Category Archives: Knitting and crafts

Download a tutorial for felting with children, Pamper your feet, Update on newspaper seed pots, Watching veggies grow, Felting Bug, Wool Dying, Activity idea for grandchildren and a super Marshmallow Pavlova recipe

Hi everyone, hope you are all enjoying life to the full, exploring new projects and ideas, meeting up with friends and family and generally looking after your well being.

Recently I came across a couple of ideas for pampering your feet which I thought were worth sharing.   I loved the detox foot soak but so far haven’t got round to the foot scrub.

Detox Foot Soak
1 cup sea salt
1 cup epsom salt
1 cup baking soda
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil
3 tbsp dried lavender
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar, cap, and shake.
When you’re ready to use, fill a container that is large enough to fit both feet in with hot water. Add 1/2 cup of the foot soak powder and stir to dissolve. Place bare feet in the water and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes, but for up to 30. Relax, breathe, read a book, listen to some music. When your time is up, pat feet dry with a clean, dry towel.

 

Revitalizing Foot Scrub
1 cup coarse raw sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 tsp tea tree oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a resealable jar and stir to combine. When you’re ready to use, scoop a small amount of scrub into your palm and massage into feet, concentrating on heels, arches, any any rough patches. Leave on for 5 minutes, then rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Store scrub in a cool place, away from direct sunlight

 

Update on making and using newspaper pots

I wonder if any of you decided to make the newspaper pots for planting seeds and seedlings (instructions and video given in my blog of 27th July ).  They work really well and even though I thought they may fall to pieces when watering, so far they have maintained their shape.   Most of the giant sunflowers I planted have emerged and are doing well.  I have since planted some tomato and petunia seeds.  By the way, the more pots you make, the easier it becomes to get them square.   I found that the final step, which was creasing the points to allow them to want to form the bottom of the pot, is essential for success.

Sunflowers growing and further pots planted

Sunflowers growing and further pots planted

The joy of watching veggies grow

There is so much satisfaction to be gained from planting a few vegetable seeds and watching them grow to maturity.  The wonder of popping those little seeds into the ground and then eventually being rewarded by something you can eat is amazing.   I had the intention of cutting back this year but have found it really difficult to curb my enthusiasm.  Here are a few of my happy plants:

The felting bug

Yes, I’ve really got the felt bug.   With the assistance of the e-book I downloaded, Creating Felt Artwork, I’ve produced two wall hangings and a cushion which I had on show at the recent Coal Creek Heritage Park craft day.

It was a very successful day with demonstrations of spinning, weaving, lace making and wool dying and of course felt making.  The wool dying with both cold and hot water methods was extremely popular.  I was fascinated by the colours produced with the hot water method which included, brown onion skins, wattle flowers, eucalyptus leaves, red cabbage and fungi.  The fungi produced a very strange smell and appeared a real witches brew, the resultant colour of the dyed wool being a greyish blue.  The cold water method is more passive using Earth Palette Dyes but again the colours are impressive.  E-mail me for more details at   sbf@dcsi.net.au

I thought I would look into the history of wet felting and was rewarded with lots of information some of which I have copied here for those interested.

History of Feltmaking: What is Wool Felt

Felt is a non-woven fabric formed when sheep’s wool or animal fur is subjected to heat, moisture and pressure or agitation. Soap, or an alkaline environment, helps the felting process. Heat and moisture cause the outer scales along the fiber to open, and the soap allows the fibers to slide easily over one another thereby causing them to become entangled. The wool fibers are made up of a protein called keratin. The keratin in the fibers becomes chemically bound to the protein of the other fibers thereby resulting in a permanent bond between the fibers, making the felting process irreversible.

Felting is a simple technique requiring very little equipment. The main advantage felting has over other textile techniques is producing a finished product in much less time. No one knows for certain how humans first discovered the felting properties of wool and animal fur, but several ideas suggest how early humans may have become interested in making felt. Matted wool may have been noticed on sheep. Wool shed from wild sheep may have been found formed into a mass of fibers as a result of the elements. Perhaps they stuffed their foot ware, presumably animal hide, with wool to keep their feet warm. After walking on the wool for a while they found that it became stiff and formed a kind of fabric.

The oldest archaeological finds containing evidence of the use of felt are in Turkey. Wall paintings that date from 6500 to 3000 B.C. have been found which have the motif of felt appliquè. At Pazyryk in Southern Siberia archeological evidence of felt was found inside a frozen tomb of a nomadic tribal chief that dates from the fifth century B.C. The evidence from this find shows a highly developed technology of feltmaking. (These felts are in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Some pieces can be seen on the museums web site, www.hermitagemuseum.org) The Romans and Greeks knew of felt. Roman soldiers were equipped with felt breastplates (for protection from arrows), tunics, boots and socks. The earliest felt found in Scandinavia dates back to the Iron Age. Felt sheets believed to be from about 500 A.D. were found covering a body in a tomb in Hordaland, Norway.

Today felt is still in use in many parts of the world especially in areas with harsh climates. In Mongolia, nomads live in felt tents called yurts or gers. In Turkey, rugs, hats and other items are made of felt. In South Central Asia nomadic tribes use felt as tent coverings, rugs and blankets. Shepherds use felt cloaks (kepenek) and hats to protect them from the harsh climate. In Scandinavia and Russia, felt boots are produced and widely used. More recently there has been a revival in the interest in felt making especially in Great Britain and Scandinavia and also in the United States with contemporary felt making design and techniques becoming more widespread.

 

A great activity idea for when the grandchildren come for the day

Children love to be creative so having seen the interest that was shown in the felt wall hangings, cushions and hats plus wool dying,  at the craft day, I have put together a tutorial for Felting fun with children, which can be downloaded below.

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This is a quick and fun project to make with children – in an hour or so a child can make a masterpiece!  Children love to be creative and wet felting is an easy activity that allows them to do just that.  The tutorial will guide you through the steps that are needed to produce a small felt picture.  With the help of an adult a child can felt the flowers shown in the tutorial or a design from their own imagination.

The only problem I foresee is sourcing the correct wool for felting.  Some craft shops carry supplies, likewise Spotlight Stores and internet sites.   If you are interested I will be putting together a small kit which will include all you need to make one picture, e-mail me at sbf@dcsi.net.au for details.

>>CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD <<

 

Now to conclude this post here’s a delicious Marshmallow Pavlova recipe (courtesy of Jo Marty)

An amazing Marshmallow Pavlova (recipe courtesy of Jo Marty)

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MARSHMALLOW PAVLOVA
4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
1 dessertspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon vinegar
300 whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar extra
1 kiwi fruit or 1 banana
Method
Preheat oven to 110C
Beat egg whites thoroughly until stiff, add half cup caster sugar and beat again until sugar is dissolved (approx. 5 minutes)
Add remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly fold in sifted cornflour, then vinegar. Line base of a 20cm spring form tin with non-stick baking paper. Spray sides with non-stick spray. Spoon mixture into pan and level off the top. Bake gently for 1 hour. If the pavlova is browning the oven is too hot.
Allow to cool completely. Whip cream with 1 tablespoon sugar. Top pavlova with stiffly whipped cream and sliced fruit.
Serves 4 to 6

 

I’ve had a few computer glitches this week so think the following quote rings true:

The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time

Enjoy

Janice 

 

 

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Newspaper seed pots, Feeling thankful, A yummy snack, Looking back and Projects

Newspaper pots for seed starting and cuttings

For many of us gardening provides many hours of enjoyment and health giving benefits so it’s good to start thinking about Spring.  I like to start my seeds early and then plant them straight into the soil without having first to remove them from the container.  I think it avoids those early attacks from snails and slugs as the plants are more established.    Last year I bought some containers which were supposed to easily break down but they proved unsatisfactory as the roots of some plants became stunted failing to easily get through into the soil.    You just have to have a medium that breaks down otherwise you are wasting your time, so I did a bit of research  and found a tutorial on making pots for seed starting and cuttings using newspaper.  I followed the instructions but my pots didn’t come out as perfectly as shown on the tutorial.   I eventually realised that the newspaper I was using wasn’t the same size so I practiced cutting my paper until I sort of got right.  Having produced six pots, I merrily went down to the shed and planted some giant sunflower seeds, which failed last year.  Of course I’ll have to be careful when watering using a spray or the newspaper will quickly collapse.

Here’s a photo of my effort followed by the tutorial which shows the pots perfectly formed.  I wonder how long that took !

 

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Feeling thankful

With all the terrible things happening in the world, and who knows when it could affect one of us, I have been trying to stop having a groan about various small issues which really aren’t important.   I realise that regardless of our current circumstances, there are people who would trade places in a heartbeat.  I’ve decided to make it a daily habit to feel thankful for all the good things in my life and have been following some good advice from a recent article I read which is that before I go to sleep I think about one best thing that happened during the day and say “thank you, thank you, thank you”.  It’s amazing the things I’ve been taking for granted.  Let me know what you think about this challenge.   Some readers of my blog have mentioned there is no ‘Comment’ area, but you can use the ‘Leave a Reply’ invitation at the top of the page.

 

An easy and so yummy snack

Thought I would share this yummy recipe with you.  Only drawback is that you can’t stop tucking in.

You will need a tin of chickpeas, 2 tsp coconut oil, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1½ tsp honey, pinch of salt.

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Step one: Preheat your oven to 180C.

Step two: Drain your chickpeas and then rinse, dry and pop to the side.

Step three: Spread your chickpeas out onto a lined baking tray, and bake for around 40 minutes until crispy!

Step four: Pop them out of the oven and mix with your honey, cinnamon, salt and oil

Step five: Whilst still warm place back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes until golden.

 

Looking back and sharing special times

I originally posted this item on the 14th April 2015 and thought that I would  re-post it as there are now many more followers of the blog who may enjoy the story.  Even if you have read it before, perhaps you will revisit the experience.  So here goes:

Looking back over past achievements and getting together with those who shared those times can create many hours of enjoyment. I would like to relate one such story with you of how music became our lives.

During the 1960’s my brother, Ted (Vocal, Lead Guitar, Organ), got together with a group of friends, Alan, (Bass guitar), Colin (Drums), Peter (Vocal and Rhythm), Andy (Lead Vocalist and Song writer), to form a Rock Band. Ken, my husband, who had been an avid jazz fan up until that time, took to the music and became very involved, eventually performing the task of Manager touting for venues at which the group could perform and going out one day with our little Vauxhall Viva and returning with a Bedford Utilabrake van for the purpose of transporting all the equipment.

It was a heady time filled with hard work, ambition to succeed and purchasing of equipment to create better sound quality. The group first practiced in a room adjacent to my parents house and then in our garage and later in a room at the Red Lion pub at Northchurch (UK) One of their first big opportunities came when they won a Beat Group Competition at Hemel Hempstead (UK) with the name THE ASSOCIATES. What excitement. The boys were always supported by their girlfriends who travelled around to the venues with them putting up with late nights and lots of just sitting around.

Over the years the group supported many well-known bands one of whom was Bill Hayley and the Comets at a venue in Dunstable. Once they were booked as top of the bill in Llandudno, North Wales and another time in Newmarket where their PA amp blew up. The other group performing that night were The Idle Race who allowed them to use their equipment. The lead singer and guitarist was Jeff Lynne who went on to front ELO and write their songs. He was also in the Travelling Wilburys after being producer for Tom Petty, George Harrison and Roy Orbison. Now I realise that many of my readers may not be aware of these names, but it could be of interest to some.

The group continued for many years until the music scene changed. Alan (Bass) is the keeper of the Groups history and has been in contact with us over the years sharing stories, photos and a copy of a record The Associates made. He has maintained his interest in all things musical, likewise my brother Ted, who still has his Fender and Gibson guitars plus others I believe.

Though Ken and I are unable to meet up with the members of the group due to tyranny of distance, we were so happy when Alan sent a photo of a get-together they had recently at a birthday party. I wonder if you can spot which is which now, but first Ken and I toast them with this photo from those days (venue unknown).  Just look at that hair-style!

Janice and Ken in the 60's

Janice and Ken in the 60’s

THE ASSOCIATES

and here they are now:

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Listen to their record, Virginia Water (written by Andy)

 

Projects

I’ve been pursuing quite a few projects recently i.e. knitting, spinning and felting.  If you are at all interested in felting you will love visiting  http://www.rosiepink.typepad.co.uk.  I have just bought their e-book Creating Felt Artwork.  It’s truly inspiring and my fingers itch to get started.   My spinning skills are slowly improving but I think it will be a long time before the wool comes out uniform.  I was given a 1kg roll of Bendigo Mills fine merino toppings which I have been working on.  If and when that’s spun I will try to knit a cardigan but I’m not holding my breath.  My daughter asked me if I would knit her a jumper which I finished a couple of weeks ago.  I used Bendigo Mills Pattern 8290 in 8 ply with good results.  Here’s a photo:

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I’ll sign off with this quote:

Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures

Janice

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The not so retired retirees, Soap making, Don’t be discouraged, Useful tips and a story to make you smile

The not so retired retirees

Recently I have been thinking about what it means to be retired.  Our generation is known for a strong work ethic, but I’m not sure we could keep up with some inspirational seniors, who still work full time even in their 90s.  Apparently recent studies have shown that as you work past 65, your life expectancy increases.  Here are the three not so retired retirees I read about recently.

Jean Beanham, 92

Beanham’s Melbourne motorbike parts store has been a fixture of Elizabeth Street for more than four decades, and the 92-year-old has been there through it all. Her 38-hour work week runs from Monday to Friday plus a half-day on Saturday. “I don’t like holidays,” Beanham says “When you get old, you need your brain working.”

Agnes Zhelesnik, 102

This amazing teacher really is 102 years old.  In fact, she has officially been named America’s oldest living schoolteacher. Affectionately known as “Granny” by her pupils, Zhelesnik only began teaching at the age of 81 and still works 35 hours a week at the Sundance School in New Jersey. “I’m busy every minute,” she says.
Reginald Huntley, 96

This British grandfather works 40 hours a week, travelling around Kent in the UK selling woollen clothing and accessories. Rising at 6 am every morning, Huntley works 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. In an interview with Mirror Online, he says, “I hate the thought of sitting at home because people deteriorate.” As for what keeps him going? Huntley visits the gym once a week and loves a good meal of “meat and two veg.”

These three obviously really enjoy what they do, but likewise changing your lifestyle after retirement can open up new challenges and opportunities.  Retirement doesn’t actually mean that you stop work, far from it.  There is time to pursue those things you have had in the back of your mind to do if only you had time together with other activities you never thought it possible that you would enjoy or try.   As we age everything has to be tailored to suit our abilities and needs, but through our local clubs, community houses, libraries, on line courses of every category etc. there is something for everyone to help you retire and enjoy to the full.

Soap making

More years ago than I care to remember, possibly in the 80’s during my alternative lifestyle era, I had a go at soap making.  I recall writing to tell my mother back in UK all about it.  I quickly received a reply from her saying that if I couldn’t buy soap in Australia, she would send me some.  Anyway when I saw a Goats Milk Soap Making course being offered at my local Community House, I booked in.  With all the so called “natural” soaps on the market, I had the mistaken idea that it was possible to produce soap without the use of lye, apparently not so, a fact the course leader acquainted us with at the start of proceedings.   All real soap is made with lye (sodium hydroxide mixed with liquid).  However with the chemical changes that take place during the soap making process, namely, saponification, the finished product does not contain lye.  If you would like to know more about these facts, check out Wikipedia.

I have to say it was a very enjoyable morning with much laughter and chatter.  After having the process demonstrated, we were divided into groups of four, provided with the ingredients which consisted of goats milk, solidified oil, copha, vegetable oil and caustic soda (lye) plus our choice of essential oils, clays, colours or abrasives together with the necessary utensils, following which we set to work with varying degrees of success.

So far I haven’t practiced at home.  We didn’t add any colour other than clay during the course and I thought the finished product looked quite grey and uninteresting, although having used the samples we were given, the soap smells and lathers really well and is soft on the skin.  I have written to the course leader to obtain some more advice.

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If anyone would like the actual soap recipe and instructions, I’m happy to send you a copy.  Just drop me a line at sbf@dcsi.net.au.

 

Don’t be discouraged if you mess up a project there can be a silver lining

Having joined a Spinners group some months ago, I have been practicing my technique under the mentorship of Joan, a long time spinner with 15 years under her belt.  I really do appreciate all her help and advice.  In fact all the members of the group have been fantastic.    Believe me it’s harder than you ever imagined.   Having eventually got to the point where I could spin ‘reasonably’ well,  I decided I would like to start from scratch, washing a fleece, drying, preparing for spinning (carding), then eventually spinning, plying and knitting a finished article to wear.

Without going into too much detail, I thought I had the wool ready for spinning and took it to show Joan, who on inspection kindly said “it will make really good stuffing”.  Apparently I had pulled the fleece in all directions instead of in the way of the staple (direction which the wool grows) which would cause lumps when attempting to spin a smooth thread.  I had so much to learn.  However, over the next few weeks I watched some YouTube spinning videos and saw one  lady who spun absolutely anything and everything.  Out came my wheel and ‘stuffing’ together with some bits and pieces of coloured wool my friend brought back from Chile and I set to work.   Yes big lumps and bumps did emerge, breakages frequently occurred,  but undaunted I spun on and eventually had enough to make a small circular scarf.    Here’s my finished article which I’m quite proud of and wear frequently.

 

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A few useful tips for using Cream of Tartar

I was reading an article recently about the varied uses of Cream of Tartar and thought I would share a few of them with you.  I realise of course that you may already have them in your repertoire but if not you may find them useful.

Stain Remover
Make a paste of cream of tartar mixed with lemon juice to lift stains on clothing and carpets. Let the paste sit for an hour or two, then either machine wash as usual, or blot with a damp cloth. This mixture works well on ink stains!

Kitchen Cleaner
Make a paste of cream of tartar mixed with white vinegar to make a great all-purpose kitchen cleaner. Use it on burner pans, grout lines, ovens, sinks, and to clean up mould and mild

Coffee Pot
Clean stains and residue out of your coffee pot by sprinkling cream of tartar inside. Add boiling water to fill the pot, let the pot cool to room temperature, and rinse well.

Homemade Playdough
Make homemade playdough by mixing 1 cup of flour, 1 cup water, 1 cup salt, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon cream of tartar, and 3-5 drops of food dye (optional). Add more flour if the mixture is wet or sticky, or add more water if the mixture is too dry.

Meringue Miracle
Add an 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for each 2 egg whites in your meringue. The acid from the cream of tartar will stabilize the egg whites and add volume to your finished product.

A story to share and make you smile

I’m going to finish this post with a happy story.  I can’t imagine riding around a busy city like Lima in Peru on a bicycle but what fun – enjoy.

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On May 23, 2016, photographer Jean Paul Merino posted photo to a Facebook community page for aspiring and professional photographers. Today the photo, titled “Tercer Juventud” (Third Youth) has over 1,000 ‘likes’. Here’s the photographer’s story behind the spontaneous image that would capture hearts (and thumbs up) around cyber space.
I was heading for the center of Lima on my bike, and suddenly I crossed paths with an elderly couple enjoying a bicycle ride. They were both laughing, and it caught my attention. So, without thinking twice, I pursued them for what would be 3 blocks in order to capture the scene, and waited on a corner with my camera and backpack for that shot.
I published the photo on my Facebook group, Peru StreetPhotography …[and] a week later, a Ms. Anita Navarro wrote me, congratulating me for the photograph. She said she was the daughter of the woman on the bicycle.
Then, she continued to tell me the couple’s story: The man is the husband of her sister, who died 14 years ago. He was left alone with their four daughters, so Anita’s mother stepped in to help raise the girls. The man never remarried.
The family has told me the couple likes the photo and have no problems with my having posted it on social media – to the contrary, they are quite pleased. I plane to give them a copy of the photograph.

I’ll sign off with this quote:

A GOOD LIFE IS WHEN YOU SMILE OFTEN, DREAM BIG, LAUGH A LOT AND REALISE HOW BLESSED YOU ARE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE

Janice

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Meet 2 interesting and gifted ladies, make easy Banana Ice Cream

Meet 2 interesting and gifted ladies

Noelene Lyons – Genealogist and Family History Researcher

Noelene Lyons

Noelene Lyons

I first met Noelene last year at a Moviemakers Club Meeting and having previously been told of her interest and knowledge of cemeteries, asked if she would be able to spend some time with me chatting about her cataloging work  (as mentioned in a previous blog post).  Last week I was fortunate enough to spend three hours with Noelene during which time I was absolutely amazed by her knowledge of both cemeteries and genealogy together with many other activities with which she is involved.

I started the conversation by asking Noelene what sparked her initial interest in cemeteries.  She told me that as a child her parents went on regular picnics and during these trips they usually parked close by a cemetery and walked around.  It was not until she was on her honeymoon in Port Campbell (a coastal town in Victoria Australia) that her interest was reignited when she decided to wander around the local cemetery.  Although life was very busy during the following years, raising children, running a business with her husband and caring for other family members, she said she still took time out to wander around a cemetery.

Unfortunately her husband had a very bad car accident which left him with some disability so that’s when they decided to move from Melbourne to their present location in Inverloch a seaside town in Gippsland, Victoria.  In 1990 Noelene said she was left alone at home with her dog, the children were all at school, her husband was working part time and she felt at a loss.  After working for many years and now semi retired she asked herself  “what to do”.  She started taking an interest in the history of the local area and became involved with the starting of  Wonthaggi Genealogy in 1997 helping catalogue the resources of the area, its schools and shops.  She found that there had been 18 cemeteries which fell into three groups, Private Cemetery, Old Cemetery and current cemeteries.  Noelene studies burial registries, copies to a data base and takes photos.

Eventually she was tracked down by the Cemetery Trust Group of Melbourne and asked to provide the history of the area which she has been doing.

Noelene provided me with detailed information about her work which I found fascinating.  For example sometimes she has to walk through paddocks and rough ground to locate an old cemetery, not in summer she said for fear of snakes,  to take photos and document burial sites as shown in these photos of  of Woodside Cemetery, Yarram, South Gippsland, Victoria.

She also explained what happens in the case of a property that has family burial sites.  It is possible for the property to be sold but an area of an acre remains around the burial and is the property of the original family or their heirs.

Often there are problems locating where a person is buried or who occupies a certain grave.  She draws what is termed a ‘Mud Map’ – like this:

 Plot .31    Plot  32     Plot  33      Plot 34     Plot 5     Plot 36
 Jones A    Dodd C   No plaque

which is a map of the rows of graves.   She documents the plots that have names, then photographs the rows of graves following which she views the photos and compares the Burial Registry and makes comments.  Noelene says it’s like a huge jigsaw.

In addition to all this work Noelene runs workshops to help people find a relative who may have been a convict transported to Australia, continues her work documenting historical schools and is presently recording details of the history of Wonthaggi State Coalminers.  Apparently there are many photographs of these miners but no details of who they are.  A campaign is being run in the local papers to see if anyone can identify them.

If all this isn’t enough Noelene helps people with their family trees, provides a Computer Tutoring Service for 50+ age group and pursues her hobby of locating and selling collectables like salt and pepper pots, teapots and money boxes.

At 65 Noelene, who now only has one kidney and suffered ill health for a couple of months last year,  is a wonderful example of what one lady can achieve.  You can contact Noelene by e-mail if you would like to seek her help at  noelene@dcsi.net.au.

Rhonda Armstrong embroiderer –  special project 

Rhonda Armstrong

Rhonda Armstrong

Rhonda enjoys water aerobics which is where we first met, often having a chat after class about our various activities.  A couple of weeks ago she mentioned that she was making a baby blanket as a gift for the daughter of her sister-in-law who sadly died last year without knowing she was going to be a grandmother, something she had longed for.  Rhonda also discovered, tucked away, some giraffes her sister-in-law had made and given to her for her youngest child some 40 years ago.  This sparked the idea of making these into a baby mobile for the coming baby which she has now completed

 

What a truly wonderful gift this mobile will be for Rhonda’s niece when she finds out her mother made these giraffes and now she has them for her baby.

Rhonda worked in the Head Office of The Embroiderers Guild of Vitoria for 18 years.  The Guild offers workshops and courses at all levels, meetings, monthly special interest sit and sew groups, exhibitions, a borrowing and reference library plus a newsletter.  All these promote the art and skills of both traditional and contemporary embroidery and textile arts.  Beginners are always welcome.  http://www.embroiderersguildvic.org

 

EASY BANANA ICE CREAM (courtesy of Jo Marty from her book HOW TO EAT WELL FOR NEXT TO NOTHING

You simply won’t believe how creamy and ice cream-like this dessert is.  Recipe only works in a food processor.

You will need 4 large ripe bananas plus 1 tablespoon of honey

Method:  Peel bananas and wrap with plastic food wrap.  Freeze for several hours.  Chop bananas into a food processor. Process until creamy, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally, then add honey and blend through.  Serves 4.

 

LISTENING TO WHAT PEOPLE SAY

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what someone has to say.  

This was brought home to me the other day when I was trying to get some information and the person I was talking to had absolutely no interest in what I was trying to say.  I came away very frustrated.  Is this happening to you or do I need to upgrade my skills of communication?

I’ll be back soon

Janice  

 

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Dog friendly short holidays, Events, Crafts, Gardening, Recipe + more

Dog friendly short holiday accommodation and horse muster

Over the Easter long weekend we were lucky enough to find the most amazing dog friendly bed and breakfast accommodation through Airbnb, a site where you can rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries.  Here’s the  link if you want to check out the site:  www.airbnb.com.au.  We travelled north to Euroa in Victoria and stayed with Tessa at The Terrace Bed and Breakfast in a self contained cottage on her property in a perfect setting.  The cottage was beautifully appointed down to the last detail and the breakfasts superb.   We were reluctant to leave when the time came and so too was our dog Ferdie who had enjoyed the company of Tessa’s little dog during the visit.

 

Our  trip was primarily to attend the annual Moora Horse Muster and take the opportunity at the same time to visit Echuca on the Murray River and view the paddle steamers.    If you’re at all interested in working horses and a glimpse back into the past, this can be a great and enjoyable experience.  The muster started with a parade through the streets of Rushworth, a town that was established during the Victorian gold rush in 1853 and was named by poet and later local Goldfields Commissioner, Richard Henry Horne in 1854,  and continued on Sunday at the Moora Recreation Reserve some 7 km away.

Since our return Ken has been busy downloading lots of film from his camera which is still a work in progress but he has produced the following video of the horse parade and muster for me to include in this post.

 

 

Gardening

My garden is looking quite sad through lack of water and the effects of the climate being so variable.  Some vegetables simply couldn’t make it especially the snap beans and runner beans though I must say the pumpkins peppers and carrots did really well.   I lifted the last of my carrots and planted some more seeds.  We’ve decided to cut back on the veggie plot, just too hard battling the elements, so are about to take down two of the raised beds and limit what we grow.

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Ken says you start off as a young man desiring acres of land, slowly over the years your expectations decline to being happy with a large plot, then it’s a small plot and then it’s a patio until finally you are really happy with window boxes.  I don’t think we have quite got to that stage although Ken has bought some of those small fruit trees which grow happily in pots.

If you are a keen gardener and want inspiration visit Lamely Nursery’s web site or Facebook page.  www.lambley.com.au.   David Glenn’s Lambley Nursery and Garden is set around an old farmhouse in the hot dry wind swept plains of the central Victorian Goldfields.  The garden features frost-hardy plants requiring very little watering and is world renowned as a benchmark in dry climate and sustainable gardening.   Ken and I visited the nursery last year and were truly inspired though unfortunately haven’t been able to get our plants to grow in the same way.

Crafts – wool dying

I recently attended a hands-on wool dying session with the Korumburra Spinners Group at Coal Creek Heritage Village.  My friend Olga came with me and we had a very informative morning using the various dyes.  There’s quite a technique to getting the process correct so it’s a matter of trial and error.  Olga’s wool dyed really well but mine felted.  I have since been told that was probably because the wool Olga used had been spun but mine had not so the effects of drying the dyed wool were different.  If you are interested in a fuller explanation e-mail me at retireandenjoy@dcsi.net and I’ll send out details.  Here are a couple of photos of the session in progress.

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Recipe for ANT RID

My recipe today is not for food but one I was given for ANT RID which I am sure we all need from time to time:

2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons borax

Place in a saucepan and boil three minutes then cool.  Store in a sealed jar making sure the lid is tight or the ants will find the mixture.

Pour some into jar lids and place in the path of the ants.  Be patient as they will not come to the liquid immediately.  By day two they are usually swarming.  Many will disappear with some of the liquid and others will remain in the lid.  Use two lids if you think it warrants it.  When the activity stops, remove the lids and discard the whole thing into a plastic bag and then into an outside rubbish bin.

Wash saucepan thoroughly.  Best to scald with boiling water as well as washing.

I’ll close this post with

The Five W’s of Life:

WHO you are is what makes you special.  Do not change for anyone.

WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery.  Do not be afraid to explore.

WHEN life pushes you over, you push back harder.

WHERE there are choices to make, make the one you won’t regret.

WHY things happen will never be certain.  Take it in your stride and move forward.

 

Janice

 

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FINDING AN ON LINE COURSE, VOLUNTEERING, KEEPING IN TOUCH, RECIPES AND CRAFTS

Finding an on-line course that has the bonus of being free

Have you heard of FutureLearn?  I recently found this site where you can browse free on line courses from top universities and specialist organisations.  You are able to join courses that are about to start or are in progress or register to find out when courses will run again.  Ken booked in for three courses, two with regard to film making and one run by the University of Southampton, UK, dealing with the Battle of  Agincourt in 1415.  There are opportunities for you to offer your opinions regarding the course you are taking, ask questions and join in a forum with other participants.  Amazingly the courses are all free.

There are a large number of topics available on a variety of subjects so have a look at their site:

www.futurelearn.com/courses

U3A courses

This morning I attended a course at my local U3A on Memoir Writing.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or whether it would help me with the writing of the book I have in progress covering our ‘alternative lifestyle’ days.  That still remains to be seen but hearing snippets of other peoples life experiences was so interesting and inspiring.  Human endeavour is absolutely amazing and should be documented.   As I have mentioned before, if you are unable to find the type of course you are looking for, have a look at the U3A website where they offer on-line courses in variety. www.u3aonline.org.au

Volunteering

After the death of Josephine, the lady I was visiting through the Community Visitor Scheme, I was undecided whether to continue on the program.  It can be a challenge when you realise that many of the inhabitants of the Aged Care Facilities where you visit  are only a little older, and in many cases, younger than yourself.  However, when Rosemary, the Co-ordinator of the program, rang me and asked if I would be interested in visiting Dorothy who is 102 and in need of a visitor who could chat and listen to her life stories, I just had to accept.  I visited Dorothy for the first time this week and spent a really enjoyable hour in her company.  I was amazed to find that she can see perfectly without glasses and loves a game of bowls in the recreation facility at the home.  She told me about her family, the number of which she has lost count, and of her late husband who she met when she was 14 but didn’t marry until she was 24.    I anticipate having many happy visits with her.

How rewarding volunteering can be!

Keeping in touch with family and friends

I was reflecting recently on friends and aquaintances that had passed through my life and who I no longer had regular contact with.  This got me to thinking how great it would be to re-establish some of these connections so I made some phone calls and wrote some letters.  Everyone I contacted was pleased to hear from me and although it hasn’t been possible to meet some personally due to tyranny of distance, we have exchanged e-mail addresses and agreed to keep in contact.  One really enjoyable experience was finding the son of a friend on Facebook and asking if he could put us in touch again.  He arranged for us to chat on Skype when she visited him and it turned out to be a very long conversation.  We first met when both 16 at an interview to enter Secretarial College.   She has now bought an iPad but has not yet mastered using Skype though I’m sure she will quite soon.

Fortunately I have managed to keep in contact with most of my cousins in England and a few friends of my late mother, two of whom still write long and interesting letters.  Sadly one of my cousin’s has developed alzheimer’s and is no longer able to communicate, so I am glad that I maintained contact with her over the years.

Friends and family make up the fabric of our lives.

Update on my felt-making project

My friend Olga recently returned from visiting family in Chile and kindly brought back a present for me of some beautiful carded wool in brilliant colours.  I decided I must make a vest-type jacket for her as a thank you.  I did some practice panels,  and eventually a panel which will be cut into two for the actual jacket.  I still need to do more panels in order to complete the vest.  One panel I made was a complete disaster as I didn’t use sufficient material and it turned out covered in holes.  Perhaps there will be a use for it in a later project.  Ken  took some film of me doing the felting with the idea in mind of eventually making a short film of the process.    He produced what I thought was a nice title showing some of the coloured wool.  There’s a lot of perfecting on my part before a film could be made but there’s a challenge on the horizon.

 

Title for proposes movie showing carded wool

Title for proposed movie showing carded wool

Sharing recipes

A couple of weeks ago I decided to look through all my cookery books with the idea of discarding those not used.  Goodness what a collection and what memories were contained within those pages.  I spent an enjoyable couple of hours recalling successes and failures.  My most used book is one given to me as a wedding gift by my Aunt Helen.  It has lost the cover and the index is stabled together at the back but it’s still the book I pull out first for an old time favourite.   Another of my well used cookery books is one I bought when I first came to Australia in 1976 and is The Rodale Cookbook from Fitness House, Pennsylvania, USA.  One of the recipes I’m confident you will enjoy and which I always have in the cupboard is

Almond Crunch Cereal   

Preheat oven to 225F/110C
3 cups uncooked rolled oats (not quick oats)
1½ cups dry coconut shreds, unsweetened
½ cup wheat germ or soy grits
1 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ cup honey
¼ cup oil
½ cup cold water
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup raisins (optional)

Combine oats, coconut, wheat germ or soy grits, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Toss ingredients together thoroughly.

Combine honey and oil. Add the cold water, a little at a time, mixing until crumbly.

Pour mixture into a large, heavy, shallow baking pan which has been lightly brushed with oil. Spread mixture evenly to edges of pan.

Place on middle rack of preheated oven and bake for 1½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Add almonds and bake for a further ½ hour. Mixture should be dry and light brown in colour and feel crisp to the touch.

Turn oven off and allow cereal to cool in oven. If raisins are to be added to cereal, do so at this point. Remove cereal from oven, cool and put in a tightly covered container. Store in a cool dry place. Yield 8 cups.

A recipe from my book:  What to eat if you don’t have meat

BEAN CURRY

1 medium tin red kidney beans
1 clove garlic crushed
4 mushrooms
4 medium carrots
300ml stock
2 cooking apples
2 medium onions
3 large potatoes
2 tsp Madras curry powder (or your own mix)
1 tsp yeast extract

Fry onion and garlic gently in oil then add sliced apple and continue cooking until pulped. Add sliced mushrooms and carrots together with curry powder, stock and yeast extract. Cut potatoes into small chunks and add to curry. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer very gently for half an hour. Add kidney beans and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes.

It’s well worth making up a double quantity of this recipe and freezing because it will be a firm favourite with everyone.

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Well once again I’ve come to the end of the blog but will sign off with a quote:

LIFE IS LIKE A CAMERA

  • FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT
  • CAPTURE THE GOOD TIMES
  • DEVELOP FROM THE NEGATIVES
  • IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT, TAKE ANOTHER SHOT

 

Janice

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A NEW SKILL, WATER AEROBICS, PROJECTS, RECIPES

A new skill

Although obtaining ‘a new skill’ wasn’t on my desired achievement list for 2016, I was recently inspired by a blog I came across where the author had taken up whittling.  Amongst her many projects were crochet hooks.  I just couldn’t resist the temptation to have a go.  Ken pulled a face when I told him and suggested I would cut myself.  Anyway he very kindly came up with some twigs for me to practice on and I tried to follow the instructions in the blog without much success.  I decided to resort to a YouTube tutorial which was extremely helpful and gave a list of requirements needed before you could commence your project i.e. a sharp craft knife or similar, various grades of sandpaper and of course the material you were going to whittle.

i didn’t cut myself but had aching shoulders and sore fingers from all the sanding.  I have to say it really isn’t easy to make the hook but with persevierance some sort of success can be achieved.  Of course you have to get the wood very smooth otherwise your wool will catch and snag when crocheting on your finished hook.

You may well wonder why on earth I wanted to try and whittle but the idea brought back memories of both my grandads sitting on the back step whittling.  Ken also remembers his grandad making cigarette holders from cherry wood.

Here’s a photo of my efforts:

4 hooks with croched cushion

4 hooks with crochet cushion

If you would like links to the Tutorials I viewed, e-mail me at retireandenjoy@dcsi.net.au and I’ll be happy to pass them all on.

Crochet

On the subject of crochet, I really have taken to the creative possibilities and following on from the success with the blanket I made for my daughter’s Christmas gift, I recently completed a second blanket for use by Ken and I during the winter months.  Must say I was a bit ambitious with the size because it really is rather large.

Blanket which took 1.2kg wool

Blanket which took 1.2kg wool

I’ve acquired a pattern for an antique type throw but need to get some advice from the Crochet Group before I attempt what are termed ‘puff stitches’.  I think a lot of practice will be required.

Water Aerobics

If you don’t already pursue some exercise activity, have you thought about water aerobics?Every week I try to attend three early sessions at my local gym.  It has become so popular that there are now six classes a week.   After the class refreshments are provided and in addition to the social aspect of the group there are the health giving benefits which I think we are all looking for as the years roll by.  Some of these benefits are documented as:

  •  Aqua aerobics can benefit us as we age by improving muscular development and our cardiovascular system
  • Since water buoyancy supports your weight, strain on joints, back and torso is greatly reduced
  • Due to increased resistance under water, it burns a great deal of calories, up to 400-500 calories/an hour taking any excess body weight off
  • Long term aqua aerobics increase joint flexibility and lowers the risk of stress and anxiety

Can you spot me in this recent photo of the group?

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Vegetarian cookery

On each of my blogs I have decided to share with you a recipe from one of my cookery books.   You certainly don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these recipes, in fact it might help if  you are looking for a substitute when cutting down on the amount of meat you eat.   I know in the UK the idea of a meat free Monday is widely promoted.

SEMOLINA CHEESE FRITTERS

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120g/4oz semolina
1 small onion
1 bay leaf and 1 clove
600ml/1 pint milk
125g/4oz grated cheese
Large tbs parsley chopped
Egg and wheatgerm to coat

Pin bay leaf to onion with clove and place in saucepan with milk. Heat until almost boiling then remove and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Discard onion, bay leaf and clove and re-boil milk sprinkling in semolina, being sure to stir continuously until very thick. Remove from heat and add cheese and parsley.

Turn out mixture onto a small wet dinner plate and with a knife dipped in water smooth over. Leave to become quite cold in the fridge. Cut into portions like a cake.  Coat with egg and wheatgerm or breadcrumbs and fry in hot shallow oil until crisp and golden. Alternatively bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes turning once.

If you would like to view any of my cookery books you can find them at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

Two recipes for when you have excess quantities of cucumbers and rhubarb 

Depending on which hemasphere you reside in you may well have an abundance of certain produce.  I have far too many cumbers and loads of rhubarb.  Rhonda a companion at water aerobics passed on a recipe for rhubarb chutney which I decided to try.  Mine came out somewhat stringy but I think I should have chopped the rhubarb into smaller pieces and made shaw there were no stringy bits at the same time.  It tastes really nice so the stringiness really hasn’t spoilt it.   I also have a really unusual recipe for preserving cucumbers which I have used for years and shared many times with others.  Here are both the recipes:

RHUBARB CHUTNEY

½ kilo rhubarb chopped, 120g sultanas, 1½ cups brown sugar, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp curry powder, 2 onions chopped, 1¼ cups vinegar, 1 tbs mustard seeds, 1 tsp ground ginger.

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan, bring to boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 1¼ hours or until mixture is thick (I stood the saucepan on a trivet to prevent burning).  Pour into hot sterilised jars, seal when cold.

PICKLED CUCUMBER USING THE FREEZER

This is not your typical pickle recipe and will produce a crisp sweet pickle that goes well in salads, on sandwiches or as a side. The secret to the crisp texture is the sugar, so do not reduce its content.  Of course you may have to vary the recipe depending on the amount of cucumber you wish to pickle.  

1 litre volume of cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced, 1 small onion sliced thinly, ½ tbs salt, ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup white distilled vinegar.

Mix cucumber, onions and salt in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl on the work top for 2 hours.  Pour into a colander and drain water from cucumber mixture.  Combine sugar and vinegar.  Stir well and pour over cucumbers.  Pack into freezer containers or zip-closure bags (ideal).  Freeze immediately.  Pickles are ready to eat in 3-4 days.  

International Women’s Day (March 8)

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.  If you would like ideas for celebrating the day visit the following link:

www.internationalwomensday.com 

I’ll sign off with one of Buddha’s quotes:

DO NOT DWELL IN THE PAST, DO NOT DREAM OF THE FUTURE, CONCENTRATE THE MIND ON THE PRESENT MOMENT

Janice

 

 

 

 

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ENJOYING RETIREMENT IN 2016

WELCOME TO RETIRE AND ENJOY IN 2016

Firstly I would like to thank all my Blog followers for their continued support and wish everyone, including those who are not yet retired, a year filled with opportunities and achievements.  It’s probably a good idea to make a plan of what goals you would like to accomplish whether it’s to catch up with friends, start an exercise regimen, travel, volunteer or work on something you’ve been putting off until you had time.  Many of us hate making lists but if you write down a “to achieve list” you can refer back to it in the future just to check on your progress.  Of course conversely you could also make a “not to continue doing” list which could prove interesting.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Break a bad habit
  • Learn a new skill
  • Do a good deed
  • Visit a new place
  • Read a difficult book
  • Write something important
  • Try a new food
  • Do something good for someone who cannot thank you
  • Take an important risk

Now I would like to share the contents of my “to achieve list” with you:

  1. Complete the Upper Advanced Spanish Course that I stopped doing last August because the homework became quite daunting and difficult.
  2. Sew a bomber jacket with felt panels.  I have plenty of wool over from the felt hats I made so no excuse.
  3. Complete a book about my family’s adventures with an alternative lifestyle i.e. living without electricity for 10 years, building a mud brick house and running a goat dairy.  This book has been in progress for far too long.
  4. Try to practice the piano each day.  I’m only a novice.
  5. Enjoy every day to the full.

I’ll keep you up to date.  It’s a bit of an ask especially items 3 and 4

5 REASONS TO VOLUNTEER IN RETIREMENT

Because I am very passionate about volunteering  I would like to share with you an article I came across  recently on the website  www.oversixty.com.au which listed five reasons to volunteer in retirement:

Want an active, happy and meaningful retirement? The evidence shows that volunteering isn’t just good for the community, it’s also good for you. Here’s five reasons why you should consider volunteering in retirement.

1. You’ll find satisfaction

It’s better to give than to receive, and the data backs this up. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, volunteers – defined as someone in the previous 12 months who willing gave unpaid help – reported higher levels of life satisfaction than non-volunteers.

2. You’ll be happier

Numerous studies have shown that volunteering not only makes people feel emotionally better but boosts their own happiness. 

3. You’ll connect with the community

For some people, retirement can lead to loneliness, boredom and a sense of isolation. Volunteering both opens you up to the wider community and connects you with likeminded people.
4. Your health will improve

Studies have found volunteering has many health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and a longer life span.

5. You will have a greater sense of purpose

It’s been long known there’s a significant correlation between volunteer work and social wellbeing but research from Duke University and the National University of Singapore that looked at data of 3,200 volunteering Americans found that volunteering just one day a month will give your life a greater sense of purpose.

JOINING A CLUB

Joining a film making group has been an inspiring experience for Ken so if you have a passion to learn a new skill it’s well worth looking around to find a suitable course.  The University of the Third Age is a good place to start or your local Community House.  Shire Councils put out a book which includes all the clubs in your area together with contact details likewise the library is a fund of information.

Since his youth Ken has had the desire to ride the high seas on a sailing ship having been inspired by the Hornblower book series.  Late last year his dream came true when he found that trips were available on a replica vessel sailing from Mornington in Victoria, Australia.  He booked on line and enjoyed himself so much that he took a subsequent trip.  I decided to keep my feet firmly on terra firma but was able to take a little film from the cliffs which have been included in the production.

I hope you enjoy the film Ken produced of his adventure:

 

Crocheting

I have decided to continue joining the group of ladies at my local Community House this year for their weekly get together of crochet, knitting and project discussion.  Just before Christmas I was inspired by a blanket pattern I saw on a crochet blog to make one as a present for my daughter.  Because the blogger was American the yarn she used was not available here in Australia so I had a bit of difficulty sourcing what was needed.  However, with a few false starts, some undoing of rows and issues with row  lengths, I managed to complete the task.  I did deviate from the pattern by using contrasting wool mainly because I didn’t purchase enough material in the first place.  My daughter was delighted with her gift and one of my granddaughters has put in an order for her next Birthday.

Christmas present for my daughter

Christmas present for my daughter

Whilst searching for wool supplies on line I joined   www.ravelry.com – Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content is all user- driven and is a great place for you to keep notes about your projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world in their forums.

ROCKET, FETA & POMEGRANATE SALAD

Here’s a salad recipe I located on Pinterest recently.  The description is a bright, crisp salad which is a little different but it works really well.

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Ingredients:

• 200g feta
• ½ lemon, zested and juiced
• 120g rocket
• 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 red onion, sliced
• 2 pomegranate, seeds only
• Salt and pepper, to season
Method:

1. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, vinegar and olive oil together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine rocket, pomegranate seed, red onion and feta cheese. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

REMINISCING

I wonder if like us you have piles and piles of old films in various forms that haven’t seen the light of day for many a year.  One friend told me that her husband had transferred their films to a memory stick (hope I have that right) and when they take a coffee break they watch and enjoy.  Ken has recently decided to transfer our old footage and what a walk down memory lane that has turned out to be.  A few tears have been shed when seeing parents and family members no longer with us.

Here’s a real antique that our son came up with of Ken in his ‘alternative lifestyle’ days.

Ken on the farm with the leader of our goat herd

Ken on the farm with the leader of our goat herd

I’ll sign off this blog with a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

IN THE END, IT’S NOT THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE THAT COUNT, IT’S THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS

Janice

 

 

 

 

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ACTIVITES, PROJECTS, IDEAS VOLUNTEERING AND MORE

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Hello everyone.  I have lots to chat about so here goes.

Recently I came across BLOGLOVIN which is a platform that allows users to read, organise and discover their favourite blogs on mobile and desktop.  You can easily find blogs on any subject in which you have an interest.  I have been inspired by the creativity of people especially the dressmaking and crochet blogs which provide so many ideas and in many instances free patterns to download.  My eyes pop at the possibilities.  Of course some of you may already subscribe to Bloglovin but if not here’s the link:   http://www.bloglovin.com

Update on my crochet and dressmaking 

I’ve been continuing to enjoy the weekly meetings with the group of ladies who crochet, knit and chat about all manner of things.  The envelope purse I was making morphed into a small bag to carry my crochet hooks and pattern book.  I’ve since made a cushion cover which I have to say left a bit to be desired in shape.  The ladies of the group suggested I enter my “bag” in the local show in the Beginners Section but I’m somewhat reluctant.

Joining a group at your local Neighbourhood House or Learning Centre is a wonderful way to get to know people and learn a new skill.

I’ve finished the two piece I was sewing in Peruvian Cotton and am reasonably happy with the outcome though I did make a mess of the shoulder seams at first.

 

Milton Film Club – do watch the film they produced

Ken recently received a newsletter from his film club with details of films that had been made by various clubs around the country.  I selected one which I’m sure you are going to really enjoy showcasing a ukulele-playing group of women from Milton-Ulladulla, NSW Australia, with a sense of humour and rhythm who enjoy just jammin’ with their ‘ukes’ and having a glass of bubbly or three.  Apparently some of the members were a little hesitant about making the film, especially in regard to the personal clips, but they bravely went ahead and you can see the result here.  They call themselves CHOOKS ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

 

 

Ken’s latest video

Ken’s latest video is a reminder of how we used to travel way back in our past.  We can both remember standing on the platform waiting for the train to take us to London.  It came thundering along like a huge monster belching and hissing steam before finally coming to a stop.   We also remember as children standing on the bridge over the railway line waiting for the train to pass under and envelope us in steam.  It all seemed great fun in those days.

At Coal Creek Community Park and Museum in Korumburra (120km south east of Melbourne) you can ride on the Count Strzelecki Steam Train and take part in other activities.  I submitted the video to the Museum and received a notification that they were so impressed that they were going to include it in their web site.  Watch the video and enjoy the experience.

 

Whilst waiting for Ken to do his filming of the train I popped into the General Store in the village where they sell all kinds of sweets packed in the old fashioned way together with other goodies.  One of the things that took my fancy was a small pack of recipe cards which the lady in the shop told me were reproductions of recipes of cakes and breads made every week by a volunteer for over 30 years and served in the cafe in the village.  Here are 4 of the recipes that I have tried and which turned out really well.  You will be amazed at the simplicity:

JOHNNY CAKES

250g plain flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbs baking powder, biutter

METHOD – Mix flour, baking powder and salt, slowly adding water until mixture is stiff.  Make into small cakes and fry slowly in butter (5-8 minutes each side).  Serve with honey, jam, molasses or golden syrup for a real bush treat.  The flavour is greatly enhanced if served with Billy Tea.

PIONEER BOSTON BUN

1 cup mashed potatoes, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup dried fruits, 1 cup milk., 2 cups self raising flour.

METHOD – mix potatoes and sugar into a cream, add the fruit, mix well then add the milk and flour gradually.  Put into well-greased sandwich tins and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour.  When cool ice lightly and sprinkle with coconut.

BUBBLE BREAD*

METHOD – Mix 1 cup plain flour, 2 tbs grated cheese, 30 gas butter, pinch salt, mustard, cayenne, squeeze of lemon juice and a little water to combine.

METHOD – roll out thinly, cut into fingers, cook in a very hot oven.

* I sprinkled the fingers (and twisted them) with black pepper.  They turn out like cheese straws.  Very yummy.

BISCUIT FRUIT SLICE

Place in a saucepan 125 gms butter, half cup sugar, 1 cup mixed fruit.

METHOD – crush 250gm arrowroot biscuits then mix with boiled mixture.  Press into greased tin.  Cover with lemon icing.

(ALL RECIPES COURTESY OF COAL CREEK MUSEUM)

A new member of the family

Last week we adopted Ferdy, a fox terrier/x, 8 years of age from Save-A-Dog at Malvern, Melbourne.  We have been looking for a companion for Sophia for some time without success.  Apparently small dogs are very popular so it has been quite a search.  We took Sophia to introduce her to Ferdy before making a decision and they got on really well from the first sniff.  Ferdy is a little over-weight so has had a hard time keeping up with Sophia when we go out walking but I think he has already lost a little bit of his fat.  He likes a lot of attention so we are being really careful to make sure Sophia is top dog.  I think it will all work out well.  Here’s a photo of them together:

Volunteering

I received the sad news this morning that Josephine, the lady I have been visiting in the aged care facility, (Community Visitors Scheme) is fading fast.  Recently it has been very difficult to communicate with her due to the strong medication she has been prescribed which makes her sleepy.  Jo is only one year older than I am which is very sobering.   During her lucid days we were able to chat about our youth in the UK as we came from more or less the same area.

For Josephine

For Josephine

Volunteering in whatever field you choose is very rewarding.  If you are interested contact your local Council or search the internet.

Interesting people

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet up with Noelen Lyons who is a Genealogist and Family History Researcher also a Cemeteries and Local Area Historian.  Although she is a very busy lady she has promised to give me a little of her time to have a chat about her work and hopefully give me a few snippets I can pass on to you all.   Her moto is:   To know who you are, you have to know where you came from

Buddhist Prayer

In closing off I would like to share with you this Buddhist prayer:

MAY YOU BE WELL

MAY YOU BE HAPPY

MAY YOU BE PEACEFUL

MAY YOU BE LOVED

Until next time

Janice

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Getting ready for Christmas, Crafts, Good company, a recipe and trips

Getting ready for Christmas

Puddings:

We say every year we can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas.  I wonder how many of you have made your puddings ready for the big day.  I made mine some weeks ago and as customary Ken and I stirred the mixture and made three wishes.  We always take photos and I think perhaps I should put together a montage of these photos from over the years, though this could prove a little confronting observing the passing of the years.

I always make a few individual puddings so they can be enjoyed later in the year usually at Easter and on Ken’s birthday in June.

Gingerbread houses:

For the past 11 years I have made gingerbread houses for the grandchildren.  Last year I produced 14 little houses ready to be decorated.  This was because I had three additional people in the group, the two sons of my daughter-in-law and the girlfriend of my eldest grandson Nicholas.  Even at 20, Nic still wanted to decorate a gingerbread house.  I did receive help in glueing up the houses as my granddaughter Emma came to stay for a few days.  With much soul-searching I have decided to discontinue the tradition this year, though I am going to make two large gingerbread houses for decoration by my three granddaughters.  It’s a little sad 😥  but they grow up.  They all agree it will be one of their important childhood memories, decorating the gingerbread houses ready for Christmas.

If anyone is interested I would be happy to supply the gingerbread house recipe and template.

Crochet and Sewing

Recently I have been going along to a crochet class at my local Neighbourhood House.  It wasn’t quite what I expected as many of the ladies attending were knitting or doing other crafts.  However, with the help of Elsie Hope, who fronts up the group, I have started to master the first steps on my way to be able to crochet, a skill in which I was sadly lacking.  I’m making an envelope purse but not sure how long that will take.   My new sewing machine has proved to be a gem and I am very pleased with the dress I completed a couple of weeks ago.  I feel inspired to keep sewing but the reality is that there are only so many dresses you can wear so will have to curtail my activities a little.

 

First efforts at crochet

First efforts at crochet

 

 

 

 

 

The dress worn on a day out with Olga during visit to Jan Huggins

The dress worn on a day out with Olga during visit to Jan Huggins

Enjoying good company

Nothing beats a day out with a good friend.  That’s what I was able to do a couple of weeks ago when Olga and I went in search of gifts she could take home to Chile when she visits family and friends in December.  We shopped ’til we dropped, had lunch and afterwards visited Jan Huggins for a cuppa and cake and a nice long chat.  Jan and I met when we were in hospital at the same time having hip replacements and have kept in contact ever since.

A salad recipe for entertaining with Hokkien Noodles

Packet of noodles, 4 spring onions chopped, 1 red capsicum sliced thinly, 100g snow peas sliced, 1 small carrot sliced.  Pinch of mint and coriander.  100g roasted cashews.

Cover noodles with boiling water for a couple of minutes then drain.  Combine all ingredients.  To make dressing you will need to whisk together 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbl olive oil, 1 tbl lime juice, 2 tbl soy sauce or kecap manis, 3 tbs sweet chilli sauce.  Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

 

Update on trip to Printing Museum at Chiltern

In my last Blog I wrote about our visit to the Printing Museum at Chiltern, Victoria.  Ken has now produced a video documenting how a local newspaper was produced up until the 1960’s.

 

Sailing on the Enterprize – Melbourne Tall Ship

Sailing on a tall ship has been on Ken’s bucket list for a long long time.  He was able to fulfil that dream last week when he took a trip on the Enterprize.  I have never seen him so excited.  I have to say I didn’t share his enthusiasm so stayed on dry land.  He enjoyed it so much he intends to take another trip during December.  He’s in the process of making a video so will upload that next time.

 

Ken, ready to set sail

Ken, ready to set sail

GET WELL

I would like to send get well good wishes to my friend Joan Blain (UK), who has been in hospital for some time.  Joan suffers from MS which has necessitated her staying in hospital for some months after falling and breaking her ankle.  I hope you will be home for Christmas Joan.

Especially for you Joan

Especially for you Joan

I hope you are all enjoying pursuing your different projects and learning new skills.  Here is a Chinese Proverb for you:

LEARNING IS A TREASURE THAT WILL FOLLOW ITS OWNER EVERYWHERE  

Janice   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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