Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Day Is Over

Christmas Day has been and gone
Christmas tree is all but done
Preparations frantically made
Memories so quicky fade
Resolutions each year promise
Preparations will be better
But there’s no way, I’d keep that vow
Even if I started now!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


A few months ago I joined a couple of email ‘lists’ which provide questions, answers, queries, by people all over the world who are interested in genealogy in similar geographical areas to me. For example, I may be researching a long lost relative with the surname ‘Blogs’ who lived in the mid 1800’s in Blogland. I may send a query to the ‘list’ about the possibility of Blogs marrying say ‘Webb’ (fictitious name in this case) in 1856 and asking one of the listers to do a ‘look-up’ for me to see if this was recorded somewhere in the genealogical records of the past which they have access to. It really is a great way of not only gaining information but also of ‘meeting’ a great bunch of people who have wonderful memories and resources which they are very willing to share.

Now that I look back on it, it was a spur of the moment thing – but I offered my services to help with transcribing some areas of the 1871 census. I had in the past transcribed some old New Zealand newspaper listings and found it relatively uncomplicated so thought I’d probably be able to manage the census transcript OK.

What has happened in the process of transcription though, is not just straightforward typing, but an endless fascination and contemplation of the lives of those who lived in 1871 in a particular street and a particular house. Where did they all fit? Many families with large numbers of children, all living at one address. Occupations such as seed sifter, relic stamper, envelope folder, feather hand, boot closer, to name only a few, push my mind into overdrive trying to imagine aspects of their lives which I’ll never be able to relate to. So many of them, young in years to our way of thinking, whose wife or husband had died, leaving them with many children to raise, in conditions we couldn’t imagine in our time of material comforts. Huge numbers of kids who never went to school, and even larger numbers of 10, 11 year olds out working, presumably to help the family keep their heads above the financial high water line.

My part in transcribing their information is minute - but recording some of their history is an important step to making sure they are never forgotten. We may only know them as names on a piece of paper, but no matter who they were, what their story was, or where they came from, they have been part of history that has in some small way, brought me to where I am today. To them then, I am grateful!

Monday, December 17, 2007


It really wasn’t meant to happen at this time of the year – December – summer – heat – sun! There’s no accounting for the strange kind of weather we’ve had recently and Sunday’s ‘dousing’ was a ‘doozie!

Around 3.30pm and the sky looked so threatening – all black and grey and huge storm clouds rolling our way – the wind got up – then the hail started. I was so afraid the glass skylight in the roof would be broken. The lawn was littered with large hailstones and debris of branches and leaves from the many trees around our area.

We were fortunate and didn’t sustain any real damage to our house – the car certainly was peppered with dints though. Many were so much worse than us – two suburbs over from us the hail was as large as cricket (or tennis) balls and huge damage was done to hundreds of properties. Our daughter who lives only 3 kms from us though got no hail at all. Apparently the storm cut a definite path hitting some properties and missing others only feet away.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Pudding

I haven’t been slacking it since last writing this journal – have had other things to do like making my first ever ‘real’ Christmas pud! Yes actually wrapping it in calico cloth and boiling it for 6 hours. I’m not sure if it turned out the way it should but the crumbs sure tasted good when I unwrapped it. I’ve frozen half and the other half will do for our Chrissy dinner that will be plenty for those who enjoy the taste - the others can have fresh fruit salad, ice cream and whipped cream – YUM!

While mixing it and spreading it in the cloth, I remembered years gone by when my mother in law made the most wonderful boiled Christmas pudding in the old fashioned ‘copper.’ This was a large bowl shaped tub which stood on the floor of the laundry made from – you guessed it – copper. A fire was lit underneath it to heat water. When the water was absolutely steaming, the clothes would be put in and stirred around with a long wooden pole. Once having steeped for a good while in the water and washing soap, they were hooked out with the pole into a tub nearby and rinsed. In those days everything was wrung out by hand – even bed linen and other large items. What bliss when the new-fangled ‘wringer’ became available – this was positioned on the edge of the tub and one could pass the clothing through it by turning a handle and the water would be squeezed out between two rubber rollers. To dry, they were pegged on a long wire line which was held at both ends by sturdy poles and in the centre hoisted with a forked branch of a tree to hold it well above the ground.

Well, come Christmas food preparation time, the same ‘copper’ was used to boil the pudding. In those days with 5 growing boys and several other relatives and friends who shared Christmas day fare with the family, it was a very large pudding that was made!

This time of the year surely brings back lovely memories of those days doesn’t it – well, if you’re as old as me it does!

Have a blessed and joyous Christmas!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Oh! My tomato plants are going crazy! As you can see from the pic, they are now past the top of my fence which is 6 ft tall. I’m not sure how I can contain them if they go any higher as the stakes holding them up are also only 6ft tall. After a fairly rugged very hot day last month when the tops of them got quite burned, they have survived the ordeal and grown another foot since then. There’s a bit of fruit there but not as much as I thought there might be. You can also see the little fabric bags I've made to contain the fruit - trying to stop bugs and caterpillars from attacking!

They’ve been in the ground 10 weeks now so I’m hoping it won’t be long before the tiny fruit starting to form on the many flowers that are sprouting at the tops of the plants will begin to swell and ripen. Hopefully we’ll get to eat some of them before any stray caterpillars do!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The giving and receiving of Christmas cards has been traditional in my family ever since I could remember. I grew up with it, and each year as those cards received were hung on the slats of the Venetian blinds in the ‘sitting room’ they were also counted to see if there were more than last year.

Sending of Christmas cards through the mail has, of more recent years, been restricted to mainly those who don’t have access to the internet and email and the bulk on my ‘list’ have been sent electronically. I’ve kind of liked the sparkly animated graphics which are possible to send this way.

This year I decided to be a bit more creative and make instead of purchasing those I want to post. I got enthused when visiting a scrapbooking supplies shop recently. I’ve always enjoyed receiving the ‘home made variety’ of Christmas cards and thought about the effort of the creator of them.

With stamps, ink, card, decorative paper, glue and glitter in hand I’ve been doing my own bit of creating. I’m sure it’s not been cheaper in the long run to do it this way, but the satisfaction and pleasure I’ve had has been well worth the effort.

Monday, November 19, 2007


J E S U S had no servants, yet they called Him M a s t e r
Had no degree, yet they called Him T e a c h e r
Had no medicines, yet they called Him H e a l e r
He had no army, yet Kings Feared Him
He won no military battles, yet He Conquered the World
He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today
I feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

This year I’m quite late getting my act together. Usually I like to have this done by at least the end of October, however that month this year in Sydney was supposedly the hottest on record for a long time so I kind of reneged heating the house up even more with the oven turned on for 3 hours.

Each year I’ve kept up a kind of tradition to make up several big sized Christmas cakes and spread them around family members. Last year I decided I’d done it for long enough and would cut down to a smaller size instead of the giant, double recipe size. When I made mention of this to DIL she looked at me a little oddly. I wondered why but realized there was a good reason behind her facial expression when questioned a little about it. She told me she had for a number of years, been sharing her cake with her parents – she was wondering how she could tell them there may not be any that year. I felt so bad about it, that I made extra so they could enjoy their Christmas treat.

So again this year, since the weather has been much cooler for the past week, I’ve found myself getting to it and making up two of the giant sized cakes. I’m sure we’ll all enjoy our ‘once a year Christmas cake’ again come December 25, and probably for a few weeks after!

Monday, November 12, 2007


I looked out of the kitchen window and gave a bit of a jump. What was that out on the grass – I have a fear of snakes and even though I’ve only seen one on this property in the 15 years we have lived here, I don’t really want to see another! I ventured as far as the door and peered out. The ‘thing’ hadn’t moved – was simply sunning itself in the bright 9am sunshine.

It suddenly occurred to me! Our ‘blue tongue!’ We had known these lovely creatures had lived around the rocks and concrete which surrounded our pool area ever since we moved into this hous, even producing babies on one occasion, but over the past 3 years haven’t seen sight nor sign of them. Presumed they had gone elsewhere when the drought in Sydney hit and they needed to check out a more ‘lizard friendly’ home.

I managed to get a pic of him/her/it before scurrying away to the coolness of the rocks. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a shot of the beautiful lavender blue tongue which darts in and out of a pink mouth. Their mouth is large and the tongue is very prominent being such a gorgeous blue, and they feed predominantly on snails, slugs and any vegetable matter which takes their fancy. This one had better keep his cotton-picking paws off my baby spinach! Regardless, I sure hope he stays around for a bit now.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Some time ago I purchased from overseas, a stitching kit which I had seen a picture of. I loved it immediately and had always promised myself I would someday stitch a sampler – this was the one I wanted to do. When the purchase arrived I opened it and loved the watercolours thread but was really disappointed to find the cream linen the original had been stitched on had been substituted in the kit for Rustico Aida. Part of the appeal for me was the cream linen however I put the kit in the cupboard deciding that sometime in the future I’d ‘have a go’ at it.

Recently I had to have surgery on my knee so during the few days of recuperation I got out the kit and began to work up some enthusiasm for stitching it. I separated the threads after I had worked out which colours corresponded with their numbers and made a start. Wow! I could hardly pull the thread through the aida holes. Was I doing something wrong? No, I checked it all again – right number of threads on the cloth, only one strand of thread - I wasn’t sure how this was really going to work out. It seemed so thick for the 18 count cloth.

I’m plugging away at it slowly but I guess the initial disappointment is still with me and I’m not sure if the end result would have been any different if this pattern had been stitched on linen.

I’m not too far into the design yet, but here’s a photo of what I’ve done so far. The thread just seems far too thick for the fabric. Maybe one of you stitchers out there in cyberspace land has used the watercolour thread and could help me with this. I’d appreciate any comments.

Friday, November 09, 2007


Well if you remember correctly when I began this last spell of blogging I did say I wondered how long I could keep it up. I’ve been ‘shown up’ horribly haven’t I? First of all I had surgery to my knee – and you all know how that stops one typing on a computer! Then I got another flu bug which laid me low for 3 days, hardly getting myself out of bed – and that also had an effect on my typing abilities. So you see I do have great excuses – if only they were the true reason. I’d say I’ve just been hugely lazy with this supposedly regular journaling. I’ll try to do better in future. But I do have to reiterate - I’m still wondering how long I can keep it up. Maybe those of you who know me could give me a gentle prod now and again to keep me going!

Recently a relative sent me a link to a
breast cancer website where all one has to do is click a pink button and hey presto, a paid mammogram has been given for somebody who is unable to afford one. I thought this was a great idea and immediately went to the site and clicked away. I sent this link to my contacts by email and really expected that some of them would probably also ‘give by clicking.’ I had one unexpected reply however which simply pooh-poohed the whole thing. It set me back a bit I’ve got to say and I had to question whether the website was legit and really did what it claimed to do. How do you find out about these things? Do you just keep ‘clicking away on a daily basis’ to keep the mammograms rolling out? Well, I’ve got to say I’ve been doing that – despite the tiny niggle in the back of my mind which says it may be a futile exercise. But then my positive thoughts begin to crowd out the negative ones and I reckon a click on a pink button is probably worth doing – there’s always a chance that it actually does provide for some women who otherwise wouldn’t have that opportunity to check for a life threatening condition.

The same thing I guess applies to ‘giving a pink ribbon’ on some other popular websites. This particular application hopes to reach the 3 million ribbons being given, attached to messages or emails. If nothing else, at least these are reminders of what a threat breast cancer can be to many thousands of women each year and helps us to remember and promote this fact through our blogging, messaging, or emailing.

Does anybody out there in cyberspace land know if there’s a similar thing going for men’s prostate cancer?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It started off in a ‘usual’ kind of a way but in my mind but I actually wondered about that afterwards.

Cereal for brekky? “No”! emphatically from both of them. “Well, Cheerios then?” “Yes” from E3 (and 7/8). OK – at least one is settled. “Yes,” then from the other. Good I thought. The Cheerios sat in the bowl - with spoon protruding! Oh well…

“Toast L2?”
“Yes.” Out comes the toaster and within a minute or two, golden brown crispy hot toast pops up. Mmm… smells great even though my breakfast had not been long before. Margarine and vegemite spread, cut into baby triangles to tempt the appetite and laid out on the special yellow plastic plate. No way. A nibble was about all it got. The rest I found, thrown amongst the plastic implements used for playing with coloured dough. Guess it will soon be morning tea time.

“Outside Gan-ma.”
“ Well, OK but the grass is still wet so shoes on please.”

Off he runs, before I’ve had time to blink, oblivious to the dampness of the ground. Back soon with socks grainy from the path. No matter.

Clean your teeth? Well OK but it’s more fun playing with the water. Give up with moans that he wants his too-bush. In the bag it goes to await mummy’s return from work tonight.

10am time for E3(and 7/8)s eye drops. No way Jose! Rolling on the floor, he and I looking for all the world like two crocs rolling in the river, twisting and turning, arms flailing, protecting… exhausted I aim for the appropriate area of the face. Plop, a bit too low but hopefully the rubbing arm will push a smidgen into the said eye. Might be easier to wait for the afternoon nap I think.

Howls from L2 – up, up! Down, down, I think. It seems an imaginary something is coming after him. Placated, I put him down to run off while I contemplate a cuppa – if I’m quick enough.

I hear something dropping on the polished floorboards. Oh boy, I was quick enough for the cuppa but not for the box of macaroni and shoelaces. E2 had managed to leave a trail all through the house of these large tube shaped pieces of pasta. Rescued and placed high up so they can’t get scattered again – at least not today. Oh, oh, I missed the ones which had made it into an empty plastic jar and were now spread amongst the coloured dough. I move off to see what E3 (and 7/8) is up to. Ah - quietly playing his game with train tracks so at least he’s settled.

11.00am – all is quiet while both boys sit quietly eating small round crispy crackers in front of the TV. I think I might quit while I’m ahead. At least for a little while!

Didn’t last too long. Outside enjoying the warm spring sun, Grandma takes a little spell to sit and contemplate. Well I did contemplate – on what noises were being heard in the distance by L2 who seems to have extremely acute hearing.

“Wots dat?” he says.

“I think it’s a fire engine” say I, straining my failing hearing for the high pitched ‘nee-nah’ whine miles away.

“Wots dat?” again.
Maybe it’s the neighbour at work in his shed.

“Wots dat?” – again.
Oh just the birdies in the trees.

On and on it went, me trying to be more and more inventive each time until at last he spied a trail of ants on the bricks alongside where I was sitting.

“Stamp, stamp – I get them Gan-ma”
Well yes, he got them OK but think it a much better idea to brush them away with the little broom. Actually kept him occupied for quite a while until he spied a worm lying on the path, covered in dirt and certainly passed its use by date. A little frightened by this ‘phenomena’ L2 backed off a bit. I’ll get it with the dustpan, I told him. With a swing of the arm, poor worm was flung out onto the grass, racing toddler’s feet after it trying to find where it had landed. Well of course it was well and truly ‘gone’ but it used up a few more minutes of activity until something else took his eye.

“Wots dat?” I was at the bench preparing some sandwiches for lunch.

“Oh, Grandma’s making lunch” I replied.

“I have some?”

“Of course – we’ll put it on the table and all sit down and have it.”

Not good enough Grandma! Hand outstretched he clearly indicated he was ‘ready for it now – right now! Oh well – Grandma handed the sandwich and off L2 trotted to the little ride on car nearby. One tiny sandwich consumed, the hand was out for another. Just as he took a bite, the little car stuck on the mat on the floor and whoops, over it went, toddler, sandwich and all. Tears ensued and probably hurt feelings which only cuddles could help.

I think naptime is very near. Into bed with special blankie – a few blinks and he’d reached the land of Nod.

Once he wakes, we’ve only got the rest of the afternoon to go. Should be fun! But I wouldn’t miss it for quids!

Friday, September 14, 2007

BATTING - A Quilter’s Dream

After scrolling through more than 500 pages of a ‘batting’ search in Wikipedia, it finally gave me the signal that it could not process my search – it was possibly due to a ‘poorly worded’ search string. Well I hadn’t thought that the word ‘batting’ was ‘poorly worded’ anyway decided to try again, this time adding ‘quilting’ to my search word.

Ah ha! Success – this time only 3 pages to scroll through. Maybe I will find the origin of the term. But alas. No. So many meanings but nothing to give me the slightest clue about the origin of the word used in Quilting.

Firstly as one can imagine, were the cricket terms.
Batting average
Batting order
The act of defending one’s wicket with the cricket bat while attempting to score runs (see Batting, cricket) - helpful!

Then there were the baseball terms:
Batting cage
Batting power
In baseball, batting is the act of attempting to hit the ball with the baseball bat thrown by the pitcher in order to score runs – and again reference (see Batting (baseball)).

Strangely, this search also picked up ‘bat out of hell’ - now that would be an interesting one to pursue!

Another search brought
Cotton batting
Poly batting
Sweet dreams stuffing
even - Ebay batting! – that’d be worth a look I reckon.

But what I wanted was the ‘quilting’ batting. So from another search I got the inevitable “In quilting, batting is a layer of insulation between a top layer of patchwork and a layer of backing material – see (Patchwork quilt).

Well I already knew that but still was no closer to find the origin of the blessed word.

My search on quilt batting produced 50 odd entries, the least relevant being a list of words and phrases having differing meanings in British and American English. Needless to say, this list did not contain any words pertaining to either quilt or batting! However, it did tell me it was also known as ‘wadding’ – now that’s a peculiar word – wonder where that came from!

No, no – I’m not going down that path again – but two interesting facts I could have a go at are:

Wadding is used in guns to seal gas behind a projectile - and
Wadding is also used in model rockets!

Think I’ll quit while I’m still sane – at least for now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The New Quilt is Finished!

It’s finished. Hooray!

Still working on the word ‘batting’ though.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Shall I try the black one next?

A couple of times before I have decided to try growing a tomato plant in a tub in my back yard. I’ve usually given up as the fruit becomes more worm than tomato, despite the application of products which are supposed to keep them free of these pests. It’s a couple of years now since I ‘had a go’ so I thought I’d have one more try but this time putting the plant in the ground instead of in a tub. I had a little patch in mind which gets the sun pretty much all day in the summer so I’ve lovingly prepared it with manure, blood and bone and water crystals. I purchased my very sturdy little tomato plant (Grosse Lisse by name) from a very up-market newish nursery and it’s now planted in the ground and watered in with a solution made from seaweed, guaranteed to ‘settle it in.’

I have heard that some types of plants are good to put with others – keeping pests away etc so information gleaned from the internet suggested french marigold was the one I needed for my tomato. This morning while shopping for my vegetables I found some plants which I was sure were marigolds, for sale. I bought two and promptly put them in on either side of my little tomato.

Something didn’t look quite right so I checked again on the internet to see what marigolds looked like. I really think I’ve planted the wrong thing! Have I got Candelula - or have I got a Zinnia? Oh well, they can stay until I find the right plants. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the ones already in the ground – they might at least bring a few bees around but as I’m not fond of the colour orange but I’ll have to try to find a little spot to plant them ‘out of the way.’

If this little 'Grosse Lisse' stays healthy, I'm thinking I might try a Russian Black!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The New Quilt

Checking out my fabric stash proved one thing to me - nothing constructive could come out of what I had stored. No inspiration either, so back it went again into the storage container. A few days later when daughter announced that a new ‘big’ bed had been ordered for her Master 2, I silently mulled over the possibility of launching myself into action for some serious quilting time. Knowing that Master 1 had received a bed quilt at his promotion from cot to bed I could hardly deprive this current contender for ‘ cot to bed’ launch now could I?

Visiting my local retailer and hoping for a bargain in their half price sale, I embark on the possibility of colours and patterns suitable for this growing lad’s new bedcover. I am not one for being rash when it comes to purchases in anything other than fabrics! I spied some with a coordinating ocean/sea theme in safe primary colours and quickly decided on others to match. Without even a pattern in mind, made my purchase and took off for home. Pulling out old magazines I found a simple design which I thought would suit the colours and theme of the fabric. I wanted something that would be quick to sew by machine and not too complicated – had tried that before and taken years to finish one top. I wasn’t planning to go down that path again this time.

Striking while the inspirational ‘iron’ was hot, cutting was soon completed and the sewing together of tiny squares commenced. Often, past attempts have seen me lag at this point, or I get a few blocks finished and they are filed in the ‘I’ll come back to that later’ pile. I have no idea why it is different this time. I zoom ahead with this project and before long I am down on the floor laying all the little squares together – like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Wow! The top is complete. I’ll now have to make another trip to the shop-that-sells-all and get the backing and batting. Batting? Where did a name like that come from? Maybe this could be another meandering theme I could check out in my spare time?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Who won?

Pointing to the clock on the wall I showed them where the little hand needed to be to show ten o’clock. It was only 9.30am but another half hour should do I thought. L2 looked on very disinterestingly at my attempt to teach ‘the time’ and how-it-would-be-good-to-wait-a-while.

It had been a morning of contrasts with my two grandies staying at Granma’s for the day. E3 (and 7/8ths) was normally the one who reneged on breakfast but to my surprise, today two slices of ‘tana toast had been consumed. L2 was decidedly not eating! Trying to tempt a two year old’s palate with things like ‘tana toast, honey toast, Cheerios and even porridge was not working. “Porrich” he said. “Great” I said. Either he’d given in with a bit of resignation – or Granma had won – with a bit of cajoling! The porrich was prepared but they say ‘you can lead a horse to water but not make him drink’ – don’t they? The ‘porrich’ was definitely not going to be on the menu this morning for this little lad.

Which was why when it came to asking for biscuits and then ice cream sticks, a time was set!

“It’s on 10 Ganma!”

Oh?? This is where Granma realizes she hasn’t spelled out it was the small black hand that needed to be on the 10 – not the thin red second hand! That corrected, another 20 minutes to go.

The time came. Out came the ice cream on sticks. Red for E3 (and 7/8) and yellow for L2. Out we went to sit on the chairs in the sun – the best place in the world for eating ice cream on sticks at 10am on a beautiful morning!

All this time, there had been a constant chatter from E3 (and 7/8) who is a great conversationalist. L2 meanwhile was quiet. Obviously enjoying the ‘treat’ the slurping and licking came to a halt and looking at me, cherub-like, he pronounced “I win.”

I’d say he most certainly did – wouldn’t you?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Wattle Day - September 1

Along the back fence are growing tall wattle trees. The bane of our lives once the seed pods begin to fall later in summer – and the tiny twigs and leaves are a constant problem in the filter which cleans the pool. The seeds spread everywhere – even between the paving tiles and tiny cracks wherever they can squeeze, only to sprout in abundance all through the year. They were planted by the water utility people after they reclaimed the land at the back of our place. They grow very tall, at least 30 to 35 feet, are not a particularly stable tree and only last perhaps up to 10 years before they topple over, they are a positive pain in the butt!

So why are they planted in the first place? Well I guess mainly because they grow quickly, and to boot, their yellow fluffy flower balls have become the national flower of Australia. It’s adoption as the national flower appears to be confirmed by its introduction into the design of the Australian armorial bearings in 1912. Although its popularity was evident for much of the 20th century, it wasn’t until 1988, the year of Australia’s bicentenary, that it was proclaimed as the national floral emblem. Wattles are always associated here with the coming of Spring and in 1992, the 1 September was formally declared ‘National Wattle Day.’

Australians representing their country in international sporting events usually wear the national colours of green and gold which is said to be based on wattle foliage and flower colour and they are also seen as being symbolic of Australia.

But despite it being 1st of September and therefore Wattle Day here ‘downunder,’ I was just thinking, it will be a great day in my back yard when these particular trees succumb to a really strong wind and turn their roots up towards the heavens!

Monday, August 27, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time – and it was!

It’s finished! I guess it hasn’t really taken that long when I look back. Probably about 3 weeks with a few rows done here and there. I’m happy with the way it’s turned out. To think that when I began it, I didn’t have any idea how it would finish.

I used 4 ply yarn and size 3mm knitting needles and cast on 3 stitches to begin. Increasing one stitch at the beginning of each row, I knitted stocking stitch until there were 300 stitches on the needle. Then I started decreasing 1 stitch at the beginning of each row until 3 remained. The little edging caused by the increasing and decreasing was quite acceptable and many would probably have left this baby blanket like that but I decided to finish it off with 3 rows of crochet stitching. The first 2 rows of just double crochet (I think in the US it may be known as single) and the 3rd rows I made a kind of fan by making 6 double crochet into one stitch, missing 2 dc and joining the ‘fan into the next. I think it has given the blanket a kind of ‘new baby’ look about it.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet but since our family have all planned for no more babies, I might just put it away in a ‘hope drawer’ for the first great-grandbub! Oh yes, I realise it might be a good few years yet before that happens, but I was just thinking… maybe I mightn’t be capable of making a baby blanket by then!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Lemon Tree

It was planted to fill a space where a kids play house had been removed. The previous owners of our house had built it and their kids had enjoyed many hours of pleasure playing in it – so had their dog. It was rotting by the time we purchased the house and decided it had to go. There was an area underneath the little house, which was also well used by the dog! We found an assortment of ‘stuff’ buried as well as several places which had been ‘rolled in’ constantly. Not sure what to do with it, I purchased a lemon tree. Well it seemed they grow pretty well anywhere, and take pretty harsh treatment, including being ‘watered’ on by humans who, in some areas of the outback, use their lemon trees as the ‘outside loo’ (or so I’ve been told).

So a lemon tree was planted. Can’t even remember the kind it was now but it wasn’t long after, that we decided to move overseas for three years. Our house was placed on the rental market and in moved a family with four kids – and their dog. When we too up residence in our house again after returning ‘downunder’ the lemon tree was still growing – but it had grown rather tall and gangly and seemed to be sulking and not producing anything much in the way of fruit. Not what I’d call a marvellous specimen of the citrus variety! I’ve heard that if you have a tree that isn’t growing well despite all the care you can give, just lean an axe up against the trunk and it will begin to do well out of fright! Well I think I went one better and decided to ‘do the deed’ The hedge clippers came out and I lopped furiously. It seemed to stop it’s sulking within a few weeks and began to produce lovely new leaves. The tree is about 11 years old now and I’ve kept it trimmed across the top. The trunk has grown thick and sturdy and the lemons, although still not the greatest, at least give quite a reasonable amount of juice. I don’t know how long lemon trees live? If anyone knows maybe they could let me have the info. (thanks)!

I was just thinking… when it comes to gardening, my thumb is definitely not even a dull green but if chopping the top off the lemon tree has encouraged it to grow and produce, maybe I could just get the hedge clippers out and lean them up against that tiboucina shrub that seems to be having a sulk!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wild birds

Having a built in ‘outdoor-not-enclosed-aviary’ in my back yard has given me hours of watching pleasure over the past few years and I had determined that I wasn’t going to be boring and blog about them but I can’t resist. I seem to learn something new each time these little birds visit and these small creatures amaze me at times. Sydney is well known for having masses of parrots of different kinds which inhabit anywhere there are areas of bush or large trees. Because we are right on the edge of a treed neighbourhood, they have not come here in large numbers however we do have a few Lorikeets who turn up for water or bread when the weather is very hot and food is scarce. Last summer we had about a dozen who came almost every day to share the bread scraps I threw out and to cool down in the water I left out for them.

Once autumn made an appearance the visits of the main bunch got less, but two persisted and became quite tame, perching themselves up on the shade sail and peering down, chirping and calling, even coming right up to the kitchen window to let us know they were ‘waiting’ on their handout.

These two have continued to come right through the winter – I presumed they had nested somewhere close by. One day they brought their babies to feed on the bread and honey I’d placed out for them. Wheezily sqwarking, they were identical to their parents except for very dark coloured beaks instead of the vibrant red of mum and dad. Very wary at first, they became regulars most days flying down and even perching outside the window on a box of wood I had kept there to feed the wood fire on these cold days. They’d been coming for weeks when one day I heard loud screeches eminating from one bird a few yards away from 3 already feeding at the bread. I was more than surprised to see it was ‘Father Bird’ keeping one of the youngsters at bay. He was literally being frightened away from the family. This behaviour continued for a number of days until the baby didn’t come at all. In the past week, baby number 2, who had been kept with the family, has been attending the ‘feed in’ less and less, but lovey-dovey Father Bird has been making moves towards Mother Bird – it is coming up Spring in our part of the world after all. Obviously Father Bird had inbuilt knowledge of this information and in shooing the male youngster away from the family group, has ensured himself to be the only suitor in his family. I understand these colourful little creatures mate for life so every possibility that he and his ‘Mrs’ will be back in a few months time with another generation of babies. Hopefully in a few months time, the ‘grown up and outed’ baby may turn up with his new ‘family.’ I’ll be watching for the new arrivals!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time continued

The knitted square (I can now see it will be a square) is going well. I’m into the last corner and on the homeward stretch. Two more balls of yarn purchased (making seven so far) – it will definitely be OK for a baby!

Beautiful Saturday

Woke early today and it was so warm. Here ‘downunder’ we are still officially in our winter with Spring traditionally being ’sprung’ on 1st September. This winter has been particularly cold for some reason - or is it that I’m just getting older and feeling it more? Well whichever - today was unseasonably warm with the top temperature predicted to be 25 (about 76F) The washing (laundry) went out on to the clothes line super quick in brilliant sunshine - even had to come indoors and take off the jacket I was wearing, having put it on to brace myself for the coolness I expected, despite the outdoor thermometer showing it wasn’t and because it-can’t-possibly-be-that-warm-at this time of the year!
Well it was that warm! And the temperature even got to the predicted 25 degrees, despite the really strong wind which blew the washing dry in no time. How good to be able to bring it indoors after it being on the clothes line for only a few hours and have it dry enough to fold and put away without it going through the dryer to ‘finish it off.’ I even got to finish a long overdue painting job (in the house woodwork kind of painting) before fixing lunch, and finished off the afternoon having coffee with a friend, making a tuna casserole for tomorrow’s ‘pot luck’ at church and prepared our pizza for a nice quick laid-back, casual Saturday night dinner.
Altogether a great day, plenty of blessings, lots to be thankful for - Thank You Lord!

Friday, August 10, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time

I had a couple of balls of knitting yarn which had been in my stash for a while so on the spur of the moment, in a weak moment, I decided to start knitting squares which would eventually be pieced together to make a baby blanket. (Not for anyone in particular you understand – just for something to keep my fingers busy). I began by casting on 3 stitches and increased at the end of every second row intending to stop when the square became about 6 inches across. I had made some squares a couple of years ago in this manner resulting in a reasonable knee rug from the squares I eventually completed. Once I had a couple of squares finished I thought I’d see whether to add different colours to them to make them more interesting and appealing. After knitting up to about the 6 inch across mark I thought I’d just keep going, adding the two stitches each couple of rows and see how far I got with the yarn I had. After using the two balls I already had, I now felt committed to the task and went out and purchased 3 more balls – that should do it! After increasing stitches until I could hardly hold the needles to knit, I got to 300 stitches in one row. “That’s it”, I thought! I need to call a halt to this madness!

I’ve now used nearly 5 balls of yarn and am at least on the homeward stretch by decreasing 2 stitches at the end of each second row. I still have no idea what size this ‘blanket’ will be on completion – it may never be big enough for a baby – but maybe somebody’s doll – or pet?? I’ve committed to it now so I’ll just have to keep going and finish – but for now, I need to go and buy more yarn! Shops, here I come!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tub Gardening

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit family in the United States. Even though the weather was chilly, we still ate plenty of salads. Amongst the greens was baby spinach leaves which I had seen before but never actually acquired a taste for. I am a real ‘greens’ person and so I relished this ‘new’ taste treat. On arriving home I found my local supermarket had begun stocking cellophane packs of these but I felt the price was rather exhorbitant. I did purchase some and the pack was gone in no time over the next few days. Not to be outdone by the expense from the produce shelf, I found an old tub which had housed many different plants over the past few years, including geraniums, and filled it with fresh potting soil and manure and purchased a few seedling plants for the same price of a bag of the greens. They took off in no time, even though our weather by this time was quite cold. I’ve now planted a few seeds around the edge of the tub and although a different variety, they too are becoming little producers. I’ve never really had any success with vegetable gardening, mainly because I’ve never had the space or correct soil – oh, except for one time I did try to grow potatoes in a black plastic bag – but that’s another story – however, I now really feel I’d like to have a go at growing some of the other vegies that we use frequently. Guess I’ll never get the opportunity though, unless I grow them in tubs, as there really isn’t any place in our yard which would convert easily. Not unless I empty out the pool and convert that! Now there’s a thought! Shame we don’t have those lovely English ‘allotments’ here. That’d be the ticker!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Quilt Stash

It's ages since I quilted anything - I have a pile of fabrics which I've stashed away, some for years, intending to use sometime. I am an impulse buyer when it comes to quilting! I see something I like and have great plans to do something with it then eventually don't ever find just the right thing that matched the colour or pattern - or I find something that is just perfect but not the right size. It doesn't take long before my stash of bits and pieces has built up with all sorts of mismatched yardage!

I really feel I must do something with it all - even if it's a small project - just to use up all the bits I've gathered over the years. Either that - or I'll have to bundle it all up and take it to the op shop and ease my conscience - at least that way someone may get to use it and the charity makes a few cents out of it. Hmm... will give it a little more thought over the next few days and see whether I get a surge of inspiration at long last. Once I've dealt with my stash of fabrics, maybe I can have a go at my knitting yarn pile, oh and also my cross stitch bits and bobs! Then I'll concentrate more on my scrapbooking! Ho hum - decisions, decisions!

Can I really keep this up?

So long since I posted! So much water under the bridge of my life. Well they say try, try, try again so I'll give it another go. Wonder how long I can keep it going this time.