Friday, 29 November 2013

The vegie garden...update

The first seeds we planted in October into our permaculture vegie garden were corn and beans. We were so excited to see these little guys spring forth from the ground shortly after. Our first crops.

We were then fortunate in the weeks to follow to be blessed with sufficient rain and warm steamy days. All favourable conditions for a quick growth spurt.

I can not believe how much they have grown. I can almost taste them...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Small Breeds Expo

We went to a small breeds’ expo on the South side of Brisbane last Saturday in the hopes of learning a little more on some little additions for the farm. It was quite a hot day and not as many exhibits as we would have hoped. But we met some great farmers keen to share their knowledge on small cattle breeds such as Boran, Banded Galloways and Dexters. We discussed at length the options of milk versus meat cattle and the breeds which favourably combined the two.

Of interest to us was the Dexter. We were told that the Dexter cow can be milked 2 to 3 times per week. A seemingly perfect option to supply our family with milk and cheese, fits in with our busy lifestyle as we are not wishing to move into dairy farming. We were told the Dexter has a milk similar to goats milk and often used to make similar style cheeses. Given our small acreage size we could consider starting with 1 cow in calf along with a steer. Initially as company for the cow then with much appreciation will supply us with meat. The plan would be to introduce a further cow in calf approximately 6 months later – providing us with an annual supply of milk.

 Image courtesy of Dexter Cattle Australia Incorporated
More research is needed but an interesting start.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Homemade Pizzas

I have always enjoyed making pizzas but until about 12 months ago bought my pizza bases, mostly out of convenience. Then I stumbled across a really simple recipe in a magazine (which I now can’t locate) but luckily have committed to memory.

Basic Pizza Dough Recipe (2 bases):
  • 1 ⅔ cups of OO Flour
  • ¾ cup of luke warm water
  • Satchel of dry yeast
  • Pinch sugar
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • Extra flour
Method: Put a pinch of sugar (I use raw) in a heat proof jug, then add the water and yeast. Allow it to ferment for 7 minutes. During this time you can add the flour and a pinch of salt to a mixing bowl. After the 7 minutes elapses, add the yeast/water/sugar mixture to the flour along with the olive oil.
Using a fork mix the ingredients until combined. You know it’s ready when it starts to stick together. Don’t worry if it is a little wet or a bit dry just add either flour or water to get the balance right.

Flour the workbench with a little extra flour and start to knead the dough. You do this by folding the sides in on themselves and using the heal of your hands start to stretch the dough. Add extra flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands or to the bench. Continue to knead for about 8-10minutes. Consider it your arm work out for the day. I find it therapeutic.
Once done flour the mixing bowl and place the dough back within. Add a little sprinkle of flour to the top of the dough (proofing).  Place a dry, clean tea towel over the bowl and place in a dry warm place. I usually put mine in the microwave. Allow about an hour for the dough to rise.

Now here’s the fun part. Punch the dough. Yep, one good punch in the middle. Then roll the dough back out onto a floured bench. Knead for a further 2 minutes.
It is now ready to cut in equal halves (although lately I have been stretching mine to make 3 bases).  

Roll them out using a rolling pin into 2 circular shapes.
Now I cook my pizzas in the BBQ on pizza trays so the method I use is a small amount of canola spray to oil the trays (whilst they are cold) place the dough on top and then my favourite toppings. Load it onto the BBQ, close the lid and about 15minutes later – presto yummy pizzas.

My favourite toppings at the moment are:
  • ham and fresh pineapple from the farm down the road, for the kids
  • goats cheese feta, roasted pumpkin and pine nuts
  • Prawn, chorizo, garlic and chili – delicious


I often enlist the kids to help with making pizzas and have started to teach my son how to throw them. Not as scary or as messy as it sounds. You toss the rolled out dough a little into the air, catching on the back of your hands increasing their diameter. It was a skill I learnt working in a small pizza shop after school back in the day. To me the bases are a little lighter for it and its fun watching others learn .

Do you have a favourite homemade topping?
Bon appetite

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Secret Garden

I think for me it will be like Christmas the day we move into our new home. Discovering all those items lovingly packed and stored. Spending time unwrapping them and finding new and special places for them to call home.

Earlier today I was moving some things around and came across a large old cast iron key I had picked up at the Eumundi Markets. I discovered it in a little vintage store and at the time it had brought back images of the key out of a favourite tale of mine from when I was a child. The Secret Garden. A book I am looking forward to rediscovering during the ‘unpack’.
I think this key should take pride and place quite fittingly on the library shelves. What do you think?

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Give me a themed event any day and I am in my element. My favourites are Easter and Halloween. Now Australia is not known for its Halloween celebrations but over the years we have slowly been warming to it. You only have to into shopping centres to see we are inundated with spooky themed tableware, ghastly treats and fancy dress attire.

I love it.

So over the weekend the kids and I decorated our little dining and living rooms and set about placing Halloween placards up the driveway. Not to mention the 'caution do not enter' tape we draped across the front fence.

Now I'm not expecting trick or treaters tomorrow night given we are on acreage and it's a fair distance between houses for little legs but I might just leave a bowl of lollies out the front on the gate for any drivers by with sweet toothed littlies.

We are having our family over tonight for a pre-Halloween dinner consisting of green worms (basil pesto pasta) and blood red velvet cupcakes. Yum.

Next year I have plans to make these little ghostly forms and put them in the front paddock. Can imagine how eery they will look at night.

Happy Halloween.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Boys Bedroom

I am having fun creating the concepts for my kids' bedrooms in the new house and have been gathering inspiration from a number of sources including Pinterest and my favourite mags.

I can clearly see the rooms in my head but in order to share my vision I have found mood boards helpful. At the moment I am putting together my son’s. He adores all things orange and has done so since I can remember. A year or so ago I came across a vintage replica print of TinTin orange in a magazine, so I copied it and put it in a folder. Yes...I still gather images old school and love my Kikki K My Dream Home folder of clippings and images. I thought the print would be a great focal point for his room.
Now as luck or fate would have it I was walking along the Left Bank in Paris earlier this year (heading towards Shakespeare & Company – but that’s another story ) and there it was. Hanging in a green vendor’s trolley. I had to buy it even if it was just for the story on how it came to be.
So I have the print. Yet to be framed but still wanting to use it as the focal point in his room.

Existing Tall Boy                                             For the desk, three powder coated stools in red, green and blue

Creating an above desk lighting system from painted plumbers pipe and multi bulb hanging pendants 

Using timber panelling for the desktop and a blue/grey colour scheme

I am yet to consider a rug and he has a number of other prints and toys which will take pride and place but a good start I think.

Happy planning.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Planning the new kitchen

For me the kitchen is one of the most important areas in our home. It’s our hub. Where we meet, hang out, create and share. So when designing our new home, careful thought needs to be given to the kitchen.

What inspires me...

don't you just love the grey cupboard! 

 Love the contrasting cupboard colours

And what can I say, I just adore linens

Have a lovely Friday!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

2011 Brisbane Floods... a new creek

We were so very lucky during the January 2011 Brisbane floods with so many people affected, losing homes and precious belongings. The impact was long lasting and so very destructive.

Now our good fortune, in most part, was due to the high elevation of our plateau where our shed sits alongside our future home site. But the amount of water which made its way along the lower regions was incredible. The result of such volume and force of water making its way though the land was the re-design of our ‘seasonal creek’ from a low lying creek bed to a fairly deep raven. Not helped by the 15 years of drought experienced beforehand. And because of the erosion it has resulted in the inability for us to access the rear quarter of our property by car or mower. 

There were a few positives which came about after the water subsided:-
  • large deposits of river stone along the creek.
  • stone that had been brought down from the mountains the exposure of previously hidden large boulders along the banks creating lovely watering holes.
  • the blue/red claw and turtle residents are still to be found.
  • an understanding of the water flow during heavy rain seasons. A sort of what to look for or consider when planning future work
In the past we had a small dam towards the back end of the property and alongside this we had vehicle access to the rear quarter. Now we have a 2 metre drop to the creek bed.  No vehicles including the mower is getting in through here.

So we are looking to have excavation work done along the creek. We would like to allow for a gradual slope towards the banks and prevent any further erosion. We also have plans to create a couple of paddocks up the back so access is critical.

The idea is to have a few days of large scale excavation. This will be closely followed by a few weekends of planting. What we are also looking to add are several large additional (bought) boulders which will aid in the slowing down of water in the future.

It’s a big project and one which will have the biggest impact on the property to date.

Do you have any large projects you are currently working on or planning for in the future?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Quick update on the ottoman covers

Just a quick update on the ottomans.  For anyone watching Grow Simple Lovely on Facebook you may have already seen the first images on Sunday and know that I am extremely proud that the ottomans covers are now complete.

I am so happy with them.

It was my first solo attempt at sewing.

With the little left over fabric I am looking to make a couple of small envelope style throw cushions to go on my daughter's bed.

Have you recently finished a project you were proud of or perhaps was a first for you?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Project...Outdoor setting

You may remember the little outdoor setting I picked up at the Vintage Fair (Vintage Finds). It needed a little work. You can really notice the rust on the top of the table. So my daughter and I set about a conducting a little restoration project.


Using a steel brush, medium grade sandpaper and a steel pad we were able to remove the build-up of flaky paint from the chairs and table.

We applied a couple of coats of primer to address the rust before finishing off with an enamel (semi-gloss) final coat in white.

I was really happy with the end result. I still wanted the piece to look a little rough loved and would have left it in its original condition had it not been for the rust.

Now in the meantime i.e. before house is built (or as I am calling it BHB) and it is moved onto the verandah, I see a temporary home in the shade by the vegie garden.