Saturday, 26 January 2013

Australia Day, the weather and other bits and pieces

Happy Australia Day to all Australians, and to the people taking out citizenship today.  We are having a quiet day at home, with a traditional barbecue tonight.  There are big celebrations around our district, with many having to be moved indoors as we have had so much rain in the last few days.  The wet season finally arrived on Wednesday night and by Friday morning we had had 280 mm rain!  Mackay was very lucky.  The trough which brought the rain suddenly got a move on as it passed over us, but has gone back to being very slow moving again, so the poor souls at Gladstone are having massive flooding, and Brisbane is expecting very heavy rain by tomorrow.  Incredibly Birdsville in south west Queensland has no had temps of over 40 degrees every day for a month, and no rain at all.  We have crazy weather in Australia.

I thought I had managed to put a space in between the photos, but never mind.  I can finally show you a photo of a sunset I took before Christmas using my phone.  I have only just managed to transfer the photos to my computer after my son came home from holidays and came to the rescue!  I have written everything down, but if I haven't done it for a couple of months I still seem to have trouble.
The next photo is a lovely shrub flowering in the Botanic Gardens which does not seem to have a common name and the Latin one is a mouthful - Larsenaikia jardinei.  I had to take a photo of the label to remember that!

The Cassis Fistulas have been glorious this year.  Again this was taken a couple of weeks ago on my phone.  The rain has ruined the display now.  Unfortunately they are classified as a weed as they seed profusely and clog up waterways.  These trees will ultimately be removed from the Gardens but we appreciate the display till they go.
I have been having a play.  I bought Lynda Monk's book 'Exploring dissolvable delights' before Christmas, it has some lovely ideas to follow through.  This has not photographed true to colour, but the top coat is Jacquard Lumiere metallic blue/green halo, so it changes colour when looked at  from different directions.  I used tissue paper adhered to pelmet vilene, and painted in several layers.  I wanted some more texture so scraped some moulding paste through a stencil on the panels and then painted over them.
The bottom layer is kunin felt painted, stitched and then foiled with copper foil, after which I had fun attacking it with the heat gun.  Normally I avoid making holes in my stuff as it is usually intended to be handled frequently so I want the end result to be pretty robust.

The vessel stands about 24 cm high and is not really skewiff - that is my photo, not holding the camera straight!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Photos at last!

Wow, I have got a photo up!  Now to try for a few more.

I have put up two of the photos from Lone Pine, the rest are of what is flowering around our garden now.  I realise I have shown them twelve months ago, but they are worth seeing again.  I think the Euodia is flowering even better than it did last year, and is full of screaming lorikeets most of the day.  I wish their call matched their lovely coclourings.

I left spaces when I was uploading but blogger is not letting me in between any of these photos.  The top one is my Dichorisandra or blue ginger, though it is not in the ginger family at all.  It is a more intense blue than the photo shows.  The Curcuma (Cape York lily) is hiding its flowers again, I had to pull the leaves apart to take this photo.
The Brunfeltsia has the most magical perfume in the late afternoon and evening.  The flowers come out blue in the morning and fade to white by the next morning.  It flowers several times a year and I love it.
You probably need to click and double click on the photos to see them best, especially this last one of the Cordia which is growing in our neighbour's back yard, but I can see well from my sewing room.  The little honeyeaters love this tree, but I can never manage to take photos of them.  They are not very striking colours, but have beautiful song voices.
Having typed all this I will now see if blogger will publish it for me!

Monday, 21 January 2013


This is just a short post to say I am still here, but I can't manage to post photos.  At least through Firefox I can still post print (I hope), with Internet Explorer I waited nearly five minutes for the site to load, then gave up in disgust.

I have a lovely photo of our grandson Alexander holding an owl at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane.  He was part of a small group of children who became zookeeper's helpers for a couple of hours.  This was such an exciting experience for him, he went into the dingo's enclosure to help feed them and was allowed to pat them, he handled some small reptiles, had his photo taken with a koala of course, went behind the scenes in the platypus enclosure, and generally learned a lot about what the work of a zoo keeper is.  He was absolutely enthralled.  Perhaps I will be able to post photos tomorrow.  We will see.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Birthdays and heat

Yesterday was my birthday - a hot day here, but bearable.  My mother used to remind me quite often that the day I was born the temperature was 116 degrees, and had been around that degree for days on end.  I doubt if the overnight temperature was ever very cool either.  The maternity wing of the local hospital was a timber building with an unlined verandah in front of it.  The roof was galvanised iron, there was no such thing as air conditioning of course, and there were only 2 small fans for the whole hospital.  To cap it off, there was a baby boom and every bed (not sure how many) was occupied!  The matron of the hospital was really wonderful and they didn't lose any babies at all during the heatwave.  My mother said they used to run hoses over the roof for a lot of the day, and hang wet blankets around to get some humidity into the air.  I was born in Goondiwindi, an inland town in Queensland, with a very dry heat in the summer.
We have all got soft these days with air conditioning and lots of fans, and we still complain bitterly about the heat!  Mind you I love my fans and air conditioning as much as the next person, but I think the older generation had to be much more resilient than we seem to be today.
Certainly I am glad that the dress standards have relaxed so much.  I remember a similar heatwave in the early 1960s when I was working in Hay, a town in the Riverina area of southern inland New South Wales.  The temperature was over 110 degrees and a friend was being married, very formal wedding - the men were in dinner suits (the bridal party in tails) and the female guests were in long evening gowns and long gloves!  Of course under the evening gown we were encased in horrible garments called corselettes - a sort of boned bra which came half way down the hips, with suspenders attached to keep your stockings up!  Ugh!  I can't believe we were all so stupid - imagine how the Edwardian or Victorian ladies survived in the heat with the amount of clothing they had to wear - and how hard it must have been to wash all the garments too.
The heatwave that year did just what it is doing this year - started down south and worked its way up to Queensland.  Unfortunately it was Christmas holidays, so I followed it to Queensland, then it returned to Hay with me three weeks later!  I was very unimpressed, especially when I heard they had been so cold they had been wearing cardigans while I was away.  At least that year we did not have the appalling bushfires there have been this year.  Back then, people were allowed to clear the undergrowth each year so there was not such a buildup of fuel to make  the fires so hot.
Thank goodness in most of the fire areas, the weather conditions have eased enough to allow the firefighters to start to gain the upper hand.
Anyway I had a lovely birthday with mudcrab and oysters and a couple of glasses of wine for dinner last night - diet starts today! 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Oiling paper

There is not much creating being done around here at present.  Somehow the days flash by and I am stuck doing other stuff on the computer, or I am out in the garden.
However I read the tutorial on Maggie Grey's blog about oiled paper recently and thought I would give it a go.  I have worked with oiled brown paper before, but not photocopy paper.

 First I found a photo I had taken in New Zealand a couple of years ago and played with it in Photopaint (without any real idea of what I was doing!).  I need to take a couple of days and really work on that to learn something more about it.

The bottom photo is the result of lots of crumpling and then oiling the end result,
The end paper looks better in real life than it does in the photo.  I think I will do another paper so I have four and make them into a vessel.  I have to wait for a few days for the oil to soak in before I continue.
We are having some hot days here, but nothing like the heatwave over much of Australia, and no fires here either,  thank heavens.  I feel so sorry for all those who have lost so much, Australia can be a cruel country at times.
Blogger is doing stupid things I think I shall publish this while I can.