I’ve recently returned from 2 weeks working (on citrus diseases) in Indonesia. It was a great trip but oh! so tiring. We worked / travelled 15 out of 16 days but I managed to take a few photos while I was there. When I downloaded them, lots of beautiful textures caught my eye, so I’m uploading them here for posterity:

Top to Bottom:

1. Moss on a stone sculpture, Borobudur temple.   2. Dragonfruit.   3. Prop roots.   4. Stone wall in Tugu hotel, Malang.   5. Curious topiaries.   6. Stone garden art, Hilton hotel, Jakarta.  7. Snake fruit, Salak pondoh, an edible palm.  8. Seed pod silhouettes.  9. Sculptural street lamp.   10. Fruit displays at a roadside stall.  11. Latticed stupas at Borobudur temple near Jogjakarta.

Over 40 participants from 16 countries attended the workshop. Here we all are, yours truly in the back row.
Published in: on April 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Knitting Therapy

For those who read my previous post, you’ll know that I recently spent some time in hospital. The legacy of that episode has left me with a lot of numbness in my left arm, and some very shaky fine motor control. It took me about 4 weeks to gather up the courage to see if I could still knit. I can tell you it was a very happy moment when I took up the needles and found that I could! So I’ve been knitting up a storm whilst recuperating.

My first effort: A diagonal piece that will eventually have a partner and live out a happy life as a tea cosy (Cleckheaton Vintage Hues wool): 


Another tea cosy improvised from the Mason Dixon ballband dishcloth pattern. I think it has a lovely vintage feel to it. Just needs to be sewn up and embellished….


The beginnings of a mitred throw  in purple, blue and green hues:


I finished my Noro Silk Garden diagonal garter stitch scarf:


I said I’d never knit socks, but………

All that lovely sock wool out there. How could I just window shop?


I modified the K2 P2 rib into a lacy rib for the multi coloured pair.

I’m sure all this knitting is good Occupational Therapy.

I’m feeling a lot better this week, even went back to work 2 part days. Still lots of free time for knitting. Thanks for all your good wishes – it makes such a difference!

cheers, Liz

Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm  Comments (7)  
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Not rocket science – please read this!

Almost 3 weeks ago I got up to fix dinner and my legs went to jelly. I sat down for a few minutes, but when I got up, they still felt like jelly and my left arm had gone numb and tingly. All I could think of was ‘I’m having a stroke – how do you test if you’re having a stroke?’ So I held my left arm in the air and watched as it slumped to the chair by my side. Then I asked my 16 year old son to help me ring an ambulance.

I spent the next 24 hours in emergency at the local hospital. They gave me a CT scan and told me I had a giant aneurysm in one of the arteries in the right side of my brain. A few days later I was taken to a large hospital in Sydney, had a barrage of tests including MRI and angiogram. Then on the Friday night I was told that I would need to have open surgery on my brain to ‘clip’ the aneurysm, so it wouldn’t rupture. So I had the whole weekend to think about that. They proposed doing the surgery the following Monday. I was as ready for it as I could be, when one of the registrars came in and said they thought it could be fixed by a process called ‘coiling’, which is a much less invasive procedure where they perform surgery via a catheter inserted in the femoral artery and fed up into the brain.

So on Tuesday I went to have the coiling, but the machine had broken down. I’d already been sedated and they were trying to explain how they were going to block the artery and I could lose the peripheral vision on the left side of both my eyes, although it was highly likely that other blood vessels had taken over that function. I felt incredibly helpless because of the sedation.

On Wednesday, I went for the procedure. When I woke up I could see perfectly, but my left arm and the left side of my face were numb and tingly – I’d had a stroke during the procedure. I spent two and a half weeks in hospital. Now I’m home with my kids. They’ve been wonderful – keeping things going at home while I was away.  All I could think about was my kids – they lost their dad (my ex-husband) to cancer 3 years ago, and they’ve had a rough time.

I’m so thankful for all the good wishes, prayers and positive thoughts from family and friends. And for the answer to those prayers. It’s made such a difference!  I’m told it could take 18 months for my left arm to get back to normal, and have been prescribed lots of crafting to get the muscles and co-ordination happening. I’m still unbelievably tired and exhausted. 

So my friends, live every day!

Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm  Comments (15)  
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I was going to call this post “three queens have lunch”, but let me clarify…

The queen of tea cosies, the queen of chooks and the queen of buttons (that’s me!) went up the hill for lunch, for op-shopping and for browsing antiques and collectibles. Then back down the hill a-ways to look at chooks, drink tea and eat home-made plum cake.

It was so great to meet you both, and thankyou Loani for my new orange socks – they really are a size 10!

 orangesox1 orangesox2 sockpuppet 

Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 10:32 am  Comments (2)  
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Victorian Bushfire Appeal Shop….

We all know how devastating the bushfires in Victoria were last weekend.  So many people lost their property, their livelihood, and too many people lost their lives. There has been a wonderful response from the public, both in Australia and from overseas, in pledging donations to help those so badly affected by the fires.

If you’re not familiar with Etsy, it is an online site where people sell handmade goods. The Australian Etsy DUST team (Down Under Street Team) has set up a shop where Etsy artists can donate an item(s) that they’ve made for sale, and all the money will go to the Australian Red Cross for distribution to those in need.

There is a wide variety of beautiful items available, and at this point in time, $2800  (update on 14.2.09 total $5000) (update 15.2.09 $7500!!) has already been raised.

I’m donating some of my button flowers.  If you’d like to help out, either by buying an item or by donating an item, please check out the store:

pink-fls-1 sherbert-fls1

UPDATE: 14.2.09  I’m delighted to say that both of my bouquets have been sold. But there are many other stunning items for sale, so please dig deep!

Marian over at Marian Edwards Dreamweaver is auctioning  one of her stunning scarves for the bushfire appeal. Pop over to her blog to find out more!

Published in: on February 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm  Comments (3)  

Vintage Thingies Thursday… Old Buttons….

From time to time people contact me to see if I’m interested in buying their old buttons. Recently I was contacted by a lovely lady whose father owned a drapery store in Sydney in the 1940s. She had inherited the buttons when the store closed down, and has had them tucked away for the last 60 years or so. Evidently her father had catalogued them by attaching them to the back of advertising signs:




There’s lots of lovely interesting old plastic buttons, some very funky 2-piece spotty plastics, and a fair bit of Czech glass. There was also about  a dozen old Sylko thread boxes and these interesting rolls of old fisheye buttons, attached to double-sided tape so the quantity could easily be snipped off. 


So I came home with lots of vintage treasures.

I just wanted to share a couple of pics from my walk around the garden the other evening, white plumbago and snail creeper:



I just love the sculptural flowers of snail creeper – its grown right up into the melaleuca tree and has formed a liane so thick I think I could swing on it like Tarzan … or Jane!


For more Vintage Thingies Thursday visit Coloradolady’s blog!

Back to blogging….

Hi everyone. Hope you had a great Christmas / New Year break. It’s funny how you can cope with having a heap of things ‘on your plate’ throughout the year, but as soon as the holidays come, everything falls to pieces. That’s kind of what happened to me over the last few weeks. I did a little crash and burn as soon as I went on hols, and blogging was just too much trouble for a few weeks. Thanks to all who wrote and asked if I was OK – yes, just renewing my energy!

Anyhoo, I did make time for some serious op-shopping, and found myself coming home with some seriously great vintage and retro fabric:



This is the most wonderful retro curtain – must be at least 14 usable metres of fabric in it!

p1010082 p1010080

Vintage polished cotton and strawcloth.

And some other goodies:


And I’ve been prompted to go back to a vocation I had many years ago – I used to be dressmaker. I had my own business for about 10 years, but as soon as I started making wedding / bridesmaids dresses, I got so bored with making the same things over and over again.  So I changed careers, but I’ve always got a bit of a sewing bug laying dormant, waiting for the right project to come along. I made a few quilts when my kids were little (might write a post about that one day), but now I’m into upcycling. It’s amazing how much great fabric you can find in a curtain, sheet or tablecloth! So I bought some great old apron patterns from the 1940s and 50s, and I’ve been sewing up a storm:


A cute little 1950s flared number in vintage polished cotton.


A petal apron from some quilting fabric leftovers.


A fab little 1950s circular number – lime green check with that huge black rick rack. The check used to be a cot valance.


A very retro yellow/orange/brown apron with acid yellow rick rack – this used to be a curtain.


And a more demure style, again an ex-curtain.

I’m going to add some vintage buttons for a bit of extra oomph. I’ve also got lots more ideas for re-purposing napkins, doilies, cloths etc. Just need to keep going with the old sewing machine!

Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 3:22 pm  Comments (10)  
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On my Desk, and another Happy Birthday….


Welcome to On My Desk, hosted by Kootooyou. A change of desk for me today – the lounge is my desk, where I’m knitting whimsical teacosies.  So I’ve got a big stash of interesting wool, a copy of Wild Tea Cosies by Loani Prior that I won in a Blogtoberfest giveaway (thankyou Loani !!), my favourite dog, something good on the telly – now just grab a cup of Earl Grey and I’m set for some serious knitting!




Op shop chevron tea cosy for added inspiration.

my1st-tcosy4 my1st-tcosy1 

And here’s my first attempt. simple yet stylish polo-neck adorned with a single pom pom in Moda Vera ‘Confetto’ – quick, easy and fun!

Today my firstborn turns 18! Happy Birthday Glen! Many more happy years ahead!

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 6:49 am  Comments (5)  
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Blogtoberfest day 26: Sunday at home…


Some of the things happening around home today: The roses are beginning to bloom…

Looks like there’ll be a good crop of limes in a few months…

The Aussie stingless bees are happily foraging for pollen…

A boy who didn’t fancy having his picture taken…


And some more button flower posies I whipped up during the week….

Visit  Big Cat’s Emporium  for more Blogtoberfest fun!

Published in: on October 26, 2008 at 10:37 am  Comments (3)  
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Blogtoberfest Day 17, a meme and more buttons….

I’ve been tagged by Amy to divulge 6 random bits of information about myself.

The rules:
– Link to the person who tagged you
– Mention the rules
– Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular or random details about yourself
– Tag six other bloggers by linking to them
– Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged


I did a similar post a few weeks ago. You can read about it here: 7 random facts about me.

But here’s another six anyway:

1. When I was two I managed to upend a big can of paint over myself…. the oil-based kind of paint… you know, the stuff that only comes out with turps…. eyes, nose, ears, mouth, hair….

2. My favourite colour is green

3. I would rather give birth than go to the dentist

4. There are certain plants that I cut the flowers off because I prefer the foliage. One is wormwood, Artemisia absinthium, which is used to flavour absinth, and also used medicinally, including as a treatment for worms hence the name. I love its velvety, silver leaves, but I don’t like its yellow flowers.

This is another one, Hypoestes (polka dot plant) that I prefer the leaves to the flowers:

4. I was stung on the foot by a scorpion in the hallway of our house when I first moved to the Blue Mountains. I’ve been stung by bees, bullants etc, but a scorpion packs a wallop – its the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. My star sign is Scorpio, funnily enough.

5. Some of the jobs I’ve had: working in a milk bar a fabric shop and a bookshop, payroll clerk, balancing cash registers in a major department store – this bored me s#!tless – the only thing to look forward to was the to balance the next cash register – aaaagh!!! Worked in a nursery, edited questionnaires for a market research company, had my own dressmaking business, now I work in scientific research at a Uni.

6. I had a brief brush with fame when Cate Blanchett and family came into my stall at the last vintage fair I went to at Hunters Hill in Sydney.


More buttons for Blogtoberfest: These are a few of my favourite flower buttons. The first three are celluloid and date from around the 1920s. The last one is plastic from the 1960s. They’re all very fragile, but beautifully detailed.





Visit Big Cat’s Emporium for more Blogtoberfest action !

Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 6:00 am  Comments (4)  
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