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.