Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Trip is Booked!

Well Hedy you were right with your comment that we would get there!

Have booked for 5 weeks over August and September and will mostly stay with Priscilla and Will as well as visits to Montreal to see older family and friends. Things there will be different as there have been 4 divorces and 3 deaths in 4 years in Joe's family which is very sad.

Priscilla continues to keep well and has a very active little boy kicking away within her womb...18 weeks now...

I popped into the op-shop looking for bamboo knitting needles to use on the plane as we'll be in transit for around 40 hours each way...that's mind boggling and body numbing but will be worth it. I glanced at the linens and spotted this brand new, hand-made cot quilt for $3...I couldn't pay for it and get out of there fast enough...I'm sure Priscilla will put it to good use...

Our weather has gone completely crackers, it's March and we've had much cooler temps and thunderstorms for 2 weeks now and it's a bit scary to see the snowstorms still going in the Northern Hemisphere. Where's that ground hog??

The shops are full of chocolate eggs and alcohol bargains, must get our priorities right and make sure we have plenty to drink! We don't celebrate Easter at all but it is a certain Mother's birthday next week so that will be lovely ;)

Must go and do some cleaning, the bread is almost baked and smells so good. Twitch and I rounded up 81 snails this morning as they love to come out when it's wet, I drown them in warm soapy water which is far safer than throwing snail pellets around the garden.

Keep warm and dry today, hope you didn't get blown away at golf this morning, Mum,
Love from Sue

Friday, 22 March 2013

My Nana's Brasses

I have a few things that belonged to my Nana Gardner and I think that her brass ornaments are my favourites. They sat on the corner of her fireplace and I was always welcomed to get them down and play with them as a child 50yrs ago. Here you can see that they have not lost their charm to young girls...Olivia about 5 yrs ago...

They were looking rather dull yesterday so I checked on-line for a 'natural' or green way to clean them, Brasso is very toxic and I haven't bought any for many years. The easiest way I found was to make a paste of bicarb of soda and fresh lemon juice and it worked very well with an old toothbrush... below are the twin ducklings and you can see the difference the polish makes...

This little bell was bought by Auntie Jessie when she was a girl over 70 yrs ago and given to Nana...

the whole family...

I've tried soaking the 2 swans I bought at a car boot sale in a bicarb and water solution overnight~this is a great way to clean coffee cups etc but it hasn't worked on the brass so I'll have to make some more lemon paste.

Do you have any pieces of brass like these? How do you clean yours?
Bye bye for now,

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Bit of a Break

Just having a bit of a break from blogging as the weather is cooler and I can get out into the garden at last.

Joe lost another brother this week, RIP Denis.

Our best news though is that Priscilla's baby is a little boy and will be named Liam. Please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers. Priss is feeling quite well right now and very excited to be having a son at last to complete her family.

16 weeks and kicking now

We're still eating very frugal meals packed with vegies but we nearly had a blow-out 2 nights ago when I made my best shepherd's pie ever and we could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting lol! I have been able to put a little bit into our savings account as we HAVE to get to Canada next year I hope!

Speaking of money...Mandy's group raised over $30,000 for cancer research by shaving their heads on Sunday and being sponsored....here she is on the right...champagne was mentioned too lol

Well done ladies and gents!

I took Cody, Caleb and David to Chipmunks on Saturday and we had a ball. Elizabeth reported this conversation with David a few days later...
"When we were filling the bath up tonight David was talking about Nana...it may or may not have something to do with going to Chipmunks again. He sez "I like Nana," and after a thoughtful pause he tilts his head like a puppy. "You like Nana?" 
"I DO like Nana.....you know she's my Mummy, right?" 
"Ye-eah!" lots of nodding "She's my mummy too." 

Mummy's are awesome. 

And then they threw their clothes everywhere and flooded the bathroom floor and we sang "How much is that PIGGY in the window." 

So that's all for now,
Love from Sue

This is an interesting link, it explains why ants are so valuable to us but also how to control them 'safely' if they're invading walls etc.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Garter Stitch Bootees

Thank you all for your kind words following the loss of my cousin-in-law Sheila, taken far too soon.

So we move onwards.

A young friend/relative is expecting a baby girl in July and I knew she wanted some pretty bootees to keep her baby's feet warm in the middle of our winter. I made a pair using 4 ply yarn and while they are very pretty they take much longer to knit than 8ply or double knit wool. Enter Google which came up with these gorgeous little treats. Unfortunately they were far too little for an average sized 0-3 months old baby so I wondered if I could adapt the pattern...and I did!

Using leftovers of 8ply/DK pure Aussie wool and size UK8 and UK10s/4mm and 3,25mm needles...

Using the larger needles cast on 23 stitches.
Row 1 Knit
2 (Increase into 1st stitch**, knit 9, increase into next stitch)twice, knit 1
3 knit
4 (Inc into 1 st stitch, knit 11, inc into next st)twice, knit 1
5 knit
6 (Inc into 1 st stitch, knit 13, inc into next st)twice, knit 1
7 knit
8 (Inc into 1 st stitch, knit 15, inc into next st)twice, knit 1

You should have increased 4 sts in each even row and now have 39 stitches on your needle.
Knit 7 rows.*
Shape instep...

Row 1 knit 22 sts, k2tog, turn and put wool at back of work
Row 2 knit 6, k2tog, turn.

Repeat row 2 until you have 25 sts left and knit to end of the row.
Knit 2 rows.

Leg section...
Work knit 1 purl 1 rib for 4 rows and then change to the smaller needles and continue to your required length.
Cast of loosely with the larger needle.

The white bootees below have a rib section of 12 rows. You can see the second one is almost finished and already has a 3D appearance. I fill knit a little bow or flower for this pair.
The bootees on the right have an 18 row rib so that I could fold it over, they do look much cuter.
The middle pair than are 2 shades of mauve...I changed yarns at row 6 * just before I commenced the instep(top of foot)

  I've also made this pair from a Ravelry pattern, it's very cute but next I will make the straps longer and put a buttonhole in the ends...

I hope you will be be able to make up some sweet bootees, I often make them for my gift box as they are very quick and easy and it's nice to have a hand-made gift ready to go.
Yesterday at the oncology dept I noticed a box that some angels are keeping stocked up with free knitted hats for chemo patients...it made my day. Another lady was waiting with her folks and saw me knitting. She wants to crochet some 8ply bootees for her coming granddaughter and asked for some advice on the weight of the wool. Of course I recommended Ravelry!

Would you please let me know if I've made any mistakes or even if you get stuck.

Happy knitting,

**To increase I knit into the front then the back of the stitch to make a double stitch.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

RIP Sheila

Sheila passed away yesterday, she will be deeply missed...here she is with Dave about 30yrs ago.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Food, Food, Glorious, Food

Goodness me, I love to eat! Even though I'm constantly trying to find the thriftiest ways to feed Joe and I we both agree that our meals are delicious. They're almost always cooked from scratch here at home from a wide variety of ingredients, seasonal vegies, a little meat and beans and lentils feature proudly.

Some of  the food for our afternoon tea was bought separately from my grocery money but a lot was already here. I made potted cheese from the "Lark Rise To Candleford Recipe Book", this recipe probably goes back to the earliest days of cheese production and is delicious and thrifty too. This is my all-time favourite book, the autobiography of a woman in rural 19th century England, I read it again and again...

Potted Cheese...
More a method than a recipe really

grated cheese, (here you can use up any scraps you have, the bit that's in freezer "just in case"; this is where the thrift comes in)
weigh the cheese and mix in about 1/3 it's weight of butter, eg if you have 180gms of cheese then use 60gms of butter.
add a splash of Worcester sauce, a smidge of mustard, a shake of mace or nutmeg and pepper to taste
that's it!

It's lovely on crackers or toast...

Other thrifty meals this week/end have been a celery, pumpkin and barley soup, a vegetable curry from here with an added 2-3 tablespoons of red lentils and chives from the garden, leftover beef and bean stew from the freezer and a treat, a small rump steak for $5 that did 4 meals!
Today I'm making a pork mince(250gms), green lentil and potato curry and perhaps some scones. The scones freeze well and use much less fat and sugar than cakes or biscuits so cost less to make and Joe loves them with some strawberry jam!

At the forum there is chat about a challenge in May to feed yourself for 5 days on $10. It's a fundraiser and hopefully an eye-opener to show how so many people do have to eat, even here in wealthy western countries. Have a look at the menus and ideas
Live Below The Line
As pensioners paying rent Joe and I are right on the poverty line but prove it is possible to live well on much less money.

Here's a nice salad lunch we had recently...home-made coleslaw and bread and butter pickles and a little cheddar cheese...lovely with a slice of home-made bread

The morning after the night before when Twitch was more awake he explored the gazebo for quite some time...was he looking for the children?

and my Peace rose has begun flowering again...

Well I did say yesterday I had lots to tell you...phew!
Hope your week is going along OK
Love from Sue

Monday, 11 March 2013

Tea Party at Nana's

Sorry to have been so long getting this post done, I've been recovering for days from one of the best afternoons of my life. My hubby and parents, my three adult children and a girlfriend 5 out 6 of their children and Twitch Rabbit all together at the same time which is a very rare occurrence and one that will be remedied.

We had home-made food and played old-fashioned games, my Dad is worth his weight in gold for "organising" the children!

I'll let the photos do the talking, Joe took almost a hundred...

David loves rabbits too

Sleeping Beauty!

Caleb likes the look of the sandwiches

Gord is fishing mad lol

Sweet grand-daughter and sweet daughter xxx

rare pic of Dad with his eyes open! Mum has designated me "Official Sausage Roll Maker" after enjoying her  meal. Damac's Date Slice was hoovered up too...will make 2 next time!

Local parrot watches with interest

I think Caleb may have cheated a little lol

Great-grandad and Olivia get their act together
Davis appears to have lost his partner!

I bought 6 second-hand pillowcases at the op-shop for 75 cents each for "sack" races. They were then tied together to make a "rope" for Tug of War. Strips of fabric were used to tie ankles together for three-legged races and we also played boules or petanque with the set that Mum and Dad bought us years ago. The children loved the gazebo and lay around on an assortment of blankets etc. Olivia is growing up so quickly that she was able to borrow my sandals!

Must away, have lots to say but no time to say it!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Damac's Date Slice

press into baking dish/tin

Another great slice recipe from the Down To Earth forums, this one from Damac in NSW. It's moist and sweet and so very quick and easy to make. Here are my tweaks...

You'll need
1 cup of wholemeal flour
2 t baking powder(or use SR flour)
1 cup of chopped dates
1/2 cup of chopped nuts(I used 1/4 cup of LSA* for Dad's sake!)
an egg

125gms butter
1 cup of brown sugar

Preheat oven to 180C
Melt butter and sugar together in a large microwave dish or saucepan, allow to cool slightly
Mix in all the dry ingredients and the egg.
Press into a 28cm by 18cm prepared slice tin...I had to use my pie plate instead
Bake for around 20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned

It will rise up quite a bit but settle and firm as it cools, slice into required sized pieces and enjoy...we did!
Hope there's some left for tomorrow after Mum's cheeky comment yesterday!

Making chocolate cupcakes today using Rhonda's recommended recipe here


*LSA is a mix of ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds, lovely sprinkled on cereals, fruits or stews etc for extra nutrition.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Sausage Rolls

We're having a little old fashioned tea party on Friday afternoon so I have made some sausage rolls and popped them in the freezer(after Joe and I had 3 each for quality control purposes you see).

You'll need for 48 mini rolls...

4 sheets of frozen puff pastry
750 gms of minced pork or beef or a mixture
2 thick slices of bread, crumbed
1 large egg(I used a duck egg)
3-4 tablespoons of tomato sauce( a splash of worcester sauce too)
half a grated zucchini or carrot
salt and pepper
an egg or milk to glaze

preheat oven 200C

I used the food processor to make the breadcrumbs and then placed them in mixing bowl with the grated vegetable.
Then I processed  together the meat, sauces and egg and a little milk, salt and pepper to get a fairly smooth consistency.
Mix well with the breadcrumbs and then divide the mixture into 8 even sized portions.
Cut the pastry sheets in half and using a portion of meat roll it up and seal the edge with a little water.
Cut each log into six and place on prepared baking tray.
 Brush with a little beaten egg or milk.
Bake for around 20 minutes until gold brown...I turned my tray around after 10minutes as the back of this oven is hotter than the front.

Enjoy hot or cold and they do freeze very well. You could use sweet chilli sauce for a hotter taste and add cheese or chopped bacon etc.

Cook's Little Helper...

The Grocery Challenge is still happening but I've realised I've been cheating as I forgot to add the cost of our milk etc from Aussie Farmers Direct. Keeping it under $100 a week still sounds too much but I know that some weeks it's a lot less than that and we are eating very well.

Bye bye for now
Love from Sue

Friday, 1 March 2013


Recently at the forum members have mentioned making a sweet slice when they've been baking. I used to make them regularly when my children were little as they're quicker than biscuits but you can still use lots of rolled oats or muesli for healthy snack or lunch box treat. I looked on-line and found lots of great recipes and made this one knowing Joe loves ANZAC biscuits. It's around 9inches square and I cut it into 16 pieces for the freezer. Here is the lovely ANZAC cake recipe too.

You'll need

1 1/4 cups each of wholemeal flour and rolled oats
1 cup each of brown sugar and dessicated coconut
150 gms of butter
2 large tablespoons of golden syrup
2 tablespoons of hot water with 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb dissolved in it

Melt together the butter and syrup, stir in the hot water and bicarb
Mix together the 4 dry ingredients and then pour the melted butter etc in
Mix thoroughly and press into a prepared slice tin.
Bake at 180C for around 30mins until just golden at the edges.
Leave to cool in tin and then cut to required size(unlike some-one else who took hers out early for a photo and cracked it throughout)

I finished a little baby blanket yesterday, it's only about 18 inches square so will be handy for the car/baby capsule and as it's going to a baby girl it will make a sweet dolly blanket when she's a little older...

Now I can start something else(evil cackle)!

I'm reading Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult and find it fascinating, the wolves have such a complex pack order/hierarchy and I keep running to the computer for more information about them. They are such majestic animals too and I don't think Little Red Riding Hood did them any favours at all when she wrote her auto-biography! Have a look here for more

Wishing you all a calm and happy weekend,
Love from Sue