And the winner is......

Random integer chose number 11. Congratulations Heather Priems!

Blogger Heather Priems said...
I just love the first colour - blue and green. My colours and the yarn looks so beautiful. Now what would I knit it up into? Thinking, thinking. I am thinking my elder grand daughter would love it knitted into a vest for her with 8 ply. The blue and green are her colours as well. Congrats on the 500 likes.
April 22, 2014 at 1:34 PM
Thanks so much to everyone who entered and for all your lovely comments.
Thank you also for all your support.

Last day to enter

Last day to enter the 500 likes celebration giveaway, I'll be drawing the winner this evening. Good luck!

Cheese and bacon scrolls

Husband came home from work the other day and said he had tried some bread from a local upmarket bakery. He was amazed when he tasted it and said that my bread was so much better! Feeling rather flattered and inspired I sat down and wrote out a few new recipes to try out. This was one of them and they were awesome :) The dough for this recipe is inspired by Tamara Milstein's Savoury Crescents.

800grams white bread flour
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar or honey
2 teaspoons of salt
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 cups of warm water

50g butter, melted
6 bacon rashers, chopped
100g grated tasty cheese
35g grated parmesan

Mix all ingredients and using the dough hook on your mixer, run on low for 5 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, mix ingredients with a wooden spoon and knead for 5 minutes.
Place into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave for about an hour to rise.

Preheat oven to 220 degrees (C).

When risen, roll out dough in a rectangle (approx 45 x 35cm) on an oiled bench. Brush liberally with melted butter, sprinkle evenly with cheeses and bacon.
Roll up the dough from short end to short end. Push each end in with your fingers. Cut the roll into slices with a bread knife. Each slice should be about 3cm in width. Place the pieces, cut side up in a tray lined with baking paper. Sit each slice next to another with a little space for spreading. Brush with any remaining butter and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Bake in oven until golden brown (approx. 20 - 30 minutes)

Turn out onto a cooling rack. They're really delicious when eaten warm :)

Have you entered my yarn giveaway? Finishes tomorrow evening so get in while you can!

3 ways to save money today - Volume 7

I know, it's been a while! Today my tips are related to online shopping. Online shopping is a great blessing to me, it's not exactly easy to shop with 4 youngsters in tow and it means I have access to specialty items and books that I wouldn't be able to get in shops near me. It's also an easy way to shop around and compare prices, all from the comfort of home.

1. Weekend and holiday sales. Many online retailers will have big sales on long weekends, holidays or other celebration days (Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day etc). It can be worth waiting on an item you want in order to get free shipping or a percentage off sale, the savings can be huge!

2. Sign up to newsletters. You don't want junk mail bombarding your email box every day, so just sign up to online retailers that you have already used or are likely to use. This way you will get special offers (some monthly, some weekly and some daily). It's another way to be aware of sales before they happen and you can plan your spending accordingly.

3. Here is a tip that will work with some and not with others. One time I was making an online purchase, I was interrupted and consequently forgot about having put an item in my cart. A little while later I received an email from the company notifying me that I hadn't completed a transaction and offered me a voucher to complete the purchase! Of course, I used it and saved money. 
Another possibility is to do a google search for coupons - sometime you will come across coupon codes for sales you wouldn't have known about otherwise.

Happy Shopping!

Custom waldorf softie doll

Recently I had a request for a softie doll from a customer who had previously purchased one for her niece. Apparently, the doll was so well loved that another was wanted. We decided to make a "sister" for the first doll and I just happened to have enough of this cute green mushroom fabric left to keep the mushroom theme going.

Here is the original. I think they make great sisters and I hope that the new doll will be as well loved as the old :)

If you like this style of doll I have 2 tutorials on how to make your own. The first tutorial is here and the second is here.

Oh, and a reminder that the 500 likes celebration giveaway is still running - you can win some lovely hand dyed yarn by entering here.

500 likes giveaway

I'm celebrating 500 likes on my Facebook page!

I'm giving away 2x 100gram skeins of my hand dyed yarn.

You can choose between 4, 8 or 10 ply superwash merino.

And you can choose from any of my existing colourways.

You can view my current colourways here.

To enter, please leave a comment here (not on my Facebook page) telling me the colourway you would choose and what you would do with it if you won.

Entries open for one week, winner will be notified so please ensure I can contact you :)

*Open to Australian residents only.

Breaking knitting rules.

I have a golden knitting rule. At least, I did. Now I've broken it. The rule was only one knitting project at a time. Then the cooler weather happened and I started to think how I needed to get a move on with my little one's cardigan considering her old one is too small now.
Project number 1: Annie (pattern by Tikki) cardigan in my "Pink Princess" colourway. 

Then the news of a new niece or nephew mid year came. I immediately thought of the beautiful (and free) pattern by Julia Stanfield, and how I had been longing to have an excuse to knit it. I'm dyeing most of the yarns for this one too.
                                         Project number 2: Western Hills Baby blanket. 

When we went on holidays in early March I was itching to take a relaxing knitting project with me, and I did have that beautiful wool I dyed with madder just sitting there and a crafty friend suggested a scarf, that also happens to be by Julia Stanfield (did I mention that her patterns are fantastic?!)
Project number 3: Fernleaf Scarf

So these will keep me very busy knitting over the next few weeks (months?!) but i have been thinking how much I'd like to knit a cardigan just for me, at least, it wouldn't hurt to pop over to Ravelry and browse some more patterns.....

Back to basics, frugality revisited.

Christmas, interstate holidays and unfortunately timed car repairs and insurance bills have left things a little tight for us of late. Very little is being saved and the bills and expenses just keep rolling in. 
I spent a bit of time having a sook about our own little economic downturn but when I got tired of feeling sorry for myself I decided to get over it and take on a frugal challenge. 
It's amazing that even when you live a frugal lifestyle you can always find little areas where money is not being used as wisely as it could. So, here are a few things I'm doing this month to make positive changes.

I've been making my own laundry gel for ages (great stuff!) and also my own cleaning spray (I add some lavender or tea tree essential oil to make cleaning more bearable!) for a few months.  As I've mentioned before, the recipes I use are from the excellent book "Saving Mum". 

Recently I found that I could make an excellent toilet spray simply by placing water and essential oils in an old spray bottle. I'd tried it in the past and wasn't thrilled with the results, but I've found that the essential oils needed to be stronger. I also make up a really small batch at a time (say about 100ml)  to keep it fresh.

For my 3 long haired girls I squirt a little hair conditioner into an old spray bottle, top it up with water and use it as a de-tangler. This morning I also made up a batch of dish liquid and will be trying that out. I'm nearly due to do a big batch of soap too. Sometimes I use my soap to wash the girl's hair.

After the hot and dry summer our garden has been re-planted with vegetables and the kids each have their own plot. Here are my husband's cos lettuces. I still can't work in the garden much because of my back issues but I live in hope that I'll be able to return soon.

I have been wanting to replace our large side gate for 9 years now (ever since we moved in) as it is broken and very difficult to open, not to mention old and unattractive. We never seem to have enough spare cash to complete this job! So, new tactics. We have a money jar in our bedroom as husband often chucks a handful of coins from his pockets in there when getting undressed. The coins are used for small shopping trips and the rest goes into our charity jar in the kitchen. I've placed a little box beside the bedroom jar and place the gold coins in the box, with the silver change going to the charity jar as before. Gold coins can add up quickly and I have $15 in my "replace side gate" box already. Who knows how long it will take to save the required amount but at least I feel better because I'm moving towards the goal :)

We found a way to do cheap and beautiful eggs for our table display. We dyed cheap supermarket cage eggs with egg dye, then used these super cool "Happy Wraps" to decorate with. I picked up the wraps and dye at a continental grocer very cheaply. They were so easy to make and look fantastic.

For Easter eggs my husband found a warehouse outlet that sells good brands (Red Tulip, Cadbury) eggs at heavily discounted prices. We also intend not to go overboard with chocolate for the kids as we tend to - they really don't need bucket loads!

There are plenty more things I'm doing to be more frugal at the moment, but this post is getting rather long, so maybe next time.

How about you? Feeling the pinch? Taking any positive steps to help?

Hand woven scarf charity auction

This scarf is hand dyed and hand woven from handspun yarn :) I've added a little beaded trim for a bit of bling. The scarf's weft is throwsters silk, which is a waste product from silk making. It has a firm, rather than soft or floppy hand. 

I'm auctioning the scarf on my Facebook page tonight at 8pm with all proceeds going to Mary's Meals - a very worthy cause. I hope you can make it, and if you're not on Facebook just contact me and I'll place a bid for you. Bidding starts at $25 AUD plus post ($8).

The Handmade Library Showcase

I'm participating in The Handmade Library Showcase for the first time tonight! The showcase runs on Facebook and features many talented handmakers. The theme is "Something Old, Something New".

Here is my "Something New" - a scarf I wove from my hand dyed 8ply merino. The colourways I used are "Bougainvillea" and "Pink Princess".

And my "Something Old" - a silk children's cape made from my hand dyed silk and silk ribbon.

Both are up for grabs at 8pm tonight, hope you can make it :)

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...