"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mixed bag

March is moving right along; I feel like Mr. Rabbit - "I'm late! I'm a late!"
No rain still, but a lovely sunset the other day. The sky was on fire! The kangaroos are also enjoying the late summer days, had around 15 here the other evening, including 3 large males and a couple of joeys in the pouch. They observe us as much as we observe them.
I drink a lot of soda water but was getting sick of all the plastic waste, so I invested in a Sodastream machine. It makes perfectly good bubbly water in seconds and uses tap water. I flavour it with pure lemon juice, which is my drink of
choice, and the CO2 bottle can be re-filled and exchanged. Now, what other plastics can I get rid of?! When you look around, there's WAY too much plastic in the household. I'm also thinking of getting a Bokashi tub, but not sure what to do with the compost; might give it to the neighbour.
On Sunday, I had Marg, Tracee, and Sue here, showing them how to make a Ricky Timms quilt. The one in the photo is mine; if you want to see more, go over to "Kiwikids" blog. Next step is to put the borders on, then to quilt it. Great fun, and I loved how each one was just amazing!
On Tuesday, some of us went to Ballan for sit n sew. We had a lovely day, and the credit card got an airing too! I fell in love with the bear fabric, and plan to make a bag with it and the dotty fabric.
The multi-coloured fabric will go perfectly with an African quilt that's in the planning stage. It's scrumptious! No idea what I'll do with the magenta fabric, I just had to have it!  I have a picture of something with silver grey in my mind...
And of course, a few KF fabrics had to come home with me. Given the entire WALL of Kaffe fabric at Ballan, I was very restrained....

Saturday, March 3, 2018

March musings

 I'm quite excited about our new paving/landscaping! It all happened last week, and the guys did a great job. Now we can walk around the house without having to watch our step, and it all looks very neat. I've planted herb seedlings and sown radicchio seeds in the planter box, and DH is in the process of planting a variety of shrubby things in the low garden bed. the centre piece is a 'Pierre de Ronsard' rose given to me by a friend last Christmas. It's a lovely rose, pink, apricot, cream in various stages of flowering, and it smells divine! Looking at the studio wall, I've just had an inspiration - it's a great spot for a barn quilt! Hmm...

 On another floral note, this was block No. 12 of my Kim McLean quilt. I'm finishing about one block a week, so I have about 12 more weeks to go. But I'll have to get a move on some other sewing, to get ready for Canada. Secret projects!

Finally, we had a gorgeous big full moon this week, and I managed to capture it with my little camera. Not bad for a hand held shot I think.

Friday, February 23, 2018


Things are happening! First, this little Brush bronzewing came to visit. Hadn't spotted one of these before. He's got very pretty markings.
Then the landscapers arrived and have been busily transforming the area near the house, adding a pathway around, a garden bed and a high planter box. It's very satisfying, seeing things happen, and it will be nice to walk around the house without having to watch where you step! The garden bed will be home to a few roses, the bird bath, and a rosemary bush. I'll fill the high planter with herbs and possibly
some lettuce. I've always wanted to grow radicchio. I can already smell the basil, mint, and thyme...
Wayne cut down some of the old Virgilia tree, which had split in half and was obstructing the driveway. These trees don't usually get that old, and ours have lasted nearly 20 years, so we'll soon have to plant some replacements.
I'm looking forward to seeing the Friday ladies here today, and to catching up with the Saturday ladies tomorrow, for some fun and quilting.

Friday, February 16, 2018

More florals

 Following on from the last blog, here are some more floral shots. My Blue Moon rose blossomed nicely this summer - even whilst under threat from DH's chainsaw. He's a bit trigger happy!
The sunflowers lasted well; I just love close-up shots of these cheerful beauties.
And an African violet whose grandparent plant I received from a former colleague many years ago, has decided to bloom again.
The pretty orchid I bought for $10 last year has done very well too.

On another floral note, I'm half way through my Kim McLean quilt blocks. At the moment, I'm preparing more stems, which I'm finding tricky.
I've decided not to make the border which will hopefully reduce it to a hanging quilt.
I'm looking forward to the Geelong Quilters' Guild meeting tomorrow. Just keeping my fingers crossed that no kangaroos jump into my car this time...


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

More happiness

Among the things that make me happy are flowers. DH used to bring me gorgeous Singapore orchids for years, which were kindly given to him when he worked at the airport. That finished when he retired, although he does occasionally come home with a bunch. So unless dear friends drop by with lovely blooms, I buy my own. This week it's been sunflowers, such cheerful things, gorgeous big yellow suns smiling at me when I enter the kitchen. Lovely!
And more happiness - I finally found my sashing fabric for my Kim McLean quilt! It appears to be a new-ish one by Kaffe Fassett, so I 
got onto it quickly. It has a rainbow of colours and will go well with my blocks, I believe. I've decided to make only the inner part of the quilt, not the borders, as it's huge (89x90"), and I'd rather it was a wall hanging than a bed quilt. This is block No. 10, 14 to go. Woohoo!
After several weeks of mooching around at home, I was heartily sick of it and decided to go out for lunch with DH. We went to Canteena and enjoyed their fare as always. I'm still in pain when walking or standing for any time, so will be interested to hear what the surgeon will say about that next week.
At least I've had time to read some amazing books. I especially enjoyed "We care for you" by Paul Kitcatt. One of those book you start and then can't put down! It's about a nursing home, its residents,  and a new concept in care giving. Fiction, but scarily pertinent.
Another good one was one of the latest Elizabeth George "Inspector Lynley" novels, called "A banquet of consequences". It's a door stopper, but kept me hooked. George is brilliant in creating a character who is mentally ill, highly disturbed, and manipulating everyone around her. One feels quite claustrophobic. The only criticism I had was a very unkind portrayal of DC Havers, more so than usual.
Lastly, I very much enjoyed delving into Phil Rickman's latest "Merrily" novel, "All of a winter's night". He's back on form here after a mediocre offering last time. I just wish Merrily and her bloke would finally get it together. You just want to bang their heads together! Do you get involved with the characters of the books you read? Maybe I need to get out more, haha!
Oh, and I read another Donna Leon mystery, "The waters of eternal youth". As usual, Inspector Brunetti is on the case, this time an old (cold) case. And as usual, the private Brunetti and his family are almost more interesting than the crime. I really think Brunetti needs a cat.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Things that make me happy

I thought I'd start the year on a positive note and list things that make me happy, e.g. on Facebook or here. One thing I have come to love are gnomes (also called nisse/tomte/gonks/wichtel), and I've got a small family of them (Blogger refused to upload the photo - grrr!). Still, here's one I made earlier - now gifted to a friend. They take about 2 hours to make and are fun. The trickiest part was finding beards and noses. I finally found the beard fur on ebay, in the fishing materials section of all things! Apparently, faux fur is used to make lures. You live and learn...
January is often a month to see friends, and as I can't go to see them at the moment (due to my recent hernia ops), they have to come to me. And so they did. Tracee came for lunch and brought me these spectacular dahlias, I just itched to photograph them! The colours were so beautiful.
Another group of friends came for lunch yesterday, bringing quiche, salad, and a wonderful lemon tart. Great to catch up again; we're old friends from my days working at the airport. 
I love colouring in, and have quite a few colouring books. I saw this one the other day, with Venetian masks, and thought they would be lovely to work with, and possibly even give me some inspiration to start (and per chance even finish!) my Venetian Mask quilt, which has been years in the planning stage. The design is simple, in black, red, and white, and most of the masks are drawn, to be turned into applique. It's just a matter of starting. But right now, I'm enjoying my Kim McLean quilt, and have just started Block 10. Only 14 blocks and the border to go. It'll be ginormous!

Friday, January 12, 2018


Okay, so Blogger is doing weird things today. and yesterday. Would be too good to start the year with something actually working.... Nevermind. So here we are again, halfway through January already - do you get the feeling of the wind in your hair as you get older?!
Not that 2018 started off all the badly, the worst was a quick stint in hospital to get a hernia repaired. Quick being the operative word - on the table at 8am and back home at 3:30pm! How's that for efficiency? Now to make the most of the recuperation period....
Sherman provides us with giggles on a regular basis. I saw him sitting next to the BBQ, or rather, I saw a tiny fluff of tail twitching ever to slightly, while he watched three ducks amble past, about 3 meters away. All over sudden, there were about two dozen of them waddling across the paddock. Next I see Sherman 'stalking' them. Yeah right. They've seen you coming a mile off, mate! Nowhere to hide... So, sitting there contemplating his quicker, more ambitious younger days, I wonder if he is wanting to make friends or sizing up his dinner. One can always dream... He does that with the kangaroos sometimes too, and he's got them bluffed; they prefer to move off when he's coming near. Silly cat.
I was all prepared to read while in hospital, but never got the chance until I got home again. I had borrowed "Longbourn" from our local library (and saved myself $11 Kindle costs in the process), and looked forward to reading it, being quite the Jane Austen fan. Jo Baker's story is told from the perspective of the Bennett's serving staff, Sarah and Polly (maids), Mrs. Hill and her husband (housekeeper), and the newly arrived footman, James Smith. I've read a few 'new' P&P stories, but I was quite impressed with this one. Well written, from a very different viewpoint. Great book for a book club. It treats the Bennetts quite well, unlike "Death comes to Pemberton", which I always thought was unkind to Lizzie. And it's not as raunchy (or funny) as Linda Berdoll's books. It certainly gives Wickham a whole new unpleasant dimension. And you thought Mr. Collins was vile...
I've also been amusing myself watching "Berlin Station" on SBS on Demand. That got me when I saw Richard Armitage in the cast list. Woohoo! I watched series one and two and thankfully the third season is being made now. Basically, it describes the workings of the CIA in Berlin just before the PfD managed to get themselves elected into the German Parliament. Nasty little secrets and nasty little secret agents abound. Armitage is one of the good guys, at least relatively good. The best character is Hector, a washed-out, disillusioned CIA agent played to perfection by Rhys Ifans (he was Luna's slightly nutty dad in Harry Potter). I don't usually like American series, but this one is compulsive watching. Highly recommended. Now I shall go and find myself some more nordic noir....

Sunday, December 31, 2017

See you next year!

 And so ends another year; time disappears faster than ever. There is something to be said about living every moment consciously - but would it slow down time? It's all relative...
So I enjoy what moments I can, such as watching our wonderful wildlife visiting in the back yard. Here's a mum with her - rather enormous - joey still in the pouch. Not for long though, I'm sure she's sick of him by now. He's all legs and wiggles around, making a nuisance of himself. Quite cute when he plays with her, though.
I saw a rabbit this morning and was quite pleased, haven't seen any here for some time. There's been a hare around the neighbourhood too, and yesterday the apple tree turned into a cocky tree, they were gorging themselves on the apples.
As long as Mr. Fox stays away, I'm happy to see the critters. Sherman goes out in the evenings, and although he does not go far, I wouldn't want the fox to get him.
Our neighbour has slashed the grass on the back paddocks, and we had many bales for him. He's only got three sheep and two horses left, so he does not need that much feed. He'll sell
the rest to cover his costs of slashing and baling, so its a win-win situation for us and him. Here's our neighbour, Heather, taking a moment with a cuppa. She's probably dreaming of another cruise.
We had a lovely day just before Christmas, our friend Edwina celebrated a special birthday, and invited us all to a magnificent high tea at the Gables, in Malvern. What a treat! And what a stunning venue, an old Victorian mansion, beautifully maintained, with lovely gardens. A great place to celebrate. All the ladies looked fabulous and were in party mode, and our gracious hostess, Edwina, her daughter and
 adorable granddaughters made sure we had everything our hearts could desire. The food was delicious, most of it made on the premises. Etagieres with savoury pies and quiches, fluffy sandwiches, and freshly baked scones were followed by a sumptious dessert buffet, with cakes, macaroons, tiramisu, lemon creams, slices and a cheese platter. I can reveal a few of us waddled to the car....
Christmas was at my friend's place, and a fun day it was with lovely turkey and trimmings, followed by key lime pie.  The bubbly was delish, but being the the designated driver, I only had a little. We'll finish the year with friends, with a nice roast pork dinner and a few rounds of Rummikin, before toasting the New Year. I hope the new year is kind to you, stay safe, healthy and happy!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

There and back again (photo heavy)

 We're back! NZ was just divine, and we definitely want to go back and explore more.
The good ship Noordam took us from Auckland to Tauronga, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Akaroa, Port Chalmers, Dunedin, into Fjordlands National Park, and back home via Hobart.
One of my highlights was a visit to Hobbitton, Peter Jackson's film set for "The Hobbit" and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The weather that day was gorgeous, which made the visit even better. Also, there were not that many people around, so I could get some good, people-free photos of hobbit holes, hobbit gardens, etc. I
got quite excited already when the landscape started looking like the Shire! There were about 40 Hobbit holes to inspect, although only a few were actually places you could enter. As in very movie, it's mostly make-believe. Still, everything was just as I remembered it from the movie. Luckily we had a guide whose memory for LOR was phenomenal, so she knew the significance of every location and had many quotes from the books. The gardens were just cute, with lots of props like the cheese stand and jam jars, scarecrow and giant pumpkin. The setting is just amazing, beautiful green hills, big trees and a lovely lake. The
 Green Dragon pub is situated on the lake, just gorgeous, but for some reason or other, I never made it inside before we had to start our journey back to Tauronga! I'll just have to go back one day...
The other highlight was the day we spent in Fjordland National Park, visiting Dusky Sound, Doubtful Sound, and best of all, Milford Sound. Again, we were so lucky with the weather (our host on board said this was her fourth time in the park and the first time she had a sunny day).
There are no words to describe the beauty of this area, even the photos can't do it justice. It has to be experienced. The wildlife is not exactly abundant, but there are fur seals, penguins, little Hector's dolphins, and the occasional albatross. The waterfalls are stunning, I must have photographed them at least a hundred times! (Blogger is playing up now, so I'll finish this). All in all, we had a lovely time in NZ and one day soon we'll be back. Oh, and I took Sherman along, well, a likeness of Sherman, a bag in which I kept some crocheting. And the cocktail, well,one of many...

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Across the Tasman

Spending a few days in Auckland before embarking on the "Noordam" for a cruise around NZ, then Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney. We're staying just off Queen Street, in a small apartment. I wasn't aware that Auckland was so hilly (we were here last 25 years ago!). I think Auckland's steepest street is just across the road (Liverpool Street), and you sure need brakes -or hang on to the husband for dear life! A couple of lovely ladies took us on a tour yesterday, they showed us some lovely spots, black beaches, rock formations on the coast, covered in nesting gannets, parks and reserves with kauri trees and pohutukawas with lovely red flowers, cabbage trees and many others. We saw pukeku birds with young ones, and ducks. We stopped at an ice cream and cheese factory for refreshments, and a very old pub in the historic village of Puhoi. Puhoi was settled by immigrants from Bohemia, and the church of St. Peter and St. Paul still shows the old German names in the lead light windows. The basket of knitted garments to ward off cold was a nice touch! Although it rained most of the time, it was a lovely drive and we saw lots of things tourists rarely see. In the evening, we dined at an Italian restaurant, "Da Vinci's". I felt transported to Rome, a lovely space with terracotta walls, checkered tablecloths, and fabulous food. And they had a very passable Limoncello too.
Today we started late, as we both couldn't sleep for some reason. It's a pretty noisy area. We took the bus to the ferry terminal, then Wayne trundled off to the Maritime Museum and I found a few interesting shops in Queen's arcade. I took the ferry over to Devonport and enjoyed a small late lunch and the sunshine. Sadly, the two shops I wanted to check out, Cushla's fabrics and a French interiors shop, were both closed. Still, I had fun exploring this pretty part of Auckland and got back to the hotel around 5:30. In the evening, we found another great eaterie, Le Garde-manger, a French bistrot with fabulous food and French staff. The crepe Suzette was sublime! I can't make up my mind which of the two restaurants I like better, but Auckland sure has something to offer the foodies! Off to the ship tomorrow, and looking forward to seeing the Noordam again. Photos to follow!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Out and about

Last week started with a visit to Carlton - Little Italy. The weather was spectacular, warm and sunny. The perfect day for visiting a cafe in Lygon Street and sampling some yummy Italian food. Afterwards, a browse in the French food store, and no visit to Carlton would be complete without spending time at Brunetti's, for coffee and ice cream. People watching is fun here, too, and there were some interesting characters to be seen, such as the two ladies decked out in vintage fashion, right down to the hair style and hand bag.
Of course, I couldn't go past the Amarena and limone flavours for
 my gelato, yum! And a few Italian biscotti just had to come home with me too....
Spent some time in the Owlery, and put together the little quilt the Friday ladies and I are working on, to be raffled at a later date. Needed three more hexies, which were quickly added, and now we'e sewing the rows together. I think it will work well as a table topper or a lap quilt.
Meanwhile, I'm on panel No. 6 of my Kim McLean quilt, and it's getting to be quite an addictive process. My current panel is more complex, with lots of stems and leaves. I'll see if I can incorporate some of the advice given by Hany, the Tentmaker of Cairo.
I also finished a gift, a small tabletopper for
 Halloween, with Casper the ghost motifs. Gifted to a friend in NZ.

Really enjoyed this cuppa the other day, it came out all frothy, the way I like it. In fact, I might just go and make myself another one!