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

26 September 2015

Textiles Tuesday retires

For several years, I've been reformatting information about craft, quilts and textiles from my Creative Dabbling Facebook page and sharing it here regularly on Textiles Tuesday posts. I've decided not to do that anymore.

It takes me a lot of time to collate information, resize photographs, and create links for these posts. I'm sure you'll understand that I'd rather spend that time actually creating my own things instead of repackaging that information!

If you'd like to stay in touch with all the crafty information I find, please like my Creative Dabbling Facebook page. I try to post something there every day so you'll see a variety of links to interesting articles and information about techniques, shows, and patterns.

I also have a personal Facebook page, which I invite you to visit. There, I try to post daily with links to whatever takes my fancy at the time. You're welcome to join in the conversation!

I know some people don't use Facebook but it's my social media of choice because it's so easy to have online conversations. I'd love to chat to you on either of these pages (or both!) so why don't you give it a try? If you like what you find, please share it with your friends. The more, the merrier!

15 September 2015

Three things

If we don't seek out the good things in our lives, they just pass by, unnoticed. My weekly effort to focus on the positive has changed the way I observe my days. Here are three things I like this week.

1. Twitter

Last night, the Liberal Party changed its leader and, therefore, we now have a new Prime Minister. As events unfolded from 4pm, Twitter was the place to be. Posts by people I follow were informative, opinionated, and laugh-out-loud funny. It was a brilliant night's entertainment.

2. Sydney Swans
OK, we lost the first qualifying final but we have a second chance to progress by winning the semi-final on Saturday. With so many players out injured, I'm not sure how we can win but I'm sure the team will give its best. Fingers crossed.

3. Planting

Gardening is all about planning, especially when bulbs and tubers are involved. I missed my opportunity to grow dahlias last year and am determined not to do so this time. Aren't these glorious? I planted them yesterday and will be eagerly waiting for the first shoots to emerge.

What do you like this week?

12 September 2015


It seems appropriate to use the Twitter hashtag as a heading for this post, since Twitter has opened so many opportunities to communicate with other writers. I love the freedom of tweeting with writers I've never met in person but whose books have influenced my life. I'm here on Twitter if you want to say hello.

What I want to share with you today is that I am writing most days now. I've had a couple of ideas for novels for ages and have been researching the craft of writing for years. (I find the series of posts Kaye Dacus is sharing on her page this month and next to be incredibly helpful.) 

That's all very well but to be a writer you have to write, which I am. It's a hard slog but when you really want to do something you have to do the work, don't you? So I'm developing a new habit that is starting to kick in - do the work regularly!

My characters are being fleshed out and last week I was looking for photos so I could visualise them. Want to see my inspiration for my architect character? Pop over to my Facebook page to see and, while you're there, why don't you leave a comment? I'd love to read what you think.

08 September 2015

Three things

I'm always grateful that I can choose three things I like each week. Focusing on the positive helps me deal with the negative!

1. Gardens

Last Saturday I had a most enjoyable morning at a Jump into Spring session, presented by Sandra Ross at The Garden Clinic.  Crammed full of useful information, it was so inspirational!

These Dutch irises were in full bloom at the venue - nothing says 'spring' like flowering bulbs! I'll be planting these next year, for sure.

2. Learning

The internet has opened a world of opportunities for learning. I started two online courses through FutureLearn this week and have enrolled for another one, starting next month. They are free, short courses, run by universities in various parts of the world. Check them out - there is an interesting range of subjects.

3. An excursion

Getting out with a friend to visit a new place is an experience I really should do more often. Last week, Brenda and I travelled to Hazelhurst Gallery to see the Labours of Love: Australian Quilts 1845-2015 exhibition. The complete day was a treat; pleasant companionship, a brilliantly sunny Sydney day, a wonderful exhibition, and a tasty lunch. A Good Day Out.

We didn't eat at the gallery's cafe but I snapped this photo of garden implements that were on one of the walls at the cafe. Loved the way they were displayed.

What things do you like this week?

03 September 2015

My book of the month - September

Jane, an archivist unravelling the mystery of a missing woman in Victorian times, is motivated by the need to find the woman's name; to name her so that she is remembered. While Jane is carrying out this research, she is also grappling with a way to move on from an incident when, as a 15 year old, a child under her care went missing.

That's a bare outline of the plot but this novel is so much more subtle and haunting than I imagined it would be when I first selected it for reading.

I haven't known how to describe the impact this novel had on me; I've been reflecting on its themes for a few weeks. While I was immersed in the story, I kept wondering how most people who've gone before us leave little record. Their names may be recorded in a census or on an electoral roll but there's often little else to remember them - no fleshing out of who they are and what they did. And what of those people who slip through the records of history? What lingers of them?

That is the role of memory. If I can't name you and no-one has a memory of you, did you really exist? Aislinn Hunter explores these ideas in The World Before Us, which includes many elements that spoke to me: history, plants, memory, and mystery.

This is a complex novel, partly narrated by the voices of the past, that continues to haunt me. Thank you Aislinn Hunter, for creating such a mesmising and thought-provoking tale. I will be reading this again soon.

To read more about The World Before Us, visit Goodreads.