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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The second day in Bendigo....

DH and I did so much today, but I'll just write the Grace Kelly Exhibition tonight. The main reason for that is that Telstra's mobile broadband is not turning out to be very reliable :-( .

The exhibition is in the Art Gallery, another lovely old building. We arrived about 20 mins before the gallery opened; we were in the first session of the day ie 10 am. Part of me expected that we wouldn't be allowed to take photos and I was right.

It was well worth our journey of 1600 kms to come to this exhibition. There were beautiful ballgowns, everyday clothes, hats, gloves, sunglasses, handbags and costumes from her movies. There was a replica of her wedding dress and it was magnificent; the beading on the exquisite lace on her train had me entranced. The original of her wedding dress is in Philedelphia but is rarely shown as the silk is quite fragile. The  long dress she wore in High Society (in the scene with Sinatra) was exquisite.
The designers of the majority of the dresses were, Balenciaga, Bohan, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Madame Gres (whose clothes were gorgeous), Dior, Rouff, Givenchy, Helen Rose, Cassini and  Edith Head.
The lighting was low to protect the fabrics, but 'large print' booklets of the labels were provided. Made it so much easier to read about the displays.
My dear sweet DH insisted on buying me the catalogue of the exhibition as an extra treat for me.

Blogger rotated the photo! It's the catalogue and the the carry bag

An old hotel on the corner of the street where the Art Gallery is (view St)
Looking down View St, from the gallery

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We've arrived in Bendigo...

We had a dream run, traffic wise, to the airport this morning, but as Judy pulled up to let us out, the ‘heaven’s opened’! So we had to scuttle into the terminal pretty quickly. Our flight left on time and we actually arrived a little early at Tullamarine. It wasn’t long before we were in our hire car and heading towards Bendigo.

Our lunch stop was the charming town of Sunbury. We ate at a bakery and the hot food was a great way to warm up. Yes it’s quite chilly down here!

Autumn leaves are evrywhere

Honouring the cricketers Bradman and Grace, Sunbury.

We reached Bendigo late afternoon. Drove around some of the streets looking at the lovely historical buildings, and then headed for our motel. DH and I lounged around for a while ( I worked on a crocheted kitten blanket for the latest K4BN challenge) and then we  went back into town for dinner. I had been told by another member of K4BN, that the Shamrock Hotel is a great place to that’s where we went tonight. The food was wonderful and the surroundings elegant and beautifully restored.
Just inside the main entrance of the Shamrock Hotel

The Shamrock Hotel, Bendigo

Tomorrow we have tickets for the 10 o’clock session of the Grace Kelly Exhibition. I’m hoping that cameras are allowed so I can write a post and show lots of photos of Princess Grace’s film costumes as well as many of her own (designer ) clothes. When I went to see the Valentino Exhibition in Brisbane last year, I was ‘blown away’ by the beautiful ‘workmanship’ on those clothes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A new adventure looms...

Today is DH's birthday. Tonight the family will gather at a local restaurant to celebrate. The girls decided a few weeks ago that 'going out' would be better for DH and I as there would be no cleaning up needed. Because tomorrow morning the two of us are flying to Melbourne. At Melbourne airport we are picking up a hire car and then driving to Bendigo.

Bendigo is an old gold mining town and it has a thriving Arts scene. DH knew that I wanted to see the Grace Kelly Clothing Exhibition which is in a gallery in the town. So he organised it all, and using some of our frequent flyer points, it will be quite an economical holiday break. There is lots to see and do in this area of Victoria and DH and I plan to make the most of our time down there. Naturally I'll write about our adventures in this blog, so stay tuned! lol

My neighbour Judy is going to give us a lift to the airport ...

She is also going to feed Eduardo

And water the tomato plant which has flowers

Collect the orders for the Church pie drive next Monday, and put the items in our freezer

She's a wonderful neighbour isn't she?

I've also packed a bag of knitting ready to take away. I will make a start on my entry into our Parish Art Show as to my horror, I realised today that the show is only 4 1/2 weeks away!!

The laptop is packed ready and DH organised a USB internet connection which is great because travelling in Australia, internet access can be expensive or you have to queue to use communal computers. So we'll have our own just in case. (I've always been a bit wary of the free WiFi in public places)

'Mitzi Micra' is also having a holiday. DD2 is going to borrow 'her' while I'm away.

I still have to pack my warmest clothes into the suitcase. We have been warned that it is very cold in Victoria at the moment. Sounds like a lot of fun! As well as sightseeing, we will catch up with family as well :-)

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I've just checked over at Jodie's blog to see whether she has already published a post for her Make-Grow-Thrift feature and she has! This week Jodie has written about an apple pie she made for the family. Her oven is out of action and not to be deterred, Jodie cooked the pie in her pizza maker.

Last week I needed to provide a plate of food to share at a craft group I attend twice a month. I was running a bit short of time but remembered 'an old standby' recipe that I used when my girls were little. It was a very popular recipe at that time (mid 80s) and was called 'Five Cup Cake' or, in my case ' Four and a half Cup Cake. It was my contribution to many Playgroup sessions.

The ingredients were:-
1 cup of wholemeal  self raising flour
1 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup fruit medley(in the dried fruit section)  and 1/2 cup sultanas
1 cup of milk (soy/almond/rice milks if preferred)
1 cup of raw sugar (I use just under 1/2 cup)
Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a loaf tin.
Bake in a moderate oven for 40-50minutes. (check after 35mins as all ovens cook differently)

Because I'm avoiding sugar, I was very 'good' and didn't eat anything from the spread where I took this cake. The leftover cake went in the freezer and DH and I had 1 slice last night each last night as my weekly treat, instead of it being scoffed in daily treats like the bad habits I/we  had got into.

It is however a nice easy recipe and useful if something home-baked is needed .

No fancy carrier here...the cake and tin tied up in a tea towel, the old-fashioned way !

M.S. Week....

Starting today, May 27, it is National Multiple Sclerosis week. On Wednesday (June 30) it is World M.S. Awareness day. My mother was a victim of this horrible disease. She had symptoms way back in the late 1940s but no diagnosis until the mid 1950s. The disease mainly affected her left side, with her being completely paralysed by a 'flare up' of the disease when I was 6. She learned to walk again but it took a number of months.

During my primary schooling she would spend a number of weeks in hospital each year receiving treatment. Through sheer will power I believe, she still managed to give me a fairly normal life. In my school there were 3 of us with parents who were afflicted by MS. The other 2 were fathers and their health deteriorated rather quickly and they were then confined to wheelchairs. These man died relatively young. My mum did not use any aids in those years but still had a definite weakness of her left leg and arm.

After my father died in January 1967, my mother's MS stayed in remission but she was plagued with chest infections and other severe colds. I recently found an old report card of mine from 1968. Some of my teachers wrote that my absences affected my marks. I don't think they realised why I was away; it was because my mother would get so ill and I had appointed myself as her carer.  By the 1970s her immune system was working so much better and the infections seemed to stop.

My graduation Dec 1970; mum's health had improved

The MS followed the cycles of 'flare up' and then remission. Each time this happened, it would take a bit more of her mobility. But she was a stubborn and determined fighter and she felt that she was one of the 'lucky ones' as she was still able to walk. But it wasn't always easy I suspect. She once described to me that she would often get the feeling that she was walking in a giant space and that her balance 'mechanism' wasn't working.

 Then towards the late 1970s, my mother experienced 'blackouts' . Investigations by the neurologist confirmed that she had a complication probably caused by the MS; she had a form of epilepsy. So more medications and visits to the hospital. From 1979, my mother lived with  my family. For over 15 years she enjoyed her independence living in her granny flat. If she became ill, we were there and able to take care of her. Otherwise she went out with friends, entertained friends at home, enjoyed her 2 granddaughters (DD1 and DD2), cooked, read, did puzzles, watched soap operas and tended her pot plant garden. She now grudgingly started using the walking stick that had been recommended by the physiotherapist.

In the 1990s it was discovered that mum had osteoporosis which was the outcome of the strong medications that she always said helped her to get back on her feet in 1957. This painful condition in turn led to broken bones and  2 major operations.  Again, rather grudgingly, mum finally agreed to use a walker; a specially made one that is much taller than the ones you see people using in shopping centres etc. She maintained that she would never use a wheelchair as that 'would be the beginning of the end', she said rather defiantly.

Then in 1998, my mum just 'ducked' out of her bedroom into the kitchen to turn on the jug to make a cup of tea. She just wore her socks not the rubber soled slippers and she fell, breaking her femur. This led to time in hospital and then rehab to get her walking again. I was called to a meeting with all the health professionals that were providing care. The gist of the meeting was to tell me that mum was not responding to treatment. These people were very good...they listened to what I had to say. I just asked them could it be the MS flaring up again which was preventing her from getting mobile again. The tests etc were organised and that indeed was the problem.

The next step was hard for my mother and for was recommended she go into 'residential care'. This happened at the end of 1998. She hated it at first but eventually settled in and made lots of friends particularly among the staff. And that staff gave her excellent care. We also bought her a customised wheelchair as walking had become so difficult (and dangerous with her falls).

2000; My brother and I took a cousin of mum's to see her at the nursing home. The 2 cousins hadn't seen each other for over 60 years!

 Then the disease flared up again; she started to have trouble swallowing as the muscles of the throat were affected. She hated the 'mushy food'. Then she found it too difficult to speak... her doctor organised for me to take her for a CAT scan of her brain/brainstem. The brain stem area showed as a white, atrophied area; the disease was winning.

I used to go to the nursing home after school to try to get mum to eat. I would only be able to get her to eat about 4 teaspoonsful. Eventually she got pneumonia and a few days later she slipped away at age 77; she was tired of fighting. From what mum said about having early symptoms of the disease, we worked out that she lived with it for 55 years. In the eulogy address that I gave, I described her as stubborn and determined, but she was also incredibly brave.

MS often strikes people in their 20s but 2 of my friends were diagnosed when they were in their late 50s and getting ready to retire. My mother had a form of the disease that appeared to be slow growing but this seems to be not the norm.

Over the years, my girls entered the MS Readathon to raise money for research and as a family we've always contributed to fundraising ventures. Hopefully one day there will be a cure for this debilitating illness.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The little machine...

Sometimes I quite dislike this little machine...

It sometimes gives readings that I don't particularly like. But lately those times are rare :-)  The machine not only measures my blood pressure but more importantly for me, it also measures heart rate. Not long after DD2 was born in 1984, I experienced episodes of 'racing' heart beat eg 180 per minute. I had all sorts of tests then and the doctors in the public system concluded it was 'because I'd just had a baby'. But it didn't go away and eventually I had to take some medication for elevated blood pressure but which would also slow down the heart rate ; however the 'condition' didn't have a name. (shrugs shoulders lol!)

So life went on and I settled into life with a resting heartbeat at 100, for over 20 years and I gradually didn't notice the 'episodes' that much at all. That was, until I changed GPs. I was sent by her to a special clinic attached to a large private hospital where I met the Professor. Professor Gordon was quite elderly but so up to date with what was happening in the world of medical research. The tests he organised for me ruled out any thing sinister. But the condition that I had developed was called inappropriate sinus tachycardia. The professor likened the heart to a pump. If it works flat out all the time, a pump will wear will a heart. So I was sent to a cardiologist who worked to get the right balance of medications.

I see this specialist every 6 months and he of course wants regular readings of BP and heart rate. I often forget...then realise that the appointment is only weeks away. I'm supposed to take readings 3 times a day in blocks of 10 days to 2 weeks throughout the 6 months.
It's 11pm at night and I remember; the readings of course are not so good then, because the morning dose is wearing off! But when I had my appointment last Thursday I did have some middle of the day readings and they were good :-) When he checked my BP last Thursday it was 110/70 with pulse 76...little dance here.... So Dr N was happy. The results of my blood tests showed cholesterol level was good, liver function etc was good, but... yes there is always a but when I go to see Dr N...usually it's the BP, once it was a 'sugar spike' (18months ago) with the resultant lecture from the doc, and again this time it was elevated sugar levels.

I explained that where DH and I had worked in recent months, the office was just a few doors away from a bakery...and we had indulged in treats for morning tea :-(  hadn't we? I guess I'd had a guilty conscience about that and 3 weeks ago I stopped eating anything that I knew contained sugar. At first it was easy as I substituted slices of apple for cake/slice/fruit loaf, or some nuts or a piece of cheese. But the last day or so I've been craving 'the evil stuff'. Dr N also pointed out that white rice and pastas should be avoided too .

As this 'sugar spike' happened to me before and tests a few weeks later showed I was fine, still  I guess I shouldn't just assume that that will happen this time. But I have to admit that this week I have had more energy so avoiding sugar could have a serious upside. Or it may have nothing whatsoever to do with improved energy levels :-)

When I go out for coffee with some of my old school friends, one friend Val, orders a pot of tea and then takes a banana out of her handbag. The rest of us order cakes and pastries to go with our tea and coffee. I think I might join Val next time with maybe a banana or apple in my bag. However I believe a sweet treat is ok, say once a week, but not every day which was the habit that I had got into.

My friend Val (in the corner) carries fruit in her handbag to avoid the cakes

Friday, May 25, 2012

A correction needed in a knitting pattern...

Earlier this week I wrote a post on knitting and included  a pattern here. My lovely 'test knitter', Susan has already used the pattern and pointed out a possible typo in Row 8. In the pattern I had written that there should be 3 stitches left at the end of the row after patterning. It should be only 2 left. This is what it should have read; it is now corrected in the original post :-) 

8th row: Using C p1,sl 1,p4, * sl 2, p 4: rep from * to last 2 sts, sl 1, p 1.

Thanks Susan, for the feedback and it's good to hear that you are enjoying incorporating the design into your knitting.
 Last night, the organisers of the monthly challenges for K4BN announced the June Challenge which will run in the 1st weekend of June. Most of us cheat and start the week before though! lol
We have 2 choices; either kitten blankets for Animal Angels in Toowoomba or items for 'humans' to help replenish the supplies of winter woollies. We've again run out of rugs/blankets, 'indigenous' colours' items and adult jumpers and vests. So I guess I'll plug on with sewing donated squares together into blankets  (which I really enjoy) but I will make some kitten rugs (60cm square) as well.

Today in Brisbane, we had the Homeless Connect Day and all 3000 items taken by K4BN to the event, were given out. When they arrived with boxes and boxes of winter woollies, the volunteers thought that they had brought too much and that they would be packing a lot up to bring home. Not the case. Karen, the organiser was also asked for dog coats and the group has some in reserve but not at the Exhibition ground today.

I went out on another pick up on behalf of the group earlier today. This time it was a lovely lot of sewn items.  

(Another) Maria holding up some lovely cuddle blankets that she had sewed
Maria also had made lots of drawstring bags in children's fabrics

Maria has recently retired and was keen to become involved with helping the less fortunate. She has done some knitting but prefers to sew and her donations are beautifully made. I know Maria through my SIL, they both went to All Hallows (school here in Brisbane) and are still friends all these years later. I decided to take her a bunch of flowers as a thank you for some items that she made as gifts to me. You know how you might do something but not think it very special? That's how I felt about this bunch of supermarket flowers. Maria's reaction was anything but ho hum. She was just so pleased/excited; she said that she has very rarely got flowers but her daughters regularly get given bunches of flowers. So her joy at something so simple really made my day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some more cousins for Adrienne...

Last year I wrote about meeting Adrienne, a long lost relative of DH's who lived in Huntington Beach.

The 3 of us had a lovely lunch at Laguna Beach  March 8, 2011

Neither of them knew of the other's existence up until a few years ago. On our US trip last year, our first stop after landing at LAX was Santa Monica. An elderly cousin of DH's mother lived there and we planned to visit her. Sadly she died, aged 97, the month before we arrived . So our plans were to change somewhat.
Thelma was an Aussie but had become a US war bride, so she ended up living longer in the US than she had in Australia. Thelma had one daughter (Adrienne), and catching up with her had also been on our itinerary. Following her mother's death, Adrienne was to get a few surprises as secrets from long ago were gradually revealed.
Thelma at her daughter's home, with the dogs

When Thelma's birth certificate was obtained it showed that the woman that Adrienne believed to be her grandmother was actually her great aunt or her mother's aunt. Thelma's  biological mother (Johanna) was actually her adoptive mother's (Anna) sister. Johanna had given birth out of wedlock. Oh dear we are talking about the early years of the 20th century. Now DH's mother was very close to Johanna who died in 1975 and the family often visited Aunty Josie as she was called. So Adrienne was so excited to be able to speak to someone (DH) who had known her 'real' grandma. But it gets better...

Thelma is the flowergirl in this wedding photo of DH's grandparents

On Monday I got a call from Ann, who told me she was DH's second cousin. Ann hadn't seen DH since he was a little boy. She was 'doing' her family tree  and needed some help with DH's mother's family. She sounded so excited on the phone that she ended up coming over to see me. (DH was at golf) She'd heard a rumour that her nan had had a baby out of wedlock...did I know anything about it? Her nan was Johanna/Aunty Josie. I said yes it's true and though this woman is now deceased, her daughter is living in the US...would you like her email? 

A photo of Johanna in her later years. I had found this photo on

To cut a long story short, I copied old family photos for her, she went off to ring her sisters and to send an email to Adrienne introducing herself. Adrienne was absolutely thrilled!  You see Ann , her siblings and Adrienne share the same grandmother, Johanna. Johanna spent her latter years living with one of her sons and his young family...this son just happened to be Ann's father. So Ann and her 7 siblings have so many memories to share with their newfound cousin. And of course, DH is renewing the ties with his cousins after so many years. As Ann makes more and more phone calls to siblings and other cousins, we are all gradually getting more old photos, documents and stories for our family histories. And it feels great :-)

Cousins! Glenda, sisters Patsy (Glenda's mother) and Ann with DH

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Australia's Biggest Morning Tea; 'Sisters of Stitch' style

This morning tea event is held every year to raise funds for Cancer research etc. Private individuals, work places, groups etc host the morning tea and collect donations as well as raffle items to raise more funds. My craft group, Sisters of Stitch, hosted a 'biggest morning tea' except it was an afternoon tea :-)

Just about everyone brought along a plate of food but I didn't think to take a photo of the spread; but believe me there was a stack of food! I ended up having some unexpected visitors this morning so that left me with little time to make something. But I used an old recipe that I used to use when my children were little and I needed something quick and easy to take to playgroup. I'll share the recipe next Monday on the 'Make-Grow- Thrift' feature.

My contribution to the afternoon tea, still in the bar tin and tied up in a teatowel just like we would bring home our cooking when I did Domestic Science at school

So we worked on our craft for an hour or so, then we had some raffle draws. There were lots of prizes but today I wasn't in the winners' circle.

Morag was the first winner; she chose the quilted knee rug to give to her MIL who has just gone into a nursing home

After the prize draws, our organiser Judie declared that it was afternoon tea time. Then it was back to crafting and chatting until 4. One of my particular friends, Richelle,  had come back recently from a quilting tour of the US centred on the Paducah Show, so we wanted to hear of all her adventures.

Today we also had a birthday to celebrate; Katrina turns 50 tomorrow :-)
The box for donations sitting amongst the remains of the afternoon tea spread

And the donations' tin

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I wrote about slipstitch patterns in a post here last October. As I now attend a number of Knit and Natter sessions throughout each month, other knitters have been asking me about the designs that I use in the items I knit for the various charities. I always stress that I 'don't do difficult' lol! I've had some requests recently for the design that I featured in the October post. Within our group at K4BN, the design has been renamed 'Wavy'. I've rewritten the pattern for my knitting friends at the knit and Natters,to make it very simple to follow (I hope). So I thought that I would share it here on the blog as well.

My latest 'wavy' mohair throw

Wavy Slipstitch Pattern

Note: slip stitches purlwise
This pattern repeats over a multiple of 6 stitches plus 2 extra
1st row: Using Colour A, knit
2nd row: Using A purl
*3rd row: Using colour B k2 * sl 4,k2: repeat from * to end
4th row: Using B p3, sl 2, *p4, sl 2; rep from * to last 3 sts, p3
5th row: using B, knit
6th row: using B, purl
7th row: Using colour C, k1, sl 2, k2, * sl 4, k2: rep from * to last 3 sts, sl 2, k1.
8th row: Using C p1,sl 1,p4, * sl 2, p 4: rep from * to last 2 sts, sl 1, p 1.
Continuing in colour C,
9th row: As row 1
10th row: As row 2
These 10 rows will give you two wavy stripes of knitting. Note that when you go on to repeat this pattern, do not repeat Rows 1 and 2.
To continue on, go to row 3...introduce new colours on Rows 3 and 7. Each 'stripe' will be over 4 rows, with 2 rows of patterning with slipstitches and 2 rows of stocking stitch.

Now I'll explain how I incorporate this pattern into items that I knit by using a beanie as an example. I knit a fair few beanies for charities and I love to 'tart' them up a bit with some slipstitch designs. I have a basic 8ply beanie pattern that I use. The original pattern features a rollback ribbing and then a basic stocking stitch with some stripes. I do a lot of children's beanies and the pattern casts on 122 stitches.
The beanie in the front has the 'wavy' design

The 'wavy' slipstitch (ss) design works over a multiple of 6 plus 2 stitches. I don't have to do any adjustments on this pattern as 120 is a multiple of 6 (6x20=120) and if you add 2, its 122! If the number of stitches required in a pattern were not that requirement, I would increase ( or decrease in some circumstances) evenly in the first row of the ss design. If my beanie pattern had started with 126 stitches, for example, I would do 2 increases in the first knit row to get the requisite multiple of 6 plus 2.
Hopefully I haven't confused anyone completely :-)
Why not 'dress up' any plain stockingstitch garment with a few wavy stripes? It looks great on a toddler jumper or cardigan, a few stripes around some fingerless gloves; vests are another idea and then there are throws which can use up all manner of odds and ends of yarns.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Is it Monday again already? So once again I'm joining in with Jodie's feature. This week is actually a followup to my last Monday's post. Last week I wrote about tidying up the weed infested area under my front stairs. After I removed the weeds, I planted the area in a most frugal way...from cuttings of syngoniums and division of some bromeliads, so the cost was nil :-) 

Now I felt the area needed mulching to prevent weeds taking hold again before the new plants spread out. I hesitated to use mulch as it was so close to the house and termites are a problem in Brisbane suburbs. Once again a fellow blogger gave me some wonderful information. Sue wrote in the comments that cypress mulch is not attractive to termites; it repels them!

So on my next visit to Bunnings (our 2 local nurseries did not survive the drought and the GFC, so Bunnings is my closest nursery) I checked out the mulches. Sure enough they had a couple of different brands of bagged cypress mulch. So this afternoon I got to work and spread it around the new plants. So thank you Sue for letting me know about the cypress mulch!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Finding new homes for 'stuff'...

For ages I have been de-cluttering. It is getting easier as I go along as the 'emotional ties' of many items just don't seem to be as strong these days.The book by Peter Walsh that I wrote about last year has helped me in this change of mindset. I prefer to find new homes for items rather than dispatch them to the wheelie bin, but electrical appliances can be a problem. Most charities do not accept them.

Since retiring I've met many people from all walks of life and many people who help the needy. So it was to the organiser of Knitting For Brisbane's Needy, Karen, that I posed the question,'Do you know of anyone who could use some small appliances that sit untouched in my kitchen cupboards?' She did; Pastor Lorraine Kerswell of the Hope Community Care Project. 

Pastor Lorraine (blonde hair, red dress) addressing the group at a Knit and Natter for K4BN

This project helps people who have been alienated from society for whatever reason, to integrate back into the community and often involves setting people up in accommodation...starting from scratch. This group would find a use for my unwanted items.

As well as knitted items, K4BN also hands out toiletry bags.  My friend Cheryl collected these 'motel' soaps from her recent trip away,  which will go into these bags.

My late mum's GE hotpot (unused), a toaster oven that DD2 and I used in a rental house that didn't have a griller, an electric jug that DH and I used in one of the electoral offices and a box of kitchen utensils that DH had won in either a raffle or a golf comp; all these items can be useful to other people.

I now have some extra space in the 3 different cupboards where these items had been stored; the hotpot and the toaster oven had been stored for 10 years! I don't plan to fill up these spaces...instead I'll see what else can be given away. 

Nearly half of the top shelf is now empty now the toaster has gone :-)

A little while ago I was 'blog surfing' and I read a blog written by someone who uses old china in mosaics. I remember thinking at the time that this lady might like my Spode vase which has lots of chips out of it, or other pieces of English china with chips etc...But I didn't bookmark the page! If any Australian readers know of anyone who uses old china in mosaics I would love to hear from them. I hate to just throw things away :-)