Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Fibre Fever page for Marja

This is the page I made for Marja in Holland for December - her theme is birds.  I was going very cross eyed trying to sew this, so stopped with the simple image I have there.  I think I can see better now I have a prism in my graduated lenses, but I am waiting for my reading glasses to arrive.  Then I expect a miracle!!!!

The flame trees are all coming into bloom at the Gardens and they look at their best with grey skies - just as well with the weather we have been having.

These seeds from the foxtail palms are making a stectacular show right beside the deck where people go to the cafe.
We actually have a bit of a break in the rain, so Bill is out mowing everything he can get too without needing floats on the mower.  We shouln't complain, we have no flooding as such, not like the poor souls further south.  Everyone from Theodore has been evacuated now.  Pets were originally not being allowed to go, but thankfully that rule was changed.  Some of the old people were very distressed at leaving their pets behind.  I imagine Bill would flatly refuse to go anywhere if we had to leave Jock behind to fend for himself!
Our Gardens curator is in Bundaberg, not going anywhere in a hurry.  I think his family is on high ground, but there is a lot of flooding there too.  This reminds me very much of the 1950s, major flooding was a summer occurrence every year.  Graziers had to paint the names of their properties on the rooves of their woolsheds or similar so the army/air force could see where they were to drop food parcels - for stock as well as people.  There were no deep freezes etc then to store food for long periods.  Times have changed for the better.
We are off to celebrate with our 15 year old grandson tonight for his birthday.  The water table is level with the surface of the land out there so I will need my wellies to walk in to the house.  The land is dead flat so there is nowhere for the water to run away.  We will all still enjoy ourselves.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Wet, wet, wet

I hope you all enjoyed Christmas Day, wherever you were.  Our family came to us about 7am to open presents before the rest of the day's festivities, a lovely day made special by the excitement of the small children.  The rain did not dampen our spirits one little bit - we were safely inside.  The day was very wet and it continued today.  We went for a bit of a walk at the Botanic Gardens.  The lagoons are well up, covering the causeway, but not as high as yesterday afternoon.

The revolting water weeds have been washed down quite a way, but we need a much bigger flood to get them over the road and out to the mouth of the river.

This is looking in the other direction

I love the waterfall, really rushing in this weather

A misty view of the Gardens - the rain was getting quite heavy when I took this.

This Mackinlaya flower head is poking out of the Eungella Cloud Garden.  It will turn into beautiful deep blue berries in another month or so.
There are roads flooded all round us, some of the inland places will be cut off for several weeks yet, then there is 40 degree heat and bushfire warnings in Western Australia , as well as snow warnings in Tasmania.  We do live in a large country!!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Fabric page from Lise

 This is my December page from Lise in Norway - her explanation of how she did it is shown below.  Click on the phots to enlarge for the detail.  they are lovely.
She added this postcard as well, with the explanation written on the back.

I alway thought Willy Wagtails only ate small insects, but this one was having a lovely time with a small skink, eventually ate the lot I think.  Jock and I were standing very still, but a walker came from the other direction so the bird flew away, still with the skink in its beak.  I was amazed how still Jock stayed.

This photo is a close up of the pink cassia - Cassia Javanica - Blogger won't load the other photos of the tree at present - perhaps later.  The tree makes a beautiful show at this time of the year.

Now I need to run away and make a few more preparations for Christmas, which has now been moved to our house - too wet at our son's place.  The forecast is for somewhere between 200 and 500 mls rain over the next three days - I hope they are wrong!  We will have fun anyway and this may be better than the white stuff in the northern hemishpere.  Have a wonderful Christmas wherever you are.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Yeeaaah - my camera is working!

My grand daughter Hannah came to visit yesterday and I was able to take photos again!!!  The problem turned out to be a flat battery - not the AA batteries which I periodically replace, but a tiny disc controlling the date/time stamp! Bill finally found it, thank goodness.  I had been backwards and forwards through the manual umpteen times and had never found anything about this one............grrrr.  Now I guess I can take another 1000 orso photos before it has to be replaced again.
Hannah decided the tree needed even more stuff on it - I think it is grossly overdecorated, but the kids love it - that is wht matters.

Then it was on to icing the cake.  Hannah had lots of fun rolling out the marzipan and then the icing and measuring and helping me to put it all on the cake.  She doesn't like fruit cake, but she was happy to sample some of the left over icing.  She loves helping me in the kitchen, hope she continues to think cooking and cleaning up is good as she gets older.

After that, she wanted to have another go at the sampler she is making of the stitch variations on my Bernina.  She is getting more proficient with the foot pedal, so maybe she will be a bit more creative later.

These are a few Christmas decorations I have made - and I will have to come back to tell you the link to follow to make the birds.  I forgot to write it down and I can't look stuff up on the web while I am in the middle of a post - I know, I should learn, but somehow I haven't!

Aha, I have checked out Geninne's Art blog:  When you get there, scroll down to Tuesday 14 December for a wonderful tutorial on how to make them - much better than mine are.  The fabric stars are much paler than the picture makes them look.  I am not doing any more till I get some new glasse.  Hopefully that will solve lots of problems.  I really can't see to sew closeup stuff at present - my optometrist says my eyes are fighting each other when I try to look closely at things because I have an astigmatism in my right eye and need a prism in my lens.  I think in a roundabout way this is good news - he hadn't bothered with the prism for the last script as my left eye wasn't doing anything.  I suspect the lucentis injections are finally making some improvement in the vision of my left eye - isn't that a wonderful Christmas present!  Now I just need to get my new glasses back before Christmas, that will be even better. 

Thursday, 16 December 2010

A post withut photos

My camera is not talking to me at present and I can't work out what is wrong, but I suspect I will need to take it to a technician to have it looked at.  This is NOT a good time of year for anything like that, they are all in holiday mode and probably shutting down completely for at leat two weeks after Christmas.  You don't realise how much you use it till it is not there.

Our grandson Hamish turned five today - a very big day in his life as he was then old enough to be able to go to the children's workshop at the Botanic Gardens!  he and his older brother Alexander made some lovely christmas decorations, now hanging near their tree at home.  We have just returned from having dinner with them, we had to admire the Christmas lights they have strung on their windmill - they look lovely, a windmill makes a wonderful shape and looks like a tree at night.  Of course I can't show you what it looks like ........grrrrr....

I have been making a few Christmas decorations myself, and at last I have made two cakes.  I have cut up fruit for the first boiled plum pudding, so I am starting to get my act together for Christmas.  The grandchildren have overloaded the tree with every piece of tinsel and bauble they could find, but they had heaps of fun doing it and they think it looks lovely so that is all that matters.

The rain has gone away for the moment and the heat has arrived in a big way. We had to cancel the Carols in the Gardens, the ground is so soaked that people could not possibly sit on it.  Of course, the sun has been drying it out so Dale, our curator, is most upset, but the storms are getting closer to us all the time and we would only need a couple of millimetres to have a lake instead of a lawn!  There have been massive hailstorms in south east Queensland, with over 70,000 homes blacked out early tonight.  I am glad that is not us.
I will try to take some photos tomorrow with Bill's camera, this is frustrating.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Christmas postcard and some ornaments

This lovely fabric Christmas postcard arrived today from Ritva in Finland.  I have included a photo of the stamps on the envelope as I think they are fascinating.

The Three Creative Studios Cue for this week was ornament.  I suppose these are not quite ornaments, but they come out every Christmas.  They are nearly 70 years old, and are very special to our family.  A couple of the bells are a bit broken, but they still work.

Hopefully this photo will enlarge to let you see the nursery rhymes on them.  I love the fact that we still have the original box too.

This beeswax ginger is flowering well at the Gardens at present.  You will need  to enlarge to see the actual flowers.  I had to get down on my hands and knees to take this photo as they hide in under the foliage.
I am off to go for a walk with Jock while the sun is shining - we are expecting heaps more rain in the next couple of days - grrrrr.  There is massive flooding in other southern parts of Eastern Australia - and drought in the West.  We re a large country after all.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A busy week and a fabric page

Blogger would not let me in yesterday fo some reason and these photos have loaded in the wrong order today!  This is the time of the year for all the Christmas breakup parties.  Hamish's Kindy teachers did a fabulous job organising a concert, and having to move to a hall in another location as the continuing rain made it impossible to have an outside concert at Kindy.

Santa brought every child a book, Hamish loves his.

Hannah won an award at her school awards night.  This was a lovely night of celebration, now soured because some awful arsonists lit a fire which burnt down a wing of the school two nights ago - containing classrooms, computer room, storage rooms for sporting equipment.  It is hard to understand the mentality of some people. 

This is not a very good photo as I hadn't thought to take my camera so used my phone instead.  Last Friday, in the middle of the pouring rain - we had something like 200mm during the morning, the library hosted a party for the housebound clients.  I was saturated collecting my passenger, but we got her and all the others, several in wheelchairs, into the library keeping them pretty dry.  The librarians go to so much trouble, puting on a wonderful spread - nobody eats lunch after this, and the council staff come along to sing carols.  This year they had a choir of children from a multicultural playgroup as well.  The children were gorgeous, having heaps of fun themselves.  This is one of my favourite Christmas parties every year, and in over 18 years, this is the first one which has been on such an awfully wet day - our luck had to run out some time!
This photo was supposed to be at the top of the list, my fabric page for December from Wendy.  I will have a lovely collection of such varied pieces at the end.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Rain, rain, go away - and more about New Zealand

I really wish it would, but I doubt my pleas will help.  We had over 500 mm in November and in the last two days we have had 120mm - and it is still pouring.  The forecast is for a very wet summer with several cyclones - I don't want to know about any of that.  Ten minutes later we have had another 15 mm.

I will tell you more about our trip, that is a much happier subject.  We really did have the most wonderful luck with the weather.  This is Mt. Egmont, or now called Mt. Teranaki, near new Plymouth.  We were on our way to it and stopped to take a photo with the cattle being very interested in the proceedings!  The sun was shining and we had wonderful views when we got to the visitors centre.

Later that day we visited Pukeiti Gardens, named as one of the significant gardens of the world.  The sky was very overcast, but that did not matter.  The rhododendrons were all gorgeous and there were so many other interesting things to see.  The sun came out later on in the afternoon and we found the bridge which I relocated in my previous post - not just to anothe city, but to another Island!  My apologies to new Plymouth.
 In Wellington, we went for  a trip on the cable car in the sunshine also.  Then we walked through the Botanic Gardens, but gammy knees and those steep hills don't go very well together.  We even became quite hot while walking!
The ferry trip across Cook Strait was in very good weather - unlike the next day which turned quite nasty we heard.  Queen Charlotte Sound is very beautiful, unloading the car was interesting, but didn't take very long.

 I think Kaikoura was one of my favourite places to visit.  Coming from the tropics, I was fascinated by the snow and the sea and what they called beach all together.  This is most definitely not my idea of beach! We saw the seals and visited some gorgeous galleries and craft shops (Bill was bored!)
The South Island of New Zealand have these wonderful beaten up caravans on the side of the road which set up as cafes.  We sat at tables and ate a whitebait sandwich for lunch!  The couple alongside us was tucking into crayfish, which we had had the night before, buying it from another beaten up caravan!  What fun.

We took the train trip to Greymouth and back the day before the mine explosion - such a tragedy.
The scenery is truly magnificent, again we were blessed with a hot sunny day.

We couldn't have the sun all the time, and some rain came to Dunedin, but not too much.  We visited the Botanic Gardens - even steeper than Wellington, and Barb's knee was definitely protesting by this time.  They are beautiful gardens but the rain chased us home.

I am always fascinated by what houses and motels etc look like in other countries, there are always some quirky bits.  This is the shower which was in a motel we stayed at for just one night thankfully.  Bill thinks it may have been retrofitted, with all the fittings underneath it.  You had to step up nearly a foot to get into it - no grab bars - then you had to step DOWN the same distance to get out.  Apparently they are quite common over there.
We didn't see nearly enough of course, so of course we would love to go back, just over the ditch isn't really very far!
This year has passed in a blur, I can't believe Christmas is only three weeks away, I haven't started on anything yet, but at least today I bought the last of the fruit to chop up for my Christmas cakes.  Nothing to show you on the creative front, I haven't done anything.  That has to change soon.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

More from New Zealand

This incredible bridge is outside Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island, it was only opened in June this year. 

I must have about 20 photos taken from every different angle imaginable - my engineering husband wanted to record every detail!  It forms part of a long walking track around the Kaikoura township, just stunning.

This blue penguin and the yellow eyed penguin below are on their nests.  I was over 20 metres away from them, although they look so close.  Do click on the photos to enlarge them.

The yellow flowers around this nest look so pretty and are the most appalling pest - broom introduced by the British to make hedge fences in the early days.  The Scots brought out gorze and the two plants have covered miles of hillside - anywhere where the soil has been disturbed has been taken over.  While it is flowering the yellow landscape is very pretty, but devastating to the local wildlife.

This looks much better enlarged - a Spalvin's albatross, which our guide said is very rare in the waters around Dunedin, so we were priveleged, even more so when it took off a few minutes later.

I am so tired, I still haven't caught up with all the paperwork, though it has diminished.  I have another eye injection tomorrow morning, then I hope to be able to do some sewing tomorrow afternoon.  Time is passing and I have commitments which I don't want to be late with. I have various ideas in my head, just have to make them work.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

November fabric pages

These are two views of the fabric page I sent to Barbara in Germany for November.  Her chosen theme is 'view through an open window'.  The picture is a TAP image of a photo of a lovely garden we saw in Richmond in Tasmania last year.

Claudia sent me this love.y, delicate page in my theme of nature.  That can lead to so many variations, I didn't know much about what I was supposed to be choosing when I selected that theme at the beginning of the year, but I am so glad I chose it.

Here is a picture of the United nations family of ours in Auckland!  My brother's widow is on the bottom left.  We had so much fun meeting everyone.  They are still allowed to have fireworks for Guy Fawkes night there and Peter (top left) had bought a huge arsenal to let off in the back garden after this photo was taken.  We haven't been allowed to set of fireworks ourselves in Queensland for decades, so this was a novel experience.

I was trying to load some photos of the penguins we saw nesting and two photos of a Spalvin's albatross, one on the water and then it taking off - they are so majestic.  Blogger rejected  the lot tonight so I shall try again tomorrow.  Dale from The Thread Studio gave me a link to a site where I can upload a video effect, but I haven't even edited many photos yet.  Maybe tomorrow!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Home at last

We are home again after a fabulous holiday in new Zealand.  It was very exciting to meet all the relatives in Auckland, then we took the sun with us everywhere we went.  The bad weather was ahead or behind us all the way - just a little rain the last afternoon in Dunedin and also in Christchurch as we were leaving.  How lucky can you be.
I will post more photos overthe next few days, but this photo above is the view of Mt. Egmont (now Mt. Taranaki) which we saw from the front door of the cottage where we stayed in Kaikoura.

This baby seal really knew how to play to an audience.  There were two small boys on the rocks nearby and he came right up to the edge and posed for photos!!

This is where we had morning smoko at Lake Pukaki, with Mt. Cook in the background.  All the photos will enlarge if you click on them.

These seals were having a wonderful time on some rocks just north of Dunedin.  We were fascinated by the fur seals all along the coast.  We saw some penguins nexting and some albatross on the wing, as well as taking off from the water.  I just have to edit more photos - I took over 700, but I have deleted quite a lot!!
Back to a very soggy Mackay - over 400mm rain has fallen here while we have been away, and the wet season is not supposed to have even started yet.  Bill and I both came home with severe hay fever, not something I normally suffer from.  I also lost a very large filling from a tooth while I was away, so I spent an hour or so at the dentist today, with forecast of much money changing hands in the next couple of months!  It all has to be fitted in around the injections for my eyes, I seem to be constantly sorting appointments.
I haven't made it into the workroom yet, other than to dump some purchases on the table, but I have received another lovely fabric page.  I will take a photo tomorrow and post it then.  Now it is time to go to bed, I need a good sleep to tackle some of the paper work tomorrow.  Somehow that seems to multiply exponentially when you go away!  I threatened Bill with death if he dared to instal the updated version of Quicken, our accounting software, before I have finished the current account keeping.  There is always a very steep learning curve when a new version of that comes along, and sometimes I don't like the changes one little bit.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Cup is over

Today is a very important day for most Australians - Melbourne Cup Day - a public holiday in Melbourne and not much work is done in the  rest of the country anyway - luncheons and sweeps and all sorts of shenanigans go on.  Even those who have to work get dressed up.  I had to go to the eye doctor this morning for a checkup after my latest injection - here are the girls in the front office all dolled up with their fascinators etc.  Later when I was in the local pharmacy mearly all the staff there were in very dressy clothes with their fascinators as well!  Somebody is making a mint from selling fascinators.

Bill and I treat ourselves to prawns for lunch and a glass or two of wine to go with them, while we watch the race on TV.  Jock was just as fascinated and I actually had the camera within reach.  He is really funny when the football is on, had his front feet right up on the stand trying to work it all out - but of course I never have the camera at the ready!

This chest came back to us yesterday after being restored.  I forgot to take a photo before it went away, but it was stained a very dark colour and had a very shiny finish.  I love the patina of this finish and the colours and grain of the cedar really show up.  It is not an antique - well, not in the true sense of the
word - our grandkids probably think it is, as Bill's mother bought it in the late 1950s and that is forever ago as far as they are concerned!
Blogger is doing funny things and moving me to places where I didn't really want to be, but I think I have managed to get the printing in between the right photos now.  This delicate white orchid is a Christmas Orchid (Calanthe triplicate) flowering in the Shade Garden at the Botanic Gardens.  It is  a native of Central Queensland, but I must confess I have never seen it in the wild.  I love the fact that we can see so many native flowers here which we would never normally see.
Two more sleeps and we will be off to catch up with all the New Zealand family.  Thw weather Melbourne is having now - cold and wet - will unfortunately be following us over the ditch, but we have pulled out all our winter woollies so hopefully we won't freeze.