Friday, February 28, 2014


for ages and ages, i've wanted to learn a little french...
and now, with the help of a handy little iphone app, it's happening!

duolingo is an app that helps you to learn a new language, not just french, but spanish, german, portuguese or italian too!

i've wanted to learn for so long, i just didn't know where to start! but not only does the app give you that starting point, it helps to slowly grow vocabulary and learn sentence structure too.

and it combines different ways of learning too, giving you the opportunity to practice saying the sentences and phrases, putting the right words into the correct position in the sentence, listening to sentences and transcribing them and direct translations from french to english and english to french.

oh and it's all put together into a fun game-like format where you can set daily goals and receive reminders to help achieve them!

do you use duolingo? how do you find learning new languages?

ps. i forgot to mention, the app is free! get on it!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

my creative space.

this week, for the last time in hopefully a little while, i'm working on hexies!
i counted out the number of hexies i had cut out, ready to be basted, and realised i was 20 papers short!

so this morning, out came some card stock, the scissors, a pencil and a ruler.
and now...

everything is set out, and ready to go!
i've got 120 hexies left to baste by the end of the month, which is TOMORROW! eep!

i'm not going to lie, i'll be happy to have a break from them for a while, and get back to some knitting and crochet ha ha!

what are you creating this week? are you joining in with koo too?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

green love.

another week of making sure that everything is kept well watered... and a few things growing!

the tomatoes are GROWING!

they're slowly getting bigger, and as long as nothing eats them in the mean-time, they should be ready for harvesting relatively soon!

the plants themselves aren't looking particularly healthy though...

both the plants in the front AND backyard are having a bit of a die back... i'm not sure if this is a normal thing for tomatoes or not... but i'm thinking i definitely need to get a little bit of fertiliser on them quick smart!

in slightly better news...

the gerber daisies on the front steps are going from strength to strength! there is one flower head that is just about done, and two on their way up!
such a happy flower, and a happy plant at the moment too!

there are some little bulbs poking their heads up too!

i'm not entirely sure what they are... but knowing what's planted in there, i'm thinking they're probably grape hyacinths... though i'm not entirely convinced it's that time of the year is it?
the weather has been a bit topsy turvy the last couple of week so maybe the plants are confused ha ha!
though maybe not too, it is the end of february after all!

what's growing in your patch at the moment? any signs of the changing seasons?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

take heart.

this week is donate life week for 2014.
a week to raise awareness and promote organ and tissue donation in australia!

donate life week encourages everyone to "have the chat", to make sure that everyone's family and loved ones, know their position on organ donation.

also, if you're over on instagram, curlypops, is having a little fun with her #curlypopstwohearts hashtag. two of her wonderful friends are waiting on heart transplants, so it is in their honour, as well as raising awareness for donate life week!

are you a registered organ donor? do your friends and family know your stance?

Monday, February 24, 2014

meal planning monday.

last week's meal plan, thankfully went mostly to plan! hopefully i can keep it up this week and in the weeks ahead!

tonight, we're having leftovers! not exciting, i know! but our fridge is FULL of food to take for lunches, and there's not quite enough lunches in the week!

tomorrow night, bb has requested that is what i shall cook! i'll make sure that skin is nice and crispy and will serve it up with lots of salad!

wednesday night, is ncb night. i'll make sure bb has something to cook up for himself as i'll be having dinner there! can't wait!

thursday night, i'm working late. my night's have changed this week, but it still means the same things... the slow-cooker will be doing all the work! i'm thinking of whipping up this bad boy. hopefully it works out ok!

friday night, i'll grab some chops out of the freezer, grill them up, and serve them with some salad! simple and easy!

saturday night, i've requested that bb whips up a pot of his delicious bolognaise! i'll be at work during the day, so he'll have plenty of time!

and sunday, bb has requested home-made salt and pepper calamari! hope we can find some good stuff, and then do it justice by cooking it to perfection!

what are you eating this week? do you ever have leftovers for dinner?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

sizing perfection!

the new beanie i cast on during the week was a MUCH better size than the first!

i was super grateful it turned out to be the right size, as i'm not sure i had another one in me ha ha!

as much as it was a bit of a pain having to knit this beanie twice, it's got me in an interesting crochet AND knitting mindset, and i'm looking at different patterns and garments and thinking about whether they would benefit from the different textures that knitting and crochet bring to the table...


it's kind of cool how doing something that is a little out of your comfort zone, can change your way of thinking about certain things... watch this space on that front!

oh and also, i've been updating my stash-busting tally on my side bar...
i decided to include wool that has come INTO my stash in the tally, and see how much i can actually eliminate over the course of a year!
with this project (projects!) i haven't included them in my 'stash out' tally, but have included the leftover wool in my 'stash in' tally.
i think this is fair as the wool was bought specifically for the purpose of this hat...

do you tally up your stash-busting? what are your methods if you do? do you find different projects can get you thinking differently about future projects?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

little lovelies.

every week, i try and share a little list of lovely things that have happened throughout the week in my neck of the woods, to try and keep myself looking on the bright side of things.

this guy never fails to put a big smile on my face...

he's so great at 'helping' me make the bed...

i decided during the week, that rather than buying a new pair of shoes, to replace the ones that i had almost worn completely through, that i would take them to be repaired by a cobbler...

and i feel like i definitely made the right choice!
they weren't cheap to have repaired... but they don't need to be worn in, and i'm reusing something, rather than buying new.
he also gave them a really good polish, so they actually look a bit BETTER than they did when i bought them!

i've also SUPER enjoyed the cooler weather we've been having this week...

there's been wooly sock wearing happening...

and soup making and consuming...

this was the french onion soup, i threw into the slow-cooker before work on friday afternoon.
it was AWESOME to come home to on an ever so slightly chilly friday night. and absolutely perfect with a toasted and cheesy english muffin dunked into it!

what's been making you smile this week? do you have a helper to entertain you while you're doing chores? how's the weather where you are?

Friday, February 21, 2014

flavour bomb.

this isn't a concept i've come up with, it's one i learnt from jamie... his latest series, 'save with jamie' is one of my absolute faves!
i watched every episode of the series AND bought the book.
i am a tragic!

anywho... getting back to the bombs of flavour...

the idea is, that instead of letting leftover fresh herbs and the like go bad, you chuck them into an ice-cube tray, with some oil or water or something, to help preserve them. but to also keep them nice and handy to infuse flavour into whatever you're cooking!

the above is leftover coriander (from this salad, cooked earlier in the week) under peanut oil!
i figure that should give a nice kickstart to a curry or something!

and below, is a little brainwave i came up with the other night!

leftover fresh mint, chopped, and covered in lime juice!

pop a couple of these babies in a glass with some soda water, and your tipple of choice (white rum, vodka, even gin if you wanted!). or not, if you're not a drinker.
they'd make any drink nice and refreshing i think!

are you a fan of jamie too? what do you do with your leftover herbs?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

my creative space.

yesterday, i finished off the slightly larger beanie i was working on earlier in the week AND i went for a drive to a patchwork shop and acquired some more hexagon papers...
one guess what i'm up to today...

more hexies!
i'm getting through them... i've just got that stack there to go!

well i did just have that stack there...

what can i say, i was in a patchwork shop!
i think the challenge of getting through all of the fabric i had by the end of february might be a little out of reach now... oh well! we'll see how i go!

what are you creating this week? are you joining in with kirsty too?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

green love.

after mentioning last week that my poor pineapple plant still wasn't in the ground, i got busy over the weekend...

and finally got it into a pot! it's even got a little bit of new growth happening from just being in a glass of water too!
it's so mental that it grows just from the top!

also on the weekend, i dragged bb to kmart with me, to spend up the last of a voucher i was given for my birthday.
i'd been trying to work out what we needed, that i could spend it on, and then it clicked!

lots and LOTS of pretty flowers... gardening isn't all about edibles after all!

i also found a gorgeous fern, to pop into our birdcage to sit in our lounge room!

but of course, as well as flowers ARE pretty, and lovely, i DO like to have lots of edibles around...

a new mint plant...

hopefully i don't manage to kill this one! i do not have the best track record with mint ha ha!

and finally, a chilli plant, at bb's request.

now, looking over these photos, i'm realising everything is looking a bit dry! time for some water, and a little bit later, some mulch!
i think i'll put mum to work (she's visiting today) and get her to help!

what's growing in your patch? do you have lots of flowers? or just edibles?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

sizing up.

i feel like i've made quite a few beanies over the years... but i still can't seem to get the silly things sized correctly.

first, there were my christmas knitting fails, which were only fails because they were too damn small!

and then there's the beanie i started last week... over the weekend, i finished off the last of the ribbing and got the crocheted top done too!

it looks great, but it's most likely too small for the recipient! oops!

this pattern was reverse-engineered, at request, by looking at a beanie the recipient already owns... and i followed the pattern that i 'saw' to the letter... not thinking about the gauge of the wool used in the original piece!

oh well, onwards and upwards...

the ribbing is cast on, and finished again. with a dozen or so more stitches to hopefully fix the sizing problem...

how do you go sizing your projects? do you make everything a little small like me too?

edit: last night i had a dream that i was wearing the beanie, and it stretched out like crazy and was enormous. what the heck brain?

Monday, February 17, 2014

meal planning monday.

oops, another week, not quite going to plan food wise... hopefully the week ahead will be more successful!

tonight, i'll make the thai chicken noodle salad i never made last week. the night i was meant to whip it up, i went to bed straight after work. i. was. exhausted. hopefully that won't be the case again tonight ha ha!
for lunches today, we've got leftover meatballs from last night... yep, no roast last night ha ha!

tomorrow, i'm off from work. i'm contemplating a quick trip to go and visit my grandma, but that should still leave me with a little bit of time to make something yummy. and i'm thinking the 'save with jamie' lovely lamb pie.
i'll have lunch with grandma, and bb will have leftover salad to take for lunch!

wednesday, i've got the day off again. my mum will be up from the country, so we'll have lunch together, but she normally leaves mid-afternoon to avoid traffic, so again, i'll have lots of time to cook something scrumptious! i'm hoping another 'save with jamie' recipe. this time, the pulled pork peppers i never got around to last week. i ended up having a much later night at work last thursday than i'd first anticipated, and again, pretty much went straight to bed after work... a bit of a habit last week apparently!
there should still be salad leftovers for bb to take to work again on wednesday...

thursday night, i'll grab some bolognaise out of the freezer for a quick and easy meal!
leftover peppers for lunches hopefully!

friday night, i'll be working late, so i'll pop this soup in the slow cooker. should be delicious with a slice of sourdough!

over the weekend, bb is in charge of the cooking because i'm working! he's promised me a curry on saturday night and a roast on sunday!
can't wait!!

what are you eating this week? are you trying any new recipes?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

you're my muffin.

i had every intention of making one of bb's favourite things to eat on valentine's day, before our plans went a little sideways. bb went out for dinner with his family, and i, well i was working, no surprise there ha ha!

anywho, to make up for it a little, i thought i'd whip up another favourite over the weekend.

english muffins!

i'd had a recipe bookmarked for a month or so... but then i chatted about sourdough over crafting and dinner on wednesday night, and started thinking about sourdough english muffins!

a quick google search, and i found a recipe to follow...

i'm not sure if i missed a step somewhere... but my dough was SUPER wet and hard to handle!
i had to incorporate a whole HEAP of flour to get it manageable enough to cut out the muffins and was therefore really skeptical when i was popping them in the pan to cook...

lo and behold, they puffed up, and browned up, and were really delicious!

they were a little involved, with the resting times of everything, but all up, there wasn't a huge amount of work to be done... just a lot of waiting!

have you ever made your own english muffins? do you sourdough?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

little lovelies.

every week, i try and share a little list of lovely things that have happened throughout the week in my neck of the woods, to try and keep myself looking on the bright side of things.

i mixed up this cake mix as promised...

as well as it being my bloggy birthday, i also had a co-worker with a birthday sunday too! i baked them up and took them into work as a bit of a happy birthday gesture!
hopefully it helped make her day a bit special (particularly because she was working, poor thing!)

i also started on one of my february goals

i pulled on my ridiculously BRIGHT exercise clothes, and went for a run. it was only a short one, but yesterday my muscles were aching a lovely ache, and i'm keen to pull those hyper orange runners on again this morning!
it was really fun!

this guy didn't just want hugs last night...

he also wanted to steal my chesse!
he's lucky he's cute i tell ya!

and lastly, this morning, i'm getting back to one of my favourite past-times...

list writing!
what i want to get done today, tomorrow, in the garden over the year... lots of lists!

what have you been up to this week? what has put a smile on your face?

Friday, February 14, 2014

valentine's day.

bb and i don't really make a big deal of valentine's day...
we're in this for the long haul, not just one day a year ha ha!

to be honest, i've gotten home from work, to an empty house (bb is catching up with family for dinner) and am getting some hugs in with this guy...

a quiet night in, with a cheeky vodka and cranberry, some cheese and crackers for dinner, and some crappy reality tv to watch.
sounds perfect to me!

do you celebrate valentine's day? or maybe you're like clare and donate to a worthy cause today?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

my creative space.

this week, i think you could probably guess what i've been working on...

more hexies!

my total for the month is up to 252! and i'm ALMOST out of the fabric that i cut out at the start of the month...

i feel another day of cutting coming up this weekend... and maybe a trip to the patchwork shop to pick up some more hexie papers! i opened my 5th packet of papers last night, which means i almost have 500 sewn up!
i also did a quick calculation last night (which i'm sure i've done in the past) and realised i'd need over 3000 to get the size i want! eeeeeeeeep!

in other news...

i cast some knitting on too! i was getting itchy fingers sitting at traffic lights (bad nicole!) and on the walk from my car to work and vice versa.
this is a request from a friend of a friend to re-create a much loved beanie. i got my hands on it, and took a bunch of photos and reverse engineered the pattern a bit... hopefully it comes together how she imagined it would!

what are you creating this week?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

green love.

this week in the garden, something super exciting has happened, i grew tomatoes!

when i first discovered them, i actually had a lot more growing...
something else has ALREADY discovered them, and has been having a happy munch. GAH!

thankfully, touch wood, nothing has noticed these guys too much...

and i've been able to pull a few off most days while i've been watering and have a little nibble.
they're really sweet and delicious!

i STILL haven't got this poor little pineapple in the ground!

i meant to pot it up last night after work, but i went to bed instead. 12 hours sleep, don't mind if i do!
it's growing a quite impressive root structure while it waits to get into the ground though... pretty cool huh?

this little strawberry plant that i was given for christmas, seems to be doing ok, despite it copping a lot of heat from the afternoon sun.

the few berries i've eaten from it so far have been delicious and sweet and there seems to be lots more flowers popping up too!

and finally, when all else fails in the edible side of the garden...

these pretty things always seem to be around to brighten up my mood! despite them being out the front and again, copping a faily enormous amount of hot afternoon sun, they don't seem to mind.
as long as i water them frequently that is ha ha!

what's growing in your patch this week? do you have pest problems where you are? have you ever planted a pineapple top?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ruby's nest.

last friday night, i headed into brunswick, to celebrate the opening of a very cool little shop...

ruby's nest is the brainchild of jay and anna and is a reinvention of the olive grove studios.

their new space is bright and airy and perfectly shows off the beautiful and colourful products.

as well as wonderful handmade clothes, there is also a large array of homewares, jewellery and accessories available.

the night was wonderful, with anna and jay being amazing hosts. delicious and refreshing things to drink, as well as lots of cheese, fresh fruit AND cookies and lollipops made by this lovely lady!

everyone also received a goodie bag (which is what anna has in that tray ha ha!), in which, was a super cute pair of wooden owl earrings!

the "studio" part of the existing olive grove studios, are still up and running, and were open for inspection on friday night too!

we got to have a little peek into this lino printing studio, chatting with the couple of ladies who do their amazing work there!

and then there's the floors in this place...
like polished concrete on over-drive.
so cool!

and cool floors, mean the standard blogger shot, feet included!

i was lucky enough to head out for dinner and gelati with three lovely ladies afterwards too.
it was an awesome night!

have you been along to ruby's nest? what did you get up to on friday night?