Morning Tableau

We had an amazing anniversary (married for 21 years, 😊) hike on the weekend. Deep in the bush, in winter, in the middle of nowhere.

















Now I seem to have acquired this horrible cold that is going ’round and I have woken up again way too early with that dry cough. It will take it’s course and I will be fine, so I shall stop winging right now.

The upside of waking up early is sneaking in a bit of knitting time and HUZZAAH I have finished the socks I started in 🇩🇪. This is a pattern from my aunt’s old knitting book.

For my little project I also received from my aunt this gorgeous hand made project bag – I just love it 😍 .

I have quickly filled it with some yarn for the next small project – a hat for my brother in law Chris, which he has requested years ago. I know how cold it is here now, so I can imagine how cold it is in Canberra, so I must get on.

I treated myself to some fancy new knitting needles in Germany, since I could feel a ‘sock-knit-obsession’ coming on. Not sure what to say about them.

The tiny circular needle is strange to hold in the hands, since there is nothing to hold on to! They are great though if you knit a pattern that spans over a significant width, possibly over your dpns.

The set of light dpns is lovely, but since I knit fairly tightly, it irritates me when the yarn gets stuck in that tiny ridge between the wood and the metal. Am I hard to please? I simply think there is not really anything wrong with my ancient (bent) sets of dpns… sometimes I think all this new stuff is just a jazzy marketing ploy…


Happy Easter!

Time flies. Excuse me for stating the obvious.

It’s been too hot to photograph me in the cream coloured Henley that has been the subject of this blog a few weeks ago. But all of a sudden the mornings are cold and I have started wearing the gorgeous creation! But when I return home after work it is too dark to take a photo…

So, I have started knitting a gorgeous cardigan from some ancient yarns donated by my darling friend Sue… Needless to say that what you see on my lap is the second version – I entirely ripped the darn thing last weekend and re-knitted it in a week… so it’s a bottom up cardi with set in sleeves (which are knitted top down) and a cute wrap collar which I am trying to work out in the fading light, on my verandah, enjoying the screeching of the cockatoos and the croaking of the froggies… image

and I think this glass of white wine is probably my best friend, holding my hand in this endeavour… imagebut do look at this photo (courtesy of daughter Jo) and you can literally SEE my impatience: I have knitted the grown on button band AND sewn on the buttons, you can spot a set of double pointed needles of a nearly finished sleeve and possibly you can see a random circular needles which holds the stitches of the second sleeve cap… Well… If not… Let me tell you, Holmes, that I am also well and truely past the half way mark of the collar by now…image

This marks a nice  Easter weekend. We were going to go away but simply missed the boat by being too late with the planning. So we enjoyed a nice few days in Sydney. Some good communal chilling out, preparing for (one lucky family member’s) the Europe trip, hanging the kitchen curtains, chatting, playing board Games, having Sue and Michael for dinner, visiting the Ruined Castle In Katoomba, staging an epic Easter egg hunt for 4 teenagers, checking out the Sydney Biennale at the Carriageworks… It sounds like we did a lot. Phew. Happy Days… Happy Easter!

All this is just as well. “Aladdin” is going into fitting stage now and I have a very chaotic (and gratifying) 2 weeks ahead locking in shapes and sizes. It is very exiting, but no doubt tiring… So it’s very nice to have had the chance to relax before going into the final and mad throws of the production!


Proudly Presenting: The most wonderful top down cardigan

Hi, I will do what I say I will do: presenting proudly the cardigan, top down with fitted sleeves and done, re-done, frogged, ripped and knitted with the stamina of determination. I am over the moon with it!!! image image This project would have been going on since February.

I am so pleased with the entire fit, how the sleeves are fitted elegantly, the lace pattern, the front button band. And the buttons! I love the buttons. I felt like being different, so I grouped them – two together. The sleeves are long enough, and slim enough to fit into a winter coat… everything is perfect. I freaked at blocking stage because all of a sudden (when it was soaked) this cardigan looked enormous… but it shrank again. Phew.

This has been a long weekend, so an extra day to chill and play. On day one I did a 3.5hr dog walk with my husband and it was soooo very nice to catch up, get fresh air and exercise and chill together. 20150606_072948 And to casually come across some very contemporary art by a young, up and coming artist in unexpected places.20150606_075404 20150606_075453 20150606_082159 20150606_082341(0) Then Sunday we mounted an expedition to the Blue Mountains and we did a 16km walk with 4 kids… unbelievable scenery and physical challenge. Technology failed us and no photos are available for this post – but believe me, it was magic! We saw a lyrebird! This is obviously an image from google (technical issues…) – but it is really rare that one can see these in the wild. We were very lucky.We all slept well and had a quiet day today. And a beautiful sunset to finish the day.20150608_172750

Adventure in the Snow Country

Christmas seems long time ago now… there was so much anticipation, preparation, and we spent a very joyful day here at our house with 3 generations. Some stayed in their chairs, some disregarded the thunderstorm and cooled off in the pool. DSCN9356DSCN9396

Parallel to “doing Christmas” we prepared for our trip to the Snow Country. I made lists to account for each sachet of Tuna, each tea bag… dehydrated meals and so forth… Patrick studied maps, put all the camping gear out and checked it and off we went. It took 6 hours in the car to Charlotte Pass, we walked about 4 km to find a suitable place to set up camp in the wild.DSCN9402 DSCN9406 DSCN9430

It was beautiful – sunny in the evening… and sunny in the morning, …

DSCN9406sheltered by big boulders.

DSCN9435We had chicken satay soup… yum.

DSCN9414 DSCN9416DSCN9431People found ways to relax.

DSCN9441The sunset was magnificent. So was the sunrise.

DSCN9410 DSCN9462 DSCN9476 DSCN9490 DSCN9496   DSCN9517And off to Mt Kosciuszko…

DSCN9506DSCN9505We left our packs behind to check out Ramshead. And only 5 months ago we had been coming up this very chairlift enjoying the deep snow!!!DSCN9475

DSCN9514 DSCN9515We saw Brumbies. And hares. And deer.

DSCN9518 DSCN9523 DSCN9535 DSCN9542 DSCN9543 DSCN9550 DSCN9560We found shelter next to Seamen’s hut. That’s were we had dinner in the evening. (Rehydrated Spag Bol, if you must know :)). Thank God for the hut. Around 11pm there was a gale blowing. The ranger told us the following day that it was 102km/ph… the tents were flattened and we relocated into the hut.

DSCN9597 DSCN9601 DSCN9602So we woke up after a very restless nights sleep.

DSCN9609And this is what we found outside the hut. Clouds. And both tents slashed.

DSCN9630 DSCN9633 DSCN9634So we packed up and walked back to the car. After 2 nights. Still feels like weeks, having really been out in the open, taking in all that infinite beauty  DSCN9516DSCN9567

… under the big blue sky… making me feel so beautifully insignificant…DSCN9636



While the Cat is away…

… the house is very, very quiet… the only activity seemed to happen at the dining room table…DSCN8305

Patrick, Lena and Jo took off into the bush yesterday morning, in the rain, with hope that it would not rain as much in the Blue Mountains. So with half of our family away, the house seemed empty. Even more so, since Vincent was sick in bed – so Esther and I just took it very easy. We watched her kind of movies, ordered pizza and ate on the sofa and I started something very, very simple on the unused table.DSCN8302

This block is the ‘Bow Tie’, a traditional block which I just love. It is very dynamic, yet so simple. Most patterns recommend that the effect of the middle square is achieved by sewing a little colored triangle on the light colored squares of the block. Like this: Screen shot 2014-09-07 at 9.07.01 AM










But I don’t really like it at all – the middle square is chopped and I think it really interferes with the simplicity of the overall look. And in addition, if the middle square is a real square set diagonally in relation to the big squares – then the diagonal (bias) edges of the big squares are prevented from stretching by the straight grain of the little centre square.

I just ironed the corners of the big squares out of the way, sewed all 4 seams of the block (sewing over the folded corners to hold them back), pressed the seams, pinned the small square in place – BAM… easy:


And then in the end, you upload a nice movie or two, order some pizza and hand sew the little squares in, before cutting the excess fabric… repeat until sufficient blocks have been sewn and then put it all together.DSCN8304

It’s not like I don’t have enough quilts on the go as it is… I think I am currently working on 3 hexagon quilts, one huge Wedding Ring… but this is quick and easy and gets an instant result… works perfectly as a little creative ‘pick me up’…




Monolith Valley

DSCN7823We took some time out and packed up the kids and a few essentials and headed for the bush. Boy – it wasn’t as casual as this at all!!! Patrick took care to plan a route, I bought bigger boots and pants for some of the kids, lighter sleeping mats, gas and whatnot, calculated every biscuit and jelly bean we would consume on this 4 day hike and I even pre-cooked some meals which I then dehydrated… so it was actually really busy for days before we left. Despite all the careful planning and plotting – we still carried 13kg of food for all of us, 10litres of water and each ‘adult pack’ weighed way over 10kg…

We drove to Nowra, dropped the dogs at the budget kennels and drove another hour to Wog Wog, the car park. By then it was 2pm… much later than we had hoped, and we walked more or less straight to the nearest camping cave (3.5 hrs) at Corang and set up camp. It was totally amazing – we got there just as the sun went down and had just enough time to pitch the tents, get a fire going and cook a meal. We didn’t need the tent flies, so we saw the bright starry sky all night… just magic. DSCN7830 DSCN7835 DSCN7837

The next day we walked for 3.5 hrs to the next stop and set up camp near Bibbenluke Mountain for the next two nights and had lunchDSCN7838 DSCN7840 DSCN7841  DSCN7895

From the camp we had a great view of Mount Tan – the destination for our afternoon expedition. DSCN7848

Massive rocks everywhereDSCN7876 DSCN7880! DSCN7872

In the evening we had a great meal of re-hydrated spaghetti Bolognese and instant chocolate mousse (shaken not stirred in an empty water bottle and then put in the waterfall ‘fridge’).DSCN7897 DSCN7898 DSCN7900

We set out early for our day walk (without packs, phew!) to Monolith Valley. It was unbelievably beautiful, but the ‘track’ was not always obvious to us, so we took a few wrong turns. DSCN7913 DSCN7915 DSCN7923 DSCN7924 DSCN7926

But we did eventually end up on Mount Owen, enjoying the amazing views.DSCN7930

DSCN7932 DSCN7933And the way ‘home’ to our camp was much the same – finding the ‘path’ was often guesswork…DSCN7936 DSCN7939 DSCN7941

We saw amazing country. DSCN7955 DSCN7956 DSCN7960 DSCN7961 DSCN7962 DSCN7981

Amazing plants and bright green regrowth after a massive bushfire.DSCN7947DSCN7857 DSCN7912 DSCN7969 DSCN7986

Hope you had a good Easter!

A Grand Day out to Rocky Creek

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally we are settled enough in our new home to embark on some new outdoor adventures! Patrick planned a trip to Rocky Creek for us. The entrance is just off a dirt road near the Zig Zag railway near Lithgow, in the Blue Mountains. We walked though the bush for about 40 minutes until we got to the canyon. What a sight!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe didn’t just go to look at the pretty views… but to climb into, smell and feel the canyon.


A night at Pryors Hut

We have established a nice routine  getting into The Wild without any major dramas. Well, it takes two nights of packing, Patrick plans the route, I buy the food, dogs go to the dog hotel and off we go.

Friday night we drove to Canberra, had dinner in the car and stayed with Patrick’s brother Chris and his wife Helen and (not so) early Saturday we left for Namagi National Park. DSC01832Look  at the dam!

DSCN6714Chris signs us all in for the hike. Amazing trees everywhere, the sky is bright blue, the birds are making a lot of noise and the hill is steep @)(&_%&@(*%^@& (a lot of bad language…).DSCN6732DSCN6733DSC01874Swantje and Chris

What a climb… some shocking numbers where thrown at me in consolation of my moaning under the weight of my pack… was it 1 metre up for 4 metres forward??? No idea, it was not much fun… much less than it is now, in hindsight!

We finally reached the hut.DSCN6742DSCN6743DSCN6744 This was to give us shelter against the elements in the evening. And it did. DSCN1012After setting up camp near the hut, Patrick and I climbed to the peak of the mountain, whilst the others re-hydrated the dehydrated bolognaise sauce I had prepared during the week and they stoked a great fire.DSCN6758 Unbelievable views! Kosciuszko covered in snow!DSCN6753DSCN6756 And little patches of snow right there in front of us! That was the drawing card to get the kids up the mountain top in the morning… but first a picture of a knitter on top of the world: to cast on or cast off, that is the question!

DSCN0998DSCN1026We were in bed at 7pm, well, most of us, not those guys who walked 1km to the creek after dinner to get water for breakfast. Honestly, I did not hear them return, I was out like a light.

Good morning, Chris, are you enjoying your coffee and your biscuits with blue veined cheese?

Magic ice crystals in the puddles in the morning.

DSC01871DSC01863DSCN1098DSCN1086Teenager on top of the world.  Bloody brilliant weekend!

Take me to the River…

IMGP0044This was an entirely new experience. Lilo-ing, so I thought, was lying in the sunshine, floating gently down the stream, reflecting on the finer things in life. Little did I know. In what follows, you will see what lilo-ing is really like, and let me tell you, it is far more fun that what I imagined.

First of all, here are the usual suspects embarking on the adventure. IMGP0008

Everybody is wearing dry clothes, carrying their pack with wetsuit, lilo and a small amount of provisions in their backpack. Thank God, some also carried a camera! We set off from Mt Wilson’s car park and went down to the river.Esther climbing over tree

Then we got changed – and we got really exited! The river looked beautiful and mysterious, and standing in it, I realized how many obstacles there were going to be in our way and how freezing it was going to be… hm,… not just floating gently down the stream then…green light on riverriver stones detailriver with big rocksEsther getting ready in the shadowSwantje is getting readySwantje puts her suit onRuth gets her suit onIMGP0035

It was freezing – this is an activity for summer, not April, really. My feet were so numb, I thought they might fall off if I knock them… At the beginning, there was a lot of scrambling involved… scrambling, sliding, jumping with lilo and backpack.all climbing over rocks

Craig is getting ready to jumpCraig jumpsMichael with liloEvery now and then, there was also some lilo-ing… I liked that bit in particular, especially after the water on my lilo had warmed up a bit.

bodies on the river in the foregroundbodies on the river Patrick had taken a billy, a small stove, teabags and hot chocolate and we had a picnic on the rocks. This would have been my best cup of hot drink I ever had! Everybody dug out of their backpacks any spare clothing to put on.IMGP0077IMGP0079

None of us liked the thought of getting back into the freezing water, but once we were in it – we went through the most scenic nature I had ever seen. And we realized that we needed to hurry a bit – there was a fair hike ahead of us the get out of the canyon and the sun was not going to wait for us.

The dry bags had kept (most of) our clothes dry (wow!) which then didn’t stay dry once they were on us – because the water from the wet lilo and wetsuit once stuffed into our backpacks ran down our backs… urgh… and up up up we went, through the magic bush, just in time before dark. What a day!Patrick in the bushclimbing upRuth Esther Vin climbing upIMGP0100IMGP0107

Easter at the Kowmung

Happy Easter, all!


We went on a family hike… I was in charge of food and took the older kids to the supermarket on Thursday night while the little one had soccer training in the rain… I mention this with far too many words… there should have been a picture (deleted!!!) with all the food set out on the bench top at home – before it was put into color coded shopping bags. One bag for breakfasts, one for lunches, one for dinners. But here a snap shot of the last minute repairs of Patrick’s hiking pants: DSCN6099

Don’t you just love it when you collect stuff (rivets in my case… and find one of the right kind and also the right gadgets to put them in???) an you get an opportunity to use it, finally???

Patrick was in charge of the route, and stayed in charge of trekking through the bush… but Vincent helped – he is an excellent pathfinder. Unbelievable views, unbelievably sore legs and bums… unbelievable gourmet food, unbelievable sounds of the bell birds, the river, the wind… was I stressed last week??? No, you must have the wrong person…

DSCN6140DSCN6198DSCN6223DSCN6224We left Sydney on Friday night, had a look at the surrounds at the Kanagra-Boyd National Park, before pitching our tents rather close to the car park. On Saturday we descended into the WILD, and I realized that walking down a steep hill is worse than climbing it back up again! We were rewarded for our efforts with the most beautiful clearing in the bush, next to the river – Orange Bluff.DSCN6253DSCN6254 Imagine hopping into the cool river, after walking 13.5 km downhill with a pack (anything between 6kg – 19kg, depending on the size of the person…)!!! Then we made a fire, set up camp, had cups of tea, got cooking dinner – and we were sound asleep as sun set – at 7pm!DSCN6258DSCN6266 Time stands still in places like this. The kids may rebel and kick and scream that they don’t want to go on a hike – but once they are on the road/ track… they are peaceful and deeply happy.DSCN6212DSCN6250DSCN6235 What else could there possibly to be said… Happy Easter!Kowmung route