Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


You wake up one day & the storm is over.

I have been enjoying the run up to Christmas.

Last year, because I was made redundant, I didn't know if I was going to have to move out of my house. I didn't really know where I would be going. So I got rid of a lot of my Christmas stuff. (I have a few health problems and I ended up receiving a pension which meant I could keep my house.) So this year my decorations are a little low key and somewhat home made.

I found some gold spray paint in the garage and gave some pine cones and leaves a spray.

Then I hung them on my branch tree. I found my branch out in my yard and decided on gold and silver and white decorations.

I made a special friend this little mouse in a stocking to hang on her tree. She loved it and hung it on a door knob where it would be more easily seen.

It is hand sewn using felt.
You can find the tutorial for it here on Molly and Mama Makes.

The Cat Birds have been back, perched on the branches of a swamp oak outside my window.

It is interesting to note that the Cat Bird is actually a member of the Bowerbird family. They make a mewing sound just like cats - hence their name. 

I love the birds that come to my yard. The lyrebird has been around a bit on my back deck but seems quite skittish and I haven't been able to take many photos of him. But I managed one this morning. He was perched on my deck going through his repertoire of bird calls, which sounds very pretty.

I'll leave you with one of my lovely Christmas pictures with toadstool.

Interesting sites


Environmental Advantages of Green Rooftops

Photo source
Extensive planting within cities is now widely recognised as a means of improving air quality. Therefore, green roofs contribute to the reduction of a number of polluting air particles and compounds not only through the plants themselves, but also by deposition in the growing medium itself. Green roofs have a number of advantages. Click here to read about them and see some interesting photos.

 Thought-provoking art 

Photo source

Pawel Kuczynski is an artist from Poland who creates thought-provoking art. At first sight, his illustrations might seem funny, but when you look closer, they actually depict some serious problems of today's world. Can you decrypt Kuczynski's messages through his art? Read More:
 Pawel Kuczynski is an artist from Poland who create thought-provoking art. At first sight his illustrations may appear funny, but when you look closer, they actually depict some serious problems of today's world.
Can you decipher Kuczynski's message through his art?
Pawel Kuczynski is an artist from Poland who creates thought-provoking art. At first sight, his illustrations might seem funny, but when you look closer, they actually depict some serious problems of today's world. Can you decrypt Kuczynski's messages through his art? Read More:
Pawel Kuczynski is an artist from Poland who creates thought-provoking art. At first sight, his illustrations might seem funny, but when you look closer, they actually depict some serious problems of today's world. Can you decrypt Kuczynski's messages through his art? Read More:
Click here to see more. 


 17 unusual beaches

Photo source
Here are 17 beaches that, in one way or another, might not be anything like the beaches you’re used to.
One of the most striking differences in many of these beaches are the different sand colors. Sand is generally formed out of whatever the waves happen to be banging against the shore, be they rocks, shells, corals, or glass. Rare green beaches can contain olivine, which is a remnant of volcanic eruptions, and black beaches are also generally formed by volcanic remnants. The pink beaches of Bermuda are colored by coral remnants.
Click here  to see them. 

Monday, 1 December 2014


 Don’t slip into mediocrity by living your life based solely on popular opinion.

I love December. It is my favourite month. I love Christmas and everything to do with it. For various reasons most of my family don't. For one family member it is a link with sadness in the past. For another it is the fact that our family is broken and we won't all be together as in times past. And for one it is just the total stress of so much socializing. A bit sad really - but I don't let it stop me - and luckily my Mum likes Christmas so I have at least one ally. P:-) enjoys Christmas.

December 1st and I have chosen my branch in the backyard that I will use for a Christmas tree. This is a tradition going back many years. P:-) thinks it is a bit odd. For a few years we had a big artificial green tree when my younger daughter R asked for a ' real plastic tree like everybody else.'

So far my branch has a single bird on it.

I couldn't resist this pretty bargain priced bird when shopping for craft supplies.  I plan to trim my tree in silver, gold and white.

Summer is the time for Jacarandas and my Jacaranda tree has laid a carpet of purple flowers in my backyard.

The purple contrasts nicely with the green of the garden plants.

My daughter R has been painting these beautiful shells for presents and I am hoping I may end up with some for Christmas.

And I can't resist adding this kookaburra we spotted at P:-)'s place, perched on the wires looking for prey in the grass below.

Heart Lamb and Lentil Soup

We enjoyed this soup last night. Every time I cook a leg of lamb I put the bone in the freezer until I am ready to make this soup. It means you can use every scrap of meat and the soup makes 3 meals for P:-) and me. It is very economical and makes one leg of lamb do quite a few meals.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small onions
1 large carrot
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
450 gram tin chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dried soup mix
left over lamb bone with a small amount of scrap meat on it
6 cups water
4 teaspoons stock powder


1.    Heat oil in pan.
2.    Whizz carrot and onion in food processor and add to oil. Stir for 3 minutes.
4.    Add garlic and paprika and stir 1 minute.
5.    Add tin tomatoes and stir.
6.    Add soup mix and lamb bone.
7.    Add water and stock powder.
8.    Simmer covered for 1 1/2 hours until rich and thick.
9.    Remove bone and remove meat from bone.
10. Chop meat finely add to soup and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Makes 6 serves.
Freezes well.

I began writing this blog to help me look at the positives in my life. Since I enjoy December I am going to try to write a few more posts this month. So keep an eye out.

Love this tree!!

Interesting sites

Photo source

Photo source
71-year-old Bosnian retiree Momir Bojic has crafted a completely wooden Volkswagen beetle exterior from over 50,000 pieces of hand-carved oak.

Photo source
Regardless of how you feel about chemistry class, you’re putting chemical reactions to use in your life all the time. Knowing just a bit more about how these reactions work can make many things in life just a little easier, and a new YouTube series produced by the American Chemical Society promises to help you use chemistry to solve everyday problems.

Friday, 14 November 2014


Primarily, loving is an action rather than a feeling. It is practical and enterprising in its efforts to do good. It has eyes that look for opportunities to serve others.

Harry Goodhew

I am going on another decluttering splurge. I got rid of a lot of stuff last year when I was unsure as to whether I would have to sell my house or not and where I would be living. But I still have quite a way to go. My daughter is helping me. She is being my accountability person. She has had to do a lot of decluttering herself recently.

I am working on a little bit at a time. Baby steps. One of the things I have to stop doing is dumping stuff inside my front hall when I come in the door. The hall floor often becomes my letter filing system - which actually works quite well for me but does cause me some embarrassment when people come to the door.

According to Louis Barbauta "the clutter accumulates, because I’m not constantly purging the old." I need to start purging - especially my craft supplies. 

The problem is that I have bought a lot of craft supplies over the years and haven't had time to use most of them. I have been setting up a craft room but it is only small and currently quite chaotic. I don't want to get rid of too much because now I have more time to actually do some craft and I won't be able to afford to replace stuff any more now that I am on a pension.

My latest creation was a felt name for P:-)'s grand- daughter Sophie.

I made a card for P:-)'s daughter's boyfriend.

My mango tree is  flowering. I hope some mangoes appear. Last year they were too high to pick and the Catbirds ate them anyway.

I love toadstools and my daughter R bought me this cute little solar toadstool.

It glows very brightly.

I finally put an ad up in the local fruit market for tutoring people with spelling and reading problems. My printer wasn't working so I had to do it by hand.

It's been a week and I haven't heard anything yet. Early days. I may advertise in the local news paper after Christmas. I achieve pretty good results with my tutoring so I envisage that once I had one or two clients word will get out. That is what happened when I was tutoring a number of years ago.

Ever a bird watcher I spotted this bird in Davistown when we were there a couple of weeks ago. It took me a while to get around to identifying it.

It is a Long-Billed Corella. There was a small flock of them near Cockle Channel at Davistown.

This is my favourite time of the year - the run up to Christmas. Although it is a little early I will share a vintage picture with you that combines my love of Christmas and toadstools.

Interesting sites
 Jay Shafer practically invented the Tiny House

Photo source

 This is a really interesting article about Jay Shafer, the man who practically invented what is now known as the Tiny House. Tiny houses have become a minimalist design and lifestyle ideal. Their tiny size permits no extraneous stuff. They occupy a fraction of the spatial and carbon footprint of a normal home. They are usually owned outright, sidestepping expensive mortgages and financial institutions. And by virtue of their trailer mounting, they can often avoid traditional building regulations. Click here  to read more.


 Artists travel abandoned railways.

Photo source

Mexican artists and brothers Ivan Puig (previously) and AndrĂ©s Padilla Domene decided to traverse the nearly 9,000 km of railway in Mexico and Ecuador that, in 1995, was abandoned and left to decay. But they didn’t travel in any old fashion. In a project that ran from 2010 to 2012 the artists rode in a striking silver road-rail vehicle called SEFT-1, which they designed and built themselves so as to travel both on rail and road. Click here to read more.


15 Habits of People Who Have Effectively Lost Over 20 – 30lbs and Kept it Off

Photo source

All 15 of these habits are real everyday habits that anyone can implement into their lifestyle. All without sacrificing yourself or any of the food you love. These habits don’t require a monthly fee, for you to buy special diet foods, or the need to follow a list of complicated rules.Click here to read more.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014


If you find that thing you love, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether you do it well or not—you just need to do it.

Stanley Tucci

P:-) and I took another quick trip to Davistown - a drive of around 3 hours. We camped in the backyard of an old family property of P:-)'s family. Sadly it has just been sold so this was our last time there. We took P:-)'s boat and the gazebo instead of the caravan, planning to spend some time on Brisbane Waters.

We arrived on Monday afternoon, just in time for a rather ominous storm front to appear in the sky.

It looked very nasty but thank goodness the following storm wasn't quite as terrible as we had expected. Plenty of wind and rain and we had to hold onto the walls of the gazebo to stop it blowing down but we got through it OK.

However, that was just the beginning of 2 days of rain which meant we couldn't take the boat out.

On day 2 another storm was forecast which was supposed to be bigger than the one the previous day. P:-) reinforced the gazebo with pieces of board he found around the place and old chairs that had been put out to be taken  to the tip. It all worked beautifully. 

It didn't look very pretty but supported the gazebo through the next lot of wind and pouring rain.

After a night of heavy rain we woke the next morning to light drizzle. There was water lying everywhere.

But the gazebo was still standing and everything inside was relatively dry.

Day 3 we bought our bait and finally put the boat in the water. 

But sadly, we were destined to go nowhere. The motor refused to start. It kept spluttering and dying. A good Samaritan came to our aid and found what was wrong with the motor but it was not fixable on the spot and required some new parts being bought.

A lone pelican watched as P:-) checked out the outboard motor on the boat ramp.

I'd like to share another collage of pictures taken in the back yard.

The axle in the picture in the lower right hand corner is actually from a T Model Ford.

Sadly we only had 3 days and soon it was time to pack up again.

For P:-) it was a last good-bye to a little house that had been in his immediate family and then extended family for over 100 years. P:-) had spent much of his time as a child and young man here and it was a tangible link with his parents whom he had lost when he was only young. The little old house will be pulled down by the new owners, and a new home built in its place - the end of an era.

Interesting sites

 10 strange buildings
Photo source

Some very interesting buildings from all over the world. Click here to see more.

 Oasis in heart of Sahara

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Guelta d'Archei is an oasis, or rather a guelta, in the heart of the Sahara desert. A guelta is a peculiar type of wetland, typical of desert regions, formed when underground water in lowland depressions spills to the surface and creates permanent pools and reservoirs.Everyday, hundreds of camels are herded into the knee deep water of the guelta by passing caravans for them to drink and rest. Dung from thousands of camels excreted over hundreds of years have turned the water black. Lurking in the black waters is a small group of surviving Nile crocodiles. Click here to see more.

Dogs with unique coats

Photo source
These dogs have amazing and unusual colours. Some of these are the results of rare genetic variations or conditions.

These amazing dogs have such unusual colors and markings that once you see them, you’ll never be able to forget them.
Some of these markings are a result of a rare genetic variations or conditions, but all of these dogs are undeniably beautiful.

These amazing dogs have such unusual colors and markings that once you see them, you’ll never be able to forget them.
Some of these markings are a result of a rare genetic variations or conditions, but all of these dogs are undeniably beautiful.

These amazing dogs have such unusual colors and markings that once you see them, you’ll never be able to forget them.
Some of these markings are a result of a rare genetic variations or conditions, but all of these dogs are undeniably beautiful.

Click here to see more. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014


P:-) and I spent a week at Davistown near Gosford. P:-)'s family and extended family have owned an old house there for over a hundred years and it has finally been sold. We camped in the back yard. Below is the old house.

Here are a couple of pictures of the house taken from across the water at Empire Bay. It is the house with the green roof.

Below is the view we see from our camp, across the water to Empire Bay.

We camp in the back yard with electricity provided by P:-)'s cousin next door.

I made a new awning for one of the bed ends and was quite pleased with the way it turned out.

A nest of ducklings hatched in the garden. There are wild ducks all around the place and they wander in and out of the yards.

We found the empty shells left and then spotted the mother and her ducklings.


To start with the ducklings would stay very close - bunched up against their mother.

After a day or so the little ducklings seemed to get a lot braver, still staying close to their mother but scattering out a little.

An evening walk led to a beautiful sunset.

Smoke from burning off at Kincumber enhanced the orange sky.

We took a drive to MacMaster's  Beach and stopped at this lookout on the way back.

 You can see Palm Beach in the distance.

I couldn't resist  including this collage of photos taken in the back yard,

We had a lovely, relaxing few days. But finally had to pack up for home.

An inquisitive  stick insect came along and landed on my craft supplies waiting to be packed, to check out what was going on. Maybe he wanted to come but I flicked him away before he was swallowed up in the van.

While we were away I spent time making a felt name for P:-)'s grand-daughter Isabel for her birthday. (It is more readable when it is vertical.)

Isabel loves butterflies.

We are in the process of planning another quick trip to Davistown before the business is finished. So next post should have some more from Davistown.

Interesting sites

 Could you live in a Tiny House?

Photo source

 Motivated by soaring house prices, you’ll-be-paying-it-off-until-you-die mortgages and environmental concerns – plus the realisation that the bigger your house is, the longer it takes to clean – there’s a new generation of home-owners who are doing something radically different. Building tiny houses, that are small enough to be towed along by a car. They have wheels, which means you can take your tiny house anywhere with you (while also complying with zoning regulations). Click here to read more. 


 Footbinding in China

Photo source
The practice of foot binding, which was banned in China in 1911 but carried on until women had the bandages forcibly removed, results in feet that are disfigured for life as the toes are broken beneath the soles of the feet. Photographer Jo Farrell is on a mission to photograph a dying fragment of Chinese culture: foot binding. Click here to read more. 

 Budapest Christmas Tram
Photo source

 In 2009 the Budapest Transport Company started a beautiful festive tradition of covering some of its trams in LEDs. But the beautiful appearance of these glittering vehicles is not the only thing that delights the locals. During the Christmas season, anyone with a regular ticket or public transport travel pass can ride the Christmas trams, which makes them a fun and budget-friendly way of getting around Budapest.Click here  to read more.