Friday, June 30, 2006

Fairy tale book

0606 fairy tale book
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A beautiful mid-twentieth century book, with a few gorgeously-coloured and imagined illustration plates. There are black and white line drawings, too. Plates like this always seem like treats when you reach them, reading the story. Found the book in an op-shop for the grand sum of one dollar (cash).

The Little Mermaid

0606 fairy tale
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
From the above book.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


0606 SeaChange
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It's a holiday pleasure, to find time to begin at the beginning with Laura Gibson and Diver Dan, Rupert the ever-honest son, Miranda the ever-wise daughter and all the quirky, thoughtful folk of Pearl Bay - and Max, of course. Brilliantly written, brilliantly acted. A permanent favourite.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


0606 daffodils
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Although I haven't seen many in gardens - probably a bit too early at this latitude - I just love the time of year when you can buy bunches of daffodils or jonquils for tuppence-nothing. Their scent is fresh and green, their colour cheerful - what's not to like?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Reading: The Snow Goose

0606 reading: The Snow Goose
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A classic, with evocative watercolours by Peter Scott. Although I once had a paperback, it was great to find this second-hand hardback version.

If you've never read it, you should.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Button circle mosaic

Button circles
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It's so comforting to know that this house isn't short of a button. Or two. In several colours. Because, you know, one day you might need them, and it would be just terrible to have to go out and buy one.

It started with the camellias - thought some green buttons around the bowl would look pleasing, and then, aha, look what happens when you remove the bowl. So then you try it with other buttons...and then you play with fd's flickr toys... and before you know it, you have a mosaic of buttons.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Everyday scones (that work every time)

Before anybody asks, this is the standard scone recipe. It came to my rescue twice last weekend, and on many other occasions. I was given it by a former colleague, Margaret, and have since passed it on to many other people. If you're American, I believe these are what you would call 'biscuits'. Here in Oz, a biscuit is what you would term 'cookie.' Isn't it great that we all speak English?
Measurements are Australian standard cup and spoon measurements. There is a conversion chart here if this helps you.

2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup thickened cream
3/4 cup milk
pinch salt

Put the flour and salt in a bowl, mix and make a well. Pour in the cream and milk and mix until just combined. Put the dough on a floured board, flatten gently and cut with a floured cutter. Place in a baking tin lined with baking paper (one quantity fits in a lamington tin with the scones just touching). Makes about a dozen.
Bake at 200degCelsius for about 10-15 min.
You can paint them with an egg or milk wash before baking, if you wish, but I like them floury rather than glossy.
Serve with butter, or jam (raspberry or black cherry are both good, or home-made) and whipped cream.

It's good to have some things sorted in your life - so much does change, nor am I averse to it, but to have settled on a standard scone recipe is comfortable, and simplifies life. Oh, I get told about lemonade scones and other magic recipes, but I'm never going back to rubbing butter into flour - A. I hate the stuff under my fingernails and B. I believe it involves too much handling of the dough, toughening the scones. With this recipe and a 600ml bottle of thickened cream in the fridge (some for in and some for on the scones), you can have them in the oven five minutes after the visitors arrive.

Spinach and fetta scones

0606 spinach and fetta scones
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Spinach and fetta scones

This recipe is adapted from my favourite standard scone recipe.
Measurements are Australian standard cup and spoon measurements.

3 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
100g fetta, finely diced
1/2 cup thickened cream
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons basil pesto
125g spinach (I used chopped/frozen, defrosted)

In one bowl, mix the flour and cheeses, and make a well in the centre.
In a jug, mix the cream, milk, pesto and spinach.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix lightly until just mixed. Overhandling makes scone dough tough.
Place the dough on a floured board, flatten gently with your hands and cut into rounds with a floured cutter.
My scone theory is generally to butt them up against each other, so they push each other up in cooking and have soft sides.
Place scones on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake at 200degCelsius for about 15-20 min.
Good on their own for elevenses or afternoon tea, or to accompany soup. Or just because. This makes about 18 scones - depends on the size of cutter you use.

Time travel on the internet

So what did Yahoo's first page look like? (very plain vanilla, compared to now).

Or which fabrics were selling at the Fat Quarter Shop? (Moda Paris Flea Market, for one).

Or if, like me, your first email account was with Rocketmail and you want a frisson of memory as you revisit the Rocketmail home page? (Rocketmail was subsequently swallowed by Yahoo).

Try the Internet Archive. It doesn't have everything, but its Wayback Machine (ordinary and advanced search) can show you all of the above, and many more.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Pink camellias and green buttons 1

It was nice to be able to put camellias on the dinner table - it's a great shrub, this one, flowering generously every year with these double pink camellias. It's only just coming out - bursting with buds.

Friday, June 23, 2006


0606 cooking
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
With people coming to dinner tomorrow, today's time to start cooking - having chosen recipes that can be done ahead. They improve overnight, too. The plan is that tomorrow is serene, with the cooking mostly done. Hope so.

To begin: my pumpkin soup accompanied by spinach and fetta scones. Baker's Delight has recently started producing spinach and fetta scones, so I thought I'd play with my standard scone recipe and come up with my version of these as a nice accompaniment to the soup (my other favourite accompaniment is Irish soda bread).

To middle: Stephanie Alexander's recipe for beef bourguignon, which I've tried before. Cooked in an enamel and cast iron casserole, long and slow, its flavours are subtle and winter-beautiful. I don't care if it's old fashioned or sixties-kitsch or whatever - it tastes wonderful.

To end: a dark chocolate torte from a recipe I ripped from a magazine some time ago.

And, if I get time, chocolate orange sticks.

Unrelated World Cup soccer note: Australia, having been beaten by Brazil (but we gave them a match!) drew with Croatia this morning (4.30am alarms aren't the best thing in the world...) and is into the second round. Woohoo! Leichhardt is going to be very conflicted: the next match is against Italy.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


0606 brooches
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
This is the kind of quirky jewellery I love. I'm assured that the quilts used for these were shattered cutters unworthy of heritage conservation, and that no cats or dogs were harmed in the making of the brooches. Isn't that a relief?

They have such wonderful individuality, despite being such simple shapes. While I'm not holus-bolus in favour of reworking old quilts (the quilts-into-dresses of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers still make me shudder, even though I love the film) the quilt/s from which these came are still appreciated, rather than still disintegrating.

SBFSB Costume designer Walter Plunkett went to Salvation Army shops, found the quilts and recut them into costumes. Imagine going into op shops and finding quilts like that! Things sure were different in the 1950s...!

At some stage I plan to footle about with scraps and make some brooches to join these ones.

Another sort of quirky jewellery I'd like to track down is the bracelets made from discarded red cricket ball leather. If you know anything about these, do let me know through the comments, please thankyou.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Spotty dotty

0606 spotty dotty
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It really is quite rude, the way fabrics call your name when you're innocently perusing the bolts in a patchwork shop. This one "HOY"-ed at me across the aisle at the quilt show last week. I looked, I smiled, I knew I'd spent that day's budget, I replaced it on the shelf.

So this week when I was perfectly respectably in a patchwork shop getting binding fabric for another quilt, it "HOY"-ed at me again. Same bolt (well, it is one of my local quilt shops) (a fact which hadn't eluded me at the show) (but I did need the binding fabric, and it was entirely accidental that I should go to this particular local shop, of course it was). Rather thinner than it was last week. Such raucous behaviour. Very uncharacteristic of the Japanese (it's by Quilt Gate). Except (and this may be true of all nations) when watching the soccer (World Cup note: Australia beat Japan this week). Japan has its revenge: I grandly said I'd buy the bolt (well, there was just over a metre left). It's come home with me, and has reverted to being quiet and reserved (with just an edge of smugness).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Christmas quilts

0606 Christmas quilts
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

More ho ho ho (it's that time of year in magazine project land). Needed to fish out my Christmas quilts, so took the opportunity to photograph them (lordy lordy lordy, what would I do without my useful-for-so-many-photos white cane chairs????). White, green and the quilts. Pretty.

While there are a few Christmas fabrics there, I tend to avoid uber-Christmas fabrics in favour of designs and fabrics that become quilts that can be used at any time of year. Also, flouncy little Santas and bells and such do nasty things to my blood pressure. Or would, if I let them in the house.

In Field of Dreams, Darth Vader, I mean James Earl Jones' character says, "The one constant through all the years is baseball." Seems like the one constant in my Christmas quilts is red. Quite right too. I may flirt with olive or aqua, or add in mustard, but red is always right.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hohoho v.1

0606 hohoho v1
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
One Christmas project done and dusted (well, just the instructions to finish). It wasn't going to have applique at all, until it told me after the quilting that it was. And so it does. How do you argue with a quilt? Even if it's telling you to make rather small applique dots?

Although I'm not mad keen on poinsettias, I rather like that naive poinsettia fabric. I'm happy, the editor's happy, hopefully the readers will be happy, so there you are.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Violets and work gloves

0606 violets and work gloves
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The beautiful and the useful.

These violets persist through the year, living in what seems like impossibly small cracks in the verandah (either that or they're about to make the house collapse, but I haven't heard that about violets...). They've just begun flowering, and despite the dry weather seem to have enough water to flourish.

The work gloves went into the picture because I use them often. They're leather, and are taking on the shape of my hands as I use them, as some of the most interesting tools do.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


0606 thimble
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The second day at the quilt show yielded a fourth thimble to try, and so far so good. My hand feels clumsier with a thimble, certainly at first, but then it became rather convenient to give my crowbar needle (I prefer larger to dainty - I don't have dainty hands) a shove with the coin bit. I guess it's like a lot of things, give it some time and practice. But my finger was very grateful to have avoided multiple stabbings. The structure of this thimble seems to suit how I've been sewing, so I shall persist.

If this doesn't work, I've had some other suggestions to try - it's good to know it's not this or nothing.

Sydney Quilt Show 2006

Well, I've done my two days at the show, and I'm sure there are plenty of things I haven't seen. I had a great time, though.

The quilts on display covered a wide range - always lots of inspiration, from the local quilts and the Japanese quilts.

Among the stands and stalls, I'm always curious to see what's happening with fabrics and designs. There were a number of visible themes among stands, including country, shabby chic, modern print, Japanese, hand-dyes. I'd say the shabby chic probably outnumbered the country this year.

Among those playing with more modern fabric and design styles, it's notable to see that if you pick the right fabrics, they'll work harder than your piecing needs to: ie. great fabric, whether handdye or modern prints, can make the simplest designs sing and intrigue the eye - you don't need tricky piecing or fiddly applique. Good examples at

Average fat quarter price is around $AU5, with some places having show specials on individual FQs or bundles. Rose Patchwork Cottage has a superior range at $AU3 per FQ, Quilter's Cabin, Quiltsmith, Post Office Patchwork, Purple Patch and Totally Patchwork also had nice ones at special prices for the show.

Likewise, although some stands seemed to be repeating the fabrics of the one before, others had ranges you didn't see everywhere and I enjoyed browsing those and making some non-show-special purchases - Patchwork Apple was one such. If you want reproduction fabrics of any era, for example, Quiltsmith is hard to beat.

I usually can't resist buying something from Lisa Walton at Dyed and Gone to Heaven, and why not? Her $25 scrap bags (over a metre of fabric) are deeelicious colours. Another hand-dye stand is Stitches and Spice, with hand-dyed counted-thread fabrics for stitching, such as linens and aidas - I've got plans for my purchase from there.

Plenty of gorgeous Japanese fabrics (indigos and more brightly-coloured prints), from Sanshi, Wabi-Sabi, Abundia and places with strong ranges like repro Yuwas at Quilter's Barn, and print FQs at KillaraVillage Quilts. Material Obsession has a spiffing kit quilt of brightly coloured Japanese prints, called Tokyo Rose. The Patchwork Heart has some great subtle Japanese prints too (and they're good for bagmaking supplies like magnets).

The Thread Studio has a large stand, with lots of stuff to set your mind racing. I got a couple of packets of roving, hand-dyed wool from which I plan to try making some felt to embellish - always good to try something new. They sell needle-felting kits, as do some other stands. There are lots of places with embellishment items. Near the Thread Studio stand is a wall of Artist's Trading Cards, part of a swap organised by the Thread Studio - if you've been wondering what they are or how they might be made, it's an excellent opportunity to inspect a large number using a variety of techniques.

The central area this year is not Dolls and Bears, but instead a Bead Fair, with natural stone, resin, plastic, glass, all sorts. A jewel box of possibilities. Very dangerous to the credit card.

I noticed that Bernina have a clever class for $10, where you get to play with a new Bernina and the patch you freemotion becomes part of a strong yellow bag you take away - quite a few of those wandering the aisles.

One of the nice things is the way you can collate materials for a project sourced from a number of stands, with a much greater choice than in any other venue. This went with that. And that. And that.... This show does seem to have the best range of quilting suppliers of any of the Sydney shows.

What was my favourite purchase, though? A mad and wonderful book, called Stupid Sock Creatures by John Murphy (Lark Books ISBN1579906109). Go look it up on Amazon and see why it's imaginative and bizarre and wonderfully nutty. I got it from Book and Pattern Services, (it was $19.50 - published by Lark, distributed in Australia by Capricorn Link, who distribute a number of craft imprints & publishers). It's hilarious - and I do have some spare and lonely socks that could be played with. Fun to do with kids, too. (Let them make mad creatures from old socks, I mean, not make mad creatures from kids that may be lying around your house....!!) The author has a website at Stupid Creatures. Make yourself a cup of coffee, then avoid drinking it while you're looking at the gallery, because you could splutter or spill it and injure yourself unnecessarily!!

If you happen to know a website for any of the Australian businesses I've mentioned above and for which I haven't provided a link, please use the comment section to advise, so I can add the info.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Summer in Bondi

0606 Summer in Bondi
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
One of my Sydney Quilt Show entries. Thoughtfully planned (of course), carefully executed (all mistakes are my own), beautifully quilted (that I left to a professional, Suzy Atkins of Quiltstuff). Isn't it a happy quilt?

It's so much fun to eavesdrop at quilt shows. This was described by one lady, in a slightly sniffy voice as "OK for a playmat".


Then I chuckled. I'm sure there were quilts I didn't properly appreciate. But oooooo I'm careful what I say when looking at quilts in a quilt show!

And I nobly resisted the temptation to say, "That's my quilt. Where's yours?"

Thursday, June 15, 2006


0606 brunch
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Some work was done at other times of the day, but this moment was time out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Quilt show loot

Quilt show loot
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

Not quite sure how it will all go together, but it will. One of the advantages of a big city quilt show is the chance to put together dee-licious items from varied retailers in one place. Greens and scarlet screaming happily together - yum!
So many beautiful quilts to see as well. See the winners here. Had a happy day. Fabric, friends, colour, imagination - lots of favourite things.

Pardon me?

Of course this is all I bought. How could you doubt it?

Well, except for my utter failure to find a thimble that will work for me. Back to the drawing board on that one. I can ignore the five which I now know WON'T do. I don't normally use a thimble, but I'm getting tired of needles going into the top of my middle finger. Way too many nerve endings in fingers for that to be anything but increasingly ordinary. The hunt goes on.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
The gift of time can be used in so many ways. This one was something to savour - getting out pretty cups, picking one of the first camellias of the season, the weather warm enough to sit on the verandah. The civilised life, especially with the gift of raspberry cupcakes and a (belated) birthday candle.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Feeding the ducks

Feeding the ducks
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A delightful way to spend a winter afternoon. The ducks and ?moorhens didn't mind either.

May 2006 mosaic

May 2006
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

The daily photos from the blog, May 2006. It intrigues me to see the effect from a distance of the colours, to see over a year whether they reflect the seasonal changes, or not. Or what?!

See what you think - here's the set of mosaics

The year's nearly half done, and I've been able to keep up a photo a day. Not always one taken on the day...but some days you get an unwastable bunch of good ones. I notice that sometimes in summer, when the days were longer and I could get photos after work, I was catching stuff I could play with in flickr groups, numbers and letters and signs and so forth, while as the year travelled towards winter and more and more deadlines were running me down, I would sometimes get several photos in one day and spread them over several days. Gee it's great to be able to make up your own rules!

If you're someone who reads this blog on a sorta regular basis, I'd appreciate a comment every now and then - it's always good to see what is catching other people's attention.

If you'd rather email privately, then:






(i hope that fools the bots and spiders)


Sunday, June 11, 2006

50th wedding anniversary

50th wedding anniversary
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
One day they'll stay still long enough and I'll be better at operating my camera and get a FOCUSED shot of hands...but that wedding ring went on 50 years ago, and they're still together, which is much more important than my blundering photography.

Hooray for Dad and Mum!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Weekend reading

0605 weekend reading
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
It's always good to have some reading time and some favourite magazines - I've been reading both these titles for years, and they still inspire me.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Baseball films

0606 baseball films
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Although the only non-school baseball I've seen was the (probably unremarked in the annals of the sport) Cuba v. Italy game at the Sydney Olympics - which was fun! - I still have a soft spot for a good baseball film. These three are ones from which I have derived great pleasure - well written, good performances, just fun to watch.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Old weatherboard house

0606 old weatherboard house
Originally uploaded by rooruu.

I've driven by this so many times. It's on what is some of the oldest farmland in Australia, dating back to the earliest days of white settlement. Now it's being used as a storage shed; but I always wonder about its history and those who built and lived in it. Surely it won't be swallowed up by the Penrith Lakes Scheme.

What with a particularly nasty lurgi (this one a head and chest cold) and multifarious work deadlines, the blog has been lagging. But it's all caught up now, woohoo!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Quilt landscape

0606 quilt landscape
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
One of my entries in the Sydney Quilt Show 2006. It's called Summer in Bondi.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cockatoos thieving oranges

0606 cockatoos thieving oranges
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I stopped to catch this one. Against the dark green of the orange tree leaves, the cockatoos were white, destructive, beautiful. Clearly these two trees had the good stuff; the cockatoos were concentrating on them almost exclusively.

The new orange season opens this weekend at this orchard.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rural fence

0606 rural fence 1
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Part of an old property (farm/ranch), listing but not yet at the point of tumbling down. There was something simple and beautiful about the colours on this misty morning.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Puddle reflection

0606 puddle reflection
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
A winter tree silhouetted in a wind-ruffled puddle is a beautiful thing. Apart from anything else, it signifies that we've had enough rain to make puddles. Very welcome, since it's been relentlessly dry for far too long.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Afternoon sky

0606 afternoon sky
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
I seem to have taken a number of sky photos recently - and my eye has photographed many more than the camera. Nothing like being stuck in the car and wishing you could stop to catch the moment of light. This time I could stop to catch the strength of the light, the vivid blue, white, shadow.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Old green house

0605 old house
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Green, weathered, wonderfully evocative in its landscape, the blue mountains behind, a cloudy morning sky. It's on the same turf farm as the barn, so it's not truly abandoned. Looks uninhabitable, though. Maybe it's waiting for rescue.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


0605 barn
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Every morning I drive past this barn, the green grass in front (turf farm), the sky large behind it, the contrast of tin and grass and sky. Today I stopped and photographed it.