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, 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!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

8 O'clock

Well, it wasn't quite eight o'clock...about 20 minutes to eight actually, and today we had four seasons in one day.
So it was nice to see the sunset, even if the temperature had dropped to a chilly 16 oC.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Can't Live Without

What is it that I can't live without? In teacher's college, many years ago, I was taught about needs and wants. Using what I could remember of this knowledge I made a decision.

 I could not live without a lot of things. But I decided that I could not live without my multi-focal prescription eye glasses because without them I would lose so much more.

Without them I could not knit, sew, read, help my Grand Daughter, shop, take photographs, (can you see how out of focus the above pic is? I took it without my glasses on - of course)and so much more. What would be the worse is not being able to see my most loved members of my family, or helping with the little things we take for granted.

How about you? What is it that you Can't Live Without? 

One Four Challenge - Nov Wk 1

Over at Robyn Gosby's blog, Captivate Me, a challenge is taking place.
The One Four Challenge begins this week.

"This new challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.  We will all  process / post edit (our own chosen image) and share a different version each week.

Process it however you like…and tell us a bit about it. You don’t even have to show the original image unless you’d like to.  Try new things, experiment.  Be as creative or subtle as you wish to be."

For more information about the challenge, go here.  Feel free to join in if you think you would like to.  Robyn has been an inspiration to me over the last few years and I have watched her as she hones her photography skills.

I have chosen this minute flower from the Ledebouria socialis plant I have fallen in love with over the years.
My Mum gave me a tiny pot of the bulbs many years ago and initially, it was very slow to take off.
Now, I find it in little pockets in other potted plants, even growing between the foliage.
When grown indoors, it tends to grow a little spindly which I believe, only adds to the lace like florets. This one has been indoors for about two weeks.

I, like Robyn, will save the original photo until last, but today, I have played a little with the original photo.
I don't have any whiz-bang photo-editing program and so I use Picasa.
I do use a DSLR camera, and for this photo I used a flash and then cropped the image to bring in the desired effect, since I don't have a macro lens.
In reality, this 'flower' is no more 2-3mm across.
To draw the eyes to the stamens and petals I added soft focus around the floret itself.

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.