A Day In The A Blue Mountains.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I welcome you to take your time and browse , visiting my bush garden and discovering the wonders of my city within a national park; Blue Mountains National Park. Via my blog you will travel with me through the successes, trials and tribulations of gardening on a bush block. I share with you my patchwork & quilting, knitting, paper crafts, cooking and life in general.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

And Oh, Did I Mention...

The Easter Bunny did visit our house...leading to lots of squeals from the little inhabitants and visitors to our house.  I suspect that an excess of calories has been consumed by young and old alike.

These little bunnies were a hit, thanks to The Graphics Fairy.

On Easter Monday, it also being ANZAC Day, the family wandered up to Springwood for the ANZAC Day Parade.

Mostly, the weather's been on the heavier side of damp, that is, we've had numerous downpours of the wet stuff with fleeting glimpses of sun - giving a false sense of hope.

On the whole, it's been a very long weekend of the very relaxed type.  

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

No Barrier.

What I'm Reading ATM.

The chaos of Bligh's Botany Bay is calmed with the arrival of the new Governor, Lachlan Macquarie, but by the end of the book, although much progress is made in the new colony, Governor Macquarie finds himself dogged by rebelliousness and suspicions from just as many quarters as his predecessor.
I settled quickly into this book, eager to learn what is ahead for the colourful characters in the narrative, some factual, some fictional.  The language in the final volume is  mellower than in the previous ones.  The main characters become much more the focal point of the writing.  They become more developed as human beings, less clamorous, less unruly.
And Dark is no longer beleaguered by the need to 'set the record straight', as it were. 
And as European settlement seeks greener pastures over the Great Dividing Range, the divide between Indigenous and white settler continues to widen.
No Barrier is the final book in the Timeless Land Trilogy.
The conclusion leaves me feeling deprived...I want to know more, I want to continue reading.  Reading about the beginnings of a locality that is the background of my birth and where I have lived ninety five percent of my life has left me enthralled. I have become educated as to the origins of place names, discovered that the settlements west of Sydney, (the beginnings of the Western Suburbs now somewhat frowned upon by the upper echelons of Sydney society), were once a lifeline for Botany Bay. 
Most of all, I am captivated by the charm,inspiration, fortitude and at times pique of the founders of this city, state and country in which I live and saddened by disturbing effects on its Indigenous inhabitants.

One Down, Three To Go!

Life Is A Pea-2011
Remember this?  My Irish Chain quilt top is finished! Today!  
Tomorrow I'm off to purchase backing and binding fabric.  I've decided that at almost ninety by ninety inches square the quilt is way too big for me to machine quilt it myself so it's off to the long arm quilter.  
On Friday, I hope to pick out the fabric for my second Twin Sister's quilt which will consist of octagon blocks similar to this.
After these two quilts are out of the way, I have two baby quilts to complete.  
It's looking to be a busy year.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

If A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Life Is A Pea - 2011
...then why can't I paint the relief I feel today?
Almost thirty years of chronic back pain and then I walk past a new practitioner in Springwood, and, feeling desperate make an appointment.
How much lighter my body feels after my first session, which was this morning.  I couldn't wait until next Tuesday. Now I move without feeling fear of triggering irritable nerve responses all over my back to the point of wanting to shrink away from my own body.  
This is not pain that can be treated with pain killers.  For thirty years, I've listened to the prognosis of never being able to be completely healed, only that I would have to work hard at maintaining my condition.  
I'm hoping that I'm not being too optimistic but the way I feel today is positive.
I have an old injury, one I received at age six or seven.  So I have carried it for a long time.  
To have it explained to me that one holds one's body differently after an injury, to the point of causing pain and discomfort, and the need is to re-learn how to hold one's body correctly makes a lot of sense to me.

On another point, my Lenten abstinence ends today...I can tell you that I have lost four kilograms over the past five weeks.  I feel and look much better for it and this has inspired me to look at how I eat with more care.
Walking ever day has been encouraged to help my back so this should also help keep my weight under control.

Generally, I have been catching up with my Daughter and Grand Daughter who have returned from an overseas holiday and cooking up a storm  for tomorrow, Easter Sunday.  Extended family visiting for lunch.  

In Australia, we have a five day long weekend, because Monday 25th April is ANZAC Day.

Whatever you're doing this weekend...give it your best! 

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

This Month In The Garden

A consequence of Autumn in the southern hemisphere is more time spent outdoors.  
The First Gerbera Of the Season
In Autumn, the earth takes a sigh of relief from the hot, humid, suffocating days of Summer.
Cactus Plants are at their best now.
Plants breath in the cooler air, soak up the gentler heat of the sun, draw up the moisture from the now damper soil.
Zygocactus Flower on a new plant growing from a cutting taken from one I inherited from my Mother-In-Law.
My Grand Daughter picked out this rose from our local hardware store.  Can't wait for these buds to open up.

This hanging garden was a Christmas gift from our neighbour.    I haven't had much luck with strawberry plants.
First my strawberry patch was taken over by the dichondra.
The netting over the original strawberry patch keeps out birds, wallabies and possum but then I found that the many skinks in the garden love strawberries too.  Hopefully the hanging 'garden', because of its location will be safe from all these predators!  Only time will tell.
Lemon grass cuttings have struck well.

Tiny cyclamen seeds which were sown by my Grand Daughter are just beginning to sprout.  These seedlings won't flower this year.

The seed for more cyclamen seedlings were sown a couple of months ago and are looking very impressive.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Brag Monday.

I wanted to have something nice in the house to welcome home my Daughter and Grand Daughter after their U.K. holiday. (They're back in Sydney tomorrow-yipee!)
Does it always have to be a bouquet of flowers to brighten up things?  Well, no,not when you've got The Graphics Fairy.  Instead I printed and cut out some of my favourite graphics from Karen's blog.  Some of the graphics were made into heart or star shapes, using a template.  All the shapes were taped to a wooden skewer to make a different kind of bouquet. You can find the Butterflies here.
This bouquet would look just as lovely in a vase.  I've go them hanging in a sconce right by the front door.  It's been empty since Christmas, waiting for an inspiration.  Thanks again to Karen from The Graphics Fairy.  

I blogged these little cuties on Friday so you can read more about what I did with The Graphics Fairy's Spool Pets here.  
In the background are bagged mini chocolate eggs with Easter cards displayed on the front of the package.  Find out more in the Easter Preparation Blog as well.
Happy Week to you all.

This post is linked to The Graphics Fairy.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

gee, a priest!

gee, a priest! has come to my rescue.  I've been having so much trouble uploading photographs to my blog...the quality has been very poor and I've been thrown into despair.
I think Geoff has solved the problem for me.  I'm very new to the blogging world and not much of an expert when it comes to problem solving in this very new field.  Despite this, his step by step instructions were easy to follow even for someone as inexperienced as me.
I notice he hasn't blogged since September but it looks like he has lots of projects on the go, going by the links on his about me page. 
Looking forward to better picture quality!!!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Easter Preparations

Aren't these just the cutest?
I can thank The Graphics Fairy for them.
I LOVE - LOVE the Graphics Fairy.
The little bunnies are called spool pets and after printing out I cut along the dotted line.
Instead of a spool, (to keep the Easter theme), I wrapped two little solid chocolate eggs in cellophane then attached the front and rear of the bunny onto each end of the wrapped eggs. I used double sided tape to do this as I HATE using glue...I make such a MESS!
To finish off, a little pom pom was attached to the tail. VOILA!
One of each of these rabbits is going to all my Easter giftees this year. I've made four...how many to go?
Also found these lovely vintage Easter cards at the Graphics Fairy blog which I've printed out at A5 size, inserted into cellophane bags filled with solid chocolate eggs.

Staple down the top, add bows, or whatever else takes your fancy and such a gorgeous Easter gift without the expense.
These will all be handed out to loved ones on Easter Sunday.
For the men in my life, I skipped the eggs and bows and bought each of them a block of their favourite chocolate, which I wrapped in silver wrap and attached a rabbit to the front(looking a bit Frank-Bunny-ish I must admit), also from GF. 
Good Friday, for lunch,we eat hard boiled eggs (which I usually decorate by boiling wrapped in onion skins) and Hot Cross Buns.  

I should add, that I used light card to print my graphics onto.

bend the rules

with FABRIC.

Just love, LOVE this little book by Amy Karol.
I found it at my local library and I must admit, I've been hogging it a bit.  I think I've had it out on loan four times already.  It's due to go back today.  Hmmm...Mother's Day not that far away, perhaps I can start sending out some vibes...
I like to bend the rules a bit too and this bag  I made in February was inspired by a lunch bag from the book. I use the bag to pack my onions into when I go to the Blue Mountains Food Co-op, (yes, I'm member there), and I keep them stored in until until next time...
The next thing I would like to try is her whole cloth quilt right down to the art work.
So much to do, so little time....

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Pumpkin Soup Thursday.

Drove down the mountain to visit my Mum today for Dad's thirteenth anniversary of his passing.  He died from Mesothelioma which he contracted from his work in an asbestos fibro manufacturing plant during the early fifties.
He used to bring  his overalls home for Mum to wash in the old washing machine.  I think this plays on Mum's mind from time to time.
The weather was glorious today and we wandered around the garden.  There is no organisation in Mum's garden but she has a little bit of everything growing which keeps her in good stead for the odd vegetable, fruit or herb. 
Mum picked a lusciously orange Kent pumpkin and gave me half to take home, here is a 'pic' of the yummy pumpkin.

And here is the Recipe for tonight's Thai Spiked Pumpkin Soup.  Must warn you though, this recipe requires around two hours of cooking time.  (It's going to be around eight o'clock before we get dinner tonight!)  Also, my recipe does not use milk and shredded coconut, instead I use 400 mls of coconut milk.  Oh, and I only used one variety of pumpkin.
I must admit, this recipe needs a bit more time than run of the mill pumpkin soup, but not that much more effort.  I think it's worth it.

MY COLLECTIONS: Biscuit Tins, Canisters & Caddies.

Some of these tins date back from the nineteen eighties. Some of the smaller tins I inherited from my Mother-In-Law and originate from Holland; so I'm not sure about the date on those.
Many of the tins we received as gifts at Christmas time. (Filled with goodies of course.) Some were left behind by the boys who think they've outgrown them.
A few were generously passed on to me simply to add to my collection.
Each tin has its own story to tell.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

I Hate Cooking

But that doesn't mean I'm a slouch in the kitchen!

Freshly picked sage from the garden.

Beetroot risotto topped with butter-fried sage, beetroot, Parmesan and balsamic vinegar.
I love eating risotto, I just don't like cooking it!
In Europe, I had risotto that was like a thick rice soup when served.
Unfortunately, that's not quite how it turns out when I cook risotto but I must say, I was impressed with tonight's end result.
Have you ever tried quickly frying sage leaves in butter?  It's absolutely yum.
The beetroot I used tonight was from Nashdale Farm and purchased at Penrith Farmers and Fine Food Market.  Even though I bought two bunches of beetroot two weeks ago, they were so fresh when we bought them that when I cooked them today, they were crisper than any I've bought at the supermarket.

Monday, 11 April 2011


In an old Whitman's Chocolate Sampler box,(from the eighties I think), you'll find my stamp collection.  I also have a few commemorative envelopes, not too many, that I stash into the box as well.
I keep a maximum of two of each stamp, one of everything else goes to my First Son who has been collecting stamps for around thirty years. The rest goes to my good friend Marie, who lives up north and donates stamps to charity.
In my stamp collection, you'll find stamps from China, Japan, Malta, India,Sri Lanka,Singapore, New Zealand, United States, Italy, Malaysia, The Kingdom of Morocco and of course Australia.
My intention is to one day catalogue my stamps into an album, something I will probably get to do when I'm in my nineties.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Together We Quilt.

As I grow older and therefore wiser, I have come to believe that our main purpose in life is to create.  Whether we create gardens, artworks, writings, empires, families or quilts, ultimately we all possess powerful urges to create whether we recognize this or not.
Today as I surfed the web, browsing quilting and patchwork blogs I am left reeling by all my sister quilters and patch-workers!  
Wow, what beautiful work, what ingenious work, what meticulous work, what creativity!  What joy these creations must impart to others, not to mention the joy experienced by the creator in creating.
Some of us create in groups, some of us create alone, and we share our creations not only with those we hold dear and near but also through our blogs, inspiring others, urging others, encouraging others.  I know I feel inspired, encouraged, urged to continue creating.  
Thank you all.
Pat yourselves on the back and keep up the good work!


Another unintentional collection; creamers.  Two from Staffordshire, two from Japan, one from Germany, a Fire King from Northern America, one I think made in Japan but purchased in Byron Bay and an everyday-used item from Indonesia.


Honey Pie bought me a stunning bunch of flowers.  I just adore the colours of the gerbera and iris in combination.
Honey Pie and I celebrated our thirty eighth wedding anniversary with a quiet dinner at the Ori Cafe Restaurant.  His Sirloin and my Barramundi were cooked to perfection while my 'meringue' desert was a bit disappointing. I thought it was something you would prepare in an emergency for unexpected guests.  I was imagining marshmallowy meringue but got 'biscuit' shaped meringue so hard I couldn't break with my cutlery.
Ah...yes broke my Lenten sugar abstinence!  But I felt it was a good reason for it. 
Find it hard to believe that hubby and I have been married for so long. We contemplated the possibility of being together for another thirty eight years.  We'll still be under a hundred years young so I guess it's possible!  

Saturday, 9 April 2011

MY COLLECTIONS: Religious Medals.

This is my collection of religious medals that began, unintentionally, when I made my first communion, in the Catholic church I think in 1959.  
I must admit, that most of these medals have been given to me by my mother, a devout Catholic, to this day.  
The St Christopher medal (the large one on the right) belonged to my Mother-In-Law (she passed away in 2007).  
Some of these medals I have picked up off the street, literally. The red one in the centre was a street find and I think it pictures Pope John XXXIII.
 I keep recent finds in a little heart shaped trinket box on my tallboy.
The uppermost one is my Confirmation medal.
The tiny one with a ribbon on it was given to my First Son at his birth, at St Margaret's Hospital for Women, Darlinghurst, by one of the nuns running the hospital at that time (1972). (Sadly, the hospital no longer exists).
I'm sure I have one for each of my four children born at the hospital...will have to round them up me thinks. (The medals, not the children!)

Friday, 8 April 2011

MY COLLECTIONS: Dragonfly Jewellery.

My collection of anything Dragonfly began around ten years ago.  Here is a small collection of earrings, brooches, pendants and a couple other little bits.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Thrifty Thursday.

Wow, what a week it's been for bargains.
First, I picked up this little herbal from a church stall in Springwood, signed by the authors and only two dollars!
Below the herbal you can see two great text books from the mid 1800s.  The top text is titled The Study of Rocks which I will give to my First Son, who is a geologist.  The other text is titled Elementary Botany which I will give to my Second Son who is a jewellery designer and maker.  He is also an avid botanist and is often inspired to design pieces of jewellery with a botanical theme.  I found these at the local Lifeline store and the two cost me thirteen dollars.
On Tuesday I took a trip to Reverse Garbage at Marrickville with Second Son and just look at these finds:
Although the gold lined coffee set isn't quite my style, I certainly was taken in by all that glittering gold and at twelve dollars simply couldn't resist. 
Also loved the two little creamers for two dollars each, the one on the left is a Queen Anne piece and the on the right is from Germany. 
And my whole reason for going to reverse garbage?  To pick up some cotton fabrics for my  Hexagon Quilt Top but only managed to find a small amount suitable for patchwork which you can see on the top left of the image.
Also found zippers, twenty five cent each!!! These will be suitable for making little zipper bags.  I think my best find was the swatches and swatches of the most exquisite cottons and silks.  The cottons include a crepe voile and an antique satin.  I stuffed a bag full of these fabrics, and it cost me the grandly sum of five dollars.
But now, I'm left with the problem of making the decision of what to make with these beautiful fabrics.  
Are the fine cottons suitable for making a patchwork quilt?  
I know I could make some very desirable zipper bags which could be used for cosmetics, a bag organizer, etcetera.  Or I could make a patchwork dress for my Grand Daughter.
The colours of the cottons are mostly creams and off whites with a few muted greens thrown in.  So very neutral.
If you can help with ideas for projects for these fabrics, I'd be more than delighted to hear about them.
Aren't the silks just gorgeous?  They include a crepe Georgette.  Most are one hundred percent silk.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Is It Possible...

...that this Lent thing is actually and FINALLY leading to some weight loss?  
My dear Mum tried to tempt me with some chocolate biscuits today. 
Mum never accepts 'no' for an answer where food is concerned.  
After politely refusing the offer and saying I'm not eating chocolate, she answered "Oh go on, just one won't hurt".  
But, two little words worked a wonder.
"It's Lent" I said, and the biscuits were whisked away.  In fact, I didn't even catch sight of them!
And I've been hitching my trousers up all day!
I'll do a weigh-in tomorrow morning and fill you in.  
Chocolate Cake

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Japan Earthquake Donations To Red Cross.

Isn't this just a brilliant idea?  Something else I picked up at a Springwood Foundation Day stall:
Inside I found this print-out and this:
Isn't an origami heart and crane a much more ingenious way of attracting someone's attention than an A4 leaflet?
Well, if you want to donate you can, either through the Japanese Consulate (see the above link)or the Australian Red Cross here.

A Girl Can NEVER Have Too Many Tutus

Picked up one more tutu for my darling Grand Daughter!
From where I hear you say?  Well from Frou Frou of course.  Wandered up to see the happenings of Springwood Foundation Day Saturday just gone and picked  up this delightful pink tutu for only five dollars.  Every girl MUST HAVE a PINK tutu!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Manic Monday.

Do you ever have days when you have soooo much to do that you run around like a dog chasing its tail?
That's how today feels for me!

So I'm starting my morning with a juice for breakfast; carrot, apple, beetroot and celery.
Lunch will be leftover curried sausages from last night's dinner. (Yes which was made from leftover sausages from Meat 'n Three Veg).
For tea I somehow have to squeeze in preparing this: 

and you can find the recipe in this cookbook.  I also have my patchwork sewing class from one onwards where I'm looking forward to choosing fabric for Older Twin Sister's quilt.
I must do a load of laundry, ironing uniforms for Honey Pie,shopping,check in on my neighbour who has had chemotherapy recently...I think you all know the script...
Hope you all have a great day!!!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sunny Sunday Sewing.

This afternoon, trialled a block I want to use for my Older Twin Sister's fiftieth birthday quilt.  The colours are a bit ho hum but I couldn't waste a perfectly good piece so I made this cushion with it.

Which inspired me to complete a pair of pillow slips I wanted to make for my Youngest Son. These will go with a quilt I'd made for his twenty first. He turns twenty five in June-oh my gosh, where do the years go?!!  And should I mention that this week Honey Pie and I celebrate our 39th, yes 39th wedding anniversary-ahhhh!  I will add a photo of the quilt into my gallery...that is when I find a photo of it!
Anyway, here are the pillow slips.  

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Meat 'n Three Veg.

When I was a child, growing up in the north-western suburbs of Sydney during the sixties and seventies, meat-and-three-veg was a commonplace mid-week meal.
Usually, it consisted of a grilled lamb chop, mashed potato, steamed carrot rings and peas.
Tonight, I tried to put a new spin on this quick Aussie Favourite.  I ate alone tonight, Honey Pie working late and my kids either overseas or now living in the city.
So this is what I dished up for myself and set aside for Honey Pie to heat and eat later tonight....

Lamb sausages with rosemary, mushrooms and butter sauce, grated beetroot Russian style and steamed freshly harvested corn on the cob.
All purchased this morning from the Hawkesbury Harvest Markets at Penrith.
Hope this inspires you to think outside the square, even when trying to keep it simple.

Grilled Figs - Stuffed With Ricotta.

Hawkesbury Harvest Markets are on today.  I've already done my dash.  Have begun to realise that if one is not there by nine in the morning, lots of favourites are sold out.  Missed out on yumlicious fresh chicken from Drover's Choice.  

But look at what I found at John's Nashdale Stall.

And this is what I made:

For each serving you will need:
2 just ripe figs (I used Black Genoa).
About 100g of full fat ricotta cheese
1-2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup.

Heat grill.
Cut each fig in half from top to bottom
Stir maple syrup into ricotta cheese
Fill each fig-half with ricotta and maple syrup mixture, piling high.
Toast under a hot grill for 4 minutes.
Remove from grill and allow to cool for a minute.
Serve topped with a sprig of lemon balm.

I had these for a light lunch served on gluten free deli crackers made by Eskal.
The figs would make a great dessert served alongside a plate of cheeses and crackers.
For breakfast, serve on a thin slice of lightly buttered fruit toast.

Comments Welcome

I welcome your comments; they are little personal notes to me. I enjoy reading what each of you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.