February - you're here ALREADY!! January, where did you go?? You flashed by so fast while I took things nice and easy - a bit of crafting here, fun with friends there, good times at home ...
We've been developing our garden since we moved here about 10 years ago to an almost bare block (obviously the two previous owners weren't gardeners) and although it's still a work in progress it gives us so much pleasure. Lots of lovely flowers to pick, there will be what looks like a bumper crop of tomatoes soon plus quinces to process and enjoy later in the year and the herb garden is productive.
Crafty endeavours this month have resulted in wee socks and an embroidered softie for a new baby in the family, two appliqued wool pincushions, a little drawstring bag for my husband to put his watch and coins in while he's playing golf - first time ever he's asked me to make him something! - and my new super-duper bag. Love love love that fabric so much that I have bought an extra fat quarter for a tissue pouch and notebook cover.
My friends Kerith and Jeni and I got together this month for an overdue soapmaking session - we feel like MacBeth's three witches as we stir and cackle and hope for the best. Once the mix of lye and water is mixed with whatever oils you choose (for the last few batches we've been using a mix of sunflower, coconut and olive oil) it's like magic to see the mix come together and turn into soap. We made two lots each this time ( my batches are scented with lemongrass and mandarin oil for one lot and patchouli for the other) so won't be running out of soap any time soon. It's so satisfying to make and use and we have lots of laughs as well.
Longtime friends of my husband Peter's descended on Ballarat for a get-together over the long weekend; it was such fun. They've all known each other since primary school and are such good mates; I've known them all for 40 or so years and we all had a great time together. Ballarat is an attractive old city and we love showing it off - the old buildings, the lake and the gardens are all so beautiful. One of the places we were very keen to show them, and that they all found really interesting, is MADE - the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. While the main museum is in Canberra, this one is built on the site of the Eureka Stockade rebellion, where miners took a stand against troopers after long-term efforts to end unfair treatment and gain the right to vote. The battle lasted for only 15 minutes or so, and there were casualties on both sides, but it's regarded by many as the foundation of democracy in Australia. Here endeth the history lesson. Just don't miss this place if you visit Ballarat - lots of great interactive displays and the flag which flew at the battle and is kept in a darkened room is very moving. Oh, and our cache of records was a hit too - we all took turns at playing our favourite songs (and some oldies and baddies that made us scream with laughter too.)
So - that's January. I don't have to wonder what February will bring - we're off to NZ for three weeks towards the end of the month then after just a night at home we're having a road trip in NSW for a niece's wedding plus a craft retreat at Nundle with lots of other crafty bloggers. Lucky us! We're away from home for nearly three months - friends (one of the old school friends and his wife - Peter and John grew up next door to each other in Forbes, Central West NSW) are moving in to look after the house and spoil the dogs (the dogs will probably be VERY disappointed when we come home!)