Friday, November 27, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Tintinara

I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world. ~George Washington

"We are staying on a real farm, aren't we Mummy!" Ess commented excitedly as we wandered about our new surroundings at O'Dea's Cottage, near Tintinara.

To say we enjoyed our time in Tintinara would be an understatement. I must tell you about it, as Tintinara is an unlikely place along the highway to enjoy yourself - some would say. It is only a couple of hours to Adelaide, and perhaps many drivers would be keen to continue towards home with so few kilometres to drive. Yet we stayed...and extended our stay.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by the cows in the front paddocks.

We wandered down the back...

to feed the chooks, collect their eggs...

and have a swing.

By evening, we settled in, by a warm fire, to watch the sun set.

The next morning our host took us on the back of the ute (which was such an exciting novelty for Ess) to see the cows and search for elusive kangaroos. I think it was too near the middle of the day for the dawn and dusk loving creatures.

Ess had the chance to stroke, pat and feed the old mare who has been put to pasture here.

After having spent the morning viewing the historic Tintinara woolshed, we were delighted to have the opportunity to participate in a working woolshed.

How serendipitous that our hosts were shearing on the weekend of our visit.

Ess even had the opportunity to be a 'wool press' for a while, tramping down the shorn scraps of wool. Lots of fun!

For me this was a trip down memory lane. While I had never visited this particular shed, I often spent time at our farm while our shearing shed was in action. I remember the sights and smells well. The busyness of numerous workers, shearing and sorting, herding and directing. The sense of open space in contrast to the pens and runs where the sheep were held for shearing and for dipping. I remember climbing up on fences, finding wildflowers such as yellow billy buttons, which I never imagined could look so beautiful, and running free. I remember my Granny's lamingtons, consumed ravenously on picnics up the paddock with family and friends.

I am so grateful to have been able to share some of my memories with my family as a result of this experience.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adorable Fabric Giveaway

12 fat quarters for you?

Take a peak at this adorable fabric...

then if you'd like to add some to your stash, join in with this giveaway. I couldn't resist!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pretty Christmas Garland

There they stand, the innumerable stars, shining in order like a living hymn, written in light. ~N.P. Willis

A couple of weeks ago Juliane inspired me to make some Fröbelstern. She used such pretty paper yet I decided to explore the technique with some simple red, green and white copy paper. I was quite pleased with the result and for some time there was folding and folding, this way and that way, to make a collection of these German stars, closely guarded by the sweet Amigurumi Pears.

Last weekend they came together as a pretty Christmas Garland to hang in little Eee's doorway as we approach Christmas.

Using bead thread as a base I threaded some beads onto the bottom ensuring that the first bead was threaded twice so it didn't move.

With a hole in the top and bottom of each star, I proceeded to thread them, wrapping twice also to ensure they kept their place.

More beads were placed between each star, wrapping thread through the bottom bead of each section to secure it.

While it was essential to lay the garland flat while threading, to prevent it from tangling, it was a very easy, quick and simple project.

Hung in the right place, the interplay of light creating shadows dancing on the walls is a sight to behold and delights young and old.

Hope you can make one too to delight your days as we approach Christmas. Here's a star tutorial to get you started.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Her Creative Space

If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it. ~Albert Einstein

I finally found it! The furniture which would create an elegant, beautiful and creative space for my darling daughter.

I am always scouring second hand shops for furniture to delight and so rarely find anything to suit. I am too picky for certain. I have ideas in my head about how I would like things to look and the furniture to match is always either too expensive or very elusive.

Yet, as I was driving along Prospect Road on Thursday, taking little Eee to Kindermusik, a little stash of furniture caught my eye. It was a bedside table (not in my pic) and a little stool (which you can see above). I took my Generous Gentleman back on Friday and we found four pieces in a similar style which we are using for both our girls, including this lovely desk with three drawers. All four cost $100 so I am super pleased with our little purchase.

What delights me most however, is the way Ess is using the space created by her desk (which has replaced a chest of drawers which she could not open). She was unwell on the weekend yet often she could be found creating things on her new desk. Her little mind was ticking over with ideas of what she could place in each drawer (most of which were books!). She drew and coloured, cut and glued and presented homemade gifts to each of us. So delightful!

There is some work to be done - some new handles will give it a pretty lift for my princess and the stools will look lovely when I reupholster them in something prettier than the blue currently adorning the seat. A lick of paint is well in order, yet I feel that the painting may not be done for quite some time yet.

At least the shape is elegant.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Tintinara Woolshed

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

This magnificent historic 16 stand shearing shed was built in 1865 on land near the present day Tintinara, South Australia.

It was built by pioneers William Harding and George Bunn who followed the first settlers to the area, namely, The Boothby Bros.

The shed was built at the site of the Tintinara Homestead. The Boothby Bros. had purchased a lease of 165 square miles and formed a station known as Tintinara - a name derived from their Aboriginal workman, Tin Tin, a member of the Coorong tribe. Both the shed and the homestead are classified by the National Trust.

The shed features 80cm thick limestone walls and supporting Oregon timbers, almost 11 metres long, which were carted from Kingston by bullock drays.

Below is an extract taken from Shut Six Gates: A History of Tintinara, Culburra and District by Elizabeth Nicholls.

William Harding and George Bunn took over the 'Tintinarra Run' and proceeded to build the stone homestead and the 16 stand shearing shed in 1865. The imported Oregon timbers for the woolshed branded 'H & B' were carted inland from Kingston on the coast. The timbers measured 7 inches x 3 inches and 35 feet long and were apparently brought out in kit form, as each junction of the main frame had roman numerals stamped in the timber for matching during construction. Sheep pen fittings and gratings were made from sawn red gum carted by bullock teams from Bordertown.

Take a close look at some of the stonework here above the door. These supporting beams have no doubt been put in in more recent times.

Come on in! Take a wander around inside with me.

The old table used for wool classing and sorting.

The wool press and other old machinery.

The stamped 'H&B' mentioned in the extract above.

An heritage rose growing around the exterior walls. It has been identified but I am yet to source further information on that.

I can't help but see this building as a working shearing shed, imagining it as it would once have been a hundred years ago and more. However in recent times it has been used for parties and gatherings. It would be magnificent to see life in here again in whatever form. Perhaps someone will restore and use it. Could it be a B&B? A tourist location? The shearer's quarters and kitchen are nearby.

So why am I telling you all this? Because William Harding was my great great Grandfather. I am just a teency bit proud of him and what he achieved in his life of only 50 years. His wife Mary must also have been a very strong woman. She remained in England with her young children while her husband sailed to the other side of the world in search of something "greener" I imagine. After William's death, she packed up most of her family (including my great grandfather Joseph) and headed north from Tintinara. She left South Australia and headed for Queensland, only she stopped on the way and made her family a home near Moree, New South Wales which is where I grew up and my mother still resides to this day. Mary's daughter, Emma, married a Hack and resided in Naracoorte from where she wrote many letters to her family in New South Wales. So this journey was one of tracing my ancestors footsteps, with good intent.

The Tasmanian Blue Gum seen beside the grave of William Harding about was planted by William in the year that he died, 1874.

Harding is known in the community of Tintinara as being one of the pioneers of the town. It was great to talk with local shearers and hear that one or two of them were in the 'Harding' team for their local school sports. There they were barracking for my great great Grandfather, or so it might be construed ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bringing in Christmas

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Living in Adelaide means that Christmas starts much earlier for us than it used to. You see, Father Christmas arrives for a quick visit to the children of Adelaide during The Pageant before he settles into his Magic Cave for the leadup to Christmas. This year we braved 40degC heat to enjoy the parade and what a wonderful day we had. Armed with our big beach umbrella, lots of water in cool bottles for us, as well as spray bottles to squirt anyone near us including the very warm pageant participants, we enjoyed the sights and wonders of the most fantastic street parade I know about. All the floats are so lovingly built and maintained and new ones are added each year. I have never thought of so many Christmas themes until I saw this Pageant three years ago.

At home our days have been quiet and cool - indoors at least.

Yesterday I had a choice to visit the supermarket to pick up a few things I didn't collect a few days ago due to our extreme heat, or to stay at home in the cool and enjoy being creative. Can you guess what I chose? There are now a few more Christmas gifts in the making around our home. I can honestly say that I so much prefer to spend my time thinking and making for friends and family than following a catalogue or department store promotion and buying this and that for people on my list. This is the softness and beauty of Christmas for me - calm, thoughtful and peaceful. How about you?

I stumbled across this November Mystery Project and couldn't resist joining in as I have loved getting back into crochet recently. I haven't crocheted Granny squares since my Granny taught me as a child. Here are my dozen. Pop on over to Sarah London to see what she made.

My creative space contains preparations for gift making. Pieces cut out and ready to sew.

I particularly like this piece of patchwork in a new technique. I don't have the patience, time or attention to detail for the traditional patchwork to be completed beautifully here. So I have picked up on an idea of Alicia's at Posie Gets Cosy. It's not yet complete but hopefully soon it will become something special. What would you make with this?

So while the children played outside in a little splash pool Santa had left them on Pageant Day, I enjoyed the cooler indoors, thinking of those I love and creating for them.

My Sunday was definitely a day well spent. How was yours? I hope you are having days which are soft and beautiful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Amigurumi Pears

As for my next book, I am going to hold myself from writing it till I have it impending in me: grown heavy in my mind like a ripe pear; pendant, gravid, asking to be cut or it will fall. ~Virginia Woolf

We can be sure this little pear is very ripe. It has taken so long to grow and to become suitable for your consumption. Remember back in September when I showed you his beginnings?

He had a few hold-ups. I am not a holiday crafter. I like to be a tourist and observe my surroundings when away on holidays so he sat at home and awaited my return. In a similar state as you saw him last. But since my return he took shape and sat there smiling at me waiting for his mate. This is the smallest version of a set of three which you can make when you purchase Salihan's pattern. I planned to make a pair of pears. They took my fancy and looked very enchanting sitting atop our television delighting little girls and greeting us with smiles each morning. However I didn't purchase enough green yarn and now with the end of the winter season I am finding it hard to source for a reasonable price. I did however source some red/pink yarn on eBay.

So my little lone pear has some friends...

for a while. They will make lovely Christmas gifts I believe.

Now I am still waiting to find some green yarn as these little strawberries would be perfect in this red yarn. It just looks so like strawberry sorbet to me, the true fresh variety we make in our own kitchen with our juicer and frozen pieces of strawberries. Yes that's all we put in - strawberries alone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Postcards from the Limestone Coast: Naracoorte

The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air. ~Wilbur Wright

Hacks Lagoon

Visiting Hacks Lagoon, adjoining the main basin of Bool Lagoon at Naracoorte, was very special for me. Apart from the fact that we saw hundreds and hundreds of migratory birds which had flown south for the winter, at a beautiful time of the evening, the Hack family name is significant to me.

Emma Hack lived in Naracoorte in the late 1800's. She had moved there after marrying and leaving her family in Tintinara. Her father was my great great Grandfather and her brother, my great Grandfather. I have been on a journey walking in the footsteps of my ancestors - more about that soon.

Had it not been for our Cave Tour Guide mentioning Hacks Lagoon, upon hearing me talk of ancestral names which may be written on the walls of the caves decades ago, we would not have known about it, nor visited Hacks and Bool Lagoons.

The lagoons are absolutely beautiful and definitely worth popping in to see (especially after all the rain we have had this season). Yet there are by no means filled!

Photos simply cannot do justice to the World Heritage Caves at Naracoorte.

You simply must come and see them for yourself to experience the awe and majesty of these unique places under this seemingly inconspicuous terrain.

Once again the flora was spectacular. This native orchid was quickly picked in an attempt to calm a very whingey tired little two year old. Later we realised that it is likely to be very rare and we should have left it alone. It is rather beautiful in its simplicity you must agree.

This gum blossom took my breath away. It is enormous - perhaps 5-7cm in diameter.

This is such a unique and delicate blossom. It is no wonder the fairies call them home in the Australian bush. It is indeed pretty and intriguing with many a hidey hole for illusive little beings.

Seeing the critically endangered Bent-wing bats fly from their cave for a night-time hunt for food was a very privileged act we enjoyed as a family just on dusk.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Our Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A newborn King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum
rum pum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
So to honour Him, pa rum pum pum pum
When we come

Christmas is creeping into our home with the addition of some sweet little drums little Eee and I have made.

We are looking forward to The Pageant to be held next Saturday at the end of our heatwave. Let's hope we can survive the next three days of 39degC. It'll be down to 34 on Saturday! School has a lunch time pick up option this week which I think we'll take advantage of, and perhaps a trip to the beach.

Our New Treasure

Lilypie Maternity tickers


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