Sunday, 4 November 2012

A dolly for my girl!

I recently reviewed a doll making book for this lovely website and it kind of got me thinking about dolls and how nice it is to complete a project quite quickly and how much it can be appreciated by the smallest member of our household.
It's also a really nice opportunity to use some fabric from my way too large stash.

This doll was finally finished this week end. It is from a pattern I bought ages ago at a craft fair. The pattern came with this very sweet face which I had planned to add some embroidery to but Miss 5 years couldn't wait for any of that carry on, thank you very much. She wanted the dolly straightaway!! The pattern is from here. It is super easy to put together, very suitable for a beginner and the end result is nice and fat and cosy - just right for cuddling.

And that's exactly what my girl did!

I've now made a number of dolls for this gorgeous girl of mine. They only stay popular for a short period of time but I guess I hope that one day she might be passing them on to her daughter for a few more cuddles...I can dream anyway.


Monday, 29 October 2012

Big boys

There are a few challenges when you have a "spread - out" kind of family.The smallest child can be annoying and embarressing for a burgeoning teenage brother. There is a need to provide counselling sessions for work related issues, Year 12 related issues and "sharing your toys" issues. And finally, having to find a holiday destination that everyone is going to be happy with - skiing in Japan - impractical and far too expensive from a parent's point of view, perfect from a 19 year old point of view. A farmstay - perfect from a 5 year old point of view, "Lame!" from the point of view of all the older brothers!

However, we make it work and it works for us.
Sometimes, when there are no disruptions from smaller members of the family the big boys get to hang out to chat about cars, phones, music, motorbikes and....well.... more cars.
I heard them talking out in our backyard over the week - end and went out to find them looking like this

Having a chat, in the sun, enjoying each others company.
My husband and two oldest sons. I'm biased....but they are all pretty gorgeous!

Megan xx

Saturday, 27 October 2012


I am reconnecting with my early love of cross - stitch at the moment.
Cross - stitch was the first craft I learnt and it has been an enduring friend of mine over the years. There are photos of me as an 11 year old cross - stitching in front of the TV and here I am more than 30 years later still doing the same thing.
Cross - stitch used to bit a little bit muted and old-fashioned, I did a lot of country samplers in blues and maroon clolourways. Nowadays there are some great ideas and patterns out there. A lot more colour, more vibrancy and a lot more fun.
This is one I have just finished.

It was lovely to stitch, all those bright colour and what a terrific sentiment. I have hung it up in our back family room so that I can look at it when things get a little out of control. To remind myself that most of the time we have a happy home.
I got the pattern from this magazine and the pattern actually comes from this talented girl. I really love Emily's designs,  modern and quirky.
 And so good to finish something. Now just have to get on to all those other WIP around the place.....

Megan xx

Monday, 22 October 2012

Some baking on a Monday morning

I do like to cook on a Monday morning. My 5 year old and I have a quiet day on Mondays, we recover from the week - end and ease gradually into the coming week.
I vaccuum, I toilet clean and I cook.
 This morning I cooked  a cake from the latest Frankie magazine. I promised myself I wouldn't buy this magazine anymore (in an attempt to cut down on money spent on such things) but when I saw the cover of the latest edition I couldn't resist

Cute embroidery - impossible for me to walk past!

So I made the orange cake. There are a few receipes for nice cakes in this edition, fruit cake and sponge. But I had spare oranges so orange cake is now on the menu for afternoon tea.

It was easy and I think it turned out pretty close to the way it looked in the magazine.
Their  cake,

my cake.

Monday morning baking...completed!

Megan xx

Thursday, 18 October 2012

13 years old? Really???

A couple of weeks ago, my youngest son became a teenager!
 Like all mothers everywhere I am astounded that this could have happened. How could this beautiful boy have been in my life for 13 years? Surely it has only been a blink of my eye.
 But no, my "baby boy" is almost as tall as me, has a deep voice and thinks that any sort of toilet or genital based humour is hysterical!
 He is also kind, loving, a little bit innocent and absolutely fearless on a soccer field.
I cannot put into words how much I love him and how much we all love having him in the family. He went away on a band camp for a week and I missed him every day.
 Have a great year ahead, gorgeous young man and please stop growing up quite so quickly!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

To be grey...or to be coloured?

It has been a long time since I wrote here.
 No real reason except maybe I got a little caught up reading lots of other beautiful blogs and forgot to give any time and attention to my own.
And today, instead of talking about food, or craft, or family I'm going to focus on myself and more hair!
I have coloured my hair for quite a few years, ever since those first grey strands decided to peek through. I was religious about colouring it regularly so that no-one would guess (or so I thought) that slowly but surely I was ageing and my hair was giving the game away.
Then, back in June, I decided to call it quits, no more colour. I came out as a grey haired woman! It's been liberating and it's been a bit scary. People's reactions have been very varied. My husband has embraced it ("very Helen Mirren"), my sons tell me I look "a lot older", some people say "you've gone blonde", some people say "Good on you", some people just look a bit sorry for me!
Me? I don't really notice it. I look at myself in the morning and then don't take much notice until the next morning but it feels different. It feels more natural, more honest, more me.

So this is what it looks like.
A bit wiry and a bit two-tone at the moment as the colour grows out.
But I think I'm going to tough it out. I have seen some beautiful grey haired women just down at my child's preschool. I'm going to join their numbers grey and proud....most of the time :)


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

I wish my garden looked like this.

It's Spring in the capital and it really is a gorgeous time of year.
There is a sense of renewal and freshness. All in all I feel a little like a butterfly emerging. My wings are a little battered and bruised and my antennae need a bit of a tune up but I'm coming out into the light and the warmth and it feels good.
The sun is out and when it is on my back my shoulders relax for the first time in what seems like ages.
 It's still -2 degrees in the morning but it is now 19 degrees in the middle of the day. Today, I'm not wearing socks - a spring milestone.

A couple of weekends ago a house in our street had their garden open for inspection and I decided I would like to move into their space!


All those daffodils and jonquils. It's enough to make my heart fly!


Sunday, 9 September 2012

A Sunday auction

Today was a beautiful Canberra spring day, blue sky, no clouds and the sun....quite warm. We planned to go for a bushwalk until...I saw a lot of people milling around the backyard of the house over the back fence. There was a deceased estate auction about to start.
I have never been to an estate auction but for a second hand fiend like myself - it was irresistible.
 The bushwalk was forgotten as I ran round and spied all sorts of interesting things to be auctioned.
I got myself a bidders card, a catalogue, a fold-out chair passed over the back fence from home, a sausage sandwich from the Scouts stall set up on the fromnt lawn, and I was set for the day.
 My husband and 16 year old son joined me and it was so much fun. Watching all the different things been sold, watching all the different people buying. Sitting in a gorgeous backyard that I had always admired and... every now and then...bidding on some things.
My son was a very unlikely accomplished bidder.
And did I come home with anything?
You betcha!

These vintage tapestry kits, all unused.

This table and three chairs.

Plus a desk, a computer chair, 2 clocks, a picture of a vintage car (16 year old bargain ) and a Xmas angel that lights up with different colours (huge hit with the 5 year old).
All for $100. Not bad.

A great day. Not as energetic as a bushwalk but just so much fun!

Megan xx

Friday, 7 September 2012

Review on Whipup

Very excitingly I have a review published here on the wonderful Whipup site.
 I so enjoyed the reading and the reviewing of these books.
Thank you, Kathreen, for giving me the opportunity!

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Although it may seem a little hard to believe if you live in the Northern hemisphere, Australia has ski-fields!
About two and a half hours from Canberra it looks a little like this

And this is where my family has been for the last few days.
In our family there are the good skiiers (the males) and the "developing skiers" (the females). Fortunately for us girls the boys are very good and patient instructors. My husband spent hours on the beginner slopes with our 5 year old daughter between his skis whizzing down in an endless snow plough. At the same time my gorgeous 19 year old son coaxed his very nervous mother down what I thought was a very steep slope by saying gently "Just remember to breathe, Mum, I don't think you're breathing!!"

The weather was beautiful

and some of us went very high indeed.

At the end of the day though, this was the best place to be.

Megan xx

Friday, 31 August 2012

I am addicted to a charming print!

I do love to embroider. Cross - stitch, free embroidery, stitchery. Anything with a needle, hoop and thread - I'm there.
 At the moment I am so enjoying this embroidery panel from prints charming. Two very talented Aussie girls screen print the panels and then you, the embroiderer go wild and do whatever colour and whatever stitch takes your fancy.
 My colour choices are always a little eclectic but for someone who sometimes feels a bit nervous about deviating from a pattern it is a great way to become a little more adventurous.
 Believe me the meditative powers of chain stitch cannot be under estimated. Many a happy hour has been spent "colouring in" this panel.

Megan xx

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


I have been drinking a lot of tea with friends lately.
Friends have sat at my dining table and drank tea and talked and perhaps most importantly, listened to me. And I have been so grateful.
 I have felt cushoined in a safety net of friendship - how very lucky am I.

Megan xx

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Did I say I wasn't going to buy anything new??

I was feeling very virtuous a few weeks ago because the Quilt and Craft Show came to town. I said to Jules, "Should we go?" and very sagely, we both decided that we had enough fabric, yarn, threads etc to start our own craft outlet and that really we needed to stay away from the show...for our own good!

I was staying firm until my gorgeous husband said that he thought I "should" go. "You love craft", he said. "You could try not spending any money....", he dubiously said. That, I told him, would be impossible. Money would be falling out of my wallet before I walk two steps into the hall.
So I didn't go.
Instead I went to the Spotlight sale.  Just after the virtuous week end.
 I didn't buy too much - really I didn't.

Anyway enough guilt. One of the things I bought was some black Aida for cross-stitch. I have never used black Aida but I have just downloaded Alicia's latest sampler and I wanted to do it on the black background as she has done. Alicia used a black linen but I just find it so much easier and faster to stitch with Aida so I went for this option.

So, even though I did say that wouldn't buy anything unless I had finished 3 WIPs I have in fact bought quite a few things. But they were on sale. Does this let me off the hook??


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Can he really be 19??

Yesterday my oldest son had a birthday. His 19th birthday!
Can I really be the mother of a 19 year old? It seems impossible.
I know everyone says how fast ime goes but it truly only seens a few years ago that we brought him home from hospital scared to death that we weren't going to be able to look after him properly. He was so small!!
 Now he's 6 foot tall and gorgeous. Well, I am his mother and perhaps a little biased.

Early morning present opening
I feel so fortunate that my children have turned out to be so very likeable. Of course, I love them to pieces - all of them. But to  like all of them and want to spend time with all of them - this is such a bonus.
 This biggest boy of mine is kind, friendly, intelligent, loves his family and friends, does funny voices to make me laugh and always knows when things are not all that right in my world and gives me a huge, heart - warming hug.
 19 years ago we could not have asked for a better start to our family.
Thank you, my darling boy and Happy Birthday!

Birthday kisses from the little sister!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

I can crochet....sort of....

Up until last week end I could not get the whole crochet thing and it makes me feel a little embarressed to admit that I did a 4 week crochet class at our local evening college last year. In total it included 12 hours of crochet tuition. 12 hours.
At the end of my crochet course - I still couldn't crochet. Everyone else was off and running but for myself the whole thing remained a bit of a mystery. So I sheepishly returned to something familiar - knitting. My crochet hook lay idle on my sewing table until...last week end.
Jules encouraged me to get the hook out again and bravely head off to our local chapter of Brown owls. The lovely Suzy Hausfrau was going to teach granny squares.
 And guess what? I finally got it.

Must have been the wonderful learning atmosphere of Brown Owls and the teaching prowess of Renae. could be that it takes 14 hours of tuition before a concept becomes clear to me. But I think we will gloss over that last suggestion.

Over the last couple of days I've made these. And I have to say, I'm feeling very pleased with myself :)

So, I can crochet. Well...I can crochet granny squares. It's a start.


Monday, 20 August 2012

A cereal alternative?

We eat a lot of cereal around here - a whole lot. With 3 big boys and a husband who loves his breakfast food I feel like I am regularly filling up my shopping trolley with large boxes of cereal.
So I thought I would have a go at making my own muesli. My recipe came from this trusty book, also home to the No Knead bread.
So I sarted with these ingredients,

And after some mixing, some toasting and some more mixing I ended up with this.

It looks pretty authentic and it tastes good too. Probably due to liberal amounts of honey added before the toasting process. Like everything  in The Thrifty Kitchen it's not difficult or even very time-consuming so could be something that I could factor into my schedule quite easily.

So I've put it into the pantry, next to the boxes of cereal and told everyone to give it a go. I'll let you know if it is gone within the week.....or if it is still there in 6 weeks!

Megan xx

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Dad food

As it happens, for no particlar reason, in our house I do most of the cooking.
Well, actually, the main reason is that I really love to cook and my husband doesn't. He does other stuff, lots of other stuff including going out to work every day to support the six of us.
However, he doesn't cook - much.
 He does have his specialities though and one of these is jelly! Something my children love to eat. I am weird and I don't like jelly, something about the texture turns me off. So I never "cook' jelly. I also never buy it but somehow there are always a couple of packets in the pantry. Just in case....Dad decides to cook.
The other day I come down into the kitchen and jelly making was in full swing and a very happy 5 year old girl was getting the lowdown on how the whole jelly preparation thing unfolds.

The hot and cold water combo, the crystals dissolving and most importantly, the stirring...and the licking of the spoon.

Each time the jelly making happens I try to pretty it up, do it my way by making them use a nice bowl but really I need to let it go. Because this is Dad's cooking time and according to our children jelly tastes so much better in an old yellow plastic bowl, preferably with ice-cream added.
 That's dessert done. Who says the man can't cook??


Friday, 17 August 2012

Something is eating my greens.....

and it isn't my children!!

I am definitely not gifted in the garden but I am very keen to have a small vegetable garden. Very keen. I mean, everyone is growing their own food and I am feeling very inspired by photos on the internet of people carrying baskets laden down with food from their own gardens. I want to be one of them!
 Sadly my fledgling vegie patch is being enjoyed by non human creatures and I can't keep them away.
This is the damage they are doing,

See those slightly nibbled bits?

So I went to the nursery with those nibbled leaves in a plastic sleeve for the nursey man to look at and he said that I needed to spray my beautiful, organic vegetables to keep the bugs off them. I was aghast! Insecticides in my garden! However, he reassured me that it was all very natural and I sceptically bought and then administered the spray.
It has helped quite a bit but those invisible critters are still attacking my greens. Do I need to keep spraying or does someone out there know of a better, less toxic way?
I would so appreciate some "green" advice :)


Monday, 13 August 2012

Whipping those WIPs into shape

I am drowning in WIPs.
It's a big statement but I fear it isn't too far removed from the truth.
I've got little stashes of unfinished projects all over  the house. In boxes, in baskets, on tables, in shelves. It's time to finish things off.
 The trouble is it is so delicious to start a project. I love the whole process of starting. Choosing the project, buying the materials (the internet makes this bit ridiculously easy) and then the truly great feeling when you start with the first few stitches. A clean slate, full of possibilities - it will be the best thing you have ever made....until you start thinking about the next project!
 This is why craft is addictive!
So I am making a promise to myself. No more new projects until ten (yes 10!!) WIPs are finished.
Yes, I have to confess I definitely would have more than 10 WIPs.But let's start with three unfinished projects, one knitting, one embroidery and one sewing.

Firstly, an unfinished cardigan,

then an unfinished cross-stitch sampler ( I actually have a couple of these but lets have a look at one)

And finally, an unfinished skirt which I would look really nice in this summer - if I finished it!

Ok, my goal is to have these all finished by the end of the year.

I'll keep you in the loop.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

But life goes on.....

I think it is time to leave sickness and death behind on this blog. This space was not designed for such things.
 Although my sister's illness has been a huge part of my life this year - it is not all of my life. My life is cooking, embroidery, sewing, eating, knitting, rather unsuccessfully growing vegetables and soon....bee-keeping. So, lots to keep me occupied.
Another change with this space is that now it is my space alone. Jules has decided that she will be starting a new venture - and very exciting it all is too - so watch this space and I will link to Jules' new website as soon as possible. She is such a talented girl! So you'll only see my name signing off around here but I do hope that we can get some convos happening. Feel free to comment if you get the urge.
So, a bit of a new start, a new commitment.
And on this gorgeous winter day in Canberra, that all feels pretty good.

Megan xx

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Things you shouldn't have to do.

There are lots of things you shouldn't have to do, Lots of things that lots of people go through their whole lives never having to do. But not doing these things hasn't been the picture of my life lately. My life has been difficult.
So, just because I feel I need to get this all down so that I can try to move on, this is my list of things that I shouldn't have had to do but never the less I have had to do over the last month.

1. Watch my sister go from being an intelligent, forceful woman into a muttering confused person who doesn't recognise her own children.

2. Have to make the heartbreaking decision to call the ambulance and take this same brave person to the hospice. Knowing that she would be leaving her beloved home for the last time.

3.Sit next to my sister for hours on end as she groaned and sighed her way to her death.

4. Throw my arms around my sister, disbelieving that she had died without me being with her, only to hear her last out-going breath empty into my ear.

5.Sit with my sister's body, knowing that I had to leave her and knowing that she had already left me but not being able to move away from her.

6 Touch my sister's stone cold face as she lay in her coffin trying to memorise her face knowing I would never see her again.

7. Write my sister's memorial service.

8. Try to convince myself , on a daily basis, that she has died when it still seems that she has just gone away for a while.

Maybe now that I have written about these things, the images of these events will leave my head.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Tissues and thermometers

We are in the middle of winter here in Canberra.
 It's cold, windy and at times rainy - outside. Inside -  our house anyway - we are churning through the tissue baxes and fighting over the thermometer.
 Our family has been struck by "the virus" this week. When I mention "the virus" to anyone they all seem to know who or what I am talking about so I think "he" must be sheltering from this cold weather in lots of people's houses at this time of year.
 In particular, this bug has struck down my 5 year old and my 18 year old. Two members of the family who don't often get sick, But this week they are sneezing, sweating, gulping down the cold meds and generally feeling miserable.
The 5 year old mainly seems to feel miserable at 3 a.m. which tends to make me feel a bit miserable but that is family life. If you want to sleep peacefully every night probably best to rethink having children.
On the whole, I don't mind tending to my sick family. it forces us all to slow down for a while, to maybe realise that we were a bit stressed, a bit busy maybe not looking after ourselves as much as we could have.
 As the main food provider in the family it makes me recommit to healthy eating, my mind turns to warming casseroles and soups. Surely wholesome food will keep" the virus" from knocking at out door again this winter.
So this week there has been a fair bit of resting on the couch and mooching around in dressing gowns. The week end is now here and hopefully we are on the mend. On Monday Mr Virus is being tossed out and we will resume our normal pace, our batteries recharged after some nuturing time.

And the 18 year old will have to give up watching TV with his siter and go back to work.
Some good things just can't last.
Megan xx

Friday, 22 June 2012

Passing it on

I rather like being an aunt.
 Even when I write the word "aunt" it feels a bit strange. My aunts always seems so grown up and I don't feel terribly grown up.
 However, the fact remains that I have three nephews and two neices and I have to say they are all rather gorgeous.
 That's the other thing about being an aunt. You can gush about your neices and nephews and it's all o.k. No one thinks you're bragging,or taking the credit for their acheivments because they are one step removed from you. You can get all the relected glory without having to be modest about it. It's a winner this aunt thing.
 The downside of my aunt duties is that my neices and nephews live a long way away. Three in Cairns, two in Sydney. I would very much like to be closer to them all. However, because I do tend to hug and kiss and call them "Darling" a lot they may be grateful that I am some distance away.
One of my neices is twelve years old and showing some interest in sewing (be still my beating heart !!).

 Her father bought her a lovely sewing kit for Xmas and we have had a couple of sessions together doing some stitching.
Repair work mainly. Much loved stuffed animals with holes in them.  But I figure, it's only a small step from repairs to... embroidery, knitting, quilting.
 Well, an aunt can dream.
In the meantime, I do like passing on the skills. And spending time with this so interesting neice of mine.
And truly, all my gushing is justified :)

Megan xx

Thursday, 21 June 2012

My sister

I've been away from this space for quite a few weeks now. I haven't felt like writing anything, no words have been floating through my mind. No words that I have felt like putting on a screen anyway.
Lots of words have been passing through my mind actually, words of anger, frustration, words of great sadness. Also some words of laughter,many words of love and admiration.
 As I've said before, my sister is sick. She has cancer in parts of her body that that those rebel cells have no right to go to. She has cancer in too many parts of her body. Too many parts for her to be able to live very much longer.
 And it all seems so wrong.
 How does this stinking disease get in? How does it take hold? Why did it have to get into her, my only sister, my only sibling?
So you can see how the angry words get into my head.

And the sad words - well  - I guess that is obvious too. It breaks my heart to see my incredibly brave sister's face cave in as she talks about leaving her partner and her two children. To not be with them is the hardest thing of all. So hard, it can't be spoken of really. Where are the words? What words describe how that would feel? My sister is very, very good with words and yet she struggles to find adjectives to adequately cover the loss of being with the ones she loves.

And I feel so sorry for myself. How will my life be without my sister? The person who has known me all my life. The person who knows heaps of bad and embarressing things about me, who I've said stuff to that I shouldn't have said, the person who I have judged incorrectly and misunderstood sometimes deliberately. And yet she still says she loves me.
And sometimes she drove me crazy, sometimes her blunt words hurt me, sometimes her ideas were so different to mine that it was  hard to find common ground.
 And yet I've always loved her, and always will.

And so foolishly, I just expected that she would always be there, in my life, on the end of the phone, giving advice, letting me debrief, making me laugh, making me proud to be related to her.
But instead she is leaving my life, leaving us all behind to try and fumble along without her.
And it will never be the same again. That's the hard bit, it will all never be the same without her here.

My sister. My brave, opinionated, resilient, strong, compassionate sister.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Simply making your own bread.

So to continue on my path to a simpler life.
 I made my own bread! I have made bread in the past, mainly using a bread maker. It hasn't, however, been all that successful. I found my loaves ended up very heavy and quite doughy in the middle - a bit like spreading butter and honey on to a warm sponge - not as tasty as I had hoped.
 Following these attempts the bread maker went back on to the shelf and I headed back down to the bakery conveniently located at my local shops.
However, with my mind set on a simpler, more frugal and sustainable life I had another go at this bread making thing.
 I was reminded of a recipe I have tried before by Rhonda in her gorgeous book, Down to Earth. The recipe comes from a book called The Thrifty Kitchen. This is a great book with lots of ideas about menu planning and bulk cooking. Also easy recipes that don't require unsuual ingredients (my fave type of recipe)
The "No Knead bread" is ridiculously easy. Basically mix all ingredients in a bowl, wait 12 hours, turn dough, wait 8 hours, cook - done, beautiful bread to eat!

It turned out so well, a little like a sour dough in consistency but so much nicer than the bread maker version.
The only downside is that you have to think ahead, the whole process takes about 24 hours. However, I'm thinking that  I could get into a bread making rhythm and start the process every two days ( a loaf lasts approx 2 days in our household).
Alternatetively I can try an bread dough that you knead rather than the "no knead' variety.
Hmmm... back to the cookbooks.

So on Sunday, a gorgeous sunny autumn day in Canberra, we sat on the deck and devoured far too much homemade bread, butter and honey.
I have to say I felt just a little bit pleased with myself.
Megan xx

Monday, 21 May 2012

Simply washing

I am finding myself reading more and more blogs/books on "simple living"
It's a very seductive thing, this "simple living". When life seems chaotic and to be pulling you along in a rather out of control manner it is incredibly soothing to turn to the basics, chores at home, cooking, knitting. Those routines that can feel onerous but can also feel like a life rhythm that gives order and sense to the day.
 I have been aspiring to this rhythm for a while now and just recently, just occasionally, I am getting a whiff of it.
 It could be the stages my children are up to. With my oldest son working full-time and my other two sons at school it is only my 5 year old daughter at home with me. We have  our weekly routines with playgroup, meeting up with friends and Preschool but we also have our daily routines. The most regular of these is, of course, the washing.
 Now, call me weird, but I actually don't mind doing the washing. This is a good thing because I do a lot of it!
 I get a real sense of satisfaction from dirty clothes at the beginning of the day ending up as clean dry clothes at the end of the day.
 This is dependent entirely on the weather.
 I don't have a clothes dryer so I really need this:

the sun.
 Fortunately, in Canberra, the sun shines a lot. When it doesn't I have a clothes rack and central heating to help me out.
 But most of the time, the mornings find me out in this part of the garden.

And, to be honest, I'm very happy to be there.
Simple living and washing? Is there a connection? Seemingly yes. Lots of info on simple living seems to advocate for drying your clothes on the clothesline. Who knew that slowing down could start in such an easy place to get to?
So, I'm giving simple living a go. Hanging my washing on the line has been part of my life forever but I now realise that it is actually a really important part. I can look up into the sky, say hello to my neighbour over the fence,inspect my very small vegie garden, play my part in the family routines.
I bet you never thought washing could deliver so much.

Megan xx

Saturday, 19 May 2012


I have mentioned more than once that I have a big sister. And that I am spending quite a bit of time with her in Sydney at the moment. She is sick, pretty damn sick actually.
It's a difficult time for her, her partner, her children... and for me. It's hard to see someone you love feel really crappy.

Sometimes, though, amidst the doctors appointments, the hard hitting discussions and all the other generally crappy bits that crowd her life at the moment, my sister and I have some pretty nice times. We settle ourselves in her cosy lounge, surround ourselves with screens and craft and just chat.

Forgot to mention plates of food
We talk about our kids, our mother, quilting, art, dogs,
Because she is my big sister, I ask her advice and she very freely gives it to me. Because sisters can do that, they can speak their minds. My sister and I have been through lots of stuff as a team and all those experiences provide the glue that sticks us together.
It's a unique relationship this sisterly one.

Megan xx

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Library book cake

I am a really big fan of the local library. Whenever I have moved house, or city, even country it has been a priority to find the local library.
In fact in another life I could easily have been a librarian instead of a nurse. Maybe it's not too late....
 Anyway, back to cakes.
 My local library has an excellent selection of cookbooks which is an equally excellent thing for our bank balance. I do love to buy cookbooks but boy, are they expensive!!
Off I go to the library, borrow a whole lot of books and the only downside is that I have to lug them all home.
Some I will just glance at, but others I use heaps, cooks lots of meals from them and end up renewing them from the library over and over again. Either way it is a saving.

So my latest acquisition is this one, I really like Bill Grainger's recipes. They are not too complicated and the ingredients are all pretty accessible. My lifestyle doesn't lend itself to chasing around getting lots of obscure things to cook with. Young children and boutique food shops are not such a great combination.

This is what I cooked the other day and it was delicious.

Unfortunately, I only realised halfway through the process that the recipe called for polenta. I had to toss out my polenta because it was full of weevils so just used almond meal instead. Turned out just fine.

I had to hide it from the hungry teenagers because it was made for Playgroup morning tea but it was pronounced a success the following morning by my Playgroup buddies.

Free use of a great cookbook! What's not to like about the library!

Megan xx

Monday, 14 May 2012

Town mouse, country mouse

As I've mentioned before, I'm spending a bit of time in Sydney at the moment, whiling away a few hours with my big sister.
 Last week I hit the freeway again and found myself, four hours later, in the thriving metropolis that is inner city Sydney. The day before I left for Sydney I was reading "Town Mouse, Country Mouse" to my gorgeous girl. When I got out of my car (after spending quite some time finding a park), in my sister's street, I felt like that country mouse. I felt myself a bit taken aback by all the noise, people and concrete that make up the suburb where Jane lives. After all, if you walk for 20 minutes down the street, round the corner from their house you find yourself in the centre of Sydney. If I walk for 20 minutes round the corner from my house I find myself in bushland!

My sister's local park!

It takes me a day or so to get the hang of it all.To start walking a bit more purposefully, to work out the "good" cafes from the truly hundreds that are in the street over from my sister's place. How do all those cafes make a living!! To stop waiting for the green man to cross the road - all the locals completely disregard that green man! To stop feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the people that are talking on their mobiles, whilst walking their dogs, whilst drinking their coffees whilst helping their kids on their scooters!
After all, I have come from this,

,to this,

But, you know, it doesn't take long for the country mouse to bcome a bit more citified. I find I can sit in harbourside cafes and drink coffe with the best of them. And even though I'm a bit clumsy when juggling that same coffe with the dog and the child I can still keep smiling because all the other dog owners are so friendly and chatty. This inner city hustle and bustle is really just a front for a different kind of community. One where the park is your backyard and the cafe is your kitchen table.
So this country mouse did feel pleased to see the highrises disappear on the way back home yesterday but I am starting realise that country is not better than town, not more friendly than town, more pretty or even more safe. It's just a different form of community and at the moment I'm lucky enough to have foot in each.
Hope your weekend included some chatting, some walking and maybe even some dogs.

Megan xx

Saturday, 12 May 2012


There is something intensely gratifying about growing food. It's not like other gardening. For me, it so much more satisfying. We are just coming to the end of a very late tomato season and the last harvest came in. The patches were a little bare so these past few days have been full of renewed energy and life. The vegetable gardens are looking good but smelling awful (thanks to composted moo poo and seaweed solution). We've been busy planting broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, garlic and a myriad of seeds including silverbeet, peas, beans, beetroot, parsnips and parsley.

While we were on holidays, we ate so very many fresh raspberries and crisp, just picked apples. That has inspired us and included in our plantings were two apple trees and ten raspberry canes - we are all eagerly anticipating the rewards!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Learning to knit...

Knitting, like so many craft/gardening/cooking projects, has been on the list for a very long time. Sewing however, really is my thing. My machine and I are very good friends but I'm equally satisfied with hand stitching. My Mum is an amazing seamstress and as a result of her skill and teaching, my whole life I've been able to sew. I sat beside her as a child and learnt by osmosis, soaking in the technique, and now the stitches come naturally. I know and understand sewing and I'm reasonably competent at it.

And knitting? Well Mum doesn't knit. Nan did but would never teach me because "I'm left handed" (still not sure what that means - perhaps I would have knitted backwards - can you knit backwards?? That might be interesting to try...).

So I've never been there, mostly through fear of failure. Yes, crazy, I know - it's just yarn and sticks and it can always be unraveled. With that in mind, I've been trying to knit and I'm being kind to myself, talking to myself like I do to my children when they learn a new skill. Letting me know that it won't be perfect and that's an unrealistic expectation that anything is ever perfect. I first practiced on holidays with some beautiful yarn that is a wool and silk blend and it's slowly turning into a scarf (above - the little flashes of colour come from sari silk - recycled and spun into the wool).

Then I got bored with just a knit and I want to try something else. Megan has lent me a book so I'm going to try a real project. Check back in, oh perhaps three years from now, to see how it's going!

And because I'm playing with yarn, the biggest small decided she wanted some too so she could finger knit: