Thursday, 27 September 2012


I don't have much to report today.

Only that some mice chewed the wires in my oven, (dirty little buggars) and luckily it was only a 10 minute job to fix it. Instead of having to order and wait for parts for weeks on end. Yay!

You don't realise how much you use an oven until it is broken down.

In my garden, I don't have an abundance of flowers yet, but there are some bulbs left in the ground from years ago that are flowering.

Behold the yellow iris.....

I need a few more in the vase so they "sit" properly.

I love Iris, the rhizome that keeps giving.

They do well here as the soil is red and sandy. Actually, they grow in black soil too which is a bonus as gardeners with black soil are limited to what they can grow. They are extremely tough and drought tolerant so I love to mass plant them in a bed. They often have babies you can divide up, and the leaves look great even when they aren't in flower. I will need to invest in some different varieties too, because I transplanted lots from my old garden, but they won't flower for a year or two while they settle in their new patch of dirt.

This is on my south west verandah.

At this time of year it is the loveliest place to sit and have a beer. But in a couple of months when that western sun hits it can be stinking hot too. If there is a breeze around it is beautiful.

That's about it for me today, lots of other things on the boil though which I will blog when I can.

Joyous spring to everyone!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Oven cleaning

This may be a boring post for so many people on so many levels, so feel free to come back tomorrow when there is pretty chairs or sinks on offer - I won't be offended!

It is about my most hated of tasks around the house.

Cleaning the oven.

We have a lot of baked lamb for dinner, usually a shoulder or a leg at least once a week. I am always cooking cakes and muffins for school lunches too, so my oven is on every single day. It gets pretty grimy and I tend to ignore the baked on charcoaly spatters until it is the biggest, most disgusting chore in the world that takes two days to do.

If I was a sensible person, I would wipe the oven out after every use. Sadly, I am no domestic goddess. After dinner, I just look at the mess in the oven and shrug a "Meh" as I sit down on the lounge to watch "Farmer wants a wife" or some other trash TV. Therefore, my oven always looks like a brown grease pit until it is seen to in another 6 months time.

The only reason I am cleaning the oven is because it has broken down. Yes, because an electrician is coming to fix my oven tomorrow I suddenly was inspired to clean it out. I was going to ignore it for another month, but it is suddenly a pressing issue when someone is going to be placing their head in there finding the source of why it broke down.

No, I won't post a photo of my oven! I won't subject you to that kind of abuse of the soul. I want to retain readers, not send them away screaming for the hills!

What has been seen can never be unseen.

So I will tell you my secret weapon I discovered.


Plain old Napisan.

I fill a sink with lots and lots of hot water and while it is running I pour a fair bit of Napisan in (about 2 or 3 scoops).

I place the racks in the Napisan water and soak them for a bit. Steel wool will help scrape the hardened chunks off and it works quite well. Rinse the racks off once you are done with water.

I have only tried this once and I didn't do the interior and the door with my Napisan mix. I used regular oven cleaner. I like Oven Power by Ozkleen. This is usually in the supermarket, and since it is an Australian company and it is not as fumy as other ones on the market, I like it immensely.

I give everything a go with the Oven Power and rinse it all off with super hot water and washing up detergent (Green Palmolive).

That's it! Not fancy, and not really natural. But it seems to work without killing you from chemical fumes other oven cleaners seem to do.

If I lived in the city, there is one job I would totally outsource and that is oven cleaning. I would gladly pay to get it done. Out here, I am the oven cleaner and I can dream away.

The next thing I am going to do is find a new oven.

The oven I have now is a cutesy Smeg. At the time my Sister-in-Law put the kitchen in it suited it to a tee. It is great for cooking, but it's interior cavity is as tiny as a microwave oven. Not too good if you want to cook a Christmas dinner for all the extended family. A bit of oven shuffling and careful planning is needed to cook for guests. So when I can, I am changing the oven and stove top.

One of those big purchases you can't afford to get wrong.

My requirements for this oven.

1. Big enough for cooking in.
2. Self cleaning (pyrolytic)
3. Induction cooktop.

Induction + Pyrolytic  in the one freestanding cooker is a new thing and when I priced the first one ever it came to $10,000.00.

I hope as the technology gets better, these things get cheaper.

I really like freestanding, but I may have to put in a wall unit separate to my cooktop to get what I want. Possibly two ovens to get the space I need. Not sure yet!

I know that if I have to change my oven, I will be wanting to update the kitchen too as it is currently built in.

I am not a fan of built in ovens and cook tops because when they break down it is difficult to fit a new one into existing cabinetry. There is my dilemma!

Anyone else have any oven dramas? Cleaning tips I need to know?

This is not me - I wouldn't be smiling whilst doing this.

Monday, 24 September 2012


The start of holidays are full of promise and lists. The boys love hanging around at home chilling out and exploring nature around the farm. I love getting stuck into the garden at this time of year too.

They checked the heifers in the morning and afternoon. Pulled their grandfather out of the river when he got bogged. They fixed the gas hot water system too.

Yes, the hot water system broke down on Saturday night and since we don't have Bunnings close by, we have been having sponge baths with cold water for two days. We will all be feeling the luxury of a long hot shower tonight. You don't realise until you are stuck without hot water how the simple act of showering can be luxurious and the best part of days end.

On their way back from the great unbogging, F spotted this lovely blue tongue lizard on the road. Quick as a flash like Steve Irwin he jumped out and cought the fast-moving reptile. Absolutely beautiful, healthy lizard.

We let him/her go in the garden.

We opened H's birthday present and gave it a go today since the wind has been blowing for a few days. Such a great thing to do in the holidays!

It went super high.

F Runs with the kite.

Little N doing the only painting I can handle. Paint with water.

I love having them all to myself for a couple of weeks to unwind. The break from doing school lunches, and the rush out the door every day is extremely welcome.

Are your holidays relaxing and lovely, or are you already counting down the days until School goes back?

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Pad is short for Passionate about design. It is in Sydney, and well worth clicking through to their website or browsing in real life.

Pad is one of those stunningly beautiful shops that make you hurl yourself down on the floor in a ungracious manner when you realise you want every. single thing. in the shop.

Let's have a browse.....

I love the use of dark colours with light and a few bright pops of colour. This is heaven....

They have the most gorgeous fabrics. I spy a Christopher Farr pattern (a favourite fabric of mine).

Wow, what a statement wallpaper !

More charcoal tones with white to contrast. Domes with china skull - trend alert!

Interesting table. Silver goes with anything. Chiang Mai Dragon chair is a winner.

A lovely industrial style desk. Love the styling on top, the horse is amazing!

There is my favourite blue and white ginger jars. Everything is so stunning, don't you agree?

Pretty shaped bedhead, bone inlay bedside table and a pop of green. I love the Schumacher Nanjing cushions.

And to finish up, an amazing upholstered chair in my favourite fabric in the whole world..... Chiang Mai Dragon.

I know what I want for Christmas now.

Probably everything in this shop!

Next time I am in Sydney, I will have to take a visit.
In the meanwhile, this is the link to their website with more pretty pictures.

All pictures are from my Pinterest page sourced from pad's website.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


I spend way too much time in my day looking at pretty pictures on the Internet.

This has led me to some wonderful blogs and websites for pretty things I would not know existed, even though my magazine addiction keeps me mostly up to date.

One blog that I love to glean some inspiration from is Chinoiserie Chic.

I love the mix of modern chinoiserie with the old, and it led me to my obsession for Schumacher fabrics and wallpaper.

They also do furniture.

I love this piece and I think I would give my right arm for this chair.

Isn't it amazing?

I think it looks lovely as it is, but some fabrics would go with this chair superbly.

Such as....

Chiang Mai Dragon

China Blue



The China Blue has always been a favourite of mine for years! I think any of these fabrics would go in any house, with any style.

Love this ottoman.

Pretty cabinet

So many beautiful things on their website, gorgeous mirrors too!

Sorry about the randomly sized pictures, I don't know how to make the images bigger without making them blurry.

Check it all out - you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


It started out as a lazy Saturday morning....

We don't have any sport for a few blissful weeks on our Saturday mornings until the next one starts, so we got up and I thought I might nip into town to a sale. The sale was all household/furniture items from deceased estates, and people just cleaning out their sheds.

I took H with me and we had a fossick around.

Sales are funny. The things you think are going to be expensive go cheaply and the things you think are piles of rubbish go for more than expected.

I had my eye on a couple of furniture items, but some were too expensive.

I spied a really beautiful hand painted Turkish plate (blue and white of course). And I had my eye on it to buy.

I won my plate, but it came with three boxes of rubbish too. I have to go through it properly, but I had a quick look this arvo, and there was a few treasures in amongst the chipped/cracked china from god knows where.

Box no 1

Box no. 2

Box no. 3

My plate!

In the background there is a glass Kosta Boda plate. I have some similar stuff to it at home. I wonder what the hell the previous owner was thinking by gluing felt to the bottom of it! I will have to scrape it off as it ruins the look of it.

I really, really love this plate! It has a hanger, so I will have to find a spot to stick it. Straight after I bought it, a lady came up and started manhandling my plate and saying how gorgeous it was, so I quickly put it in the car!

Royal Copenhagen

Royal Doulton

Yes, I had some fun. Three boxes of stuff for $15

In other news, I found a spot for my greenhouse.

I moved it and laid some leftover pavers in there.

Baby plants and cuttings

Bit of a bad pic, but you can see it is good access to the house. So I don't forget the plants.

Hope your Saturday was a lovely one!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Keeping perky

I am sick.

My little boy has been sick on and off for the past couple of weeks. He goes to Preschool one day a week, and every time he goes, he catches another nasty bug. So every Monday rolls around and he has to stay home and of course, this time he gave me his virus.

So now I am a coughing, lethargic mess.

I feel a bit better than last night so I have been playing on the computer and  procrastinating a bit.

I started out by taking some pics of my Manchurian pears.

Ignore the weedy garden and focus on the pretty blossomy tree!

I love the spring blossoms!

I painted my nails for the first time in about 5 years too. It perked me up immensely!

Should do it more often, but I get cranky with chipped nails...So they last about two days until I break out the nail polish remover.

I am not a nail person, but I saw a Harper's Bazaar in the Newsagent with a (free) Napoleon nail polish and it felt right - so I bought it.

I quite like the colour. It is called "Ballerina Pink".

Painting nails is much easier, and has that instant gratification factor that painting the house does not at the moment.

Cannot get over the amount of mice that are getting about too. Spring brings all the critters out. Ditto for snakes. There are plenty getting about since our wet summer. Must look down when walking around here.

Hope everyone has a great hump day!

Monday, 10 September 2012


On the weekend we had a milestone 10 year Birthday at our house.

My eldest boy isn't a baby anymore! I am tearing up thinking of him growing up too fast. It goes so quickly, and I have been reminiscing the last few days about life before children, and life with H.

I was a young mother of 22 when I had H. I was working in town at a Solicitor's office and enjoying it. It was a great place to work as there were a few girls, and our boss was a lovely man. There was plenty of chatting going on whilst we worked in there about everything and anything. I had planned to leave work 6 weeks before our baby was due, so I could have a rest and get organised too.

All year we had little to no rain and it was absolutely depressing. it was starting to get really dire by the time I went on maternity leave and every day my husband would bring home another poddy calf for me to try to save. I ended up with six calves that I would feed 2 litres twice a day. It was time consuming, and rather annoying when it was all hand feeding (no milkbar feeder). I was tired and over these calves when we decided to save some of our cattle. We had to take all the cows away and sell the ones that could get on the truck and hand-raise the calves ourselves.

We bought calf nuts (feed pellets) and we rationed them to 1 litre of milk two times a day. All up, we had 70 calves we tried to save. About 30 died in the end. Some died whilst we were feeding them with the bottle too. It was heartbreaking, and I get nervous every time it starts to get dry (like now) Because I really don't want to see a drought as bad as that one ever again.

There was nothing in the paddock at all. Totally windswept.

My Father-in-Law said it was the worst drought he had ever seen in his lifetime and he has seen many droughts in his time.

Back to the gist of the story, I keep getting sidetracked!

I was feeding these calves twice a day along side my husband and getting thoroughly sick of it while I was whale like. I worried that the calves were bumping my belly as they kept trying to butt me for milk. I got a bite on my finger from feeding calves with the teat and it kept getting sore from the moisture and constant biting. I was really over it and felt like I was coming down with a virus of some kind. I was hoping the baby would come soon, yet knew that the feeding would all fall on someone else while we had the little one.

So we were relaxing around watching Lethal Weapon (all that was on telly that night) and I wondered if I would be late with bub. I went to bed feeling tired and at 3 in the morning I rolled over in bed and whoosh! Waters broke everywhere and I jumped out of bed to run across to the bathroom splashing a trail behind.

I will stop there, as I don't know if anyone wants to read the rest of the story. Perhaps I will do a special post dedicated to the births of my babies one day, but for now I will just say my little H has always been such a special little man. He is smart, funny and very sensible, and all that a parent could want from a little person. I am so lucky, and I sometimes wonder how we came to acquire such a beautiful person.

Anyway, now he is 10. And it seems like yesterday to me that he was born into that terrible drought.

I held a party for him with all of his friends at our house. It was a Halloween/Spooky themed party because I thought it wouldn't be too babyish for grown up boys to handle. It was relaxed and fairly casual. I forgot to take lots of pics, while the party was on but I will share a couple of ones that show what I did for it.

Spooky lolly bags

The lolly bags were made up beforehand with supplies I bought online. I bought bulk snakes, black cats and bloodsucker lollypops from Candy Kingdom in Brisbane.  I bought the pumpkin lolly holder and the plastic spiders from there too. They have a bit of everything on their site and it came in two days, which is amazing! Considering the fact Australia Post is a bit slow in my parts. Some bags had different things in them, some had skeletons and cauldrons. I like to mix it up.

contents of spooky lolly bags

The bat tree
The bat tree was just a few Manchurian Pear branches shoved in a vase with plastic bats hanging off them. The boys were able to do this.

closeup of the bat tree

The mummy game
I only did one game as the kids just amuse themselves by playing football and bullrush. And when you are 10, some party games are a too lame! ;)
I bought 50 rolls of cheap toilet paper and split the kids into pairs. One was the roller and one was the mummy. The best wrapped mummy team wins. The kids absolutely loved this game!

I have a stockpile of public toilet ply toilet paper now.

The Birthday cake

The cake was simple. I am not a genius cake maker, I have never used fondant - so I keep it simple lest a disaster occurs.

I make my Never-Fail Chocolate cake recipe. (I will post this one day) Froze it, and cut a hole in it for the grave. Then I iced some Arnotts Malt biscuits with RIP, that is the headstones done. I melted chocolate and dipped pretzels in it and that became my graveyard fence. The "dirt" is Milo. A couple of blossoms from the tree and we are done. Graveyard cake easy style.

I didn't want it to be a "sad" cake. I wanted it to be sort of funny, but spooky too. It tasted good anyway.

Everyone had a great time and H had a lovely day too!

We all love you H!