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.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 In Retrospect

For our country, 2014 has been a dramatic year to say the least - to the point that by the end of the year I refused to listen to or watch the news.  I have also found world news too much to bear. I have therefore made a conscious effort to not comment, in my blog, on many current news events throughout the year.
So I sit here, with only minutes left to this year, and, for the first time since I started this blog, I have decided to do a year in review.  I will not do a month by month review but rather pick out what I believe to be major highlights of my and my family's year.

In January, I made a new year's resolution for the first time in decades; to speak less and listen more.  This has been, at times, difficult, and only this morning, during a reflective moment, told myself I need to continue with this discipline, so I will.

In January, I also read Gone With The Wind for the first time when a friend offered to loan me her copy of the book.  I loved the book and regret not reading it a long, long, time ago.

In May my sister visited Sydney and extended family to celebrate her 60th Birthday.  It was a special time for us all.

Mr Honey Pie and I headed off to the desert in July...winter being the only time to spend time in the desert and although we visited some exotic places, it made me feel so appreciative of our home comforts. 

August saw the family pull together as we moved our Mum out of what had been the family home for the past fifty three plus years.  Poor Mum suffered a mini-stroke the week of the handover.  It was an experience we would have wished she never should have experienced. Especially at her age.

In September our second son had a piece of his jewellery selected for a prestigious exhibition called A Fine Possesion at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

Mr Honey Pie's side of the family had another addition to the family in November (and so another quilt was created)

I think one of my disappointments would have to be how nature failed Sydneysiders in 2014
each time there was some exciting happening in the night sky by filling it with clouds.
Clouds are not as exciting as an eclipse.
We missed out every time. 

Happy New Year to all my blogger friends.
May 2015 be everything you want it to be.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Wild Weather

Our spring this year has seen exceptionally wild weather and summer seems to have kept on trend with one December week experiencing storms each day.
On Sunday 7th December, Mr HP and I drove through three storms as we made our way from one end of the city to the other and back again.
We had an invite to my sister's partner's 50th celebrations only to receive a phone call early in the day to let me know that my dearest aunt and God mother was seriously ill in hospital.  I knew I would never forgive myself if I had not made an attempt to see her for what might be the last time.  Thankfully she is on the mend but have no regrets that Mr HP and I fought the elements three times that day to make sure we not only visited my favourite aunt, but that we also managed to make it to the 50th party.
Here are some December weather snapshots.

Thirty minutes of hail fell on the 5th December while I was visiting my Daughter and Grand daughter.  Thankfully no damage was done.

When I returned home later in the day, there were some very strange cloud formations in the sky above our house.

Two days later we head into the first rain storm as we head out to visit my aunt in hospital.  

Christmas eve in Leura...a whiteout. (Photo taken by Mr HP).

On Christmas Day, we had a wild electrical storm after lunch. We had to rearrange the tables to keep the wind-swept rain off the food, the children had to hop out of the swimming pool and eventually, the lanterns were blown away into the wind.

The one positive from all this precipitation is that the garden is doing wonderfully and the flowering plants are the best I've seen them for years.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Better Late Than Never

Finally set up the Christmas Tree this morning.
Mr HP helped me, it's not often he helps with the Christmas tree but Little Miss Seven is hard to get a hold of these past few weeks. I've had three days of flu so he helped with assembling the tree and adding the lights.  I finished off the decorations while he set up the fairy lights on the verandah.

We'll have a tame Christmas this year as two of our boys and their partners will not be able to visit this year.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Guess How Much I Love You

Finally...my GHMILY quilt is ready for gifting!

I love this idea of using a vintage doily as a label.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  I bought a pair of the doilies years ago with the intention of using them as I have for this quilt but until now the opportunity hadn't presented itself.

Baby Charlotte is a month old now so Mr HP and I thought we really should make an effort and visit the new addition and her family.

So after a spot of Christmas shopping we visited the happy family.  After two little boys, the entire family is in love with the new princess.  She is Mr HP's sister's sixth grandchild and the first grand daughter.  Need I say more?


Thursday, 27 November 2014

I'm Thankful for This

After a spell of awful temperatures of up to 41 'C, I am thankful for the reprieve we had today when our day's low plummeted to 
16 'C.

I happened to spend the afternoon in Katoomba, which is at a much higher altitude than my village in the lower mountains and while there took the opportunity to visit Echo Point.

I didn't at all mind that the mist drifted in, a mist so heavy that I got wet.

The tourists around me were whispering: "Magic, magic, magic."

And it was.

The Day The Sky Cried

RIP Phillip Joel Hughes

Monday, 24 November 2014

One Four Challenge – NOV WK 4

Here is my final (WK 4) edit for 
Captivate Me One Four Challenge.
I edited my original in GIMP.
I kept my edits very basic as I'm still very much finding my way around the program!
My views around Week 3's edit is that the image looks flat and lifeless, so I wanted to add some light to this week's image.
Using curves I darkened the image a little and added more red and green.
Next was a filter of lighting effects and applying the canvas artistic filter.
I think the final result is much softer overall, with a touch of mystique and a drawing of the eye back to the floret.

I look forward to any comments 

I also managed to create, for the first time (!) a poll for you to vote a favourite if you so wish.

If you pop over to Robyn's blog, you can see all the other participants results (including Robyn's - of course!)

You can click on each image to enlarge it.


Week 1
Week 2

Week 3
Week 4

Vote For November Favourite

Sunday, 23 November 2014

I Made This

I made this dress for our Grand Daughter.

Once more I used this pattern to make the dress.

It is such a quick and easy pattern to use.
The dress was easily quickly completed in an afternoon.

I had quite a bit of fabric left over. Because the pattern is definitely one direction, I had to use most of the length of the two metres I'd purchased. 

So there was more than enough fabric to make the following draw-string bag.

Our Grand Daughter loves Halloween and her birthday is just a few days before, so it was a combined Halloween and birthday gift for her.
I'm a little late with this post! But perfect for today's photo a day challenge...I made this.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Favourite Thing

A favourite thing growing in our garden is the angophora tree.

Angophora costata to be exact, or the smooth barked apple.

The angophora costata tree does not grow apples though.  

What I find the most startling about this tree, is not its size, or the masses of cream coloured spring blooms, not even the way its roots curl around the sandstone in which it commonly grows...but the colour of its bark.

I know no other tree that sheds its bark the way the angophora does, to reveal all the shades of green, or brown, or terracotta, or grey, or blue, I know no other tree that colours its bark each day depending on the season, or the weather, or the time of day.

No. Other. Tree.

Friday, 21 November 2014


Today, I was going to show you my new coral coloured sandals, which I only purchased last week, but really, how could I resist the opportunity to show off my beautiful red suede ankle boots? 
I must admit, I'm not really a heel person but these are so comfy, and they make that lovely clack-clack sound when walking on hard floors.
I don't wear them often, usually for very special occasions or I when I just want to feel a bit glamorous.
I don't have an overly large shoe collection, but I truly believe every man, woman and child should have at least one pair of red shoes in their footwear collection.
I always do!

Thursday, 20 November 2014


My African violets need bright light to flower.
This morning's light was especially bright, as Sydney and its surrounds geared up for another scorcher.
The maximum temperature at our house reached 36.1 'C.  The humidity is very low, (at the moment it is around 31%. Tomorrow, a total fire ban will be enforced. 

African violets like a humidity level of about 50-60%, so I have had to put them on pebble lined trays to try and raise the humidity a little, especially since the air conditioner has been on for most of the afternoon.
During our on-again-off-again temperature spikes, I have been watering the African violets almost on a weekly basis.
So, I watered them again today,since the soil was dry. The pebbles ensure that the roots of the plants are not sitting directly in water and helps raise the humidity at the same time.

Since the light was so strong this morning, I kept the translucent window blind down until the afternoon.

I'm very happy with the way the violets are progressing...so many are coming into flower.
Once the blooms open, I sell them on an on line garage sale of which I'm a member.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


I don't eat potato often, but when I do, one of my most favourite ways of serving it, is baked whole, with salted butter and ground, black, pepper.  This sebago potato came from my favourite farmer, John, at Nashdale farm, who sells his produce at the local markets, Glenbrook.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

I Love This

I love this peony. 
Until today, I had never seen a real peony!
And what I love even more,is that my son received a little bouquet at work, for his birthday today, from a female friend.  Of course the peony was the centre piece of the bouquet.
The fragrance is heavenly!

Monday, 17 November 2014

One Four Challenge – NOV WK 3

This week, I used the week 1 image and opened it in Fotosketcher and in drawing parameters I chose expressive brushstrokes.
Because I'm not feeling confident in Fotosketcher, and knowing what I could achieve in Picasa, I saved the image and re-opened it in Picasa where I converted it to black and white and then sharpened the image slightly, increased the shadows and added a bit of warmth to achieve the effect of an ink drawing.

Week 1
Week 2

Week 3

To visit more One Four Challenge images, hop over to Robyn at Captivate Me.
There you will find how the challenge works, how you can join,if you so wish, and other participants' work.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Hot + Cold

I missed yesterday's photo a day challenge; 'for me', because, to tell you the truth, yesterday turned out to be a very stressful day and in the end all I wanted to do was fall into bed.

The temperature quickly rose as the day progressed until it reached 39 'C in the shade.
Then, around 2.00 p.m. just a short distance down the road from us, a bush fire broke out. 
I though I had conditioned myself to 'be prepared' for my next bush fire encounter but to tell you the truth, I'm beginning to feel as if I spend six months of the year on high alert.  And it's really getting to me. Being prepared means having a bag packed, and knowing, at all times, where our family photos, medications, important papers and other valuables are. I know this might sound like a simple task to achieve but in reality, I'm finding it's not.  And I don't know how many more times I can go through the drill.  At 9.30 p.m. our little village received an emergency warning and was on high alert as the wind direction changed, meaning the fire was heading straight for us. Thankfully, the temperatures eased and eventually, Mr H.P. and I fell into bed just after midnight, exhausted, and smelling smokey.  We both had an uneasy sleep but were happy to wake to a much cooler day, even though the fire is still active.

If you're interested to see more on the fires you can go to these links...(In reality I didn't have time to take photographs.)
Warrimoo Fires on Facebook

This morning, I woke up and had myself an affogato, which fulfills today's photo a day challenge of 'hot + cold'.  Coming to think of it, it also fulfills yesterday's photo a day challenge of 'for me'...so here it is...

Affogato: ice cream drowned in espresso coffee! (Or, the only way I drink coffee!)

Thursday, 13 November 2014


I went shopping today, and I just happened to make a purchase of a bunch of letters that when put together made some inspiring words.

Getting ready for Christmas!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


It is Normal for me to have many projects going at one time.

Part of what I like to do is think up new ideas for upcycling items that would normally end up as land fill.

Last year I upcycled some coffee bean bags here.  The bags were used to propagate plants which I'm happy to say were later donated to a volunteer group and they were planted in a sensory garden for people with disabilities.  The garden had been destroyed in last year's devastating bush fires.
This year, I'm trying something new with the bags.  I have a huge supply of the black, silver lined bags. Mr Eggins, our coffee supplier has changed his bags now to a brown paper bag look, but still with the lovely silver lining.  I'm still playing with ideas so may show you some finished products later.  For now, here is my normal state of affairs on what is my desk.

Have a happy day, and thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Monday, 10 November 2014

I Do This Every Day...

There are a lot of things I do every day; brush my teeth, cook, clean, make the bed, shower. All pretty regular sort of stuff.
But there's one thing I just love to do and even if the weather is poorly I still try to do it...and that is take a little wander through my garden.

This spring, the weather has been exceptional and everything is blooming beautiful!
So I've created a collage to showcase a few of the flowering plants that have risen to the occasion.
I hope you enjoy them and thank you for visiting.

One Four Challenge – Nov WK 2

So many people have taken up Robyn Gosby's One Four Challenge and this week, Week 2  which was posted yesterday by Robyn, has already had a wonderful response.  It's making me feel very much like a small player way out of my field!  But it is a challenge after all and it has once more, forced me to look at the craft of photography and is now making me think more seriously at how I use the camera.

But since I have already chosen November's image, it's my photo editing skills that I have to concentrate on, and as I've only got Picasa to work with that is what I'm using.  I looked at Pic Monkey on the Internet today but decided that it's not too different from Picasa so will stick with that for now. But it has me now wanting to investigate other photo editing programs.

So, here is my week two photograph.

Using last week's image, I used the sepia process, increased the reds and then sharpened the image a little.

Here are the two images, side by side.

                                                         Week 1
Week 2

Now I'm off to look at everyone else's photographs and hopefully learn a little more about photo editing!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Heck Yes!

Heck Yes! I love these creatures...

...and it's great to see how much they've grown.  They help to keep our insect and snail population down.  There aren't too many people who can boast: 'we don't have snails in our garden'. But we can!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A Place

There is A Place called the World Wide Web.
It can be good and it can be evil both at the same time.
On the good side...it is a great source of information for the DIYer and today, I learnt how to baste a quilt using the plank method.

No back breaking, finger pricking experience this time, but it still took me a good two hours to baste this cot quilt. Hopefully next time will be a bit faster as I now know what the process entails. (I must admit I watched two videos over and over again before proceeding.)

And, to keep you updated...baby Charlotte was born on the 7th...so I'm a tad behind...

Friday, 7 November 2014

On The Floor

Today, I re-potted two of my African violets.  Before I started on this task I told myself that I would not  save any of the leaves for propagation because I have so many on the go already and space is limited.

But...how could I toss so many succulent looking leaves onto the compost heap? 

 So here they are, and guess what?  There is no room on any of my three trolley tables to store them so I've put them on the floor!  
I took the photograph very late so it's a very poor quality...apologies.

Tomorrow, they're off to crop and swap, even if I have to give them away!

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.