Australia · autumn · basics · cooking · rain · subtropical weather

A Wet Easter Monday

On a day when I hardly saw my back garden let alone Mount Warning, due to this mist and low cloud, I spent most of the day working on a university assignment, which is due this Wednesday.

During constant reading of any description, I find I need to take regular breaks, usually in the garden. What to do when it’s raining heavily outside? I baked a loaf of bread instead.

It’s been many years since I baked a loaf of bread, although I always bake a batch of hot cross buns every Easter. This year, I baked two batches, and they turned out so well I was inspired to try bread baking again.

I started simple, just a plain white loaf, and the result was a beautifully crispy golden crust and soft white bread inside.

It was a pretty good way to spend the final day of the Easter long weekend, here in the damp subtropics.

Australia · authenticity · basics · clouds · family · grandson · In My World · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · pets · summer · Tweed Valley

Back to Basics … AKA “In My World”

On a day when far too many people expressed far too many biased opinions on (political) matters which were once regarded as a personal matter, on a biased public forum (social media) which I have considered leaving many times during recent weeks, I will share some photos of realities. This is what is happening In My World.

A drastic change in the weather provided a reprieve from the heat of the last two days. Mount Warning, however, remained in hiding all day. (Perhaps I should have done the same.)

In the distance, I spotted a tree containing many beautiful song birds. When I magnified the photo, I was able to identify the birds as both male and female Figbirds.

I had a visit from four-month-old Eli, who has worked out how to roll over onto his tummy. He was mesmerised by Brontë, and it seemed the feeling was mutual. Brontë was completely besotted with Eli.

When you take away all of the B.S. in the world, isn’t love and caring the most important thing?

autumn · basics · gardening · photography

Watching the Grass Grow.


“Miss the simple pleasures like a friendly hello, an unexpected smile, really looking into someone’s eyes when speaking, random acts of kindness, and days doing nothing but lying on a blanket in the grass watching the clouds roll on by.” ~ Rita Said.


Even though the summer sun inferno burnt brown patches throughout our lawn during the last few months, a whole lot of grass patches have shot up recently, probably on account of the cooler weather, then the rain, followed by more sunshine.


Of course it is all weed, full of seeds to grow even more weeds, and this weekend will become the victim of our lawn mower, but in the meantime, doesn’t it look pretty?


“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” ~ Henry Miller




basics · happiness · inspiration · photography · sewing

A Brand New Project ~ The Sewing Box


“Sewing mends the soul.”  ~ Author Unknown

Late last year, while I was up to my elbows in sewing school uniforms for a few local schools for the beginning of the school year this year, I happened to get a phone call one day that had me buying myself an early Christmas present.

I have subscribed to a craft magazine for some years now, and the company was offering their subscribers a deal “too good to refuse”. I must say I was sceptical and had no intentions of buying whatever they had on offer.

Quilting 'fat-quarters" all neatly arranged in a sewing storage box.
Quilting ‘fat-quarters” all neatly arranged in a sewing storage box.

So, the spiel began, I half listened. A few words caught my attention, fat quarters, sewing lamp, quilt wadding, scissors, sewing box….usual price ~ a trillion dollars, but for you today ~ dirt cheap.

“Would you care to repeat that?” I asked the very patient sales woman, as I apologised for being preoccupied with having so much work to get through.

She obliged, I did the mental sums; this was a great deal! And I rarely spend money on myself, and these were items that I would get a lot of use out of….

A beautiful wooden sewing box with a padded hinged lid, and drawer beneath.
A beautiful wooden sewing box with a padded hinged lid, and drawer beneath.

I’m not sure if the sales woman did a good job of convincing me that I had to have these items, or if I convinced myself. Regardless, I hung up the phone after exchanging pleasantries with the friendly woman on the other end of the line, feeling quite excited about my unexpected purchase.

A few days later, (which seemed like such a long time as I really was looking forward to my purchase arriving), two large boxes arrived at the post office.

I've had this scissor set for a number of years now, but aren't they pretty?
I’ve had this scissor set for several years now, but aren’t they pretty?

It was so much fun looking through my newly purchased craft items, but back then was not the time to be lingering over them, I still had work to get through. It is only this week that I have finally unpacked the boxes and found homes for all of my new sewing necessities.

Let me tell you, I’m not a woman who gets overly excited over new clothes and shoes. I like to wear comfortable clothes, mostly jeans and tops that are made of soft fabric, and around home I usually go bare foot, except during cooler weather when I wear my fluffy deep pink “ugg” boots. But give me two boxes of newly purchased craft and sewing bits and bobs and I’m in seventh heaven!

Empty compartments, waiting for some love.
Empty compartments, waiting for some love.

The last time I received a new sewing box was for my tenth birthday. My sister gave it to me and it was the last birthday present I ever got from her, as shortly after my birthday she joined a religion which does not celebrate birthdays, so my old sewing box is something I have treasured for many years, although it is rarely used now. Instead, I use pretty tins that once contained biscuits, or old chocolate boxes to store my sewing treasures. I even use an old tobacco tin that once contained my dad’s pipe tobacco!

Added character to the bare wood.
Added character to the bare wood.

Unfortunately the nostalgic odour of dad’s pipe tobacco is long gone now, making it easier for me to part company with an old memory and make way for my new sewing box, a part of my super-beaut buy!

It is a stained wooden box with a padded hinged lid and one single drawer underneath. Both the top section and the drawer are partitioned, to keep small sewing paraphernalia separated and neatly ready for use.

All felted up and ready for bits & bobs.
All felted up and ready for bits & bobs.

All that was missing was that each section needed to have a lining, to give it a more homey feel, so I searched through my stock of felt pieces and found two pieces of lilac coloured felt and one deep purple, which would suit the colour of the wood beautifully.

Neat little boxes, to hold sewing items, neatly!
Neat little boxes, to hold sewing items, neatly!

So today, I fiddled and measured and cut and glued, then sorted old tins and boxes, finally arranging all of my needles, tape measures, pins, elastic, scissors, and everything else that had been in something of a muddle for years, into my new sewing box. I hadn’t thought these things to be in a muddle though, not until I saw the end result of my labour today, with everything so organised.

A place for everything and some room to spare.
A place for everything and some room to spare.

With the shelves beside my sewing machine in my sewing cupboard all cleared off and cleaned, I arranged everything back onto the shelves, and now I’m all set to go!

What I’d really like to hear about now is this ~ do you have a hobby that makes your heart sing, one which you can become so engrossed in that you lose all track of time, almost as if you were a child again and had just discovered your favourite toy to play with?

All ready to begin the next project.
All ready to begin the next project.

I think that everyone should have at least one hobby that can brush away all the cares in the world.

So funtional, and so pretty!
So funtional, and so pretty!

I know that I have several, but they are stories that will have to wait for another day. 🙂

“Me thinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.”  ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

Australia · basics · music

As Australian as Vegemite ~ tastes just as good the second time around!


“Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich…” ~ Land Down Under, Men at Work.

A whole two years ago I wrote about our beloved Australian icon ~ Vegemite. (Was it really two years ago? Wow, that time flew by awfully fast!)

How could I write a series of posts about Australian Icons without mentioning it again?

I won’t repeat myself though, you can still read the two year old post as everything I said about Vegemite back then still applies now!

And I still enjoy my Vegemite sandwiches as much now as I did back then. The main point that I really must emphasise about eating Vegemite, be it on a sandwich or on toast, is please do not add too much! It has a very strong flavour, so use sparingly!

See, you only need add a thin layer of Vegemite to your toast. Less is more! ;)
See, you only need add a thin layer of Vegemite to your toast. Less is more! 😉

Have any of my blogging friends from overseas ever had the opportunity to taste Vegemite?

If you haven’t tasted our famous National Icon, would you try it, if given the opportunity?

You may have heard this Australian “anthem” of sorts before, “Down Under” by Men at Work, as it was released in a number of countries throughout the world back in the early 1980’s. It was also the theme song of the Australia II camp, during Australia’s successful challenge of the Americas Cup in 1983.

Oh, and it was also played by “Men at Work” during the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games, held in Sydney, Australia.

Vegemite is mentioned in this song as well, so go on, have a listen. Does it sound familiar to you?

Post Script ~ After Sybil asked in her comment whether Vegemite is similar to Marmite I made some further investigations. Whilst they are very similar, the taste is different (well, to the palate of an Australian it is!) I have discovered that Vegemite contains malt extract, which is made from barley. Apparently, Marmite (an English product) doesn’t, therefore I will take this one difference in ingredience as confirming that my taste-buds are right!

Another interesting fact, the birth of Vegemite took place in Melbourne, Australia, in 1922. It was first made by the Fred Walker Cheese Company but it took a while to catch on, as Aussies were used eating Marmite on their morning toast. In 1937, Fred Walker decided to promote Vegemite by holding a limerick competition, offering substantial prizes, and from that moment on, the Aussies have been smitten. Fred Walker knew that Australia needed a brand new Australian Icon, obviously! 😉

The entire story of the history of Vegemite can be found at I’ve even discovered that the old Vegemite advert, which I remember seeing on television as a child, is on You Tube!

Who would have known that there is so much information on the internet about Vegemite? I’m learning so much myself from writing this! 🙂