Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Donkey Project....... Day 1

Welcome to a new era in my blogiverse, I have tried to be a good blogger and I usually end up doing a few random posts every few months but yesterday we picked up the 2 newest members of our farm and it's my little project so I am going to blog about it to keep a record of what goes on.
I am going to call it (please forgive my long winded story but the background is just as important).......

The Donkey Project......

It all started with an interview I heard part of on ABC Radio about 18 months ago, the lady was talking about using Donkeys as protection animals and weed control on farms.  I thought it sounded like a great idea and told my husband about it, he agreed it sounded like something we might try but that was about as far as it went.

My mother in law and I talked about it on and off over the next 8 or so months and I tired to get more information on getting a Donkey for our farm but I just couldn't seem to find the right information.

Enter Mic McFarlae from the Hume LHPA (Livestock, Health & Pest Authority, he decided to run a trail project in our area using Donkeys to protect sheep from wild dogs and foxes.

Now this may sound a little odd to alot of you out there... Why do sheep need protecting? What harm can wild dogs do, poor little foxes they are just so cute what harm can they possibly do??????

Lots of questions you may ask like this but to many sheep farmers these 2 pests can literally break your heart and put you out of business.  To many people their sheep are their livelihood and a Wild Dog can devastate a herd of full grown sheep in a matter of a few nights especially then when you have lambs around and they are your next generation of income and you cannot afford for them to be killed.

Foxes too may not be a large animal but they can kill many lambs and have a significant impact on a farmers livelihood.

Around 3 years ago we had our first Wild Dog attacks in our sheep, the first ever that we know of in the history of the family farm, it's not a pleasant thing to happen, the dogs are cruel and more often than not the sheep are left in a very horrible state that requires being put down.  Then the foxes are something we battle all the time especially at Lambing season.

There are many ways that farmers try to combat these 2 problems,  We are lucky to have some very good wild dog trappers in our area and a baiting program that we hope helps with foxes but it's not foolproof.

There are also things like Alpaca's, Llama's, Marema Dogs and then there are Donkeys.

All of these animals are used by farmers by putting them out with their sheep hers and they are supposed to bond with the herd and protect against predators.  There is success stories with all of the above animals being used with sheep but it seems that the humble donkey is the next big thing.

We were lucky to be offered 2 donkeys to have on our farm to be part of the project put together by the wonderful Mic who is a superman and very hands on when it comes to helping out the farmers in his area.

So without further ado please meet................
The kids chose the names, I have no idea where they got them from.

Flip - lighter colour on the left is a de-sexed male
Chip - darker colour on the right is a female who is going to be a mother soon.

They are super smart and they are going to be my project, I will be getting to know them and hopefully in a week or 2 they will be ready to go out into a herd of sheep after a gradual introduction to the herd.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Winter on the Farm

So after lots of sewing chat lately I thought I would show you a few things that we see/do around the farm during the Winter months.

Let's start off with this little guy who was crossing the road when we were on our way out to the main road last  weekend.
Echidna's are very shy creatures, this little guy heard me coming, hunched his back and dug his claws into the earth so all I could see what his spines, I just crouched quietly and waited for him to stick his nose out for me, can you see it there?????

Some more cuteness for you, we have LOTS of these running around at the moment.
The Lambs are so funny, we have the feed cart on the vehicle and it runs a line of pellets out and the sheep just run stupidly from place to place getting pellets, the Lambs all run into a big group sometimes, like a playgroup and they run around, together jumping and playing, very cute indeed.
This little guy got a bit close so got captured for a quick pat.
 And last of all I thought I would show you why I could never go back to living in the city, especially now that I have kids.
Who wouldn't want this playground for their kids.  Sam takes his football everywhere and practices kicking every chance he gets and Jessie just likes to run around after him.
Can you see them all the way down there????

Running and taking a bounce......

Kicking for goal....... and he scores!!!!!!!
It was a perfect Winter day, the sun was out but it was still quite cool and because the grass is shooting green it's quite pretty to look at, a beautiful July day.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Jocole Crossover Tunic/Dress Pattern Review

This is getting to be a scary habit, I am yet again blogging about an awesome sewing pattern I have just made up.

This pattern is another one designed to be used with knit fabric and it looks so much more difficult than it actually is.

The designer is Jocole Sewing Patterns and she has a great range of patterns for Ladies and Girls.  There are some for woven and some for knit fabric also.

I have a large number of her patterns already but this is the first that I have actually cut and sewn up.

The Crossover Tunic/Dress caught my eye as it looked to be flattering and also has a number of lengths you can choose from.  It comes in a Girls or a Ladies option. There was mention of a Sew-a-long so I thought I would take part and see how I go.

There is also a number of free modification tutorials you can download from her store.... yes I said FREE.
This designer is very generous with her tutorials both on her blog and with free modifications for her patterns from the Store.  Blog

The original pattern comes with a cap style sleeve but I chose to modify the pattern to put sleeves on it as I do try to cover my arms up even in Summer due to my large number of Moles on my skin.  

The pattern also comes with great instructions, lots of pictures and many options/instructions on finishing your edges and neckline, these are also free tutorials on her blog.

Here is my finished tunic, it's quite flattering I think, I can wear it with pants, shorts or skirts and I only used 1 meter of fabric for this whole thing.

I mostly used my overlocker but for some parts I did some test sewing on scrap pieces of fabric before doing things like the neckline, hem and sleeve ends.

I am sure you an see the ripples at the front bust, that's my sewing, not the pattern, I rushed a little but it's still VERY wearable and next time (there will definately be a next time) I will be more careful when make a dress length.

It's very versatile, I also want to try mixing up the fabric on top and bottom and using binding around the neckline.

I suggest anyone that has wanted to try sewing with knits go and take a look at some of Jocoles tutorials and instructions on her blog, it has a huge amount of free information and her patterns are wonderful to follow and sew up.

The store has some great Bundle Pack Pricing options too so you can buy multiple patterns for a fraction of the price. Along with some great Mix and Match options you could be set for anything in one visit.

Again I stress I have not been paid or bribed in any way to write this review, I just throught i would share another adventure in my sewing world......

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Seafarer Top Sewing Pattern Review

I am fairly new and still a a little scared of sewing with Knit fabric so when I saw this pattern being talked about a month or so ago I thought it looked easy enough to have a go.

The Seafarer Top Pattern by Sew Much Ado

I printed the pattern out, taped it together then it sat around for the next 6 weeks until I had a clean up on the weekend and found a nice piece of fabric I thought would be perfect to try out.

So I cut it out, decided on my options, yes there are a number of options you can choose from, you can have bands on the arms or not, a band around the bottom/hip area, and one around the neckline if you choose.... OR you can choose to do all of those without bands or a combination as I have done.
I nearly forgot there is a pocket option and instructions on adding a lace or ribbon detail down the front

I wanted to experiment too so I cut it out 1 size smaller than I measured to see if it would fit a little closer like a regular t-shirt.

The instructions are VERY good.  Lots of great explanations and pictures to follow, some good suggestions for working with knits for newbies like me and also for handling them a little better to stop it getting out of shape and stretching while sewing.

I think it took me less than 1 hour to put together, that includes cutting fabric and sewing it to completion and it was soooooo easy to do.  I have to admit, I do have an overlocker so that made it super easy, I just had to make sure I did a test run on some scrap and adjust the feed so it didn't stretch the fabri cout.

I didn't feel hesitant or confused at any point and it just worked.  Here are my photo's, I have put bands on the arms and the neck but done the longer bottom hem.

View of the Arm and Neck band.

Please excuse the thread hanging down on my arm, I totally missed that and it's too cold to strip off and do it again.

Just for the record I have not been paid or bribed in any way to write this review, I just throught i would share......
Also I know some of you may hate my fabric but it was an odd end and I will wear it for Netball training and working out, it's super comfy and I quite like it.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Quilt A Long

One of my favourite blogs to follow is The Quilting Gallery.
There is always lots going on, competitions, information and now they have a super quilt a long going on for anyone to join in.

Aiming for Accuracy Quilt-Along

There will be lots of great blocks to make that you can use up your Fat Quarters for.
And some awesome prizes.
I will be saving all the information to use and make up the blocks as I get time.
Go and have a look it's going to be a lovely quilt.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I'm Up for a reading challenge

Especially when it involves my favourite Jane Austen novel "Pride & Prejudice"

Yes I know I have my reading challenge page up there that needs updating but I have been reading, just not updating and I know I am a super baaaad blogger but here is the gist of the challenge (as copied over from the following bloggers)

Kylie @Little Black MarksMiss DoveCar.

Everyone knows who Jane Austen is (hopefully) so here is the challenge:

The challenge to anyone who cares to take part is to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. Given the general craziness of most people's lives, the suggested time period of just over 3 months - from now until August 31, 2013 - consider it the perfect winter challenge.

You may also choose in those three months to do the extended version of the challenge and watch what started this all - The Lizzie Bennet Diaries which can be found on the official site, on tumblr, or YouTube.


If you are really brave, you can go the super deluxe version and also watch the movie or BBC production or any other production you know of.

The 2005 movie version starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth and Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy Which I happen to have in My collection

The 1995 BBC version with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth and Colin Firth as Darcy

 which I have been dying to watch

I am going to try the super deluxe version - Book, both movies and the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  Also in case anyone is reading and interested I read another book last year that was free on Kindle for a while called "Darcy's Voyage"
It's just another little take off of the original Pride and Prejudice and I loved it.

I will write up a review after I re-read it as part of an extra challenge for myself.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I have decided that as Google Reader is closing down shortly, I will try a new reader.

Have a go yourself if you like, it's really easy to transfer over all your feeds from Google Reader too.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Oops so much for my posting more often.

I will be back by the end of the week with news, lots has been happening that I can talk about.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Candle for a Corpse book review

My first every official book review:
(Please not this review is un-paid, I receive no compensation in any way for reading and reviewing this book, except the pleasure of a free book to read)
I am a member of "The Romance Reviews" website and the original review can be found here:
Author: Marilyn Leach
Publisher: Pelican Ventures
Release Date: December 2012
ISBN: 9781611162646
Four Stars from me....
Book Genre: Romantic Suspense/Mystery

An Advent gathering that ends in murder, a vicar's wife with a nose for investigating and a small English village full of colourful characters that all seem to have something to hide. 

Along with an incompetent police constable and a reluctant husband, Berdie Elliott investigates the mystery, uncovering town secrets along the way very discreetly over tea and scones. Her best friend/sidekick Lillie accompanies her and has the good fortune to meet a handsome caring doctor who then jumps into the fray and assists them in their pursuit of the murderer.

An Indian grocer who happens to be in the right place at the right time, the electrician apprentice who tries to leave town, the strange visiting clergyman with a short fuse and the poor confused neighbour are just a few of the interesting people you will meet.

With a whole cast of wonderful characters that feel like you could meet them should you walk into any small country village in England, CANDLE FOR A CORPSE is a great romp through the countryside.

This was a very enjoyable read, the characters felt very real without all the excess waffle and fancy conversation that seems to appear so much these days in books. Berdie and her husband are lovely caring characters and their relationship is a good old fashioned marriage with all the right values of caring for each other and the people around them. The story rolls along nicely, meeting new characters and discovering new elements smoothly.

Overall I found it a great read. The story flowed well and was a very enjoyable old fashioned murder/mystery without the sex and gore that can sometimes occur in today's fiction. I hope there is another mystery for Berdie Elliot to solve soon for me to read about.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Washi Dress pattern review.

I have not done a review of a sewing pattern before but this dress has got me so excited that I had to do a review.
Just so you know I am in no way affiliated with this designer or getting any profits from this review, it's merely my joy in a great pattern.

Washi Dress - Made by Rae

Washi Sewing Pattern

There is also a long sleeve tutorial which is free:  Free Long Sleeve tutorial for Washi dress.

This pattern comes in both Paper and PDF format and is multi-sized.

I purchased the PDF so that I could get it right away. It was easy to print the pattern pieces and they are very well marked for sticking together and cutting out.
These days I tend to not cut out a particular size, I use a wheely marker thing (yes very technical I know) and some tracing paper to mark my fabric by rolling along the appropriate size lines and marks, then I cut out the fabric.

There are only a few pieces to the pattern.
The back of the dress is 1 complete piece and shirring across the middle back adds a lovely fit to the body without needing to add zipper.
The front, comes as a bodice and skirt that need to be attached after the skirt has small tucks folded.
The bodice has side darts which are very flattering and you can choose to do a keyhole in the front or leave it straight.
The dress has pocket option, with length options of tunic or knee length and again on her blog there are free tutorials for maxi length.
There are so many great options to this dress. The pockets can be sewn in separately if your fabric is not wide enough to cut them in one piece with the skirt.
Short capped sleeves are included in the purchase but as I said above there is a free pattern and tutorial for adding lovely sleeves (this is the option I put together).

I made my dress using 100% quilting weight cotton by Riley Blake, part of the Alphabet Soup range.

I have to say I was worried, it can be very hard to find a tunic style dress that does not make my tummy look pudgy (or even pregnant) and the pockets had me worried that I would look wide around the hips.

However, upon finishing and putting it on I was so very pleasantly surprised and so very happy that I made this dress.

The tucks at the front skirt are small and not over done and do not add weight to my tummy. The pockets sit beautifully and you would not even know they are there.  The shirring across the back brings the dress around the body in a very flattering way and eliminates the need for a zipper so it can pull on and off with ease.
I used the 3/4 sleeve option as I try to stay covered up even in summer and often am self-consious of my upper arms. The sleeves have a slight gather at the shoulder and are flattering.

Overall as you can probably tell, I am in love with this pattern and the many options open to it.
I will be sewing up another one very soon and I am going to mix up the fabric and maybe even add some lace or trim.
I am going to try it in a slightly heavier weight fabric for winter too and wear it over some long sleeves.  For this option I will probably make it one size bigger too for layering purposes.
Here is a pic of me, see what you think.....

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year, Sewing, Reading and other things.

Hello, hello to anyone out there who still bothers to read my blog.

I am not one to make New Years Resolutions, I am usually very happy with life and what I have been dealt and where life is for me right now.

However, this year I would like to make a couple of resolutions and place them here for anyone to see.

  1. Blogging at least once per month. Simple really, let's see how I go, more than once is all good but at least once is my goal.
  2. Reviewing on my blog. I have found some wonderful sewing patterns and other things that I would like to share with anyone who cares to read about them.  I will blog here and share with you what I find.
  3. Books, books and more books.  I have 2 challenges concerning books this year.  I have taken on the job of reviewing some books that are not yet published.  Now these will be a wide variety of books but mostly based around the romance genre.  I am not getting paid for these reviews it is merely for the love of reading for myself that I am doing this.  
  4. I have also joined a challenge being conducted by a blogging friend of mine to read 13 books in 2013.  Now this will not be a great challenge for me as anyone that knows me will know that I always have a book on hand and sometimes 2 or 3 on the go at onces.  So I have taken on the extra challenge of reading 13 different genres for my 13 books.  I have created a tab at the top of the page where I will be adding all the books and a short review for this challenge.
  5. Last but not least just to enjoy life.  I have a wonderful and I mean amazingly wonderful husband and 2 fabulous children (they are challenging but still wonderful) and we are super happy on our farm but occasionally I get a case of the "Woe is Me's" so this year I will have another page at the top of the blog called 'WONDERFUL', here I am going to make a list of all the wonderful, fun things that happen this year to share with you all but also to have them to read at the end of the year.
So there it is, I am wishing you all a wonderful 2013, may your hopes and dreams be fulfilled.