Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Garden

I can't believe its over a month since I posted, that is how busy life is on the island. I now have gardening to do that I have never done in my life. Its so rewarding to see these small plants or seeds growing before your eyes. Abit like watching and waiting for the baby to arrive.

 So the only edible thing the previous owners planted was this lime tree which produces some awesome juicy fruit. I just love smelling the lime. Then beside it is a rosemary bush they planted as well. This will be my herb garden and hubby and I have planted mint, chives, cabbage, sage, pineapple sage, oregano, majoram
 My poor dragon fruit tree is leaning on this tree until we can build a proper pole for it
 More herbs and trees ready to go in the ground
 My bele tree is taking a long time to recover from the move, its is bare for now, curry leaf tree and blueberry and pawpaw
Aaaaah I love my pumpkin plants, they give me the most joy to watch as they grow so fast. I pollinate them myself (because i cant wait for the bees LOL but I also want to make sure they are pollinated) .  Ive got 5 different types growing so far, also one that will grow to 50kgs-I planted that for fun to see if I could grow a pumpkin so big.
I love gardenias and almost bought some plants until I discovered we have a few bushes growing and didnt realise until they flowered last week lol
My pumpkin patch with sprinkles of snow peas, potatoes and cabbage lol. I think the pumpkins will take over. Hubby did this to my horror, I told him we had to move all the other plants and just have pumpkins growing here...aaah men...never listen!!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Making Chicken Fodder

Our lovely neighbour Mandy whose house was on the market when we were looking but has since pulled it off market (thank goodness, she is one of the loveliest neighbours we have met so far on the island), has chickens and ducks that she has kindly given us their eggs to us regularly. 

I saw on a blog I follow Home is my Haven how to grow chicken fodder, so I am practising growing fodder for Mandy's chickens because I want some chickens of our own as well. 

So firstly I soaked 1 cup of each grains, forgot to wash them first lol

This is what it looks like overnight, I then drained and rinsed them and now they are drying in colanders. Each morning and night I rinse out the beans until they start to sprout.

When they sprout i will be putting them into these drawers to grow? 
The height of the drawers are perfect for chicken food. 

I poked holes in each draw with a scissors as that is all I had to work with LOL. 
The bottom drawer does not have holes so it can catch all the water that drips through.

Day 2 of chicken fodder growth coming on nicely. the instructions on how to make chicken fodder lies on top of the drawers, just to remind me how LOL.

I fried up two eggs for breakfast yesterday, check out how yellow the yolks are in truly free range eggs.  I cant wait to grow my own chickens. Yes that is a really tiny frypan that holds two eggs, could probably hold 3 eggs if I squeezed them in.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

New Island Life

Wow it's been awhile since I posted, 7 months to say the least. So much to tell you and so much to share.

We started looking to buy a house by fluke in February when I saw an advertisement on facebook asking "Do  you like island living?". Of course I loved island living from my childhood days of living in Fiji. So I clicked on the advertisement and the rest is history, 7 months later we moved to our Dream Island Home on Macleay Island which looks like a seahorse. 

There are four islands in the South Moreton Bay Region.

Russell Island (the largest-8kms long and 3kms wide)
Founded1870, Location40 km (25 mi) from Brisbane GPO, Population1,779 (2006)

Macleay Island (2nd largest measuring 6kms in length and 4 kms in width),
Population2,572 (2011 census), RegionSouth East QueenslandState electorate(s)Redlands
In the 2011 census, Macleay Island recorded a population of 2,572 people, 49.9% female and 50.1% male. The median age of the Macleay Island population was 52 years, 15 years above the national median of 37. 68.3% of people living in Macleay Island were born in Australia. For some time in the 1800s the island was called Tim Shea's Island after a convict who lived on the island for more than a decade.[6] The current name was given by Surveyor Warner who named the island after Alexander Macleay who was the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales from 1825 to 1837.[6] The island has a rich history of the Aboriginal/indigenous peoples presence with middens and stone fish traps still found on the island. Macleay has a range of shops including cafes, pizza, hot bread, restaurants and supermarkets. There's also a dentist, doctor, chemist, and vet as well as the islands emergency services. The large Community Centre and Hall is used by many local groups. A lively Progress Association runs the island's library.
Lamb Island
Postal code4184, Population427 (2011 census), 
In the 2011 census, Lamb Island recorded a population of 427 people, 50.4% female and 49.6% male. The median age of the Lamb Island population was 51 years, 14 years above the national median of 37. 69.4% of people living in Lamb Island were born in Australia.

Karragarra is the smallest of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands being approximately 2.5 km long and 0.5 km wide. Karragarra Island has a small permanent population of160 residents according to the 2011 Census.

All Islands are serviced by a ferry operated by Translink.

We had looked between Russell Island and Macleay Island for a month before we decided on Macleay and the beautiful house we found that ticked all the boxes and we could not find fault with it. 

To say the 7 months was filled with stress and excitement is an understatement. I had never been involved in the makings of buying a home and boy did I learn all about it. 

It has all been worth it to say the least, I would never change anything. Now 5 weeks since moving into our island home, I am very relaxed and enjoying the island life. Of course we have had a few hiccups since moving in, blocked drainage, leaking showers hose, stove top not delivering gas (am back to cooking with my camping stove LOL). The thing that amazed me was there was no oven.....?????.....I love my oven and cooking in it. I had to re think all my recipes and improvise. So far I have not made my favourite Lemonade Scones which I was going to make for the neighbours. I'll have to try baking on the camp stove top in a Bessemer pot my mum gave me.

I spent the first 3 weeks - 9 hours per day unpacking just the kitchen boxes which numbered around 50 boxes, yes the removalists did that and nearly every item was individually wrapped. I still have about 10 boxes of kitchen stuff to unpack....and the rest of the house, not to mention my craft room which is in the garage and is 1/4 the size of my previous craft room LOL, yes I did a lot of culling and will still have to when I unpack.

We've had to organise ourselves really well with ferry times and the longer drive. My 5 hour work shift is now an 11 hour day. I am not complaining, I just have to be really organised.

We want to establish a vegetable/herb garden and grow some fruit trees. I will share photos in future posts of our non/existent garden and where my new vege garden will go. I am also looking to put in a chicken coop, I've always had a yearning to have my own chickens, not only to have my own eggs but to have older/boiler chickens to make curry from. 

Stay tuned for more island stories....

Friday, April 07, 2017

Interesting reading - Landmark and Grief

My husband and I attended a forum lately. In just three days it has transformed my outlook in life to what I saw and what it really is. It was mind blowing and empowering to see the possibilities I could achieve from simple things like making the bed and culling my craftroom that I haven't been able to do for a while now. Now I can see the bigger picture in doing anything I want to fulfill lifelong dreams and also achieve daily tasks


Interesting facts about Air Force One

Failure is ok as long as it comes with learning

Grief and how one man sees it and copes with it

Lemons and how much good they are for us

The goodness of tea leaves

Interesting article on how many times you can reheat food

Friday, March 17, 2017

Interesting Reading- Guestblogging-Living on Mars-Guava health benefits

Remember my Guestblogging post for Lettermo? Well it is now up on the Lettermo site

I was listening to a podcast the other day and Josh Richards was on Conversations ABC Radio. The project is called Mars One and is privately funded for ethical reasons.

We have grown up with Guavas in Fiji. I also have a guava tree hanging over the fence intruding in my little concrete garden. The bats make a huge mess when they eat the guava and either vomit or have diary on our concrete. But this article tells me I should make tea with the leaves because of its healthy benefits. This years fruit is very slow and small so i dont think I will get anything out of the fruit.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Interesting Reading - Postal wonderers

So seeing as its Lettermo month I thought this postal story was awesome.
Letter with a map gets delivered such is the dedication of some postal workers to get the job done.

I have a postal story similar to share but will  have to get the envelope first. this came from a penpal. he had just moved from an isolated town to the city. His story is amazing how he lived off the land.
Australia Post you rock #austpost

Great ideas to save money includes the following:
Reseal A Freezer Bag
Save Your Drain
Make Your Own Stylus
Make A Fast Funnel
Sharpen Your Scissors

Clean Your Pan
It may seem strange, but crumpled up foil can actually help you do your dishes! If you have a pan with stuck on residue, give it a good rub with a ball of foil and watch the grime rinse away.
Rub Off The Rust
You don't need any dangerous chemicals to get the rust off your barbeque. All you need is a sheet of aluminum foil. Crumple it up and start rubbing, the rust should come right off. 
Loose Battery?
Help it fit snugly into your electronic using a small ball of foil. You can also wrap the entire battery in foil, but this works equally well.

Roast A Turkey
Slow cookers are among the most versatile appliances in the kitchen. Not only can you made delicious soups and sauces, but you can even roast a bird! The trick to getting a perfect roast is aluminum foil. Start with several crumpled up balls of foil in the bottom of your crock pot, then add your chicken or turkey. Head over to I Believe I Can Fry for step-by-step instructions.

Ditch The Dryer Sheets
Instead of using dryer sheets, try the foil trick instead. Wrap a few tennis balls in aluminum foil, then throw them in with your wet clothes. Not only will they help keep the static out, but your clothes should dry quickly too! The best part is, you can use the same foil wrapped balls over and over again! Head over to the blog I'm A Lazy Mom for all the details.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Knitted Dishcloths - Bicolor Tweed - Knitpicks

This was a delight to make (I really must block my knitting hahaha) I can also see a few mistakes,
can you? thats what you get when you knit and watch tv

I've always loved doing stuff from scratch ever since my friend Nola served me one of her delicious homemade cakes. The smell (I call it the country smell) in her kitchen was so homely. Sometimes I just want to bake a cake just to make the house smell nice.

I've made my own soap and would like to try again.

I want to make my own soy candles as the ones I buy are so expensive and i burn a lot of nice smelling candles a lot.

So over on the Down to Earth  forum we have a challenge to make a dishcloth a week so at the end of the year we have enough to give as presents.

Ok back up here, in October my aunt came from Seattle USA to visit and brought her dish cloth pattern to share, I got hooked on it and have made a few for Chrissy presents but ran out of time. My family are using them as face washers because the cotton is so soft on the skin.

Here is my first dishcloth, which is actually a scrubbie, the wool came from Lincraft and is quite hard to use, I won't be touching that thread for awhile LOL.

I found 52 free dishcloth patterns for download.
Here is the HIVE pattern

Friday, February 10, 2017

Lettermo 2017 - Guestblogging

How fast has a year gone? Its that time of year again called Lettermo. Remember last year I wrote over 207 letters/card and parcels for the month of February. Well not this year, I think my wrist is still recovering. I do have a few penpal letters to write that are left over from December/January (thats what happens when you go on holiday, everything piles up) so they will be part of Lettermo. Having said that I did send 28 in the first week, letter writing is so addictive in a good way.

I started letter writing when I was 12 years old and loved every aspect of it. I moved to emails and texts but missed seeing a handwritten letter in my mailbox so I started penpalling again 3 years ago and have met lots of lovely people around the world. I also met face to face with a few people here in Australia through postcrossing.

So I will be Guestblogging for Lettermo today with a wonderful story that started from a chance encounter with a dedicated school teacher in Illinois USA who is a member of Postcrossing. I happened to come across her request for postcrossers to send postcards to her 5 year old pupils who loved her postcards that she received and wanted their own. Each year has as different set of children to write to. This will be my second year of sending to her students. I wanted to be a part of her class curriculum because the trend of letter writing is fast becoming obsolete with technology ruling the world. 

I sent the children Tim Tam biscuits, they are best eaten by biting off a little of both ends and sucking your coffee or tea through the biscuit. The factory is just down the road from where we live. The children loved it. I also sent baby koala soft toys for each of them, and Australian Girl Guide biscuits. Connie told me they were a hit. I sent them some vegemite too which is a favourite spread of every child in Australia and the Pacific-somehow that was not a favourite and is an acquired taste.

I wanted to put as many different stamps possible on the box. Australia has some beautiful philatelic stamps.

My postcards that I sent them are about the animals in Australia. Connie does lessons about the animals and most things I send them. She has set up walls with all our postcards from around the world.


The above photos are courtesy of Connie Szorc and have been printed with her permission

I received from them this month a wonderful parcel which was overwhelming. Connie knew that I love cooking and recipes so she got together with the parents to make a cookbook of their favourite recipes to send to me. I'm going to be trying every recipe in that book.

 These are the recipe postcards they also bought and write on. I chose to write to all 22 of the students, I couldn't just pick a few.

Connie said this programme she has going for the children have been truly life changing for their young lives. It has definitely been life changing for me as I have never had penpals so young. The innocence in their writing is so refreshing. 
I asked Connie if she would like to contribute to this guest blog and the following is what she wrote:

My name is Connie, and I am a preschool teacher at Batavia Covenant Preschool, Batavia, IL USA.  For a very long time I had been wanting to find pen pals for students and for some reason it never seem to work out.  As chance would have it I came across Postcrossing and it truly changed my classroom.  My original intention was for my students to see a world beyond their backyard.  I hoped we might learn a little about geography, different kinds of foods, fun activities children around the world might enjoy, and of course learn about different native animals.  What I never expected was how Postcrossing and letter writing could have turned into so much more.  One very special day I was lucky enough to meet Bridget from Australia.  She wanted to share Australia with all of my students.  She told us about koala bears, and kangaroos.  We took time to read books about Australia, and then find it on the map.  We read all we could about koalas and kangaroos.  Then one day a package came filled with postcards and information and best of all Tim Tams.  We all learned how much we loved those cookies.  Bridget also told us about a food called Vegemite, we had never heard of it, but after a trip to a local store that deals in different cultural foods, we found it.  We discover we liked Tim Tams much more than Vegemite. 

Postcards and writing started out as a way for my class to learn about the world we live in, instead we have made many friends.  My students now understand the value of a written note, and they have learned they can do a random act of kindness just by picking up a pencil (or crayon) and tell someone about their day.  The best part, because they are young their parents have become just as involved.  Bridget not only touched my classroom with her letters and words, but she has touched their families as well. 

What we have come to learn from Postcrossing and letter writing is that people all around the world are pretty amazing.  We now think of Bridget as one of our best friends.  All I have to do is say we received postcards from Bridget and my students know exactly who I mean. 

My student's parents often tell me how much they love this project, and I say "I do too!"  

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Knitted Dishcloths - Waffle knit - Diagonal Seed

I have been a busy bee knitting dishcloths/facewashers since I learnt how, from my aunt in October. December saw me knitting furiously to make Christmas presents when we were in Melbourne. I will show you the flawed ones first.

Everyone that I have knitted so far has been easy.

Diagonal Seed

 So I must have gotten distracted with this one and missed the line of knit and turned the pattern  backwards lol. So I saw online how to pick up stitches. This is great wehn you have done as much as I had and didnt notice the mistake. This is where you can get the free pattern

So my robo cleaner decided to put it self to work and ran straight to my knitting and wound the wool which was hanging off the table and undid a few rows deep. I had to think very hard how to pick the stitches up in the middle. Below is the finished dishcloth showing the backside of the work. This one is called Waffle Knit

Come back tomorrow and the following days and I will have more to show.

How to block your work to make it straight 
(I have not done it to any of mine so far, just need a clear surface to do it)

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


It's been a long time since I posted my desk, Oct 5 2016 was the last. I don't have any desk to post, its all full of dumped stuff. Which means I haven't crafted for that long. I think the Wedding invites were the last things I made.

Anyway I have been knitting dishcloths fervently since October.  My aunt showed me her dishcloths she was knitting and gave me the patterns, then I got hooked
I made a few at Christmas and gave them to family who used them for wash cloths because the cotton is very soft and good on skin with excema.

I challenged a group of women on a forum to make a dishcloth a week in preparation for 2017 Christmas. I enjoyed making them so much I ended up making 14 in January and on my 4th for February. Each design is different and some favourites have been mad a couple of times now.

I will post up the individual dishcloths and the patterns for those who want to make them themselves in the next posts

Joining Julia's Stamping Ground to showcase our busy desks

Monday, February 06, 2017

Tea for Tuesday

Well life has gotten away and I haven't posted tea for a while now since my birthday on Nov 8 - 2016

On Monday I was lucky to be a hair model for a friends daughter who is a hairdresser and needed a head for an exam. She did an awesome job and I got  to see a new part of town that I had never been to before. I got there 2 hours too early as hubby needed me to take him to work and I wasnt going to drive back home then drive back down again in peak hour.

 The lovely newly opened and owned cafe that is thriving with business 

Thats the hairdressers next door. 
So I sat at the cafe next door and had breakfast and knitted a dish cloth while I waited. I have been busy knitting my heart away doing dishcloths. I have made 14 so far in January. Will showcase the dishcloths in another post as well as links to the patterns for those who like to knit.

Last year I started knitting these in October and gave them away for Christmas presents. They were a hit but I didn't have enough and couldn't knit fast enough. So this year I thought I'd get in early and start now to make them. I was only aiming for 1 a week and not to put myself under too much pressure. I surprised myself and tripled my count. I started a challenge over at Down To Earth and got everyone going.

February is also Lettermo month for those of you who have heard or participated before so these are posted in another post.

Joining Elizabeth's Tea for Tuesday Meme

Friday, January 13, 2017

Interesting Reading - Calligraphy

Victoria Falls and some amazing footage, if you're squeamish or hate heights dont click the link or watch the 2nd video after the girls

Amazing calligraphy work by John Stevens oh to be so talented.

I was chatting to a penpal and reminiscing about my trip to Fiji last year and we discussed Tropical Non Alcoholic fruit cocktails and how they are only nice where there is beach, sun and sand hahaha.
I mentioned how I couldnt find any recipe online to try and make it and boom I find this WEBSITE.
Of course there is all the other recipes as well for drink mixing. I think the drinks taste better in island paradise because the coconut is fresh and the fruit is fresher too and not from cans. I can see a few I want to make right NOW!

For all you campers out there or people like us that just burn fires to cook or keep warm, here is a self feeding fire that you can make yourself.

How stamps are designed in the USA for USPS.

How your letters are handled by USPS

Love this eagle cam, nothing better than to hear and watch nature living


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