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.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Wild & Windy Day

On a wild and windy day what do you do? 
When you're home from school because you're sick what do you do? 
When your Mum's at work and you spend the day with Nanna, what do you do?  
Well...what do you do? 
You ask Nanny to make pancakes, that's what you do.
And when she's made them, and you've helped her stir, you share them with your Opa who's on a break from work, that's what you do - on a wild and windy day.

Sunday, 18 August 2013


Last month, Mr Honey Pie and I made soap.

I love making soap. We don't make it often enough and usually wait until we have absolutely no soap at all and we have to buy it for personal use and then one lovely customer will send me an email and ask for another kilo or two.

That's when we know we have to make soap.  Which is what happened this time.
So we made soap. We made oatmeal soap with chamomile and lavender essential oil. We made rose petal soap with rose geranium essential oil and pink clay. We made lavender soap with lavender essential oil and lavender flowers. We made baby soap with just a hint of lavender and chamomile essential oil.
And then we let it cure.  We cut it. We let it air so that it could dry out a little more.
The house was filled with luscious aromas of the various essential oils.

One day, about a month after we'd made the soap, Mr Honey Pie sat me down and said he wanted to ask me something.
Mr Honey Pie NEVER says to me: "Honey, there's something I want to ask you."
That is, not until about two weeks ago.
He sat me down and he sat next to me and said,
"I've been thinking, what if I finish painting the kitchen and dining room?"
Well I was flabbergasted, firstly because I thought he had something life shattering to ask, and secondly because, well we only started painting the interior of our house well, like two years ago and everything came to an abrupt stand still...just like that.
I had seriously been considering getting in a professional painter and decorator, even though Mr Honey Pie is a professional painter and decorator.

Anyway, to cut a long story short...we painted. Or should I say Mr Honey Pie painted.  (I did help by rolling one coat of the main colour while he cut in.)

But before we could pull out the stinky cans of paint, the soap had to be packed carefully away, wrapped and boxed, to ensure no contamination with the paint fumes. 

Thirteen years ago when we had our house built, we chose neutral warm colours...mainly creams.  In the kitchen, you can see here, we painted a feature wall a sort of coffee colour.

In our previous house, the colours were sort of apricot-pink.

So far,the guest bedroom, the study, the two bathrooms, the lounge room and the entry have been repainted.  This time we chose blue as our main colour.

It just feels right.

But I'm not sure about the blue feature wall in the kitchen.  I was hoping that it would be darker.  But we've decided to live with it for a while and if we can't live with it...well, we'll repaint it.

And among the painting, we  hosted a birthday dinner for our Darling Daughter.
Our gorgeous Grand Daughter gets so excited about birthdays.  If she could have her way, she would have a full on birthday party for every member of the family with bunting, balloons, scores of guests, music and on and on.
But for today, she had to contend with paint fumes and a very messy dining room.
She had so much fun that her mum messaged me tonight to tell us that Miss Five was laughing in her sleep!
Well, we can't wait for the morning to find out about her dreams!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

August Moon

I find that the closer it is to a full moon, the better my baking.

After two days in bed, feeling quite exhausted, I woke today feeling a whole lot better.  Which is just as well.  I really have to just take one day at a time and make the best of the good days.
After shopping at the markets for fruit and vegetables I spent the afternoon baking.

It's our daughter's birthday on Tuesday so we will be having an afternoon tea for her tomorrow and then she will have dinner with us.
On Tuesday, it will be a mother and daughter afternoon tea in one of our local coffee shops...yet to be decided.

I'm finding that when I bake cakes and biscuits now I stick to a few basic recipes so I hope you're all not getting sick of seeing my gluten free lavender shortbread, and my nut free, gluten free chocolate brownies.

This is the usual black forest brownie cake, a round one this time...waiting for ganache which I will do in the morning.

I've packed a few of the goodies for DD to take home with her afterwards.

And here's a close up of the pot holder I made a few days ago...it's a 'practise' square that most quilty people would turn into a mug rug...I'm not into mug rugs (yet) so I made a pot holder.

I'll include a trio of fat quarters with the foodie goodies...I purchased these for DD a couple of months ago and I coveted them so much I couldn't find them because I'd included them with my stash! 

I know she'll love these fabrics - just hope she can find some time to fit a bit of sewing into her busy schedule.

Some years ago, Mr Honey Pie and I decided that we wouldn't buy expensive gifts for our now adult children.  Rather, we give them a small gift and some cash.  This way they get to have a little of their 'inheritance' now and use it as they see fit.
Mostly, they have spent the money on buying themselves expensive items they would not normally buy for themselves.

And I know our Youngest Son is saving up for a very special piece of jewellery...

Friday, 16 August 2013

CFS Update.

Just when I thought I was free of this dreaded malaise, it strikes again.
What do you say to someone when they ask: "So what's wrong this time?" And "How is it different from yesterday?" Like it's been a month since yesterday!
It does make me angry when I have to "explain" every symptom I'm feeling.
The fact that I have two huge cold sores on my mouth seems to make no difference to how they perceive me.
I don't have a sore throat, I don't have a cough, I don't have a headache, I don't have a fever, I tell you I don't.
These are things that others want to hear.
They don't want to hear; "I feel like c.r.a.p." if it's not qualified and quantified.
They don't want to hear; "I've got no energy" without a reason for this lack.
They don't want hear; "I've got brain fog" because they've got no idea what brain fog is.
Yet, if they were hung over...

For the record; I do have brain fog, I do have fatigue, I do have pain all down the right side of my body, and I do need to sleep today.  And that's exactly how I felt yesterday too.
Tomorrow?  Who knows how I'll feel tomorrow.
In the meantime, I don't want sympathy, just understanding.
And to be over this illness.

A Violet Obession

Over the past couple of years, I've developed an obsession for African Violets.  Lately, it has been taking up more and more of my time.

I can't stop propagating them. 

These biodegradable Bio-cups are made from plant material and I've been converting them into mini-"glass" houses for the leaf cuttings.
I collect the cups from the freshly squeezed juice I occasionally buy in town and considering asking Zac at Pink Papaya to save the throwaway ones for me. I'm still not convinced that they are suitable.  The violets grown in the cups seem to be much more compact and with much smaller leaves. 
They are great for transporting the plants but a lot of the young plants are now too large for the containers.

The colour of the above blooms is deeply intense purple but I have a lot of trouble photographing them because the colour always photographs blue.  I've edited it a little to get it back to its truer colour.

This one has large,frilly edged petals.

The above pretty lilac-flowered African Violet was my first every acquisition which I managed to grow for more than twelve months.
I've had it for ages but it failed to re-flower once it's first lot of blooms died.
My neighbour helped me revive it and it has been doing well since.
I realise now that the plant needed more light, more feeding - more attention basically.
I started propagating this one, but there's only so many of the one plant you can give away so I thought I'd try my luck with different colours.
I'm still very much an amateur African Violet grower. 

I like experimenting with containers.  I have an abundance of bonsai planters which I pick up cheaply from garage sales.
The colour of the above plant is a mystery because I haven't developed a system to tag all the leaves I've propagated. That is something I need to work on.

This one is in bud and it looks like it's a lilac.
I thought it would be easy to identify the new plants from the leaves...but it seems that when young, they all look very similar.

The obsession (probably like most), is accidental; by no means intentional and it looks like I have a second obsession in the making after collecting some zonal geranium cuttings from my mother's garden.  
The idea is to preserve them for her as she waits for the state government's acquisition of her land.
The geranium cuttings were taken in June this year.
So far they are all doing very well but the white is the only one flowering at present.
Isn't it perfect?

My intention is to make up a collection comprising at least one plant from each colour to give to each of my siblings.
Besides the white I have taken cuttings from deep red, pink and two shades of salmon. 
Unlike my African Violets, these cuttings have been carefully labelled with the colour, date of planting and the name and place of my mother's garden.

Do you have a plant obsession?
I'd like to hear about it!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

WIP Wednesday.

My sister's quilt is almost done!
I'm half way through the handstitching of the binding.

I've fallen in love with everything about this quilt and I think I will be doing another, this time for our own bed.
I'm proud to say, I've even done the machine quilting on this.  The fact that it's a quilt as you go means I can!

I've also been doing a lot of knitting but I've forgotten to take photographs...Der!
With the yarn above I've knitted a pair of bed slippers for myself, my daughter and my grand daughter.  I've also knitted a pair of leg warmers for Miss Five, but unfortunately, they don't stay up when she's dancing.  I think the acrylic yarn just doesn't spring back.  I'm not a fan of acrylic yarn but I just couldn't afford to pay seven dollars a ball for pure wool.  I'm going to have to put my thinking cap on to work around this hitch.

Laugh out loud (I'll let you!) Here are my slippers.  I'm wearing socks under them. I wear them around the house and it's amazing how warm they keep my tootsies. 

And I found this delicious fabric on sale at Post Office Patchwork Glenbrook.
I can feel a few new cushions coming up for our lounge room.
In the meantime, I'm planning my next quilt, a commission to complement this quilt.
Baby Ethan now has a sister and he is no longer a baby but the cutest little boy.
Their mummy would like a matching quilt for the new addition.
Like the first one I made, this one will be going to England.
Well, I have soooo many quilting projects on the go...but really they're all in remission...one day...
If you look here, all these quilts except for completed quilt 2 (Dr Seuss)and quilt 4, have not seen any progress.

And now...I've got laundry to peg out.

I'm linking to Freshly Pieced WIP wednesday.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 12 August 2013

A Weekend Story

I'm only a week late posting about the great day we had last Sunday with our Second Son.

He has caught the African Violet bug off me and has them growing all over his apartment, including under glass on his balcony.

His African Violets are taken from cuttings off my plants.

Mr M is a jeweller. He makes jewellery from throwaway materials. Above are some of his experimental pieces which he made from shrunk polystyrene.  (Propped up in front of his child hood box of wooden blocks.)

He is also a bit of a bower bird, littering his rooms with all sorts of interesting objects.

He served us up some smiley shortbread biscuits.

And made coffee,and tea.

This green mug is a Fire King vintage glass mug - our son collects Fire King pieces.

I made some GF choc brownies (nut free too).
Sorry about the quality of the picture, I'm still learning how to use the point and shoot camera!

Afterwards we went for a walk to Marrickville Markets.  But I didn't take any photos while we were there...simply didn't think of it and we were too busy eating a delicious late lunch.
After that Miss Five was rewarded with a play in the park.
She has turned into some kind of climbing whiz in the past year!

Above is The Vic On The Park at Enmore.

Below are some of the sights we spotted along the way back to the apartment.
(I just love the inner west of Sydney. It's such a vibrant place.) 

The walk from Newtown to Marrickville was a good twenty minutes there another twenty back so Miss Five was a little tired but she managed to stay awake on our drive back to the mountains in time for a quick dinner of bacon and eggs before she went home with her Mum.

We add a few veggies to our bacon and eggs; like tomatoes, broccoli and zucchini. It's not something we have very often but it's a great meal when we need dinner in a jiffy.

Do you ever have bacon and eggs for dinner?

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