Friday, September 28, 2012

Little Battler

I thought I would post some current pics of my Victory Garden.

I have been super busy making stuff, completing orders and doing markets, and so have not spent as much time as I would like in my patch. That doesn't mean that I haven't got any harvest though. I could easily live off it, as it continues to produce even though I haven't given it any love.
My brassicas have gone beserk this year! In the foreground is my potato patch bordered by cabbages. I rarely eat cabbage...I don't know why I put it in. Maybe I will have to make sauerkraut?
Cauliflowers are being picked regularly and the shining star is the broccoli  After harvesting the initial head (like you buy in the shops) the plants are now producing smaller offshoots. I reckon that I get about a kilo a week off five plants, and they are sweeter than the big broccoli heads.
My asparagus is being harvested this year for the first time. It grows so quickly, sometimes a metre a day.  I planted some "Fat Bastard" crowns three years ago, and fat little bastards they are indeed!
This pic is a bit misleading as the size doesn't equate. Lets put it this way....the middle swede is as big as a baby's head and the beetroots are as big as my hand. I think I will have to look for some props to explain the size of my harvest  from now on...maybe an old baby doll of my daughters. (Freaky, what!)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vintage tea towel cushions

I stayed up 'til one in the morning the last Sunday making new cushions for Bangalow Markets. I thought I could make ten...I made three.

Backtracking, I was hoping that I wouldn't have to pre-wash this stash of mint, vintage, irish linen, tea towels. But...tests conducted in our lab found that there was 2-3 cm shrinkage in them, so into the machine they went. Ye can't have puckered pillows can ye?

Now today, I have to photograph them properly and weigh them, then list them in my online shops, as well as cutting out some more.  I was thinking of sending the whole cushion through the post rather than just the cover, and tying them up with brown paper and string. So many decisions. I need a cuppa.

Thought I would play with My creative space today...they have moved!

Friday, September 21, 2012

My little mate

I just HAD to show you the pics of 'my little mate.' He (I think) is an adolescent koala who wandered into my studio a few months back. Well, he is back again in the massive flooded gum in our front paddock.

 It doesn't matter how much wildlife you see on the TV or in print, it becomes  so special when it lives with you.

I know they  are quite vicious, and they make the most god-awful sounds at night (like the zombies are coming to get you), but ye gods, they are cute! I watched my little mate for an hour. The most interesting thing he did was scratch his belly....but THAT was riveting!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I get obsessions about things. In particular TV and book series. I suppose it started with Enid Blyton and the  Magic Faraway Tree. Then onto the Bobbsey Twins,  Malory Towers, Trixie Beldon, Ann of Green Gables , the list goes on….you get the gist. In truth, I live in a fantasy world.

My current obsessions of the last couple of weeks has been “Call the Midwife” a TV series based on the books of  Jennifer Worth, narrating a Midwife's life in the post war East End of London, which includes as a character a large Pukka girl called Chummy. I have ordered all of the books on Amazon because I simply MUST have them!

On the other end of the scale, “BreakingBad”,  is the story of  struggling, cancer riddled school teacher who, for the love of his family becomes a meth cooker. His off sider is a former student, meth user, homey dude, called Jesse.

Pretty diverse, what! Unfortunately I become immersed in characters...I pull them apart and unconsciously adopt their mannerisms. (My husband and  I recently read the "Game of Thrones" series and we drone "Summer is coming" to anything that bodes ill)

When I become immersed in said characters, anything is bound to happen. I talk the talk, I walk the walk. It is unfortunate when they merge to become one entity, like some kind of Sybil, multiple personality mutant.

It all came out in the email I was writing to somebody (nameless) who knew nothing of my obsessions. She had done me a professional favour. So, what did I write? Certainly not, "Thanks so much for your assistance." That would be too corporate...too banal. Instead I wrote, and I shall put it in capitals, because it was so ridiculous, that most would not believe it, and it must be exclaimed...I wrote, "YOU'RE A BRICK, YO!"

I will say it again. "You're a brick, yo!"


It belies belief.

Friday, August 24, 2012


I have branched into making cards in a mad attempt to create my "Re-purposed Empire."

As well as Little Golden Book images, there are pics from Ladybird: Learn to Read Books, and great retro photos  from a 70's Boys Own Annual.

They are all sewn (very, very neatly) onto the card. (One must ensure the handmade element is present!)

My favourite has already been sold, but it is such a great image it deserves to be seen. It is from a Ladybird book, The Miner. The person who purchased it described it as homo-erotic!

The buyer asked me why I din't just photocopy the image and sell hundreds of 'neck-ed' men. I had to explain about a little thing called copyright  and also the preciousness of the actual vintage object, knowing it came out of a book that was handled by children learning to read....about memories and the different papers  and inks (made of heavy metals) used.

It was no use. If the image had been photocopied onto card at Officeworks, I think the buyer would have bought it for a higher price.

Which has got me thinking. If I want to build an Empire, I might have to compromise...but hopefully not too much.

I will leave you with one last card, from "The Miner"...which is quite amusing given my latest 'activating' interest. For those who can't see it on the screen, it is a picture of  coal seams beneath the surface.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Here is a pic of our new little calf called Alan. (Well he is about two months old now)

He is so cute and runs around the paddock like a crazy puppy. I feed him and his mum every morning and he is so confident. I love living in the country.

Ha, I just reread the text that I wrote. It sounds like a Grade 2 composition, or the 'how to read' books that I have been making into greeting has been a long day!

Retro Tea Towels

Some things just cannot be made into cushions!

Have a lookee here at these groovy tea towels! Dunmoy Irish Linen, they are beaut! They are all in original condition, and still have their gold sticker attached. There are three colour ways.

Available at my  Laughing Duck Vintage shop or contact me at

Monday, August 20, 2012

Retarded carrots

About a month ago it rained every day here in God's Country...but now, we have glorious sun shiny days to warm our winter chilled bones. I have ventured out into the garden once more...

Last week I harvested all of my carrots. Because my seeds didn't take, I had cheated and bought a couple of punnets. Although I was really, really careful with the roots, ensuring they were straight when I placed them into the very well  prepared soil, I am afraid it just wasn't enough. I know now why the experts advise not to grow carrots from seedlings.

Some of them seem to have their own personalities. The lady on the bottom left looks particularly coy! Geez,  I will be looking for images of the Madonna or Baby Jesus in these veges soon!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Will you miss me when I'm gone?

I have been absent for a while, but now have decided to return to the world of blogging. After a few years of putting your life out there, you start reflecting on the need to blog...Is it necessary? Am I blogging for myself, or for those near and dear to me? Is to create a record of my life? Do the numbers of 'friends' matter? Is it a competition? Is it loneliness, or am I trying to get attention? Should I be more 'professional' and treat it as part of my business? Who cares anyway?

I have come to the conclusion that I am a mere grain of sand on the beach of life. Not important to most, so why not do what I want to do...not to over think the whole thing but just to do it, and enjoy it!

The catalyst of all of this navel gazing was my husband moving away for work, a few months ago. He only comes home once a month, and it has become one of the most difficult things that either of us have done. In truth, I have wallowed in this misery, but it is getting a bit time to pick myself up by my bootstraps and move onwards and upwards!

During this 'down' time I have been listening to a lot of 'old timey' music, Appalacian and folk, especially the original recordings of the Carter Family. One of my sing-a-long favourites is "Will you miss me when I'm gone."

Picture this, a beautiful winters day in a lush green valley. Birds are chirping. Cows are mooing. A car appears on the road. At the wheel a woman, hair awry, tears streaming down her face as she sings at the top of her voice. Her face is contorted in despair. The most pathetic thing in this picture is not the tears, but the complete inability to sing in tune to the music! (That is why I sing in the car, it is like a vacuum, no one hears!)

PS. For those who listen to the song, yes, it is about a dead person...but I have never let anything get in the way of some good old fashioned 'drama queen' behaviour! In fact 'drama queen' is my middle name!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I have been activating

Last weekend I went activating at Lismore Car Boot Markets. I helped to collect money for the charity of the day, CSG Free Northern Rivers.We raised a record amount on Sunday, showing that people of this region DO care. I chatted to many people, young and old and they were all disgusted with what CSG would do do to our region.

CSG, for those of you who don't know is Coal Seam Gas mining mines gas in unstable soils, bringing saltwater to the surface and often creating lesions beneath the ground which allows gas to leach into the water supply. So effectively the water supply is poisoned and in many cases the gas escapes to the surface, which means even rain water is compromised....and they have put an exploration well a few miles up the road from me.
Tara Gasfield, QLD
What is gobsmacking, is that the well is metres from Terania Creek, which flows onto Lismore and Ballina. The Northern Rivers water supply is pumped from this water further down river at Boat Harbour. Plus the valley floods at least twice a year, which means that any waste in holding tanks would be washed downstream.
Keerrong Gas Squad
But it is not just all about moi, basically the mining companies have all the power. They can come onto your land and do this, and you have no rights, the only leverage the private landholder has is the dictation of terms. That is, they can demand that the gas companies pay $10,000 per minute to access their land. (you get the gist)
So ultimately (at the moment) it comes down to money, and what is your price.
Sorry Nick, I can no longer visit you in your lovely mudbrick house, with  your gorgeous vege patch and orchard....because I died of contaminated water did alot of wildlife around the area. Infact, you haven't been feeling too hot lately have you? I know the chooks carked it a few months back, so it can't be the haven't been... drinking the water!!!
But there were many disturbing stories on Saturday. One bloke out at Casino was checking his fences. His high tensile five strand barbed wire fence had weakened. (This type of fence is expensive) He found that a mining company, WITHOUT PERMISSION, had cut the fence, installed some gates and had slashed the grass as road access.
"I came here as a bride, this land is my they said I had to sign it over to the mining companies.  I got  $1.50,  that can go towards a taxi  to the hospital... my arm is still hurting from all the twisting they did, though I think my knee caps will never recover."
Another bloke told me his 90 year old grandmother had been forced to sign a document by the mining company representatives. They told her she had no option and HAD to sign when they visited her in her house, scary the living daylights out of her.

On Saturday there is going to be a big rally in Lismore to protest CSG mining in the Northern Rivers. If you are  local, consider participating. It starts at 10.00am with a march through Lismore and ends at Riverside Park where there will be music and food. I will be wearing my Keerrong Gas Squad t-shirt, with DON"T FRACK WITH ME.

CSG hasn't got a good track record. The companies who have licenses in the Northern Rivers are Chinese subsidiaries of Shell, they don't care what poison they spread, they are only concerned with their profits. I historically have never been an activist, opting to change things in a different way...organics, self sufficiency, recycling, reusing, low impact on the environment etc. BUT now I am riled, and am ACTIVATING!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cluck, cluck

The weather has been awful here lately, rainy and sodden, and all my girls have gone off the lay. I am demned if I will buy store bought eggs, even if they are free range, organic or what have you. So today I  picked up a couple of pullets from our rural supply store. They are young chooks on the point of lay.

I didn't get home 'til dusk and put them in the yard. The poor things were petrified! They wouldn't move. I think they thought I couldn't see them, and they played possum. So I picked them up and put them in the chook house. Look at the poor things. They look very miserable. Hopefully they will have made friends with the other girls by morning.

I'm a winner!

I don't win lots and lots of things, but I do win some stuff now and again. You after all have to be in it to win it...though that million dollar lottery haul seems to evade me!

The book Nomad, by Sibella Court,  was won from the girls at  Paper Runway. It is inspired by her travels (she travels alot) and is quite glorious.  I love her little ways of gathering collections and her use of paper in her stylings of her tableaux. It is very theatrical, a tool used to inspire creativity in your own home, rather than slavishly follow.  It is a reason why I am drawn to them...they are so damn fabulous and go beyond the practical.

Every now and again I get a little smug, when I discover little bits and pieces I have found around the traps are being featured in mags and books. My little piece of smugness today is the ink bottles I found in the RSPCA shop. (and paid nix for!) Similar vessels are featured in the new Inside Out.

And for Kylie, you darlin' can be smug, 'cos there is a donkey and cart featured in the Nomad book...I know you featured them yesterday.

These little bits of smugness mean I have a valid place in the universe and that I exist! (For those who don't know my sense of humour, I am being wry and ironic)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Too scary?

I have just finished a new bunting and had to upload a pic to my Made It  and Blue Caravan stores. In truth, all my photos are really boring, and take all of two minutes to photograph. I thought I would put a little more consideration into my new SHHH banner, make the effort....but I am so busy, and sooo tired! (and such a whinger!)

I quickly grabbed an old stool from the garage and my dear old teddy, as I have no other children's toys around the place. He hasn't got eyes anymore and his nose has basically disappeared, but I still love him.  Is he too freaky?

As I retrieved him from his cupboard, I automatically kissed him on the forehead, as you do for babies. Infact, every time I picked him up I kissed him. Some 'things' are just bursting with memories and emotion. Bought a tear to mine old eye.

There is another new 'hello' banner as well. I can't get the energy to stylise that one...just tie it on the old'll do.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Last of the herbs

My gourmet daughter asked for some herbs from my garden recently. Now, my vege garden is in limbo at the moment. Dead ol' stuff has been removed (well, some of it) and new beds are being prepared. I didn't think I had much to give...but I was mistaken.
There was masses of basil, so I decided to make some Pesto. "Should be easy," I think. Jamie makes a three course meal in 30 minutes, Martha makes gourmet meals within seconds..."I just have to get organised!"
Well an hour and a half later,  and MASSES of washing up, I ended up with just under two jars of pesto. It was quite delicious but, THE EFFORT!

I have included the recipe below, I eventually opted for Jamie Oliver's  version. Jamie's method was a little vague, along with my daggy photos, are my comments and method. My pesto didn't turn out as bright green and moist looking as Jamie's, but it was still pretty damn good.


• ½ a clove of garlic, chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 good handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
• a handful of pine nuts, very lightly toasted
• a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• extra virgin olive oil
• a small squeeze of lemon juice
MAKES ONE JAR (I doubled it)


Wash the basil. I found all manner of critters in mine, and whilst they had a meaty, flavorsome note to the palate, I think they are better left out. I also spun the leaves in a salad spinner.
Jamie says, "the really good pestos I’ve tasted in Italy just have them very lightly toasted, to give a creaminess rather than a nuttiness." I did as he said. I had to watch pretty closely, I nearly burnt them.
Jamie says:" Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar, or pulse in a food processor". I used a food processor. Add the pine nuts to the mixture.  My mixture turned quite a bilious green. Maybe because it is late in the season for basil? 
 Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil . Now Jamie says "You need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency." BUT I found that I had to add an awful lot of olive oil. It seemed like a couple of cupfuls...I  kid you not. The end result was not as oozy looking as Jamie's, but I just couldn't bear myself to put in ANOTHER cup of olive oil!
Jamie says: Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it’s not essential. Try it with and without and see which you prefer. Personally, I don't get the tasting. After a couple of tastes they all merge, and I really don't know what I am supposed to be tasting for.
I use my lovely red jam funnel to fill my glass jars. I was trying to be all "Martha" and sourced some labels to stick on the jars from here, but they didn't turn out very well. As you can see, the colour of my pesto isn't the same as in the shops. I couldn't find a pen, or a pencil, so ended up writing 'pesto' is daggy texta. It took me ages  to wash the dishes. (we don't have a dishwasher) Anyhoo, my daughter lurved the pesto, which is all that matters, but is it just all this effort simply too much effort?


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