Sunday, April 30, 2006

Current reading

0604 current reading
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Magazines and books to inspire and inform, and let me dawdle over beautiful photographs.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Oldest extant steam engine

0604 steam driven engine
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

This Boulton and Watt engine - the third built - oldest extant steam engine, dating from 1785 and now in the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

It built up a head of steam as we got nearer, and then just as we did the wheel began to turn.

More about it here.

Built up a head of steam today myself, when I got to the latest quilt. Just a little more quilting to do and then I can bind it.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Vintage dress

0604 vintage dress 2
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

A nineteenth century dress from the Inspired by Design exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.

Old costume fascinates me - I did enjoy seeing the Costume room at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, some years ago.

There are more clothing/costume photos in the Vintage Clothing/costume set on my Flickr photostream. Click here to see.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Organising DVDs

0604 organising DVDs
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
When it came to organising the DVDs, God bless Ikea's Kassett boxes (although it would be nice if they came in a larger range of colours in the DVD size). The alphabet got dumped in favour of subject matter as an organising principle. Very Dewey.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Table napkins

0604 table napkins
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
While I'd rather use cloth ones at home, these are for the lunch table at work, from the ever-various range at Ikea. We could just have boring ones, but pretty ones add colour to the day, in that brief, glorious (and sometimes only five or ten minutes) when you can sit down for what is euphemistically, optimistically called a break... There was fabric in this style too - I'm glad Ikea has returned to stocking fabric.

There's a lovely blog entry on placemats here at whip up.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Anzac Day 2006

Dawn service - flags below the gum trees.

0604 Anzac Day
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Anzac Day 2006

0604 Anzac Day
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Another generation is watching and learning about what happens at a dawn service on Anzac Day.

This is just a smallish RSL one, and yet the crowds increase every year, as is happening right around the country. This is the most 'military' I can remember it being - catafalque guards with guns, three attended flagpoles.

I seem to get brought to tears on Anzac Day so easily: the plaintive cadences of the Last Post, the riderless horse in the Sydney march, the ageing WW2 veterans, children and adults in the march wearing the medals of their fathers and grandfathers and uncles, a Turkish soldier at Gallipoli's dawn service declaiming the words of Ataturk, that "your sons have become our sons" and above all, the faces of marchers, of people in the crowd, none needing any words to express so many thoughts and emotions.

If you're reading this not knowing what Anzac Day is, it's the most meaningful day in the Australian year, marking the landing of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915. After months of miserable trench warfare, the Turks prevailed - with much respect on both sides. It now commemorates those who have served Australia overseas in war and peacekeeping, and the Anzacs as embodying the best aspects of the Australian character.

For an historical account, the recent documentary Gallipoli by Tolga Ornek is brilliant, or for a fictitious version, Peter Weir's 1981 film, Gallipoli.

Monday, April 24, 2006

iPod bag

060424 iPod bag 6
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Finally got the iPod shuffle to work (that's a long and boring tale...) and so it needed a bag. Something simple to cart it around in. Yes, it has a silicon cover, but needed more, something to hold the earphones too.

So I fished out selvedge trims from the Flea Market Fancy quilt and other scraps and this is the result - almost finished.

A happy evening's work while ABC TV went through another excellent Australian Story (the gay cowboy), Four Corners (the Brazilian shot in London who wasn't a terrorist) and Denton/Enough Rope (interviewing Brenda Blethyn and Australian of the Year Prof. Ian Frazer, who is researching a vaccine for cervical cancer).

And why succumb to an iPod? To carry around some space that's mine for the inevitable queues of modern life (bank, supermarket, appointments various).

Only 120 songs? a teenager asked incredulously. Well yes; that's still about 6 hours of music, and if I'm in a 6-hour queue I'll have gone berserk long before it REACHES 6 hours! And I don't yet feel the need to carry every song and musical piece and the contents of every CD in the house around with me daily...

Sunday, April 23, 2006


0604 organic bread
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Found some beautiful breads in the last few days. Ancient grains and seeds on the left, wholemeal sourdough on the right. Yum.

Ancient grains and seeds is by Healthybake of Lilydale, Victoria and is from Harris Farm Markets. It includes spelt, kamut, sunflower kernels, linseed, sesame seed, poppy seed and sour dough culture (almost all organic). Makes fabulous toast with good Seville orange marmalade and butter.

The organic wholemeal sourdough was from a deli. What's not eaten fresh will become dee-licious croutons. And the base for BLTs (bacon, lettuce and tomato).

Neither one is cheap, compared to cheap bread, but their taste is so superior, such a joy, that they're worth every cent.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Vintage ninepatch

0604 vintage ninepatch
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
One block from a vintage ninepatch quilt I'm rescuing.

Before any purists howl, it needs rescuing - the back is shredded, the binding virtually gone and some seams have burst. Nor is it a museum quilt, it's an everyday utility scrap quilt (purchased on eBay). So I figure it's fair game, and I'm not destroying history.

It is very interesting to be aiming to match in some replacement blocks where fabrics have disintegrated. I need to use very 'quiet' fabrics, to use Roberta Horton's terminology (from her book on scrap quilts), while today's taste even in reproduction fabric ranges leans far more to busier designs. Nor have the mourning prints had much attention in repro ranges, with other colours favoured more than these.

It certainly needed washing - the water was Very Brown, it took more than one wash and rinse.

I'd date it to the turn of nineteeth/twentieth century, with the mourning prints and cadet blues and so forth - the whole quilt does look like it was devised from scraps.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Loot deployed

0604 Flea Market Flancy
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Some of the Flea Market Flancy, I mean Fancy fabrics from a couple of days ago pieced into a quilt. The top's being pinned before being quilted.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lennox Bridge III

0604 Lennox Bridge 12
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A view to the bridge (with apologies to Arthur Miller).

More photos of the bridge are found here.

Lennox Bridge II

0604 Lennox Bridge 07
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
If you're a quilter, this sandstone makes your heart sing (well, it does if you're me). When the light catches structures of sandstone, it's beautiful, warm, has an indescribable glow. In Melbourne, where bluestone is used, or Dublin with granite, the old buildings just don't do the same thing as places like the Lands building and the Department of Education building in Sydney.

Lennox Bridge I

0604 Lennox Bridge 13
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The Lennox Bridge at Mitchell's Pass in the lower Blue Mountains (west of Sydney, NSW) is the oldest bridge on the Australian mainland.

If you're a kid, though, the best fun is leaping the water channel underneath it...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Vintage cutlery

0604 vintage cutlery
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Older cutlery like these forks and spoons is strong and beautiful. Bric-a-brac stalls are gradually increasing my collection.

It is the cutlery of my childhood, and while my cheap department-store moving-out-of-home cutlery purchase from years ago hasn't exactly worn out, it was chancing on some soup spoons in this (very common) design of silverplate cutlery that pointed out what I was missing.

This cutlery has heft and strength. It doesn't need endless polishing, but it sits well in the hand, digs out icecream without bending and is a pleasure to use.

I've been adding to my collection and using the additions daily. These two bundles came from a junk stall on the weekend @ $18 (Australian) per bundle - $3 per utensil.

And of course, as with so many vintage things, there is the wonder of who owned it new, who owned it first, who did not want it any more. There is still plenty of wear in it, none of the pieces are down to the base metal - and it will be used with respect and delight in this house.

There is so much expensive touch-me-not antique stuff - but I love this sort of use-daily vintage find.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mouse hunt finale

Elvis has left the building. Not a sign of life. The traps must have scared them away, or else they were called away to Gloucester to embroider waistcoats*. I can but hope. So I shall dispense with the traps and wait the statutory two years until the next autumn mouse hunt becomes necessary. (Besides, some small children will be visiting this week, and a kitchen festooned with mousetraps including the snappy oldfashioned sort seems like a combination with ominous potential).

And no, I'm not going to recycle the cheese/chocolate/golden syrup mousetraps, they're all being thrown out.

Nor shall I tally the cost of the exercise. Thanks to all who sent useful suggestions!

(OK, I admit it, the mouse won).

* Beatrix Potter reference.

Pine cones

0604 pine trees
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

The top of the trees against the sky - should I have erased the cloud in photowrangling software, so you would lack any sense of scale? As for the rural fence shot, something marching into the distance.

Can't think of anything more profound to say (actually spent most of today piecing quilts, but I can't publish photos of them yet) except I like it so it's here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Rural fence and shadow

0604 rural fence and shadow
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
One of the raisons d'etre for having a blog at all - because of the blog, the camera travels with me, because I have the camera, I see and can catch images like this. I seem to have a thing for shadows... I liked the way this one went off into the distance.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Stone angel

0604 stone angel headstone 1
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Easter Sunday.

I've seen such stone angels in books only, until I saw two on old Irish graves at Burrawang, in the Catholic church graveyard yesterday.

I do like this sort of primitive angel that seems as though it would be at home in the Book of Kells or somewhere like Glendalough in Ireland.

It's an image I plan to try translating to cloth, in some way, shape or form.

More images from the cemetery (including another stone angel) here.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Chaff cutter

0604 chaff cutter 4
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Visited a demolition yard today and found it a fascinating exercise in photography. Easy to take photos of masses of stuff, harder to get meaningful photos. This chaff cutter provided excellent details on which to focus. The junkyard manager was keen to point out the stainless steel bain-marie unit, but oddly enough this rusty (still functional, he said) piece interested my camera more.

You can find more photos from the demolition yard here.

Friday, April 14, 2006


0604 chain v.2
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Linking up with family is part of Easter, so I've borrowed a photo I took tomorrow to represent today.

Is "postmodern" the term for this time-travel burgling?

This is one of the first photos I took in the demolition yard, and one of the ones I found most pleasing. I caught something in detail, in focus, with shapes that interest me.

Home decor

One of my weekly pleasures is the page in the Sun-Herald magazine where they show you a room in someone's house. Not a mocked-up stylist's creation, but a room that someone really lives in and has decorated with their individual taste and style. The range is wide, from scary minimalism to extraordinarily colourful.

Last Sunday's was a colourful, quirky, eclectic one and included this excellent quote from the owner:

I would suggest that people forget about this trend of living so much for other people's judgement. Develop your own style and then fill your home with the things you genuinely love. Even if they appear to look quite disparate initially, a common denominator will emerge - which will be you. (John Macarthur)

And do I agree? Can't you tell?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cupcakes revisited

0604 cupcakes
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
All gone now, but here's some from this morning, BV (Before Vultures!).

Spiced chocolate cupcake

0604 cupcake
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Instead of Easter eggs, I tried a new recipe for cupcakes (it's from an Australian Women's Weekly book on cupcakes. ) They topped them with whipped cream and sliced Violet Crumble (chocolate honeycomb) bars, but I went with ganache and an Easter egg. I made them to bring to work today.

Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes

Measurements are Australian cup/spoon sizes.
Oven to 170degCelsius.

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Sift these into a bowl. Add:

  • 90g softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup.

Beat with an electric mixer gently till all combined, then increase speed and beat until mixture becomes paler.

  • Stir in 50g of coarsely-chopped dark eating chocolate.

You can make them muffin-sized (makes about 12) or cupcake sized (makes about 18). Line your preferred tin with paper cases and divide the mixture among them.

Bake for about 30 min (muffins) or 15 min (cupcakes). I iced mine with ganache (one of Stephanie Alexander's recipes, 375g dark chocolate melted in 1 cup cream, beaten with mixer for 5 min then cooled at room temperature until it's spreading consistency - took about 30 min). The candied chocolate eggs are Cadbury ones. The original recipe tops them with whipped cream and Violet Crumble (chocolate honeycomb bars) sliced thinly. It wasn't going to be so easy to transport them to work that way...I shall be making some more for the family tonight.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006


0604 quilt fabric
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
More luscious quilt fabric, waiting to become a quilt before the Easter break is over. I have a simple plan...

These are from the new Denyse Schmidt line, Flea Market Fancy (Free Spirit Fabrics).

I love the combination of colours, and the quirkiness of some of the prints. While my heart sings for aqua at the moment, the grey in this range is a clever, interesting, left-field inclusion in the palette. And what's not to like about lime?


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tall trees

0604 gum tree
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Scribbly gums, I think. I liked the way this angle worked. Blue blue skies - but we need rain.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Over the year so far, I've accumulated photos of so many shades of green - I thought I'd mosaic them [with fd's flickr toys]. Green has so many shades, tones, colours, textures. On busy days, it's been easy to find in the garden, on the way out/home from work. Looking at these photos, I see the opportunities to play with angle, light, depth, to learn more about taking photos. Still have a long way to go, but it's about the journey.

This is taken from the set called "Green" in my flickr photos - click here to see the set which will give you the option of larger versions of individual photos.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Feather and leaves

0604 feather and leaves
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
From yesterday's walk. Below some scribbly gums were leaves brown and green, and feathers from sulphur-crested cockatoos. I liked this assemblage for its colours and textures.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Water bird

0604 water bird
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Took a walk around the lagoon this morning, with camera. Well, it was a stroll with many stops (is nearly 200 photos excessive for one walk?!)

I particularly liked the way the light worked for this photo. The waders were hopeful that I had brought bread for them, as were the ducks, but they all lost interest when they realised I wasn't Breakfast, and went off to find their own.

See more photos from this morning here and here.

No, that's not all 200. Some were Learning Photos. Always useful, rarely uploaded beyond my computer.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Mouse hunt

Not a single mouse caught on those delectable and thoughtfully prepared traps. Dang! (as Napoleon Dynamite would say). Hmmm. Maybe they've all gone? No other poopy/muncho evidence of their presence...

Maybe they've got caught in something in a cupboard, a dish or saucepan or something, and have expired without being able to extricate themselves?

Don't want to think about that.

Maybe they're breeding quietly and the house will be reinvaded by hordes?


Maybe their only goal was to let me make myself ridiculous, buying and setting up traps, and their Work Is Done now so they've gorn? Not even staying to titter at me when a foot is indavertently caught in a trap, covering a shoe with golden syrup?

Bah, humbug!

Protea (unpicked)

protea bush
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Visited the friends who gave me the proteas, and this is an unpicked one. I love the subtle blue-green of these protea leaves.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

More footy

0604 footy again
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Half time. This game was a bit "crunchy granola" - hard to watch. The boys played valiantly.

Mouse hunt

Traps had cheese topped with melted chocolate (melting chocolate for a mouse, harrumph!). Kitchen festooned with traps. No mouse.

Added golden syrup to the top, as so many people were advising to add sweetness.

Even if it works for mouse, will also possibly promote plague of ants. Further harrumph!

If this doesn't work, and I have to spring these traps and rebait with bacon, will likely spray golden syrup over kitchen. Is this fun or what????

This morning at work colleagues whose building has a mouse problem caught TWO IN THE ONE TRAP.

I'm sayin' nuffin.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Carriage wheel

0604 carriage
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I know I've posted a pic of this carriage already, but what with a busy week and all, and the fact that I really liked the focus on the wear on this wheel, would be a crime not to share it (and will do just fine for today's photo!).

Apple update/Pancake Wednesday

For Pancake Wednesday at work, I not only made raspberry coulis (sauce) but also stewed the apples. Well, cut them into small cubes and cooked them gently with brown sugar, ground cloves, cinnamon and lemon juice. Yum! While there were a few bingles and bruises to cut from the apples, they were dee-licious.

Pancake Wednesday is an easy tradition to burgle for your workplace. Ours originated in not quite getting around to cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, the traditional day. Quick pancake shakey-dude mixes make them fast and simple, and with a frypan, egg slice and not much time, you're away. Easy to feed a herd - get the herd to bring toppings such as maple syrup, lemon and sugar, stewed apple, raspberry coulis, thick cream, fresh strawberries. Even in the mingiest of office kitchenettes you can try this and have a sociable, cheerful time.

Mouse hunt

Mouse ignores all baited traps totally. But shifts one of the sticky ones, just so I know it's still around.

Next step: bacon tied on with dental floss - thanks for the suggestion, Caity.

It's never taken this long to catch a mouse!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Monday, April 03, 2006

The apple economy

Today I purchased a bottle of mineral water and a bag of 30 Jonathan apples.

The apples - a few with bingles and marks, but excellent for eating or cooking first then eating after, cost $1. They weigh over 4kg (close to 9lb).

The 600ml (around 1 pint) bottle of mineral water (not a premium brand) cost $2.20.

This is some kind of economic statement about the return given to farmers, or the ludicrous price of bottled water, or something. It feels bizarre and out of balance. The apples were priced as a customer-attracting loss leader, but even so.

Mouse hunt

Mouse continues tittering. It's set off - and escaped from - three traps, ignores four more and pays NO attention of any kind to the now-two fancy-pants ones. Sticky ones a complete loss - two untouched, the other with evidence of Houdini mouse.

Apart from the initial four traps and one fancy, I've invested in four more classic traps, one more fancy, a jar of peanut butter, block cheese and a bar of chocolate. Melt it on the cheese, was one piece of advice.

I'm COOKING for the mouse now??????


0604 carriage
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A fruit market on a country road had three old carriages and what was perhaps an old engine for sale, at an upcoming garage sale garishly advertised in neon signage nearby. Apart from their patina and age, this shadow appealed.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunlight on slate

0604 sunlight on slate
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Sunlight through a doorway on a slate floor.

The day's sunlight varied, but the morning and evening temperatures suggest autumn will come, after March being record-breakingly hot.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Window light

0604 window light
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Another window, another view. A classic black vintage sewing machine, some of the vintage silver I've been acquiring, and a primitive miniature chair waiting to see what I make to sit on it.

It's amazing how much nice vintage silver is in op shops, at reasonable prices. Mostly tarnished, but polishing solves that and lets you enjoy its lightplay.