Monday, April 26, 2010

The beginings of the new table!

When we finished our major renovation just over a year ago, the plan was that Frans would build us a new LARGE dining room table. Well, it's taken a while for him to figure out which bits of wood he wanted to keep and which to chuck out. Believe me, that's a stressful descision for him to make! He hates waste. And he loathes throwing away anything. Especially good wood. So instead of the builders taking the old wooden beams and other bits away in a skip, Frans insisted the builders leave them in a big pile in the back yard. Mmmm... Well, I can happily say, the pile in the back yard is decreasing and the table construction has begun!
Frans has a fabulous 'boys' play area under the house. He even has a Clean Room where he can do things that can't get dusty. The problem is that Sara has taken over his clean space with not one, but THREE industrial sewing machines. None of which work! One of these days I think he will loose patience and put them on the nature strip!

This is a 'sort of' idea of what the table will be like. The non moveable section will be 2.7m long x 1.3m wide. Then there will be two loose leaves to add to each end when needed. So we can take this table from a comfortable 12 seater to a 16 seater. Great for dinner parties! I can't wait to give it a test run. I'll post the 'after' shots when Frans is done. Hopefully be next week??? Nah. Don't think so. Soon tho'!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Autumn garden

Aubergines, Eggplant, Brinjals.... call them what you like. We love them. The plants are lovely. The purple flowers sweet and pretty. I planted two varieties. The regular eggy oval shaped ones and also the finger variety. We've enjoyed a few delicious meals of Melanzane. Here's the recipe I followed loosely. Gotta love Jamie Oliver! Stephen (Sara's Italian boyfriend) said mine was as good as his Mum's! Thanks Stephen. He knows the right thing to say!
Instead of frying the eggplant in oil, I sprayed the slices with spray and cook and baked them in the oven.

Lavender eggplant flower.
Yesterday's garden bounty. Green chillies, green capsicum, yellow chillies and a single eggplant finger. There are a bunch more eggplant fruits that will be ready in a week or so.
Capsicum (or peppers) are going crazy. They've taken over where the tomato glut left off.

Birds birds birds..... They're driving me nuts! They scratch around in the straw mulch and make a mess on the pathways. Not to mention they cover up newly planted seedlings that never get to see the light of day unless they're uncovered every day. AAAGGGHHH!!The bush with the red delicate flowers (top right of the pic) is a Pineapple sage bush. The leaves smell heavenly when you crush them. You can also see a couple of eggplant plants at the front of the garden bed. I love mixing vegies in with the flowers.
I have a semi solution to the bird mulch scattering problem! Toy snakes. They seem to be working. Problem is I need them everywhere! I have to move them every few days so the birds don't wise up to the fact that they're fake. But so far so good. In the areas where I've placed these rubber reptiles, there is no mulch destruction.
Next task in the garden is to get some bulbs in for Spring. I need to wait a few more weeks as it's still a little warm. I've bought the bulbs and popped them in the fridge while I wait. I'm going for a pink and purple look. In the mean time I've planted lots of Viola seedlings. Their pretty little purple and yellow faces will brighten up the pathways come Winter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.....

Yep, the weather is changing and the chestnuts are making an appearance. This weekend we were lucky enough to share these little nuts with our Italian friends, Tina and Mario. There's an art to cooking them. Fire has to be just right, according to Mario! Before cooking the chestnuts, the tough outer shells have to be slit with a sharp knife. Bigger nuts need two slices. This stops the nuts from exploding or even worse, flying out of the pan and clopping someone on the head! Much discussion was had on the perfect size of chestnuts. The consensus was that medium sized nuts are best. Small ones tend to burn too quickly. Large ones don't cook to the centre. Chestnuts cooking in a pan that has had holes drilled in the bottom so the heat can get through and cook the nuts evenly.

This is the amazing contraption that Mario created. It's an old copper stand with a washing machine barrel on the top. Ingenius!

Tine doing her checking. Getting there!

And here's the finished little baby jumper I started a couple of weeks ago. Isn't it cute!

Amazing Crochet and Knitting

If you know me well, you'll know I'm obsessed with beautiful handbags! I've made a few in my time, knitted and fabric ones. I stumbled across Prudence Mapstone's amazing site. Her handbags are amazing. She creates amazing pieces. I want to know where she finds the time! She's amazingly prolific. I've selected a few pics that really inspire me to grab a few balls of yarn and start hooking!
Wearing a scarf like this would be such fun!

What's not to love about these two beautiful bags!

This is my favourite. It's those leopard print handles that do it for me!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

R.I.P Lesley

Our lovely neighbour, Lesley passed away on Saturday. Sara adopted Geoff and Lesley a few years ago as surrogate grandparents. She visits Geoff regularly, and visited Lesley in the nursing home where she'd been for the past year. Lesley passed away peacefully on April 10, at her nursing home in Burwood. She was 88 years young. She missed her and Geoff's 66th wedding aniversary by 3 days. Geoff is going to miss his Darling terribly. We will miss her too.

Lesley was a florist when she was younger. She and Geoff had a florist shop in Malvern. She loved playing cards. And she loved the pokies. She also loved to sing old tunes she remembered from her youth. "She's got skinny legs" was one of her favourites. Lesley loved life. And she loved her Geoff.
Lesley Lillian Clarke. R.I.P.

Knitting Knitting

There's something special about getting news of a new baby coming into the family. So.... I've started knitting. Love knitting little things. Much quicker! So not knowing whether it's going to be a girl or boy, I've opted for bright unconventional colours. No wussy pastels for this baby! The little jumper below is made from beautiful baby wool that my friend Norma had left over from a project she did for one of her little grandkids. Thanks Norma! It's beautiful to knit with. But note to self.... 'concentrate when opening a tin of tomatoes. It's difficult knitting with a bandaide!'

The little green jersey and hat are not quite finished. I'll wait till I know if it's going to be a girl or boy before I finish it off. Bright pink buttons, embroidered flowers perhaps.....

I think next will be something more traditional. Ok, maybe something white. But still no pastels!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Happy Easter

We spent a wonderful weekend in the country this Easter. Our friends, John and Norma live on a beautiful property near the Ottways in Victoria. We love going down to the farm a couple of times a year. It's a wonderful spot to recharge your batteries.

Early morning amongst the friendly bovine.

The newest addition to the family. Thomas. Named by the grandchildren. He's the cutest and most playful pup we've seen in a long time. Shoes and knitting are not safe if he's around!

This was desert on Easter Sunday. Ok, we didn't indulge much with Easter eggs. I think this desert made up for that fact. This is a date and chocolate torte that Norma just knocked up. She's a whizz in the kitchen.

Lunch on Easter Sunday. BBQ'd butterfly leg of lamb with roast vegies.

The view from our bedroom window. Aaahhh....