23 November 2015

Breathing space

I've spent most of the past seven days at home, pottering. It was the first week of a three-week break from my day job and I expected to revel in the extra time to sew and write. Yet, I did neither.

Instead, I drifted around my house, doing a small task here and another one there - drilling four holes in a wall to put up hanging baskets (but not planting the flowers), reading four books, enjoying my morning coffee each day, watching the cricket on TV, and daydreaming (I'd like to call it 'thinking' but it wasn't that focussed). Each day, I'd consider blogging but couldn't think of a single thing to write.

Eventually, I understood I was giving myself time to regroup; time to simply be by myself. The days passed quickly and I realised it wasn't necessary to be 'doing' something. It is enough to allow breathing space.

11 November 2015

Three things

Here I am again, looking for the positive in my week!

1. Sewing

Yay, it's back (my sewing mojo, that is)! I haven't used my sewing machine for so long but now it's quietly helping me make a quilt. A simple layout of squares cut from fabric I already own; it's giving me pleasure to see how the pieces combine.

2. Lessons from Great Gardeners by Matthew Biggs

This beautiful book is full of wisdom from gardeners (mostly) of the past. Initially I thought this would be the type of book that I would quickly flip through but it isn't. The subtitle explains why there is so much to learn here: Forty Gardening Icons and What They Teach Us. Interesting and useful.

3. It's cricket season

OK, so the first Test against New Zealand was one-sided but it's still great to have international cricket back for the summer. Go Aussies!

08 November 2015

My book of the month: November

It's not a novel this month but a year's collection of carefully observed moments. Intertwining events from her own life with the nurturing of her tiny inner-city garden, Margaret Simons gently reminds us that there is a season for all that life offers us.

The beauty of this small book of memories is that it can be dipped into and appreciated, no matter how little time you may have for reading. It is a delight.

Read more about this book on Goodreads.

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.