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.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Day 182/366

Locked gate.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Day 181/366

Palmer Street Darlinghurst

I have a fascination with doors.
This one particularly appealed to me tonight, at the East Village Hotel, where we had an impromptu dinner with Youngest Son who turns twenty five today.

It was a nice way to end a very busy last business day of financial year from work too.
As I work in a membership based institution, there was, as always, a last minute rush to get those payments in before June 30 so as to claim an extra tax dollar!


By the way, I couldn't fault the food in this establishment's dinning room.

Also, the Hotel claims to have links with Sydney's notorious Tilly Devine.

Previously known as the Trademan's Arms, it was in the heart of Sydney's Gangland (during the 1920s and 1930s).

In the early 50s I was born just 650 metres away, around the corner in Crown Street Women's Hospital.  Throughout my life I used to take great delight in telling people that I was born in Woolloomoolo. 

This may not be technically correct but who's not to say that fifty years ago it may have well have been Woolloomoolo.

Anyway, I'm hoping that by the time I came into the world, the area had lost its reputation of ill-repute and had become a little more genteel.

Today, Crown Street is a trendy place to reside, with a multitude of eateries, and an ultra-modern library (in Surry Hills).

Crown Street Women's Hospital building is heritage listed and has been refurbished and leased.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Day 180/366

Have you heard of yarn bombing?
It is the new 'urban art', an 'acceptable' form of graffiti. (But still illegal?)
Said to have originated in the Netherlands in 2004, yarn bombing, guerrilla knitting, yarn storming, or urban knitting, has since spread internationally.

I found this colourfully decorated tree across the street from my office in Surry Hills, Sydney. 

Yarn bombing does not only involve trees but any structure that it's possible to wrap in knitted, crocheted, or wrapped yarn.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Day 177/366

What I'm Reading ATM

I clearly remember the day I was given my first story book, by a family acquaintance, as a parting/Christmas gift. When, about nine months later, I had to leave it behind at my Grandparents' home, I cried.

I must admit that at the time the beautiful illustrations were probably more appealing to me than the story line but that book has stayed in  mind's eye for over fifty years.
 As a child books were my escape.  I truly believe that there have been times in my life where they have been my saviour.  

I am no lightweight when it comes to reading.  The number of times I have left a (fictional) book unfinished can be counted on one hand.
So when I discovered the Carrie Diaries amongst a cache of books my Youngest Son's girlfriend gave me to read I didn't really believe me when I told myself: I'll see how it goes.  If I don't like it I don't have to finish reading it.
I have a habit of doing this...but most times I will persist with a book even if I don't like it and complete reading it simply because I hate leaving a book half read. 

So when I discovered that The Carrie Diaries is sort of a prequel to Sex and The City I hummed and hawed about it and considered not even opening it up to the first page. You see, I must confess that I have not watched a single episode of Sex and the City, nor a single movie.
Until I picked up that book I'd never heard of Carrie Bradshaw. I decided that one must not look a gift horse in the mouth so I read the book; from beginning to end.

This book, I found, deals with many adolescent issues: Teenage sex, loss, peer pressure, adolescent perceptions of significant adults and the desire to belong and fit in are just some.

Carrie Bradshaw is different from her peers  she has lost her father (through death). 

The experience affects all members of her family of origin in vastly different ways.

Candice Bushnell's writing aroused my emotions constantly and I found that sensitivity is a feature of her writing.  I don't know how Carrie Bradshaw is portrayed in Sex and the City, but in The Carrie Diaries she is an intelligent young girl with deep respect for her parents.
She can be insightful, knows what she wants in life (but can be swayed by her peers), and is on the brink of going out into the big wide world.

Although some might class it as "Chick Lit" I enjoyed reading about Carrie and how at times she fumbled through life and other times was decisive.  She made me laugh and she made cry.  I'm tempted to find out a bit more about her.

My second book, Belong To Me was introduced to me by an on-line book club that I've joined.  The finer details of just how this book club will be managed have yet to be ironed out so I will fill you out on that when the time comes.

In a sentence, Belong To Me can best be described, in my opinion, as an upmarket version of Desperate Housewives.

American street, post 9/11,is full of women all trying to out do each other. 
Tragedy forces these women to re-evaluate previous perceptions.  Surprising and unexpected secrets evolve to bring characters together while also revealing some shocking ulterior motives.  
Innocent people's lives are hugely impacted on by these revelations, sometimes for better, sometimes not.
Cornelia Brown does not take long to realise that a move to what she believes to be a quite town may not be as smooth as she'd expected.
The reader will take an instant dislike to Piper but she will be the most challenged of all the characters and lives up to the opportunity to grow herself personally.

Initially, I found the writing style of Marisa de los Santos beautiful and flowing, the story fast moving and compelling.
By the final third of the book the words had become grating and condescending.
The ending I'd describe as sickly sweet and the sort of ending that I find irritating because it's as if it's written because the author is in a hurry to complete the book, because a story has to have an 'end'.
Sometimes, I think, it's better to leave an ending 'up in the air' as it were, because it's so obvious that everyone is going to live happily ever after that the words don't need to be written, that the words are just a waste.
None-the-less, a good read, a story that deals, again, with loss, friendships, morality, marital relationships and adolescence.  


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Day 176/366

It's ironic that I should have a collection of wrist watches.

As a child, I didn't own a watch and if I had to go out for the day, my mother would loan me her watch so I didn't have to ask strangers for the time.  We used to use public transport and so it was necessary to know the time because our trains left the city once every hour.  It was a long wait for the next train if we missed the train.

Without fail, Mum's watch would have stopped working by the time I'd returned home. Everyone said it was because I have too much electricity in my body.

A elderly friend I worked with gave me a watch that you pinned onto your dress, like a brooch.  Some people call them nurses' watches.

That stopped working too, and although I've kept it all these fifty years or so, it still doesn't work.

When they were invented, I found that digital watches were okay,  for about nine months, then they stopped too.

So in the end I gave  up on wearing a watch.

When battery operated watches became the fashion Mr Honey Pie bought me a nice Seiko with crystal face.  It's the only watch that hasn't failed on me.  I stopped wearing it though, after I left my job around 2005 because I was forever replacing the leather wrist band.

These wacky watches were a favourite of mine around 1999.  I wore them more as an adornment than a time piece.  I think I paid around two dollars for each of them, from Burger King, where they were offered as a promotion if you purchased a meal.

They are now a collector's item and I have seen the odd one or two listed for around thirty dollars.  Some are selling for less at around seven dollars.

I loved the Rugrats when they were at their peak.  

The collection includes a Pokemon watch; with sound, a floating flower watch, a watch with a scratch n' sniff wrist band and a reptar watch with a 'moving' image of a reptar that opens and closes its mouth.
The reptar watch is my favourite.

This afternoon, I spent a frustrating two hours removing the batteries from the watches.
The easiest part was removing the back of the watches.  The most difficult, removing the batteries from their receptacle.

Then I dropped one of the minute plastic pieces onto our technicolour rug and I was sure I'd never find.  But surprise, surprise, I put my hand on it immediately.

When I then lost an even smaller screw, I didn't have the same luck so one of the watches, which originally had five screws, now has four, to hold the back on.
Hopefully, it will eventually turn up.

It Feels Like My Blog Has Been Overtaken

Have any of you fellow bloggers had trouble opening up blogs lately?
Every time I try to open a blogger's page (including mine) I get a big red box with a cross inside telling me that this is a fraudulent web page and has been blocked.
I can continue to the page but this happens every time I attempt to open up a new page.

Is it an attempt by Norton's to get more business or do I need to change my settings perhaps?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Day 175/366

What I love about roses is that they bloom in the middle of June.
These are miniature roses and they have been helping to cheer up our house during the gloomy weather of the past two days.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Day 174/366

Remember this?
Baby Jorja was born about four weeks ago.
We have yet to visit the family and their new addition.
By all accounts, she is a little angel.

Except for a few threads to be tied in, and the addition of a label, the quilt is ready for gifting.
I have machined the quilt myself, on my sewing machine, very simply, by sewing around each circle while sewing the flaps down to make the petals (and form the 'fake' cathedral windows).

I chose the fabrics on line and I was a little anxious about how true to life the fabrics appeared online.

Well, I couldn't be happier.  

My first online fabric purchase and the selection of fabrics couldn't have been better co-ordinated, I don't think.

Let's see if I can attach label and tie in threads before the end of the weekend!

Then it's a visit to little Jorja, hopefully next weekend (if Mr Honey Pie isn't rostered on at work).

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Day 173/366

I didn't manage to take any photos today.
The weather was dreary, work is crazy, and I'm feeling down.
So here a photo of last night's sunset to cheer everybody up.
I took this out of our upstairs loft studio window as our little house sits on the side of a hill.  The sunsets have moved a bit to the north-west and there's no good vantage point from our verandah. 

This is an unedited photograph taken on a point and shoot camera.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Day 166/366

This photo is probably a case of spot the kookaburra!  

At work today I decided to go out for lunch.
I needed to clear my head.
Prince Alfred Park was in full sunshine and I sat on a park bench with my sandwich and paper back. 
A kookaburra came and sat on the bench next to mine.
When a fire engine or two drove by with the sirens blaring, the kookaburra (joined now by a second kookaburra) became vocal and laughed along with the sirens.
When I was growing  up I was told that kookaburras only laugh when it's about to rain or if they have spotted a snake for their dinner.
Does today prove this theory wrong?

I only had my mobile telephone with me, and hence the sad photo result.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Day 165/366

Blame it all on Venus.

I missed Venus' eclipse,  I worked that day, and it was cloudy in Sydney.  And of course one can't gaze at the sun without eye protection right? 
And ever since the eclipse funny little things have been going wrong; like my solar powered calculator which I've had for over twenty years and has been one of my most reliable apppliances began miscalculating.
Like my Excel spreadsheet at work refusing to expand its A to Z sorting application and so making my job tediously laborious.
Like the clutch on my car sticking ex-honourably.
Like my freezer defrosting without asking permission during the night.

Yes, I'm blaming it all on Venus.
(And what is this bag of mixed vegetables doing in my freezer? I NEVER buy frozen mixed vegetables.)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Day 164/366

Darling Grand Daughter spent the day today.

We were purry cats,

we tambourined 

rode our ponies

flew to Canberra

and splashed in the puddles.
After all, isn't that what a rain boots are for?

What are you doing today?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Day 163/366

Once again, my daily photo challenge is suffering.
It's raining.  Heavy downpours have not been unusual.   
Mr Honey Pie is trying to catch up on some painting and decorating.
And to top off the Queen's Birthday holiday weekend we are being naughty and engaging in house hunting.
Over the past twenty years or so we have had a perpetual relationship with at least one real estate agent in our local area: Which can be either a bad thing or a good thing. I haven't decided yet.
My dream is to live within a short walk to Springwood village.
This may now be a possibility if we're willing to take the plunge.
We have already put in an offer for one house but lost it to a higher offer.
Now we have found a much more suitable house but we live in such a beautiful spot it's hard to let go.
The photograph above is just a fraction of what we see each time we look out a window.
We literally live in the tree tops amongst the birds.
Such a difficult decision.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Day 161/366

Here is another piece of my favourite silver that no longer gets used as much as it had been during the 1980s.
The Queen Anne piece, a sugar bowl with sugar spoon was given to me by my sister as a birthday gift.
Queen Anne silver plated pieces are usually tarnish resistant but I have to confess...I removed the tarnish resistant coating when I gave this piece a silver bath.
I'm not concerned though because I truly believe the resistant coating was not longer doing its job.

Back in the eighties I was an avid cook and one of my favourite things to make was Devonshire teas.
I loved baking scones and I had a favourite super easy recipe.
Instead of using the sugar bowl for sugar, when we had scones I'd use it for the strawberry jam.
Alas, scones are off the menu for me now, as over the years, I have discovered that I am wheat sensitive and unfortunately I have not as yet discovered a gluten free scone recipe to my liking.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Day 160/366

It's off to work I go and meeting my daily photo challenge becomes more and more difficult.
So here is a photo from earlier in the week which showcases some beautiful teaspoons Mr Honey Pie's Mum passed down.
They are from Holland and each teaspoon's stem is a also a flower stem with bud head.
There is a viole(viooltje), lily of the valley (lelietjes vd) clover (klaver), poppy (papaver), rose (roos), and of course the tulip (tulp).
These are just a few of the beautiful teaspoons she left us.
When I was becoming acquainted with Mr Honey Pie, way back in the late 1960s, I was intrigued with the quaint silverware his family used daily.
Their cups of tea were a ritual and the teaspoons were really only used to stir the tea.  Sugar was spooned in to the cups with what I knew to be a teaspoon but after that this tiny bowled spoon was placed into each saucer and used to stir what was the best cup of tea I'd ever tasted.
Just like the British, the Dutch know how to make a good cup of tea.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Day 159/366

I bought this mobile in 2010 when Mr Honey Pie & I visited Wyndham Western Australia.
Wyndham is Western Australia's most northern town.

The mobile is made from boab tree nuts which have been cut into two and carved and polished.

Boab trees can live for anything up to six thousand years.

While in Western Australia, we visited two boab trees which, in the past, were used as lock ups, for Indigenous Australian prisoners in transit. They are known infamously as Boab Prison Trees.
One is in Derby and the other in Wyndham.

One of these trees is said to have the ability to house up to ten people at a time.

How ironic that such a significant tree was put to such use.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Day 158/366

When you're feeling down,

...clean the silver.

I've never made a silver cleaning bath before; using washing soda and aluminium foil.
It caused quite a reaction...in more ways than one!

Here is my latest vintage china acquisition.
A fluted Wedgwood with gold trim.  
Very simple but elegant in its simplicity.
Mr Honey Pie said this is the masculine edition of the very feminine 
Royal Albert trio I blogged about recently.
I purchased this from my favourite vintage shop in Springwood:  Frou Frou, using a gift voucher my daughter gave me for mother's day.

Linking to Terri's & Martha's : Teacup Tuesday.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Day 157/366

What better way to soothe the troubled soul than with a home made chocolate pudding and a cup of tea?
Shared with the one you love of course.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Day 155/366

In another effort to shake off the  overbearing mundane feeling I'm experiencing at the moment Mr Honey Pie and I went for a long bush walk today.
The weather was threatening rain but we did not allow this to deter us.
Because of the chance of rain  we left the camera at home and had to rely on Mr Honey Pie's mobile phone camera.
The results were a big fail but I was able to salvage this photo by editing it a little on Picasa.

We are lucky to live within a few metres of a fire trail which is a popular walking track for locals.

The trail meanders through a mixture of dry and wet sclerophyll forests.
After the recent wet summer the creeks were in full flow and spilled noisily over the rocky ledges as they accompanied us down into the flourishing valley.
Climbing back out to the real world we came upon the above plant; a native pittosporum in fruit.

This is the first time I've seen the burst seed pods of a native pittosporum.  In summer the creamy coloured blooms give off a strong fragrance and this has lead the plant to it being commonly called native Daphne.
These plants tend to become a bit weedy as the sticky seeds are easily spread by birds.
It's not uncommon to find pittosporum growing in amongst potted plants in native and exotic gardens alike.

Native pittosporum features strongly in Eleanor Dark's novel Prelude to Christopher.

He was beginning to feel exhausted again, and, to his annoyance, found his tongue expressing his thought in a way that was obviously ridiculous:
"Roses - don't smell - of pittosporum..."

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Day 154/366

The first Saturday of each month means an early start to the day and a trip  to Penrith for the Hawkesbury Harvest grower's market.
I've transformed my in-season produce into a still life for you to enjoy.
Corella Pears, Persimmon and Red Delicious Apples are just a few of the items I purchased; along with a new African Violet plant.
I buy my fruit and veg. from Nashdale Fruit Co, my lamb and poultry from Drovers Choice and herbal teas from Neat Janes Teas.
I've also discovered that I can buy preservative free sausages from the market and plan to try them out next month; as I'd spent my allowance by the time I'd discovered them.
In a fortnight we will be off to the Glenbrook Rotary Markets.
The Glenbrook Markets are mostly craft markets with a little vintage, and yummy food thrown in.
Nashdale is a huge draw card at Glenbrook and I find that fortnight (roughly) visits is just right to keep us going with fresh fruit and vegetables.

I prefer to buy as much of our food from local growers to help support Australian farmers.  Much of what I buy from these markets is not only grown locally  but organically too.
Direct marketing ensures that the farmer - consumer benefits are maximised. 
And if you live in Australia, here is a 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Day 153/366

Valley Heights is a Railway Town and home to the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum.
Before the museum, a ten bay roundhouse   existed on the site of the depot.
Mr Honey Pie did some relief work there in the seventies as a coach painter.  At the time we lived at Hazelbrook so it was nice and close to home, because normally he travelled to Eveleigh Workshops at Redfern.

When there is track work in progress in the lower mountains, much of the equipment is stored at Valley Heights.

Here are some portable night lights looking like an army of R2D2s

Because of the track work, trains will be replaced by buses over the weekend.

These photos were taken with my mobile phone camera, on my way to work, so not great quality I'm afraid.

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