Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas..3 days to go

Goodness, Christmas is here!
I can hardly believe that we are about to celebrate this season.  This year has passed in a blur of busyness.
Finally a little Christmas decorating has taken place as we prepare to begin our Christmas celebrations tomorrow with some of our family.
The decorations are streamlined and minimal this year - I just couldn't come at the whole decorated bit this year - the thought of having to put it all away was just too much.
In some ways I think I am the most organised I have ever been and I started way later than any other year.  It has been an exhausting week.
Just a few more little gifts to wrap and all will be complete.
A little baking has been done.  Hopefully a little more to come. 
We do so much at the shop that we just can't hardly look at by Christmas, so it's always nice to have some different bits and pieces to enjoy over the break.

With love, Christmas wishes and blessings to all who visit here.  May this Christmas be peaceful and restful for your family.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

For the love of Vintage.....

I've been on the hunt again.  A little spare time on my way home and I find myself finding my favourite vintage treasure shops.
I have had to put my love of old and interesting bits and bobs on hold while our budget was so tight.  Thankfully, we are blessed with a little more in our budget through our newest work venture.
This little grouping is particularly lovely.  Two beautiful handworked pillow cases and a wonderful small table cloth.
I love to wonder at those whose hands have worked these beautiful items.  How does anyone part with them.
 Stunning hand crochet edging and tiny, weeny stitches.  So much love and thought. 
My fascination with hand towels continues - I must count them one day - or maybe not!!
I was on a mission for more - the ones above have been saved, too precious to cut up - only the raggy ones get cut and made into something else.
Old linens are a little hard to find where I live and so I continue to look and hope.
I did find some lovely ones in a condition not really worth saving and have had a lovely time creating once more. 
It was wonderful to be in my sewing room and just creating.  Yes, some late nights but oh so worth it.  You see, I am taking part in a market in a couple of weeks.  We are doing a joint stall with our bakery.  Beautiful Christmas food - cakes and puddings, white Christmas, rum balls, apricot balls and of course we will do some macarons. 
Three years between markets for Eleanor and Ruby.  I am quite looking forward to it.  However, the unknown side is a little daunting - maybe it will all come home with me!!
 Bracelets made with buttons made with vintage stitching.
Vintage stitched magnets.
Pushpins (thumbtacks) for the notice board.
Now to just get the next idea on the go - all in amongst the Christmas cake making!

Sunday, 28 October 2012


Oh how wonderful and delightful to harvest carrots from the garden.
My only other attempts at growing carrots have not been at all successful.
Usually, I end up with bitter, twisted abnormal looking things by planting seedlings.
But, this time lovely straight carrots in all different sizes.  They are beautiful.
A whole box full
11.5 kilograms of them!
The secret seems to be planting seed.  This time we used Yates seed tape - it was fantastic.
I would say almost 100% success in the seed coming up.  So easy to use, just tear off at the length you want the rows to be and presto, carrots are planted!  There is six metres of tape in a packet.
I only thinned them a little. Next time I would probably take a few more out, but overall, I am very happy with how my carrot growing went!
I have peeled and prepared 2.5 kilograms for the freezer so far.  Better get a few more done.
We enjoyed some smaller ones with our roast dinner a few nights ago - delicious!

Monday, 22 October 2012


I'm not quite sure where the last 22 years has gone.  I think I blinked and then, gone!  While life has been busy while children have grown, somehow that time has come for our eldest to leave home. 
Goodness, I didn't realise it is this hard. 
To make it a little harder he hasn't just left home, he has moved 3300 kilometres (2049 miles) from our home.
A four hour flight none the less, plus of course the two hour drive we have to reach an airport in the first place.
Our boy is an adventurer with some wonderful goals he wishes to fulfill in his lifetime.  He is a television cameraman.  Cameron has begun his career in the local television station here in our home city and has loved every moment of it.  His long term goal is to travel overseas to cover world news and that will simply not happen from here.
So, he has joined a national network and has moved to the top end of Australia.  It's a long way from us and I will miss him greatly.  From here he hopes that he will be sent on work assignments to the Asia region.
I know that he will be just so successful in this position and I know his dreams will come true.  This is just the beginning for him.

We helped him pack some essentials into two suitcases and he has begun his journey.  The rest of his gear will follow when he is able to move into some more permanent accommodation - for the moment he is a motel dweller with a suitcase!! 

I travelled to Darwin a couple of weeks ago to work out some accommodation for him.  It is a long way from here and I had exhausted the "google" searches and my phone calls were reaching dead ends.  It was certainly worth my trip. 
He will be living in a beautiful unit that will be available at the end of next month. 
While I was there, two very lovely people crossed my path.  I believe they were a gift from God and came at the moment when I thought all was almost too hard to get our boy to be able to live where he had gained employment.
These people have offered Cameron a room in their home while he waits for the unit to be available.  This could be up to a month or more.  Very kind and most generous.  For this I am so very grateful.

And so, our life has entered the next phase as it were.  We now have two children at home and one away on the next adventure in his career. 
In two years our baby will be finished high school and Mitchell will be finished his apprenticeship.
See, I blinked and look what happened!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 2012

Carnival is about to begin.  Ten days of beautiful gardens and celebrating Spring.
We have entered the Carnival Garden Competition for the fifth year. 
In the early years of entering we did so with the idea to let people see what could be attained whilst trying to establish a garden in the middle of the most horrendous drought.
I think we achieved this.  We have mostly used our tank water and our grey water to establish our garden.  We tell anyone who will listen about the way we use our water to gain the best results.
The garden has grown and expanded and is almost how I have imagined it would be over the years we have been here.  I think the best is yet to come as my beautiful trees continue to grow and establish themselves.
I pulled out my garden plan that a drew up on graph paper while we were building - it is almost exactly how I planned it all those years ago.
The hedges have grown and now allow our visitors to wander from area to area and enjoy each part of the garden as they come upon it.
This year we are thrilled with our garden results.
We entered into four categories and came away with three awards.
This year we have won Third Place in the Family Garden, Second and the Outdoor Living Area and
First Place in the Cottage Garden.
A pennant of each colour hanging from the front fence.
To say I am excited is truly an understatement.
So, tomorrow the Carnival begins and we now set up our garden with all her finery for the next ten days as we welcome visitors to our home and garden.
I love to show people, young and old, through our garden.  It's just lovely to share the love of gardening with those who choose to visit. 
Today, the Tourist Information Centre brought a bus load of volunteers to show them the garden. 
These people will now work in the Information Centre during Carnival and tell the thousands who visit our city about the wonderful places they can visit - I do hope they talk about our garden!
It's a few days since I took these pictures, and looking now I realise just how much more the garden has come into flower.  Each day there is something new to look at.
Sixty three years is a long time for a city to celebrate Spring with a Carnival.
Our beautiful city has done and hopefully will continue to for many years to come.
Welcome Spring and welcome to any who choose to find our little patch of garden paradise that we call home.
Let the Carnival begin!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Oranges and Lemons

I harvested our citrus crop on Saturday. Seven oranges and five lemons!
The oranges yielded a similar amount to last year - the lemons were just disappointing - about fifty lemons short on last years total!
I thought I should put them to use.
A batch of Marmalade.
A batch of lemon butter.
I used the recipe from A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise for the Marmalade.
The Lemon Butter was made using our tried and tested family recipe.
 The eggs for this beautiful Lemon Butter also came from the girls who live at the bottom of the garden.
I used the larger grater attachment in the food processor to chop the oranges - it's not terribly neat or even, but it certainly does the job in no time flat!
I made some little pastry shells to have with the Lemon Butter - I really shouldn't have - it is just too wonderful to leave at one.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Sweet Peas...

The Carnival Judges have been and gone.  Whew!
That was a little stressful.  I felt quite nervous this time.  Haven't felt like that before for judging.
I must be taking it seriously this time!!!! 
This afternoon, I stripped the Sweet Peas almost bare in an effort to help them to continue to flower for another couple of weeks yet.
The result - four beautiful large posies filling the house - two bathrooms and the living area smell wonderful.
Beautiful old fashioned Sweet Peas - just love the rewards of my Springtime garden.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Spring Decorating....

I've started tidying the garden and placing of lovely pieces around - not only for the judging, but to enjoy in the coming weeks as Spring gets into full swing.

I just love the beautiful vintage looking cage - purely ornamnetal.
I love the colour and the shape.   I will probably move it inside too - I love the little terracotta pots that are planted with white viola.
I can see it inside with lovely ornaments and vintage lace draped from the bottom shelf.
This beauty was purchased at a lovely shop here in Toowoomba. 
Teacups and Twigs is a lovely shop at 9 Russell Street, Toowoomba.  If you live locally or stop by Toowoomba sometime, please visit Jane and her lovely shop.
Jane also has a lovely blog which she updates with beautiful things available in her sweet shop.
Say hello and tell Jane I sent you along!!
The freesias which have been in the ground for a few years continue multiply and are stunning this year.  The perfume is divine.
Our sweet peas are also flowering beautifully.  The scent in our garden is just lovely at the moment with all these beauties putting on their Spring display.
A dear old couple who have entered the Carnival for many, many years kindly shared these seeds with us a couple of years ago.
Four years ago, I planted a Wisteria.  I have watched and waited each Spring for the first flower.
This year it has happened.  It is stunning - but not what I expected.  I thought I had planted a deep purple flowering one - I have a pale lavender tinged flower - I don't seem to have saved the tag - does anyone know if it will change as it gets older - or have I been duped!!

Nonetheless, it is still beautiful. 
It is planted in memory of my dear Nana, Eleanor for whom this blog is partly named. 
In around 1940 she planted a Wisteria at our family home at Iffley, Goomburra.  This is the beautiful home she was prepared to sacrifice to allow her sons to further their farming dreams on the Darling Downs.  I believe from recent information that this Wisterial lives on today.  I think I may have to take a drive!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Is Anyone There?

I'm back.  Well, I hope I am.  Life has certainly changed again this year. 
And now Spring is here - already~ 

My newest pride and joy in the garden is this weeping cherry - I must say it was worth every cent I paid.  The garden continues to grow and change and still brings constant joy to me. 
I hope that I will get back into the routine of blogging and bring my online journal up to date.
That is the plan...

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is almost here again, with judging taking place from this Sunday.  We are busily making the last minute preparations. 
I am so looking forward to sharing the garden with visitors again this year.

What a year it has been so far, children have travelled, we've bought a business (again!!), Mitchell is apprenticed to Brendon, I'm now full time helping run the business and keeping the home running with five adults under this roof, we've made changes to our garden and I've been run up the back of (in my sweet little red Swift)  twice in five months - to say I'm tired is just a little understatement. Plus, of course, many, many other things!   But, life is settling back into a nice routine - if there is such a thing with a seven day business, and I think I am learning to like it!
So, if anyone is still out there who may just check in on me occasionally, please leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!!  I certainly have still been keeping up with my favourite blogs even though there has been a severe drought here. 
Looking forward to blogging my way through this crazy, hectic life - and sharing it along the way.