Friday 28 June 2013

Changing to BlogLovin'

Changes are afoot, I have no idea what I'm doing yet so pls bear with me!
To follow this blog now you will have to click on the red print "Follow my blog with Bloglovin" on the right-hand side, I'm still trying to work it out....apparently Google Reader ends on Monday and I didn't even know what google reader was until earlier today!

Tutorial Competition at Down To Earth Forums

Over at the forum we are running another Tutorial Competition all through July. Last year we had some wonderful ideas...clear instructions and photographs, they add to the richness of the forum as they are always there for new and older members alike to learn from. We had tutes on making a simple moisturising cream, an tablecloth recycled into a poncho, raggedy quilts, aprons, toys, yogurt and sourdough and much more.

This year's prize is a hamper from Ecostore to the value of $150 or a book if you are living in the UK or Europe where we can't ship the hamper...this is the one I was awarded recently...all gentle earth and family friendly products with no nasty chemicals...there's a huge jute shopping tote there too,

You can join the forum(it's completely free) and have a go, in fact I hope you do.
Follow the link on the right-hand side of this page and you will be made very welcome. We talk about frugal cooking, budgeting, gardening and growing our own food, simple living, our homes, family and pets, home remedies etc all in a supportive and warm's wonderful to meet so many like-minded people.

Bye bye for now,

A Friday Round-up, A Nice Scarf Pattern too!

It's been a very quiet week here, just a pottering, gentle quiet type of week with a burst of activity on Wednesday.

Monday was shopping day, frugal as possible, the only meat I needed was 500gms of minced beef($3) and I bought a 1 kilo chunk of roasting beef to cook in the crockpot. $50 worth of fresh vegetables from the Sppud Shed means I can stick to plant based meals as opposed to meals where meat is the star...these cost so much more and are quiet un-necessary really.

I made Joe a pan-ful of baked mixed beans; sauted onion, garlic and red capsicum, tomato paste, a teaspoon of golden syrup(molasses is nice too) and then a tin of el cheapo baked beans and 1 1/2 cups of mixed beans. He loves these for breakfast with an egg and some toast.
Next to be re-fashioned was the 5 cups of bolognese sauce leftover from Saturday, this was especially nice as I'd added some chopped salami. Lasagne was the plan so while Joe grated some cheddar cheese I made a white sauce. Joe was horrified to learn(after 12 yrs) that I don't add cheese to the sauce but season it well and add some USA mustard. Cheese is welcome to go on the top and it was really, really tasty...6 large serves and 2 went straight into the freezer once it was cold....

I also made this cake to get full use of the oven ...3/4 of this went into the freezer too...

Tuesday was very quiet for me, Joe taught chess and picked up some prescriptions while I made great headway on another scarf...

Cast on 2 sts, (used 4mm needles and some 12 ply wool)
Increase at the beginning of each row until the scarf is the desired width, I stopped when I had 30 sts on my needles.
Now just

Increase at the beginning of each alternate row
Decrease by knitting 2tog through the back of the loops on every other row...

can you see what is happening...I've almost finished it now and if you are making stripes ensure that you start the new colour on the same type of row each time so that all your joins are at the back of the work...

Wednesday came and I put the roasting beef in the slow cooker on a bed of carrots and a whole unpeeled head of garlic and left it on auto for around 9 hours. I made a huge plateful of rustic looking ham and cheese sandwiches and then headed off to meet Mandy and De-Anne at Paul's late parent's home. It's almost ready to go on the market a year after they were both so tragically killed in a car accident nearby but what a heart wrenching job to go through this huge house and pack up their personal effects. Some to the op-shops, some to the tip, some to friends but there is just too much stuff and it is so very personal!
I came away with 2 small jardinieres that reminded me of my auntie Brenda and her lovely houseplants. When I got home I was delighted to find that my bathroom parlour palm fit perfectly into the larger was a warm Down To Earth forums moment as the palm came from Wendy whom I met through the forum and I also met Mandy and De-Anne this way! I can spy a bar of hand-made soap in this photo, I learned to make soap through the forums too...

Yesterday I made a big pan of pearl barley and vegetable soup using the left-over stock from the roast beef so that will do for lunches for several days. We had the beef again last night with baby potatoes(49c a kilo) and there's enough of that for tonight too with another vegetable dish.

We've added an extra night to out stay in Montreal when we first land so that we can meet up with family for lunch on Saturday, Phoebe and the boys are driving up from Ottawa and will stay at our hotel overnight and then we can have a leisurely drive down to Ottawa on the Sunday.
Caleb has been asking "when is Nana having another party" after our lovely tea party in March. I may take him and David to watch  Kwinana United vs Perth Glory on July 6th, 2pm Kelly Park, Kwinana, my Dad is going too.

Well the moral here is to blog more than once a week because even when I think I have nothing to say it appears that I find plenty. Thank you for your patience!
If you have time you might enjoy a look at a Queensland friend's new blog over here , please leave Chel a comment, I know she'll be thrilled.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend,
Love from Sue

Friday 21 June 2013

Knitted Rose and Leaves

I've just finished this very basic scarf using some nice mohair wool from the op-shop and wanted to jazz it up a little. I've knit flowers before but only flat ones and I didn't like them as much as this pretty rose. I haven't attached them yet but want to get the pattern down before I forget but I think you can see how sweet they are.

The rose is about 2inches in diameter, knit flat and then rolled to shape the rose. The leaves are about 2 1/2 inches long and crafted by simple increases and decreases.
I've used 8ply wool and UK size 8 or 4mm is the beauty of any knitting pattern....use thinner needles and a lighter yarn to get smaller pieces and vice versa. It's easy enough to add a few extra stitches too but I wouldn't use fewer stitches making the rose as it won't roll nicely.

cast on 25 stitches
work 4 rows in K1.P1 rib.
5th row all knit and increase into each st so that you have 50 sts
6-11 th row work in stocking stitch
Cast off and roll the work to form a rose, use the cast on tail to stitch it closed.

cast on 4 stitches
1st and all odd numbered rows purl to end
2nd row K1, inc into next 2 sts, K1
4th row K2, inc into next 2 sts, K2
6th row K3, inc into next 2 sts, K3
8th row K4, inc into next 2 sts, K4

Work 5 rows stocking stitch

14th row K4, K2tog into back of sts, K2tog, K4
16th row K3, K2tog into back of sts, K2tog, K3
18th row K2, K2tog into back of sts, K2tog, K2
20th row K1, K2tog into back of sts, K2tog, K1
22nd row  K2tog into back of sts, K2tog
Cast off

There are so many uses for these little embellishments, hope you enjoy making some, they're very quick and easy and oh so sweet!

Dear Ole Mum is having day surgery on 2 squamous cell spots, one on her face the other on her forearm...once again that I beg that you take care of your skin while out in the sun. Hope they heal quickly, Mum.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend where-ever you may and Happy Solstice to my Pagan friends.
Love from Sue

Wednesday 19 June 2013

The Good Ole Days

As a child in Morecambe our home backed onto the playing fields used by various schools and sports clubs. It was wonderful to have this lovely green area to run around on but my favourite recreation was playing football with all the local boys. I must have spent hours out there and football came to be a great pleasure.(Football is called soccer in Australia)
Fast forward to the early seventies and going to watch Kwinana United Soccer Club with Dad, watching (male) classmates train and play on Sunday mornings my (female) friends and I were thrilled when Bob Clark offered to set up a women's team and coach us. I played in this team for 3 seasons until surgery on my heels put paid to that. We successfully changed the rule at Kwinana High School regarding school sports and were permitted to play soccer with the boys as our weekly sports lesson, there were about 6 of us from memory.

My former next door neighbour, Nick Knight, recently started a facebook page for Kwinana's soccer history, our photos and memories are re-surfacing after over 40 years of being just dreams...

Back: Carol Hill, Sue Chivers, Elaine Hadden, Lynda Palmer, Yvonne Knee(dec), Brigitta Neilson, Deb(?), Irene(?), Bob Clark(coach)
Front: Julie Tatton, Julie Brown, Cathy O'Hara, Lynn Scothern, Joanne Ryder, Eleanor Smith, Pat Campbell, Sue Gardner(self) 1972

Then we made the newspaper!

Diane Shirra, Yvonne Knee, Maryanne O'Donnell, Frances Shirra, Jill Syson, Julie Tatton, Caron Knee, Sue Chivers, Carol Hill and Cathy Gallagher.

This photo must have been the last year I played, 1973. We played an exhibition match at the Perth Velodrome before a main (men's) match. The velodrome was the old cycle racing venue and had a wooden track running around the pitch. The ball went off the field in front of the packed grandstand and my boots slid on the wet wood, plonking me on my bottom! I'm glad my face was already red from my exertions on the pitch!

Back: Carol Hill, Cathy Gallagher, Dianne Shirra, Ruth Knee, Sue Gardner
Front: Sue Chivers, Frances Shirra, Jill Syson, Maryanne O'Donnell, Yvonne Knee and ???

Several of the team were chosen for the State Women's Squad and played a few matches, Carol, Sue, Pat and Julie I believe. I was told I was on stand-by for the squad but never got the call. My main claim to fame is that I scored the first ever goal for Kwinana United Ladies Team and you can't take that away from me!

I hope to add photos to this post as they become available.

Did you play sport as child/teen? These were truly some of the happiest days of my life.

Love from Sue

If you've ever considered starting your own blog or just want to brush up on your skills Rhonda has written a wonderful and helpful article today called "Blogging for Beginners" Part 1. She's also doing workshops on blogging in her area of Queensland.

PS Juds, make sure you read the comments again on my previous post, Lynda was tickled pink! 

Monday 17 June 2013

Took My Cabin Fever To The City...

...and left it there!

Not sure if it's a sign that I'm itching to be off to Canada or what but after 2 days at home I was more than ready for a "spree" lol Boarded the 10.40am train to Perth and walked and wandered for the next three hours with a little shopping and a lot of people watching thrown in too.

Snatches of overheard conversations...
"Would the store cleaner please come to the switchboard" (what was that about? a dirty phonecall?)
"He keeps asking me for the numbers of other people...."
"Then she said...."
and my favourite...
"It's like rockin' the gym and then goin' to Maccas!"

There were some very talented buskers, some tragic looking homeless people, some people with far more money than sense; there were people from all over the world, some in traditional dress, others with dyed blue hair and the shortest of shorts, muslim women with colourful scarves and even a full faced burkha. Footwear from the biggest boots to the daintiest gold slippers, patterned tights, hungry pigeons and delicious smells all added to the good and happy spirit of this small city...

Restoration on one of the beautiful old churches 

The domed roof and frescos of local beaches at the Carillon Mall

Lunch? Hot curries, dahl and rice? Yes please :D

This young busker has a great voice and says he has an album coming out soon, I didn't catch his name

Modern "art" in front of the lovely old railway station
 I walked over to Kakulis Bros in Northbridge to buy various lentils and spices and saw this poster on the way, it's looks like fun...

This caught my eye, I think it's the entrance to the Bat Cave...

The Brass Monkey Hotel, can you see the monkeys on the first floor verandah? I was as cold as them today and had to buy a fleecy jacket...

A tribute to Perth actor, the late Heath Ledger. Jacob's Mum went to pre-school with him many years ago.

Coming exhibitions at the Perth Art Gallery, the Van Gogh  one is a 'gotta' for me

These scarab beetles lead the way to Perth Museum where there is a fascinating  new exhibition, Secrets of the Afterlife.

The city looking over the railway station from the Art Gallery area
 Now, it's a very long time since I've chased a man but chase I did. Huffing and puffing up the Plaza Arcade to take sneaky photos....BECAUSE he was dressed in the exact railway outfit that the staff on Hull to Gatineau Railway in Canada wore when we had a lovely day out with them in 2006! lol

Just after this photo he turned to me and I thought I was in big trouble but he and his brother were looking for Woolworths so I was able to point them in the right direction, I was too shy to ask where his train was.

It wasn't this one, home again home again jiggity jig!

That certainly blew the cobwebs away and I feel much better now.
Do you get stir crazy at times? I certainly have enough housework/gardening and hobbies to amuse me but sometimes I just need to 'get out'.

Bye bye for now,

Wednesday 12 June 2013


Today's post is brought to you by the colour yellow.

It's a glorious sunny day today and the sky is so very blue. I've just watched the Socceroos defeat Jordan 4-0, you can see from my link that they wear the Green and Gold of Australia with pride. This game was a qualifier to see who goes through to the final rounds of the World Cup in Brazil next year.
As I watched I finished a baby blanket I have been making from some of the yarn that Wendy sent me from Victoria recently...funnily enough the Brazil football team play in blue and yellow!

A yellow baby jacket finished yesterday...

a yellow poinsettia is flowering in the back garden...

a carpet of yellowy leaves under the deciduous cape lilac trees...

the first hint of yellow on a passion fruit...

 a nice ripe lemon...

duck eggs defrosting to make a quiche, this way you can save them when you have a glut and use them when your hens are resting...

pea and corn impossible quiche...

Not yellow but very sweet, Twitch comes to the front door when we get home to see what goodies there are for him, lettuce in this case! (Sorry about the evil plastic bags)

Priscilla updated her blog yesterday, you can follow the link on the right-hand side of this page and we got our tickets today. Woot. Starting to get very excited about our trip now.

Hope you're having a great week,
Love from Sue

Thursday 6 June 2013


Knitting in bed probably doesn't count, Gromit, unless you move your bed outside!

World Wide Knit In Public Day of course. It goes from June 8-16 because knitting is like that, once you get going it's hard to stop, "just one more row" is often heard muttered.

You can join up here and see what events are taking place in your neck of the woods or just get your knitting out where-ever you are. It's a great conversation starter and just might inspire some-one else to 'get their knit on'!
I love these vintage photos of "stars" knitting, often on set while they wait for to play their role...other pics show men in prison knitting and some very old photos from the UK showing traditional patterns.

Have you joined Ravelry yet? 6,000 plus free knitting and crochet patterns, tips and advice, groups to chat with and it's simply wonderful. They're on Facebook too :D
"Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools and pattern information, and look to others for ..."

I try to take a photo of each knitted item I finish and then give it a name (eg Liam's Cardi) so that I know what I have made and for whom, my photo album on this pc is rather large and it's lovely to look through it and remember the pleasure I had both knitting and then giving the finished product.

Can you see my bunnies in my china cabinet at the top of the page? They were designed by this lovely blogger who lives in the Lake District and knit by me. I especially love the poster on the side of this page where the little lad is bundled up in his Mother's love but is wishing for a little more freedom lol

Soooo, do you knit or crochet?
 Do you "do it" in public like me?
Tell us your story please?


Wednesday 5 June 2013

A Little Lot of one pot!

I mentioned the wonderful slow cooker Fb group I'd joined last week recently and when Mum told me about her mince special that Dad loves I thought we were ready to try this all-in-one dinner prep.

My nickname should be "Thrift and Vegetables" but that's nearly as big a mouthful as this takes around 8 hours on slow so start early.

I browned 500gms of minced beef(if you don't brown it it 'melts' into the sauce and I like to know I'm eating a little meat)

While it was browning I chopped 4 carrots, 4 celery stalks, 3 potatoes, 2 sad tomatoes and a cup full of eggplant and turned on the kettle.
Put everything into the slow cooker along with

a tin of chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons of beef stock powder
1 t of dried herbs
big pinch of chili flakes
lots of pepper (the stock powder and tinned tomatoes add enough salt for me)
a dollop of Heinz tomato ketchup to finish the bottle.
enough hot water to cover everything, don't over do it though

Turn onto low and leave for 3-4 hours.

Then I added a tin of baked beans and stirred well and left it another 2 hours.
Now the piece de resistance!
2/3 of a cup of broken up spaghetti mixed in and cooked for another hour or so, this is the genius(lol) part as it thickens the stew beautifully.

steamy dinner ready to serve...the gravy has come to the top, it was a lovely thick stew...

We had this with the little bit of left-over Potato Bake I made yesterday...

fill the cooker to 2/3 capacity, trust me, it shrinks and is soooo delicious you'll kick yourself for not making more!
thinly sliced potatoes(washed but unpeeled)
thinly sliced onion(one is enough)
crushed garlic, salt and pepper
Pour over a cup or so of cream, I added a little grated cheese too

Have you got the Crockpot bug yet? What are your favourite dishes to make in a slow cooker?

Love from Sue

Monday 3 June 2013

Phoenix Turned 2!

How exciting, Phoebe's baby Phoenix is now two years old, what a cutie he is...

He's holding the $10 note we sent, having 12 grandchildren makes gifting harder but I save a little each pay to cover them all. We can't wait to meet you at last in August, Phoenix, hope you're having a very happy weekend.
Love from Granddad and Nana

Sunday 2 June 2013

Five Years Ago Today...

and it was Day 2 of our month in Paris. We left early to go exploring the city, from our apartment in the 16th arrondissement we made our way to the Metro at Trocadero and walked towards the Eiffel Tower...

  Our first stop was the cafe near St Augustin where Joe had left his favourite cap the day before when we had lunch there...

We then walked east along Boulevard Hausseman towards the Palais Garnier, the beautiful opera house of Paris, but first we were drawn into this Aladdin's Cave...

A side view of the Opera House... it is so big and so hemmed in by other large buildings that it was very difficult to photograph...the details are beautiful...

 This is part of the front...

On we walked in search of lunch...this was a little too costly for our budget...we had soup and a baguette in a rather modern little place just past here...

Joe met a friend in one of the beautiful covered  arcades from the 19th century...

My turn for a photie...

 A tiny shop dedicated to Tin Tin and his friends...

This is one of the very old city gates, the walls around Paris are long-gone but five of these magnificent gateways remain...this is the Porte St Denis

There are wonderful vistas in every direction, I'd love to look inside this building...

Another city gate, this one is Porte Saint-Martin

A cheeky and cheerful lorry driver spotted the camera...

We must have walked miles that day(and every day!) and at times there was simply too much to see and comprehend but I would return in a heartbeat and hope we will have that chance again.

Au revoir,