28 October 2015

Where I fall in love with these flowers

Two excursions in a single week! What a treat. Last Friday I visited Glenmore House for a garden class. It took only a single minute before I started snapping photos of these poppies; the main garden beds were crammed full of these amazing flowers. MUST BUY SEEDS!

24 October 2015

My Name is Lizzie Flynn

My first article for Quilters Companion Magazine is published in the current issue of Great Australian Quits (no. 6). For the article, I had the pleasure of interviewing author Claire Saxby about her latest children's book, My Name is Lizzie Flynn.

21 October 2015

Going on an excursion

I'm a person who likes to be at home. Pottering around my garden, reading and writing, working on various sewing projects, and simply taking time to recharge - it's how I like to spend my life. I never have any problem finding things to do at home.

Love this fence!

It has to be something special to make me walk out the front door. My day job is one of these reasons, obviously, because it provides me with the income to pay my bills (yes, we all have those pesky bills, don't we?). Meeting with friends and family is another, as is going to watch my footy team play.

The vegetable garden at Elizabeth Farm.

Lately, though, I've been trying to have a variety of excursions. Taking myself to a place I've never been before or to an event that's new to me - these are the excursions that will give me different perspectives and fuel my creativity.

The oldest olive tree in Australia is at Elizabeth Farm.

Last weekend, I visited the Spring Harvest day at Elizabeth Farm in Rosehill, NSW. Let me tell you a little about that place. Building commenced in 1793 to create this home for John and Elizabeth Macarthur, who had arrived in the colony with one of their children in 1790 on the Second Fleet. It is the oldest existing colonial house in Australia. Today, it is a museum operated by Sydney Living Museums on behalf of the people of NSW. You can read more about the history of the place here.

 Part of the house, with vegetable garden nearby.

As I wandered around the gardens, it was difficult to believe this historic property is in the middle of a built-up and densely populated Sydney suburb. I came home with recently harvested lettuce and radishes, and freshly-baked olive and rosemary bread purchased from vendors. I also came home mentally refreshed, having immersed myself in evidence of our colonial past.

Convict-made bricks in the courtyard.

Do you have regular excursions? Where did you go?

17 October 2015

Three things

Hooray for the weekend! No day job this Saturday or Sunday but I do have to start working on a commissioned article. That's something I can do from my home desk, surrounded by my my lovely indoor plants. Aren't I fortunate?

1. Cutting fabric

I've had a total not-interested-in-sewing few months. Does that happen to you, too? I simply wasn't keen to take a stitch. This week, though, I've started cutting three-inch squares of fabric so I can start a simple scrap quilt. All my unfinished quilt tops require creative contemplation before I take the next step so I thought starting a new project, a straightforward project, would help. It did!

2.  This book: Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden

Have you seen this glorious book yet? It's large, with stunning photographs that illustrate this Sydney garden wonder. The text by Janet Hawley tells the story of Wendy's garden and how it helped to recover from the painful loss of her husband and daughter. If ever there was a story about the healing quality of creating a garden, this is it. 


3. A fun quiz: which punctuation mark are you?

From the Oxford Dictionaries blog, this quiz asks you to answer a few questions before it tells you which punctuation mark best captures your personality. 

Quite accurately, I think, my result is that I am a ? Yes, I'm that annoying person who keeps asking 'why?' all the time! If you take the quiz, let me know your result - it's just a bit of fun.

14 October 2015

Poppy pleasure

For the first time in many years, I planted Iceland poppies in my garden this year. A punnet containing only six plants has given me so much pleasure as I tended the growing seedlings and watched them develop. Oh, the flowers!

 I love taking close-up photos so I can see the intricate detail of these delicate blooms. Those stamens! Look at all the pollen waiting to be released.

Look carefully and you'll see the ovary, waiting to be fertilised. And the colours! Gloriously subtle shade variations on a single petal.

Poppies are a must-plant for me now. I settled the seedlings in a sunny garden bed in June, watered them regularly with Seasol and watched the leaves spread. The first flower head, covered in its furry layer, appeared at the end of July. By August, there were unfurled petals and the bees came a-buzzing!

There are still new flowers coming each week but, as the temperature heats up,  I know my plants will yellow and soon be gone for this season. The pleasure of anticipation for next year's crop will last for eight months and I think I'll be reckless and plant two punnets next winter!

10 October 2015

Three things

I confess it's a strain isolating three things I like each week. Sometimes there are so many from which to choose while, other times, I can barely think of a single noteworthy item. That's my challenge, though! Here are the three things I like this week.

1. Creating imaginary people
 If you read my Facebook page, you'll know I've been using photos of people from magazines as inspiration to create characters for a story I'm planning. Once I had a clear idea of how I want these imaginary people to look, I've been assigning them other characteristics and histories. Now I understand why having imaginary friends is fun!

2. Visiting an archaeological dig

Yes, a real one! It was at Parramatta Park, one of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage properties. I've always been interested in stories - those of people who have gone before us and those who are still with us - so I was excited to see what has been recently discovered there by archaeologists.

This photo shows remains of convict huts believed to date back to 1790, two years after the English founded their colony at Parramatta. They were searching for arable land in 1788 to grow food to support those who came on the First Fleet. Fascinating!

3.  The end of the footy season

It's been a long six months since our team played the first game of the 2015 AFL season. I'm glad it's over now because it really hasn't been an enjoyable year. Player injuries, some tedious games, and disgraceful behaviour by some sections of certain clubs' supporters combined to tarnish my enjoyment. So I like that it's over for this year. Now I can start anticipating a fresh start in 2016!

05 October 2015

My book of the month: October

My favourite novel this month is an immensely satisfying tale that shows the complexity of human emotions. We all make assumptions about people's behaviour based on what we think we know about them, right? What if we are wrong?

Some readers may interpret this as a contemporary reworking of Pride and Prejudice but I have to confess that never occurred to me while I was reading it. It was only afterwards that I could see the similarities in the plot. Such clever writing by Marianne Kavanagh.

Linked by Eva, Kim's sister and Harry's best friend, these two characters see the world through different eyes. They don't understand each other fully until the very end, when a potential tragedy is averted. The story has a most satisfactory ending when, I admit, I shed tears of happiness.

Read more about this book on Goodreads