Thursday, 29 March 2012

On my desk today

I think I have finished, and then I find myself discovering something else that needs refinement. That is why I like to put my paintings away for a day or so (or weeks, sometimes), and then take them out to look at with "fresh eyes".  

Since taking this image I have lifted some of the colour out of the boy's hair so it's not so helmet-like.
I am liking the painting a whole lot better, now.

Okay. Time to put the painting away before I fiddle with it too much!

Having fun!

Sam xx

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Yes, I have unravelled the mitts. What a surprise!!

I didn't like the way the sewn seam looked so I unravelled them to the point just above where the writsband is sewn in, and have continued to knit them in the round using double point needles. Much better!

And, even better than that, I have enough yarn remaining to finish the second wristband. Yay!

Now, if only I had remembered to get some buttons when I was down the hill this morning.....

Have fun!

Sam xx

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Have another go!

So, there I was on my 'day off', merrily painting away when......

Arghhhhhhh!! What happened there?!!!

Oh, bother! I didn't mix my wash properly - small particles of pigment were still floating about in it, waiting to cause havoc.

Oh well. It just means that this is another practice and, to be honest, I wasn't totally convinced that the background wash was working anyway. I'll have another go, try another technique.

Ah! There you go - much better!

I'll show another peek when it is finished.

Having fun!
Sam xx

Sunday, 25 March 2012

This Sunday morning

We have had chickens for about three years, now, given to us by a very generous and all round good friend. And we have had lots of fun with our feathered 'girls'; watching them scratch at bugs, eat fallen fruit and decimate the silverbeet that was intended for great kitchen undertakings. They do, in fact, feature in my blog's title image.

The brown chickens are Rhode Island Reds, the white is also a Rhode Island...not red, and the black speckled chickens are Anconas. They can all be a bit reluctant to lay eggs sometimes but they are very good at helping dispatch kitchen scraps, that's for sure.

Miss M has sporadically enjoyed her part in the chickens' keeping, and the (real) girls all enjoy cooking with the eggs. But we have never had any success in encouraging the children to eat hard boiled eggs. Until today.

This Sunday morning began with with Miss J bringing me breakfast in bed. Mmmmm. Don't you just love those plastic eggs? But it got the girls thinking.....

And before I knew it, they were all asking for hard boiled eggs for breakfast. And then they actually ate them. And asked for seconds! Brilliant! 


Do you like the improvised egg cup? No excuses for me now that Easter is upon us - a perfect opportunity to purchase non-chocolate Easter presents!

And that all makes me happy!

Have fun!

Sam xx

P.S. Sand drawing by Miss M at friend's birthday party,
Lake Leschenaultia

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Not Enough Yarn

I have been a regular knitter since I was 18 and you'd have thought I'd have learnt by now to always, ALWAYS buy more wool than the pattern states.

But not this time. No.

I began to knit these fingerless mittens from a free pattern on They look brilliant, stylish - the perfect test for the Biggan Design wool that I received earlier this week.

The pattern requires and lists 50g of yarn. I hesitated for less than a second - the Biggan wool is only 105m. Is that enough? Must be. Let's get going! But halfway through the first of the wristband details it became clear that there is Not Enough Yarn.

Oh. Bother.What to do?

Well. I'm not ordering more. And I refuse to unravel. These little mitts will now be a very simple design. Let the wool speak for itself, I say.

But it's still frustrating!

And to be honest I did learn something new from this pattern - how to increase without leaving a largish hole behind. Handy. Pardon the pun.

Sam xx

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Knitting again

...with the wool from Biggan Design in the colour chosen by my niece who has no idea what is afoot. Hee hee!

And look what I found this morning... two Tawny Frogmouths! Normally the little one on the lower branch is our regular visitor. She is the one I look out for every day. Sometimes she's there, most times she's not so it is always a joy when she chooses to visit.

And then, today, she has brought this fellow with her. Her new mate? Hellooooooo handsome!

I'm thinking so - later in the day he decided to snuggle up next to her....

Tawny Frogmouth love among the magnolia leaves!

And, finally, a bit of pizza patterning from the 3 year old Miss J, bless.

Have fun!

Sam xx

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Spicy Tomato Sauciness

This summer I have made 4... no, 5 batches of this brilliant spicy tomato sauce. As I have declared to all and sundry, my girls absolutely love love love its homemade tomatoey goodness, made more gorgeous by the fact that we have used our homegrown tomatoes, onions and garlic. G went crazy with his tomato plantings this year and we had the best crop ever!

The recipe came to me from the lovely Leonie, and it came to her from one of her friends. I have tweaked the recipe to suit our tastes; still spicy but not too hot for the little people to tolerate, with no way near the salt level originally recommended!

Leonie's Spicy Tomato Sauce

Makes 7 - 8 medium size jars

4 kg tomatoes
1 kg sugar
60 g salt
1200 ml apple cider vinegar
60 g whole black peppercorns )
15 g cloves                               ) place peppers and cloves together in a cloth bag
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper - more, if you like the heat
750 g onions
1 clump garlic

Cut tomatoes, garlic and onion into slices.
Put all ingredients, including the spice filled cloth bag, into a pan and simmer 3 - 4 hours.
Rub through a sieve or blitz with a stick blender. (I blitz!)
Bottle in sterilised jars.
This lasts for over a year if properly bottled.

Edit to add: Don't forget to remove the cloth bag and squeeze out the spicy juices before blitzing the mix. I know, I know; it seems obvious, but......

This sauce is also a great pizza sauce. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
We go through a bottle a week. At least.

Have fun!

Sam xx
The girls are on the mend - Miss M returned to school today while E is no longer feverish with her cold. She is, however, still full of cold nasties so I decided to keep her home again today. J went off to her Kindy full of bounce and delight.

And this afternoon, a momentous occasion - Miss M has passed her stage one swimming certificate! Hooray! We are very proud of her as she had to overcome her fear of putting her head underwater in order to pass this time. I think she was inspired by the fact that if she didn't pass, she would be doing her swimming lessons next summer alongside her sisters in the same class. Motivation is a wonderful thing!! Also wonderful is the fact that we no longer have to hurtle down to the pool after school twice a week. The kids have had enough - and so have I!! The seasons are changing and the cooler days are zapping our motivation to swim. That's a rather chilly wind blowing over the hill there!

On the creative front, I took delivery yesterday of some beautiful wool from Biggan Design, an Australian company which I first saw mentioned on Vanessa Cabban's blog, do you mind if I knit. While the wool is comparatively expensive to some other Australian yarns ($9.95 for a 50 g ball), it is rather soft and luscious. I chose to purchase only two balls as an experiment and the colours I selected this time around are slate 040 and rose 925. The slate is a grey but a somewhat purpley one. It has a lovely warmth that I was not expecting. The rose is gorgeous - the Biggan design website colours are quite accurately represented. I am really keen to support another Australian product but I can see that these prices could be rather prohibitive for more extensive projects.

But for these two balls of woolly loveliness, I have big plans (not necessarily in the same project!) primarily involving a going away present for my niece who will soon embark upon her gap year travels in the UK. Very exciting - her trip and my new knitting, both!! But shhhhhh, it's a secret....

I'll take a photo in the daylight tomorrow so I can record the colours more accurately.

Have fun!

Sam xx

Monday, 19 March 2012

What "day off"?

Mondays and Wednesdays are my 'days off'; days when M is at school while E and J attend their 3 year old Kindy, days intended to give me some space and sanity. My days off allow me to be a better Mummy.

I love those days - I always intend to do Great Things.

For instance, I planned to spend today working on my portfolio drawings and beginning to lay in the colour. Yummy. And then Miss E woke up with a snotty nose and sneezes. Oh. Oh well. E needs to stay at home. So much for painting. And how is Miss M doing? She did spend most of the weekend on the couch and in bed not feeling well, but she woke up this morning bright as a button.

"Of course I am well enough to go to school!" Great! Off to school we go. Drop off J, drop off M, take E home with me.

I get the call to collect M at lunch time as she isn't feeling well. Oh. Poor little love. Feel like I should, once again, nominate for the Mother of the Year Award! And I try to collect J on time but am thwarted by E's unfortunate number 2's episode requiring a bath, just before leaving home.

So, my little people have been curled up on the couch for most of the day watching Peppa Pig and Mike the Knight, interspersed with regular cuddles from me.

You rarely have days off when you are a mummy. And the reality is, I wouldn't have it any other way!
Sam xx