Reading, Thinking, & Domesticity #7

I’m working on an applique quilt and have been chugging along quite nicely. I’ve almost finished a fourth block. The biggest hold up for me is choosing material. I have stacks left over from other projects but trying to choose complementary fabrics is so time consuming! I started a monthly sewing/craft day last month and we’re getting together again next week which will be a good opportunity to get some other opinions re colour co-ordination. 🙂

Yesterday Miss 17 and I went for a bush walk. Our first encounter with the wildlife was this little Eastern Water Dragon, a familiar sight in our backyard. They can get reasonably large, but they are fairly shy.

About 20 minutes into our walk, we came across this prehistoric specimen of a large, old goanna – look at his claws! Goannas move quickly and we don’t usually see too many near us. The few that we have seen have been smaller than this one. Being adventurous types, we thought it was probably time to head back. We didn’t want this monster to mistake either of us for a tree and run up our legs – this actually happened to my father-in-law.

An interesting article:

I propagated some hydrangeas last year and have had good success in keeping them alive. We don’t have many plants that flower at this time of year in our garden so I’m enjoying these.


A little craft project:

DIY Dutch Canal House Luminaries (

The Art of Advent is a book I bought after Christmas last year and we’re using it through Advent this year. It’s a daily devotional that uses a painting a day combined with questions you may just reflect on personally or use in discussion. The author uses a variety of paintings from artists such as William Blake, Rembrandt, William Holman Hunt and Edgar Degas, as well as a few contemporary artists. The only negative is that the book is on the small side (14cm x 16cm) so the details in the paintings are a little hard to observe. The devotionals are excellent.

Miss M has a new paintbrush and has been raving about how good it is for fine work such as the whiskers and fur on this lion:


These are mostly health related. I haven’t listened to anything for a couple of weeks due to a blocked ear after a throat virus, which was not fun.

The Brain Health Revolution Podcast – by a husband and wife team, Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai. I’ve listened to quite a few of these and was particularly interested in their discussion of vascular dementia, which my Mum had as a result of her heart issues just before she died. They are very clear on the necessity to treat high cholesterol, an area in which there is much disagreement.

The Proof (Simon Hill) – I found this podcast via the Sherzai’s. Simon Hill is an Australian who at 15 years of age witnessed his Dad have a heart attack. His background includes an undergraduate degree in physiotherapy and a masters in nutrition. Both of these podcasts focus on plant-based nutrition as opposed to ‘vegan.’

I read Simon Hill’s book, The Proof is in the Plants and found it very practical and less agenda driven than other plant-based books I’ve read. He avoids giving an absolute answer to the question of how to prevent cardiovascular disease based on the evidence we have but does say that:

Dietary patterns that consist of an abundance of fibre-rich whole plant foods, are low in saturated fats and place significantly less emphasis on animal-based and ultra-processed food are good for vascular health…in addition to adopting a diet with these characteristics, it’s clear that while diet is arguably the biggest lever we can pull, we cannot discount the effect of other aspects of our lifestyle – particularly stress management and cessation of smoking, all of which appear to have a cumulative effect on our risk of developing this disease.

The link between elevated LDL-Cholesterol (LDL-C) or ‘bad’ cholesterol and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the most studied relationships in medical science, but there is still so much confusion and strident opinions out there:

The evidence is clear: elevated LDL-C causes CVD. To lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, you want normal LDL-C levels for as many years as possible.

Simon Hill tackles the problem of our collective confusion about diet and nutrition and how the food industry has cast doubts on the findings from non-industry-funded science by funding their own scientific studies. There is so much information in this book and I like his non-preachy approach and his willingness to engage unemotionally in controversial topics.

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