Advice Wanted!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Here are some more of my embroidery hoop wall art, they are all hand stitched and drawn and designed by me. I am looking at setting myself up an Etsy and Madeit stores online so that I can start to see if I can sell some of this, but I need opinions, and honest ones. Please let me know from the below which ones you like the best and which ones you think are not that great, it will help me decide on what sort of designs to pursue! (p.s you can see my awesome new quilt cover in the picture back grounds, I love love love it!)

The edges will be tucked in and glued down....
1962 Ford pickup truck... for the car buffs out there, I like making tough guy things look girly! haha
This is one of my favourites, just cute..
I love tea, maybe it is the English influence, or my Scottish heritage, but I never really can say no to a cup of tea! With milk of course.

I just realised this one isn't completely finished, the baby owl still needs a beak.

This one was inspired by my American friend Chelsea, who when coming to visit was obsessed with Kangaroo's, so here it is...

This is just a face, classy chick... I just like this style of face, I have been drawing faces as long as I can remember so this is an obvious design for me.

Please leave comments and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Spring has almost Sprung...

Friday, August 27, 2010
In the southern hemisphere it is starting to warm up and for the next couple of months we will be in Spring, which doesn't last that long because pretty soon it is going to be sweltering 40 plus degrees temps. For now, I am loving the thought of spring. I have starting planting veggies again for this season, my veggie patch was a bit of a mess and still needs a lot of tidying up and replanting. Here is a quick peek of my veggie gardens as they stand.

We call these capsicum, in other places they are called "peppers" they have been great, growing all through the winter and from last autumn and summer, just keep going and going. We also have about Eggplant plants, and we can't eat as much as they are producing at the moment, it took them a while to get going but now they are outa control.

These weird plants are brussel sprouts, ewwww I hate them. But Joel LOVES them, I must say I tried one last night from the garden, and they didn't taste too bad, must be because they are organic and fresh!
My new babies, cherry and regular tomato plants! Hoping they bring us a great harvest like the plants last year. Last year I made the rookie mistake of letting the tomatoes grow out of control and so I had to rip them all out. When I was preparing the patch for new plants and getting rid of all the weeds earlier this week I stumbled across a nice surprise. A new tomato plant had seeded itself and was already growing a few little cherry tomatoes!! It was hiding behind the Eggplant, I wonder how that happened!
More planting will happen this weekend!! I love having my own veggies!!

Introduction to "Dogboarding"

Sunday, August 22, 2010
The week before last was a blast because we had friends all the way from Minnesota visiting us here in lil old Perth! When they left they gave us a sweet skateboard, that was hand made by them as their business, Fat Fish longboarding. Well, after hearing stories of how our friend Marty, skates with their giant German Shepherd, I was sure that me and Angus (the Shar-Pei) could try what I have named "Dogboarding"
I was so surprised at how well Angus adjusted to cruising along next to me on the board. This task is made easier by the big wheels and style of the skatie that allows me to just cruise. Anyway I think I have found my new love, it is so much fun to cruise around the neighbourhood, Angus gets a full work out and is exhausted, and bonus so do I, my leg muscles are feeling a little sore this morning. I can't wait to hit the pavement again!

I love this last picture, it is a total action shot, you can see Angus pulling me around the corner and me completely loosing balance... so fun!
And if you want to get your hands on a fat fish board check out the link above, I have already gotten heaps of people complementing me on how good the board looks.

Embroidery is not just for Grandma!

Thursday, August 19, 2010
So a few months ago I asked my Mum if she still had any of my old embroidery gear from when I was a kid. She did, although it was just a sheet of calico, an old wooden hoop and some very bright coloured floss. Mind you it did have a pretty sweet stitched with cotton thread "Karen" done with a 10 year olds hand, saved from 17 years ago! This just wasn't going to cut it, so I had to go out and get some new stuff, and practice making 'trendy' embroidery, not old grandma stuff that comes to mind when you this about embroidery. These are my first real projects that I will be sticking up in my house...

40 Hour Famine

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This weekend, the 20-22nd August is our 40 Hour Famine. From 8pm this Friday until 12 noon on Sunday people all over Australia are going to be sacrificing something so that we can get a tiny taste of what it is like for those people around the world who do not get a choice, but everyday struggle to simply find enough food to eat on a daily basis.

Last year I gave up food, this year, I am trying something that personally will be a lot harder for me. I am giving up my iphone, internet, computer and tv. What will I do with myself? Maybe go and enjoy the sunshine? Anyway, I like to stay in touch virtually with people and the world so this is something that will be pretty challenging.

Did you know that in Australia we throw away over 20% of the food that we buy? And 90% of the things in our supermarket contain food products, like batteries and nappies. It just doesn't make sense that we have so much excess that we not only waste so much food, but we put it in all this stuff that we don't even eat.

This when put in comparison with the 1 billion people around the world who are chronically hungry, really isn't fair. In nations like Kenya, Cambodia and Nepal they earn $1.25 per day on average. 70% of this used to go towards food. But, since the Global Food Crisis and the price of food dramatically increased, leaving these already struggling family with little option but to go without.

It is so hard for us to grasp this type of poverty when we are living in a nation like Australia, and even though I spend my days visiting schools and teaching students about this exact thing, still I have a hard time not complaining about my old clothes or my outdated computer. It is so important for us to have perspective, and not get caught up in the things that don't matter. For me, this weekend is one that helps me to get back to basics, and do something for those who don't have the option to do it for themselves.

There is still time if you want to participate... but if you would rather just sponsor someone $50 helps 6 kids for a month... so feel free to support me and my effort to give basic necessities to the worlds poorest people


Monday, August 16, 2010
Two and a half years ago we stumbled across this gorgeous little pup, who looked like a baby Hippo...
Name: Angus P. Wrinkles (the P doesn't stand for anything)
Breed: Chinese Shar Pei
Favourite Foods: Toast, lamb, kangaroo, apples, mandarins and ginger
Favourite Toys: A sock with two tennis balls in it, nicknamed Roger Federer.
Naughtiest Deed: Escaping from my folks back patio and running around the suburb whilst they were out.
Cutest Moments: Whenever I get the hiccups he comes and sits next to me and puts his paw on me and wants to make sure I am ok.
Favourite Activity: Walking, sniffing long grass, doing "fast run" on his track around the front yard, playing with his dog buddies.

In old houses in Australia they often have a back area called a "sleep out" which is really like a back porch with the laundry and a bedroom off the back of the house. For two and a half years we have been living with this back porch partially enclosed with just a security door and lattice. Meaning that when you go out to use the toilet, it is like going outside! Either sooo cold in the winter or boiling in the Summer.

Finally last week we had a chippy (carpenter) come in and finish off our back area. Honestly I am so excited about the fact that it actually feels like a real room. We are planning on turning it into a study so that we can have three actual bedrooms in our house, not two and a study. By study I am hoping to make it less office-like and more cute and include space for me to have a mini workshop for my hobbies!

We got a steal of a deal on our new window, picked up from a salvage yard for a measley $250. Only a few more steps to go, because it is a back porch it is sloped. Luckily hubby is in the flooring trade so the rest of it will be d.i.y renovations.

As much as I love our old cottage home, there is always, always something to renovate!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
So I went to Ikea the other day, and it is just one of those places that when you go in it is hard to come out empty handed. One of the main things that I was shopping for was curtains, in our old cottage we had these curtains covering the front and side doors and I didn't really pay much attention to them, until we had friends coming to visit. Isn't it always the way. They were gross, faded and yuck, I couldn't ignore them anymore.

At IKEA the curtains were pretty expensive and they weren't what I was looking for, and then I stumbled across their material section and JACKPOT!I Love, Love, Love this design, the outlines of wolves and deer and birdys, so cute.
So thus my new curtains. And IKEA makes things really easy for people like me who are are incompetent with a sewing machine. They have these great iron on strips that you can used instead of sewing, makes it so easy! Simply fold and iron and it even stays when put through the washing machine.

That is one of the things I love about IKEA, they seem to think of making everything do-able without having a whole lot of skill.

I love the way my new curtains look, the only problem now is that the white curtain really makes the gross door colour stand out, seems like I have a new project to work on... painting my doors. I have a couple of other projects I am working on with this same material as well.

Grower's markets and good food!

Sunday, August 1, 2010
For the last three weeks we have spent part of our Sunday at the local Growers Market down the road from our house. It is great because it is close enough for us to walk to, and to be able to carry all our new purchases home without any worries. Plus Angus gets to come along with us, and he love, love, loves it. He is like a movie star, everyone wants to pat him and say hello!

The first stop at the market is the stall with the home-baked dog biscuits, and the organic dog food. Appease the monster first, and then on our way to the things that we are interested in. Like fresh organic bread and homemade pasties, fairtrade coffee (not me, but the hubby, I have and always will be a tea girl), woodfired pizza, turkish bread that is made in front of your eyes and pretty much every kind of preserve you could want.

The place is fantastic, so many stalls, people, families, dogs everyone from our community has been drawn out of their homes and into this vibrant market, today there was even a fantastic piano accordian player. For us, we try to make a conscious decision to be really aware of the food that we are buying. We try to buy local produce, and when we can we like organic and even though it is few and far between in Australia, we like to buy Fairtrade whenever possible. We like things that are fresh and the great thing about the growers markets is that you can ask the people who grow the produce about the process, it makes me feel so much better about what I am eating.

Last year we watched the documentary Food Inc, and although we had been starting to change our habits before then, this doco really helped put things into perspective for us, and made us question what we were really eating and where it comes from.I know that one thing that puts people off going down this route is the cost. Somewhere we have been taught, or it is largely assumed that it is more expensive to buy local and good fresh foods, but for the two of us we spend less that $100 a week on food, and we eat well. Salmon, steaks, chicken, vegies, pasta and we are saving money. Yes, it takes a little longer, I don't ever go to Coles or Woolworths, even though it is more convienent, the food just isn't the same. Yes, I have to go to about 4 or 5 different places, but it is worth it. I go to the fresh fruit and veg grocery, the IGA, the butcher, the fish shop, the bakery and the farmers market, but the quality is amazing and I would never go back. Plus cutting down on all the over processed junk has helped us loose weight and feel so much better! Mind you I still love my potato chips and chocolate, but that is ok!!