Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Years Eve

Are you thinking about New Year resolutions?
Are you planning a party for this evening?
Are you falling about exhausted because of the extreme heat?

There is a lesson here.
Tonight I will be strolling down to the Darwin waterfront where there will be a fabulous fireworks display for families at 9.30 this evening. This is free entertainment and a huge party atmosphere is created with bands, singers, comedians and dancers performing from about six o'clock until midnight. Expecting a big crowd. We went last year and loved it. There are restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and hotels where food and drinks may be bought, but families are encouraged to picnic on the lawn. The entertainment area is alcohol and glass free, and professional security staff assist with this. Another fireworks display will occur at midnight but by then I will be snoring in my own bed.

Tomorrow I will make one or two New Year resolutions, something I have not done for many years. New Year resolutions? Still trying to decide. Perhaps I need to be more like Kermit and a little less grim.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Quilting friend

A lovely thing happened to me.
Cathy Miller in the parkland at the waterfront in Darwin

I read a blog written by a woman I met about twenty years ago. Cathy Miller was a singer. Then she developed into a song writer. It was not long before Cathy started writing songs with groups of people and teaching them to become song writers and performers. This led her to work with a group of quilters and thus she was drawn into quilting. Now, the music is a sideline and Cathy teaches quilting in a big way.

How did we meet? I went to some quilting lessons here in sunny Darwin. Among the group was this charming Canadian woman who had come here because her husband had a contract as an engineer for a year or so. He was busy; she was champing at the bit to do something meaningful. She sang as she sewed.

Earlier this year I came across a blog called Cathy Miller the Singing Quilter.   Cathy Miller The Singing Quilter  I recognised her from a photo on the blog and soon became interested in her travels and achievements. And she travels!

Cathy often bursts into song while she is working at quilt festivals. And when she teaches. Here is one of her youtube clips.

A week or so back Cathy mentioned in her blog that she would be in Darwin so we arranged to meet for a cuppa. Wet day. Not the slightest bit sunny and tropical. But Cathy and her husband John turned up and we chatted for about an hour. Such lovely people.

So if you come across Cathy's work somewhere, or her classes and courses, I truly recommend that you go along and give it a go.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Day 2013

Did you hold the camera crooked
or is the world slip-sliding away?
So... what about Christmas pyjamas??? Useful? Not if made of Christmas print fabric, but doubtless lots of fun.
Found a pattern. Bought some festive fabric. Found some awesome lace stashed away for a rainy day. (Luckily it was raining.) Finally I felt in the mood.
Wore them last night. A bit big, but so am I around those abs. Totally kitsch. Awesomely bogan.

It is rather damp, cool and cloudy around here as we wait at the edge of another tropical cyclone. Very comfortable for wearing good clothes and makeup.
Everything is in place for a great day.

We will be using the good dishes, the napery that almost needed a mortgage to pay for it, eating food that I would not normally even consider, and generally celebrating.
There is so much fancy food it will take until New Years Day to wade through it all.
English cheese in a little crock. Popcorn with macadamias. French champagne delivered by courier. Pudding, two different custards, cake, nuts, cream flavoured with champagne, muffins, stone fruit, mince pies.
Gifts galore. Travel books. DVDs. A spray bottle of Arpege, my favourite perfume. How did we get so lucky?!?!

Telephone calls and texts are flying thick and fast as family and friends discuss gifts and arrangements for the day. My daughter-in-law has forty-eight uncles and aunts so a huge party is on in Melbourne for all of them. My son was so lucky falling in love with that wonderful girl. My daughter's mother-in-law has flown her family to Tasmania to celebrate together. One of my sisters-in-law is at a party combining Christmas and a wedding. Another spectacular affair.

This sounds like I am humungously wealthy. No. Usually life is very simple. Penny pinching. Toast and vegemite with instant coffee. It just all came together for this one day of a lifetime.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Cuppa time

We went to a friend's house for a little (big) Christmas celebration.
Joel is French Canadian but has lived in Australia for at least ten years. He loves Christmas even more than I do.
After the lunch Joel made coffee. He likes to serve it in bowls. When I saw this though I had a drink of water. A little too much caffeine for me. These bowls would have held about a litre. Yes, he had one for each of the adults.
The half eaten gingerbread house is in the middle of the table, propped up with a couple of cans.
I had never before seen so much Christmas stuff on one table. And the tree would have done a department store proud. It was a great day, and the only photo I took was this one towards the end of the meal.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Xmas Pud

I have been indulging a little this Christmas season.
It almost seems as the Battle of the Puddings has been taking place.

Last weekend we had a Christmas dinner with our daughter and her partner. Presents. Toasts. Turkey, cranberry sauce, roast vegetables, Christmas pudding with brandy custard, and home made chocolates. Champagne for those who like it; beer and water for the others. Excellent.

Did I make the pudding? No, I bought one from the supermarket. No special brand or anything, just the supermarket line. It was really good. This pud had a preserved pear in the middle and was extra fruity. Heated it in the microwave. It came with edible gold stars to sprinkle on top. More than enough for four adults. Would serve eight easily. Looked marvellous. Tasted great.

Now what to serve for the real Christmas dinner? I found this Jamie Oliver pudding at a different supermarket. You have some strong competition Jamie.

Have I ever made my own Christmas pudding? Yes, several times, in cloth and in a metal dish. I do not think they were particularly good though. Last year we bought one of Heston's with the preserved orange in the middle. It was good too, but is not available this year. Maybe next year I will try harder and create something extra special; in the meantime though my wallet can do the work.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Incredible Christmas Spirit

Have you seen this?
Yes, I know it is about advertising. This advertising will never affect me because of where I live. But it is amazing!!!!!


Monday, 9 December 2013

Performance of Messiah

On Saturday night I sang with the Darwin Chorale in Handel's Messiah in the Supreme Court building. There was another performance on Sunday afternoon too. Both shows were sold out. Men, women, children, young and old. Not cheap either.
In this photo you can see the four soloists, the conductor Matthew Wood, the Darwin Symphony Orchestra and the Darwin Chorale. The soprano (in black) is Jassy Husk. The mezzo-soprano (in red) is Caroline Vercoe. The tenor is Robert Macfarlane. The bass is Simon Lobelson. The two men wore white tie and tails and the ladies wore evening gowns.
I am on the right hand side, not far from the timpany. Second front row. Second from the end. Next to the blond lady who is actually standing at a lower level than I am. The singers with different coloured scarves are the visiting choristers from Dili.

The soloists are standing just at the head of the stairs so the railings look a bit odd. This is not my photo, because I was busy at the time, but it was shared with me and many others.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Link to free gift tags

The photo is from the same site, Lindsey Bee.
I saw these tags on another blog and chased them to their original owner. They are free and the words are lovely.

A bit of fabric paint, some glitter, and bright ribbon - Voila!

I thought that a group of these presented in a decorated satchel would be a rather nice gift for someone housebound. My sister lives in an area with few shops, so you can guess what will be in her parcel. If I post it soon ......

Follow the link and download what you need. You can also see them scattered on Pinterest.


You can see the tags better on this site but you need to scroll down a fair way.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Advent 2013

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. This marks the official start of the Christmas season. (Shopkeepers seem to think it starts the day after Easter, but they are incorrect.) Advent, followed by Christmas Day and then the Twelve Days of Christmas. Fabulous.

I love Christmas. I enjoy the excess and the colours, the music and the parties, the posting of gifts and the waiting for something special.

We are already well into our second Christmas cake and enjoying every slice. I have made jars of chutney to include in some hampers with other gourmet treats. There is a plentiful supply of handmade cards and the first one will be used today when I write the weekly letter to our son. Friends are holding a Christmas barbeque next weekend, with a turkey and all the trimmings. This week is the Christmas party for my knitting group. Gossip time!

What is Christmas time for me? Stone fruits, mangoes, cheesecake, barbeques, swimming, Christmas cake, cards, costumes, parcels, mince pies, Christmas carols, fancy biscuits, salads, decorations, Christmas trees, lights, phone calls, parties, and singing.