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, 17 September 2015

French General - A Finish

Finally got to finish my French General Quilt, which I gifted to my Mum for her birthday this week.
I loved it so much I was so tempted to covet it for myself!  But I resisted, well, I guess that's an excuse to make another for myself! 
And Mum loves it!


I basted it using the plank method and machine quilted it myself.  The doily label is a vintage doily I bought some time ago and to which I added the embroidered writing myself.
It feels good to have another quilt finished! 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

When September Comes

September, for our family, is full of birthdays. And then there's father's day too, which, in Australia, is celebrated on the first Saturday of September.
It's been a difficult month for us this year, as the fathers we are missing grew again with the passing of my brother in May, and our nine year old niece spent her first birthday without her Dad. It is also very hard for Mum who has lost both of her sons and for her to know that two of her Grandchildren will never see their Dads again.  But spending as many days as possible with family celebrating birthdays helps to make remembering the birthdays of those that are absent, much easier to bear.

We've therefore had a number of celebrations since the beginning of September and they culminated with a picnic birthday celebration last Sunday at Watson's Bay.  
The weather came to the party too and we languished gracefully under a monstrous fig tree and indulged in take away fish and chips from Doyle's at lunch time. The queues for take away were soooo long!
The day ended in a beautiful show for which I am grateful.

Yesterday was our Mum's birthday so my sister and I took her out to lunch at Mother Earth Nursery Cafe at Kenthurst where we languished some more and indulged in a little bit more than fish and chips...
Affogato...looks too good to eat!

We ordered a 'little' cake for Mum's birthday...and shared it three ways.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Winter Hibernation ...

...means a good book or three to read as one snuggles on the couch, wrapped in a scarf and blanket.  
I've been coping with the cold by staying indoors as much as possible. 
As a result the garden has been neglected but I've managed to catch up on some reading.
Just like my post here I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've never read To Kill A Mocking Bird (Lee Harper).  I cannot explain why this is the case, except to say that I have been curious about the novel when it has come up in conversation in the past. 
But with all the hype about Lee Harper's new novel Go Set A Watchman my curiosity got the better of me and I became determined to read for myself what all the fuss was and is about.
Can you imagine my delight when, (on the 15th July) I happened upon a charity shop in Katoomba as I made my way to a function at the Paragon Cafe where I would meet with my Best Friend Ever. As I walked past the shop I made a mental note to pop in and a have a look after lunch.

The Paragon Cafe itself is a treasure trove of memorabilia.

 We indulged in a 50's themed Christmas in July Lunch on a bitterly cold day and as we were returning to my car My Friend, being a vintage clothes junkie, couldn't resist the Steven Walter Children Cancer Foundation - Op Shop (which has been described as a 'boutique-style charity shop') and as I'd already forgotten my mental note, I would not realise how appreciative of my friend I would be until my later find.

The store is a treasure trove...there is indeed a select array of the finest vintage items. Some may even be classed as antique but I'm not qualified to say.  We found room after room of nicely displayed collections of furniture, china, clothing, toys, and...books.

On spotting the books I began scanning the shelves for Lee Harper's first novel but quickly gave up as I couldn't really work the system employed by the staff to file their books (it definitely isn't the Dewey system!).
A staff member was stacking more books from a trolley so I approached her and asked if they happened to have To Kill A Mocking Bird and when I saw the look on her face I hoped she didn't think I was mocking her!  I could see her brain ticking over and I wondered to myself what retort she may be thinking up but after a few seconds her gaze, along with her mind I imagined, cleared and she uttered the words (or similar):  Yes we do, I've just put one up on the shelf here.
Then to my amazement she walked over to a rattan shelf and she reached up to the top most shelf and from atop the top most book, she took down a forlorn paperback copy of the book I had requested. (I would never have looked there.) Seek and ye shall find.  It is as simple as that.  I paid three dollars for it. 
Then two weeks or so later, at my local bookshop I paid $45 for a hardcover edition of Go Set a Watchman.  Oh well. (And no, it's not a first edition, as far as I can work out.)

To Kill A Mocking Bird

As a first time reader of the first novel written by Lee Harper I found myself drawn in by the character of Scout Finch and even though the setting is in a different continent and a different time to my own childhood the many similarities astounded me.  Perhaps both Scout and I commit, perhaps unconsciously, to existentialism.  
The most innocuous is what at times connects (for example) generations, or cultures. Besides, this narrative most certainly continues to relate to contemporary issues in my own homeland, and I imagine, many parts of the western world. 
Although reviews have described To Kill A Mocking Bird as a series of flashbacks in Jean Louise Finch’s life, I found them to be cohesive enough to not come across as a retelling of past events but rather, an unfolding of events in a troubling time as experienced by a young child, who perhaps is more open than most children to the impact of the behaviour of various adults and social groups in their life; as well as the conditions imposed on the children she associated  with (or didn’t)  as she grew up in Maycomb County, southern Alabama.
The questions it will trigger in the reader are as relevant today as they were back in the 1930s.   

Go Set A Watchman

This novel has a definite beginning, middle and end. It questions life issues more directly, I think, than To Kill A Mocking Bird.
The beginning was slow, reminisces a lot about Jean Louise/ Scout's childhood , and written in a much shriller voice than that of the deep and worrisome chesty tones of To Kill a Mocking Bird.  Perhaps it’s the inconsistent tone of the writing that left me feeling uneasy in the beginning. 
As a result, I found the start of the book sedate and irritating, especially since I read it immediately after Lee Harper’s first book. 
But it’s not long before Scout’s questioning of and refusal to accept the norms of her isolated and close knit community comes to the fore and once more I became enthralled and swept up by her thoughts and reasoning.
It’s been some years since Scout left Maycomb and this narrative is set during her annual visit to her childhood home. 
Go Set A Watchman, in the twenty first century, has just as much relevance as it would have in the 1950s, but perhaps we as humans have evolved enough to process the message more readily.  Whether we accept the challenge or not remains to be seen. 

 (I have read where a book seller has offered to refund buyers of the book, their money if they so wish, because they may have been led to believe it was a ‘nice summer novel’ but instead may find it to be an ‘academic insight’.  My response to that is: Hummpf. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/aug/04/us-bookshop-offering-refunds-for-go-set-a-watchman-harper-lee.)

In the beginning this book made me laugh, in the end it brought me to tears but most importantly, in the middle, as I became absorbed by the conflicts experienced and betrayals perceived by Jean Louise, the words truly made me think and caused me to question my own views and beliefs towards people of other creeds, cultures, social standing and race.  It raises the question of the probability of how civil rights and liberties are interpreted depends on which group is doing the interpreting.  

Friday, 7 August 2015

Mufti Day

Here in Australia our schools have what is called "Mufti Day".  It is a day on which children and staff wear casual clothing, usually to raise funds for a cause. Those choosing to wear mufti on a set day may do so as long as they donate a gold coin (in Australia a one or two dollar coin) for the cause.
My Grand Daughter, Little Miss Seven (almost 8) has mufti day at her school today to raise money for Jeans for Genes Day.  She wore pink jeans to school and, as it was our turn to drive her today, she spotted the knitting I'd been making for her and asked if she could wear them to school.

This is a very simple beanie pattern where the top is drawn in with thread after knitting a rectangle.
The accessory I made from felt cut from a Bigz flower die on my Big Shot and stitched on to a brooch back so it can be removed. 

I've fallen in love with the fingerless gloves.  They look so cute.

And to finish off - a scarf.

I purchased the wool yarn from the Faulconbridge Blue Gum Rotary Markets in July specifically to make the trio for our Grand Daughter after she spotted my own set which I made last month. 

This red wool was a gift from my walking buddy who is a wool spinning enthusiasts. It's got such a lovely soft feel to it which makes it all the more wearable.
I used the same pattern to knit my Grand Daughter's set and scaled it down to fit her.
We've had such a cold winter this year that there have been days during which I've worn coat, gloves, scarf and beanie indoors in an attempt to get warm.
Tuesday just gone was the coldest August day (in NSW) since 1974. 

How have you been faring this winter/summer?

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.

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