Saturday, January 28, 2006

Friday, January 27, 2006

The cat in the hat!


I went to my first Red Hat society luncheon on Wednesday,and no amount of retail therapy helped me find the requisite red hat.
After a bit of research on the Net and finding only a men's pattern I decided to make my own pill-box .
(Move over Jacqui Kennedy Onassis..............)and this was the result.
A copper button in a froth of tulle on six inch diameter " pill-box" and I was ready to go.
I can feel a wardrobe of hats coming on! Posted by Picasa

Quandong fruit

 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Another link to Quandongs..........


This time a West Aussie slant on things........
if you'd like to know more about quandongs
or even the wildflowers of W.A. or the Sandalwood industry
an industry which had its roots back in 1846 when the Sandalwood was harvested for the Incense trade,keep looking,and enjoy a little of our history.
Western Australia has a wealth of natural history that is sometimes overlooked,except in Spring when the tourists come to enjoy the floral sights that can stretch for miles.

Quandongs and Swaggies


Let me flesh this posting out with some background:I was born in Western Australia and spent my youth there.In the 1960-70s period we used to spend a lot of time at Mullalloo beach and Quandong bushes grew in the sand dunes.My M-i-L educated me to making quandong jam and fruit tarts.If I describe the cooked fruit as similar to cooked Quinces in colour,texture and flavour you might know where I'm coming from.

The info below is taken from the Nullarbor Travel Guide

A single Quandong Berry

Santalum Acuminatum or the Quandong
The Quandong is a truly unique native Australian fruit. Found in the arid and semi-arid regions of all Australian mainland states , Quandong trees have been classified as belonging to the santalum genus of plants. Ideally adapted to arid environments, the Santalum Acuminatum species is known to be a semi-parasitic plant. Quandong trees can tolerate high soil salinity levels and often rely for their complete water requirements from the root systems of host plants. Across their native distribution range, Quandong trees typically grow 2 to 3 metres in height, with a dense leathery crown of leaves perhaps 2 metres wide.

A Quandong Tree in Fruit

Aboriginal Bush Tucker
Traditionally the Quandong was an important food source for Australian Aborigines. Amongst male members of central Australia's Pitjantjara people, Quandongs were considered a suitable substitute for meat - especially when hunting game was in short supply. Around the Everard Ranges, Quandong gathering and food preparation was considered Pitjantjara women's business. Ripe red Quandong fruits would be eaten raw or dried for later use. Typically Everard Ranges women would collect Quandongs in bark dishes, separate the edible fruit from the pitted stone, and then roll the edible fruit into a ball. The Quandong ball was then broken up for consumption by the tribal group.

Medicinal Uses of the Quandong
Amongst Australian aborigines Quandongs were much valued for their medicinal properties. Specialised uses of the Quandong included a form of tea which was drunk as a purgative. Quandong tree roots were also ground down and used as an infusion for the treatment of rheumatism. Typically Quandong leaves were crushed and mixed with saliva to produce a topical ointmnet for skin sores and boils. Encased within each Quandong seed is an oil rich kernel which was also processed in a similar fashion to treat skin disorders. Quandong kernels could also be eaten and some tribal groups were known to employ crushed kernels as a form of "hair conditioning oil". Ingeniously Australia's aborigines appeared to be aware that Quandongs were a preferred food source of emus, and that a ready supply of Quandong seeds could be found in their droppings.

Emu Droppings and Quandong Seeds. Yum!

Western Australian Emus in Quandong country.
One of these emus is responsible for the above scat.
Our best guess is the thirsty one!

European Use of the Quandong
Australia's early pastoralists also discovered their own unique uses for the Quandong. Away from homesteads for weeks at a time, stockmen would often bake dampers infused with Quandong leaves. The result was apparently a refreshing change from the usual damper. When in season - between October and February - many farmers would also take their families out for a Quandong picnic. After gathering Quandongs the peeled fruit was used to make a variety of jams, chutneys and Quandong pies. Such treats were often the only delicacies to be had - especially during drought and depression years when money was short. Today successive generations of rural Australians continue with their Quandong picking traditions. They often do so however, in contravention of state laws that prohibit the harvesting of wild Quandongs. In all truth it seems old habits die hard, and for many people the forbidden fruit is all the more tasty because of it.

Domestication of the Quandong
During the past 30 years the Quandong has become a firm favourite of Australia's burgeoning bush food industry. Commercial Quandong plantations are now an economic reality. True domestication of the Santalum Acuminatum species remains some way off however - not altogether surprising given that established fruit varieties such as apples have been undergoing continuous selection and development for thousands of years. Since 1973 Australia's CSIRO has been actively conducting scientific research into developing improved commercial Quandong cultivars.

The aim of such research has been to produce a bright red Quandong with good eye appeal, improved flesh texture, and a palatable mix of Quandong flavours, tannins and food acids. To date the quest for the perfect Quandong has proven elusive. Should CSIRO be successful however, then the Quandong will have become only the second Australian food plant species to have been successfully domesticated. Bring it on CSIRO!

Quandong Tree at Pildappa Rock, SA

Queer Quandong Facts

Fossilised Quandongs have been discovered in the coal seams of Southern Victoria. Apparently these fossils date from 40 million years ago - a time when Australia was still linked to the Antarctic continent.
Australian people often refer to Quandongs as the Wild Peach, Desert Peach or Native Peach.
Quandongs have a vitamin C content higher than oranges and and almost certainly saved many early Australian explorers from scurvy.
Quandong fruit can be dried and frozen for 8 years or more, without losing any flavour whatsoever.
Quandong trees possess an aromatic wood that was traditionally used by aboriginal people in "smoking ceremonies".
Rural Australian children often used Quandong seeds as Chinese Checker pieces.
The President of the New York Explorers Club once imported Quandongs for one of their annual dinners - along with some Polar Ice!
To date the only Australian food plant to be successfully domesticated is the Macadamia Nut.The Macadamia Nut was successfully domesticated in Hawaii. Will the Quandong be the second domesticated food plant?

And a bit more trivia,regarding

swaggies,tuckerbags and jumbuks..
all which appear in our unofficial national anthem "Waltzing Matilda"----

For most people, the words of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ embody the free spirit, resourcefulness and defiance of authority associated with the Australian national character. The melody is memorable and spirited.

Some scholars and folklorists argue that the song is a political statement in much the same way as classic children’s nursery rhymes attacked political figures in earlier centuries. The song is not an explicit attack on the squatters’ refusal to pay shearers higher wages. However, it has been argued that the plot of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is based on the conflict that raged between these two groups in the 1890s before the song was composed.

When Allan and Co. published the Marie Cowan version of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ in 1936, they felt it necessary to print a Glossary Of Australian Terms to explain the ‘dialect’ used by Paterson (view image).

WALTZING MATILDA The act of carrying the ‘swag’ (an alternate colloquial term is ‘humping the bluey’).

Matilda is an old Teutonic female name meaning ‘mighty battle maid’. This may have informed the use of ‘Matilda’ as a slang term to mean a de facto wife who accompanied a wanderer. In the Australian bush a man’s swag was regarded as a kind of de facto wife, hence his ‘Matilda’. (Letter to Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Churchill, KG from Harry Hastings Pearce, 19 February 1958. Harry Pearce Papers, NLA Manuscript Collection, MS2765)

BILLABONG A blind channel or meander leading out from a river.

COOLIBAH Sometimes spelled coolabah: a species of gum or eucalyptus tree.

SWAGMAN An Australian tramp, so called on account of the ‘swag’, usually a chaff bag, containing his ‘billy’, provisions and blankets.

BILLY An open topped tin can, with a wire carrying handle, used as a kettle for boiling water into which tea was thrown.

TUCKER BAG A bag for ‘tucker’ or food; part of the ‘swag’.

JUMBUCK A sheep. The term is a corruption of ‘jump up’ (Macquarie Dictionary, 3rd rev. ed. Sydney: Macquarie, 2001)

SQUATTER A grazier, or station (ranch) owner. Note that the meaning of the word changed later in the twentieth century to mean a person who occupied or resided at a property illegally.

Australia Day

....and a bunch of Banksia,Dryandra and Christmas Bells to hope that those of you who are Australian commemorated our national day appropriately and remember how truly blessed we are to live in this country. Posted by Picasa

Lace flowers

And another card....!
I never thought to ask Gina if the lady who gave her these cards was a stitcher,as several that I received reflect this theme,as you can see herewith the "lace" vase and lace motif flowers. Posted by Picasa

No,it's not stitched!

Yesterday I received a bundle of old cards from Gina after asking if I could have some of those she was offering to new homes.
It wasn't until I actually rubbed a finger tip over this card that I realised Gina had not sent me a stitched bouquet and faggot edging.
I can feel a stitching spell coming on...........that spray of flowers should look good in a heart! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The missing link


For some reason "mrBlog" doesn't like the link I put up for you to view
"Kim in Fargo " CQ purses.
So maybe if you cut and paste the link below you might have success,that's if clicking on the blue link is still on strike!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Still on the subject of bags.........

Whilst catching up on newletters this morning I accepted Kim's invitation
to have another look at her CQed evening bags made for herself,her sisters and her mother.
Now it's back to the real world for me as I really must go and tackle that basket of ironing.

Monday, January 23, 2006



It must be "bag- ladies week"!

Mary over on Devonhouse Recollections was writing of a CQed Seascape clutch purse and I had to get to and construct a bag for delivery by the end of the month!
My first attempt, which was to be 2inch squares pieced with Silk ribbon embroidered blocks as focal points has ended up on the cutting room floor---
because I couldn't get the colour scheme to "zing"!!

Okay! I'll get back to those blocks some other time!

So,today,even though I dearly wanted to play with Oil sticks and fabrics for another postcard,I got my Bow bag made.
It's a pattern by "Moonshine", and now that I've made one,I've my own ideas on how to contruct it with less fiddling.
But trust me, Me a bag-lady??
NEVER!! Posted by Picasa