Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Around here

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and that means 15 days until my Birthday which means my "Birthday Tradition Photo".  Here's another blog post from back in 2017 about it.  This year it will be 17 years I've been doing this project and it's very dear to my heart.

On the craft front I have finished quilting my "Big Patch Quilt" so I just need to cut some binding and attach that to the quilt.  I also purchased this Homestead Quilt Pattern by Amy Kallissa which my friend and I are going to do together as she has never made a quilt before so I can show her the ropes.  She does sew so it will be pretty easy to teach her.  This will probably be a January project as I want to finish my Quilt and the Baby Quilt before I start.   I'd like to pay to get this one professionally quilted as I don't want it just to be straight rows of sewing.  The biggest impact will be the fabric choices.

This year my family and I have planned a day in Toowoomba to see the Carnival of Flowers.  We went every year for years and years however the last time we went was in 2017 so we are looking forward to seeing some lovely gardens for inspiration.  This is a huge event for Toowoomba and in 2019 it attracted 294,000 people during the 10 day invent and injected more than $20 million dollars into the Toowoomba economy.  I think the first year of Covid the event wasn't on and the 2nd year they ran it over the whole month of September instead of having people attend in the normal 10 day period so the crowds were less.  Here's a few photos from around here.

A bouquet of home grown lettuce and parsley wrapped up in newspaper for my friend.

Also gifted my friend some home made sourdough.

I bought more fabric and made this up as a quilt top for my niece's baby due in December.

Home baking carrot cake recipe.

Recent BBQ at our favourite bush location.

My beautiful 16 year old dressed up for an event.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Around here - Escape to the Chateau

One of my favourite TV shows is "Escape to the Chateau" and it's on Saturday night at 7.30 pm.  I record it and then when I head to bed Saturday night I'm look forward to watching this show.  In 2015 the Strawbridges were living in London and stumbed across Chateau de la Motte Husson, a derelict 19th century fairy tale chateau in the Pays de la Loire with 45 rooms, a moat, orangery, 12 acres, 7 outbuildings in France which had huge potential so they packed up their life and escaped to the Chateau.

They moved to their new home in a foreign country, in the middle of winter with no electricity, sewerage or heating and two young children in tow but they fell in love with the Chateau instantly.  After decades of neglect, the Chateau needed hard work and dedication to bring it back to life.  It was a renovation on the grandest of scales.  The filming of the show is currently in it's 9th season which will be released at the end of 2022.

They run a wedding business at the Chateau and during lockdown life everyone else they could no longer host weddings and events so they had time to do those larger renovation projects.  Dick retired from the Army and also is a qualified engineer which certainly helps with all the renovations and maths cals that need to be done.  Angel is very creative and used to run Vintage Patisserie Company in London and loved icing cakes.  She can turn anything item into some decor item for their Chateau and is extremely creative.

They have two kids, Arthur who is 9 and Dorothy who is 8 and they were very little when they moved from the UK to France to begin their big adventure.

After some time they renovated one of the outbuildings into an apartment for Angel's parents who also live at the Chateau.

I was on IG on Tuesday night and saw that the Strawbridges are coming to Australia and New Zealand for a week long tour and will be coming to Brisbane.  I love this show and I thought that's quite an experience so I turned my computer back on and booked myself a seat for the show.  I have no idea what it will be however I think it's a sit down talking chat about their life in France and the big adventure that is "Escape to the Chateau".  It's not until February next year but I am so excited for this evening chat with them.  Apparently Australia and New Zealand was one of the first countries to adopt "Escape to the Chateau"

The Chateau.

The Walled Garden.

Dick, Dorothy, Arthur & Angel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Around here

New craft project to make a baby mat for my niece who is having a baby in December.  I haven't gone for baby colours but picked this kit from Scribbly Gum Quilt Co.  I've also got the sewing machine out to firstly finish my Big Patch Quilt that I started August two years ago before we had other family things come up that needed our attention.  I haven't got that much left to do and then I need to put the binding on so I'm determined to finish this before starting the baby quilt.  Susan from Hopewood Home makes the most stunning quilts and the way she puts fabrics together is incredible.

I haven't made sourdough bread in a couple of months because my daughter was bringing home the leftover bread from her part time job.  I hadn't feed my starter so it took a good week of trying to get it to come back to life and it's looking great now so starting making bread again.  I use Elaine Boddy's Master Recipe, timeline and cooking from a cold oven and it's the best and easiest process I've seen over the years.

I made up this paste to clean my white coffee cups that had tea stains in them.

My white tea stained coffee cups "before" I left it on a while and then cleaned them.

My white tea stained coffee cups "after"

Dinner with homemade coleslaw and home made dressing and a home made salsa to go with salmon.

Home made sourdough bread.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Around here

Around here we are in Week 4 of the school term and I can't believe it's August already which means it's only 6 weeks until my birthday on the 15th September.

My sister from Perth has booked a trip to visit us early October so we are looking forward to that.  She was last here December 2020 when there was a time Queensland let residents in from WA.  She ended up having to quarantine at home for 2 weeks when she got back because Queensland ended up having Covid cases here whereas we only quarantined I think for 3 days.  I was going to go to Perth mid September for my Birthday and use my airline credit from April 2020 [beginning of the Pandemic and my Niece's wedding was cancelled 3 weeks out and I wanted a refund but was only offered a credit]. 

In June I waited on the company's chat on my computer for 2 hours with a stupid bot telling me every 15 minutes that my call was important.  Then after 2 hours it says if you are not flying in the next 24 hours don't talk to us and that was the end of the call.  The customer service is totally disgraceful and they don't care about you as the consumer.  After waiting for 2 hours it said you can use your credit but you need to call us all of which could have been mentioned a the start of the chat, yes 2 hours earlier.

I attempted two days in a row and basically gave up.  The whole airline industry and them keeping our money is outrageous.  Mine is only $600 however I should have been refunded that 2.5 years ago and have that money sitting in my account so I could book another ticket if and when we could travel.  If I find a cheaper flight I can't use the credit or you loose the lot.  My friends have more money tied up in credit with an airline and have equally distressing stories of them refusing to refund the money and they make it so hard to use the credit as well.  Anyway that's enough about my attempt to fly to Perth in September.  I think the credit is due to expire at the end of this year so I will need an extension which may take another 2 hour phone call or more.  Unfortunately I booked through a third party Webjet and I would never ever do that again, I would book directly with the airlines as Qantas would have issued me a refund because the flight was cancelled altogether.  It had been 7 years since I had been on a plane so I just jumped onto the comparison site and booked it.  Mind you, had there not been a once in a lifetime Pandemic I would have been on the plane and my Niece would have been married and this wouldn't have been a problem however lesson learned, check prices and then only book directly through the airline.

I had some very sad news that my friend of 30 years passed away two weeks ago. We are all in shock and it was only 7 weeks from when she fell ill to being in palliative care.  I raced up to the hospital to say goodbye to her however she had basically been unconscious the whole time but I'm so pleased I went up to the hospital but it still doesn't seem real.

I met her as she was a Beautician and lived in the same area as me.  We both bought and sold our houses at the same time and then we renovated our new to us houses.  We both had Thermomix's and and swapped recipes.  She knows of my whole family and I know of hers.  I saw her every fortnight and it was a big catch up on life and I got my nails done.  She was a friend first and beautician second and was such a kind person who did everything for everyone.

One minute she is perfectly fine and the next she is not and I'll never see her again.  Something was on TV the other night and I thought I must tell her and then I remembered she's not here.  She's only 4 years older than me and it was completely out of the blue.  Her funeral is tomorrow and it's going to be very difficult day and I'm not looking forward to it.  I know funerals are a celebration of life but honestly on the surface it doesn't feel like that because she should be here for another 20 years or more.

I did my Photo a Day [Project 365] in 2009 and got her to do one in 2010 and below is a photo she took of me for her photo a day project.  I was looking through my emails from her and came across it again.  She was also an amazing baker of cakes and cookies and at Christmas time I always ordered a Gingerbread Men for James, Sienna and I.  We will honour her this Christmas by making them ourselves although her icing skills are very professional and it was a hobby for her outside of her beauty clients.

Here's some other things that have been going on recently.  Family BBQ to our favourite place about 10 minutes from home and we love a wood fired BBQ.

Can you spot the Kookaburra in the tree.

Last week I made these great overnight oats for the kids which they loved.  I made 6 of them and it only took me less than 10 minutes and then they can have something ready to grab for breakfast.  My son has some early morning Uni days so these are perfect.  The recipe is from Nic from Simple Home Edit.  You can find her on IG here and she has some great time saving delicious family recipes.

This beautiful orange trumpet vine is starting to flower everywhere at the moment and this is on my side fence however in our neighbourhood there is lots of it over fences and walls and looks stunning.

I did my Soap Making Workshop with Carrie of Riverbell Cottage held at Vitalia in Brisbane.  I went to Carrie's home back in July 2021 and did a Homesteading Course with her and she gave me some of her wonderful Sourdough Starter.

I made a big batch of these biscuits using Rhonda's recipe from Down to Earth blog.  I confess I ate way too many of these because they were so delicious.