Sunday, January 31, 2016

Present in the Present

If you must look back, do so forgivingly. 
If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. 
However, the wisest thing you can do 
is be present in the present....Gratefully.

                                          Maya Angelou 

Images captured while being quietly present in the present in the garden. Kookaburra (Kingfisher family), tall-stemmed fungi amongst morning dew, lemons drenched by steamy summer storms, Crocosmia (native to Africa) and a neighbourly hibiscus flower).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pretty Checkerboard

There is beauty in simplicity and a satisfying joy in making. Inspired by Rita Hodge's (Red Pepper Quilts) gorgeous checkerboard quilts and the clarity of her free tutorial, I dug deep into my stash to pleasantly discover enough variety to proceed. A classic, uncluttered design like this allows the fabrics to be the star of the quilt, making it a little easier to cut into so many of my favourites. I will share more details in due coarse.  :)

Update - you can see the finished quilt here.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sewing - For Me

It was time. With each subsequent wash my current dressing gown was literally disintegrating. I guess these things happen after 18 years. I had bought it just before our twins were born, taking it to hospital for each of the last six children. In fact I wore it home from hospital the night I had baby #6 - I was less than two hours total in hospital with that birth, but that's another story.

This fabric print is one of my all time favourites. It's part of the Moody Blues collection designed by Genuine for Cloud 9 Fabrics. An intricate design in classic blue and white, printed on fine organic cotton. This fabric was the motivation behind my Set Free quilt and my choice for backing the quilt. I was so delighted to discover our Australian Spotlight stores recently stocked the Moody Blues collection. While it was on special I bought enough to make a new dressing gown so I could wrap myself in this favourite fabric every day.

Just over 12 months ago I made myself a skirt from some Cloud 9 fabric to discover that it really doesn't drape well, even after much wear and numerous washes. However it is now softer to touch and very safe against the skin. These poor drape make me consider carefully before sewing clothes for myself but is not a problem to me for a dressing gown. 

Using my old dressing gown as a template, I cut and sewed, making my new one slightly longer in the sleeves and total length as I wear it in all seasons, with a thicker robe on top in the colder months. As it's currently summer here I have gently rolled the sleeves, forming a cuff for now (which I will roll higher on hotter nights). The selvedge is working very well as a waist tie and I like it's appearance. I may sew a matching fabric tie one day and I may add pockets, but right now I love it just the way it is. Today I added the belt tabs and hand stitched the hem, yet I have worn it the last two nights, incomplete, because I couldn't wait!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Gibraltar Range and Washpool National Park

Steep mountain ranges, cool forest creeks, interesting walking tracks and unusual native flowers - sounds like a perfect family day out! Yesterday we drove about 100km up the Gibraltar Range, and away from the river flats of our hometown. It had been three and a half years since we had traveled this way, that visit was in mid winter, cool and slightly damp. Now it's mid summer, hot and drier.

We explored Boundary Falls picnic area in the Gibraltar Range National Park then headed to Washpool National Park. Between these two stops I noticed three small flat, dry, grassy swampy areas beside the road (just west of the Ranger's building/house). What really caught my eye were the Christmas Bells flowers! Christmas Bells are native to only a narrow strip along eastern Australia, an area I have lived in all my life, yet I had never seen these plants before. Despite the midday heat I was determined to stop and have a good look at these treasures (being the driver helps with these snap decisions)! There are only four species of Christmas Bells, these particular plants are either Northern Christmas Bells, Blandfordia grandiflora, which is the species with the largest flowers or Blandfordia cunninghamii, Mountain Christmas Bell. They are tufted perennial herbs. Their grass-like leaves, similar in appearance to small Kangaroo-Paw leaves, aren't visible in these photos, they are hidden beneath the other taller grasses. Their beautiful, brightly coloured bell-shaped flowers bloom in summer (December -February), making their name very fitting. 

At Washpool National Park I found some dainty white flowers amongst the reedy grasses of the boulders (as well as stunning views). I haven't been able to identify these, they appear similar to the Western Australian Blue Lace Flower, Trachymene cerulean. So many wonderful things to see and more walking tracks yet to be explored on future visits - when the weather is cooler.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


I am grateful for the beautiful big bunch of homegrown spinach/silverbeet and some farm fresh free range eggs which was gifted to us at church on Sunday. Gifts of love, thoughtfulness and oh so useful! Combined with some tiny tomatoes from our gardena and ingredients on hand, I enjoyed preparing a tasty feast Sunday evening. 

I am grateful for the abundance of birds, big and small, introduced and native, which we hear and see in and around our yard.

I am grateful for colourful flowers which bloom in the garden all year round in our climate and for the intricate beauty of insects which are to be found by those who watch patiently and carefully.

I am grateful to see our Lilly Pilly decorated with pink hues of ripening berries.

I am grateful to seeing others appreciating the beauty of our big river at sunset.

I am grateful the Purple King climbing bean seeds I sowed continue to bring delight at every stage of their growth.

Every night as I lie down to sleep I recall several things I am grateful for in day just finished - I never have to think too hard.

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

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