Friday, October 14, 2022

Calendula Harvesting - What to do with it ?

Calendula is a gorgeous little flower.   It is great as a companion plant in the vegetable garden as it helps with pests.  I planted some in the garden in a few spots.  One planting has become completely overgrown with weeds yet they still continue to flower.  I am getting a small handful of blooms every day. 

When I harvest I break the blooms off at the base of the flower and set them aside until I have enough for a tray in the dehydrator.

I place a silicon mat underneath as the petals tend to fall through my racks.   I usually have 3 or 4 different things in the dehydrator at one time to conserve energy.   After just a couple of hours they are nice and dry.

And ready to be processed.

I simply pop them all in a jar with a lid

Then I added 250ml of Avocado Oil (You can use almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil or any other type of carrier oil)

I then pop the lid on and will leave it for 6 or so weeks.  This will allow all of the wonderful properties and essential oils to blend with the carrier oil.  I am still harvesting flowers So I will continue to add them once they are dried.

I am planning to make a salve !  Have you used Calendula Salve ?

Calendula officinalis is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and astringent. All of these things combined make it an herbal heal-all. It is most commonly used on minor cuts, scrapes, and burns as well as rashes and bug bites. Calendula is very gentle on the skin and may help to ease dryness, cracks, and itching. It is often used in herbal salves, creams, lotions, and soaps for this reason.

I am looking forward to giving it a try.  I will share my efforts with you once it’s done. 

Part of Harvesting and Preserving for future use is ensuring that you have enough plants to harvest from.  The best and cheapest way to have lots of plants is to grow from seeds.

It has become a little bit of an addiction.  

It is a really relaxing end enjoyable past time.  Not too hard on the body and something I can even do in the kitchen. 

I spent some time this week doing some direct sewing into the garden.  I planted Carrots, Blue Lake Beans, Yellow Butter Beans, Corn, Sweet Peas, Sunflowers and JalapeƱo’s.

It amazes me just how easy it really is to grow plants from seed. One cucumber seed costs around 10c .  This little baby is an apple cucumber.  I planted just one seed in a little punnet with some seed raising mix and watched it come to life.  It is now planted in the garden.  I wonder how much I will harvest from my 10c seed ?

In the next blog post I will share with you some photographs from the little hot house that has seeds and seedlings at lots of different stages.  It’s only a few weeks before planting can begin in earnest around here once the last frost date passes.  Then things will be a little frantic for a few weeks.

Until then.


Fee x 

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Lavender Harvesting


I have a very old lavender bush in my garden.  I am ashamed to say that it survives with not much care at all from me.  It desperately needs a good prune.  But it still provides the goods every single year.  

The bees visit it for many weeks and it brings me much joy to see them enjoying the blooms.  During that time I carefully cut some to preserve whilst ensuring that there are plenty left for the bees to enjoy.

Isn’t it just the prettiest shade of purple ?  

I leave it sitting on the kitchen bench for a little while so I can enjoy it’s beauty but then I hang it to dry to enjoy in many ways including fragrant sachets, room spray and even for decorating gifts.  When This latest batch becomes dry I will show you how I prepare it for later use.

To dry the blooms I simply tie it up in small bunches with jute string and then hang upside down in the dark garden shed.  It’s important not to expose it to too much light as the blooms will fade and the essential oils won’t be as concentrated.

This year I have left some of the old blooms on to dry out so that I can try to gather some seeds.  I figure that this mother plant is so hardy and can tolerate neglect that I may be able to replicate it.  I have taken cuttings in the past but they were a huge fail.  So fingers crossed the seeds give me some more plants.

Obviously sewing seeds work as this little volunteer appeared this year self sown from the mother plant.  It is growing between the path and the garden edge so it may not survive if I try to move it but it worked so hard to grow that I am just going to leave it where it is. 

My little wander around the garden each day never ceases to amaze me.  There is always a new bloom to make me smile.  This is a Sparaxis.  Isn’t it pretty ?

There are some beautiful poppies blooming at the moment in lots of different colours.

Thank you for all of your lovely comments.  It feels like I am wearing an old comfortable pair of jeans. The ones that fit you just right.  And it feels good.

Love and Hugs,

Fee xx 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

It’s been a minute …….

It’s been such a long time since I blogged.  So much has happened in that time.  I’ve certainly had some personal challenges and some major changes to the way we do life but one thing that has become abundantly clear is that you need to do what makes you happy.  However small or insignificant it may be.  We are each in charge of our own happiness and even in hard times it can be the little things that can lift you up.

I’ve always been a homemaker, gardener, cook and crafter.  I still am but these days it comes with determination and in much smaller windows of time.  After chatting with a dear friend a few weeks ago she reminded me of why I first started blogging.  To have a record of my life for my children and grandchildren and to inspire me to keep going.  So here I am …….  

Gardening has always been a great love of mine but everything else always got in the way.  When my world came crashing down with some medical issues towards the end of 2021 my doctor advised me to try to do something that would motivate me to keep my body moving for as long as possible ((We know what’s coming).  Mentally and Emotionally it was a really tough time with a lot to digest and even more to come to terms with.  That’s when I fell back in love with my garden.  It has literally been my saving grace.  

We have a gardener come along to help me on a regular basis.  He does all the heavy work and I get to do the fun stuff like planting, sowing seeds, propagating and planning.  Every single day I make myself walk around the garden even if it’s just a quick look and on the good days I can dip my hands in the soil and enjoy the fresh air.   It has been so good for me.

I love to preserve food and the long term goal is to grow as much as possible of what we currently buy at the supermarket.  

The dehydrator is a godsend and makes storing vegetables, fruits and herbs a dream.  I have a sweet little display of all of the pretty jars in the kitchen.  

And use something in one of those jars everyday.  The lemon and orange powder are personal favourites of mine along with the capsicum which smells like pepperoni pizza every time you open the jar ! 

So to keep me motivated to blog I have decided to do 365 days of Harvesting and Preserving from the garden. It’s something I do anyway so no extra work involved but I will get to take some pretty photographs along the way to share here on the blog.  I may only blog weekly but hopefully more often and I am looking forward to learning from each other along the way.

Until next time,

Hugs,  Fee xx 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Autumn Produce

This little guy is almost 8 months old !  Can you believe it ?  Seems like just a few months ago he was born.  In readiness for his mum going back to work I have been having him for 1 full day a week to get him used to being here more frequently come July.  He is the most placid little guy and is quite happy to sit in the pram whilst I get a few chores done around our little property.

This week we picked apples from one of our trees.  Henry and I gathered the ones the birds had  partially gorged on and fed them to the pony and sheep but the ones that were unspoiled all came inside and were stewed slowly with a tiny bit of water on the stove top.  The hens loved the big bucket of peel and cores.

One of my favourite sweet treats is Little Apple Cakes but they are time consuming to make so I rarely go to the trouble.  I understand completely why they are so expensive to buy at the bakery.

First I made a sweet shortcrust pastry

250g Sugar (1 Cup)
250g Butter (1 Cup)

and mixed until creamy.  I then added 

2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Cream of Tartar
500 g Plain Flour (2 Cups)

Form a dough and chilled for 30 minutes.

You can then roll it out onto a floured mat and cut rounds.  I use a big cutter for the base and a smaller one for the top and a greased small muffin pan.  Once I place the bottom inside I then spoon in some apple to fill and then place the top on and press the edges down to seal.

I bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees celcius) for around 20 minutes.  I leave them in the pan to cool slightly so that they are easy to lift out.

Once they cool I give them a little icing and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Be warned they are
 just delicious !

Autumn is always such a time of abundance in the garden and is a great time to stock up on homemeade tomato paste which I use all of the time as a base in my recipes.

The thermomix makes the process so much easier as I can cook a batch and leave it to do it's thing.

There is nothing better than homemade !  It is totally worth the effort.

Our hens are keeping us well stocked in daily eggs and currently I am picking a healthy handful of mini peppers and chillies every day.  This coming week I will need to process these. Then in the coming weeks it will be time to strip out the garden beds and plant some autumn/winter crops.  No doubt Henry will enjoy helping nanna do some of this next week.

Hugs - Fee x


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Tilda Lover's Club

On the 24th March 2020 when lock down begun here in Australia I started a TILDA Lover's Challenge through my facebook group (TILDA Lover's Club) and shared a video tutorial every week along with a pattern and challenged members to play along.  Each week we award prizes given to us by TILDA Australia and we have loads of fun !  We have done a quilt along, A Christmas in July Tablerunner, Fabric Line stitchalongs and much more !

Every Sunday I do a sit and chat video with the week's news etc on my channel - CRAFT WITH FEE

At the moment we are doing week 7 of the Woodland Stitchalong.  We have done so many beautiful projects that I will show you in a seperate post.  This week we are doing this gorgeous Woodland Cushion.  The downloads each week includes a step by step pattern and are just $3.00 Australian so amazing value !

We have pattern downloads HERE
Paper Patterns HERE
or even a Full Kit to make one HERE


It has been such an inspiring year within the group - So many beautiful friendships made and so much TILDA Inspiration.

I will show you some more projects later this coming week.

Hugs - Fee x

Friday, March 12, 2021

Life ......

Well what a funny old week it has been.  I had such BIG plans and then things happened which changed my plans completely.  As you know I love to cook and like to think I am pretty good at it !  I have had lots of burns over the years and just apply burn cream and soldier on.  Which is what I did this week when I burnt the inside of my arm but it seems it was a lot deeper than I first thought.  AND it is in a very awkward spot that is very hard not to knock !  So it needs to be dressed and I need to learn to not KNOCK it as it is extremely painful.  Of course it is my right hand which limits me quite a bit.

But there is plenty to smile about including this 7 month old bundle of yumminess !  Meet Henry.  He is the son of our middle daughter Kaitlin and her husband Nick and is the sunshine in my day !  He adores his Nanny Fee and the feeling is very much mutual !  He will become my right hand man a few days a week very soon and I am very much looking forward to it.

This weekend I will be cutting all of the kits for my monthly papercraft club.  It is so much fun !  I send members 6 kits every month and then do a video class for each project.  They get to learn new skills and get 6 finishes every month.  You can read all about it HERE if you like.

Before I head off into the studio for a much needed tidy up I wanted to show you these gorgeous mugs our youngest daughter Amy brought home from her holiday on the gold cost last week.  Bugs for dad and Tweety for mum.

They are more like tankards and we only make a half mug at a time as they are so BIG but so cute !

Have a wonderful weekend.  It is going to be 29 degrees Celsius here today which is amazing for autumn so I intend to enjoy some of it and might just curl up with a good book in the filtered sunshine.

Love and Hugs,

Fee xx


Monday, March 8, 2021

An eternity


Well it has been an eternity since I blogged.  I didn't think that I missed it but I do .......  I think I started blogging 15 years ago ?  And have not been around very much for a number of years but I intend to be much more frequent to this form of journaling. Hubby and I are still doing ok - We have enjoyed 27 blissful years of marriage this year and still love to spend time with one another so that has to be a good thing !!  

I still love to bake and cook and just last night made home made pizza's for us both to enjoy.

Making our food from scratch is something that has always made my heart sing.  No matter how long it takes for a dough to prove - It always tastes better than picking up the telephone and dialling for a home delivery pizza.

We can put on it no matter what we want including home made tomato paste

And of course enjoy it straight from the oven !!

On the crafty front I have been super busy doing what I love the most and that is stitching.  I will fill you in on what I have been up to on my next blog post.


Fee xx