Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Playing again

The newly painted, carpeted and totally re-arranged lounge room needed some cushions, preferably blue. While searching for blue fabrics, I came across a piece I made a while ago for a challenge, then decided I didn't like it and didn't know what to do with it. So,I played with it some more, and made it into a cushion.

It contains a mixture of fabrics and threads,beads and both hand and machine stitching. I quite like it now.

Here's a close-up of a section -

Friday, 19 September 2008

Hiding its light under a bush-el

The photos of the landscape in my previous post would seem to indicate that there's little of floral beauty in that wide expanse of sandy red soil and grey-green bush. It's there though. You just have to look closer to find it. My Dad loves to grow Australian native plants in his garden, and today I noticed that an Emu Bush (Eremophila) was flowering. I hadn't seen this particular one before, so I went to have a closer look. It's a fairly scrappy, sparse sort of bush with grey-green foliage. The flowers hang down, and I carefully lifted one. It took my breath away. There was the most exquisite orchid-type flower of a beautiful pink. It's only 5cm long - but look what's packed into that tiny parcel -

It makes me wonder just how much beauty I missed as we sped along the roads. After the recent rains there were lots of wildflowers on the road verges but I just wasn't able to keep stopping, as we had so far to drive in such a short space of time. Next trip I'll just have to factor in some exploration and discovery time...

Way out west

The best part about my new job is that I don't have to sit in an office looking at 4 walls all the time! I drove 1000 kilometres in 2 days this week to do site visits. From Dubbo, we headed for Brewarrina via Nyngan, then to Lightning Ridge where we stayed overnight. The next day we visited clients in Walgett, before heading back down the Newell Highway to Dubbo. It was a busy trip, with a couple of long days, but I did manage to take a few photos along the way.

Coolabah is on the way from Nyngan to Bourke, and is where we turned off to head for Brewarrina. There's not a lot there, except for the Coolabah Hilton!

As we crossed over the Bogan River at Gongolgon, the swallows nesting under the bridge flew up and swooped over the river, catching our attention so that we spotted a couple of pelicans obviously enjoying the extra water in the river brought by recent rains. Of course, by the time I'd found a safe place to pull over and walk back to the bridge, the pelicans had drifted further downstream, but one was still in sight

Rivergums are such majestic trees...

Away from the river, this is what the country looks like. Red soil, small trees and brush, and very very dry...

Grey foliage lessens evaporation in hot climates. This is the vegetation where we stopped for a lunch break, under the shade of one of the larger trees.

On the other side of Brewarrina, heading for Walgett, we spotted some larger birds than pelicans. I'm sure the farmer won't be impressed about them grazing in his crop, though...

Yes, they're emus
Spring is here and in Lightning Ridge that means that the Bougainvillea is in flower and looking fabulous.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

I bags this one!

There were handbags for sale at the Toongi Quilt Show last weekend. I fell in love with the handle/clasp on this one. The fabric and the beads are rather nice, as well. I used my recent birthday as an excuse to buy myself a gift.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Strawberry Ginger Muffins

It's that time of the year when strawberries are in season, and a punnet costs less than $2. Who can resist? So, some strawberry muffins for afternoon tea seemed like a good idea. The last time I made them, I upped the strawberry flavour factor by adding some dried strawberries, but there were none left. However, there was some glace ginger, and it worked very well.

Here's the recipe -

1 punnet (250g) strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 generous tablespoon strawberry liqueur (or brandy, or rum...)
90g glace ginger, chopped finely (or 90g dried strawberries, chopped finely)
Grated rind of 1 lime (or lemon)
Mix all this together and let it stand for about 30 minutes to an hour, mixing it occasionally.

Then mix up -

Juice of 1 lime
Add enough milk to the lime juice to make 1/2 cup (yes, the milk will curdle - that's good! It helps to lighten the muffins)
200g yogurt
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup caster sugar

Mix well together.

Sift the following into a bowl -

2 cups Self Raising flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Add -
1/2 cup dessicated coconut

Mix all the ingredients together. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake at 200 degrees C for about 20 minutes. Makes 12-15 muffins.

These are light, moist, delicious muffins.