Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Patchwork drawstring bags

A few weeks ago I started making s.o.t.a.k handmade patchwork drawstring bags. I'm making 3. One for each of our children's foster mother's for when we go to Korea later this year

First bag finished

These are the links to Svetlana's tutorials - drawstring bag tutorial , patchwork drawstring bag

Today I finally finished the last 2 bags!! As soon as I finished, my sewjo flew out the window. Time for more crochet

Can't wait for Spring. My favourite season of the year. Flowers are already blossoming in our local area

Julia xx

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lissy's Pumpkin Choc Chip Loaf

This recipe is from my dear friend, Elisabeth Bell, who moved to USA many years ago. I miss her! So glad we have Facebook to keep in touch and see photos of her beautiful children. 

Elisabeth is a very talented illustrator. Have a look at her beautiful artwork Elisabeth Bell Designs

Little Josephine Picking Strawberries


Both illustrations are from the Simpler Times collection. Such sweet illustrations!

You're welcome to download Elisabeth's Creative eBook. It is free, and comes with some lovely colouring pages, and a simple drawing tutorial which teaches how to draw a cute puppy
The Creative eBook also comes with free creative newsletters, filled with more freebies and bonuses that you and your kids can enjoy. Please feel free to share the link with your family and friends too so they can grab these free offers and enjoy them for themselves
It's Elisabeth's way to give back to the world, and to help bless and further each person's personal creative genius
Here's the link below to grab the Creative eBook:

Getting back to the recipe. I love pumpkin! I haven't made this recipe for a long time. Last Friday was a cold Winter's day, perfect for warming up the kitchen. Our home smelt delicious filled with the aroma of cloves and cinnamon

Lissy's Pumpkin Choc Chip Loaf 

Makes 2 cakes

3 cups SR flour
1 cup sugar (recipe said 3 cups, I used less sugar)
2 tsp bi-carb soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup oil or butter
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups pumpkin, mashed
340g or 2 cups choc chips

Preheat oven to 180 oC. Line cake tins with baking paper. Boil pumpkin, mash and cool a little before adding to the cake mixture 

Mix together all ingredients, except pumpkin and choc chips. Blend well 

Add pumpkin. Fold in choc chips 

Pour cake mixture into 2 loaf/ bread tins 

Bake for approx 1 hour

Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Cut into, and EAT!

So yummy! You won't be disappointed. When we came home from school the kids smelt the aroma and asked what I had baked

As the recipe makes 2 loaves, I sliced up one loaf and stored in the freezer for the kids lunch boxes. Guess what they're having at school today? 

Have you baked anything delicious lately? 

Have a beautiful day, Julia xx

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Get well soon!

Over a month ago, our kids started getting a cough or a cold. The doctor said the kids had a viral infection. Can't do much for it. For over 2 weeks I have had a cough and cold. I can't shake it. I think it's also due to being rundown with so much going on at school. Now that the kids are on holidays and things have slowed down (no senior music camp, reading groups, sports day, early morning band practise, etc) I have had time to think amongst the haze in my head. I remembered a while ago I read that pineapples help soothe a cough. Next, I searched Google. 

Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain. It has anti-inflammatory properties, fights infection and kills bacteria. It can suppress a cough 5x more effectively than cough medicine. One cup of fresh pineapple juice has nearly 50% of the daily requirement for Vitamin C intake. Drinking the juice helps soothe a sore throat and helps your body expel mucous easily. Pineapples are more than yummy, they're good for you!

If possible we prefer to use natural remedies over medication, however if we have an infection or we're really sick we visit our doctor.

I have been dosing up on Vitamin C by eating strawberries, pineapple and mandarin. Kelly, a friend on Instagram, suggested to steam my head, covered with a towel to keep the steam in, over a bowl of boiled water with eucalyptus drops in it. Twice a day for 10 minutes. It has been helping! Thanks Kelly. 

Yesterday I searched Google for a natural cough medicine. Today I made All Natural DIY Pineapple Cough Medicine. The recipe is here. Sue says it needs to be refrigerated and can be kept for up to 1 month. Read her blogpost for details (under the recipe, check out 'other homemade remedies to try'. The Honey Thyme cough medicine sounds yummy too). I made double the recipe in case anyone else in the family needs cough medicine. It tastes yummy and I love the bit of spice from the cayenne pepper. 

Last night I used our Aromamatic electric oil vaporiser with drops of Breathe Easier in our bedroom. It has corn mint, eucalyptus and thyme essential oils in the blend. I rubbed Vicks VapoRub on the soles of my feet and put socks on. It helps to ease coughing at night. I slept much better.


Many years ago, when Oprah was still on TV, she mentioned to slice up 1-2 whole cloves of garlic and add it to your sandwich; to help mask the flavour. I did this one time when I had the flu and I felt so much better the next day. I did reek of garlic however was glad to feel an improvement in my health. 

If you have any natural remedies you would like to share. Please leave a comment and a link to the recipe. Thank you.

Try to stay healthy during Winter, Julia xx

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Our sunny garden

I have been busy preparing and working on our vegie garden. Removing sand in the top garden and spreading it on uneven patches in our lawn. Moving the mulch too. Back breaking work however so worth it!

Hubby helped me put soil in the garden and position the walking area, which is great for tending to the plants. This time we purchased better garden soil with compost in it. Before laying sugar cane mulch I sprinkled Dynamic Lifter

Vegie seedlings planted! 

French beans, spring onions, tomatoes, capsicum, mignonette lettuce, sweet corn, beetroot, snow peas, butternut pumpkin, zucchini, carrot, and garlic

Herb garden started!

Basil, sage, oregano, coriander (more herbs will be added)

Top left going clockwise - carrot, sweet corn, beetroot, snow peas

Butternut pumpkin. . .  and teeny tiny mushrooms that popped up

Top left going clockwise - snow peas, garlic, mignonette lettuce, spring onions

I read on the internet, to help repel some pests sprinkle dried and crushed egg shells. I have also been sprinkling smallish pieces of mandarin peel around some plants. The citrus oils may repel some pests??

Mint I planted last year

Blackjack zucchini

We have 6 citrus trees - Meyer lemon (blossoming below), 2x Imperial mandarin, Tahitian lime, Washington navel and Valencia

I posted a question on my Instagram @squeeze_cuddles the other day

"Our citrus trees were planted approximately 5-6 weeks ago. Should we remove the blossoms so the plants can grow stronger and be able to support the weight of the fruit?

Bianca from Coco and Moose passed on advice from her hubby - Yes, remove 99% if not all of the blossoms for the next 1 or 2 years. It allows more energy to be put into root and canopy development. Then once your citrus tree has established you can then let it produce fruit

I removed 65 blossoms from our Meyer lemon

I look forward to when we get citrus from our beautiful trees

{ Please drop by Coco and Moose for beautiful handmade baby clothing }

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Some plants are doing well, while others haven't grown much at all; like our beetroot and capsicum. Years ago when we had a vegie garden we had some success with capsicum. They have more flavour then store bought. I'll be buying capsicum seeds and hoping for a better result

Citrus trees along the back of the garden 

Our herb garden and some citrus trees. I'll have to reposition the herbs as the trees grow bigger. In the front is our rosemary bush. It has been here for a few years. I recently trimmed a 1/3 off of it

Today I planted some seeds and recycled at the same time! I kept the blue seedling container from when I purchased marigolds for the garden. I planted sweet corn seeds in it. The 3 containers in front were rice cracker trays. I planted cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes and Chinese cabbage in them. The white plant labels are made from an ice cream container I cut up

I'm enjoying our garden and hope we can get a lot of produce from it 

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Do you have any gardening tips or successes you'd like to share?

To view more photos from #oursunnygardenQLD

Have a beautiful day, Julia xx

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Snuggly warm

In my last post I shared a photo of my crochet colour block blanket

Made from Bendigo Woollen Mills wool yarn
It is soft and lovely to work with

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Originally I was going to make a lap blanket. Then I decided to make it big enough for our QS bed. Yes, I'm crazy and I won't be doing that again! I finished crocheting my blanket today!!! It has taken 3 months to complete { in my spare time }

I made the Pear cushion a few years ago
Using 'The Simple Life' fabric collection by Tasha Noel

I look forward to using my handmade blanket tonight
Hubby and I will be snuggly warm

Hope you're having a lovely weekend, Julia xx