only use once, and screww tops, again available at Supermarkets or op shops. A lot of Sugar, a large stainless steel pot, wooden spoon, salt, plastic bowl or bucket.

First I make sure the bottles are totally sparkling clean and without chips around the rim or cracks in the sides. Then I sterialise them.

I put them in an oven at 120C for half an hour and take them out only prior to preserving so that the hot liquid does nor crack the glass.

For the syrup I add one cup of sugar per two cups of water, and heat until boiling point. While syrup is cooking I prepare the peaches: peel and halve or quarter and put into a bowl of salted water so that peaches do not turn brown.
When the syrup and peaches are both ready for the off i add them togehter and cook them until JUST soft. Not too much , not too little. its a try as you go thing until you get the hang of it.
Once cooked the jars are, one at a time filled with the peaches and then pour in some syrup until rim is reached. Now I put a long knife down the sides of the jars to let any air out and with a tea towel fill up the tiny gap left with boiling water. The lid is then pushed on and pressure applied and then the screw top is put on to hold it all together. The pressure as the bottle cools will pull in the top and it is them properly sealed. Do not remove screw tops until next day. And Done!!
I am wanting to fill all my jars this season, and there are are a lot!! Its my thing since I have gone past the strawberry season and have no berries to jam!
So far I have bottled six large and two half jars of peaches and two large and one half of plums.
Dont they look pretty cooling in the summer evening on my window sill. Summer in a bottle!