Sunday, 20 August 2017

652 Done, 58 To Go

Well, it's certainly soggy down here, soggy and cold.  We've had 100 mm of rain in the last week and lots of wind and lots of hail.  Today is drizzly and overcast, but oddly still, we've gotten so used to roaring winds outside that the quiet is strange.
The kangaroos are soaked, they just patiently turn their backs to the rain or hide in the bush.  Here's Patience with the every so cute baby Patience peeping out from the pouch.  I should think being a pouch joey would be rather splendid on a cold, wet, winter's day. 
I am still amazed at the amount of flowers in the winter garden.  My camellia is covered in buds and the first flowers are out, they are looking a bit hail battered but I really love this flower.
The back fence area of the back garden is finally starting to thicken up and gain a bit of height.  I absolutely love Diosmas this time of year, they are smothered with either pale pink or white flowers and look so cheerful.  The little birds love them too as it's a very dense plant to dive into for protection.
I shifted the worm farm to just outside the kitchen, much more practical.  Apart from worm castings, the other great thing is worm wee.  See the green container and the bucket?  They are full to brim with worm wee.  I don't know that it actually is 'wee' but regardless, it's a very nourishing liquid that is a by-product of the worms breaking down the food scraps, and the rain dilutes it and washes it through to the bottom level.  Normally you just turn on the tap to get the liquid but my tap broke years ago so I just hang the worm farm over the green container and it drips in.  It's a great liquid fertiliser for the garden.
We had a delivery yesterday, Steve was a bit excited.  We could hear the great big, old 8 ton truck off in the distance, slowly making its way up the hill, weighed down with its soggy load.  What could it be?
Up goes the tip up truck, emptying out our prize into a lovely, squishy pile.
Here we are, a delicious, huge pile of cow poo from the local dairy (Michelle, I know you are thrilled :-P)  Steve is as happy as a pig in shit, literally, ha ha.  We order a truck full of cow poo about every two years, it's wonderful stuff, we grow everything with it.  Steve uses loads of it in the vegie patch, I reckon the soil in there is at least 50% poo by now, considering the amount he has rotary hoed in there over the last five years.  He's revving up to do the spring planting and has just popped out now to plant another load of potatoes, so good timing.
Speaking of spring, which it's not, there is always one tree in the orchard that likes to jump the gun and burst into spring blossom when it's still well and truly winter.  Behold the almond tree, the big show-off.
Meanwhile, I've been spending most of my time inside, keeping warm by the fire, in a craft making frenzy.  We have been finding our hands have been getting so cold doing chores outside in the freezing wind, so I made Steve a pair of fingerless gloves.  They are a little bit loose but I'll adjust the pattern with the next pair.
Then I started making mine.  One down, one to go.  They are lovely and warm.
I chucked out our old wheat hot packs and made new ones.  We cannot live without these, we use them every single night in bed, we both like to sleep with our hot packs nestled in the small of our backs, so comfortable.
I also made a couple of channeled hot packs.  These are good if you are sitting in a chair and your back is sore, as they sit flat rather than a big bulgy bag.
I made another iPad cover, Mum, this is yours.  This time I attached the embroidery after doing the fabric cover, much better, it was so much easier to line it up straight!
You may be wondering what my blog title was all about.....652 done, 58 to go.  Well, that is the number of inches of slip stitch joining that is needed to connect all 42 crocheted squares together for my blanket.  Today I shall finish that joining, what a task it has been!  It has covered the entire dining table, which is the easiest place to do it, and I turn on my audio book, see the tiny pink iPad and baby speaker in the background, and slowly work my way through the joining.  The end is in sight, then on to the border.
Til next time... xx

Sunday, 6 August 2017

So I Don't Forget How I Made It!

This blog post is mainly for my benefit, I made something that I am ever so pleased with, and if I don't write it down I'll forget how I did it!  You might find it interesting too. 

You know my houses embroidery that I've prattled on about, well I finally finished it.  And this time I was determined to find a use for it, instead of yet another embroidery languishing in the drawer being useless.  My iPad cover is disintegrating so the lightbulb moment happened, and after much research and thinking and then doing, here it is, my new iPad cover!
 Here's the inside, isn't it pretty! 
 And here's what's going to stop the iPad from falling out, Velcro!
 It folds right back for easy use.
 I can prop it up both upright,
 and sideways.
 Now for the how I did it, so I don't forget. 
First I dismembered an unwanted hard covered book, using a scalpel I cut the pages away so just the cover was left.  Note to self, make sure the spine of the chosen book is at least 1cm tall so it sits properly over the iPad.

Next, I stitched some pretty hand dyed fabric around the embroidery so there was sufficient fabric to cover the front of the book.  Then I attached felt (with heavy duty Vliesofix) to the back of the fabric to pad it a little, just to the size of the book cover, but I also had a margin of unpadded fabric to fold over to the inside to glue.  Note to self, it was really hard to line up the embroidery on the front doing it this way, it would be easier to do the plain fabric cover first, then perhaps glue the embroidery to that.

Then came the covering of the hard book cover, after carefully lining everything up, I lay the embroidery/fabric cover down, right side down, then sat the open book cover on it, inside up. Then I painted fabric glue thoroughly onto the extra margin of fabric and wrapped it round and glued it to the inside edge of the book cover, using multifolds in the corners and tugging it firmly so it didn't have wrinkles.  A piece of protective plastic over it, then weighed the cover down to let the glue set firmly.

Then I cut a piece of different fabric, a nice stripey one, for the inside, about a centimetre smaller all round than the book cover itself (plus extra for seam)....this made it big enough to cover the rough edges of the front cover fabric that I'd just glued.  I stitched together the stripey fabric to a piece of iron on Vilene (right side of stripey fabric and non-iron side of Vilene together, around the edge with a small seam, rounding the corners, leaving a gap for pulling it inside out.  After pulling it inside out so the right side of the stripey fabric was on the outside, and the iron-on part of the Vilene was on the inside, and using a wooden skewer to poke out all the corners and edges neatly, I ironed it so I ended up with a neatly edged, thicker piece of fabric. 

I positioned the stripey piece on the inside of the cover where I wanted it to be, then started positioning where the iPad should sit.  I worked out where I wanted the Velcro to sit....I used 2 four inch pieces of Stitch and Stick Velcro, one an inch from the top of the iPad and one an inch from the bottom of the iPad.  After marking the iPad with pencil, I stuck down the Velcro on the iPad.  To line up the other side of the Velcro that I needed to stitch down on the stripey fabric, I velcroed the pieces together, then rubbed the backs with a bit of charcoal, then pressed that down on the fabric when positioning the iPad, that worked well, it gave me just enough of a mark on the stripey fabric to know where to sew the Velcro on, which is what I did next.

Then the stripey fabric had to be glued to the inside cover of the book.  I set it in position first, then carefully, so it didn't shift,  folded it back and glued the spine section first (using fabric glue), and gradually worked out from there, finishing with carefully gluing right to the edges with a bit of glue on a skewer.  After smoothing the fabric out carefully, I didn't want it to shift and thus wreck the position of the Velcro, I again covered it with a protective piece of plastic, then weighed it all down for the glue to set.

That's it!  I'm really happy with it, a unique and individual iPad cover.  The embroidery is a bit crooked, which I was momentarily unhappy about, but in actual fact I rather like it, it's a bit quirky!  And there is no problem with using Velcro, I was a bit worried it wouldn't be strong enough and envisioned the iPad sliding out of the cover and smashing, but I needn't have worried, it is very strong, quite hard to detach actually!  But I'll only need to do that to take the odd photo.  The only thing I need to start remembering is to press the top button of the iPad when I'm finished to turn off the screen, I'm used to my magnetic cover doing that automatically.

And if you are still reading, then I have to announce that the 42 crochet squares are complete!  Well, except where that white space is ha ha, I decided to replace one that has been bugging me, it's almost finished.
 The joining of the squares has begun!  I am joining with a slip stitch join and liking the look of it very much.  It is a little slow to do but worth it, it sits nice and flat.  It was suggested to do the join in the same colour as the outer row of the squares, which are all the same, but when I did a test join of the same colour, Parchment, then did another test join of my favourite colour, Sage, I liked it much better using Sage.  It gives all the squares another tiny border and I like that effect, I love stripes!
 This joining will keep me out of mischief for a while!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Galah vs Human Intelligence Test

This is the sight outside our front door these days, wheelbarrows full of wood to keep us warm.  We are very lucky that our property has plenty of available dead trees, so we don't need to buy any.
 And I'm very lucky to have a terrific husband who spends a lot of time gathering and chopping the wood.  Here he is contemplating the vegie patch while having a rest from filling the barrow.
 I've been busy inside.  I've been making joey pouches, mostly for my neighbour, but I am going to keep a few myself, just in case we come across a joey that needs our help.
 This is square number 39 of 42 for my crocheted blanket. 
 I have finished my canvaswork houses.  And I've already stitched some fabric around it in readiness for its new home.... I am turning it into an Ipad cover.
 The chickens and ducks don't mind this weather at all, here they are busy in my garden, turning the soil over for me.  They do a marvellous job.  And lay!  My word, we are getting 4 or 5 eggs every day at present, well done girls.
 And here are the pesky galahs on the top of the chook enclosure, trying to work out how to break in and steal their food.  They are buggers, they rip holes in the nets, I keep adding wire and they keep trying to out-think me.  It's an ongoing battle of wits!
 This is phase 2 galahs, they are waiting for the others on the roof to get fed up, then they will have a try.
 And here is a successful naughty galah, inside the enclosure, who realises that he's been seen by me and is trying to surreptitiously make his exit along the branch towards the open gate.
 Mr Peacock continues to pop in for a visit.  Here he is wandering around the very weedy corner of the vegie patch, he likes to talk to chooks through the fence.
 Here is mum Elsa with a nice bulgy pouch.  What is interesting here is that I don't know who that joey is, but I keep seeing it with Elsa.  Elsa's joey died earlier this year, but she seems to be looking after this one.  It's old enough not to nurse but joeys need the company of other roos.  Our neighbour had to destroy a female roo she found with a broken leg a couple of months ago, so it's possible this is her joey and now these two have got together to look after each other.  Nice :-)
 The amount of flowers this year never ceases to amaze me.  I love love love the acacias with their cheerful, fresh scented yellow puffy flowers.  In the foreground is a couple of Tagasaste or Tree Lucerne with their many white flowers....the bees just love this time of year.
 These are the Acacia I planted five years ago, Acacia fimbriata, there are three adult trees now, about 4 metres high.  I've planted more since, they grow well here.
 Here's a close-up of Tree Lucerne, it's very pretty I think, and you can see by the flowers that it's a legume, which is always good for the soil.
 I love these orange flowers on Grevillea olivacea.  It's a huge, thick shrub now, the wrens love it, I'm pretty sure they are nesting deep inside it.
 This is Westringia Wynabbie Gem, another colourful native.  They are just coming into flower now.
 This is one of the Correa family, the lovely bell flowers are full of nectar that the birds love.
 A colourful Hebe.
I went grovelling around on my knees down near the creek this morning, there is so much fascinating fungi around. 
 Teeny tiny things, clumps of weeny fairy stools in a variety of pretty colours.
  Weird things that look like coral
Beautiful rippled things that slowly cover tree stumps
 Whilst down at the creek I had to take a photo of our Magic Faraway Tree,  such a beautiful old tree, we absolutely love it. It's like the grand daddy of the Peppermint forest.
 And the creek keeps on burbling along this time of year, it sounds so tinkly and delightful down here near Helga's bridge.
Now Michelle, this photo is just for you ha ha ha.  Inside that blue ring I drew, is a photo of a tadpole!  There are plenty of them in my shallow dish in the shrubbery, but I managed to get a vague shot of one that wasn't quick enough to dash under cover. 
Right, the footy is on, time to pick up my crochet and watch to see if the Eagles can have a win.  xx

Monday, 17 July 2017

Savage Seas and Majestic Beauty

It's been wet wet wet and cold cold cold, so not much has been happening to speak of.  I am permanently affixed to my chair near the window, ploughing through my obsession of finishing the crocheted blanket to adorn our bed.  Gosh it's been a long process, I started this at the end of March, but I've finished 33 of the 36 ten inch squares needed, so nearly there before starting the joining and the border.  The latest squares at the front of the photo, I really like these ones.
 This is my happy cat, Mr Grumpy, who does not approve of photography.  He has been enjoying the daily fire to keep the house warm, and on particularly cold days he likes to tuck himself up in a cuddly blanket on the settee.  But don't take his photo or he will sulk!
 He enjoys his bird tv in the mornings, through the glass of the sliding door.  He loves watching the wrens eating their breakfast coconut, and chatters at them constantly with the occasional pounce at the glass.  The birds don't give a hoot. These two are female Splendid wrens, they have the blue in their tails but their body feathers are brown.
 We had a week of visits from Mr Peacock next door for some reason.  He made good use of the patio when the rain came belting down.  :-)
Upon reading of a big swell, we took ourselves down to The Gap and Natural Bridge for a look, rugged up to the nines.  It is so exhilarating be blown to kingdom come, watching the savage surf pounding way up the cliffs, whilst safely on the path and behind a sturdy fence.
 This is the water off the far side of the Natural Bridge, it was ferocious. 
The Gap was fairly tame despite the rough seas, the swell was moving past The Gap rather than into it.  I was thrilled to see a small rainbow amid the spray and mist, rising above The Gap.  It is such a beautiful place.
We moved on to The Salmon Holes and admired it from the lookout way above.  We were pleased to see there were no idiots trying to fish, the big swell kept whooshing up the flat rocks and would have dragged anyone fool enough to be down there into the water.  Another place of majesty and beauty.
 We finally climbed the steps at Cosy Corner up to the cliff top, it's only taken us five years ha ha.  It's part of the Bibbulmun Track and we found a pretty trail atop the cliff.  We walked a little way along it, but will save it for another day as we had only dropped in quickly and had no water or wet weather gear with us, so unprepared for a long walk. 
The view from the cliff top was gorgeous, with Cosy Corner below, then Perkins Beach to the left, followed by Mutton Bird, then directly over the bay is SandPatch, which is where the windfarm is, you can just see the turbines over there in the distance. 
 An update on my little frogs, I am pleased to say that I have quite a few healthy little tadpoles living in the shallow dish I hid amongst the plants in my garden.  These were the tadpoles I rescued.  I haven't got a photo as they are shy and hide very well and impossible to see in a photo.  So, in conclusion, the tadpoles have to spend the first few weeks of their life out of water in their jelly, but when the jelly starts to degrade, then they are able to live in shallow water.  If they end up in water too soon then they die.  My observations continue :-) 

Well, I am being summoned by the magpies for some breakfast, so at this point I will say goodbye, until next time.  xx