Thursday, 21 July 2011

Do people still make doilies?

I love doilies, so fine and intricate. It's what attracted me to crocheting in the first place, though a bit complex for me at the beginning. I persisted and got some great results.

They're used for decoration under vases or jug covers.

I saw some beautiful ones with butterflies. I hope to get that good.

Do you have proper doilies at home?

 I am in the middle of a giant one, which is on my list of unfinished projects.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Ice skating

It is very important to me to build good childhood memories with my child.  I like to do things that are out of the ordinary. So Ice-Skating we went. I wish I'd gone too for some bonding instead of just
watching. There will be no weekly visits, no early mornings or competitions.

Notice how she's wearing the gloves I made?

Just the thrill of trying something fun and learning a new skill.

It gets pretty cold on the ice, who knew?

Something that doesn't involve Internet or TV and involves exercise. Something that wont be forgotten in a hurry. I've never forgotten the few times I went as a child. Next time I will definitely put some skates on. Who said fun is just for kids? But it wont be for a while. 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Circular knitting

I Love the Camo wool

I'm a novice knitter, and I tend to take on challenges that exceed my capabilities. Circular knitting wasn't too bad, but definitely for someone more advanced, it was a bit stressful. I really want to learn to make socks, so making a beanie was my first project. It went ok except I got to almost the end and I realised I'd read the pattern wrong. No way was I undoing it, so my beanie turned out a little short. But I love it and wear it all the time. Even to bed sometimes.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Grow herbs if you can't grow any thing else.

Growing as many of my own fruit and vegetables  is a goal of mine. Current living arrangements mean that isn't possible. But there is no excuse for not having herbs at least!
So despite my neglect and the extremely strange weather.
I've managed to grow chives.

They might be the spring onions.

And my old favourite, parsley.

I've also got spring onions that have been growing for a very long time, and a potato plant grew from an old discarded potato and I got one decent sized potato so far. My daughter was impressed and said "Free potato. Mum we got a free potato". That pretty much sums it up, minus the fertiliser and mulch and whatever good gardeners (not me) put in their garden, it's free food! That's pretty awesome.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


Spirituality is an important part of life. It doesn't matter what your beliefs are, what matters is getting in touch with them. Not just believing and having faith, but living and feeling your beliefs. Meditation is a skill that helps you get in touch with whatever higher power you believe in. It quietens the mind, heals the body and gives you energy. As you learn to let go of thoughts and look past the ego you'll have insights to questions, see the big picture and feel peaceful. Sounds simple enough, but harder to put into practice. I'm still a long way off achieving a quiet mind.

One of my favourite meditations is a white light meditaton. To begin you need to sit in a comfortable chair with you back straight, head back and chin slightly tucked in. Feet should be flat on the floor. Hands should be resting on the lap relaxed with palms facing up if possible. Take a deep breath and say in your head "I'm now going to meditate" this serves as a cue for your body to relax into meditation each time. I prefer to breathe in and out through my nose, though most guides would say in through the nose and out thorugh the mouth.

Close your eyes and take a deep centring breath. Breathe in for a count of 5. Breathe out. Breathe in for a count of 5. Breathe out. Breathe in for a count of 5. Breathe out, continue to breathe in and out normally. Imagine a beam of white light streaming down from above and landing on the very top of your head. This light is warm and relaxing. Imagine the beam of light slowly moving down your head, releasing any muscle tension along the way. As the light moves across your skin you feel a warming sensation. The light spreads down your forehead over your ears and down the back of your head, releasing any tension. The light moves down to your neck and you feel a warming sensation. You notice how relaxed you are. Slowly the light moves down your torso and your back, warming and releasing muscle tension. Next the white light moves down your arms to your fingertips. Feel the warmth in your fingers. The light moves down your body, over your buttocks and pelvis, releasing any tension. Feel the warming light move down your legs, releasing tension as it goes. Finally feel the light pass over your feet to your toes. Feel the warmth in your toes.

Notice how you feel totally relaxed and calm. Breathe slow long breaths. allow thoughts to come and go. Visualise the white light totally convering your whole body and notice how you feel warm, safe and relaxed. Keep breathing and visualising for several minutes, then gradually return your attention to the room.

I used this meditation once when I was driving across country and sleeping in the car. I had stopped at a particular over night camp and for some reason I was really scared because someother group were making some noise. It was most likely innocent and I have had high anxiety levels. I wsa petrified and I wasn't getting any sleep. So I did this mediation, surrounding myself in white light, and also the car. I visualised a bubble of white light that surrounded the car, creating a safe environment. I felt better instantly and went to sleep.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Sausage faces

Real family bonding can happen over cooking. Teaching and involving children in cooking from an early age is vital. Cooking is an essential skill somewhat lost with take-away and opening packets. Cooking from scratch with kids is a teaching experience. They learn where food comes from, learn to measure and stir and see chemistry in action. It’s also fun and rewarding. When children are involved in cooking, they are more likely to eat it.
Having the occasional theme night and novelty foods is a great way to build family memories, have lots of fun and allows the children to be creative.

My daughter and I decided to have sausage face people one night. She planned for days exactly how she was going to make the faces, and was very excited.
 This is the result:

Simple, but fun. She decided to add tomato sauce teeth.

My daughter remembers this night fondly and often talks about it enthusiastically to anyone who will listen.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I made some gloves.

I am a novice at knitting. I learnt to knit as a child but I don’t remember doing anything but plain (knit). I decided purl knitting wasn’t too hard after all and knitted up a bunch of stuff. These gloves took me two days, which is quick, for me. The fingerless quality means I can do chores and typing easily

My pretty Pink Gloves

I made a few mistakes but they look good! Knitting is a great skill for both adults and children. My Grandfather used to knit and I didn’t think it was strange at all. Knitting your own items gives a feeling of satisfaction and you can control aspects such as what yarn type (and source it locally), what tension and even change the pattern slightly to fit better. For this pattern I used smaller needles and the gloves still turned out a bit big (I have small hands). I’m teaching my daughter the skill of knitting and she’s slowly getting it. The pride I have in passing skills down the generation is quite awe-inspiring to me.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


Magnesium is a useful and versatile mineral deficient in many diets. The RDI about 300 mg for adults, though doses can be taken much higher to treat certain conditions.  Magnesium is found in a variety of foods, especially legumes, nuts and seeds.  ½ cup legumes, 6 brazil nuts, a couple of pieces of good quality dark chocolate and a banana will give you the RDI of magnesium! A variety of conditions can be linked to magnesium deficiency, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, ADHD, asthma, blood sugar disorders and arthritis.  If you’re getting muscle spasms, insomnia, brain fog, headaches and anxiety, it could be worth looking at magnesium.

I’ve had the following symptoms, fatigue, insomnia, muscle spasms, headaches, hypoglycaemia and anxiety. I’ve been supplementing my diet with a low dose of a magnesium complex and have seen the following improvements: more energy, 25% improvement of insomnia, 80% improvement in muscle aches and spasms, headaches 90% improvement, blood sugar levels evened out and decrease in anxiety by about 50% When buying a supplement always look for one that has the 4 types of Magnesium(Amino acid chelate, Magnesium citrate, magnesium orotate dihydrate, Magnesium phosphate), powered formulas are the most easily  absorbed . Supplements may include B and other vitamins. Do not take a Magnesium with B vitamins near bed time it could keep you awake.

I did not realise this when I first began to take it and I stayed awake ALL NIGHT and for two weeks before I figured out the problem. I now take it just after lunch when I hit that slump. The magnesium supplement I am taking in a complex with other minerals that may have contributed to the improvement as well as concurrent chiropractic treatment.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Baking Bread

Baking bread is an art I’d like to have in my repertoire. I want to avoid the additives in shop-bought bread. The age and quality of bought bread is largely unknown and the shops that bake bread daily are often expensive and do not show ingredients. Making bread at home means I know what goes in it and I get a great feeling from making something myself. It makes the house smell warm and homey as well.  

Four Ingredients.

I needed a good and easy from scratch recipe. The first recipe I made and tried was an artisan 5 minute a day bread. I did not understand the idea behind this bread until after I’d finish baking my first loaves. For more information (5 minute bread). I didn’t even realise it was a no knead bread, as I was looking forward to that part.

Here is the recipe

3 cups of Water
1.5 tblsp Yeast
1.5 tblsp Salt
6.5 cups of Flour

Add water, yeast and salt to a bowl. Stir, then add flour and stir.

Activating the yeast, which I didn't have to do

Which sounds simple enough, but not for me. I was paranoid the water was too warm and the yeast wasn't activated. So I added some sugar to a bit of yeast just to make sure. Don't do this.

Stirring in the flour.

The rising process was so fascinating to me that I checked the bread every few minutes, which defeated the purpose of 5 minute a day bread.

Control photo to see if it rose.
It rose...
There is a bowl under there.

And rose right on to the bench!

I shaped some of it into small balls and left to rest on the baking tray. The mixture was wet and sticky and made shaping difficult.
But I made some bread rolls.

They looked good and smelt good. The crumb was fine and the texture great.  The family didn’t mind the taste, but I thought it was a bit sour but edible and impressive for my first attempt. I left the dough in the fridge and make some more rolls the next day. It was much easier to work with but still no kneading. I felt the taste got worse and sourer and I didn’t even bother making it on a third day with some dough left over.
So next time I will try a different recipe with less yeast, and maybe active the yeast with a little honey (if that’s possible). I’ll add some oil or butter. I still like the idea of using plain organic unbleached flour with no bread improvers.
 We’ll see how it goes next time. Once I finished removing dough-glue from my kitchen

Monday, 11 July 2011

Enter Here

We all have to start somewhere. Any step we make in the right direction, no matter how small, makes a big difference. Nobody is perfect, expecting perfection uses a great deal of energy. It doesn't matter what you do, just that you do it. I started with organising the entrance to my house.
This is my entrance way organised

It might not look like much, but it has made a huge difference to my life.

I do not have a before photo, but it was hideous and embarrassing. There were too many shoes in the bucket, the shoes didn’t even fit it the bucket, and shoes were strewn about. There were things in the bucket that weren’t shoes. The floor was sandy, the cupboard was dusty and the walls were scuffed. The cupboard had letters, catalogues and other mail piled high along with and random junk. The drawer was a big mess. There were mobile phone chargers everywhere. Also a giant vase of dusty flowers and a disused fish tank.
  First I tackled the shoe bucket and decreed that each person could have a maximum of two pairs of shoes in there and shoes must go in there when not worn. I then proceeded to relocate non-shoe items and clean out the dirt and rubbish. Next to cleared was the mountain of mail and fish tank, which was placed in the "to sell" pile . Once all that didn’t belong was gone, I scrubbed and swept and dusted and polished. Now it’s sparkling. The cupboard was on one side and it looking wrong, so it was centred. The drawer was organised and practical. Then I got to decorate, to display things I’d made or collected. It was a good moment to decorate rather than dump. 
The mobile phone chargers are all in the drawer now, to be gotten out only when in use. There is a container for keys and for charged batteries. I hid a notepad and some pens behind the picture. To finish off, I placed a nice big picture directly above the cupboard. I love it, it makes me smile and be proud whenever I come inside.
  As I return home, I am reminded of my journey and my goals, and my spirit is renewed. It is a good and gentle sign for me to continue along my path. 
This post is poignant because is the first post for this blog and it signifies beginning of a new chapter in my journey. I am opening a door and entering this stage of my life.