Merry Christmas!

Friday, 28 December 2018

Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

If you didn't read that in Bowie's voice I'm not sure we can be friends. Hee hee.

Big changes are afoot at Homespun Headquarters. I have a new job! I'm sure some will think that's not that much of a big deal but in an age where people change jobs like changing their shoes I can still count on one hand the number of jobs I've had in the 30 years of my working life.

But the biggest change will be the change in hours as it is full time! Argh! I haven't worked full time since Miss 15 was in infants school. I think it's going to kill me. Or at least kill my feet.

So this also means I won't have as much spare time for doing things here on the little acreage. My gardening time will take a hit but at least with daylight savings starting this past weekend I will still be able to squeeze a little time in before it gets dark. My knitting time will also take a hit so I have promised myself that as this time will be so precious I will treat myself to only the yarns I really, really want, the beautiful hand dyed stuff instead of the commercial stuff. I'm a little excited about this bit.

I have taken a few weeks off between finishing the old and starting the new (oh how I will miss those gorgeous girls at the old!) I had huge plans for painting during this two weeks but we have had more rain in this 2 weeks than we have had for months and because we need the rain so desperately I'm not complaining. The first day of my holiday started in horrific circumstances, but I'll tell you all about it when I can bear to think about it without breaking down. But rest easy, we are all well here.

Talk soon.
R xx

Aisling Shawl

Monday, 17 September 2018

I realised I have quite a few knitted and crocheted items I haven't written about so expect a few crafty posts over the next couple of weeks.

I knit this shawl a few months ago for a lovely neighbour's birthday.

I vastly underestimated the amount of time it would take me to finish this, each lace repeat on the border took over an hour and that wasn't including the ridiculous amount of tinkling back as I made so many mistakes. Tinking lace back is crazy difficult and takes forever.

But it was such a lovely outcome. I used some bamboo yarn I bought a couple of years ago so the drape on it is just lovely.

Ravelled here.


Giant Granny Square Blanket

Friday, 14 September 2018

Oh my goodness, I’m a little in love with this one! Who doesn’t love a granny square blanket, don’t we all have one in our childhood?

This one is from a tutorial by Sandra from the Cherry Heart blog and I only made one change in the colour scheme, swapping a very pale peach for a more vintage, muted peach.

It is now gracing the back of the lounge in my studio (more on that in the next post) and it still needs a bit of a block and the ends woven in but let’s ignore that for a little bit longer shall we?

Details ravelled here.

Easiest and Best Ever Muffins

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Big call I know but they really are, as well as being ridiculously versatile. So many muffins out there are incredibly cake-like but a perfect muffin should be somewhere between bread and cake in texture. This is a recipe that has been in my family for as long as I can remember although I have made my own changes along the way and is a favourite Saturday morning wake up.

2 cups self raising flour
1/4 sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup milk
1 egg

Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and give a quick stir with a fork or whisk to ensure a lightly and fluffy mix.
Add milk and egg (in that order) to the melted butter and mix until well combined.
Add wet mix to dry mix and stir until combined, the mix will look quite lumpy but that's normal.
Gently stir in your favourite flavourings and then fill muffin tins approx 2/3 full. For sweet ones I also sprinkle a little raw sugar on top.
Bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes for small muffins and 20-30 for large ones.

Our favourite additions are:
Chopped bacon or ham and grated cheese
Grated apple and cinnamon
Chocolate chips
Chopped strawberries and white chocolate

If you have a favourite muffin flavour,  please let me know, I'd love to try some new ones.


Garden diary

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The loquats will be ready soon

The poor vegetable garden has been terribly neglected over the last few weeks as we spent almost every spare second building my studio (squee! more on that later) but this week I was able to spend a little time up there.

Most excitingly I have planted these very-hard-to-see sticks!

So they're not really sticks but raspberries! I ordered them a while ago and have been waiting rather impatiently for them to arrive and this week they did. I put them in one of the raised beds, no doubt they will need to be moved next year but for now I hope this spot will be adequate.

We still have 3 weeks of winter left and we had a severe frost a few weeks ago, so bad that some of the trees around the house were even damaged so I have very nervously planted some seeds in the shade house.

I have sown the following:
Tomatoes (Rouge de Marmande and Beefsteak)
Zucchini (black and green varieties)
Cucumbers (Lebanese, Crystal Apple and Long Supermarket)

I've had a bit of a problem with rodents eating my seedlings during the winter months and have taken some steps to prevent this happening again but it's a wait and see game.


Another Boy Sweater

Monday, 23 July 2018

Over the last few weeks I whipped up another Boy Sweater, this time for our neighbour's little munchkin's first birthday. I love this pattern, it’s quick and easy and looks wonderful. I think this will be my go to gift for little boys for a long time to come.

Details ravelled here.


A New Front Door

Thursday, 19 July 2018


Well not really, just the old one given a new life. I have disliked the front door since we got here but recently decided to paint it until (if) we get a new one.


I must say I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.


I still need to finish around the door and change the lock but every little step gets me closer to finished!


A Garden Arbour

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Last week Mr Homespun and I spent a couple of days putting up an arbour over the veg patch gate. We bought the arbour at an auction a couple of years ago when a property down the road was going up for sale. It originally had 4 individual arches but one was twisted so we decided to just use three, two outside the gate and one inside.

Mr Homespun has a collection of ducting sitting around waiting to be put to use so we are cutting them up to use as beds, some of which will go around the base of the arbour legs so I can grow some kind of climber in them to eventually cover the arches. At the moment the money's on roses, possibly something like a Pierre de Ronsard or Shropshire Lad, but I’m also considering grapes or passion fruit. I have to make up my mind soon as if I decide on roses I must order them very soon as this is the time of the year to get bare root plants.

More soon


The Patch

Monday, 9 July 2018

Our vegetable patch was a couple of horse paddocks when we moved in, we had a pony staying there for a while but after six months of living here we experienced our first frost. We had lived only 10 minutes away for over 15 year but had never experienced a single frost. Our original plans for the vegetable garden to be positioned in the bottom paddock had to be changed so the two horse paddocks seemed the perfect spot as they were at the highest point on our 5 acres and therefore were the least impacted by the frosts.

So we replaced the fencing with something that might stand a chance at keeping the rabbits out and turned it into one big patch. It's around 600 square metres, larger than some residential blocks! It's also a lot of work and an ongoing battle against grass. How I hate grass.

In addition to the shade house, late last year Mr Homespun put a water tank, pump and tap in the patch so now I have constant access to water and no longer have to rely on consistent rains to keep the patch productive, something I battled with in the couple of years prior to the installation of the tank.

So this winter I'm continuing with the set up of the patch, it's so big I can't possibly do everything at once all by myself, especially with work commitments. But still, I'm making headway. I'd like to have a large bed along the bottom fence for flowers, both to attract beneficial insects, to keep my bees happy and just because I have a yearning to be a flower farmer after reading Kate's adventures this past season so I may make a start on that this year.

I also plan to write regular posts on what I'm doing in the patch so if that's something you are interested in, stay tuned.



Rainbow dishcloths

Monday, 2 July 2018

I know I've written about my love of knitted/crocheted dishcloths here in the past but I thought I would share my latest little collection.

The lovely Jooles of the Sew Sweet Violet podcast is running a rainbow make along with Amy from The Little Tailoress podcast where you can craft anything you like with a rainbow theme. I've recently popped my little Etsy shop into an indefinite vacation mode (more on that another day) so I have a bit of surplus cotton yarn that I had no other plans for so what better use than to update my stash of dishcloths!

In keeping with the rainbow theme I gave each cloth a coloured stripe and I'm so in love with them I can't bear to use them yet! But they are so pretty I'm sure it won't be long until they are gracing my kitchen sink with their loveliness.

Detail ravelled here.

Two nights in winter

Friday, 29 June 2018

Hello again.

It's been a while since I last updated the blog, I haven't had a lot to say and have been busy at work but I've been thinking of this little blog a lot lately so I think it's time it started moving again.

Last week Mr Homespun did a little raid of our bee hives, something we don't usually do at this time of the year. We didn't take any honey in the last part of summer and none in autumn so we thought we could get away with a little raid whilst still ensuring the bees had enough to get them through the winter.

So two nights last week were spent processing the honey and I thought you might like a little peek into what's involved. We did it inside in front of the fire as it's mid winter here and the honey is too cold and therefore thick to be processed easily.

First we have to uncap the cells of honeycomb. In the past we have used an electric knife to do this but we didn't really like this process. The knife is heated and so burns a bit of the honey and wax as it's removing the caps making an awful smell and an awful mess to clean up afterward. This time we used regular uncapping knives heated in a frypan of simmering water. We are really happy with this method and will definitely do this in the future.

Then we popped the uncapped frames into the spinner, turning them to extract the honey from each side of the frame.

The honey then spent the night and next day straining through the mesh filter underneath the spinning chamber and then dripping its way into a bucket. The whole process is sticky and messy and involves a whole lot of cleaning up afterward but it is so worth the effort.

The next night we bottled it up and were staggered at the amount we had despite it being a small raid.  Our next raid won't happen until around late spring but luckily we have enough honey to last that long. I get a lot of questions about what we do with all our honey, most of it is shared with family and friends and we usually have a little stockpile in the cupboard for ourselves.


Old dog, new tricks aka I have no idea what I'm doing...

Monday, 12 February 2018

I have a new hobby...spinning!

Mr Homespun bought me the most amazing birthday gift last year so I have to use it, right?

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

It's been while since I learnt a new craft. I've been knitting and crocheting for almost 40 years (yikes!) and even though I have only really picked up my needles and hooks again in the past few years I still knew what to do. But this is a different story. I had absolutely no idea where to even start. How does a spinning machine even work?

With the help of the University of youTube I have managed to get started. I'm trying to get a little practice in every day in an attempt to become more consistent with the size of the yarn coming out of the darn thing but it is really hard! So much fun though.

I've already learnt so much, even though I still pretty much suck at it for now. This photo is of my first attempt, something that I now know is called 'art' yarn but I call it 'no idea what I'm doing' yarn. It's very pretty but the things I can make with it are pretty limited.

This one is my second attempt, quite obviously a more consistent size but I still have a ways to go folks! Working with the colours is also a skill that I will work on when I have the size down pat. This photo is the same wool as the top photo but when the two threads are plied together it certainly has an impact on the colour.

I've since bought some undyed roving (that's what the thing above is called) with the intention of spinning it and then dyeing it so I can possibly make something at the end. No idea what it will be but I can guarantee it will be rustic.


Sunday morning

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Good morning lovelies,

How has your morning been? Given that it's not even 9 am as I write this chances are you may still be abed. 

I've spent a little time in the veg patch this morning, mostly weeding as at this time of the year they are growing faster than I can keep up. We had a few showers this morning but not enough to make the dams or the tanks happy. Although it is only mid summer and the worst of the heat is yet to come, this morning had an almost autumnal feel with a lovely cool breeze after the rain. No doubt as the sun rises higher the temperatures will chase us all inside.

I'm now making my little family breakfast and pondering the possibility of spending every Sunday at home with a possible change at work giving me two consecutive days off every week. Doesn't sound like a big deal, especially in the middle of a four day break but it will be a treat to be able to plan something regular instead of having different days at work every week. I crave routine but haven't been able to achieve it for the past few years.

This evening should find us in the shed extracting honey from a hive box we raided earlier in the week. We usually do this the same day but scheduling conflicts this week have meant it has been sitting in the shed where it has started to drip and attract the bees.

But for now I am savouring a slow morning, perhaps a little knitting after some house chores have been completed. I'm currently working on a shawl that has been in my Ravelry queue for some time. I was hoping to have it finished this week to give to a colleague on Friday night but as I work my way through the border that seems highly unlikely. It's a 36 row cable and lace pattern that is repeated 19 times with each repeat taking about an hour. I'm trying to do one repeat every day but maybe today I will get a bit more done.

Hope your Sunday is just as lovely no matter what you are up to.


Last minute renovations

Friday, 5 January 2018

Some last minute gardening before Christmas

Hello lovelies!

I hope the new year has started gently for you. Mine is full of the usual: attempts at new routines and the promise to myself that I will do better this year, a new diary (oh what promise a new diary holds!) and all sorts of craziness that my head manages to come up with.

The lead up to Christmas also had its own brand of crazy. We traditionally have xmas lunch with Mr Homespun's side of the family and dinner with mine and this year was no different, except that it was our turn to host dinner at our place. Gulp.

So in attempt to fool my family into thinking we hadn't been sitting around doing almost nothing for the 4 years we've been here, the second half of November and all of December was spent on starting all the projects I have in my head. Projects that Mr Homespun tried, but failed, to convince me not to do.

Like painting the exterior of the house.

Yep, that's something you really want to do in the heat of late Spring and early Summer with a deadline looming. But start it we did, Miss 14 and I managed to get the back of the house painted in 24 hours and then we started on the extra bits. The railings and rafters of the deck, the deck itself, the colorbond windows that didn't match the new house colour. The rafters of the deck. That are C shaped and required 3 coats of paint each. Inside and out. Grrr.

And although we didn't get everything done along the back of the house it was close enough that you can see where it's heading. Just a few bits and pieces to work through before I'll allow myself to move on to the south side of the house. I'm saving the front for last, painting it and seeing the whole house transformed will be the reward for all the hard work we are putting in.

I'll save the pics for another day, likely when I have finished a few of those bits and pieces.