Sunday, January 29, 2017

Summer rain in the mountains

There is often a moment in a creative project when I think : "Why on earth did I start this?"

These Scrappy Mountain Mysteries blocks for example, made from recycled 100% cotton shirts.

I have had all kinds of trouble with them: the fabric wanted to slip under the needle, so I had to starch them. Then the sewing machine wanted to make little gathers or puckers in the seams so I had to thread and re-thread and clean the tension discs and stuff before it behaved. Then the method of cutting the half square triangles into strips -by placing one on top of the other and slicing-in my hands left me with pretty inaccurate cutting at times. I sharpened the cutting blade and recut and recut.

Anyway I bunged them up on the design wall and decided I was going to keep going. There are lots of possible layouts and if they don't quite fit I will add some sashing and be done with it!

I have resorted to playing Enya's Orinoco Flow in a desperate attempt to relax and enjoy the process!

Now maybe the whole thing has been jinxed by the way I feel about mountains -nice to look at, horrible to climb! Or the fact that we don't have much in the way of mountains here in the old ancient land of Western Australia.

Or maybe it is that we have the remains of a cyclone which has brought unseasonable rain, which means that we have not been able to walk on the beach for a few days, and all the grapes are splitting their skins?

Still the garden is enjoying it!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Using fine china because life is short-and a quilt finish!

Yesterday we held a small family funeral for my 96 year old Aunty. We had a lovely dignified service, and afterwards the family stayed for afternoon tea.

My aunt's fine bone china came to me when we cleaned out her house in order for her to move into a nursing home. It is a very pretty Queen Anne Forget me not pattern from Royal Osborne. In the whole time she owned it, she never used it. Aunty didn't want it to be broken! She used to say that she was waiting for the queen to visit! 

I gave her a cup of tea in it one time we brought her home from the nursing home. 

Yesterday I took my red tablecloth to the church and all the fine china I owned -including my MIL's "Country Roses" and all the Royal Doulton birth month mugs. I took Aunty's set too: when would there be a better time to honour her with these beautiful things?

Of course I was a bit anxious about things getting broken -actually I had visions of the whole box of things being broken when someone tripped, or something.

The decision I made to use these pretty things was partly  about justifying the space they take in my house: if they are not useful, surely they shouldn't be here? Mostly though it was about an old lady who would have known how to do a proper afternoon tea: with cups and saucers and plates and serviettes and things like that.

So we used them and it helped to give the event a bit of grace and dignity. Yes, one piece was broken and it was entirely my fault. Yes I have found a replacement and it is on its way to me now.

My siblings and cousins ere responsible for clearing out Aunty's place. I think we were all struck with the amount of STUFF a home can have in it, and the difficulty of finding a use for these things when you want to get them out.  Life is too short to hang on to useless things. I prefer to use the pretty things and enjoy them

Today I am washing tablecloths and napkins. This is also not hard -and using them helps to make a sense of occasion to any event.

What do you think? do you use your fine china?

PS I have just edited the Quilting and the Creative Challenge page of this blog to update my first 2017 quilt. Head on over and let me know what you think! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Infilling the garden

My brother's place nearby has been sold, along with the neighbouring duplex, to make way for an infill development-where they squeeze more dwellings on the block by a strata development. He had a lovely garden there, but it is all going to be cleared. We were invited to pick up some plants -and now we are 'infilling' our garden with more productive plants.

This is a Goji berry , which we have re-potted and put on the north side of the house but with some shade. Apparently the berries are very high in antioxidants.

This is known as Maqui berry which is supposed to bear well after it is established.

This is a blueberry -with some fruit on now -but they don't last long! 

Very happy to have been given such a healthy sage plant - I didn't have one of these.

There were ornamental plants as well -we have planted some of them outside DD's window, where the new shade pergola makes a lovely environment.

There are some clivea here along with a Philodendrom Xanadu and some 'suncatchers" in lime green and purple.

Our new neighbour pulled out some ivy (no great loss) and a palm tree from the other side of our patio fence. It is all a bit bare -and that ugly fence! YUK! We have hung some new-to-us hanging baskets to take the eye away. DH has an idea of making a trellis in front of the fence to hide it. We can grow things on the fence -like the star jasmine on the right.

Other plants are coming into fruit - passionfruit as big as lemons -just waiting for them to change colour. 

Cucumbers in a wicking bed. 

Lemon boy tomatoes. I haven't had a great crop of tomatoes, despite having about 12 plants of different varieties and in different locations. Still hoping they will come good! 

It has been good to have these things to distract me, because my 96 year old Aunty died this week. It was a blessing for her -quality of life had deteriorated but her mind had not. We have been busy with arrangements, as you do: clearing out the contents of her nursing home room,  taking things to the op shop, arranging the funeral. That will be on Friday. Then I am back to work next Tuesday. 

Thanks for stopping by to read this blog. Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

This week -carols and stepping stones

 It has been a lovely week in many ways, but there have been some stumbling blocks as well as stepping stones -sorry about the pictures - I am having computer problems! I am going to need a new one very soon :-(. 
On a more positive note I have been cooking from my Rick Stein book that I got for my birthday.  We have enjoyed everything  so far -roasted lamb chops with lemon and potato, stuffed vegetables, Turkish carrot patties.
Yesterday I went to the op shop and found these green placemats for the princely sum of $3.25 for 6 and the ceramic dishes for $9 for the lot of them. Last night we enjoyed quite a mediterranean feast of olives (from our own tree), feta and brie, preserved meats, salads and the carrot fritters with a yoghurt garlic sauce. YUM! 

We went up to New Norcia this week and stayed overnight so we could enjoy the Epiphany readings  and carols. It was quite lovely. The  picture above is the courtyard in the monastery. 

The birds at New Norcia were amazing. The noise of them at dawn and dusk was louder than I have ever heard anywhere else. I collected these feathers as we walked around the town. 

It is a good thing that I have now pinned together the quilt sandwich for the Bonnie Hunter Bricks and Stepping Stones quilt.  DH has commented several times how much he likes this quilt: I don't know if it is the medium to dark tones, or the sparkle of the black and white four patches, but something about this one really works for him! I am very happy about that! I bought some bamboo wadding as the LQS didn't have any cotton. I haven't used this before so I will be interested to see how it works.

EDITED 17/01/2017 -I now have a new computer and the photos have been sorted so you can actually see them clearly!