Chalkboard Paint and a Scooter Cupboard

Busy times at the Picket Fence Household. School holidays ended and school went back yesterday. A big part of me is sad because I love having my brood about me, another part of me is grateful because I think I need the enforced routine that comes with school to get things done. My world has become a little more complex this week. Some dear elderly friends have become in need of support, they are both getting a little foggy and we have only just realised how foggy. They have no family, just us and so, to keep them living independently, we are incorporating their world into our Picket Fence chaos. Frequent daily visits and support are going to be the order of the day. I'm grateful to have them in my world, I love them like family. I'm just not quite sure how I'm going to fit it in with four children, and a not so Picket Fence Job. It's do-able, I just need to get myself organised. I do know that this silly little blog keeps me sane :) I'm grateful to the funny world that is blog-land yes sir indeed!!
This is the cupboard on our back verandah that we use to store scooters and surfboards, hula hoops , skateboards . All that stuff that needs to go somewhere but is difficult to place. Note the taped up broken lead light window stage left. Waiting for the glazier. Ahem , a little too much Picket Fence enthusiasm and a tennis ball......the joys ! (My walls in the above photo are not this colour ... I took this on my iPhone and its an odd instagram filter )
 This is how it looks after a coat of blackboard paint.
 Now they can draw all over it to their hearts content. Unleash their inner artist and perhaps less with tennis balls on the verandah :)
 On the subject of inner artists...I am collecting supplies for lino cutting. I haven't attempted lino block printing since primary school and I thought it might be fun to do with the Picket Fence Children. I envisage making some cards and maybe some personalised bed sheets. An owl or perhaps a tug boat...we shall see.
 New bedspread for Miss Teen Picket Fence from the op shop. Score ...I swept the 8 million pairs of tried on and discarded clothes to the side for this photo. The reality of parenting teenage girls is the concept of a "floordrobe"
 Yes, I'm STILL in the process of painting the inside of the house. The school holidays have made this near impossible so the paint brushes have had a January respite . I did however realise that many of the curtains around my freshly painted windows weren't necessary and in fact added to the clutter I'm trying to reduce , so I pulled them down ...and cut them up....
 And turned them into cushions  instead :)
I'm working on decluttering.... but I found this tin yesterday. Patina to die for and containing nozzles from an old Tala icing set. Love it.
Oh and yes still trying to practise with my camera. This shot I took is one of my practise shots....seconds before Master Picket Fence tipped a plastic cup of water all over me.  Hmmm, Picket Fence Chaos...Just how I like it. What have you been up to ? Is school back in your household ? Are you grateful for the routine or are you whizz bang organised all the time ?

Week 3 Photo A Day Challenge

 Week 3 of The Photo A Day Challenge ! Oh my heavens... aren't the holidays flying by !
Day 15 "Happiness"
 is moving closer to self sufficiency.
Day 16 "Morning" 
This photo makes my heart beat harder . I realise how short this period of my life is, and  I relish every single moment.
 Day 17 "Water"
 Day 18 "Something I bought"
Check out Down that Little Lane to buy these....
Day 19 "Sweet"
I bought this from the Divine Lisa Madigan...and guess what I met her in person the other day . She is the sweetest girl and her paintings are exquisite. Talented Talented Talented. ( With a capital T)
Day 20 "Someone I love"
Missing Mr Picket Fence and Miss Teen Picket Fence in this photo... but, you get my drift.
Day 21 "Reflection"
I apologise for the fly by post seems my life is running on a fast motor this January...Sending you much love, and joyful days ..I'll catch up next week ( Maybe !! )

A Photo A Day Challenge Week 2

Here comes the second instalment of my version of the photo journal challenge thought up and blogged about by blog queen Fat Mum Slim.  For my first seven days look here and  you should definitely check out  Chantelle's  blog  Fat Mum Slim (always cheery  and current.) Everybody seems to be following. She has after all got millions of people photo journalling January and loving it.
Day 8 " Your Sky" 
Yes Indeed .. on cue for day 8 poured rain  :)
Day 9
Daily Routine  " Trying to simplify"
Day 10 "Childhood"
Day 11 "Where you sleep"
Looking forward to painting these walls white ( School holidays have held me back a little in this department)
 Day 12 " Close up"
My breakfast plate
Day 13 "In your bag"
Confessions of an asthmatic ;)
Day 14 "Something you're reading" 
 ( again and again, I love this book )
So there you have it, another week of iPhone photos, a different result to those shot on DSLR but perhaps more engaging, they remind me of the raw honest shots of a Polaroid camera. This is us with no frills. I'm looking forward to week 3 and hope you will come back and see. Have you joined in yet ? If not , then why not either catch up or just do the rest of January ?...It's worth it xx

Picket Fence Style Salsa Di Pomodoro

 We are having a massive season with our tomatoes. With such a big crop we have eaten bucket loads and traded even more. I was looking at making chutney when a dear friend suggested passata di pomodoro. This being a tomato puree with the skins and seeds removed with a sieve. We don't have a moulle or a decent sieve ( on the list !)  so the Picket Fence children and I made a twisted version of salsa di pomodoro...a Neapolitan style tomato sauce....we left the seeds in :) 5kg of tomatoes gave us 7 jars of sauce ( 750gm jars) What I loved about making this was the fact that it was a family effort...the Picket Fence children did the lot (with supervision ) we learnt how to preserve and they had lots of skills, self esteem points and education it :)
Halve fruit and remove stems, Cook in a heavy based pot with a little water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Cool .
Spoon into a food processor and give the mixture a quick whizz. This is enough to let you pick the skins out . Discard the skin. Process for around 1 minute until pulpy.
Throw some Basil leaves into sterilised recycled jars. ( We sterilised ours in Milton antibacterial solution and cold water....too easy. You can however, boil your bottles or sterilise them in an oven)
Ladle the mix into the jars through a funnel ( Note to self...hunt for vintage enamel funnel on EBay) Leave about an inch at the top of each bottle. Seal immediately with sterilised lids.
Place jars in a pot with water to cover ( I found my old vacola steriliser unit after this ) and boil for an hour.....let the bottles cool in the water.
Employ industrious kitchen slaves to make bespoke labels out of recycled bits and pieces.
Your sauce should last 12 months in a cool dark well ventilated place. Add onions, garlic etc at point of use. Don't panic if the sauce looks to separate in the bottle after time....this tells you it's not full of chemicals to bind it and seduce customers on a supermarket shelf. Shake it :) and enjoy.
Next we are going to try making mint jelly and then jams....fingers crossed we succeed . What are you doing in your school holidays ? I'd love to hear !

A Photo A Day Challenge

Have you heard of Fat Mum Slim ?
 If you haven't then run on over here This girl has the most amazing blog and in January she is running a photo challenge Basically there is a list of themes for every day in January. You snap a picture each day, be it on your whizz bang DSLR, iPhone,  mobile phone or basic point and shoot camera. You can then either
Face book it, Twitter it, Blog it  or just put it on your desktop as a happy reminder of January.
 Well you know I love photos and you know I love happy.... I had to do this. It was a given .
I chose my iPhone and picked instagram as my app of choice , some of my favourite filters give a grainy look to my photos ( I like that) If you have instagram ( be warned it's addictive) you can follow me on same.... I am picketfencefancy....don't say I didn't warn you about the addiction though ;)
I thought I'd do a weekly summary....Lets go !!
Hardest photo of the lot and I look like I'd just woken up  (I had).....Day 1
This week one of my beautiful Picket Fence Children was diagnosed as Coeliac , I'm going gluten free as support more weetbix for me (Send her a mental hug , it's been a big week )
Day 2
Day 3
"Something you adore"
(Taking photos of my children)
 Day 4
 Day 5
"Something you wore"
 Day 6
"Makes you smile"
Favourite thing to do being playing catch with my brood :) 
Well are you going to do it ? I think you should, it's a great way to familiarise yourself with your camera , it's spontaneous and I'm not fussing too much with the's loads of fun. You will be left with a beautiful chronicle of January. Early days so you can play catch up. Come on...if I can...then you can !!! Do it :)

Summer Done Simple

Happy New Year !! Here we are in 2012. Awesome :)
I hope you had  beautiful Christmas. Here at the Picket Fence household we are enjoying summer holidays and all the things that come with that.
 Simple things, home based, family focused activity because, increasingly, I'm realising that this is what my children really want.
 Not  expensive toys, holidays to far away places, or thrill a minute game parks ( but they wouldn't refuse if these were offered !!) ( Blurry phone picture but still appropriate)
 But, time with myself and Mr Picket Fence. Just being us.
 I'd forgotten how simple the formula was.

 Wishing you the most awesome, fabulous, wonderful 2012 and the clarity to see, that what is important is right in front of you.
 You may have noticed that little twitter icon on my sidebar. Click it, follow me, and if you like you can keep up with the day to day Picket Fence happenings.  I was awfully slack with my Face book page so have replaced it with twitter...I'm much better at that. Hope to see you there !!
P.S I received , read and enjoyed the ton of emails and comments from my last post.  I'll be getting back to you all this week. You are valued, I'm blown away each time someone takes the time to write. Thanks for rocking my Picket Fence world ! Hold on 2012 ... Here we come  :)

   P.P.S I've left auto behind, and in 2012 ,I'm shooting in manual. Forgive my not so perfect photo's , I'm determined to learn ( and having so much fun with it)
Sharing with Sarah at A Beach Cottage :)