Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Happy Birthday..........

It's my Dad's birthday today.
One of my fondest memories is of him singing "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen"
 to me as it played on the radio.
An amazing man!
Pa and the lad on holiday at Lorne

Slow and Steady.......

The back issue is on the mend with some expert attention from
 Dr. Alex Baxter and Mr. Voltaren.
As much as the Plan has been dumbed down to accommodate said back there is
no time like the present
 to begin.
SO each day there will be
* walking and stretching/strengthening,
* a squeeze of lemon juice with water
I can manage this; rain, hail or shine
*two shorter walks until the back is strong again and then I'll progress into the longer ones with inclines 
Part of the plan is to supplement the walking with pilates, swimming, bike riding and skipping.
Stretching and strengthening is a "must do" with the walking.
Sounds pretty good so far; stay tuned!  

Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Plan.........

I've had a self imposed week off to re-evaluate, sort, catch up
and generally have a rest from books before it starts all over again at the end of July.
Yesterday I even went to the football and cheered on Essendon.
 Young Joe Daniher, who is a mere 202cm in height, played his 2nd AFL game and shows great promise in his football career.As part of the re-evaluation process I have decided to formulate
 "THE PLAN"    
a mix of stretching and strengthening exercises, smarter diet, and a timetable that leaves
for me as well as the books.
The plan has to wait for a little longer -
I woke up this morning and am unable to stand up straight.
My lower back is telling me that it needs more than a week.
It's a bit sad really.
I can't sit unless I'm bent over the back of the couch, any forward motion is painful and lying in
bed is boring and unproductive.
Oh well, back to the ice packs!


The last 5 months have been fairly intense around the home.
I went back to school this year;
 Certificate IV in Massage Therapy was the goal.
I'm very pleased to report that the log book, and all exams, both prac. and theory have been successfully completed with the only thing left to hand in being some reflective activities. 
It has been a challenge to go back to study after such a long time.
I still get desperately nervous with exams and funnily enough caught myself momentarily
 hoping that I'd be ill so that I could miss out on one!
Being a "mature age student" has had its own challenges but I would highly recommend it to any of you who are thinking about it.
Our approach to study is entirely different;
the focus being on subjects we want to learn rather than having to learn.
Years of practice at being employed, on time, responsible for one's own actions, and having better time management have made this an experience that is precious.
All this as well as the people that I've met and new friendships forged.
So, get out there and do it; not because you have to but because you can.
You won't regret it.

Set up for Puffing Billy Run
Tillman and Adrein, waiting for the first runners to come in 

The runners were most appreciative of post sports massage 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Oooh, I bought some material!!!

I've been such a good girl for such a long time; honest, I have.
(somehow it sounds like the person I am trying to convince is me)
I want to sew but I need to study more.
My fingers are itching to create something tactile.
 The compromise is to
 the fabric in preparation for the next project.
This is my reward for putting in some serious studying over the last few months.
the star of the show
 The floral is from the "Williamsburg, Virginia" range by Wyndham Fabrics
just a few more to compliment
If you are ever stuck for selecting fabrics to go with the main one you've chosen you can always
use the coloured dots that are printed on the selvedge as a reference.
At this stage I think that I'll go for an "old maid's ramble" type pattern with lots of scrap.

All Day Jane is here again

The next All Day Jane at Somerset Patchwork in Mt Waverley will be held on
 Saturday, 18th of May.
 Come one come all; stitch, chat, learn and be inspired by the story of Jane Stickle and her 
 quilt masterpiece.
Jane in progress
Call the store on 03 9807 3399 for details 

A Mother's day present..............

Mother's Day can be extremely commercial but I'm pleased to say that my gift today is something that I really needed.
New slippers YAY - not for canine consumption


Bella is now 18 months old is finally grown out of eating things that aren't food.
- (I wrote that bit 3 days too soon) -
 came home from school and she had chowed down on a scarf; and has developed a taste for
massage oil. I was not a happy girl.
 rang the Lord to tell him about his girl
Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth!

A Cool Bone

the cuboid is half way up on the left hand side

I have found the coolest bone in the body!
It looks exactly like it's name.
(baring in mind, I don't know a stitch of Latin so there could be others)
It's one of the bones that make up our foot.
So many bones to learn ,and if you don't know Latin there are some very strange names;
Greater Trochanter and Xyphoid just to name two.
At least Cuboid gives me a hint of what to look for!
Muscles are pretty much the same.
 I was asked the other day if a guy named Terry discovered
Teres Minor and Major.
This sounds plausible to the lay person but again it is more likely to do with Latin  

Mother's Day....

Dear Mum;
                   Today's the day that we celebrate our mothers and the tireless work that they do.
You've taught me so much throughout the years and I'm grateful for every moment that we've had together. You are my best friend and a sounding board when I need one. You listen to what I have to say without judging; gentle words of encouragement offered when needed. Thank you.   
Now that I'm older and a mum myself I appreciate even more your patience for the challenges that kids set for us, the wisdom behind "choosing your battles" and the importance of a sense of humour.
So today, sit back, put your feet up and enjoy your day.
Love your work,

Happy Mother's Day, Mum

Monday, 15 April 2013


As promised I've checked the blog stats and guess what - you've all excelled
This puts me in an odd position of not being able to fulfil my promise.
As of a few moments ago we've well and truly passed the 3000 mark and are zooming towards
The problem is this;
No one has left a comment so that I can reward them with a  gift as promised
what's a girl to do?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

And now for some quilty things................

I always look forward to Wednesdays.
I take a patchwork group at Somerset Patchwork and Quilting in Mount Waverley;
a great and diverse bunch of ladies with many and varied talents.
No names or pack drill but some lovely photos so that you can see what we get up to!

 a galaxy of three inch lemoyne stars in the making- the background hasn't been chosen as yet
These little flowers will become 3 inch lemoyne stars once the background has been chosen.
Karen Styles of Somerset Patchwork has produced a set of templates for the star
and if you complete a star a day
(excluding Christmas and birthday)
you end up with a beautiful and very special piece of work and hopefully a few less scraps in the stash

tiny hexagons - very nice
This is a paper pieced project - a little quilt for a rocking chair.






Nearly Insane in  Red

A Dear Jane is a work of art in anyone's language

Cabin Carnevale in shades of Mauve

very close to finished
The last photo is of a project started a few years ago at Primarily Patchwork
We've swapped a striped border for a pieced one, using all the elements within the quilt.

I'm very proud of my group. As you can see they are a mixed and creative bunch!
(except that they laugh at me when I suggest that we could learn applique at some stage)

And Beth makes three.........

Beth is the baby of the group. 
She's Bella's best friend. Dog and chook play "chicken"
(hilarious concept)
 and Bella will take her balls and chew toys up to the fence for Beth to play with. 
Maybe it's because of their English "ginger" bond that they get on so well together

Lil .....

Lil has been the surprise of all the birds and not my favourite!
She can be quite mean spirited when she wants to be.
Last year we lost Henny, a Wyandotte Bantum with a beautiful nature.
When Lil realised that they were a chook down she called and called all afternoon. 
I was quite sure that if I didn't find a replacement Lil would continue to fret and die too.
We went for a drive up to Abundant Layers in the hills and came home with Beth, a young Buff Sussex.
The poor thing had every right to be terrified. Apart from being re-homed one of the locals (Lil)
would go into the chicken house and squarely box her ears. 
We all know that's where the term "pecking order" comes from but what really surprised me was that after five minutes or so Lil would think " You know, I didn't do that well enough!" 
and would march back in and do it all over again.

Henny, (in front)Lil (grey one) and Denise; free ranging
She went through her malt about a month ago and she knows very well that she's sporting a 
designer outfit at the moment.
Lil is very insecure but given half a chance she will stick the talons in when she thinks no one is looking.
She will also screech her head off the whole time when we have to catch her where as the others settle quickly.
As I said -not my favourite chook.

On the Cleverness of Chooks

I'm not really sure if you could call chooks clever. 
They do some pretty clever things though and have individual personalities just as humans do.
My three ladies cover the whole spectrum and all have traits that I know that I and my friends have. 
They are very self conscious for a start. Each time one of them malts the pecking order changes and the alpha chook becomes insecure and moody.
Meet Big Denise - she's not so big at the moment and is not looking her best at all.

not a happy girl

It's as if she pressed the self eject button and half of her feathers have gone, overnight. She's holding out on the eggs too.
Usually self assured and the best layer to boot; she's easy going and not troubled by bullies but they also know to keep out of her way.

having a good hair day

Denise's preferred food is freshly picked leaves of this weed that grows in the back yard. 

The leaves are about an inch or bigger at the tip with a jagged edge
. Denise turns the leaf around in her beak so that the stem/ narrow end will go down her throat first.
Very clever, I'd say.

2900-ish and counting

I am very surprised and excited to say that I am quickly approaching
 views on my blog.
I hope that my readers enjoy the little bits and pieces that I impart.
I've never been a "tech" head and so the learning process is often slow, however I am learning.
I would like to award my 3000th reader with a little gift of some sort.
I just need to work out the best way to do it.

I suppose there should be some rules and info.
1. if you are interested in being a part of this please leave a comment.
This way I can contact the lucky winner.
As per the normal courtesies with forums the comments are mediated before publishing so that
nothing unsavoury goes to print.  

2. I will check the stats daily so that I can keep track and publish their progress.
 "Closest to the mark" reader with comment will be the deciding factor.

3. I intend the "prize" to be a little textile related something
(haven't decided what it will be yet)

4. If you are an international reader this is OK. Aus. Post delivers to just about anywhere.

the stats say that I'm at 2964 so I guess this little comp. will conclude by the end of the week.
This afternoon I will post the "Prize"
Stay tuned

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

FYI - "Dear Jane" girls

Hi all; I've just found this site on Pinterest that has some amazing Jane Stickle quilty photos -
worth a look
Enjoy LB

Trying hard

OK, so you have now gathered that I can bake. I'll let you into a little secret -
I have a reputation for not cooking well at all.
You see, baking is precise, there's one thing going on at a time and there is less chance of me walking away from the kitchen to do something else while I'm waiting. You don't have to worry about getting your timing right with "other elements to the dish"
The sad but true reality is that I can't put a meal together well at all.
I'm the original
"raw meat and burnt/soggy veggies" girl
I don't enjoy doing meals much. They're a necessity and that's about it.
I suppose I feel the pressure of being a good cook a bit - I married into a family of excellent cooks;
people who can stand back, throw anything into the pot and come up with a three course meal. 
One day we had gone to Nan's for dinner - an exceptional spread- roast cooked to perfection with all the trimmings and a self saucing chocolate pudding to die for.
The lad commented " Nan, you're a terrific cook" and then realised that there were others in the room that he should perhaps compliment as well.
And so he continued -
"Dad, you're great, too."
(by this stage he realised that he had made a tactical error and had not mentioned me)
The next comment was"And Mum, you try really hard."
From the mouths of babes!

Cake No.2 - Carrot and Macadamia

Carrot and Macadamia Cake
Line a large square tin - 25 cm, with baking paper and pre heat oven to 170 C - 180 C
3 eggs                                                 2 cups sugar 
1 1/2 cups sunflower oil                       2 tsp vanilla
450g crushed pineapple                       2 cups grated carrot
30g crystallised ginger, chopped           1/4 tsp lemon rind
125g macadamia nuts, chopped           3 cups plain flour
1 tsp bi carb soda                                1 tsp baking powder  
1 tsp cinnamon                                     1 tsp nutmeg
Cream eggs, sugar and oil together. Add vanilla,pineapple (with juice) and grated carrot. Mix through and then add ginger and lemon rind. Sift flour, soda, baking powder and spices together. Fold into the batter andthen add the macadamias (use a fork and take your time- makes a lighter cake)
Pour into prepared tin and bake for approx 1 hour or do the skewer test when you think it's ready
Ice with cream cheese icing when cool.
Cream Cheese icing:
Combine 125 g softened cream cheese, 250 g icing sugar,1 tsp vanilla and zest of a lemon. Beat together until smooth. Make sure cake is cooled fully before icing.
Notes: fresh eggs are always best - you don't realise the difference between the ones on the supermarket shelf that promise "farm fresh" and the real thing until you've sourced your own.
A very fresh egg yolk will sit high in the whites and the whites are not watery
I like to use a fork for folding. It cuts through the mixure and doesn't knock the air out.  

I forgot to add the yield - you will be able to get 24 very healthy sized slices

The power of good food

There's nothing like a bit of baking to feed the soul and bring people together.
It can make a person feel loved and comforted as well as giving a taste experience that they may not often encounter.
(I think that food, no matter how simple always tastes better if someone else has prepared it)
It's also nice to have a slice of something a bit naughty and know that the rest of it will not provide temptation
I've baked two cakes in the last 2 weeks for some very special people in my life.
I am relieved to say that I didn't leave ingredients out, add salt instead of sugar, burn,
or otherwise muck up my projects.
Both recipes have come from very old news paper clippings that I've inherited from my mum's collection of "Stuff from the bottom drawer"
They might have been from the local CWA or similar so to the anonymous authors of these recipes a huge Thank you
Both cakes keep well but it won't be something that you need to worry about. They won't last that long.

The first : Sticky Date Cake
200 gr. chopped dates                      1 cup water
1/4 cup golden syrup                        1 tsp bi carb soda
60 gr butter                                      2/3 cup castor sugar
2 eggs                                              1 cup self raising flour (sifted)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup brown sugar            2/3 cup thickened cream
80 gr butter
Pre heat oven to 170 C- 190 C. Grease a 20 cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
Bring water, chopped dates and golden syrup to the boil. Reduce heat and cook for 1 minute or so.
remove from heat and puree until smooth. Stir in bi carb and set aside to cool.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat eggs together and add to the creamed butter/sugar slowly, mixing well so that it doesn't separate. Fold in flour, walnuts and date mixture.
Pour into cake tin and bake for approximately 40 -50 minutes or test with a skewer - should come out clean. Allow to cool.
For the sauce: heat ingredients until melted and dissolved.
Serve slices of cake, warm with the sauce and some good quality cream or ice cream.

Recipe yields 16 serves -

I do not like it when the photo thingy won't co-operate!!

Hello to all of you very, very patient blog readers.
I know that I've been absent and was planning to rectify that with some amazing blogging and great pics.
I've taken stacks of photos of interesting and inspiring things
(my Wednesday girls are AMAZING)
Unfortunately I've been let down by my technical knowledge and the camera
will not relinquish the photos to my computer
I'm not too pleased about it!
I will share a recipe or two with you and hope that the gizmos make friends in the meantime! 
Stay tuned

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Linda, Linda, where for art thou?....

Here I am, Dear Reader. A bit brain drained but hopefully wiser for the experience.
 I would not blame you for thinking that I had stopped the "Pursuit" as it's been about a month since my last entry.
The truth be known I don't think I've had a busier time in my life.
In the past month I've been to quilt valuation and judging lectures,
Opera in the market,
the Premier's Gala Dinner for Cultural Diversity week,
Monbulk Community Quilt show for the CFA,
 done the colonoscopy thing (don't have to go back for a while -YAY)
donated at the Blood Bank (and passed out - oops!)
semi finished 2 quilts (they are still waiting for bindings)
got the lad back to school (he's performed extremely well with his swimming- into district)
Started back teaching for the new year
Gone back to school myself!!
All I can think about is
Thank goodness the Lord is pretty much self sufficient and doesn't complain about the meals!
In fact I am very proud to say that he has picked up the slack quite nicely.
(and a bit relieved too)
 Each time I've been out the camera has been on the table at home, wondering why it was not included in the trip or has had operational issues (perhaps that's me and not the camera)
Actually I feel exhausted thinking about it all.
However, in the true spirit of Blogger World I will pull my digit out, and the camera as well and post some pictures for you this evening.
Consider this a brief intermission

Sunday, 10 February 2013

New Year's Resolutions......

I've never been a big one for the Resolution thing.
It smacks of broken promises on mass and I find that a bit frightening.
I must confess though that I've fallen for a little something that so far is working very, very well.
Friends were discussing how this year was going to be a BIG year and if we were going to cope we'd have to be super organised.
( I am not super organised by any stretch of the imagination)
The theory that if every job that took about 5 minutes was to be tackled in that moment it would ease the backlog and even make a 30 minute task a 20 minute task. The possibilities appeared to be endless.
I reluctantly agreed to go along with it.
I am happy (and surprised) to report that my kitchen is cleaner, the house more tidy and more sewing has been completed than ever before!
Maybe there's hope for me yet

Oh Dear, Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane..........

Today is the first day of the Dear Jane Exhibition

A group of us (all Janiacs) went for a visit and were not disappointed.
It's surprising how many "mad" women there are in the world if this was anything to go by.
I've come home with a full memory card on the camera.
The skill range went from "a good, honest quilt" to those that you only read about in 
"The Quilting Masters' Gazette".
Chocolate sashings and borders, small and large cones, applique only,
rainbow setting stones and Jane's School House are just a sampling of  the the Stitchers' 
tweaks to this Historical quilt.

All Red with an interesting border!
Gentle aquas, greens and mauves
A mix of original blocks and Jane blocks for variety
Lovely binding
"Forty shades of grey" - the front
and the back

Jane's School House

Pam Hammer, President of the AQA
(Australian Quilters Association) was resplendent in her "Jane inspired apron"
Congratulations to AQA for putting on an interesting and  successful show.
(P.S. I have so many more photos a shame not to share - stay tuned for more on Dear Jane)

Summer School achievements..........

Summer School is always an enjoyable time. 
The atmosphere is relaxed and we tend to get through a great deal because the class runs for the whole day without interruptions.
This year we had 11 students who learnt my "quilt as you go" techniques with two quilts to choose from; 

Stanford Cabin and Cabin Carnevale.

There's always room for personal creativity within a quilt; after all you're the one who is doing the work.
Kacey has chosen pinks and lights for her "light side" and teals and purples/blacks for the dark.
She hasn't decided on a setting yet but has had a great time thinking about the possibilities!

Log Cabins have so many lay-out choices; there are plenty to choose from.
Last year Pat worked on Stanford Cabin. 
She settled on a bright batiks palette and "robbing Peter to pay Paul" setting. 
Her centres are family photos. Even her borders are "Quilt as you Go"
The wonderful thing is that each quilt made is unique.

Pat's completed masterpiece

the back is interesting too!
Looking forward to seeing her Cabin Carnevale in shades of mauve and cream.
Many thanks to both ladies for sharing their quilts with us

Friday, 8 February 2013

Ballet and Fashion..........

We've been to see The Ballet and Fashion Exhibition at the
National Gallery of Victoria recently.
It highlights the collaboration between designers and The Australian Ballet
Designers include Collette Dinigan, Akira Isagowa and Lacroix 
 I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Colette Dinnigan's signature style

Christian Lacroix

Amazing head gear from Richard Nylon Millinary

These garments were made from garden variety cotton muslin.

Great evening frock if you had the legs to go with it.
 And next door in the general gallery....

An 18th century"Etui"
 Designing costume for theatre isn't just about making a frock but coming up with something that 
conveys a story as well as behaving in a manner that doesn't hinder the performer.
There's quite a science behind it when you think about it.
Consider Curque De Soliel and the things that the performers have to do.
Their costumes have to be light, pliable, floaty and laundered easily.
Silk is "floaty" but not the most practical for the laundry.
(Not my laundry anyway!)