The best chicken house in the whole backyard!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

I'm sure there are better ones somewhere out there...

But I'll admit, I think mine rocks.

It isn't finished yet, there is still some painting to do, and another windowshutterthingey to make. But it still looks great!

A quick tour:

The front

The side ramps, there are two, the idea being one side of the run can be fenced off to give it time to recover from all the scratching.

The inside

The laying boxes

The back (yes we have gutters and they are attached to this rainwater tank)

The runs

Mr Homespun and I made the whole house, using this cubby house plan as a guide. It has taken us the best part of the year to make it, but on and off, whenever the inspiration struck us! We are so incredibly proud of it and our girls just love it! (Although the other girls, Miss 9 and Miss 13 are a little cheesed off that the chickens have a lovely house and they still don't have a cubby house!)


Recipe - Tomato Relish

Friday, 28 December 2012

Well Christmas is over for another year, and we have all started to slow down after the mad rush of the past week or so. A little more rushing than usual as Miss 9 had a bit of an accident on Sunday and now has 7 stitches in her shin. The poor little thing had a 3 inch gash on her leg with about 2 inches of bone exposed! But she is hobbling around just fine now and the wound appears to be healing nicely.

If you are experiencing a glut of tomatoes right now, as we are, here is a great recipe that will use some up in a most delicious way. It is from Complete Perfect Recipes by David Herbert, one of my favourite and most used cookbooks.

Tomato Relish

1kg tomatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small red chillies
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar (I didn't have any so I substituted white wine vinegar and it was still delicious)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder

Halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds, then roughly chop and pop into a saucepan with the remainder of the ingredients.

Bring to the boil and reduce heat and simmer for around an hour, or until it is thick and a bit jam-like, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

Pour into sterilised jars and then store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

I usually like to let these types of recipes to sit for a week before eating to allow the flavours to develop, but the batch I made last Sunday (before Miss 9 hurt herself) is already gone!

It is lovely with leftover Xmas ham, or with cheese and crackers. Yum!


Merry Christmas

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

For those of us celebrating, I hope you have a lovely day, filled with family and friends, good food and a glass of your favourite!


Makings and Made

Friday, 14 December 2012

I've been playing around in Miss 9's bedroom, moving furniture, having a big clean out, and generally having fun with the decor. Here's a little peek at what I have done:

I crocheted these lovely curtain tie backs, pattern found here.

Making a little reading nook for her. Still a few more frames to be added, I think...

But she loves her 'new' room!



Thursday, 8 November 2012

Summer is on it's way and you can definitely feel it here!

Except I wish it would rain.

Usually our spring brings lots of lovely rain and the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. But not this year. With the exception of a little rain last night, we have had almost no rain for weeks, maybe even months. Just the occasional sprinkle that doesn't even touch the ground.

So the gardens have to be watered. But under this little bit of TLC our tomatoes have flourished. These were planted just over a month ago and are now huge! It won't be long before their fruit is ripening and we have our own lovely tomatoes to eat and share with friends.

We have planted 7 varieties we bought and currently have 4 that I have grown from heirloom seeds (with a few more almost ready for transplanting). I am looking forward to seeing what comes from the heirloom ones, as they came from a mix of varieties, who knows what colour they will be!

How is your garden going? Are you getting enough rain?


Kitchen lighting

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

My kitchen's lighting has been causing me much frustration for a long time, a single bulb hanging in the middle of the room, not being able to see the sink or bench properly in the evenings due to my shadow blocking out much of the light. But I have only recently decided on what I wanted to do about it after seeing these photos.


these lights too

I found these lights, which I loved and still do, but at $200 each they were a little outside my budget. So, one day, wandering through Masters with Mr Homespun I stumbled upon these.

Crosby Metal Pendant Black Painted Finish

Not quite as fancy, but still giving me the same look as the expensive ones and they were less than $40 each!

And the end result (along with a few down lights):

A kitchen I can see in!!! I love it, and I love that such a huge change came with spending so little. And the new down lights are LED, so they use very little electricity and I will pick up some LED globes for the pendants next time I am out and about.

What project shall I tackle next?


Book Week Parade

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A couple of weeks ago our school held it's Book Week parade (a little late I know, since Book Week was actually in August, but since our school hasn't had a Book Week parade in the 9 years I have had kids going there I am certainly not complaining).

Can you guess what Miss 9 went as?

Pippi Longstocking of course!

So I got my first craft fix in ages, I made the tunic top, with the crossover back just like Pippi's, and since I wasn't able to find a pattern to fit Miss 9 I had to make it myself. I was so proud of myself, it is the first time I have ever made my own pattern for anything! And it's reversible!

And she was the cutest Pippi!


PS I have also given you a sneak peak of the almost finished chicken house, I'll post details soon.

Catalina Festival 2012

Monday, 5 November 2012

During WWII there was a RAAF base very close to where Homespun headquarters is now and each year there is a festival held to celebrate the area's heritage and the grand old planes that were stationed at the base, the Catalinas.

This weekend we were thrilled to have an actual Catalina not only do a fly pass, as happened a few years ago, but actually land and allow visitors to have a close up look at the plane.  I believe this was only the second time since the base closed that a Catalina has landed here. There aren't many of the old sea planes left in the world, so the crowds came out and the traffic was backed up for 5 kilometres and many had to wait an hour to park their car! Luckily we live so close and didn't have to worry about that.

We have a local group who do fundraising and have purchased an old Catalina, but she is still in Sydney being restored. If you would like to read more about these grand old girls, please visit the Catalina Flying Memorial site.

Hope your weekend was as fun!

Lots of napping going on here...

Friday, 12 October 2012

Once again it is a while since I posted, but not because I have been slack, just that I have been sick. I have pneumonia and tonsillitis (how did I get unlucky enough to get both? wasn't one enough!) and am laying around doing very little. The washing has barely been touched in two weeks, an obvious sign we have far too many clothes, and very little housework has been done.

So as soon as I am back on my feet I will be madly cleaning and back online, I have missed checking my regular blogs and Pinterest and then I will start posting again.


Pin of the week

Saturday, 22 September 2012

At Homespun headquarters is no secret that I love Pinterest, and although some people see Pinterest blog posts as a bit of a cop out, I don't. I find Pinterest to be incredibly inspiring and I'm sure others out there do to.

So I thought I would share my favourite pin this week:

shelves in bathroom

I love the idea of shelves in the toilet, so much nicer than a plain room. So this week I got Mr Homespun to put up some shelves I bought and this is the result:

Not quite as impressive as the pin, but I love it anyway! I spent only a very small amount on the shelves and the knick knacks to decorate them. A huge difference on a tiny budget, it doesn't get any better than that! Sorry the photo isn't the greatest, but we have a very small toilet room and this is the best shot I could get.


Where have I been?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

It's been over a month since I last posted, but to be honest, I haven't really had anything to say.

I have, however, been busy. Very busy.

Busy doing this.

And joining in with this. Except I am not using it just to declutter, I am using it to look at my spaces and review what's working for me and what's not, as well as to think about what I want the space to ultimately look like. I have bought some new lights for the kitchen as I realised I don't like to spend a lot of time in that room in the evening because I can't see in it! I'll post before and afters when I have had them installed.

And building this. Nearly finished! I will post photos soon.

What I haven't been busy doing is any crafting. And I miss it. But I will fit it back in soon.

Very soon.


Crochet slippers

Saturday, 4 August 2012

It has been very busy around here this week, with Education Week taking up much of our time, so I haven't posted in a little while. Awards night (where Miss 13 won an award for Academic Excellence, soo excited), athletics carnival, school open day, parent teacher interviews, the list goes on.

I start to get a little bit excited around this time of the year because with netball and football seasons nearing an end I know the warm weather won't be far behind. I am getting started with the spring vegetable seedlings in a new little greenhouse Mr Homespun bought for me a couple of weeks ago (I'll post more on that another day).

The cold weather (and my stinky slippers) have got me thinking about my Grandma. No, she didn't have stinky slippers, but she used to knit crochet slippers and whenever we would visit her she would give us a few pairs each to wear around the house.

I loved those slippers. And none of us have the pattern for them. Bummer.

But since I am a much faster at crochet that I am at knitting I have been on the lookout for crochet slippers patterns. I haven't decided which one I want to make, but here are some that are inspiring me.

There are so many lovely patterns on Etsy and on Ravelry. I will get around to picking my favourite and then I shall work on getting rid of that nasty acrylic yarn I have in my stash!

What have you been up to?

Recipe - Lemonade

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

I love homemade lemonade. I hate the bottled fizzy drink variety (probably because my mother used to give it to me me every time I went to hospital when I was a child, which was quite a lot).

And at this time of the year we have an abundance of lemons. I love to juice them and pour into ice cube trays and freeze for using in the months when the backyard lemon tree isn't giving us it's lovely gifts. But whilst there is a glut this is one of my favourite recipes:


1 1/2 cups sugar
6 lemons

Place the sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan with the finely grated zest of two lemons. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved (usually it doesn't take this long).

Squeeze the juice of all 6 lemons and add to the saucepan and allow mixture to cool.

Strain into a bottle, seal and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Use as you would a cordial, diluting with your choice of sparkling or still water. We love it with soda water.

This recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks, Complete Perfect Recipes by David Herbert. I love everything about this book, the recipes are classics, simple and using 'normal' ingredients (fancy ingredients that you use for only one or two recipes drive me nuts!).


PS Check out this beauty we picked last week, sitting next to a normal size lemon!

Makings and made

Monday, 16 July 2012

Last week I was very busy making baby things for a good friend's baby shower yesterday. I made a lovely minky blanket, a quilt and these bootees (pattern found here, I have only included the ravelry link as you need to be a member of Bernat to access the pattern). But guess what I forgot to do? Take photos!!!! I can't believe it.

Anyway, the shower was lovely, so nice to catch up with friends you don't see often, isn't it?  I worked with some of the other guests, as well as with the mummy- and daddy-to-be, at Borders and I miss them so much.

What have you made lately?

Books to make you cry

Saturday, 14 July 2012

I read.

A lot.

I read so much that on our wonderful trip to Paris last year one of the places I had to visit was a book store. Although not just any book store, the famed Shakespeare and Co, and it was wonderful. And a story for another day.

So I have decided to share some of my favourite books with you, starting with the ones to make you cry. Because I love a good cry over a book or a movie.

Not all these books would make my favourite books of all time, these are just the ones that made me cry like a baby. No, make that worse than a baby.

In no particular order...

One Day - David Nicholls. I have great memories of my 40th birthday last year, including finishing this book. A great friend called me an hour or so after I had finished it to wish me Happy Birthday and here is part of that conversation:
G: Do you have a cold?
Me: No...
G: You sound all stuffed up.
Me: I have been crying.
G: Are you alright? What's wrong? Can I do anything?
Me: I'm OK, I just finished a book...
G: Oh, you...
Me: But it was a really good book!

A Crack in Forever - Jeannie Brewer. I read this about 20 years ago and I'll admit if I had've known what the book was about I don't know if I would've bought it (no offence intended but the subject is so incredibly sad and I didn't know the value of a good sob at the time), but it got to me.

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger. I was so confused at the beginning of this book (Henry is 28, Clare is 20 - Henry is 36, Clare is 6?????), but by the end I was hooked and sobbing.

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak. A modern classic, entirely unique, exquisite and heartbreaking. And from an Aussie.

Cujo - Stephen King. I know, a weird choice but I was 14 at the time and the parts of the book being told from the dog's point of view made me cry so much. Haven't seen the movie though, but if it's like almost every other Stephen King book/movie it couldn't possibly do it justice (Misery, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption being the obvious exceptions).

Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell. Oh Rhett!

Anne of Green Gables - L M Montgomery. I still read this every now and then and even though I vow it won't get to me, it does. Every. Single. Time.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling. Harry going into the forest, Snape, Tonks and Lupin, Fred, the end of a great series, so many reasons to bawl your eyes out.

PS I Love You - Cecelia Ahern. Had me sobbing from the second page.

Jasper Jones - Craig Silvey. What a fantastic book and written by another Aussie to boot.

There are stacks more that I have cried over (Little Women anyone?...) but these were the biggest.

If you have any others that you loved and made you cry, please leave a comment. I'm sure there are plenty that I haven't read and I would love to know what I'm missing out on.


Last week

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

I have been...

... sleeping a lot because of a dreadful cold :(

... drooling over this delicious selection of fabrics.

... debating what to make from them, a good friend's baby shower is next weekend so I had better get a hurry along!

... savouring the school holidays and spending time with my girls :)
... having all sorts of problems getting photos loaded onto this blog!
... doing a little more work on the front yard.

What have you been up to?

Front Yard

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Good grief, where have I been?

Well, it's been a while since I last posted, but we have been busy little vegemites here at Homespun central, working on our front yard.

While these photos were taken a few years ago and although the retaining walls and steps were finished a few months ago, they give you the general idea of what our garden looked like.

Until last week.

This is what it looks like now.

We are absolutely chuffed with the results. Lots of really hard work, so much digging!! But so worth the effort.

We are still short a few plants, I cleared the nursery out of English Lavender so am awaiting some more to fill the gaps, as well as some lovely David Austin roses I have ordered for the big pots at the top of the steps. After that behind the top walls needs to be filled and lawn laid and a few other things to keep us busy. But we still have an immense feeling of satisfaction.

What have you been up to?

Book Club - Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Monday, 4 June 2012

Warning - this review may contain spoilers! If you haven't read the book and intend to, please don't keep reading.

This month's book club selection was Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday and although I really liked it, I hated the ending. It left me unsatisfied, feeling like nothing was tied up. I don't mind an unhappy ending (oh, Rhett!) but I don't like a book to have a nothing ending. And this had nothing. It also had some of the most unlikeable characters I have ever come across. I just wanted to leap in there and punch them in the nose!

Worth a read but be warned.


Mystery Flight to..... Adelaide!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, it was my sister in-law's birthday and she wanted a girls weekend to celebrate. So many months ago I planted the idea of a mystery flight in her head and last weekend it was finally here. Our flight took us to the lovely city of Adelaide, the city of churches.

We left on Friday morning and didn't return until late Sunday night, giving us enough time for a day trip to the Barossa Valley.

And to visit Maggie Beer's Farm...

and the kitchen where the TV series The Cook and the Chef was filmed. That was such a good show, I don't know why they axed it (and off she goes on a rant...).

We also had time to go to the Adelaide zoo where they have the only Panda's in the southern hemisphere...

It was a lovely weekend, with none of us having been to Adelaide before we tried to pack in as much as we could in the short time we had. Alongside being called the city of churches, we all agreed it should also be called the city of parks as the city centre is surrounded by a ring of parks, dividing it from the suburbs.

We enjoyed the trip so much and all agreed it was great value for money, with the novelty of not knowing where we were going until the last minute adding to the fun. (Admittedly we did peek at the destination before we packed, simply for practical reasons, I would hate to pack for Darwin's weather at this time of the year and end up in Hobart!)

Have you been on a mystery flight? Where did you end up?