Thursday, 31 January 2013

Floods

The road broke up near my sister's place.
This summer Australia has experienced some bad situations.

The photos here come from my family and from facebook. They are intended to be shared.

The weather has been extremely hot. Global warming and all that. Temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius have been recorded in places for the first time.

A team of people managed to rescue these horses.
We have had some horrendous fires. First they were in Tasmania. My daughter was caught up in these, but only in a minor way. She was lucky. Later more bushfires started in Victoria and New South Wales. Many people lost everything. Farms were destroyed. Several people died. In some regions there were lines of cars hoping to escape only to have the roads blocked by more fires. We all now know what to pack into our kits.

These cattle found a dry spot at this farm house.
Next we experienced floods. These started in Queensland and have now extended into New South Wales. My sister lives on a farm in central Queensland and has seen her share of water lately. But it was the city of Bundaberg which captured the public interest. Two years ago many of the same areas also experienced ghastly floods and the people were very discouraged to see it happening again. In some regions the water supply system has had to be turned off because of all the debris in the water. Electricity is also a bit sporadic in places. Within a day ot two everyone can start retsoring their lives and claiming on their insurance.

People have also posted uplifting stories of rescues and hope. The volunteers who turn up afterwards to clean away the mud are known as The Mud Army. Animal rescues catch my attention.

Belinda Simpson posted the following story about finding a juvenile platypus. For those not familiar with these animals, they are incredibly rare. They are very shy and avoid people.
Belinda's photo.

Not news, but found it rather uplifting - not a sad story - thought you may be able to share :)

This little fella was found scrambling up our driveway about 200 metres uphill from Canungra Creek (Gold Coast Hinterland). We rescued him, took him home, dried him off, gave him a rest and a feed and released him late this afternoon. He was buggered after such a huge trek.

I have lived in the area for 15 years and have never seen a platypus on land before. This little guy was happy to get back to the creek. Thought it was a little bit of happiness in such a horrid time for many. Cheers.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Honey cake for my Honey

Life is much brighter today. Filled with shiny enthusiasm I made a cake. This cake is really quick to make and while it was in the oven I managed to get a lot of little jobs finished.
I know my husband will enjoy a slice of this cake with his morning tea each day while I am at work. It keeps very well, so I will also enjoy a slice on Friday when I have the entire day at home. If I had a handsome toyboy he could have a piece as well. Wish! Honey for the honey.


Honey Cake

Ingredients
       3 cups self raising flour
            3 Tabs honey
            1 cup milk
            1 cup sugar
            1 teas mixed spice
            1 egg

Method
1.     Mix all ingredients together in any order. No electric mixer required.
2.     Pour into a well-lined cake tin.
3.     Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes.

This is one of the easiest, cheapest and quickest cakes ever invented. You can substitute something else for some of the honey, but the honey acts as a natural preservative so do not leave it out completely. Use your favourite spices. You could add extra ingredients but then it would not be quite so super-quick. 

Really uber housewives (Masterchefs in the making) would probably not have a crack in the top and would probably dust the top with icing sugar and use a stencil of a cute shape. I will just boast that it is low fat!!! 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Organised chaos or chaotic organisation

My life is organised, but not as you know it.


Like most Australians I have been trained since childhood to use a calendar. My husband actually makes our family calendar on his computer and simply updates it each year. It has all the birthdays and wedding anniversaries marked clearly. Family photos are on each page. This should make life really simple. This works.

I use an organiser diary, left over from the eighties. This is where I write my own important things. Doctor and dentist appointments. Business cards from the tradesmen we call. All the addresses are in one section so postcards are sent when we go on holidays. Any tutoring appointments are entered. My organiser lives on the bedside cabinet. This should make life really simple, but time and place upset the balance.

Recently I tried going back to making menus for the family. That worked for three days. What happened? Well, someone invited us to go out for a meal. Then something else came up. The supermarket had some good specials. Menu? It should have made life really simple, but it didn't.

I make lists. So many lists. Shopping lists. Lists of today's tasks. Lists of exercises. Lists of projects waiting in the wings. Cross out that and make a new list. This should make life really simple. If the lists are long though I feel defeated before I start.


Boxes and bags are filled with sewing supplies and knitting projects. Boxes of laces and ribbon. Boxes of Christmas decorations. In the bedroom are my bags of stockings, of handkerchiefs and of scarves. I suspect this habit was begun at school when we carefully hand stitched those handkerchief sachets. This should make life really simple, and it does usually, in a limited way.

Sticky notes? Yes, indeed. I actually have a box full of pretty colours and shapes so there is always one for every special note. I use them in recipe books to mark which recipe I intend to use. I use them instead of file tabs in folders. Labels for music. Yes, I am a sucker for sticky notes. This should make life really simple. This works.

My computer has folders for everything. Photos are in folders. Knitting patterns are in folders. Even the stationery for writing Christmas letters is in a folder. This should make life really simple. This works most of the time.

I wonder how many systems one person needs to use. Obviously canisters will not work for handkerchiefs and toolboxes will not work for recipes.
How do homeless people organise their lives? They must need to have much more information to hand but still have no material goods.
Why is my system of organisation both effective and ineffective? Is this part of being human instead of being a robot? A few calming breaths and some window cleaning might be the answer too.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sew sew sew little machine

The sewing machine has been getting a good workout lately. Very happy with the result.


One of my brothers-in-law is feeling unwell and having many many medical tests. It is quite difficult to get to the hospital because of where they live. Age does not make this easier either. This process has been going on for months and little progress has been achieved. Don knows he has some sort of blood cancer, but that is not what is making him sick.

This small quilt is backed with fabric patterned with cranes. Some is used on the front too. Cranes mate for life and such loving attentive creatures. So is Don. All the strips were remnants from other projects. I made a patch with his name so that the quilt is returned to him wherever it goes.

My trusty machine is now very well behaved. (I am not always so well behaved of course.) The quilt is nice and flat thank goodness. Quilting on the bias makes me nervous, and I am not very proficient at it. Well, improvement takes both time and experience. I am determined to learn more quilting skills and expand my repertoire. If I have time (!!!) I could join a patchwork and quilting club. But then again all the answers are probably on Youtube.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Oi! Oi! Oi! Australia Day!

Hamburgers for lunch.
Today is Australia Day when we celebrate the spirit of the Australian population.

We are a diverse bunch of people. Immigrants are encouraged to maintain their old culture as well as learning the Australian way of doing things. Racial vilification is a crime. There is no crime called vagrancy. We laugh at ourselves. Australians enjoy sport. We have annual holidays; some jobs have four weeks. We like long weekends, three full days, and these sprinkle the calendar. We use nicknames like Blue, Jacko, and Bazza. The Prime Minister is known by her first name, Julia.

Our ute run today
There is no obligation in this country to have a job. Australia has a government funded welfare system. Public hospitals and other public health facilities are free. The wealthy pay higher taxes than the workers. Public education is free for children, although schools do expect some monetary contribution for extras. University education is substantially funded by the government.

Australia has laws about gun control. We do not have the death penalty and we believe that inmates of correctional facilities should be rehabilitated through educational programs. Police and prisons have a duty of care towards those in custody.

Australia has no-fault divorce and husbands do not pay ex-wives alimony. (also the other way around.) Non-custodial spouses pay child support. There is only one basis for a divorce and that is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

There are no illegitimate children in Australia. That category does not exist. All children are of equal importance.

What am I doing to celebrate this special day?

I went in the Australia Day Fun Run this morning. Five kilometres in high humidity. Fortunately it was all over by eight o'clock. Thousands of participants. There was a free sausage sizzle afterwards for those who wanted it.

This is the 21 gun salute in progress.
Very noisy and very impressive.
One gun after another.
Later I went to the cenotaph to see a Hornet A40 fly over. Low and exciting. This was followed by a ceremonial 21 gun salute. Absolutely wonderful. Hundred of people were there to see it.

For dinner tonight we are having kangaroo steaks. Organic of course. These are available year round from my local supermarket. It is not possible to farm kangaroos. For those who have doubts about eating this food, kangaroos are shot by licenced contractors only when they are in pest numbers. It is strictly controlled by laws and regulations and actually is humane. (I am not a vegetarian although I do not eat a lot of meat.) The meat is handled at a proper abattoir just the same as other meats for human consumption. The meat of a lower quality is used for pet food.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Film Festival

We are in the midst of a film festival here, called Flix in the Wet.
These are short films produced by talented but largely unknown film makers. The films are shown in a regular cinema, because it is the Wet Season, and the festival is promoted by the Darwin Film Society. We see two feature films each week and some shorts.

One young film maker has really captured the attention of half the city. Nathaniel Kelly is a middle school student only thirteen years old. He started making his own films when he was four. When he was six he learned how to edit them. Nat has taught himself how to use a green screen and how to do most of the techniques he uses. There are few people here to teach a child this things. He won the Youth Award at this year's festival.

Here are two of his short films. He posts them all on Youtube. The first clip was made for a news broadcast and later edited before broadcast.




In this Wiggles-style film Nathaniel shows his school which is across the road from the house I used to live in. My house briefly appears in the background too. (So do lots of other houses and shops and parks and ...) Nat has filmed himself four times to represent The Wiggles. I think it is quite clever.


This haircut film is his latest and features his mother and little sister.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Do you know Aunty Acid?

Do you know Aunty Acid? I am not young. I am facing some aging issues. Aunty Acid knows about aging disgracefully. Be warned this post contains material that is mildly offensive, denigrates medical professionals, and probably is politically incorrect. Got that? Now read on.

Lately I seem to be deliberately searching for jokes. This is not the real me. I am a quiet, sober, home body who lives a completely dull and uneventful life. I am cynical and bitter. Well that is how I see myself.  The weather has been overcast for the last week or two, so that might have something to do with how I feel. Bring on the sunshine. Metaphorical sunshine will do.

I find these cartoons absolutely hilarious. Right now a little hilarity is most welcome. A new day will bring a better frame of mind. In the meantime I will share some Aunty Acid with you.



Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Funeral

Today had some very tough moments.

My choir, the Darwin Chorale sang at a funeral. It was not a State funeral, but it was certainly close. The cathedral was packed and people stood outside to hear. Politicians, religious dignitaries, architects, the law profession, academics, engineers,  boaties and yachties, developers, ... the list goes on.

I took time off work so I could participate. About sixty of us were able to be there.

Funerals are harrowing, more so as we age. Each time now I am flooded with emotions and sensations connected to loved family and friends who have passed away. Tears flow and I am certain that people nearby are surprised. I am surprised. Croaking out a few notes becomes more and more difficult as the service progresses.

The man who was honoured today was Hans Voss, a very well known designer here. He had led an exciting, adventurous life filled with accomplishments. Family members had flown in from several European countries.

We sang some really lovely pieces - some hymns, some folk songs, some other bits. This was one. It has a few versions on Youtube but this is closest to how we performed it. It is really lovely to sing, as well as to hear. If you belong to a church then you might like to have your congregation learn it at some time.


I think I should add here that I am not Christian, in fact few of the Chorale members are. Nevertheless, we do appreciate beautiful words and music.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Who owns who, or whom?

Lexi, my boss
I have a cat. Dare I say I own a cat? Probably not. This cat owns me.

Ralph playing on a tropical beach
It appears to me that Lexi believes she is equal in status to adult humans and should be treated accordingly at all times. She pats me on the arm when she wants my attention. If that does not work she has some pretty amazing tricks with her claws.
Lexi once belonged to our son, then us, then our daughter, then back to us. She has flown in planes, and lived in many different homes. She really likes to eat prawns, but they must be raw and completely shelled. Lexi has her own chair in our lounge room, but also commandeers any other chair at any time. Hiding on a dining chair, under the tablecloth is a favourite ploy.

Cats and dogs are very easy to love. The affection is returned so openly.

We owned (were owned by) two dogs in the past and were incredibly heartbroken when they passed away. Ralph was my husbands faithful companion after his redundancy. Ralph is a long and complicated story and I am not sure I could write it.

I found a terrific page on facebook which has wonderful animal photos. Go to: I love PETS - Australia.
I copied a couple of their pictures to share with you. The photos of Lexi and Ralph are mine, but all the others come from I love PETS - Australia. 

If you get the correct authorisation from Parks and Wildlife you may have a pet crocodile at home. The photo here is an alligator I think. Apparently fresh water crocs can be trained, if you have the right temperament and a cooperative animal. You know what? I would not enjoy cleaning up after a crocodile.

Of course you can not have a fairy penguin for a pet. That would be astonishingly cruel. I know they are kept in some parks and marine life centres, but in those situations they do have many professional carers. Vets. Zoo keepers. Vet nurses.

When I was a preschool teacher we had pet mice. The children would often let them go and the mice soon learned to run behind the piano. Retrieving the little darlings and getting them safely back in their cage was challenging, but no child ever saw me flinch. I do not like mice or rats or tiny hopping marsupials that look like mice. I do not enjoy holding them, feeling them tremble with uncertainty. More than a few calming breaths are required.

Sheep are easy to love of course. When I was a child there were sheep kept as pets in my town. Yes, in a civilised  and sophisticated urban setting.
Alpacas? Completely outside my range.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Puns are fun too.

I found these pictures and really enjoyed them.
Unfortunately I do not know who the owners are because they were passed to me on facebook. If you are an owner or creator of these I would be delighted to acknowledge that.





Sunday, 20 January 2013

Boys can be lots of fun

Do you have a son or a brother or a husband or a father or any male person in your life? Not everyone does.

My Dad was away a lot due to the type of work he did. I have no brothers. So when I married living with a male held a few surprises. Then I had a son. More surprises.

Unfortunately I found out most of the following facts for myself, after acquiring the husband and the son. My best friend added her personal experiences to round it out.


What do boys and their families eventually know?

You find out interesting things when you have sons, like...

§  Marbles in petrol tanks make lots of noise while driving.
§  A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill an average carpeted house 2 centimetres deep.
§  Certain Lego will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy.
§  Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
§  Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
§  A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.
§  If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
§  Brake fluid mixed with Clorox bleach makes smoke, and lots of it.
§  Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
§  The sound of the smoke alarm makes little boys cry but does not make them honest.
§  The fire department in Darwin has a 15-minute response time.
§  A 3-year old boy's voice is louder than 100 adults in a busy restaurant.
§  If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 20 kilo boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 5 metre square room containing a leather lounge.
§  You should not throw tennis balls up when the ceiling fan is on.
§  When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a tennis ball a long way.
§  The glass in windows doesn't stop a tennis ball hit by a ceiling fan.
§  If you throw oranges at the ceiling fan the Nanny will probably lose her job.
§  When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it is already too late.
§  No matter how much jelly crystals you put in a swimming pool you still cannot walk on water.
§  Pool filters do not like jelly crystals.
§  Pool filters do not like the crystals from disposable nappies.
§  The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
§  The spin cycle on the washing will, however, make cats dizzy.
§  Cats may vomit up nearly twice their body weight when dizzy.
§  80% of women will pass this on to almost all of their friends.
§  80% of men who read this will try mixing Clorox bleach and brake fluid.
§  80% of teachers know how to make a bomb using brake fluid.

I was telling my friend James about this list and he actually said, “I wonder if that bleach and brake fluid thing would work”. I guess men will always be boys!!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Everything about me

I am writing this post for a special reason.
I am taking part in a Meet and Greet in which the members are finding other blogs that seem interesting. The hostess is Vicki from 2 Bags Full.



Darwin is a modern city on the coast.
http://www.jimjimfalls.com/Darwin-Travel-Guide-About-Darwin-City.htm
My name is Louise and I live in Darwin, a small tropical city of about 85000 people in Australia. I live 11 degrees south of the equator and this is considered a wet-dry tropical environment, not rainforest.

Darwin has an excellent university, a very multicultural population, and facilities that go along with the mining industry. More than one hundred different languages are spoken here. The air and water are clean and there is no significant pollution.

Our university, Charles Darwin University, attracts hundreds of students from Asia and caters also for many mature age students. It is a dual sector university, meaning that it has courses for academic as well as vocational studies. What? Dual sector? This means I could study there to become a plumber or a doctor. Yes, I have studied at CDU but not to be a doctor or a plumber.

That's me last year.
I am an optimistic person generally. My glass is never half empty; it is full right to the top. Now, some of that may be air, but it is still full. Air is useful stuff. That’s OK.

I have a husband who is semi-retired. Still in use since 1976. Our two adult children do not live at home. I have a cat who is treated as a participating family member.

I am not religious but I have strong political views, probably originating from Christianity and centred on social justice. I do not discourage the religious practices of other people and I know where to find local temples and churches, although I have no idea where there is a synagogue. I do not support euthanasia or the death penalty. I disapprove of cruelty to animals and torture of any living being. I oppose hunting for pleasure. My politics lean towards socialism rather than capitalism, but I acknowledge that private enterprise provides employment and other benefits for a community or even further.

One of my bromeliads
I enjoy reading about people in other places; sometimes their lives are not like mine. I like to sew, knit, read and cook. I belong to a choir, the Darwin Chorale, and we sing at community events as well as give concerts. I fuss over the potplants on my verandah. I do casual work as a kitchen hand and also as a tutor. My life is satisfying and quiet.

If you are new to this site then feel welcome to scroll back to other posts or look through some of the labels. I do not make any money from my blog – it is simply about the colour and flavour of my life. I believe that reading and writing with people in many countries can build a better world filled with knowledge and harmony. 

Please leave a comment. If this blog suits you then become a follower or add me to your Google+.



Thursday, 17 January 2013

Obituary from the London Times

The following comes from the blog Tarragon and Thyme written by Pattypan. http://tarragonnthyme.blogspot.com.au/
I have seen it repeated on three different sites so I am doing the same.


Obituary in the London Times


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sensewho has been with us for many years. 

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. 

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: 
    - Knowing when to come in out of the rain; 
    - Why the early bird gets the worm; 
    - Life isn't always fair; 
    - And maybe it was my fault. 
    
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
     
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place including: reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. 
    

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. 
    
    
He declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. 
    

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. 
    
    
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. 
    
     
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. 
    
    
Common Sense was preceded in death,
    -by his parents, Truth and Trust,
    -by his wife, Discretion,
    -by his daughter, Responsibility,
    -and by his son, Reason. 
    
    
He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers; 
    - I Know My Rights 
    - I Want It Now 
    - Someone Else Is To Blame 
    - I'm A Victim
    - Pay me for Doing Nothing 
    
    
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. 
    
If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.




Food for thought.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Music is life

I have friends who are musicians.
Over the years I have had countless music lessons, but I will never be a musician.

I truly believe that an understanding and appreciation for the effort that goes into a musical performance is well worth all the effort, time and money spent on a music education. Learning about the physics and physiology involved in hearing music improves our understanding of what it means to be human.

These pictures all came from facebook.



Monday, 14 January 2013

Cost of healthy living

On many blogs I see prices of food and everyday items. I thought I would share with you some of the costs where I live. These expenses are related to health.

Last week I went to the dentist. I go every six months and have been with the same practice for years. It cost $370 for my visit. Luckily my health insurance fund paid a substantial amount of that. Whoa! What a lot! Yes. No fillings or anything, just a clean by the hygienist and a quick inspection by a dentist. I think I might look around for a dentist who charges less and still gives my teeth all the right attention. There is a free dentist in town but the waiting time for an appointment is two years at the moment.

A visit to my GP usually costs $70 but I get a refund of $35.60 from the government health scheme Medicare. Some doctors choose to charge only $35.60 so that the patient pays nothing. Sometimes my doctor does and sometimes he doesn't. I have been with this practice for about twenty years.

My husband had to go to the hospital in an ambulance one day. The distance was less than 50 kilometres. The cost of $830 was completely covered by our health insurance provider. Centrelink clients, that is welfare recipients, get ambulance rides for free. Many people do not have cover for the ambulance.

I had a test to check my bone density, bone densitometry done at a medical imaging clinic. It cost $177. This test took about five minutes or less.

I do try to look after my health, mostly because I come from a very long-lived family. When I am one hundred and one I would like to be healthy enough to enjoy myself. This old woman is not from my family, but she looks rather like some I have met.

Here is a joke from the same website as the photo of the little old lady. If you are comfortable with the elderly you will see the funny side.
    Just before the funeral service began the undertaker came up to the elderly widow and asked, " How old was your husband?"
    "One hundred and four," she answered. "Two years older than me."
    "So you are one hundred and two", said the undertaker. He had thought she was much younger.
    "Yes, hardly worth going home, is it?" she replied.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Hobbit

I went to see The Hobbit at my local cinema. Well, actually the first part of the trilogy of The Hobbit. I admit I have not read the book even though it has been in our home for over thirty years.

It is expensive here to go to the cinema. Tickets for this film were $23 each and more if you needed the 3D glasses. I used my Seniors card and got in for half price. I am keeping my special glasses for future films.

What did I think of it?
Very engaging.
Very long, at nearly three hours.
A bit too much computer assistance, but that may be the only way to represent some of the story. Characters fall huge distances and are largely uninjured. Mud does not stick and stain. Stuff like that. But it is fiction, and I am too picky if I expect a tale like this to look like non-fiction.
Lots of violence and scary characters, which is appropriate in this story. I found the physical appearance of the antagonists more believable than in Lord of the Rings.
Many wide landscape shots. Perhaps this is a cinematic device intended to convey hardship, endurance, effort, stamina, and distance, but it does not do that for me. Admittedly the scenery is fascinatingly rugged.
Costuming and make up are superb. The wigs and beards are amazing. I recognised a few of the actors from other films, but only by their voices. Little touches such as Gandalph's dirty fingernails add to the atmosphere.
I thoroughly enjoyed the sets even though some must be computer generated or enhanced. There must be many highly skilled cutlers, carpenters and propmakers working for Peter Jackson.
The music is similar to the Lord of the Rings music, but not overpoweringly so. Just a hint. Very dramatic and full music creates the moods of various scenes. Really well done.

This is not a film for children. It is too long and too violent if you want your children to grow up to be well balanced. The images could stay in the memory of a child and cause nightmares and problems later in life. (Yes, I have seen this happen in real life as a child, a parent and as a teacher - from other experiences though, not this film.)

Would I recommend The Hobbit? Yes, yes indeed. You do not have to know about Tolkein and his work to enjoy this film.

I am certain I will go to the other two parts of the story.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Grow your blog

I am not very smart on the computer, especially when I try to put things on my blog, so here goes ... I tried adding this button to the side bar but failed. Only failed four times so far.

Over on 2 Bags Full is a campaign to get more people to read a wider variety of blogs. Here is the post.
http://vicki-2bagsfull.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/my-grow-your-blog-party-updates-and.html

It is an opportunity to grow a blog and also to follow blogs you may not have noticed before. Some people like to follow through google+, others by email, others in a reader. Some people just bookmark sites and check back occasionally.

No catches that I have noticed. There is a huge list now of over 200 bloggers leaving details on the comments section on the 2 Bags Full site. I found two posts about it, so scroll back a bit.

Everyone involved is to post something on 18 January and check back on the 19 January. Connections are then possible. Some bloggers are having giveaways but that is a personal choice.

All you have to lose is a little time, and maybe you were going to sleep (or save the universe) through that time anyhow. Grab a pen and paper. Go to the comments. Investigate a few. Write down some links you like. Check them again in a few days. You might find somebody really interesting, or calm, or funny, or with the same hobbies as you.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Last days of Christmas break

I shall be back at work on Monday morning so am truly squeezing every delicious moment out of my last few days. Sewing. Cooking. Reading. Making cards. Watching films. Fiddling about on the computer.

I like following links on the internet - nothing risky, just wasting time there.

People post amazing ideas on facebook and lots of pictures are easily copied but the origins are often lost. Years ago I was quite open about my facebook page. Anyone could see the lot. Then I found that children I knew from work, many children, were visiting my page and asking to be my facebook friend. I contacted their schools and reminded the  principals that this contravened the facebook rules, but I doubt they did anything. It all seemed somehow sordid. I took down my page completely. About two years later I started it up again, but this time with much more privacy. It is just for family and people I know well. Australians are so conditioned to being stoic that we rarely post anything about feeling despondent, having any problems, or running into difficulties. But facebook helps our family keep in touch, with pictures.

Sometimes I feel like a sticky beak the way I read blogs by ordinary people simply living. I like to read about life in other countries and am interested in customs from different cultural groups. But it is the style that probably engages me most. All the blogs I follow are written in a similar style. Not too erudite. No bad language. Regular posts. Short sentences. Plenty of pictures. All in English.
Found on facebook.
  • Have you looked at Gurney Journey?  http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com.au/  It is by the artist behind Dinotopia and each post has something to do with visual art. A little slice of education every now and then opens my mind and helps me see. The author is in New York I think.
  • Sew Delicious  http://www.sewdelicious.com.au/  is having a swap that looks like fun. I like to sew and this little blogger makes all sorts of things. At the moment she is organising a swap of a pouch filled with chocolate bars. Not expensive. Not complicated. The only hard part will be the posting of the parcel to the assigned partner. I have never tried this before.
  • Collage of Life http://collageoflife-henrqs.blogspot.com.au/   is from an American woman who lives in Vietnam. She calls her house Chateau Mango. Her life seems quite unlike mine.
And where would I be without youtube to solve my sewing dilemmas, usually quilting.
Or the gazillion recipes, many of which are very interesting to my conservative taste buds. Made baked beans muffins again just a few days ago. Will be attempting a galette from Smitten Kitchen   http://smittenkitchen.com/ today.

Must check my own bucket list and finish a few domestic tasks.
Must give my plants some tender loving care before the monsoon arrives, if it ever does this year. It is very late.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

More quilting

Yes, I am hiding behind this quilt. Toes. Fingers.
My daughter needed a quilt to take to visit a new baby. This is my effort. The new family was surprised and happy with the gift. I feel it is a good size for a child to play on and to rest on if they go somewhere. My quilts are intended to be useful rather than artworks on a wall.

I had quite a lot of trouble but the result is reasonable. I ran into a spot of bother with the tension on my sewing machine. The other area causing a problem was that by sewing diagonally there was slight stretching. The result is a bit of a frilly appearance near the edges.

It is a variation on a jelly roll. Maybe a dessert roll which is actually the same but wider.

I like pink, but Camilla decided that other colours would be better. I am pleased that I made the border and the binding the same green fabric. The back is the same as the pink and green splotchy border near the edge. You can see some extra pieces of the same fabric in among the colours. I used pieces I already had and needed to buy only a few new fabrics. I like the random nature of the sizes and I tried very hard to avoid any symmetry or pattern of colours.

I have learned from this experience that it is essential to plan more than I have done in the past. Creative expression has limits. Bit by bit my quilting is improving. My corners are still weak and I need to get this right, especially as I give these quilts away usually.