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Friday, December 30, 2016

Another Door Opens

As we close the door on 2016, here is a look back at the year that was for Suburban Jubilee.

If I had to sum up the year in a few words, it would have to be,
"Before And After"
Our year was mostly about renovation and they proved to be popular posts.
(Before and After - Front Room)
(Before and After - Hallway)

Not the least of which was the new kitchen finally going in at the beginning of the year just in time for the big preserving season.

We kicked some goals outside too with a major shed renovation

Saving a fortune and gaining some much needed storage space.

And the gardeners loved our before and after wrap up of 12 months in the garden.

Lots of preserving from our new hedgerow; quinces, elderflowers/berries and plums.
Favourite recipes were

The (sooo easy) Date Slice from our Yarn Tour 2016

It was a very, very wet year.
We flooded
But no real damage done. Our dear neighbours have been heroes accommodating some of our equipment in their shed when the waters rose and we can't thank them enough. 
We lost three of our old chooks in the flood but we are working on renewing the flock. Izaac and I have purchased a couple of Black Australorp roosters who are currently in quarantine and will shortly join our girls in the hopes of some new blood. But that's a story for the new year.

Lots of knitting....

Back into soap making....

A couple of Kidney Australia fund raisers.

Lot's of cooking and entertaining.
Old school friends and family visited from the Mainland making it a very special year in the new house.
Getting the work/life balance just right!

We've learnt so much this year and embraced our seasonal life in a rural setting.
I've been grateful to the beautiful people of Campbell Town and the way they have opened their arms and welcomed us in. When pesky work permits, I am a member of the local gardening group and the singing group. We have started to forge lots of lovely friendships.

(view from the kitchen window)

Our year has been all we could have hoped for and we feel Blessed.
As we open the door on another year and another chapter,
we wish you a prosperous and healthy New Year.
Thanks for your support and friendship throughout the year.
Love T.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas 2016

How Christmas unfolded for us in 2016....

The "children" are home after 3 years of travels bringing with them lots of ornaments from their adventures so the tree took on a very Scandinavian look. They even made gingerbread to hang on the tree which Julien and the poodles later picked off one by one when no-one was looking!

We made our bon bons as usual but instead of jokes we used the beer bottle caps with trivia questions. Included in the goodies were these crazy moustaches which were a lot of fun around the table and Ju thought it was hilarious.

I have acquired a pair of standing wreath hangers that I have used in the front windows. Hanging from them are ornate silver trays from the op shop painted with blackboard paint and they spread the message of Peace.

Angels by night

Silver was polished

Pine boughs were cut from the trees in the paddock

We had two formal sit downs for 12, one at lunch and one at dinner as various family came and went.

It was a dreadfully hot day of 35C and although inside was air conditioned, it was nice to enjoy the cool of the shade under the trees and loll on blankets and chat and snooze.

While others splashed under the newly installed play shower and played with Christmas bubble blowers.

The rose petal champagne was a hit and fragrant and exotic. Next year Izaac and I are going to try
with pine needles.

When night fell we accommodated ten overnight, even up in the attic. A little cottage with plenty of room.

Lots of games, shared meals, love and laughter.

Our family grows and we feel blessed. 

I'd like to share a direct quote with you from Kandee Johnson
"no matter how imperfect your Christmas may have felt...remember no one's Christmas was perfect, only some people's posts looked perfect! "
So true
But remember, 
The secret of happiness
Something To Do
Someone to Love
Something to Hope For

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Shenanigans

The Golden Child is home for Christmas and in his bedroom on the mantle I had a simple 

I should have known better.....

After playing around with the 4 letters for a couple of days he commandeered the "P" from PEACE in the lounge room mantelpiece.

 He's had quite a bit of fun but now......

I think he might be 

These cute little Santas have been playing up too!
I sat them demurely on the sideboard shelf.

But the old floor has quite a bit of give in it and the furniture vibrates with all the foot traffic and the Santas go walking....

Time after time I save them from nose diving and line them back up but after a couple of weeks of this....

I've given up!
They are now in the spare bedroom on a very solid window sill.
No more walking!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rose Petal Champagne

We're making rose petal champagne for Christmas Day.
It's sitting fermenting in the coolest spot in the house in the main chimney space - what was the original kitchen fireplace. It maintains a nice 19C here year round just about. It's in sterilised plastic drink bottles so they don't explode and I periodically release some of the excess gas when the bottles feel really tight.

I'm sure Heather won't mind me sharing the recipe and I understand that it can be adapted for other ingredients like rhubarb or elderflower or what about pine needle and gorse flower....
Here is Heather's recipe and instructions....

Rose Petal Champagne

You will need: 
5-6 plastic fizzy cordial bottles and lids that are sterilised 
A funnel and a colander  
A very clean plastic bucket 1/3 full of rose flowers and 1 spare bucket 
3 ½ cups of white sugar 
1 whole lemon finely chopped 
125 ml of apple cider vinegar 
Put all the previous ingredients into the bucket and fill it with unchlorinated water and stir well. 
Cover with a finely woven cloth and put into a warm place (above 20C) for 48 hours. 
Scoop out the most of the flowers then place the colander over the spare bucket, line it with the cover cloth and strain the champagne through the cloth. 
Decant into the cordial bottles using the spout.  
Leave about a 3 cm gap at the top of the bottle. 
Store in a cool dark place for 7 days before drinking. 
Chill well before opening!! It has a tendency to shoot out of the bottle! (we keep a jug handy lol). 
The champagne will be very mildly alcoholic at 1 week but will gradually become more so as the sugar converts.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Last Minute Gifts

I've finished all my hand-made presents and wrapping things up now. I can't really show you what I've made because that would spoil the surprises but if you are looking for some last minute ideas try these favourites from years past...

A couple of people in the family are getting new aprons
and another keen gardener is getting a load of manure

My Cake In A Jar is a neighbourly gift
or how about 

In the next couple of days I will be finalising the menu and preparing ahead some things to make the Christmas Day less hectic as this year ALL the children are home which is very special. 
And that's what I want to enjoy the most, the children and the grandchildren learning, sharing and laughing together. Thank goodness our new home is a five bedroom - we are going to fill it right up to the attic next weekend.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Play Mat

This is a present I've just finished making for my nearly three year old grandson.

I bought this bag of animals from the op shop quite some time ago. I thought it would come in handy for cake decorating or some kind of Christmas crafting....
But now Ju is very interested in animals and this will be a fun (fully supervised) creative play set.

I saw this idea a few years ago and I've used it for inspiration.
I randomly sewed scraps hoping for an agricultural landscape and added some "water". I overlaid it on some thicker material and used some of the stitch functions on the machine to add water detail, plough marks and define some paddocks with "fencing".

We'll be able to talk about the animals 

Sing songs...

Talk about seasons

Act out stories.

Then when we've finished, it all packs back into a simple draw string bag.
Total cost of this project probably no more than $5 for the lot.
You could use this idea for a zoo play mat or a town and car play mat.
Lot's of possibilities.

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