Sunday, 31 January 2010

Weekly Wrap-up

Jan. 25-31 Diary

A new week has come and gone, a new page a picture in my diary. A very peaceful scene this week, it looks like a cozy little breakfast nook for two. Although I usually prefer a bit more colour in my life, there's something very calm and serene about this setting, it would be a nice way to start off a lazy Sunday morning.

My week has been fairly active. Mostly traveling around town with mum; running errands, spending some time with the nieces before their school starts back up, checking out building suppliers and all the little details such as fixings and appliances as things become more and more of a reality for this eventual house rebuild.
It's been hot, hot, hot up until yesterday really when it has finally broken into rain; desperately needed rain at that, since our tank has run dry.

This past week I wanted to focus a bit on organization; and I'm afraid I didn't get much of that done. Although I made some baby-steps. I've started culling through my wardrobe, and I went and got fitted properly for bras and picked up a couple new ones to replace the old, falling apart type.
I did at least get to organize my books.

Today I spent most of my day organizing the garden. The beans and snow peas have finished, so I have pulled them out; renewed the soil in the pots and have planted new veggies to replace them.
I'm trying to grow some cucumbers that claim to be good in pots (I'm skeptic, but I love cucumbers, so I hope it works!), Sugarloaf cabbage, an Asian mix of salad greens, some Cos lettuce, some mixed green lettuce that came with this months Gardening magazine, and some rainbow chard .

My strawberry plant is also still going strong and giving me lots of the most delicious strawberries I have ever tasted! Tomatos are still ripening too, and of course all of my herbs are doing very well (except for my rosemary.. sigh)

There is nothing more satisfying then a day spent in the garden.

This coming week is going to be split; for the first half I'd like to continue to focus (perhaps focus a bit more then last week, hehe) on organization, getting my space cleaned up.
The second half is going to be much more exciting! A friend of mine is going to be arriving in Sydney on Wednesday and I'm going to be traveling down to meet him. We'll be spending a weekish in the city and then renting a car and driving North wherever the whim takes us for another week.
This is an adventure we've been planning for quite a while now and I'm giddy with excitement that it's finally arriving!

"Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away."
(Barbara De Angelis, author)

I rather think that statement could refer to anyone; not just women.. and there's no better place for solitude and reflection then working in a garden.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Colour + Colour: Blue and Pink

I've joined up to a group on Flickr called Colour + Colour which, every week, the admin. picks two colours to photograph for that week.
I've been really enjoying the little challenge of it so far

Week Four's colours were Blue + Pink.

Colour + Colour Week 4: Blue and Pink

Colour + Colour Week 4: Blue and Pink

Colour + Colour Week 4: Blue and Pink

Colour + Colour Week 4: Blue and Pink

Friday, 29 January 2010

January Meal: Asian Beef Salad

Our local pharmacy has given us a wall calendar of "Healthy Family Favourite Recipes"!
For each month there's a new recipe to try, plus a "Tip of the Month!"

Mum and I have decided to give the monthly recipe a shot for each new month, and I should probably get around to posting the results of January's meal BEFORE January is over, shouldn't I!!

January Meal: Asian Salad

January Meal: Asian Beef Salad

January Meal: Asian Salad

First up, the cast of characters, minus the fresh herbs (all of which came from my garden).

Preparing this meal was very easy, but it makes a lot, even though the recipe says it serves four people. For easy mixing I divided it into two bowls.

January Meal: Asian SaladJanuary Meal: Asian Salad

First thing you want to do is rub sesame oil over both sides of your steak and sprinkle them generously with cracked pepper!

January Meal: Asian Salad

Then chop up all of the veggies.. (you can de-seed your chillies if you don't like a very spicy meal, I left ours in since my brother had been complaining about the lack of heat in recent family meals ;)

January Meal: Asian Salad

Whisk up the dressing ingredients...

January Meal: Asian Salad

Let your rice noodles soak in some boiling water for a little while, then drain when they're done...

January Meal: Asian Salad

And then go pick all of your herbs and shred them into the salad (from my garden: Thai basil (a new discovery, it's growing quite well and tastes -amazing-!), Coriander and Mint)

January Meal: Asian Salad

Then just toss everything together...

January Meal: Asian Salad

Slice up your meat after it's done resting and add that as well...

January Meal: Asian Salad

Serve up and enjoy! It got approvals all round; a very simple and pleasant summer meal.

January Meal: Asian Salad

Yum! Can't wait for next month!

Recipe for Asian Beef Salad.

250g rice noodles
500-600g porterhouse or rump steak
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 small red capsicum, julienned
12 young mint leaves
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup Coriander leaves
2 small red chillies, very thinly sliced

Preheat a grill.
Brush the sesame oil over both sides of the steak and sprinkly surface with pepper.
Cook for 3-4 minutes each side on grill for medium rare.
Transfer to a plate, cover lightly with foil and leave for a few minutes for juices to "set".

Place noodles in a bowl, pour boiling water over them and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly.

In small bowl whisk together fish sauce, lime juice and sugar for dressing.

In a large bowl combine noodles, tomatos, cucumber, capsicum, fresh herbs and chilli.
Slice the beef thinly, add to the salad.
Drizzle over the dressing and toss lightly to mix.
Serve and enjoy!

Oh, and today's "Tip of the Month" is to Drink 8 classes of water a day! This is not difficult for me to do at all since the weather has been so hot; have you been getting enough water?

GYO logo

Thanks so much to House of Annie for pointing me towards the Grow Your Own Round-up. A blogging event that celebrates home-grown produce! What a fantastic idea!
Since I used my home-grown herbs in this meal I've gone ahead and entered this current round.
You can read more about the GYO even here, and check out Annie's site for this month's entry form!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


Forgive the short post, but it is so hot and humid here that I simply can not brain any longer...

We've been enjoying some of the fruits of the harvest of late at my place.


The beans in particular have done VERY well, but the snow peas are doing okay too.
The strawberries are flourishing, although are eaten before any photographic proof of them can be made ;) (HOMEGROWN STRAWBERRIES ARE SO GOOD PEOPLE!)

Sadly none of my plants are enjoying the current heat wave.
The tank has run dry as well.
I'm sweating buckets just sitting here.

It really, really, really needs to rain.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Koalas in the Wild

My niece, Isobelle, is my good luck charm.

First it was up in Dorrigo; when we went up there together I saw my very first wild Lyrebird.
Then it was the other week down on the beach when she spotted my very first wild Octopus.

And now, just this past weekend, we took a trip to the botanical gardens and guess who we happened to come across!

Wild Koala

Wild Koala

Two very sleepy, VERY cute wild koalas; just hanging out and taking a snooze!

Wild Koala

Wild Koala

How exciting!!!

From now on, if I'm going to go animal-spotting, I think I need to take Isobelle along with me.

Monday, 25 January 2010

A New Planner

I have been starved a bit for a really good 2010 planner. I'm pretty picky about what I consider "good". They have to be made from a kind of paper that's nice to write on (not too glossy). Ideally I can see a whole week on a two-page spread. Each day will have enough room to write in. And, ideally, it will look nice too!

I'm settling this year for a couple different planners to keep me going; a little one that's none-to-exciting to carry in my pocketbook, and a larger, inspirational one.

County Collections Diary

The Australian Country Collections Diary I'm very pleased with, nicely laid out and each week comes with a truly beautiful photograph of a home or garden. Hopefully this one will keep me going all year round!

Jan. 18-24 Diary

For the week of January 18-24. Isn't this beautiful? What a great image to start off my first week of the new planner. There's something about the rolling hills of Australian farmland that I find so breath-taking. This is very similar to what the local farmland looks like and I would dearly, dearly like to own a little chunk of this heaven for my own. For now I'll settle to fantasize about sitting down at this beautiful little table (look at the colours on that tablecloth! and those mugs!! and those flowers!!!)
*dreamy wistful sigh!*

There's also a little quote or factoid on the opposite side of the page; this weeks one is about Saint Zita, the patron saint of domestic servants, homemakers and hardworking ladies of the kitchen. Also known as "the little cook"!
Sounds like someone I should keep in my thoughts this week; I could use a good deal or organizing in my life right now!
This week I plan to go through my clothes and donate or toss out anything that is falling apart beyond repair, I've outgrown or I simply won't wear anymore (and I'm going to have to be BRUTALLY HONEST about this... why is it so hard to get rid of some things?)
I also plan on taking an inventory of my books and even *gulp* get rid of some of them as well..
And maybe.. -maybe- take a good long look at my craft.. junk I've got piled up and come up with a better way to organize it all.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Continuing on the Christmas Catch-up!

Continuing on... for my brother this year I knit him a hat and fingerless gloves. I figured either staying in the States OR traveling to Korea he'd be bound to end up someplace where he could use the extra warmth.

David's Hat and Gloves

The fingerless gloves were a quick 'n easy knit. The pattern was a simple "manly" rib that I found in one of my books: Last Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, and true to the books name, they knit up VERY quickly. I added in the stripes both to somewhat match the hat, but also to keep me interested; that never-ending rib pattern can drive one insaaane!

Turn-a-Square Hat

The hat was another Turn a Square Hat by Jared Flood. And like the previous one I made for Jon, it knit up really quickly and well.

Turn-a-Square Hat

This one came out to be what I feared was a little bit too small for my brother; but he says it fits him fine and I suppose that's the main thing!

Turn-a-Square Hat

Both the projects were using up some leftover yarn that I had lying around; some random solid colours of wool and a little bit of extra Noro on the hat.
They came out well, too! A very satisfying present, and my brother is very happy with them!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Verdi + Friends

Tree Frog and Passengers

I was lucky enough to catch Verdi (thanks Shadow!) outside during the day time not long after Christmas, singing his (her?) little heart out.
I wasted no time experimenting with my brand new camera, in fact I'm ashamed to admit that I was so excited about playing around with different settings that I didn't notice his (her?) passengers until after at LEAST twelve practice shots!

But after noticing them I couldn't help but squee; LOOKIT THOSE BABY SNAILS!!!! They are just way too freaking cute!

Tree Frog and Passengers

They were just crawling all over him! (her?) How I wish I had a proper macro lens to play around with them and their itty bitty cutest little faces.

Tree Frog and Passengers

In fact I think THAT'S what he (she?) is croaking about; not the lovely damp days we were having, but the fact that OMG THERE'S SNAILS ALL OVER ME! I'd probably be complaining loudly too...

Tree Frog and Passengers

Gawd, it's just too much: ENHANCE THAT CUTE!

frog plus friend


Just don't be bringing them too close to my veggie patch there, Greenie.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Beginning of the Craft Present Catch-Up

So now that the silly season is over and all presents have been unwrapped I can begin to share the stuff that I've been working on for the past couple of months.

To start with, though I'm going to share the finished product from a very late birthday gift for my brother.
He requested I knit him a Sackboy from the video game LittleBigPlanet and then dress him like Link from Legend of Zelda.
And since Zelda is one of my favourite game series of all times, how could I possibly refuse?

Link Sackboy

Cute, isn't he? I wish I could keep him for myself!
Yarn, buttons, a zipper and a small pile of felt = adorable
I'm still toying about with the idea of making him the shield and sword, but I might hold off on it for now.

Link Sackboy

D's really pleased with it, and so am I!
You can't really ask for more then that.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

My Christmas Gift

Looks like Santa must have been enjoying my photographs this past year as well.
My wonderful parents surprised me this year with a drop dead gorgeous new digital SLR camera!

Canon Rebel

My new Canon Digital Rebel XSi with two lenses: 18-55mm and 55-250mm.
I haven't even come up with a name for my Lumix yet, now I have a whole new "baby" to dote over!

So far it's still very much in the "precious and new" phase. I did NOT bring the canon along to our fishing trip since it was on a boat and ohmygoodness what if I dropped it into salt water?
I also did NOT bring it along on our trek into Dorrigo Rainforest because although it's relatively light for a camera it's size; I'd still have to carry it and I didn't want the extra weight (I'm carrying enough weight on my own thank you very much... goodness I need to get into better shape)

I did, however, bring it along to Angela's birthday party and got to play around with various settings...

Portrait of Pa
(Pa, at Angela's 5th Birthday Party. 2009.)

I think this camera and I will become VERY good friends. One of my New Years Resolutions is to make an effort to learn more about photography so I can be more confident in taking good shots.
Now I need to get a decent tripod...
...and a backpack carry-case...
...and a macro-lens kit...
...and a...

Monday, 11 January 2010

Back in Business... Sort of.

So, if I've been quiet that would be because I have been without internet for a month or so.
Dealing with Telstra is a nightmare, especially if your internet provider is... not Telstra.

Happily the family all arrived on time Christmas Eve and since then my father has finally been able to work out a way to get ourselves hooked up onto the internets once again.

I have a LOT to catch up on. A lot to catch you all up on as well, it's been very, very busy in my little corner of the world, but it's all good things for now.

Hopefully I'll get myself organized and focused again soon!
That is if I don't get distracted again by the ocean... it's been absolutely -perfect- these past few days...

Well, except for the jellyfish.