Saturday, 2 August 2014

Nanny's Herbs in the Window

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With the restoration of our kitchen following a leak disaster, I had lots of time to think - I know it sounds strange but I do do it some times!!

I have always wanted one of these gardens in the window but I guess expense, window not in the right place etc etc has meant its never happened so, here comes the thinking and my herbs in the window!

I spotted the cups (soup cups) at Spotlight and brought one home to see if PJ could drill some holes through the bottom for me.
Enter PJ with his trusty drill and a 6mm Masonry Drill .....

and he set to work ... (note the old board so he didn't drill through the table!)

Fantastic!  Back out  to get two more so PJ can work his magic again.  I thought I'd like them all to be different colours....

Now there was just one problem - they didn't come with a saucer so I went to the Op Shop to have a look - I couldn't believe it when I spied these:

Perfect match and 4 for a dollar - SWEET!

We did a swing by Bunnings to pick up some plants and potting mix...

Then it was out to the garden to collect some stones (I know they look like big rocks here!)

Then I spread some newspaper ( to take care of the mess that I knew I would make) and covered the holes with the stones.

I then sprinkled enough potting mix to cover the stones and planted the herbs - Chives, Parsley and Coriander.
I watered them in, popped them on the window sill and admired my new herb garden in a window!

Now don't tell PJ, but there is plenty of room for more!

I just know that you will ask about the chickens!  The larger one was a gift from a sewing friend (it looks like Gingham)

and I happened upon the little one and couldn't resist the spots!

I think they look right at home among the herbs don't you?

Until next time
Nanny xx

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Outside the Box or Picture This!

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I am so over stuff accumulating on the ensuite vanity!!  
Yes, I have a bad back and avoid bending to search in bottom cupboards if I can possibly avoid it, but I can't stand the constant mess/clutter that results from not 'putting away'!

I initially thought I could use some glass shelves but they were all too long and wide for the space and too expensive so I had to think 'outside the box'.

I gathered PJ and ventured out to Bunnings for a look-see and after quite a bit of searching , I came across photo shelves - they were glossy white (easy to clean), a nice width for a confined space and we would be able to cut them to fit!

PJ measured up, cut them off and painted the cut end white and then it was simply a matter of drilling a couple of holes and ta-da our new bathroom shelves!!

and my nice clean, clear vanity!

I do have one glass shelf that you can see in the photo - it is a corner shelf for my Maiden Hair - I can't wait for it to grow and hang down!

Does clutter drive you crazy or is it just me?

Until next time
Nanny xx

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Bee Hive Update

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Remember earlier in the year I posted about joining a Quilting Bee Hive? Well I realised that I hadn't been back to show you what we have been doing - so grab a cuppa or your drink of preference, put your feet up and come buzzzzzzzzzzz with me!!

I must admit, I have experienced 'performance anxiety'!  It is amazing how, as soon as you start something for someone else, anything that can go wrong, does!! I had to pull those big girl pants up and get serious.....

In October, the first block was the Granny Square

November was the  Strip X:

Our December Queen kept it simple for us, asking for a 7x7 block with 49 x 2" squares finished:

It looks a bit wonky but I assure you it isn't - my sewing skills are definitely way better than my photography skills!

Then  in January, the Supernova:

In February it was my turn to be Queen and I selected a Scrappy star Block 

Don't they look absolutely fantastic!!  They are now waiting to be joined and finished! (yes mine is the one that's missing!)

In March we all had to Swoon 

April was the Japanese X

and May was the Card Trick

The Queen Bee, each month, puts forth her request with suggestions re fabric colour etc and we go from there.  

I have really enjoyed being a member of the 'hive' and am now working on the block for this month - you will have to wait to see that one.

I hope you have enjoyed this little catch-up.  Have you ever participated in a 'Bee'?  Did you enjoy the experience?  I would love to hear about it!

Until next time
Nanny xx

Monday, 2 June 2014

RAOK - or is it? A Challenge!

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Hi!  I've found myself thinking a lot lately about RAOK's Random Acts Of Kindness.  You will see the term being bandied around a lot online and I found myself thinking about just what it means.

According to Wikipedia, "A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people"

So it is 'random' ie you don't KNOW where the act is going to end up.  I'm thinking that if it's not random, it would then simply be a 'gift'.

Not that there is anything wrong with a gift, mind you, but a gift should be recognised as a gift and not be confused as a RAOK.

What is a gift of kindness then?  It is something you do to help out another or others, to bring them joy. It is not something designed to make YOU feel good, although I am sure if you have ever done something for another you found that you gained from the experience anyway. Your gain, though, is not the primary focus of a AOK.

I did some research and found the following sites and both provide many resources to assist with ideas and links:

I find there is a lot of overlap with other terms like "pay it forward" and "acts of kindness" so I am making my own definition if you like. I think the world can only be a better place with more kindness shared. Does it matter if its not random?  No! Does it still count if I plan it?  Absolutely! Do I have to tell anyone what I have done to make it worthwhile? No!!! Do I have to call it a RAOK?  No!!  Can I simply try to live my life with more kindness? Absolutely!

I have removed the 'random' aspect. I think to make acts of kindness a part of our life, we need to plan them and practice them until they become a constant, an automatic behaviour.  

I found a wonderful quote:

" When we carry out an act of kindness it is a message from one heart to another, an act of love, an unspoken "I care" statement."

I know a lot of people think "What can I do?"  "I can't afford to pay for anyone else."  "I don't have the money to buy anyone flowers etc"

So, let's consider some AOK that don't cost money, but are priceless in their value - things that we can all do.  I am going to go even further!  

I am going to challenge you to join me in using the next 30 days to make our world a kinder place. Are you up for it?

Why 30 days?  Well I remember reading somewhere that it takes that long to develop a new habit!

So,starting tomorrow, I am going to 'practice' being kinder. I hope you will join me!!

What can we do?  Well, we all have families, people we share our lives with and each of them is a special person - how long is it since you have told them that?  Maybe we could start there - more kindness in our homes.

Then we have our neighbours - I have a young family on one side and an elderly couple on the other.  I am sure I can think of some way that I can add to their pleasure - even a simple wave and smile. More kindness in our neighbourhoods.

Next we can think outside of our immediate environment - our friends!  How valuable are our friends in our lives? Let's make them feel 'valued'.  Offer to look after the kids so they can have a night out, offer to do the school pick-up if you know they have a cold, like their posts on FB! lol

What about pre-school, school.  Maybe you could tell the teacher how much you value them and the part they play in your child's life (if in fact you do). What about the administration staff that keep things humming and you informed? The groundsmen that keep the school playgrounds looking great?  The canteen staff?

Maybe you go to the gym - could you clean some equipment for the next person?  Get someone some water?

Then to the supermarket - Maybe you can take the time to help that little old lady trying to reach something, smile if someone crashes into your trolley and reassure the other person that it is OK, let the person with just a few things go before you at the checkout, help someone carry their groceries to their car.

I'm sure you can think of lots of great things to try.  My only word of caution is to stay safe!  Don't place yourself in any situations where you may be harmed.

Plan, Practice, Spread kindness!!

Until next time
Nanny xx

PS.  As I don't believe in the need to 'tell everyone' I will not be asking you to share your acts but would love it if you signed up to face the challenge with me.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Have to have a Hexi!

Pin It Hi!  I prepared this post back in January, but my friend Pam from "Threading My Way" posted her hexie post that day -( great minds think alike! lol) so I decided to keep this one till later!  So today is the day!

I have just been on Pinterest pinning some lovely inspirations for sewing with hexagons - everyone seems to have the craze at the moment and it set me thinking...

When we were preparing for our first big trip  in the motorhome I thought I will need something to do - I might try some hexagons!  So I madly traced off some templates, grabbed a pattern and a couple of pieces of fabric from the stash and I was set.

I stitched and stitched across NSW all the way across SA and back again and I ended up with this bag:


Inside:  All hand stitched!

I thought my Mum would like it but when she decided she didn't really need a new bag, I never did attach the handles - so there it sits, in the UFO drawer.  I really must finish that day.

I had, however, caught 'the bug' and so set out creating a set of Xmas placemats featuring a Moda Charm pack - Merry and Bright with a central 'Santa' on each.

Our quilting group made a Charity Quilt and we made hexagonal flowers

I started another set of Xmas placemats but they are in the UFO pile, waiting for another long trek.

I didn't get this post finished and I am sure it was meant to be this way, because the next day, the Postman delivered a parcel to me that contained a RAOK (Random Act Of Kindness) from a sewing friend and would you believe it is the exact project that I had just pinned!!

I love it!!! Thank you so much Ineke!

This cute little work kit has two tins to hold papers, threads etc and it has two pockets to hold your fabric and finished 'flowers'

Would you like one too?  You can find the pattern here!

I quickly filled the tin with paper hexies -  Patchwork Posse has kindly made us a printable template. You can print them off here and I will definitely be working on using up some of my scraps on our next trip!

I have also started a hexie page on Pinterest - follow along if you like!

Do you like Hexies?  I'd love it if you would share some of your hexi projects!

Until next time
Nanny xx

Friday, 23 May 2014

Caramel Meringue Love

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I was visiting with my son and family and somehow the conversation came to "things Nanny used to cook for Dad when he was a boy". 

One of the things I mentioned was a Caramel Meringue Tart and was horrified when number one and only son had no recollection of said tarts and even suggested that I must have taken them somewhere else!

I have to admit that I was a tad hurt that he so easily forgot my efforts, so when he phoned to say they were coming to visit, I thought I'd surprise him!

Now, I haven't made anything like this for many years, but retrieved that old faithful recipe and set to work.  I made it using normal flour etc ie it was not Gluten Free (that ensured that Nanny and Poppy wouldn't be having any taste tests!)

Anyway, this was the final result!  Looks pretty good doesn't it and

to ensure no further 'memory loss' I made two!!

Yep, I think I can safely say that there will not be any memory lapses in the future - they used all the right adjectives!!

I did manage to sneak away a serve to take to my Mum and Dad too.

I'd love to share the recipe but it is packed up with the rest of the house (leaking water pipe, excessive damage, repairs ongoing) - if there is enough interest, I will share it when all returns to normal.

My efforts might not win me any prizes but I think I did OK. Do you make anything for 'special' occasions at your house? I would love to hear from you!

Until next time
Nanny xx

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Bushfire Quilts

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I host fabric swaps in Australia (postage costs makes OS participation impossible) where we swap FQ's, 5" squares and 2.5" strips WOF.  We were just getting organised to do some sewing with them in October last year when parts of Australia were ravaged by bushfires, leaving many homes destroyed and people left with nothing.

We decided that we would form another Facebook group, Nannycraft4u and Friends Charity Sew and use our squares and strips for blocks, to be made into  quilts for the victims.

I decided on a simple block, that ended up about 15" square and used 4 squares and 2 WOF strips:

I have never organised anything like this before and it could be said that it moved so fast, I could barely keep up!  I contacted 2 professional quilters to ask for help and was able to negotiate a greatly discounted deal on the backing and wadding with Sue, the owner of the local Quilting Shop Splash into Craft Ballina.  I also asked  for money donations  to sponsor the finishing of the quilts. 

To my amazement, I received blocks and donations of completed quilts, knitted rugs, wadding, finished quilt tops and money to finish quilts, from all over Australia . Australians are very good at working together after a disaster - as one of the contributors commented "It could be me next time!"

Our lounge room became a work station where my pinning tables stayed, mounted on their paint tins, for the duration.  I think the only time it looked this tidy was the day we set it up!!

I had blocks all over the house as I tried to organise them into 'like' groups, colours, ages etc

I received a total of 156 blocks and after a lot of sorting, I made another 35 blocks to 'balance' and finish the quilts.

One of the group members directed me to a blog, Cook Quilt Crochet.  This belongs to Tracey Greenaway, a resident of one of the areas affected by the fires.  I contacted Tracey and asked if we could send our quilts to her, to add to the drive she had organised Springwood Winmalee  Bushfire Quilt Appeal ,and she was happy to accept the offer.

Then it was time to get to work!!  I sorted, sewed, recorded and made many a trip to Splash into Craft Ballina for supplies.  Neither of the quilters was able to help as it had now drawn too close to Xmas and the end of the year - a very busy time for their businesses - so, with determination that I didn't realise I still possessed, I set to work. I received some help with 2 members of my real life quilting group offering to quilt a quilt for me and my dear friend Sue Weingarth, handstitched the binding on all the big quilts (the smaller ones were completed on the machine)

During this time, PJ and I attended a small rally of our chapter of the CMCA, the Crocodile Wheelers.  At each get together we select a charity to receive any money that we collect over the days from fines, auctions etc and I was thrilled when the group decided that our quilts deserved support.  I came home armed with the necessary funds to complete the quilts!

On the 2nd March, I completed the last quilt, making a total of 22 quilts from our blocks and 3 from the donated quilt tops.  Add to them the 5 donated quilts and 2 knitted rugs and we have a grand total of 32 to send to the Blue Mountains.

One of the girls wanted to see what that many quilts looked like, so I posted this photo:

I can't show you all of the quilts but this is a sample (you can see them all in this album at Nannycraft4u)

We had  13 small:     3 blocks x 3 blocks

5 medium size :  4 blocks x 3 blocks

4 Large size 4 blocks x 4 blocks

I packed them into 2 boxes and labelled them well:


and handed them over to Fastway Couriers for prompt, safe delivery to their destination.  I want to add here, that Rod from Fastway Couriers, Goonellabah offered to deliver them all the way down to Tracey for FREE - so if you need anything delivered, you know who to give your custom to!  Thanks Rod it was very much appreciated!!

I want to acknowledge and thank all of the contributors to the quilts, for without them, this result would not have been achievable:

Amanda Bellis
Angella Partridge
Bron Ronalds
Carmel Henry
Carol Smith
Cath Pearce
Coral Potter
Fastway Couriers Northern Rivers ph:66242669
Janet Reale
Jen Fischer
Jill Curtain
Julie Lieshout
Kelly Nash
Margie Perkins
Mary Ann McGregor
Megan Weingarth
Melynda Made
Michelle Irving
Nanny - Margie Burke
Pam Olney
Shari Mead      
Sharon Betts
Shona Jones
Splash into Craft Ballina
Sue Wallis
Sue Weingarth
The Crocodile Wheelers - Chap 92 CMCA
Vicki Williams
Wendy Gontier

This has been a HUGE experience for me and I have been blown away by the generosity and support that I have received.  I am truly grateful and humbled by the whole experience.  I am sure that even though our quilts are 'simple' in design,  they will be received well and I hope that the children especially, enjoy snuggling up under them.

If you would like to see just what happens here in Australia, take a look at the Appeal blog page - last count they have received over 800 quilts!  Isn't that fantastic!!  Congratulations to Tracey and her team on a superb job!

Until next time
Nanny xx