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, 22 July 2015


After my  Consciously Frugal  post I've been thinking about ways I can 'make a difference' for others in our world that have less than many.
I am more aware of the disparity in the world, as I scan the news this past week.  What makes it more keen for me these past few weeks, is how icy cold it's been.  I have a house. So many have not, and I've felt the cold more sharply this year.  So I've been thinking how can I make a difference and have been dreaming of taking food or blankets to the homeless in Sydney. 

I felt very heartened this morning when I read this article about how pre-loved leather jackets were donated to Sydney homeless.
Click on photo for photo source.

I must admit though, I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to doing stuff like this on my own. So I'm wracking my brain as to how I can become involved in something similar.
Last year a friend caught the train into Sydney and bought a heap of cheese burgers and handed them out to the homeless.  How brave of her.  Perhaps I can do something the same with all the blankets I have stock-piled in my linen cupboards.
In the meantime...I am doing my little bit (while sitting in the comfort of my warm home and still feeling guilty) by purchasing these...(and I swear, no sooner had I sat down to write this post that a cheery lady drove up my drive to deliver them!  Talk about synchronicity!)

Who Give A Crap (yes really) is an organisation that donates 50% of its profits to WaterAid to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
Read  more about WGAC* here.

The toilet rolls are individually wrapped in paper, not plastic and their facebook page encourages devotees to post ideas of how the wrapping is reused. 

I especially love the emergency rolls which come in red wrapping and instructions.
I'm certainly not one to need emergency rolls...I'm too anxious to allow my household to get to that point in toilet paper stocks so I love gifting these to people who have just moved into a new home and may be having trouble locating a roll of toilet paper.  Mostly, they have been appreciated - because they couldn't find their rolls of toilet paper.

In the meantime, I summing up enough courage to become more directly involved in helping those closer to home.

*No, I haven't received anything from WGAC, just doing my bit to assist a good cause by promoting them.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Upcycled And Finished

My summer quilt is now complete.
I am very happy with the end result and although I'm very tempted to keep this for myself to use as a lunch cloth I've decided that it should go and live in Western Australia and so I am gifting it to my Daughter In Law for her birthday this month.

Even though it's a very simply made quilt, I think the fabric gives it lots of personality so I do hope our DIL will like it.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Consciously Frugal

The temperature has barely hovered over the 14'C mark over the past couple of weeks, even though on many days the sun has been shining its golden light over our winter-bound city.
I am beginning to understand how northern hemisphere living would encourage winter days of home detention and hours of cooking hearty meals and calorie packed cakes, biscuits and pastries (among other things).
I have been a little guilty of such activities lately and although I have by no means kept a strict diary of what I have been concocting in the kitchen, I have shared a smattering of creations on various social sites, including this one.
On Saturday just gone, our Daughter and Grand Daughter visited for dinner before they head off to southern Western Australia for a short break.  I wish I could say they are heading for warmer climes but alas, although South W.A. boasts Mediterranean-like summers,  its winters can be just as brutal as the south East Coast.
Anyway, I made Brialliant Beef Bourguignon for dinner and at the last minute decided that a Portuguese Tart style desert would be in order.  I had an ample supply of left over homemade rough puff gluten free pastry in the freezer (after I'd made Beetroot Tarte Tatin during the week for Mr HP and I) which I lined a muffin tray with and filled with cherry conserve and crème brûlée-style custard (and which were heavenly).  So now I had used up some of the leftover pastry but had two egg whites left over from the custard, which, like I always do, I stored in the fridge.
So often it happens the egg whites are forgotten and some weeks down the track I decant them into the garbage. Wasted, a missed opportunity.

How often do we think we are committed to an ideology, or practice but only in our heads?  
I have been questioning myself lately as I lament about certain events as they crop up in the news or current affairs.  I ask myself often "What Is The World Coming To?"  Perhaps I need to be asking myself "What Can I Do To Change This?"

I ponder often, lately, how can so many have so much while so many have so little?
While the egg white dilemma is not going to save or not save the needy from starvation or death it has certainly flicked a switch inside me that makes me question how committed I am to my commitments.
The answer is not a pretty one:  When it comes to commitments, well, I'm lazy.  I said of myself to a friend very recently, "I work well under pressure".   You know what that means don't you?  Yes, when push comes to shove...I move. I do. I feel guilty, and I respond, sometimes while feeling resentful.
That's why the egg white ends up in the bin two weeks down the track.  Because there is no pressure to utilise the energy giving, high protein food source originating from a living thing, a living thing just like myself.
So I'm going to take this as my first step towards being consciously frugal which in turn will encourage me to consciously perform an act that will Change Something I Don't Like in the wider world of which I belong.
So today I made Almond Macaroons...high-protein almond cakes with a generous portion of sugar.  If I partake of them in a conscious manner they will not add centimetres to my waistline.
Here is the recipe:

Almond Macaroons

2 egg whites
120 grams almond meal/ground almonds
225 grams caster sugar (you can reduce this a little if you wish...to no less than 160g).
2 tablespoons ground rice
1 tsp orange-flower water
15 almond halves
Egg white glaze.

Line two baking trays with baking paper and preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Whisk egg whites until fairly stiff.
Stir in almond meal, sugar, ground rice and orange-flower water.
Mix well.
Using slightly moistened hands to form 15 portions of the mixture into balls,place onto the baking paper. Smooth the tops down slightly and garnish with almond halves. Glaze with egg white.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, till they are pale golden. It is important to cook macaroons rather slowly, to allow them to colour evenly and to acquire a good texture.
Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Antarctic Vortex #2

Today, 17th July, is the 50th anniversary of the big snow falls in New South Wales (1965).

So we should have known that Mother Nature would celebrate by entertaining us with a just as impressive display of snow of its own on this day.  I took the train to Blackheath to see for myself.

She didn't disappoint.

Linking To 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Antarctic Vortex

We have had media overload these past days as the south-east of Australia geared up for a cold snap. Well the hype, I think, was a bit over the top - although some parts of our state of New South Wales did wake to a whisper-white morning this morning.
Mr HP and I, our Daughter and Grand Daughter had already arranged to pick up Youngest Son at the end of a short hiking trip he was undertaking in the Jamison Valley so we took the opportunity to drive up a bit further up the range to Mount Victoria to see if we could catch some snow.
Well, we did see it snowing, but where we were, the snow did not settle.  
So I don't have snow photos to show you. 

Even so, I have to admit that the cold has been getting me down a bit this winter.  Today's temperature didn't get above 11 'C in Springwood and the previous week didn't perform much better.  

Katoomba (where snow is more likely), it is at present less than 1 'C with a windchill factor of -5.5 'C.

So instead of a snow photo here is a shot of tonight's desert...the cold made me do it...I just needed some comfort food and I can tell you...you can't go past this Baked Rice Pudding by Donna Hay.  You can find the recipe here:  Recipe.
And there's enough leftovers for tomorrow...after all, we might need it, because the media assures us the worse of the Arctic Vortex is yet to come!

Hoping the weather isn't too extreme in your part of the world. 

Friday, 10 July 2015

Plank Method, As Opposed To Planking*

I discovered basting a quilt using the plank- method last year when I was making a quilt for the latest addition to Mr HP's side of the Family.
 I love how quick and easy it is and I had this whole cloth* quilt basted in no time and with little back breaking antics.
 Never before have I made a whole cloth quilt and only decided that this one would be because the fabric I have used has been rescued from land fill and is heavy weight curtain fabric, one hundred percent cotton or linen and originally from a decore store samples book. 
 The end result is a bold stylish quilt top that is 1.25 x 1.25m, large enough for a lunch cloth, lap quilt or picnic rug.
The weight is such that it's thick enough to use as a picnic rug but lightweight enough to use as a lap quilt in the warmer months.

Since the samples were free of charge, the only cost has been the backing fabric, which I paid $8 a metre for plus some leftovers from another project. The binding will be leftovers from Youngest Son's 21st birthday quilt.

I'm so in love with it, I haven't decided if I should keep it for myself or gift it.

* Seems I have my info. wrong here...this is not a whole cloth quilt but rather a 'summer quilt'.

*Planking, a brief history

Linking to Freshly Pieced ~ pop over to see what Lee and others have been up to in the quilting world in WIP Wednesday. Click on the button below to take you there. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Upcycling: From Sloppy Joe to Genie Pants

Sometimes you buy stuff that's not really suitable for you, or the person you intended it for...like the cotton knit sloppy Joe (above) which I purchased many years ago for Mr HP.  It's just too big and too sloppy and the hems had - well, no hems, and were just over-locked giving the garment an unfinished look!

So after having had the top floating around in the wardrobe for at least a decade and not wanting to throw it out, I decided it was time to give it new life by re-purposing into a pair of soft genie pants for Little Miss Seven. 
I used the main body of the top to cut out the pants using a girl's pyjama pants pattern. 

From the sleeves I cut cuffs for the pant legs and a band for the waist, using the fabric in reverse.  The knit fabric is grey on one side and navy on the other which works well to give the effect of having used two different coloured fabrics. 
I used another pair of Little Miss' track pants to measure the width of the the bands for the cuffs and waist, allowing extra for the seams.  The height was double the finished piece. I folded them over and stitched straight onto the pants using a stretch stitch on the sewing machine. 

Because the pattern used is for standard cotton fabric and not stretch/knit fabric and no elastic is used in the waist, the pants are nice and lose and my Grand Daughter just loves to lounge around the house in them.  She especially loves the fact that there is no elastic in the waist.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

All By Myself

Sydney Harbour Bridge from Lavender Bay

Sydney Opera House from The Sydney Harbour Bridge with two Sydney Ferries in the foreground.

Sydney Harbour Bridge overlooking Walsh Bay Pier 2/3

Marina Abramovic visits Sydney. 

And I visited Marina Abramovic's space.
This was not an exhibition in a technical sense.
It was an experience.

A mind altering experience.  
At least this is how I perceived it.
After surrendering all belongings at the entry and being issued sound cancelling headphones, one could choose to participate in a number of activities, such as separating black mung beans from rice then counting them, contemplating coloured boards or sitting opposite another person in silence.
I listened to Natalie Abbott speak and watched some of her performance which included telepathically instructing a dance sequence to three fellow artists. 
Eventually I realised what Marina's work is all about...the whole point of the project. 
Participating IS the project, performing the activities is experiencing activities devised by Marina (the artist).
Marina's message, I think, is about endurance...how much can our body endure, how much can our mind endure.   
And when we push ourselves to endure a little more, aren't we pushed to achieve just a little more than before? 
Doesn't endurance make us stronger, better, faster?
I was converted to Marina some years ago after watching her in her documentary called The Artist Is Present.  
Aspects of Marina's life and art shocked me when I first viewed them, but by the end I was drawn to her, her mindfulness, her spiritually, her individuality.

Linking to


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