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Preview: It was always simple

It was always simple

just my thoughts...

Updated: 2013-03-18T21:58:00.758+11:00


A winter's morning


Yesterday morning this was the sight that greeted us outside the dining room window, tiny spider's webs covering the crepe myrtle tree. Although the whole house thought the sight was pretty special, we all had different reasons... It took my breath away because they were so perfect, so precious and I felt so luck to be able to sit sipping my cuppa and admire. For JD he thought it was really cool and was thinking of the photographic possibilities, you know sun and light and such things. Moth, on the other hand, was also looking at the tree with gratitude, mainly gratitude that the pest control guy who came last month must have sprayed the eaves well, because the spiders were residing in the tree instead of on the house. Ahhhh...nevertheless...pretty huh?Thanks for reading my feed :)[...]

Winners are grinners


I was recently lucky enough to win a new release book from Penguin Simply Softies. The delightfully crafty Cath from Chunky Chooky & My Bearded Pigeon hosted a fabulous giveaway on her blog. Egged on by JD, my little monster maker, I entered, never thinking for a moment that I'd actually win. I planned on chasing down a copy anyway... JD and I had talked about how he could make Raver Riley some more friends, and I so wanted to make the owl and the pussy cat...ohh and the dinosaur and the giraffe and the get the picture!  Our prize arrived last week, and I hadn't had the opportunity to sit and stitch with JD until last Sunday. JD was inspired to make a simple silhouette bunny and I couldn't make up my mind, so I decided to make some finger puppets. JD sat for hours carefully blanket stitching around his bunny, stuffing as he went. Just as I was lulled into having such a brilliant mother son afternoon, I asked the inevitable..."so, what are you going to call him?" Only to be told he was the playboy bunny....ohh why do they have to grow up??? He's been cutting and stitching ever since, he mastered back stitch on the 2nd bunny, who's name is Alvin. And today he made his Dad one in the team colours of the Roosters.   I am working on a sampler kitty, but time seems to run away during the week, so I'll finish it off over the weekend, but here's my finger puppets for now (a penguin, an elephant, piglet, birdy and cat of course!). What a great book for beginners and those like me terrified of hand sewing. Thanks Cath and thanks Penguin...I'm just going to work my way through the projects one by one I think...I want them all! Pardon my dodgy i-phone photos, I really should get a camera one of these days :) Thanks for reading my feed :)[...]

White Chocolate & Macadamia Biscuits


I had a mad baking thing going on yesterday, not sure why, maybe the full moon, maybe a comfort thing when I'm stressed...maybe I just felt like some fresh biscuits!!!! A long long time ago, when I was first married, my mother-in-law, who was a brilliant cook, sat me down and helped me with some basic recipes. She used to make the yummiest jam drops that Moth loved and of course being the eager young wife that I am was I wanted to make him some too.  Over the years I had a love hate relationship with my mother in law, she passed away a few years ago and I have often wished I had asked her things, everything from why did you hate me so much to how much flour did you put in that potato pizza base...ah but not to be. I have over the years used her basic biscuit recipe for EVERYTHING...I've hidden all sorts of stuff in there that the kids wouldn't eat! When the boys were little I discovered the mathematical equation that allowed me to put just the right amount of sultanas v's choc chips in so that they could still be called choc chip biscuits!  I wasn't going to show this picture, but hey I have already said how much I have used this recipe, so all I need to add before showing this picture is that it will probably shame me into writing all my recipes out in a nice new book! Avert your eyes if you are a germ-a-phobe!  Phew...there, I feel a sense of relief and an overwhelming obligation to re-write my recipes and blog it when I have done! But without dwelling too much on the spilt coffee, etc (well cause I really don't know what some of those stains are) I'll start by sharing the recipe and showing you a picture of the finished biscuits, no really, please don't scroll back up, I'm embarrassed! Look below...nice yummy biscuits.....mmmm Madeline's Basic Biscuit Recipe 125 gm butter chopped1 egg1/2 cup of caster sugar1 teaspoon vanilla essence1 1/3 cups of SR flour Cream butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Stir in sifted flour (sorry Madeline, I have never sifted the flour and they taste OK, but sift if you need to) and shape into teaspoon sized balls on a lined baking tray. Indent each one and add a little jam if you are doing jam drops. Bake in a  moderate oven for about 12 minutes or until browned.  As I said I have added heaps of things to this mix over the years.... sultana's, choc chips, raisins, craisins, ginger, cinnamon, etc. This batch had about 1/4 cup of chopped macadamias and the same of white choc chips. Make sure you leave some chunky bits of nut, cause there is nothing better than finding that in a biscuit...and wondering for that split second if you have chipped a tooth....laughs! Just kidding, they aren't meant to be that hard, although there was this one Kyles stop! (Please don't leave, I promise to not post pictures of burnt offerings, although they were a stunning testament to my short attention span) I'll also admit I usually make a 4 x batch, cause if Moth and the boys are around they disappear as fast as they come out of the oven, so a 4 x mix means I have about a 1/4 of the biscuits left in the barrel!! Enjoy, I'm off to vacuum the floors and start writing out recipes....shame shame.  Thanks for reading my feed :)[...]

Staying Warm


Most nights are too cold now to do anything away from the warmth of the heater in the loungeroom. Even Rah, who usually hibernates in his room like every other teenager has started knitting again. Of course he has a basket of UFO’s (unfinished objects) and a pile of wool he had to have because it was >insert appropriate descriptor here< * (prickly, colourful, shiny, smooth, nobbly, etc). He kind of swings between being an avid knitter and thinking as a 17 year old male he shouldn't knit. If anyone knows of any fabulous inspiring male knitters out there that I could show him it would be appreciated muchly...

I started on a present I’ve been planning for weeks now for a special friend. Here’s the first part, a pair of double strand i.e. bloody warm pair of slippers. It's from a book I bought a while ago, although I only follow the pattern for the sole and sides and kinda do my own thing for the top... rules are meant to be broken aren't they? 

I’ll finish some gauntlets this week to match & share them when they are done. Hope you stayed warm this weekend, whatever you were doing. I'm off to the land of spots where there is a 20% off sale...god help my budget, but you can never have enough wool....right?




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My boys are hooked on Glee at the moment, weird I know as my best friends daughters are just as into Top Gear. I'll admit to buying into their need to be home by 8pm each Thursday night, hey lets face it, I hate grocery shopping too, who doesn't want to get home from that as soon as you can :) 

Shout Out for Cath


Head on over to Feeling Stitchy and vote for Cath's awesome embroidery... you know you want to! How brilliant is this stitching...the shading and the quirkiness????

Check out more of Cath's creative crafty goodness here, here and here.

A catalyst for change


I almost decided to not go to Bellingen today for the Energy Festival, it's been raining for a few days and the thought of being knee high in mud was not appealing. The sun was out this morning and the wind was blowing so off we went. Rah Rah drove into the headwind (good practice Moth had decided) and I'm so glad we went. I always enjoy spending time in Bellingen, it seems far less stressed than Coffs. I did comment to Rah that all of the people I know in Bellingen are nice, therefore all Bellingen people are nice. He asked how many people I knew in Bellingen, I told him maybe about 5, to which he said it wasn't a very big sample! Anyway, we had lots of fun, and saw heaps of people we knew, although most of them from Coffs, seems we weren't the only ones to escape to heaven today!  There were lots of interesting things to see, from the bicycle powered smoothie maker (you had to ride the bike around to make the smoothie) which I wish I got a photo of, to people making the most awesome baskets from natural fibres...I so want to learn how to do this! We bought some spices from the Jaaning Tree and tried some bliss balls as well, which I am going to try and find a recipe for, very high energy! A lot of the stalls were giving information about solar energy. We are trying to learn more and do our bit as far as using environmentally beneficial technologies at home so I found this all interesting. We have solar hot water on both the main house and the boys unit at home. We have just paid the deposit for solar energy which will hopefully be installed in the next few weeks. We went for the biggest system our roof could cope with, essentially it will generate far more energy than we use, but it all feeds back into the grid so we felt it worthwhile. We also only use tank water (no town water at all) and also have a bore for the gardens.  We are very blessed to live in a home that Moth's father built. He was quite environmentally aware, and has built the house on the right angle to get lots of winter sun in on the tiles to warm the house, yet in summer wide eaves and the angle of the house mean it stays cool. Anyway, I digress...but since I have, I'd like to share some pictures from around our place this weekend.  Moth managed to find the last of the fallen pecans on the ground, yummm...maybe next year we'll get enough for some pecan pies, the tree is still quite small! The autumn trees are starting to turn, I love the colour...reminds me of driving through Armidale in autumn, but on a much smaller scale! Our autumn trees were dwarfed by a few other trees that we cut down last year, so they are starting to look really good :) The dam (aka syphilis creek) is full, the dam wall is holding up now, last year we lost it almost completely in one of the floods we had. Maybe now it's flushed clean, the dogs won't smell so bad after they sneak down there. Although I'm sure it's more about what they roll in when they get out that creates that 'special aroma'. Lastly, I thought I'd show you our orange lime tree. It's way down the back of our block, on the back road access point. It's testament to my father in law's sense of humour, as he planted it just inside the fence line. Now what kid walking past a tree laden with yummy fruit couldn't resist leaning in and pinching one or two....?? They do often, one day I'm going to sneak down and see their faces when they bite into that yummy mandarin to discover it's a tart father in law took great pleasure in trying to convince his grandsons to try one too :)  Hope your saturday was as much fun as mine xo Thanks for reading my feed :)[...]

Beep Beep Barina


Dear little white barina driver,

I did notice you behind me on Tuesday night, despite your efforts to hide so close up my ass that I couldn't see your headlights. I did notice you, I held my breath when you overtook me on the outside lane and pushed your way in two cars ahead of me. In the rain and poor light of dusk I almost wanted to look away because from where I sat I was sure you had a deathwish.

I wondered, as I drove two cars behind you, what it was that caused you to be in such a hurry to get wherever you were going? Was it more important than all of us getting home safely to those we love? Was it worth putting our lives at risk to get those two car lengths ahead? I watched you sitting right up the ass of the truck in front of you, hoping that the truck didn't brake for anything in front of him, because there is no way you could have foreseen or braked in time.

I hate driving on the highway north home each evening after work, tired and trying to put thoughts of work aside and concentrate on the road, knowing every other driver is feeling the same. I wonder why some cars take such risks to get where they are going? Dangerously overtaking, tailgating, sitting right up my ass? 

So little beep beep barina driver, I do hold my breath and pray for you to get home safely, because I couldn't live with myself if you got tangled up on the way home, take it easy out there, for all of our sakes. Life, dear little barina driver is too short and far to precious to wish it away by dancing with fate on the highway.


PS Dear reader, I took these pictures today on my way home, being driven by my learner son, chatting about how short life is and how one little decision can change or end it. What a dangerous trap the Pacific Highway is. I make him drive it as often as I can, in my own way thinking that "if he can make it here, he can make it anywhere."

I have a weird shaped head...


...or alternate blog title "Don't drink and crochet!" I gave up trying to read a pattern out of a book I bought recently (don't drink and and just crocheted in round, of course trying it on my head every few rounds for size. Apparently I have a head that it square-ish shaped just above my ears...who would'a thunk? 

I wanted to use the rest of the ball of wool up that I made my mothers slippers out of last weekend, but I won't be sharing pictures of them, lets just say I knew it would always come in handy that she has one foot a whole size bigger than the other....oops I think that was a family secret!!! My bad!

Hope this gorgeous autumn sun is on your back this heavenly?

Try as I might


plum sunset, originally uploaded by Rootedinstyle.

Sew Sew in the 70's


I got to have the lovely sew sew girls over a few weeks ago, the day was so damn hot though, we all sat out on the deck and worked. I am so not feeling crafty lately, but have almost finished the little cardigan I started that day for one of my nieces, will have to get buttons this week so I can finish it off. 

The next Sew Sew day is at Cath's place next weekend and I won't be able to make it as our middle child is turning 17 that weekend, but tonight I was feeling nostalgic, looking through old photos and I found this.....


... the caption on the back reads Marie, Ida, Alice, Vera and Kit, taken 1st March 1972, craft and morning coffee at Ida's. Ida was my Nanna, that's her 2nd from the left in the photo. The photo was taken in her sunroom, and they must have had a blitz on those bloody shell covered terracotta pots. I still have some she made, maybe they multiplied in the dark under her house where lots of them ended up sitting, or maybe she was a prolific shell mosaic-er (I suspect the 2nd theory...she really had them EVERYWHERE!) 

Aren't the orange soft furnishings so....70's. I have been smiling at this photo all night, what lovely memories! And now I get to be a part of making those memories all over again....I'm loving Sew Sew sundays, Cath you are a goddess! 

Of need and greed


A boat docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village. A tourist complimented the local fishermen on the quality of their fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. "Not very long." they answered in unison. "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" The fishermen explained that their small catches were sufficient to meet their needs and those of their families. "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" "We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go into the village to see our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. We have a full life." The tourist interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat." "And after that?" "With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to   Mexico City , Los Angeles , or even   New York City ! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise." "How long would that take?"   "Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years." replied the tourist.   "And after that?"   "Afterwards? Well my friend, that's when it gets really interesting, " answered the tourist, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!"     "Millions? Really? And after that?" asked the fishermen. "After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."   "With all due respect sir, but that's exactly what we are doing now. So what's the point wasting twenty-five years?" asked the Mexicans. And the moral of this story is: Know where you're going in may already be thereJ     Thanks for reading my feed :)[...]

Mango and Passionfruit Pavlova


Whip 8 eggwhites until smooth and glossy, which I'll admit is a lot easier with one of these! I added 1/2 cup of sugar, but maybe add a bit more if you like pav's extra sweet. Bake in low oven for what seems like forever, but about 1 hour would probably be good. I planned my time badly and needed to shift the pav out of the oven to make room for dinner, but I didn't get any complaints. Then grab the nearest eager helper, thanks Alleena, and set them to decorating! We decorated ours with whipped cream, fresh mango and passionfruit (both from our place, along with the eggs!) This dessert was to finish off our Chinese New Year feast and it was only when we finished and set it on the black table runner that someone suggested it looked like a tiger....bring in Year of the Tiger...yay!

PS Thanks to Pearl for the pavlova lessons!




Watch this space


This is our back gully, we have a dream of having a brilliant outdoor room in the bushland down there overlooking the dam so lovingly referred to by our eldest child as 'syphillis creek' (gotta love teenagers). Moth and Rah have started to transplant some bromeliads, ginger etc down there, along where the path is going to go. mean you can't see a path I did say it's a dream and it's about 3/4 of the way down the dream list...well after a new driveway and guest room...a girl's gotta dream! But hey in the mean time enjoy the brilliant flowerspike on this bromeliad, I know I have, in spite of the leaches, ticks and mozzie bites I suffered to take these shots!


Did you know?


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This Rainy Weekend



Homemade foccacia.....mmmmm


The smell of ripe mangoes in the house....mmmmm


Licking my fingers after peeling and slicing 10 trays of mangoes with Moth...juicy heaven....mmmmm


The smell of mangoes drying.......mmmmm was your weekend?


Our new tablecloth


Inspired by Tara Dennis on BHG who made a canvass covered with postcards, I thought I'd do my own version, so I got out my postcard collection and laid them all over the dining table and laid plastic over the top, kids have been having fun all afternoon pointing out their favourites and I can change the 'tablecloth' whenever I like, I'm loving being able to look at all my pretty postcards!

The world map has been there under plastic for a while, JD loves checking it out, he's always asking questions and showing us places he wants to visit. We have always had a world map on the toilet wall, ever since the older boys were little, but I must admit I much prefer looking at the map over the dining table then standing in the guest bathroom!

PS We are in the middle of a mango glut here, closely following the banana glut. We have 5 mango trees and they are all laden with friut, so we are drying 10 trays of them every second day....mmmm....dried mango!


To Be Brave


To Be Brave, originally uploaded by maechevretteart.

How awesome is this....?

Words to Live By


1. Aspire to be Barbie - the bitch has everything.

2. If the shoe fits - buy them in every color.

3. Take life with a pinch of salt... A wedge of lime, and a shot of tequila.

4. In need of a support group? - Coffee with the girls!

5. Go on the 30 day diet. (Im on it and so far I've lost 15 days).

6. When life gets you down - just put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

7. Let your greatest fear be that there is no PMS and this is just your personality.

8. I know I'm in my own little world, but it's ok. They know me here.

9. Lead me not into temptation, I can find it myself.
10. Don't get your knickers in a knot; it solves nothing and makes you walk funny.
11. When life gives you lemons turn it into lemonade then mix it with lime and vodka.

12. Remember where ever there is a good looking; sweet, single or married man, there is some woman tired of his bullshit!

13. Keep your chin up, only the first 40 years of parenthood are the hardest.

14. By the time a women realizes her mother was right, she has a daughter who thinks she's wrong.

South Solitary Island


History on this amazing island and lighthouse here.


Words from the past


We have had a few examples lately of words from the past impacting on our lives recently. Moth and I had a discussion last night (after a bottle of plonk of course) about whether we today really understand the trail we are leaving...facebook, blogs, etc. I commented that was the reason I blog, to have a record, he said yes but have you considered how your great grandchildren might feel about what you have blogged. I will admit I hadn't really considered it. Just recently, we discovered some diaries left by Moth's great grandfather, some nearly 100 years old. The story they tell about the life and times back then is just amazing. They really do tell of a different time and era. We have both gotten great pleasure and amazement out of reading and scanning them for others to read, and have stored the originals to prevent further deterioration. I also received an email this week from an ABC television show I had emailed last year about getting some assistance to find my mothers father. The story about him is for another day, suffice to say my mother has never met him, but we have accessed his files through the online state archives from his time in the air force. Once again, words from the past, very odd feeling reading character reports about a grandfather I have never met and feeling proud. I have emailed the TV show back some more information that they requested, so we will see where it leads, hopefully positive. Lastly we have been reading the diary left by Moth's mother, found amongst family history documents we were sorting. To read her words, her feelings and the strength of her emotions about things we no longer have a right of reply to has been devestating. The difference Moth stated between his great great grandfathers words and his mothers were astonding. We held eachother and continued reading until the end and Moth was able to take some positives from his childhood through his mothers eyes and filter other things that were written. I promised Moth last night to only write things that aren't hurtful, so while I won't be reporting the rainfall and cattle prices of 1911, I will be more mindful of words coming back from the past and the feelings they can bring up. Thanks for reading my feed :)[...]

Random Thoughts


  • I can't switch my brain off, I have so many ideas and possibilities running around in it that it might just burst soon!

  • I am so hungry for a big vegie curry, been a long time since I made a curry.

  • I have had sushi for lunch the last two days and I am convinced I could quite happily live on it for the rest of my days....yum!

  • The vista from our bedroom now includes a cream shed that Moth has been building for the last few weeks. I think it needs the guttering painted black to match the house trim, it's too pasty and cream at the moment.

  • I so need to go back on my diet and I know I'm gonna be miserable for the first few there ever a good time to do this?

  • I think I'm addicted to Treasure Madness on dumb :(

  • I'm trying to decide whether to get all my hair cut off? It's so hot in summer and my hair is so thick, but if I get it cut off I always regret it afterwards....maybe a fringe is the answer?

  • Wish I could get rid of pantry moths, the little buggers keep coming back, I've gotten rid of everything (twice now), everything is in airtight containers, no open packets...and still they come back, damn them.


Guest Post


Hi, my name is JD and i was bored on the back verahanda so, i got the binoculars out. then i found a great flower that would look good in a pitcure so i got my camera out and took this wonderful pic.

* Guest post from JD, aged 11.

New Beginnings


"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you
will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important
because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this
day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left
behind...let it be something good."

I have started my brand new day, a new job which I absolutely love. Doing inspired stuff with inspired people...can life get any better?