My sewing room

I do a lot of crafting.

Well I try to do a lot of crafting. I have a lot of UFO's (unfinished projects).  I usually have a couple of projects on the go, be they, scrapbooking, quilting, sewing or crocheting.

I outgrew the spare bedroom, and besides we needed it for guests, so we bought a retired shipping container and my husband converted it to a sewing room.  The shelves were bought from a second hand office furniture shop, all the tables were donated or upcycled from pieces around the farm, the door was our front door (until we got a new one), the screen door was my Dad's and my husband built the ramp and concrete drums it sits on.  The only new things were the windows and the reverse-cycle air-conditioner.

I love going out and spending time in my shed, unfortunately that doesn't happen as often as I would like (housework seems to impede on my "me time").

Even when I do get out there my "me time" isn't just me.  My daughter loves to come out and play and create with me, which I don't mind as much now that she's older as she knows where everything is and can usually fend for herself with limited interruptions to my time.

The other interruption to my "me time" is my cat Tess.  She is a 13yo tortoiseshell.  She loves to be wherever I am and she loves to be as close to me as she can get.  Her favourite position is up on my shoulders, which is not so good for me.  Her other preferred position is to sit on whatever I am sewing or crafting.  She has a perfectly comfortable basket to sleep in on the sewing table, but no, she has to be close to me.



Quandong Jam

Living in the Victorian Mallee we are surrounded by native plants, trees and flowers.  One of these is the Quandong (Santalum acuminatum) or native peachThis parasitic tree belongs in the same family as the Sandalwood.

In early Spring the Quandong produces a small bright red fruit, it has a bitter taste but the fruit is delicious when made into jam.

Quandong Jam

2 cups of Quandongs de-seeded and roughly chopped 
2 cups castor sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Boil together stirring continuously.  Pour into sterilised jars, seal and label.

Looking forward to enjoying this on my toast in the morning.

When you have finished preparing the fruit, you are left with these wonderful seeds.  My Mother-in-law had collected hundreds of them which I have in a jar in my craft room.

So far I have used them as game pieces in a Chinese Checkers game and as beads in a necklace.  I am still looking for more uses for them, so any ideas will be gratefully accepted.



Mallee Wildflowers

Early Spring is a beautiful time in the Mallee.

The weather is changing to cool mornings and wonderful sunny afternoons, which are perfect for walking through the scrub to look at the wildflowers that are in bloom.  The snakes are not quite on the move, and if they are, they are still a bit sluggish from Winter (hopefully).

We picked a fine day and didn't have to walk very far up our drive to see these wildflowers:

Minuria Leptophylla - Variable minnie daisy
Olearia Pimeleoides - Showy daisy bush
The flowers below where all found around my garden, I love the natives in my garden, they bring the bees and the birds.  I get a lot of pleasure sitting on the veranda on a sunny day watching the birds feeding on the nectar.
Eremophila maculata -  emu bush

Eremophila maculata - emu bush


We picked another nice day to go for a drive down the track to explore and discover the local flora.

Clematis microphylla - Old man's beard

Cassia nemophila - Wild boronia or desert cassia

Grevillea huegelii - Comb spider-flower


Acacia colletioides - Wait-a-while
Eucalyptus gracilis - White mallee

Zygophyllum apiculatum

Zygophyllum glaucum 
I am no expert on identifying flowers, I have a whole garden of unidentified flowers. So if you recognise a mistake in my identification please let me know.  

For my reference I used the following books:

The Mallee in flower by I R McCann
An introduction to The Wildflowers of "The Millewa" by Margaret Kelly

They have become my bibles on my travels through our scrub and roads.



How to make Lavender bath salts

I don't know about you, but I love a long hot soak in a bath.  It usually includes bubble bath, a book and a glass of wine.  Leave me in there for an hour to unwind and relax and I come out a new (albeit wrinkly) person.

Since I have been drying my own lavender I have googled uses for the lavender and I decided to make my own bath salts.  A lot cheaper than the bought goods and I also know exactly what is in them.

I have re-purposed an old jar and added the following ingredients:
6 parts sea salt,
3 parts epsom salt
1 part bi-carb soda
1 part dried lavender heads
a couple of drops of lavender essential oil
and for a bit of fun I added some soap colourant

I have also made a second batch excluding the lavender heads, essential oil and soap colourant.  To this batch I have put in my empty essential oil bottles.  The salts and bi-carb will absorb any residue left in the bottles and this will not only make the salts smell delicious but also clean the bottles so that none of the essential oil goes to waste.


How to make Sherbet

Well it's school holidays here and we have been busy doing all sorts of things.

We had a trip to Melbourne to do some shopping, while we were there we experienced the AFL Grand Final Parade.  We were very excited as our team "Richmond Tigers" had made the Grand Final for the first time in 35years.  Isabel got to see her idol from an elevated position (on top of a traffic light control box (big thank you to the Adelaide supporter who allowed her to sit in front of him)).

Then another type of culture when we attended the Australian Ballet's production of "Alice in Wonderland". Lots of wonderful costumes and exciting dances.

During the first week of the holidays we played outside, watched some tv, read some books (we are currently reading aloud "Pippi Longstocking" by Astrid Lindgren) and did some baking.

We made Sherbet (no not the band, although I did love them as a young girl).

It was very easy to make.


150gm icing sugar
15gm citric acid
10gm bicarb soda

blend together

I halved the recipe and made it in the coffee bean grinder (I use this for my dehydrated herbs).

We taste tested with our fingers, Yummo!  We also tried dipping fruit but that, apparently, was not as much fun as your finger.

We stored the remainder in a small container (hidden in the pantry) and still have some left as a treat.


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