April 15, 2015

AUTUMN 2015 || PINNING THINGS NEAR AND FAR

THINGS TO MAKE AND DO: Already thinking about when I'm home again and have the time to put together photos from this year's travel. This month kicks off three months of personal and work travel.

THINGS TO COOK AND EAT: Harvested pumpkins means pumpkin scones and pumpkin bread. I'm preparing the garden for long stretches of being away.

THINGS TO DROP DOUGH ON: I wish I'd snapped this up while it was still in the Etsy store. A global vibe that's wearable and fun.

THINGS TO HANG ON THE WALL: A Bengali tiger. Just because it's big, wild and exotic.

#flashback: Vintage baking - that is baking from vintage recipe books.

April 08, 2015

AUTUMN 2015 || IT'S THE SEASON TO GO FUNGI HUNTING

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || singular blue fungi in brisbane water national park
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || sunlight illuminates a fungi in brisbane water national park

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || moss bed for miniature fungi and tiny orchids in brisbane water national park
I LIVE in a part of the world holidaymakers flock to. Beaches are certainly part of the attraction but, for me, it's hard to go past the national parks. 

When wet weather let up on Easter Sunday, my partner and I pulled on our walking boots, grabbed our cameras and walked the Piles Creek Loop in Brisbane Water National Park. The walk, my favourite on the Central Coast, takes about three hours at a steady walking pace, but we took our time and stopped to photograph the abundant fungi flourishing in wet conditions after the rain.

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || fungi cluster in brisbane water national park
My partner is a National Parks and Wildlife Service Discovery Ranger and will be hosting a much shorter fungi walk starting at the Palms Picnic Area, in Munmorah State Conservation Area, on Sunday, April 12, from 9am. The conditions are perfect for what should be a spectacular display of fungi. Take your camera, it's a magical treasure hunt that will have you walking through bush with new eyes.


April 04, 2015

AUTUMN 2015 || MAKE A PAPER EASTER EGG BASKET

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || make an easter basket
IT'S miserable out. Not the best weather for Easter camping, family barbecues or Easter egg hunts. Also, not the best start to a two-week school holiday period either, right?

Here you go. Give the kids a pair of craft scissors and glue stick and print out these two templates and let them loose on a quick Easter craft that may give you five minutes to mop the mud from the front door and put the store-bought hot cross buns in the oven to warm.

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || instructions to make an easter basket
You're welcome.

* EDITED: Gah! In my wet weather malaise, I forgot to credit the source of this whimsical piece. It's A Little Golden Book's Happy Birthday title from 1974, one of a number of vintage paper crafts titles I have gathered in recent months. I am a sucker for a paper craft - paper dolls and pop-out villages, in particular. The title is by Elsa Ruth Nast and pictures by Retta Worcester, Worcester was a Walt Disney Studio illustrator.

April 01, 2015

AUTUMN 2015 || MARCH... I'VE DONE IT



OH, for pottering about the garden, in my pink frock and bonnet, with my curls set just so and my basket overflowing with freshly-cut blooms. You?

In March:

I READ… Cheryl Strayed's Wild and Lisa Messenger's Daring and Disruptive. Wild was an audio book. I plugged in to potter in the garden or clean the house. Made the hours go past in a flash and such a great story. Read it. I'm off to find the DVD.

I WENT TO… Camp and camp. Yup two camps, both with Girl Guides. One I organised and one I had the luxury of turning up and enjoying as a participant. Both were awesome.

I ATE… Camp food, lovingly cooked by volunteers in vast quantities and devoured with gusto after long, happy days outdoors.

I OP SHOPPED… 1960s garden annuals. Plenty of great tips, and a handful of things you'd never do in 2015.

I MADE… Stars. You can too.

March 04, 2015

AUTUMN 2015 || PINNING THINGS NEW YORK

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || city on a string
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || a multicultural pizza, how New York
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York Public Library, yes please

WE'RE off to New York. I don't even feel like I need to say anything more. Everyone I tell says I'll love it. I reckon they're right.

THINGS TO MAKE AND DO: City on a string? I think I could add a few iconic, must-see landmarks.

THINGS TO COOK AND EAT: A multicultural take on pizza? What could be more New York?

THINGS TO DROP DOUGH ON: New York Public Library reading room, with these? Yes please.

THINGS TO HANG ON THE WALL: There's not enough information about the art of this Illustration Friday contributor to say if this was actually a print, but I am imagining it is, and very inspired to get out the Gocco.

#flashback: Pinning this time last year was very much sunny side up.

February 28, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || FEBRUARY... I'VE DONE IT

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || bowl of wooden beads

I LOVE reading the comments you make on these monthly posts. Quite honestly, I am surprised anyone, at all, reads to the end of what is essential an online catalogue of my days. Surprised, but thrilled. Thank you.

If you've not ever said hello, please do.

In February:

I READ… Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Such cruelty, such raw humanity - or, in so many cases, the choice to be human or live with the consequences of choosing the other. A theme I felt resonated deeply in Flanagan's most recent piece of public writing.

Also on the bedside table this month was the recent work of school pal, great thinker and Resilient Entrepreneur Louise Francis' Memoir of a Corporate Refugee. Louise comes from a place of having worked stuff out and, and, being the generous yet pragmatic lass she is, wanting people to see a clear path to working their own stuff out and getting on with it. It's a 'take no prisoners' read that you will see plenty of yourself in. I certainly did.

I WENT TO… Dookie, population 286. More correctly, I went to the University of Melbourne's Dookie campus in rural Victoria to do six intensive days of training to set myself on the path to completing a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Here's what I learned: do NOT do anything over an intensive six days. I don't know that I'll be rushing back to any tertiary education any time soon.

I ATE… birthday cake. February is a bumper birthday month in our family. It's my mum's birthday, our eldest's birthday (good grief, she was 28) and mine. I've made reservations for a belated birthday dinner at Woy Woy Fisherman's Wharf, tonight.

I OP SHOPPED… beads: a whole string of them for $2. A jute macrame shopper for $3 and two cocktail frocks: black and white polka dots from the 1980s, $10, and a handmade slub silk number from the 1960s, $25. The skirt on the latter falls in a series of large pleated petals.  

I MADE… plans. I am tired, worn down, worn out and needing a break in my routine. I'm not complaining; everything I do has a purpose and I love doing it. However, knowing when it's time to recharge and see things from a distance is good too. I've booked flights to New York. It's my first time to the city, and to the States, and I am looking forward to being inspired. Please do share with me your tips, favourite places, must dos and online (or printed) travel guides. I am open to it all.

February 18, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || GET SOME GOOD INTO YA

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || fowler ware milk jugs in mint and pink
THINGS can't always be peachy, can they? Sometimes family or office things aren't peachy. Politics. Erghh. Not peachy. War, famine, Ebola. No peach there.

But what'cha gunna do? That's the thing, right? Some days you just have to 'roll with the punches', 'choose life', 'live to fight another day'... feel free to add your own motivational fist-pump or high five here.

This, my friends, is how I am choosing to roll. I'm making plans - good plans. I'm checking in with good people. I'm doing good stuff. Good, I tells ya. That's what we all need more of.

But, enough about me. How's things for you? Sunny side up? Glass half full? No complaints? Good. Who's listening anyway, right?

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || detail of beaded milk jug covers
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || vintage australiana beaded milk jug covers
#opshopscore // vintage Australiana milk jug covers, $15 the pair, Salvos West Gosford

February 04, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || PINNING THINGS PEACHY KEEN

The year has well and truly kicked into top gear this week. The holiday glow has faded and it's no surprise to see time keeping and bells creeping, subconsciously, onto my Pinterest boards. Just one more cup of tea, please. Just one more stab at summer, pretty please?

THINGS TO MAKE AND DO: I don't even imagine you'd need a fancy loom to get these started. Even dyed cotton string would do it. 

THINGS TO COOK AND EAT: It sounds too simple, delicious and guilt-free to be true.

THINGS TO DROP DOUGH ON: I have a perfectly functional watch but I do covet the clean, sleek design of this.

THINGS TO HANG ON THE WALL: Not just for the wall, you could hang these anywhere: indoors, outdoors, take your pick.

#flashback: Pinning had an air of celebration about it this time last year.

February 01, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || MY DIRTY LITTLE OP SHOP SECRET

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || my dirty little op shop secret
A TRIP to the beach means throwing on a pair of togs, grabbing a hat, enough cash for a coffee or milkshake - should either take my fancy - sunscreen, a hat and light cover-all for sun protection and the a towel.

Over the summer, the beach kit has been thrown into a newly thrifted beach bag - a cute crocheted bag that's perfect for the beach because all the sand shakes out of it on my way back to the beach car park. In fact, all my beach kit is thrifted. The leather wallet I pop my coins into was an op shop find; the wide-brimmed hat I love because it fits snugly and won't blow down the beach with a single gust was an op shop score and still has the name of the previous owner inside. My 1970s fringed towel. Op shop. The cover-all I made to wear over my togs was made from $2 worth of fabric. Op shop.

And yes, even the togs. Op shop.  

But cossies from the op shop? Who does that? Me! It's my dirty little op shop secret.

Well, what's the issue? I do check the amount of, er, wear, before I make a purchase, any purchase. I check as much for stains under the arms as I might for how the seat of a pair of shorts has worn and it's the same with togs. It's a bonus if they've got a swing tag still hanging from them but if you think through why someone would pass on a pair of togs I think it's safe to suggest they probably weren't worn a great deal. They've either been a gift that was the wrong size; maybe even bought online and couldn't be exchanged. Perhaps the wearer loved them in the store but on the beach found them not to their liking. The owner could have changed in shape, had a bub, who knows, but there are few people who would pass over the worst of their worn wardrobe to an op shop and few op shops who would choose to damage their reputation by putting out dirty clothes or clothing unfit for use.

And, of course, with a wash at home and a good airing on the line they're close to being as good as new.

So, what's your dirty little op shop secret? 

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || thrifted crochet beach bag
#opshopfind // crochet beach bag, $4, East Gosford Vinnies

January 31, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || JANUARY... I'VE DONE IT

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || Little Golden Books for Christmas

GOOD grief, it only feels like yesterday that we were cracking our Christmas crackers, doing a tango with the tinsel and patting down our well-fed festive season stomachs.

Here, the Christmas decor was all packed away before the January 6 Epiphany - otherwise known as the 12th day of Christmas - and with it the extra festive paraphernalia I bring out to feed the festive cheer.

And now, we're days past the Australia Day long weekend and cruising toward Easter. Where does the time go?

In January:

I READ… Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project. I met Graeme, in a bar - as one does with literary folk - and over a glass of red listened to him explain his fiction formula. I hadn't read his book at the time so had to take his word for it that the formula was sound. After reading it, I'd say it's solid. His debut best-seller is a fun, friendly, what-will-happen-next kinda read. Have you read it? Did you find it too formulaic? 

I WENT TO… Sydney's Amanda Palmer gig, hosted by the Sydney Writer's Festival. Again, hadn't read the book, the blog, viewed the Youtube video or knew any more about Palmer than what I'd read in the gig preamble. Hey, what can you say, this is one chick with good schtick. 

I ATE… Well, the truth is, I stopped eating. I pulled up on the all crap I'd been stuffing my tired, defeated body and have been feeding it with good, wholesome foods. I've been trying out a heap of new recipes and have new favourites in the fast, easy but oh-so-good for you repertoire. 

I OP SHOPPED… A new beach bag: it's something I'll be sharing with you a little later this week. How do you feel about op shopped cossies? 

I MADE… Another tank top. This time recycled from an op-shopped skirt I'd had my wear from. That's a fair life for that piece of clothing. Thrifted and well-worn by me, then recycled into something new for my wardrobe.