Saturday, December 31, 2011

What are you looking for?

I hope you're having a good break in this "in-between" time wedged in amongst Yuletide and New Year. We went for a lovely drive yesterday to The Dandenong Ranges, just outside of Melbourne. We had a nice old-style, sit-down lunch in Sassafras and then walked it off on a bush walk just behind the village. Driving on to Olinda, we walked part of the way around the beautiful four kilometres of The National Rhododendron Gardens. We'll go back there in Spring - it would be amazing to see them all in flower.

A white Protea - I had never seen one before, thinking they only flowered in pink

A gecko who patiently waited while I took his photo

A mighty gum tree

Wild forget-me-nots

The canopy of green

We're expecting 36 degrees tomorrow and 38 degrees Monday, so it was nice to get out into the bush before really hot weather hits.

At a new-agey shop in Sassafras, The Oracle, I picked up the following 'fortune' from a bowl at the front door -

You will find what you are looking for, but stop looking on the outside for what can only be found on the inside.

This is surprisingly apt for me at the moment, and it's a thought I'll carry into the new year. What about you? What are your new year thoughts or resolutions?

Wishing you a new year of happy days and all that your heart desires.

~ Feronia x

Friday, December 23, 2011

Good Tidings

Warm wishes to you from the Yellow Wood for a wonderful Yuletide.

I have only a little more to do before the Yuletide season begins in earnest. How about you? I'll be painting on and then baking a plate for my parents today as well as printing another piece of cloth to wrap around their Ikea food goodies. I might make some shortbread too. Unfortunately it is humid and predicted to reach 31 degrees today, so turning on the oven is not a very appealing option!

Tomorrow, I'll head off to the (shudder) shopping mall to pick up a few last minute gifts (some of my online purchases have failed to materialise) and also buy the ingredients for apricot balls, cherry ripe slice and Russian fudge (if you like the sound of these, head over to Tiny Happy. Melissa has been posting some gorgeous recipes) which I'll make tomorrow afternoon. I'm on salad making duty on Sunday, so I'll also need the bits and pieces for pasta and cheese salad, potato salad and green salad. All of these are fairly quick makes, so I am not unduly stressed.

What's on your last-minute to-do list?


I have so enjoyed watching the repeats of Pride and Prejudice lately and now I am reading Emma with equal enjoyment. This may not be a Christmas scene but I couldn't resist posting a bit of Regency festivity at this time of year.

If you love Jane Austen and knitting, you might be interested to pick up Jane Austen Knits at I have just downloaded it and it looks absolutely beautiful.


Take care x

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Simple Pretty, Pretty Simple

I was very pleased with how this turned out. I bought a rubber stamp at a craft shop on the weekend for $3 and completely on a whim decided to stamp it onto some calico 'pudding cloth'. I really like how it looks! I'm going to stamp a large piece of cloth now (this was my sample!) and wrap some edible goodies I bought from Ikea for my parents in it. I think I might have a go at making my own stamps over the break. Does anyone else make their own rubber stamps?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's Swedish for Retail Therapy?

In amongst a sudden and unexpected flurry of work stuff, I have been tinkering away on a few little crafty-cookingy type projects. Yesterday I made coconut ice. I don't know if this is an exclusively Australian confection? Essentially, it's a sugar-level-disrupting mix of coconut, condensed milk and icing sugar. So bad and yet so very good. I made this batch as a Christmas gift for a friend's little daughter and I am also planning some more for our Christmas Day stops, as well as brownies or perhaps rocky road.

I also stitched this brooch as a belated birthday gift for same said friend. Oh, vintage doilies, how I do love thee.

This morning I did one of my rare pilgrimages to Ikea. I have always liked Ikea but I have never been that excited by it. But today there were so many very good bits and pieces! I spent far more than I intended but I didn't buy anything I didn't really love or need (I think William Morris would approve).

On the fifth day before Christmas,
On a trip to Ikea I did buy,
Thirty birdy napkins,
Twelve fabric hearts,
Eight picture frames,
Four birdy placemats,
Three cooking pots,
Two scented candles,
Two nice prints,
Two jars of jam,
Two jars of mustard,
One bottle of glogg,
One packet of crispbread and
One packet of toff-ee!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Double Cream

I am in love with all things cream and white at the moment. And perhaps a little bit of brown, as is the case with these lovely owls in Peter Slater's A Field Guide to Australian Birds.

Beautiful Japanese craft books...

The beginnings of some embroidery...

Some more soothingly simple knitting with the Alafoss Lopi wool...

And a little brooch I stitched.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dreaming of Snow

Illustration by Ivan Bilibin

Summer is upon us here in Australia, and so I am dreaming of snow! As you may know, I am not a fan of summer. I find the heat confining and too restrictive on one's activities, especially when it gets to that point of really being too hot to leave the house. It is very warm today but the real warmth, when everything seems to be coated in an eerie simmering calm, will not (hopefully) be here until the new year.

So I am sifting through the Net for photos of Russia and Norway's snowy landscapes, that peculiar, almost iridescent blue-grey Northern light and a glorious clip from the film "Eugene Onegin" which captures just that light, the gorgeous interiors that reflect nature's winter colours and of course the chill of Ralph Fiennes' Onegin!

Russia from The Guardian

Image from

Friday, December 2, 2011

At this very moment

Right at this very moment, I am loving...

Coming up with some unusual (and hopefully loved) gifts for the family at Etsy and managing to break away from the dreary commercial offerings that are being rammed down our collective throats at the moment. I'll also be making up some hampers comprising the homemade goodies we talked about last week.

Listening to the peaceful, optimistic music of my mother's youth on my IPod, along with a few added bits and bobs of my own.

Having too much to read! At the moment I am thoroughly enjoying My Father's Country by Wibke Bruhns, as well as Christopher Stevens' Born Brilliant: The Life of Kenneth Williams. News from Nowhere by William Morris and Sally Beddell Smith's Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House are waiting on the bedside table, along with all the other books I am still dipping in and out of!

What about you?