the sort of gardening we’re good at

new leaves by my side basket of yarn under dog

Since there’s nary a green finger between us – I’m hoping they’ll grow when we turn our hands to gardening our own land – our best “gardening” is enjoyed in other ways.  With wool, and cotton, and needles, and hooks, and books, and bikes, and tools, and paper, and pencils, and good food, and lovely company.

So, when a magnificent spring day burst forth, that’s just what we did :-)

julian raleigh buds

Out we went, soaking up that sun and warmth.

rabbits lunch

hat crochet sticking out from my chair basket with flowers

And when, at last, the air cooled and the sun dropped, we celebrated the day and the lovely “gardening” we’d enjoyed …

and of day treat

Have I mentioned how much I love spring!

 

if you should happen …

… to swing by Bootville, in the mid-afternoon, when school’s out early, the late winter sun is setting the back garden aglow, and the sweet scent of jasmine is wafting across the grass, don’t knock at the front door.  Come down the side, and through the gate – we’re in the garden!

take off the shoes

kick off your shoes … it’s okay, the dog hasn’t chewed a pair in years.  She’s so grown up now :-)

saved one for you

we’ve saved you a chocolate and raspberry sponge from Aviv’s!

picture book trying to count seeds

pull up a corner on the picnic blanket – we’re reading a lovely new picture book (yes, we still love and buy picture books!).  It’s all about what happens when you decide to throw caution to the wind and dare to do something a bit different.  With fabulous pictures.  And it’s Japanese.  And it’s by Mitsumasa Anno – what a gift to the world he is!

Fu chewing her stick

Fu will come bounding up every few moments to tell you all about a yummy stick she’s just found or an evil pigeon with dastardly plans she was brave enough to chase off.  To protect us, of course.  She’s not afraid of evil and dastardly pigeons.  It’s her job.

pencil case filling a new notebook

Abby’s writing a new story – currently planning out all the characters and locations – so she’ll probably ask you to contribute a name or an occupation – the crazier the better.

playset paper dolls and book

Perhaps you’d like to pull out whatever it is you love to do – bit of knitting, a good book, some stitching. If you’ve come empty handed you’re welcome to play with my new Pride and Prejudice paper dolls.  But I reserve the right to pop them all out.  You can put the stands on – they’re a bit tricksy.

proposals lizie darcy tableau

Aren’t they gorgeous!  And Fu didn’t steal a single one.  I told you she’s getting grown up at last.

writing novel reading

Then, whilst Abby gets down to the nitty-gritty of her tale, I might sneak a peak into my new novel.  You don’t mind do you.  I had to buy it.  As you can see, it’s called “We are all completely beside ourselves”.  This is one of my favourite phrases!  I use it ALL the time.  I am regularly completely beside myself – usually with delight, anticipation, or anxiety.  My response to Abby’s tales of school is usually “Goodness, the teacher must have been beside herself”.  When Mum tells me what the extended family are up to, I reckon they’re completely beside themselves as well.  Even my patients’ families are beside themselves – well of course they are.  As for the patients – they’re usually too sick to be beside themselves.

See – I had to have it.  And it’s by Karen Joy Fowler – I was completely beside myself with delight when I read her “Jane Austen Bookclub” especially when the only guy in the club suggested they read the Master and Commander books.  Practically leapt out of bed I was so beside myself at that point :-)  ”Yes, yes, yes!” I shrieked to Julian, “Of course the Master and Commander books are utterly perfect for the Jane Austen fan.  Karen Joy Fowler and I are kindred spirits!”

“Uh-uh,” he replied.  He very rarely gets beside himself, completely or not.

And when the sun tips just that bit far to the west, and the air becomes colder and damp, we’ll traipse back inside and have a nice cup of tea.  You can choose which Moomin cup you’d like.  If you really want to endear yourself, I’ll let you unpick the remaining 12 windows in my patchwork house that need their curtains hung, whilst I “hang” said curtains.  It will be a lovely afternoon, I promise.

You just have to remember, if it’s mid afternoon and the late winter sun is out and the jasmine’s flowering – we’ll be out the back.

kitchen day

My it’s so cold at the moment.  Our breath is frosted even in the kitchen (no! don’t give in! don’t give in! leave the heating off!).

But oh it’s so lovely to be home, home, home!  This being day three of my return to a time of quiet and domesticity – and I’m loving it.

Today – it’s been all about the kitchen ….

lentils and cup

:: cooking supper early so that it will be rich, warming and ready for the family when I return home late from babysitting.

pumpkin pleasures

:: trying not to eat all of Julian’s pumpkin pie (sans pastry) one slice at a time.

chair shuffling

:: shuffling chairs – and plotting their repainting for the umpteenth time – so as to tackle some …

quilting

:: kitchen table quilting – the recently thrifted kitchen stools are perfect for quilting – they wind up and down so can be made just the right height – no more stiff neck!

new to us china

:: I shall serve dinner in this little sweetie tonight – also recently thrifted – Mesterkokken “Flamingo” from Norway – from the fabulous Jewish thrift store up the road – they have the best European crockery

needlepoint pattern fiddling

:: fiddling with a new needlepoint pattern – something to soak up the thousands (yes, literally) of skeins of DMC embroidery wool I’ve recently “accumulated” – and baffled as to why it’s skewif – huh!

repurposing chelves

:: gloating over the repurposing of a hard rubbish bookcase – has been sitting on the front porch with sneakers on it for the last 2 years – perfect fit for the end of the kitchen table – and perfect for all the pretty and useful things (clutter, says Julian) I like to keep handy :-)

erzgebirge

:: smiling each time I catch a glimpse of these dear little napkin rings – can’t decide whether to use them straightaway – save them for special occasions – or just wait until we have 3 so we can ALL delight in their sweetness (will Julian really care if he has a plain silver one? probably not)

alison lester

:: so pleased to have found these placemats I made – oh, 16 years ago – from an old Alison Lester calendar.  I think they need a couple more coats of sealer before we use them.  Add to the to do list.

she likes

:: my little furry companion.  She longs for toast and crepes and pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie and onions and carrots and mushrooms and speck and sausages and left over roast potatoes and … and … and … pretty much any food that touches my hands.

The perfect kitchen – in the gorgeous Bega Valley of course –  is something I regularly dream of – and collect pictures of and plot and plan with Julian and Abby and Mum.  It will have huge windows, and a wooden burning stove, and a set of window shelves facing the sun for herbs, and comfy chairs for cosying and cook book browsing and radio listening, and a walk in pantry, and a pretty white sink with a fabulous tap, and glass fronted cabinets for our glassware and china, and a cork floor (I LOVE cork), and loads of bench space, and the perfect spot for each appliance …

But right now, when there’s a lovely long stretch of days (weeks! months!) before me with not much to do but care for my family, this little kitchen here in Melbourne will do me just fine :-)

not lucy’s patchwork cushion

into the wash

Dear little Lucy (Mum’s dog, who’s staying with us whilst Mum’s in Brisbane looking after Nanny and Grandad) is very fond of her comforts.  Why sit on just the sofa when you can scrunch up all the quilts and knitting that are on the sofa into a cosy nest that you can burrow yourself into?  Nicely upholstered furniture isn’t good enough, no you should drag all the cushions into a pile and knead them into just the right density before you settle down.  As for the bed – why would you want to sleep at someone’s feet when you can sleep next to their head – and turn into a growly leaden lump when someone tries to shuffle you along.  Best of all, being a cavoodle with thick, slightly oily, woolly fur, Lucy gets pretty grotty, pretty quickly and rubs all of this onto the afore mentioned quilts, cushions, beds and knitting.  Isn’t she thoughtful!

So last week – after holding the living room cushions up to my face and sniffing them – I decided they all needed a de-Lucying – a wash and an air.  And, given there was an essay due in that same day that still needed a lot of work, what more perfect time was there for me to plan and stitch up some new patchwork cushion covers.

I tried a snail’s trail block – something I haven’t played with for many years – and after some trial and error, hit upon a technique I liked very much – make each triangle way to big and trim it down once all four sides are on.  Then, today, with another essay due in at midnight (a discussion of something dodgy I saw or did on placement that I have since “reflected on” and learnt from) I quilted it up and added those bits and pieces necessary to turn it into a cushion cover.

ready for quilting

I was going to do the squiggly wiggly, but then thought I should be a bit more adventurous and practice drawing with my free motion foot.  So I tried some mandela style flowers.  I had to pull the first one out, it was so ghastly, but the following four turned out mostly acceptable.  Of course, practice will improve things and I won’t ever get any better if I don’t try.  I’m also not the kind of person that can practise for hours on a piece of calico with no purpose, so a cushion cover seems a good compromise.

border flower

They look really pretty on the back – woollen blanketing is so very forgiving to slightly wonky stitches.  They embed nicely into the soft pile.  Not so flattering on the smooth cotton front, but … have to start somewhere :-)

needed to unpick

gerald

Oh – and Fu thought you might want to meet Gerald.  He was Toph’s bedtime companion when she was a puppy.  Now he’s Fu’s – she’s not always very kind to Gerald but I do think she’s very fond of him.  She ran around the back garden “killing” Gerald whilst I took these photos, then dashed up to me and chucked him onto the quilting.  So there you go – that’s Gerald.

amongst the leaves

And here’s the finished cushion!  The colours seem just right for autumn.  So many shades of yellow, red, orange and brown surrounding us at the moment – and the perpetually grey skies.  These trees – I don’t know what they are – line one section of a very big road that I drove along most days.  They are very lush and green throughout spring and summer, but at this time of the year, they truly take your breath away – the very air hovering around them feels as golden as their softly falling leaves.

cushion on chair side on yellow and green looking up avenue

And the little card chair – I found it this morning on the footpath on the way home from school drop off.  English oak arms!  And whilst I was inspecting it, the owner came out and we agreed it was a sweet piece that just needed a little bit of tlc – that’s what he was hoping for.  Melbourne’s footpath furniture sharing at it’s best.

I have plans for the chair – involving a very even weave, camel coloured, woollen fabric from up the road, a Japanese embroidery book translated into Chinese (because that’s so much more useful to me!) and a bit of metho and steel wool.  It will be transformed!  But I can’t start it til I finish my fox chair (if you want you can check the instagram photos on the sidebar here) – I’ll show you the start of that little project tomorrow – it’s very addictive – I have to keep dashing out to the craft table and adding a bit more embroidery here and another leaf there!

with arms closeup of stitching

my prop assistant

I tried a little viney flowery kind of thing with my quilting along the borders – almost pleased with it.  And that’s my prop assistant – she very kindly offered to carry the cushion, camera and car keys because there was no way she was lugging that chair up North Road.  Ah what she puts up with from her silly mama :-)

on the sofa

Here’s the new cushion, insitu.  Just right against the syrupy yellows of the white blossom tree quilt.  And I know Lucy’s keen to try it out – with all its lovely new, bouyant feathery insert and crisply clean cotton cover.  I’m sure she’ll get right into later tonight.

It’s a good thing we love you Lucy!

in a sunday kitchen

cosySunday morning in the kitchen.  At first, the rest of the family sleeps on and it’s just me, a cup of tea, the radio and my dishcloth knitting (I’m working on filling a jar with colourful dishcloths – it’s a very nice way to start the day).  Slowly they join me.

reading

coffee

Julian brings his reading and wiles away an hour or so.  But then, after second coffees, he goes for a bike ride, needing to be outside on this crisp but sunny autumn day.

hill climb racing

cinnamon toast

I tempt Abby out of bed with toasted sourdough, lashings of butter and the left over cinnamon sugar from yesterday’s homemade doughnuts.  She’s always content to draw up a seat and keeps herself amused for hours.  Hill Climb Racing is a favourite this weekend (recently introduced to me by a little patient), but she also works on school assignments and progresses with her crochet.  Oh my, her crochet!  Wait til you see the pattern – it’s gorgeous stuff!

last chicken

Outside, our last chicken struts her stuff, so pleased to have the back garden all to herself …

fu

Fu assumes her favourite position – watching the world go by from the front room …

lucy

And Lucy curls herself up in a corner of sunlight …

barley ingredients spices

I start supper early.  Spicy Barley, Butternut and Apple Porridge and its simmering keeps the kitchen toasty.

tea and soup

The embroidery basket comes out, followed by the laptop …

embroidery wool

I have plans for some rather large jars with unusual and special contents :-)

pattern ready

The afternoon deepens – Julian, who has returned home and joined in the Hill Climb Racing fun, declares it cocktail hour.  And roasts a lovely leg of pork.  He’s good like that.

cocktail makers chaos

After hours of drawing and tweaking – and lots of added input from Abby and Julian who know just how that dolphin should look and what colour the lettering should be –  my pattern is ready and just before supper is about to served, needle comes to fabric.

cross stitching

savoury barley and butternut porridge

The kind of day – so restful and creative and productive and happy – that fills us with inspiration for how we want to build our kitchen in our strawbale home.  Plenty of room for cooking and making and storing, a lovely huge window for growing and sun soaking, perhaps even a pair of armchairs for reading and tea sipping, and a loooooong table with lots of chairs for days just like this, when we are so content to let everything else spin on without us, and stay right here in the kitchen.

quilting an unexpected tea tray cloth

Saturday was not the day I expected.  Abby unexpectedly visited the city with her friend.  Julian unexpectedly spent all day asleep. Frankly, I was at a bit of a loss.  There was so much that could be done – a kitchen table to clear of wool, the last of the Christmas decorations to put away (I hate leaving the Christmas decorations up so long but they longer they stay up, the harder they seem to be to take down – add to that the disadvantage of being away for 4 weeks of January).  Then there’s always chores.

However, taking a cool drink and my crochet out to the back garden to wile away a hot day whilst the doggies contentedly snuffled around seemed a much better idea.  I gathered all the things I would need – and realised using a tray would make it much easier to carry everything outside.  Fetched the tray – then decided what it needed was a nice cloth – thought about a tea towel folded in half and then thought – no!  I’ll make it a wee quilt using these pretties that surfaced last week.  Fabrics I’ve had forever.  Favourites that have danced through many of my quilts over the years.  It wouldn’t take long … and having a quilted tea tray cloth would make my solo afternoon in the garden ever so much nicer.

So I did …

the fabrics

:: the perfect summery colours for my blue tray

the starting point

:: starting in the middle of a wee piece of thrifted blanket

quilting

:: scribbly wibbly quilting, how I love you

ready for trimming

:: looks so pretty I almost wanted to leave it untrimmed

ready for binding

:: the fit’s just right

the binding

:: jolly binding

always love the back

:: don’t you love quilting from the back? – I do

ready

:: ready

in my garden

:: with a spare chair should a family member appear

Fu

:: happy doggles

my drink:: sparkly lime soda

It was such bliss, that when eventually the family appeared, we all stayed out there under the tree until after 8pm.  Just how a summer’s Saturday should be spent.

~ loveliness found ~ 46/52

There you go – last week I thought it was the 44th week of this fine year – alas, I was a week behind myself.  So here we are, seven days later and yet an extra week ahead.

Never mind, it’s almost the end of the year.  And I have only one exam left.  Ooooh yes!  Summer is a-comin’

long lost fabric

 ~  very old beginnings are being resurrected
into this season’s Christmas presents ~

if I can't have the real thing

~ whilst the leftovers from one present
find their way into something very special ~

julians crystal

~ Julian’s found his collecting groove …
vintage cocktail glasses ~

cocktails and needlepoint

~ which we put to very fine use,
just a few times a week ~

so fascinated by the rabbits

~ whilst we sip our drinks,
the silly dog hops into the rabbits’ grass cutting hut
to nibble on their “leftovers” ~

the chook umbrella~ if it must rain every morning for a week,
then I shall let out the chickens with
the prettiest umbrella I have ~

sunlight ~ ah, but when that sun comes out …
we swoon ~

overnight magic

~ magic happens over night
(we love this recipe – and find that it needs
an extra half teaspoon of salt)

pig bread board

~ and I remember that the piggy breadboard
is only a lovely piggy breadboard when he is being used wisely,
not collecting simply dust ~

team work

~ there is much awesome weekend team work … ~

shadowy magic

~ … that results in the most elegant of shadows ~

cotton reels

~  … & great usefulness too ~

civilisation amongst the chaos
~ which we celebrate with another spring cocktail,
we believe in making the most of sunny afternoons at home ~

pawpaw~ fresh papaya for a late late lunch,
the sort that comes between finishing the sanding
& pondering what rag to use for the oiling ~

cotoneaster unknown one

~ the garden’s shrubs are all a-bloom,
just like that it happened, just like that ~

dogs passion for baked goods

~ the girlie comes home full of stories and adventures
- in her fabulous homemade t-shirt -
whilst the dog tries to convince her that all buttered bread
really belongs to the canine members of the family ~

the blanket cubby

~ a vintage blanket cubby is curiously still and warm
against the stiff, late afternoon breeze
that is still visiting us straight from the Antarctic ~

in the setting sun

~ our tree soaks in the long, slow spring sunset ~

kitchen chimney~ as does the kitchen chimney,
making me wish for the hundredth time,
that just one of our 3 fireplaces worked ~

One day, folks, one day.  You shall come by here to find a ~loveliness found~ post and it shall include … ” we lit our very first fire and warmed our toesies in front of it”.  Meanwhile, we shall find loveliness wherever we go.

Wishing all you dear folk a marvellous week ahead!

~ loveliness found ~ 44/52

christmas fruit soaking

~ soaking the Christmas fruit ~

orange napkin

~ hanging out the washing
when the sun is rich and warm ~

washing rhubarb

 ~ oh the yumminess of spring rhubarb ~

a stack of cushions

 ~ a stack of newly bought cushion inserts,
waiting for their pretties ~

summer smoothies

~ after school smoothies with my girl ~

crazy cushions

~ putting these funny hard rubbish cushions to comfy use ~

front room bedroom

living room kitchen

~ a Sunday morning spent tidying the corners,
claimed it was in honour of Abby’s friend visiting,
maybe it was really a form of study procrastination ~

our girls eggs lunchtime souffle

~ when that egg bowl overflows, lunchtime zucchini souffle ~

cake for my girl

~ whilst the girlie and her friend ate chocolate cake ~

julian cocktails with Julian

~ cocktail hour with my fellow,
and a bit of knitting – onto the sleeves we are ~

little flowers

~ a pretty – and tidy – table ~

fu

~ such a sweet fluff, who loves to be wherever we are ~

my camera~ being reminded by a lovely reader (Tricia!)
of how much I enjoy finding the loveliness
and sharing it here on a Sunday ~

in the garden with a quilt

full length

I finished this quilt (after six or seven years!) a few weeks back.  Indeed it has been gracing our bed ever since.  But there’d not been just the right amount of time or sun to take it outside for showing.  Until this afternoon.  After another morning of dreadful grey (honestly, every cold front produced in the Antarctic this year has been sliding slowly over Melbourne for the last couple of weeks), this afternoon finally broke sunny and golden – for longer than 15 minutes.  Yipee!

I threw the quilt in the wash – ahem, there was a slight problem with some felt pen lines that were drawn on six or seven years ago and you’ll be pleased to know that when Crayola say their felt pen will wash out of your children’s clothes effortlessly, they mean it (for the curious, just a lid full of Martha Gardiner’s Wool Wash and a delicate wash cycle on cold) …

the feltpen

… and hung it out before collecting Abby from school.  Lo!  The sun was still there when we returned, and so, with my cross stitch supplies gathered, a steamy cup of tea and shawl tucked under my arm (the wind is still biting), a grass nibbling rabbit by my side, and the sweetest pair of chooks at my feet I made the most of this afternoon sun.  Such bliss!

chickens bunny

on the banana lounge by my side at my feet

It’s quilted in my favourite scribbly wibbly manner.  I just adore the texture this brings – and with all that vivid green and those rich, sumptuous florals, it truly looks as if it is alive and growing.  I expect it to feel mossy when I run my hand across it.  For there to be the sweet fragrance of blooms when I press my face into it.

love the bubbly texture blowing beautiful light red and blue

For me, this is what quilting is about.  Colour.  Lots and lots and lots of colour.  I love my quilts to be heavy with colour, warm and bursting, full of energy.  I love the intensity of everything jumbled in together – almost chaotic.

on the clothesline

 

Oh and there’s an Amish moment with this quilt – can you see it?  Bottom row, in the middle?  I noticed it when I’d just finished the quilting and spread the quilt out on my bed to admire it.  Huh!  Pride does come before a fall.  ONE OF THE HOURGLASSES IS SIDEWAYS!  Unbelievable.

Eventually the sun drew its rays in, the shadows grew so much longer and colder, even the chooks forsook me – they were busy watching chook television, that is, watching Miss Hinchfliffe (who didn’t want to cut the grass this afternoon) dart back and forth around her enclosure.  They were so funny – their little chooky heads flicking from side to side with surprise and fascination as Hinchy zoomed around.

golden watching the rabbit with peg

Just in time, the quilt was dry, ready to bring in and put back on the bed.  ’Cause it may look like spring around here, but it sure doesn’t feel like it!  And after six or seven years of lazing about in baskets, it’s surely time this quilt was put to work.

weekending

It’s the end of the weekend already … too fast, too fast.

Despite the dreadful weather (Spring?  Spring?  No spring ’round here ) we kept ourselves well occupied, with lots of quilting …

cosy kitchen quilting

… moveable / cut the grass / become good friends rabbit hut building …

attaching the door at work one bunny two buynny

… ah, friendlier already :-)

in they go

… pattern playing – you can see the pattern can’t you?

patterns

… needlepoint finishing …

needlepoint

… making the most of the newly installed clothesline – bit hard in the drizzle, but I gave it my best …

new clotheslines

… laughing at the outdoor antics and indoor smoochiness of the fluffy one …

fu

… relishing the new season’s blood oranges …

blood oranges

… putting all those sage flowers to good use …

stuffed

… sipping cups of steamy, creamy coffee to stave off the chill

steaming coffee pot

… and tonight, cosy under the freshly quilted gumnuts, stitching down the binding

binding on the sofa

Tomorrow, the girlie heads back to school, Jules heads back to work.  Me … why I’ll be here at home.  There’ll be plenty to do but oh, it will be so quiet.

I do so love weekending.

 

patches of cocoa, marshmallow, glimpses of spring along the street, and mayhaps magic pasta

fabric streetscape yoyos scraps favourite pink and red polka dota cocos on the table stitching no reservations strega nona

Here we are.  Saturday morning.  There is the smallest sliver of sun trying to pierce the heavy grey clouds that blanket this end of winter sky.  My fingers are crossed.  Grey, grey days dampen my spirits somewhat.

Julian is away again.  His dad is dying … last stages of cancer.  Julian is spending the weekend by his side.  Lots of talking.  Long hours when it seems Robert has moved too far away to notice.  Then, Julian mentions Brisbane to his step-mom and Robert pips up … “I hate Brisbane!”  Julian replies, “But we both met our wives in Brisbane.  It can’t be that bad.” Makes me smile.  Hopefully brought Julian and Charlene a moment of sweet relief.

Abby, Fu and I … we are looking after the chickens and rabbits and mice.  Thinking about working on assignments – oh my, last week was a self-induced horror.  A case study on the endocrine system was left to the utterly last moment.  After two frantic afternoons of research, there was an all night writing session … all in amongst four afternoons of babysitting, regular class assignments, pracs, mothering and trying to keep some sort of order in the house.  Blimey.  I’m a bit over this student life.

But yesterday was a student free day at Abby’s school and I had no classes. So, whilst thinking of Julian, his dad and step-mom, we spent a quiet day in the living room.  Not noticing the grey (trying!).  Snipping and sewing beautiful fabrics.  A couple of newly acquired pieces.  Most dragged into service from the stash. Drawing patterns for dolls and their clothes. Stitching tiny appliques onto felt tshirts.  Needlefelting outrageous hair.  Supping hot cocoa.  Enjoying our littlest bunny hopping round and round the room – nestling into baskets of wool, testing the tastiness of the piano stool, clambering into the bookcase.  We watched two favourite films – The Brothers Bloom and No Reservations.

Which sent me to the shop for pasta ingredients … we tried Martha Stewart’s One Pot Pasta dinner.  A recipe so improbable it made us think we’d probably need some of Strega Nona’s magic to pull it off.  Which we pulled out and read for fun and realised the colours of my growing quilt were pure Strega!  Verdict? Martha’s pasta was surely easy and quick to make and was certainly very edible.  A bit like a spaghetti risotto.

But not a patch on Nick’s No Reservations tomato pasta – a favourite in Bootville.  And we remembered how, after seeing this film for the first time, Julian cooked the pasta recipe on the back of the film flyer, Abby constructed a safari tent in the living room and brought down her stuffed animals, and I gathered all the candle sticks in the house and arranged them in our non-functioning fireplace.  And we too ate our pasta on safari and played pick up sticks with italian grissini.

wintery scenes

beach flying birds

Oh it has been so cold here in Melbourne.  The mornings have been exceedingly frosty.  The grass is dusted with white.  My breath fogs my glasses – whilst inside.  The windscreen is hard with ice, demanding that we dawdle in the driveway for a good five minutes, waiting for the heater to turn it to slush.

too cold for the shed

Such has been the cold that one of us insists on tinkering with his outdoor toys at the kitchen table!

honeybunny

The young one is making the most of her lovely squishy, warm, snuggly honey-bunny – newly arrived companion for Miss Hinchcliffe who has been a bit lonesome since the deaths of our sweet little guinea pigs.

scrubbing the dresser

dresser doors

Whilst the crazy one has been more intrepid, determined to get that dresser scrubbed down, sanded till it gleams, oiled and inside before the next spell of rain.  Complete with newly built and collaged doors.  Who’d have thought a mitre box and tenon saw could be such fun.

the sun

chopping wood solstice bonfire

And then the Solstice came.  On a day glowing with sun (albeit, super cold) with a rich blue sky that sang of the summer to come.  Julian chopped wood.  The Solstice bonfire was lit.  We sat as close as we could, plates of slow roasted pork and pumpkin upon our laps, marshmallows waiting to be toasted, strawberries (from Queensland) waiting to be dunked into the chocolate fondue.  As the flames danced and crackled, we looked up into the frosty, moonlit sky and cheered that our earth was tilting back towards the sun.

Who cares that we are only 22 days into the first month of winter.  From this point on, each day reclaims just a minute more light, pushing us gently on to spring.

tea little squares pieced border blanket label

Whilst we wait, we remind each other how much we LOVE the cold!  Make more tea.  Fight over who gets to wash up in that lovely hot water.  Linger by the stove.  Fill and refill the hot water bottles.  Beg Fu to stay still on our laps and just cuddle!

And I dig around in boxes and cupboards, pulling out half finished blocks, long forgotten fabrics, and almost done quilts.  Piling them onto the table, the must-finish-this-winter list growing longer and longer.  And promise Julian that tonight! tonight!  I’ll start the argyle pattern on the front of his vest.  And sneakily knit another two repeats on the much less daunting baby cardigan.

And look out at that dresser …