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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Curtain Close for 2013

It's been another cracker of a year; my fourth year of blogging and I'm gratified to still have many old faces turning up in the comments and thrilled every time someone new joins our conversations too.
The tutorial for the waffle crochet stitch still draws a huge crowd daily but aside from the usual popular posts of all time, readers were most interested in seasonal food, herbs and organic growing.

Most popular recipe goes to....

Most popular post of 2013 goes to....

about organic backyard growing and also eliciting the most comments.

The Living Better Group met together every month for another year learning about growing, foraging, preserving, brewing, baking and many other home crafts.

I personally feel that 
was one of my most important stories.

My Tasmanian holiday was my most treasured time of the year, particularly our wooden boat picnic on the Coal River in historic Richmond.

We had a lot of fun with 

I met Tino Carnivale and saw Paul Kelly
Australia had a change of government and our living rooms had a change of colour.
and we even learnt

We have had happy times and avoided controversy.
Next year I anticipate our lives will shift again as we move into the role of grand parents.
I do hope there will be another year of blogging and I hope you will be with me through the next year. Thank you for your kindness and interest throughout the last twelve months.
Wishing you all the very best for the New Year

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"Peace On Earth" 2013

In keeping with this year's theme I've kept it simple with some home made ornaments and a cream lace "garland" (don't know where the red popcorn one is but here is a link to the "how to make")
You may remember these hearts that I made in an acid citrus theme? I used the same template in red accents.
The cute little salt dough bird ornaments were made by Lee's children and the red felt trees by her mum. The tree was grown by Lee herself and lovingly groomed and pruned at her Christmas Tree Farm. Doesn't get much more special than that!

Emma and I had a lovely evening making the gift tags and wrapping the gifts for under the tree.
Again, brown paper, hessian/burlap, string and country red ribbons.

Often I feel a bit squirmy when so many of our Christmas songs sung at Christmas time reflect northern hemisphere sentiments; "sleigh-bells tinkling", "let it snow, let it snow...", "dreaming of a white Christmas" but this year Tasmania seems to be doing it's best to imitate a wintry northern hemisphere Christmas. I can remember a couple of years when there has been snow on the mountains on Christmas Day, perhaps not quite that cold this year fingers crossed. Unlike our mainland Aussies who are sweltering over their dinners we will be very comfortable running the oven and baking a selection of roasted fare.

Wherever you are, north or south, wishing you a simple and beautiful Christmas too.
Happy birthday baby Jesus, we celebrate that you were born and shone your light around and gave us a guiding light to follow.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cream on White

This year we have themed Christmas simple, naive, country with a pinch of Scandinavian.
We have finally completed painting the dining and lounge room in Wattyl "Sierra Blanca" painting out all the natural timber skirtings and window trims in gloss white.

The result is fresh and light while still maintaining a hint of warmth which is important as most of the year our climate is cool.
It gives a great neutral background for warmer toned timbers and furnishings and art works. It reminds me of cream with wattle seeds whipped through it but without the flecks.

Everything takes on a new hue next to it. We have left the mantle natural  along with the sandstone fireplace but deciding to paint the trims was a big decision. I like to think carefully about making changes for "fashion" sake and though we might think some fittings "daggy" and "old fashioned" someone in generations to come might lament that we ripped out or destroyed key features.
The cream on white has been a joy to decorate for Christmas and we feel fresher and lighter.

Decorating could't have been simpler this year.
The craft wood letters above are not even finished with anything, simply left in their raw state. The wreath is an old one from at least two decades ago. In front the scene on an infinite puzzle block of pictures by colonial artist John Glover reminding me of a snippet from a carol "the cattle are lowing". Two small boxes made from cloves lending Christmas scents every time they are touched and a handy place to store the matches.

I bought 25cm of this printed linen/cotton fabric and have simply used it as is for a runner on the coffee table no hemming or straightening, so simple. A touch of white and a change the bamboo coasters for cut crystal ones looking like perpetually frozen snowflakes.

I've added only two new cushions in simple printed calico that I bought for just $5 each at a market in the tiny town of Tunbridge in the midlands one wintry trip to Hobart. So glad I stopped. I've spring cleaned the books and polished all the furniture giving the leather chairs some reviving too.

The dining table has been treated to a new runner from Target (that's tar-shjay) in a linen look fabric, almost like a tame-hessian (burlap) and a polished shell dish and horn bowl for condiments. Very natural, very neutral and very simple.
But talk about simple...

The old wreath that gets decorated and stripped every year has had the easiest makeover ever. 
A vacuum and some hessian/burlap cut into a strip a couple of inches wide, twisted and twirled around and then the battery operated lights on top. A piece of plain wire to suspend the gorgeous heart of tiny, tiny sleigh bells that Tegan bought for me, gosh I think it was way back in April!

And a new find for the entryway.
Again - keeping it simple.
For me, being a Christian is to be someone who tries to live a Christ-like life; someone who uses Christ as a role model. You can read hundreds of texts and translate a million verses but I find the simplest are the best. 
I acknowledge Christ as one of my role models and he directs my path.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
It's the only law we should need.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pulling It Together

There is a dozen reasons why I haven't posted recently, most of them boring and some just ugly so instead I give you the "pretty" reasons...
I have been making and creating over the last few weeks and now it is time to pull it all together with some labelling and packaging.
I am having a love affair with these cute self adhesive labels that give a chalkboard effect. 

In my baskets are;
Vanilla Beans

Throw in a ric-rac trimmed teatowel and some colourful tissue paper and your done!

I also include some recipe ideas for using the ingredients too.

And some smaller bags for the great staff I work with.
And the giving is great.
I had a beautiful day at work today with people popping in and sharing the love, lots of smiley faces and a special surprise visit from Pat of Hooks and Books. So lovely to see you and share you exciting plans and news.

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