Friday, August 31, 2012

Saying It With Flowers...

hi there...
picked a few
to say
"happy weekend!"
naturally Carol xox

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Show & Tell...

good morning!
at last i've taken the photos of my completed market bag
can't wait to take it to market
when i just have a few things to pick up...
mostly lately though
i've had more than a market bag full to get..
though of course i could make a few more.


of course i made it a bit harder than it should have been
by choosing fabric that was just a bit shorter than the pattern wanted
so everything was shortened by an inch...
the pockets are also a bit shorter 'cos i didn't have quite enough  for them either...
and the front gusset had to be joined 'cos there wasn't quite enough there...hehe!
it's amazing that i didn't muck up the calculations
it actually fitted together.
i would change the gusset width though
'cos it's a bit wide for my liking
that would make the bag longer as well.
sew & learn eh?
i'd better go and feed the dogs
before they start
wishing you sunshine in your day today...
naturally Carol xox


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


hi there!
don't you just love that feeling of
i had just got home,
the groceries still in the boot of the car
there was the postie
with a parcel in her hand,
looking worried as
kara hooted around the front yard
doing her best to be a guard dog.
i relieved her of her parcel
scooted inside,
arms weighed down with bags
the precious parcel... 
flung down my bag,
tossed down the new mag
the parcel.
shoved the groceries away!
made a cup of tea
examined my parcel...
a little bit retro...
a little bit modern...
a little bit british...
a little bit amy butler!
now i have new mag,
aspiration..i'm planning to sew
as long as i don't expire from
i'll soon have plenty to show and tell!
naturally Carol xox

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You're Beautiful!

hi there...
just found this little quote
a couple of days ago
have to share it with you...

"people often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'
and i say that
the most liberating thing about beauty
is realising that
you are the beholder.
this empowers us to find beauty
in places where others have not dared to look,
including inside ourselves"
salma hayek.
wanting you to find beauty
in your journey of looking today...
naturally Carol xox

Monday, August 27, 2012


hi there...
it's a windy monday morning here,
just fine for blowing away the cobwebs
and blowing in {to my house} all those tiny pesky jacaranda leaves.
you would be surprised to learn
that these are the remains of last seasons leaves on the jacaranda trees
out the front.
there are rusty coloured leaves all over the paths beneath
and the pesky little things
fly in the windows and are carried inside on the soles of our shoes.
it looks more like autumn than the beginning of spring.
it's hard to believe that in just a few weeks
these trees will be covered in purple blossoms...
oozing with stickiness falling on my car
and covering the ground like a royal carpet.
these sweet delights never cease to surprise me...
i have recorded these naturalised freesias flowering
for three seasons now
and this year there are even patches of them several meters away from the 'mother bunch'...
how did they get there?
it's a mystery to me..i didn't plant more bulbs!
but they reminded me that it was just about this time of year
that i first started 'naturally Carol'...two years ago.
this took me to my list of followers
and led me on to some long overdue  housekeeping pruning.
i realised that some of the blogs i've followed
were extinct.
people move on.
things happen beyond their control.
other ventures are started.
babies are born who need time and care and a blog is neglected, forgotten even.
so i took some time to say goodbye
to those that hadn't been updated for more than about eight months or longer...
showing no signs of life,
either slumbering or departed.
it was quite a mammoth effort,
culling out about twenty percent..can you believe it..of dead wood.
but now i feel like a house swept clean,
although there are a couple of treasures i just had to keep
and not give up on...
just in case
one day my blogging friends may decide to return
and keep me company here once more.
have you got long since departed sites
just hanging around,
or friends who have left that you just hang on to..
or do you just leave everything there
not touching a thing?
how many people can you follow anyway?
...crepe myrtle branches.
i think 'crepe myrtle' would have to be one of my favourite plant names...
just as well i never had more than one daughter
i may have called her 'crepe myrtle'...hehe.
miss b..that was a close escape!
i finished my sewing my market bag late on saturday afternoon.
i'll show it to you later this week.
take care...
with your prunings & plantings
naturally Carol xox

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Green Tea 101...

good morning!
after a week of glorious weather
it's gone all foggy, damp and cool on us...
just perfect for a hot cup of green tea.
green tea making 101.
green tea...not tea bags, the dried curled up leaf kind
boiling water
in a clean teapot
add about a good teaspoon of green tea leaves for each person.

cover the tea with water just gone off the boil.
just let the tea start to unfurl for about 30 seconds
then pour off the water.

this seems to get rid of any bitterness
and also any particles of unwanted matter.
fill up the teapot again with water that has just been boiled.
wait 1 minute.
pour into teacups.

to make a second cup of tea
fill the teapot again with hot boiled water....
wait 2 minutes
pour into teacups.
to make a third cup of tea
{from the same tea leaves!}
fill the teapot again with hot boiled water
wait 3 minutes
pour into teacups.
after this you can't get another cup of tea out of these tea leaves.
if you dry them
you can tie them up in little bags and put them around your house
as they will have a pleasant aroma...
this is a chinese custom.

did you know that all black tea goes through a fermentation process?
i didn't before going to a tea museum.
it's goodbye to tea cosies when making green tea,
the process is so quick...
happy tea-making!
naturally Carol xox

Friday, August 24, 2012

To Market, To Market...

well not exactly to buy a fat pig...
i don't think it would even fit in my new 'jane market bag'
that i intend to make.
i ventured onto alicia paulson's blog
got sidetracked by her market bag...
all bright and floral it is.
after paying for the pattern,
for less than the cost of a morning tea out, i might add...
i received her pdf.
i think i intend to make lots of these for gifts
{'cos i intend to keep on shopping...and may just fill this one with tasty fresh croissants!}
i managed to cut one out...
after much deliberation over my shrinking stash.
i have been determined to use much of my fabric before buying new.
{but with the return of access to the internet, i have already ordered one little batch of pretty fabric...
i know... the the temptation was just a bit too much for one person!}
it will be a pleasure to make, dreaming about such things!
what are you dreaming about
for the weekend?
naturally Carol xox

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chrysanthemum Tea...

good morning friends!
have you ever sipped chrysanthemum tea?
i hadn't before today.
according to one source it is good for
cooling internal heat...{inflammation?}
aiding the ability to digest oily food...
my son's new mother in law gave me a tin of chrysanthemum tea...
another gift from taiwan
{i know..i am so blessed with gifts!!!...and grateful!!!}
i have christened my new teacup...
there is an art to making green tea.
thankfully when my new extended family visited recently
i had the sense to ask mrs t how to make it properly.
i was going to just make it like black tea
and found out that would have been an embarrassing mistake!
i'll post 'green tea making 101' tomorrow'....would you like that?
living in an old house,
sometimes something really weird happens,
like a window just fell out of mr p's bedroom
and just missed the concrete!
what the?
fortunately it landed on some longish grass
around the side of the house where i used to have a vege garden,
before the neighbours put up shade cloth along the fence
which shut out the morning sun..then the dogs got into the area...
now it just needs a good whipper snip.
i've been sipping away here...
and just before i go i thought i'd let you know
just how chrysanthemum tea tastes..this one anyhow...
mmm! it has a mild full bodied green tea flavour
that hits the soft palate at the back of the mouth
and the aroma fills your senses luxuriously
almost herbal and almost floral.
just as well i have a tin full to enjoy!
naturally Carol xox

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Taiwanese Teacup...

good morning!

a beautiful gift...

on an almost 'wordless wednesday'...

from taiwan.

naturally Carol xox

Monday, August 20, 2012

Peeking in the Window...

hi there!
due to my prolonged and unavoidable computer drought,
i didn't get to share as many taiwanese experiences
as i'd hoped to by now.
this week i want to share a few more.

as many of you know
mr b and i went to taipei for our eldest son's wedding on new year's eve.
mr p {son no 3} came along as well.
we stayed in a small apartment in a little lane in taipei
for three weeks.

these pics show a typical gorgeous display in a baker's window...
there is always something with custard..which we loved,
and all kinds of goodies to enjoy....
they are just a bit different from what we get here..variations.

custard buns...

all kinds of goodies...

strawberry bread...

hot dogs!

the food was glorious...
cheap and very fresh and plentiful.
mr b had the camera on this day
as you can see he's a bread lover..hehe!

{and was probably hungry on this particular day.}

it's making me hungry too..i'm off to boil the jug and have some afternoon tea.

naturally Carol xox

Sunday, August 19, 2012

This Sunday...

hi there!

hummingbird cake and a caramel milkshake
dressed with strawberries,
this is a picture of sunday morning
after church.

sundays can be bittersweet,
for me it is the day that my family always leaves me.
they arrive on friday evenings...
this week mr b {husband} and mr m {son no.2} both came.
mr b came down and mr m came up.

fridays are full of excitement.
the house gets a tidy...most times...
and there is an air of anticipation and expectancy.

saturdays are pleasant,
enjoying the company
and fulfilling plans, discussing
and making more plans.
satisfied that my family is fine.

but sundays.
sundays start off well,
a couple more hours together,
the wellbeingness of going to church
and feeding not only the spirit but
the soul and even the body.

then one by one they leave.
it's a long drive back to work for mr b,
so it's just after lunch that he goes.
then later mr m has to leave as well.
kara will sit forlornly on her couch,
her big brown eyes sorrowful
as her beloved master leaves.
i just feel a little emptier inside.

mmmm...bittersweet indeed.

naturally Carol xox

p.s...about yesterday's post...the little red and white espresso cups are made by bodum, i bought them about seven years ago locally.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Coffee Time?

good afternoon!

after meeting a special friend for coffee this morning at Gloria Jeans,
i wandered up a few shops to the kitchen shop.
as usual i just had to check out the mugs...
'cos you see,
i am a bit of a fan of mugs.

i only have a smallish cupboard to house them in
or they would probably take over my entire house.

i have learned that i can buy them
and give them away...
and every so often i have a mug cull,
it breaks my heart
but i just think that it has two advantages...
firstly somebody who has no mugs
may now own some lovely ones very cheaply from a thrift store,
and secondly
i get to buy some more!

my newest find
was a bargain.
they were almost throwing these red polka dotted mugs out this morning...
{maxwell & right hand corner, second from right, top shelf}
one for me, one for my friend and one for her 13yr old daughter
bought for under five dollars for the three...whoohoo!!
{i was first attracted to them when they were nearly five dollars each...hehe}

i have more expensive ones,
but to me it isn't the price,
it's just whether i want to live with it or not.
when i lived in canberra
i used to love the regular china sales in david jones and myer,
up here i've collected starbucks mugs and maxwell & williams mainly.
i love collecting china i can look at and use every day...
not shut away in a cabinet, so special, that i can't handle them often.

do you have a collection?
or a weakness for something my mugs?

have a great weekend,

naturally Carol xox

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Warm Northerly Breeze!

it's happened!
today was the first day,
the first morning
that i got out of bed
instead of reaching for a cardi
or a blanket
to warm my cooling shoulders
nipped by a frosty morning...

there was a gently breeze
descending from the north,
a warm
cocooning me
and whispering sweetly in the jacarandas.

a taste of springtime
light sunny mornings!

does your dog grind her teeth...
mine does
is sitting under my desk,
grinding away as i write...funny.

i decided to make
pancakes with lemon & sugar
for afternoon tea....

all you need is a medium mixing bowl...
sift into it
a cup of plain flour,
add an egg
then one and a quarter cups of milk.
stir well.
add a little more milk if you want the batter thinner.

i doubled the mixture
so there's more for dessert or brekky tomorrow morning
for whoever wants them.

i have been intending to post
just a couple of times a week
i've broken my own rules a lot lately...
i just can't help
sharing my's just good to be back.

feelin' all that bloggy love...

naturally Carol xox

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Apron 'n Paris!

oh, i know i'm a bit silly
but when i was taking pics of the apron i made yesterday
i was thinking of the movie
'april in paris'
and just had to tweak it a bit for my title...hehe!

i made this for a friends birthday...which is today.

i finished it just as the sun was setting
of course the light was diminishing fast in my dining room.

'friends' tag..came from a packet of scrapbooking tags
that were on special a couple of months ago at big w...
they are printed on canvas but i don't know how washable they are.
nevermind, if they disintegrate, the rest of the stitching can just be pulled out.

i always like to make the ties
just a bit longer than the pattern specifies...
plenty of length to make a lovely big bow at the back
or to bring around the front and tie up.

i've folded the apron up,
gift wrapped it,
tied the package with a bow,
personalised the card...

now i'm off to party!

enjoy your friends today...

naturally Carol xox

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Sour Lemons Around Here!

a happy good morning on a sweet sunshiny monday to you!

are you in the mood for some more cookin'?
you will love this cake if you are.

a couple of weeks ago a friend gave me a plastic shopping bag
full of lemons.
i know i could have made lemon butter/curd or probably
a billion other things...
but most of them were too lemon meringue pie...3 processes..hehe!

i wanted something quick and very lemony.

i found this 'lemon madeira cake' recipe
in a little fat book called '500 cakes'...a title that just calls it what it is,
by susanna blake...of whom i have never heard of before...have you?

on first taste it was voted unanimously
'a family favourite'.

lemon madeira cake

220g or 8oz butter at room temperature
140g or 5oz castor sugar, plus 1-2 tablespoons full for sprinkling
3 large eggs
170g or 6oz self raising flour
30g or 1 oz plain flour
1 lemon...zest & juice

beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. unfortunately i thought i was using raw castor sugar in this one and it was really ordinary raw sugar and i had to beat it extra hard to dissolve all those big crystals of sugar.
beat the eggs in one at a time.
sift the flours into the bowl and fold in.
add the lemon zest and juice and mix well.

spoon the batter into a large loaf tin that has been lined with silicone paper...i just tore a large square off and lined a glass loaf  dish..the beauty of this is that you don't have to grease the dish if it is fully papered and when cooked you just lift the whole loaf out, no worries.

sprinkle the top of the batter with sugar...
this makes a lovely crisp crunchy crust on top..mmm!
{saves icing it too}

bake for 55mins on 'fan' at 160 degrees celsius.

leave cake in tin for about 10 mins before lifting out...
then eat as soon as possible!

i made this one yesterday,
it's the perfect sunday afternoon tea cake.

my brother & partner came over for afternoon tea on their way home from brisbane.
they witnessed an accident on the highway about quarter of an hour from here,
so it was comfort food at its finest...with a nice cuppa tea..or diet coke.
{by the way..the young man in the accident had run off the road into a tree and broke his ankle but there were plenty of police, fireys and ambos to help him by the time they left the scene.}

this is about the fourth time in a month
that i have made this cake, we enjoy it so much..and so do our visitors.

do you use cake forks?
we didn't until about eight years ago when i found some beauties for half price at david jones'...
now even the men around the house use them!

i love mondays...
they are my only truly relaxing day, nothing planned at all.

i hope your day is stress free too...

naturally Carol xox

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mum's Best Pumpkin Scones!

this post is a celebration...
it is number 350...
wow, how did i ever write that many?
it is a mystery to me that i ever came this far...hehe
i guess i can answer my own question.

one by one.

in honour of this occasion
i am sharing my mum's best ever pumpkin scone recipe.

i am munching on one as i type...yum!

1 decent tablespoon of butter or 50g
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 cup boiled or microwaved pumpkin...mashed
3 cups plain flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda

1 cup sultanas (optional...i didn't put any in mine)

cream the butter (or margarine) & sugar together.
beat in one egg.
add the mashed pumpkin and mix well.
sieve the flour, cream of tartar and baking soda into the mixture.

now with a light touch, mix until it forms one lump.
if it comes off the sides it is just right.
if it sticks to the sides add a touch more flour,
if it is too stiff, not soft and easily managed, add a touch of mild...probably a tablespoon.

turn out onto a well floured board,
shape into a smooth lump then flatten gently with your hand
 until about 2-3cm or 1and a half inches thick.
cut or press out into whatever shapes you fancy.

bake for 12 mins at 180 degrees celsius.

totally delicious.

these are simple to make if you don't overmix everything
are especially good for using up leftover mashed pumpkin from last night's dinner.
{or put on a bit extra so that you do have leftovers}

oh by the way i always use silicone paper to bake them on...
saves washing a baking tray and the scones never stick.

and another thing...wash down your bench or cutting board in cold water..
and soak your floury utensils and bowls in cold too,
that way the flour just dissolves and washes easily.
hot water cooks the flour into glue and then it dries and hardens
and then you have to get a pick axe to get it off everything! 

now after all that effort
you deserve a cuppa
while you munch through a plate full of scones...

happy blogging and baking...

naturally Carol xox has been a windy day...not too cold though i did get the washing done..yay!
i even got an apron cut out for a friend's birthday next week
as well as some baking and blogging...all in all a pretty productive day.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Shop Open Again!

hi..ain't this cute?

i found it in a department store in taipei
and just had to bring it home.
it's tag says 'attitude..not just for fun'.

the bird sitting in the bush is a magnet
the leaves on the tree and the bush
are three small notepads.
i love is a very cool souvenier of my trip there in january
(as well as being irresistably and very neatly wrapped up in brown paper inside a little box...hehe)

my madeit shop is open again finally...

i really love my new london tube cushions
but didn't really have anyone in mind to give them to
nowhere particular in my home to put them
where they will look their best,
after all there are only so many cushions a girl can have,
no matter how much she loves them!

so i am selling them as a set in my little shop.

sometimes i just have to make something
just because i want to...

i hope tomorrow is just as windy as today
'cos i was thinking it will be a wonderful day to get my washing dry quickly.
hopefully there'll be something a bit more interesting
happening here on the weekend as well...
and at your place too..hehe!

naturally Carol xox

Thursday, August 9, 2012

London Tube Cushion...

good afternoon!

i have been absolutely loving these calm blue days of winter,
the sparkling dew on the grass
and even the sharp cold mornings
fresh and clean.

the cold wind is coming again,
so i am treasuring today.

every morning this week
i have had somewhere to be early in the morning
but have been home by elevenish
and have enjoyed blogging with my new computer,
reading..i'm still powering through books.
i had forgotten how good it is to learn and get absorbed in a good book
until i didn't have a computer to share my time with!

i have also done a bit of sewing....

london subways  tube...
thanks fiona for pointing out that london has a tube not a subway!

the backs are different
but sticking to a red, white and blue british theme.

front facing.

the first pics i took were on the black leather couch
where they looked fabulous
our lounge room was a bit dark..winter light..or lack of it,
i had to move them to a lighter space, near a window.
our house is an old queenslander
where most of the windows are still original...
a mere eighty or so years
and have patterned glass not clear and smooth
so let in less light.
i am torn between keeping them
and changing them to a glass that i can see the view through
and will let more light into the rooms.

a friend's birthday is coming up next week...
i think i will make her an apron.
i haven't made one for a while.

what are you thinking of making next?

enjoy the day!

naturally Carol xox

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Thing About Blogging Is..

i was thinking this the wee hours of around 4 a.m...
that one of the greatest things about blogging is
that to the drama queens among's a stage,
to the writers among's a fresh new page
to the artists among's a blank wall
in our own private exhibition!

the thing that some don't realise
is that it's also an insight to our heart,
here we wear it on our sleeve in every post,
even when we try and cover it up.

a tribute to another beautiful sunny morning...kara on her bed in the sunshine.

the bible says to 'guard your heart...
because out of it flow the issues of life',
passion or poison
gratitude or greed
forgiveness or revenge...

i must say that i love most of what i read
and appreciate the kind and generous hearted people i've met here.
i love the way you open up your hearts regularly
let your love flow out into cyberspace
to be balm to the lonely and needy
...and me...thank you!

don't you just love fresh clean sheets?
when i changed the linen yesterday
i took this photo of the pillowcase i made a couple of months back.

i've made quite a few for my linen cupboard lately
some for others as well.
this fabric didn't really appeal to me when i first made it up
so i couldn't give it away...
but it's grown on me
and is a part of my
shake-off-those-winter-webs-'cos-spring-is-'round-the-corner campaign
happening at my house this week.

lots o' love
naturally Carol xox