Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Turmeric Harvest 2013

On the weekend we decided to pull up our tumeric, and this year's harvest didn't disappoint! Turmeric seems to really enjoy our climate and each year we've planted it it rewards us with a year's supply of turmeric, this year is no exception.
a year's supply of turmeric, with some ginger, lime and chilli
Here is this year's turmeric harvest, along with a couple of pieces of freshly grown ginger, some chillies and a few more limes from our 4 year old potted lime tree.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Making a Raised Bed Veggie Patch

My father-in-law Brian bought us this 1m x 1m raised bed to replace Tom's Garden, a wooden box he made which fell apart after about a year.
we're starting with a 1m x 1m raised bed for our veggie patch
We half filled the bottom with home-mulched calistimon, and threw 4 handfuls of dynamic lifter in there with it. Then we covered the mulch with newpaper and wet it down. On top of that we put some top soil from our side garden and some kitchen scraps to start composting. We mixed in the food scraps and left it for a couple of weeks.

Lastly we went and bought a big 65 L bag of premium potting mix and 2 x 25 L bags of ready made compost, and put that on top which filled the raised bed, with a few more handfuls of dynamic lifter. On the weekend, Brian paid a visit and brought some seedlings with him so we planted them out. We have lettuce, spinach and beetroot in there now, and I'm hoping to get some fresh strawberry plants to go in the corners. Lets see how it goes!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spiral Hat in leaf, lavender and lotus

Here is a toddler sized spiral hat from my own design which I made especially for a custom order. The spiral creates an uneven edge, so I intentionally finshed with asymmetrical scallops. Its truly a unique design, I wish I could write the pattern down to share but I'm quite a ways off that yet. I've been working on publishing my patterns for more simpler hats which has proven to be quite a lot of work, so I can only imagine how hard this pattern will be to write!
spiral hat in 3 colours, leaf, lavender and lotus
 The start begins with 5 increasing rounds, the first of that is actually 2 rounds of sc. After about 5 rounds the increasing stops and the sides of the hat are worked. When the required length is reached, 60 stitches are divided by 3 and that is divided by 4 for the scallops. The scallops collapse onto the previous colour as shown in the picture above to create an asymmetrical effect. The spiral itself is quite difficult and hard to explain. I will keep making them in the hope one day I will have worked out a way to write it down in a pattern so it can be shared.
detail of the asymmetrical edge
closeup of the asymmetrical scalloped edge
spiral detail of the crown of the hat

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Study in Strawberries

I'm trying to decide if I should destroy my current potted strawberry patch and start with a new selection of disease free seedlings. Being Autumn in sub-tropical Brisbane, now is the time to plant, so I need to decide now.
most of the leaves on my strawberries look healthy like these
I'm motivated to persist with trying to grow strawberries because my 2 year old son loves them so much! When he visits his Pa in Stanthorpe, he can eat them straight from the garden which is the best education I think we can provide him. Last week when we visited the local fruit shop, my son spied the strawberry punnets and asked and asked for them until we got him one for an expensive $6! Then for the next two days he asked for them until they were all gone. I only tried one to taste, he ate the whole punnet himself!
these sad specimens are the best my strawberries get
My strawberry plants are descendants of a plant given to us by David's mother about 4 years ago. Most of the leaves look healthy, but a few have rusty coloured spots on them. There is fruit, but they range from pea-sized to thumbnail sized, so are way too small. From what I can figure, they might have a virus, although I can't work out which one.
a few leaves have rusty spots, is this a strawberry virus?
In any case, these runners won't be going into the new 1m by 1m raised bed we are starting, just in case they are sick and they spread the disease. I'm going to give this strawberry growing thing my best shot!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pink & Green Flower Coasters

I've been spending too much time obsessively looking over my shop and how I can improve it. I got the idea that I should focus on having a matching collection in the shop that compliments each piece. So I thought I would make green and pink coasters to match other coasters I have in there, and these are the result. Now that they're done I'm not happy with them, I think I should only sell the best yarn, and the pink doesn't scrub up. I think I'll have to give them away, or use them myself!
pink and green flower coasters

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Flower for Mother's Day

I made this little flower embellishment for Mother's Day. I used a fine angora blends with a 4mm hook. Its a daisy-centered Irish Rose, with a long chain at the beginning and an equally long chain at the end. Then it can be tied to a gift, like a bottle of red or the very special Impi Cream from my favourite winery in Stanthorpe, Rumbalara. Happy Mother's Day everyone!
a flower embellishments to be tied to a Mother's Day gift

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Australian Gramma Pie

David's grandmother used to make gramma pie with grammar's grown on Pa Murphy's farm. Now the new Pa Murphy loves to bake it, too! He gave us a very large gramma from his garden, which is like a very large butternut pumpkin.
Gramma Pie is Australian pumpkin pie
David gave it a go and this is the result, it was very yummy! I'll have to convince him to post the recipe on his blog. My mum and dad were visiting last Sunday so we gave them some with custard. Although they insisted its known as 'Gamma Pie', now I'm thinking Google must be wrong!
Gramma pie is delicious served with custard home made by David

Friday, May 10, 2013

Working out Toddler Spirals

I got a surprise note from a potential customer who is after a toddler sized spiral hat for her 19 month old daughter. I've only made a newborn sized one before so I set about working out the pattern for the toddler size.
the start of a spiral in luxury BWM wool in leaf, lavender and lotus
It wasn't too hard, mainly because I've been spending a lot of time working through writing the patterns for the set of Princess hats. I've learnt so much from doing that, I can tell you! AND they're still not finished. I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get them done. I do have to work hard at convincing myself its within my capabilities to write down my designs so they can be shared. It certainly hasn't turned out to be as easy as I imagined.
the start of a spiral made from Woolganics, Australian organic wool
The toddler sized hat in the Princess set has 5 increasing rounds that measure 5 inches across, so I began 3 different spirals in various colours working flat for the equivalent of 5 rounds. When the 5 rounds measure 5 inches across and the crown sits flat, then the increasing stops and I can make the sides of the hat.

the start of a natural coloured spiral
The spiral hat in my shop is made from Australian organic wool, which turns out to be very hard to find. The business that sold it to me last year has finished up and the new owner won't have more until next year. So I was in a bit a quandary as to which yarn I should use. Hence why I started with 3 different spirals to show the customer what I had on hand, otherwise I would have to buy some more wool, from Bendigo Woollen Mill would have been my preference.

a quick mock up of a spiral hat in naturally coloured alpaca and wool blend from Cleckheaton
The natural tones of the Cleckheaton Perfect Day is gorgeous, but that stuff is expensive and not as soft as the other wool. I finished that hat first and started deciding how I would have the brim, settling on a turned up brim. The woolganic yarn is really soft, but I only have a little bit left so started a hat with what I have left in plum and green.

The customer liked the colours I chose from my luxury wool stash, I chose leaf, lavender and lotus. Now the next problem will be how to finish the spiral. Because its a spiral and not straight like a normal striped hat, the brim finishes unevenly. I'm thinking a round of scallops might be possible, seeing as this hat turns out to be for a girl. I think it will turn out quite nicely!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Banksia Surprise

We also have waiting for us in our garden a Banksia surprise! A surprise because there is a hint of the flower to come but what will it look like? The small tree is covered with spent cone-like follicles, and a couple of old flowers where we can see the flower will probably be a small to medium sized one.
a Banksia surprise awaits, what will these flowers look like next year?
Most Banksia flowers are yellow, will ours be yellow too? I don't think we'll find out now until next year, from what I've been able to find out they flower in the summer.
this mature Banksia is in need of a prune
On a repeat of Gardening Australia this week, there was a story presented by Angus about pruning Banksias. This was very useful for us, as this mature specimen we have is in need of a prune!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Geisha Girl in our Garden

To be honest, I'm feeling quite overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a new garden on a suburban block, when so far all I've kept is a very modest potted garden for the last 4 years. Sometimes I think I just don't know where to begin! But it has always been my intention to observe for at least a little while, perhaps a full year, to get to know what we have and what's worth keeping.
the Geisha Girl Golden Dewdrop in our garden is visited by many honey bees
This small tree in our back yard was the only thing in full flower when we moved in a month ago, other than a few blooms on a grevillea. My research confirms its the Geisha Girl variety of the commonly named Golden Drewdrop. Wikipedia tells me the proper name is Duranta erecta! Straight away we decided this was one worth keeping, with a profusion of bees visiting all through the day, its great to know we have pollinators visiting our garden. This will make the prospect of growing our own vegetables more viable, and the flowers have a gorgeous scent.
apparently the fruit of this Geisha Girl is poisonous
But I am concerned about one sentence in the Wikipedia page that says "The leaves and berries of the plant are toxic, and are confirmed to have killed children, dogs and cats."!! This makes me wonder if we should reconsider keeping it? In the very least I think I shall go and remove the fruit that I can reach. I've already pruned the understory as I didn't want Thomas touching the fruit, but at the time I didn't know for sure it was poisonous! Hmmm, something to think about!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Coral Scarf

This scarf is made from some brushed pure wool my mother gave me in a brilliant shade of coral. In fact, the colour is so stunning my camera can't really handle it!
the brilliant shade of coral is hard to show with my camera
I really enjoyed making this scarf, the brushed wool is so soft and lovely, it was very relaxing to do! The pattern I used is just a simple one of (sk 2 st, 2 dc 2 ch 2 dc, sk 2 st, dc) repeated. I've never read it anywhere, but I guess that's how you write it.
the ends of this scarf are symmetrical
This scarf has a center so the ends come out symmetrical. I didn't just start at one end and go all the way to the other. There were 2.5 x 50g balls, so I made one ball go one way, then I started the 2nd ball at the beginning and went the other way. Then I split the last bit and had to guess, luckily it turned out perfectly and I was able to use up all the yarn with none left over.

the scarf is long enough to double over and thread through
I used a 4.5mm hook, and the scarf turned out quite long at 1.8m. Its long enough to double up and thread the ends through which is a popular way of wearing scarves. I was hoping to sell this scarf because its so lovely in real life, but its just too hard to show with a photo. I wonder what will become of this scarf?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lime Bounty Autumn 2013

We've been in the new place for about a month now, and noticed my lime tree under some stress yesterday so decided to remove most of the fruit. There's only a few left on it that aren't quite ripe. I think it is time to give the potted lime tree some more citrus feed!
our lime harvest is a real bounty!
I'm not sure what we'll do with these limes, I'm really hoping we can make some kind of yummy lime pickle with it. I don't want them to waste!
the potted lime tree in its new spot

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pink Home Shrug

I have been working on this shrug in one form or another for about 12 months. Last year I was mostly finished but was unhappy with it so unraveled it. I'm so glad its finished, and just in time for Autumn here in Australia.
a simple home shrug in pink pure wool
A shrug like this is quite easy to make, but this one took a long time to do because I used a 3.5mm hook and some pink 5 ply pure wool my mum gave me. She gave me so much, I still have a few balls left. For the shrug to fit around the tops of my arms the starting rectangle had to be quite wide. I didn't do any shaping in the sleeves, I wish I had because I'm not happy with how the cuffs and sleeves are very wide.
detail of the scallop collar
Once you make the large rectangle, you join up the sleeves at each end leaving the centre open. I then finished with an edge of simple scallops. Then I washed it to block it and it stretched, so I had to do it again. Luckily it snapped back to shape. Phew!
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