Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

FAMILY REUNION AT DAVISTOWN


I have reached the stage now where luxury is not in fine possessions but in carefree possessions, and the greatest luxury of all would be the completely expendable.

 

Nan Fairbrother, The House in the Country



The holidays are over. How quickly they went. I am retired now so it doesn't make such a difference as it once did, but it means back to the old routines.

P:-) and I volunteer every Thursday evening at Manna House where people come in off the street for a free meal. People come for all sorts of reasons. For some of them it is a meal they would otherwise not get. Others come for the company.

It has been lovely to have a break from Manna House since Christmas. This is our last week off and we will start again on the 5th February, so this is our last free week.

P:-) and I spent a few days last week helping P:-)'s daughter M paint her new classroom. She will be teaching kindergarten two days a week and wanted to spruce the room up.


Don't the new colours look great!

Here are some pictures of it complete.


 M is a super keen teacher and we are very proud of her.

I must confess I spent more time playing with M's little daughter S, than I did painting.

I think I had the best deal.


On Friday P:-) and I took a short trip to Davistown on the Central Coast of NSW. P:-)'s family has had a holiday house here for years. It has just been sold but as yet is still vacant and the new owners kindly gave us permission to camp in the back yard as we have done many times before.


We have a caravan that pops up and out, affording us two comfortable double beds - plenty of room to spread out at night and have a good sleep.The caravan is a 1981 model - vintage. We bought it sight unseen from eBay 4 years ago for a cheap price. It is very basic but we have great fun in it.

The reason for our short holiday was a reunion of P:-)'s family in the park opposite the old house. P:-) has cousins who live next door so it was just across the road for them. Others came from various areas of Sydney and Wollongong.


 P:-) has very nice relatives and I really enjoyed the day as I think did all involved. We were lucky to have good weather.

While were were there some ducks set out in formation down Cockle Creek.


The next day, Sunday 25th, was quite hot. The early morning view across the lake was very still and peaceful.


 Later, during the heat of the day,I couldn't resist this shot of the sky through the awning.


 We spent most of the day under the awning, trying to keep cool.

A mother duck wandered around the yard with her ducklings. We had seen them when they first hatched in October.
Then there had been 14 of them. Now there were only 5 left, but they had tripled in size.


 Apparently kookaburras and other birds prey on the ducklings when they are young. They were much harder to photograph this time. Perhaps the mother was more wary after losing so many of her little ones.

I had thought these ducks were native but have been told this is not the case. I would love to know the breed.

On Monday26th, Australia Day, the rain set in.


We spent the day sheltering and then packed up in the rain on Tuesday. There is nothing worse than packing up in rain. Garbage bags come in very handy to put wet things in.

We drove home in rain.

 We came home to more rain. But I will never tire of the view from my back window.






My daughter J has an exhibition on in Gallery 9 at Darlinghurst. Here is the link for the advert.
 Advert for Jade's exhibition

Just a final note. I grew up by Towradgi Beach in Wollongong. My father, James Edwards, was one of the initial surf club  members in 1947 and captain. This is a link with a little about it.

Interesting sites

1.
 Tiny eco home in Romania

Photo source
 The Soleta ZeroEnergy One is a prototype eco home in Romania. Click here to read more.



2.
Harry Potter in Lego

Photo source

 This project features architecturally accurate recreations of the Harry Potter sets such as the Great Hall, the Quidditch Courtyard, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and the bridge over the Clock Tower. About 10,000 LEGO bricks were used for the L-shaped, nearly 4 meters long structure of the school’s central staircase alone.
Click here to see more. 



3.
Cabinet from disused pallets

Photo source
 Handy with a table saw and a hammer? If you’re looking for a new furniture project to take on, then check out the latest tutorial from avid DIY builder and passionate recycler James Higginson. In this how-to edition, Higginson shows us how to build some fabulous cabinets entirely from disused pallets!
 Click here to see the tutorial.

Friday, 16 January 2015

OH TO BE ORGANIZED!


Oh to be organized!

I have my grocery lists and weekly menus extremely organized. I know exactly what is is my cupboard and freezer and when it is to be eaten. It is a bit too complicated to describe here but suffice to say my system works very well. When we had a couple of late evenings this week after working hard all day I didn't feel like cooking when we arrived home so looked up 'the book' and found suitable meals ready in the freezer. Nothing gets lost in the bottom of the freezer.

So I have decided to work out a similar system for the organization of my household in general. I have started a book of cleaning with sections for each room and things to be noted each day when they are done. I am starting with my bedroom. I have a wardrobe overflowing with clothes, and many just lost at the back, and down the bottom of drawers. When I started on it today I was surprised at some of the clothes I found that I had forgotten. I figure a little bit done each day and ticked off in my book and I will have my clothes organized. If I add a room each week I should have the whole house completely organised, including cupboards, in three months. Of course I will get busier and busier as the weeks go on, but maybe if I do it gradually and document it I will get into a good routine.

Once I get this daily schedule going I will start weekly, monthly and yearly ones.

I'm quite excited at the prospect.

It was my daughter J's birthday last week.  She turned 35. How quickly the time goes! It seems no time since the day she was born with a cranky look on her face and masses of black hair. I am not supposed to write about her in this blog so don't tell her I have told you about her.

J is an artist. Most of her work is sculpture and lately she has been doing a lot of felting. She makes weird creatures like the one below.



She is running a workshop in Ballarat in April. You can read about it here.

She is represented by Gallery 9 in Darlinghurst

You can see some of her work here on Flickr

I am very proud of her.

She loves rabbits so I made her this  little felt rabbit in a bed in an Altoid tin as part of her birthday present.








 And I made her this card.







I have written a bit about  Davistown  before on this blog. P:-)'s family has had a holiday house there for over 100 years, one way or another. His grandmother who was a head mistress bought it in the early 1900's. It has finally had to be sold and this old framed poem below was amongst some of the last stuff to be removed. It belonged to P:-)'s uncle and was given to me.


At the bottom it says that this was read by His Majesty the King on an Empire Broadcast. I would love to know its history. It has pride of place in my entry hall and it is a special memento for P:-).

My daughter R and I have begun walking in the mornings. We take a 20 minute walk  from her home down to Towradgi Beach and back again. Forty minutes in all.







Life got in the way a couple of times last week but we managed 3 morning walks.


The moon has been looking good lately. I took this from my front yard the other night when it had a ring around it.





I finally took down my Christmas decorations and found Wilbur (Read about him on a previous blog) sitting amongst them with a cheeky look on his face.








 Interesting sites


1.
 Container homes

Photo source

A luxury home doesn't always necessarily mean thousands of square footage, towering great rooms and gilded toilets. Take these homes for example: to begin building one of these epic houses, all you need is $2,000. That $2,000 will buy you a shipping container. Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2014/06/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000-what-these-15-people-did-with-that-is-beyond-epic.html
All you need is about $42000 to build one of these epic homes - made from recycled shipping containers
All you need is around $2000 to begin building one of these epic homes – made from recycled shipping containers! Check out some of these amazing creations! Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2014/06/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000-what-these-15-people-did-with-that-is-beyond-epic.html
luxury home doesn't always necessarily mean thousands of square footage, towering great rooms and gilded toilets. Take these homes for example: to begin building one of these epic houses, all you need is $2,000. That $2,000 will buy you a shipping container. Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2014/06/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000-what-these-15-people-did-with-that-is-beyond-epic.html
A luxury home doesn't always necessarily mean thousands of square footage, towering great rooms and gilded toilets. Take these homes for example: to begin building one of these epic houses, all you need is $2,000. That $2,000 will buy you a shipping container. Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2014/06/a-shipping-container-costs-about-2000-what-these-15-people-did-with-that-is-beyond-epic.html
Click here to read more.


2.
Mini camping ideas

Photo source

Mini have designed some great camping ideas.
Click here to see more.


3.
 BEAUTIFUL abstract paintings of the sea

Photo source
Artist Samantha Keely Smith paints abstract oceanic landscapes that are at once menacing and serene, a clash of light and color that she refers to as “internal landscapes.” Using oil paint, enamel, and shellac, Smith uses an additive and subtractive process by partially destroying her progress several times before completion.
Click here to see more.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

OFF WITH THE OLD AND ON WITH THE NEW


"Sometimes it's just good to
get out your memories
and laugh." -Jesse

Quoted in My Wild Eden 




Nothing momentous happened to me during 2014. Nothing catastrophic happened either and I am thankful for that. A highlight for me was that my daughter and her husband found a house only five minutes away, so it is easy to pop in for coffee.


Here is a pictorial summary of my year - 2014 - month by month. I enjoyed putting the images together and revisiting my year. How quickly it went.

January



February



March



April



May



June




July





August


September




October


November


December


My favourite month was December.  I always enjoy the run up to Christmas.

In August I turned 60. It doesn't seem very long ago that I thought 60 was ancient and yet upon reaching that age I feel no different to the way I felt at 16. (Except I can't jump as high!)The only compensation to turning 60 is the knowledge that all my friends are in the same boat. We are all aging together.

I have a few plans for the year. I really want to get my house in order and brighten it up. My beautiful daughter R has been organising me along these lines which is exactly what I needed.

I want to get rid of a lot of stuff - I have far too much clutter. I feel as though it saps my energy.

My garden has run away pretty well unchecked for years, except when my wonderful brother and P:-) have had a go at it now and then. I really want to get on top of it this year.

I want to increase my sewing and spruce up my wardrobe.

And I want to increase my craft output.

I have the time to do a lot. Finances are limited so I shall have to be artful.

But I am looking forward to this year. I wonder what it will bring.






Interesting sites

1.
 Ordos Museum in Gobi Desert

Photo source
Shaped like a large undulating blob in the Gobis Desert, the Ordos Museum is clad in polished metal tiles that are resistant to frequently occurring sandstorms. Galleries inside the museum are housed in smaller blobs, connected by bridges.Click here to read more


2.
Seal wanders 20 miles away from home.

Photo source
We’ve all heard the saying “Not all who wonder are lost,” but for this grey seal, there are no excuses. He’s definitely just plain lost. Click here to read more.

3.
Half electric bike - half electric car

Photo source
The Lit Motor's Lit C-1 combines elements of the electric bike and the electric car. It features electronic gyroscopes that allow the vehicle to stay upright in the event of a collision! Click here to read more.




Sunday, 28 December 2014

CHRISTMAS EVE IS HERE - AND GONE





Every moment you have a choice, regardless of what has happened before. Choose right now to move forward, positively and confidently into your future. 
Unknown


My plan when I wrote this on Christmas Eve was to post it at the end of the day. Unfortunately things got ahead of me and I didn't get it done. So I am posting it now, 4 days later. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were hectic. It took me Saturday to recover and I am only getting back to things now.

All exhausting but great fun. I shall spare you all the details but I will let you read about my Christmas Eve.
 
I woke up at 5 am in the morning so I could be down at Woolworths by 6 am to finish my final grocery shopping. I arrived about 6:10 and found Woolworths already abuzz with shoppers. There was a queue about 50 metres long outside the fish shop nearby. Seafood, especially prawns, is a traditional food for Christmas in Australia these days. Some enterprising charity had set up a sausage sizzle next to the queue and shoppers were munching on sausage sandwiches as they were waiting.

I began my morning with a silent prayer for order in my day. I had wasted the day before. Sometimes I panic and find myself sleeping instead of working. Tuesday was such a day so at least I was rested for my early start on Christmas Eve but I didn't have the luxury of panicking a second day. I had far too much to do.

Number one was to organise my chocolate and walnut fudge. I planned to give all P:-)'s children  a jar of homemade fudge.




Breakfast consisted of a scrape of the fudge mixing bowl. You can find the recipe here.


Next I cooked the chocolate self-saucing pudding for Christmas night. I was having my family for dinner.






Then the apple and raspberry crumble.



Great. Dessert was finished before lunchtime. 


I decorated a branch in my entry hall with crocheted snowflakes and bells. I am rather fond of branches.



You can find the pattern for the snowflakes here.

Meanwhile I decorated a smaller branch for my daughter R.


I crocheted small stars and threaded some small silver beads on dark yarn and hung them on the branch.

Next I made a Hokkien Noodle salad for tomorrow.


And a lentil salad. (No photo - This is where I started to run out of time.)

 I wrapped the fudge and attached cards.



 I had crocheted little mice in beds for P:-)'s 5 grandchildren as part of their Christmas presents.


So I wrapped them in small silver packages.





P:-) and I went to church for a carols service at 9 pm Christmas Eve.




We had a great Christmas. Brunch with some of P:-)'s children at their house. Dinner with my family at my house. And Boxing Day lunch with all of P:-'s children and grand children and some extended family and friends. It's all a bit of a blur now. 


I hope everybody had a great Christmas.









Interesting sites

1.
  Savin Couëlle

Photo source
 Savin Couëlle was born in Aix-en-Provence, France in 1929. He studied architecture at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris. After school he spent seven years in Madrid designing film sets. In 1962 he helped his architect father, Jacque renovate the Hotel Cala di Volpe in Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, Italy. Savin has maintained a home and work base in Porto Cervo, Sardinia since 1962, although he travels and works worldwide. Click here to see more.



2.
Chalk art by David Zinn

Photo source
We just love how art can bring the most surreal situations to life. Whether it’s a park filled with larger-than-life animals or even graffiti that makes us think about nature, art has a wonderful way of shaking up our everyday lives. The chalk art done by David Zinn is no exception. Click here to see more.


3.
Narwhals

photo source


Although they’re referred to as unicorns of the sea, narwhals are very real. Click here to see more.