Birthday Business

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Today is my birthday.  No particular milestone but time to reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to the year ahead.  I have been blessed with lots of lovely messages from family and friends.

Our wedding anniversary was a couple of weeks ago and we did not have a particular celebration for either event.  However, in the past fortnight we have had a picnic with family, been to the movies twice and eaten out at our local Italian restaurant.

Today we spent the time together working in the garden – re-arranging, planting and naturally planning the next project.  My brain works faster than my hands!

Lunch
I did stop and make lunch which was as good as any cafe offering and the view from the deck is pretty special, too.

View
I hope you are having a relaxing Easter break.

 

6 Days Later

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It is hard to believe that it is 6 days since I last wrote a blog post.  I am still here but have been busy.

The day after my last post we went on a picnic with a group of my extended family.  I had intended to take some photos but that did not happen.  We had planned this outing a few weeks earlier but unfortunately a late-season cyclone put a bit of a dampener on the event.  We went ahead as planned at Suttons Beach on the Redcliffe Peninsula, north of Brisbane.

Suttons-Beach-Redcliffe-300x183
It didn’t quite look like this last weekend but I would highly recommend it as a venue, especially if you have young children as there is plenty of grassed areas, fabulous playgrounds and a sheltered beach within easy reach.

Regardless of the weather, I am blessed to be able to share events like this with my extended family and see everyone enjoying each other’s company.  I have been reading a series of posts today on a popular forum about family relationships and particularly between children and their grandparents.  I am saddened to read of the bitterness and resentment that various family members hold against their parents and children.  The reasons are many and I am sure some are entirely valid, however, it reminds me to be thankful for my exceptional family who are very dear to me.

This weekend we finally have some glorious autumn weather and The Duke and I are making the most of it by getting some jobs done in the garden.  I hope to take some photos and wil share them with you tomorrow.

Foodie Friday – Kids in the Kitchen

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I didn’t get back to post this last night.  Miss O and Izz have been staying for a couple of days so the food focus has clearly been about them.  They enjoyed shopping at Simply Good yesterday and discussing many of the different fruits, nuts and grains that we bought.  Miss O was keen to practise her recently acquired spelling skills to read the names of the ingredients on the storage buckets and fill them up when we arrived home.

They picked pumpkins and tomatoes as well as collecting eggs.  It is great to see them understanding where their food comes from.  4 year old Izz wanted an anatomy lesson on how the eggs get out of the chickens!!

Tomorrow we are going to a picnic with extended family so I made some choc fruit nut balls and Miss O helped by rolling the balls in the coconut.

Helping in the kitchen

Apologies for the brevity of this post but I have been working on our Ireland itinerary and looking at ferry timetables and rental car details.

Pretty Pillows

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I didn’t get back to doing the follow-up post about the bathroom cupboards so that may have to wait until next week.  I will do the ‘Foodie Friday’ post this evening but in the meantime I wanted to show you something I made the other day.

Pillowcases

These are 2 pillowcases I made from some pieces of fabric that were given to me.  The fabric was just wide enough for the cases.  I cut the pieces to ensure that the design was centred on the case.  The darker pink fabric is from a doona cover that I bought from the op shop to use in some patchwork.

I gave them to Miss O and Izz when they arrived last night to stay for a few days.  They are very excited with the new pillowcases for their beds.

Clutter-Free – Start Small

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I often talk about decluttering various spaces and having less but today I want to focus my attention on having clear spaces.  I am not advocating jamming your cupboard full of stuff, howver, the benefit of clear surfaces cannot be underestimated.  It is a task that is unlikely to be achieved in one go and can be enormously overwhelming.  That is why I focused my energy on one room – the bathroom.  It is the smallest room in the house and is designed for a specific purpose, therefore logically should be the easiest to minimise the ‘stuff’.

Vanity

I have had the benefit of a renovated bathroom which has an inherently streamlined design.  I love the fact that there is no plug lying around on the side of the sink.  There are only 2 items on the bench – a ceramic shell dish which holds a small bar of soap and a repurposed vase (The Duke drilled a hole in the base of it) which holds our toothbrushes.  It is a quick and easy task to keep this area clean and tidy.

Shower recess
As this is quite a compact area we chose not to have a bath – just an easy to access shower area.  I had seen this type of recessed shelf in motel bathrooms and asked the builder to create one when we remodelled the room.  I love the idea because it is simple and streamlined to the eye, nothing to rust or gather soap scum and there is no encroachment to bump into when you are showering.  From left to right there is shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, facewash and a nail brush – everything required when showering.

Toilet and floor
The floor is another place where clutter can gather.  I found these fittings which attach to the wall – a holder for extra rolls of toilet paper and the toilet brush holder are both clear of the floor and do not need to be moved when sweeping or mopping the floor.

Scales and baskets
The only 2 things on the floor of the bathroom are a set of scales and the waste paper basket.

My whole house does not look this clear but it is lovely to have achieved it in at least one room.

The vanity unit has a 2 door cupboard and 4 drawers.  Tomorrow I will reveal exactly what is lurking in there.

 

Project 333 – What to Choose

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Despite my assurances at the end of yesterday’s post, I am still not much further advanced in my quest to choose 33 items for the April – June quarter of the Project 333 challenge.  It is proving to be quite a challenge as the days here have still been over 30C yet I know that by the end of the 3 months it will be cold (as much as it can be in our very temperate climate.  I also know that will probably have to go to Sydney for work in sometime in the next month and I will need some warmer clothes there.

Anyway, 7 days have passed and I have 84 to go.  So, what have I worn so far?

Trousers

Black cropped
White 3/4

Shorts

Khaki

Skirts

Black/grey check

Tops

Red fitted tee
Black camisole

Shirts

Blue/white stripe

Cardigans

Red/black/white floral

Shoes

Pewter flats
Red flats

Accessories

Leopard print scarf
White pearl earrings
Black pearl earrings

As Courtney Carver discusses on her blog Be More With Less there are no hard and fast ‘rules’.  I think I may end up excluding shoes and accessories from the count but will keep them in for the moment.  It really should not be too difficult to keep to 33 pieces as the total count of all of my items of clothing is 76 pieces.  This excludes underwear and sleepwear but does include parka, coat, spray jacket and formal attire as well as all of my winter and summer clothes.

Tomorrow I will add a black skirt and a striped shirt to the list as this is what I will be wearing to work.  That will bring the total items of clothing to 10.

Outfit
Both the skirt and shirt are versatile and can be worn in a variety of combinations with the other things on the list as well as some I have yet to choose.

Other items that I am pretty sure will make the cut include:

Black trousers
Denim jeans
Green jeans
Red/white striped 3/4  sleeve fitted tee
Red casual vest
Red ‘denim style’ jacket
Black dress
Black white print jacket
Black knit sweater

No prizes for seeing a red/black/white theme emerging here!

Ashes to Ashes, Branches to Mulch

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We collect all of the fallen branches on our land for firewood, so today The Duke spent some time cutting up some more logs that were stacked and waiting to be cut.

Here are some of them cut and waiting to be stacked in the woodshed.

Firewood
The mulcher which you can also see in the photograph also got a workout as we mulched several piles of smaller branches as well as some palm fronds and rotting branches.  As always, nothing is wasted so some of the mulch was added to one of the raised garden beds that we are filling and the rest will be spread under the native shrubs which are planted along part of the front boundary.  The mulch keeps the weeds mostly under control.

Piles of mulch
Next, we headed over to the area near the vegetable gardens.  There was more debris to mulch, including the remnants of the corn stalks.

More mulching
While the Duke and Psycho Dog were hard at work, I turned my attention to the new garden bed I built yesterday.  I needed a bit more mulch and soil to fill it up and then I planted some Purple King climbing beans and radishes.

Garden bed
It is along the outside of the chicken run so the fence will provide an excellent trellis for the beans.  I grew these beans a few months ago and had an absolutely fantastic crop so decided to grow them again.  I added a couple of star pickets and some wire to enclose the bed so that the chickens cannot dig it up when they are free-ranging.  I was just putting the finishing touches to the wire surround as the first drops of rain fell late this afternoon.  We had a tremendous thunderstorm with some huge bolts of lightening very close by but were lucky not to lose power.

Finally, just to prove that our garden is decorative as well as functional, here is a photo of the roses flowering in the front garden.

Roses
Tonight I am going to make some decisions about my 33 items for the round of Project 333 which began on April 1st.  I have kept track of what I have worn so far this month and will include them in the tally.  I hope to share the details of my choices with you tomorrow.