Thursday, 31 December 2009

A Huge Surprise and A Happy New Year..........

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas however you celebrated. Firstly, thank you to everyone who sent greetings and wishes for me and my family in the comments over the last couple of weeks, I have been really slack with answering for a few weeks, but please take this as a communal answer. Thanks for your friendship this year, blogging has become a large part of my 'craft' life this year and I know that 2010 will only see that continue!
As to the HUGE surprise, it needs a little background info. Back in September of this year our beautiful youngest daughter, Sarah, was devastated when her husband of 13 years walked away from her and their four children (he decided that he really wanted to be single after all!!). Now, they live 4000kms away in Western Australia, so it's not just around the corner! This was always going to be a hard Christmas for her, the kids were going off with their dad Christmas day afternoon for a week. She told us that friends had organised her time for her, that she wouldn't be sad or lonely so we had to accept that!
Boxing day we always have an open day here, chill out after the hustle and bustle of Christmas, friends, family, lots of good food and good company, always a good day. Around one in the afternoon our eldest daughter and her family arrived - with her sister !!
Bec had bought her sister a plane ticket for Christmas night two weeks before!! She said that she couldn't bear the thought of her sister being alone without her family for five days, but the deal was that mum and dad (us) couldn't know, it had to be a surprise for Boxing was!!!!
And yes, I did cry! So for the first time in (I think) eight years, all my chickens were in the one place at the same time. So as the ad says..............price of an airfare - $700..............the look on our face's - priceless!!!!!
So, with a huge amount of pride, I would like to introduce to you, left to right.....................................
..............eldest son Dave, me, youngest son Chris, youngest daughter Sarah, John (he who works) and eldest daughter Bec. (and of course Miss Martha)
I am so proud and grateful for my beautiful family, thank you Bec for bringing everyone together.
Now for some more happy family shots of our Christmas....................
Caitlin introducing Miss Martha to her newest pet, Mio........

............hmmmmm, the boy child, Ryan, after racing his sister to the phone on Boxing day night (he lost), a tiny, tiny fracture in his foot. Strapping, ice and crutches for two weeks - as you can imagine, his mother is overjoyed!!!

Toasting marshmallows with Aunty Sarah after a day in the pool..................... hero's................ Tom (family friend's) at 11 weeks old...................

.....................Ryan discovers that the littlies noodles are 'Wiggles' colours.............

................Caitlin trying to stay away from all the boys..............hmmmm, I wonder how much longer that's going to happen???????????
All in all, the best Christmas for a few years. All the family, perfect weather, good times, what more could I ask for?
Happy New Year to you all.
See you next year.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Merry Christmas..................

The house is dressed, the shoppings done, the smells of Christmas are floating out of the kitchen. Spicy, sticky gingerbread, melting shortbread, cinnamon, cloves and apple............
..............from tomorrow, Christmas begins! Turkey, ham and pork, crackling, onions and sage....
...............fresh, fat juicy prawns on a bed of icy crisp lettuce, crayfish and Barramundi for Boxing day. Pav's and puddings, berries and cream..............
..............some beer and some wine, some soft drinks and water, some tea and some coffee and a slice of Christmas cake (perhaps a jam sponge too?).

Traditions and rituals, that's what makes Christmas for me. Family, friends, food, drink, the Boxing day test (the one in our paddock), catching up, chatter, laughter (always some tears somewhere), good cheer!
Merry Christmas, Bonnoel, Bon Natale, Happy Holidays, Kala Hristouyena.
However you say it may I wish you Joy and Peace, Hope and Good Cheer and a safe and happy celebration.
I'll be back next week sometime, probably when the reds run out and everyone has gone home.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Dear Santa..............

...........Those gorgeous girls over at The Fat Quarter Shop have a direct link to the North Pole and you know who. Now we all know just how busy he is at this time of year, Mrs Clause hasn't seen him for weeks and she's worried that his suit might be too big if he doesn't come home from the workshop to eat. He might have to resort to wearing his board shorts and singlet that he wears to come visit us here in Australia!! She's been sending the elves over with cookies, gingerbread, sweet tarts and white Christmas (he got a tasting for it last time he was here) so she's hopeful it will be OK!

Sorry, I digressed for a minute. Where was I? Oh yes, the girls over at the FQS, yes well, they've promised to make sure Santa grants a few wishes by getting him to detour and pick up some goodies for a few lucky (hard working and deserving) quilters. Just have to write him a letter and post it. OK, here goes, hope your listening Santa.........................

Dear Santa,

All year I've tried really hard to be good, it's not easy when you're grown up and think you can do pretty much what you want? I've washed and cleaned, I've mopped and dusted (well sometimes!) I've baked and roasted and I've stitched and sewed. Now Santa, those lovely and generous girls at the Fat Quarter Shop (radar directions to follow) have offered to make things a little easier for you by getting a parcel ready for you to pick up and deliver right to my house (radar directions as above), this should give you enough time to go see Mrs Clause and have a hot meal before you leave. None of this low calorie, none fat business, a good hearty home cooked meal, I think Mrs Clause has a roast in mind, yummo!!

Oh yes, the list, can't forget the list! Welllllll, I would really, really like to have the 'Glace Frosted Windowpanes Quilt Kit' to make for next year, perhaps you would be able to call in and see it finished then?? Also I've had a hankering for a 'Hedgerow Fat Quarter Bundle' by Lynette Anderson (she's an Aussie you know), it's just adorable and reminds me of growing up in the UK!

That's it!! Not too much is it? I'm not greedy am I?

Thanks Santa, have a great trip and watch out for space debris (no one picks up litter anymore!), hope the weather holds out for you and don't forget to go see Mrs Clause before you leave. You know what she's like about clean underwear and everything!!



p.s. turn right at the railway station

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Garden & the 11th Advent gift.......

I took these photographs the other day and wanted to share them with you. The Agapanthus flowers are just getting ready to bloom and I caught these in the process, very other worldly......

This one below is an Alium, I can see it outside my window today and it's started to open now, time for another shot I think!
Gorgeous Hydrangea flowers, we have pots of them on the verandah for the summer months, big blousy flowers in beautiful pinks and blues, love them.

A perfect deep pink rose bud, just ready to burst open and show it's summer splendour...........
.............and Advent gift #16, fabulous threads and ric rac in gorgeous pastels................ them Fiona.
Short and sweet today, He Who Works (but is on holiday) and I are going into Geelong to do Christmas shopping. I have to finish getting gifts that have to be posted to Perth, I like to leave at least 10 days for them to get there. It takes longer than international sometimes. So I'll be back in a day or two. Oh yes, another outing tomorrow, this time to Daylesford with the Gardening group I belong to, we're going to the old Convent and then a picnic in the Botanic Gardens, more photo's I expect!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

More Advent Goodies............

Lots more Advent goodies from Fiona.......


and todays gorgeous gifts................

Thanks again Fiona, I'm loving this.

Monday, 7 December 2009



Yesterday we all (me, husband, daughter and her husband and two grandchildren)headed off into the city of Melbourne for a day of shopping, oohhing and aahhing over Christmas decorations, wandering up and down streets and alleyways, eating and adventure!! We arrived reasonably early and parked in the Art Centre car park, had a wander around the Southbank Sunday market, then to Australia on Collins for coffee (He Who Works is soooo fussy about his coffee) and a muffin.

This building below was our destination later in the day, the Eureka Tower, glowing golden in the sunshine.
After coffee, over to Melbourne Central for a little retail therapy of the Christmas kind ;o)

Looking up the old Shot Tower into the centre of the dome in Melbourne Central.

Standing under the clock, looking up.

Towering reflections! Don't you just love the way you can see reflections in the buildings in the city?

The golden bees on the side of the Eureka Tower.
Braver men than you and I Horatio.................!! Standing out on the skydeck!

Flinders St Railway Station, the copper dome is gorgeous isn't it?

More reflections, this time glowing in the golden windows! The left of the photo is real, the right is a reflection, cool isn't it?

A fish eye view of the Arts Centre from 88 floors above.

Ryan and Caitlin (he who was going to stay down with me - traitor!) standing right at the point of the building!

John and Bec's feet standing on the sill, good job that glass is thick!!

A pensive Caitlin, taking in the magnificent view....................

Caitlin, granddad (He Who Works) and Ryan

Looking across to Mt Dandenong on the right.
All in all a great day but in the interests of honesty I have to tell you that any photo's taken above ground level were taken by my darling daughter and He Who Works, all those taken on terra firma were mine. They all enjoyed it so much that the only reason they didn't stay up there longer was the fact that I was sitting down on the ground floor waiting for them to come down, they felt they should curtail their enjoyment and rejoin me! Little did they know that I was having a very pleasant conversation with a gentleman on holiday from Malaysia, he was also sitting waiting for his wife and niece to come down. Seems he suffers from the same phobia that I do!! Having said that, I have been persuaded, against my better and wiser judgement, to go up with them on the 20th of this month when they have decided to do it all again!! Madness I tell you!! This next time, youngest son and future daughter-in-law will be joining us, so I guess there will be plenty of hands to carry me down when my legs turn to jelly and I'm on my hands and knees trying to grip the floor with my nails! I am proud of my grandson though, the fact that he was scared silly and still went up gives me courage to do the same, I shall have to hold his 13 yr old hand though, just in case he gets lost you understand??
I shall be back later in the week with some awesome macro shots of my garden and some more of my advent gifts.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

4 Days of Advent gifts....................

Is everybody else only having five days in a week instead of seven?? It sure feels that way at the moment, I'm positive that I must have lost a couple of days somewhere, if you find them feel free to use them won't you?
This is day two of the Advent swap, adorable ginger bread house templates and little folk to go with it. I always make gingerbread houses, but it's usually just owner builder type, you know, make it up as you go! But this year the kids will expect palatial mansions now that I have a blue print! (The choc's gone of course, yum!)
Thursday's gift is a fat quarter of white on white fabric and a little santa tree ornament.........
Friday's gift was this oh so cute Christmas shopping list pad and a snowman tree ornament. Maybe the list pad will make me more organised do you think?

Today is a lovely tea towel printed with Christmas scenes, I don't think you can see in the photo but it has sparkles on it too, and a tiny, teeny book with garden quotations.
Thank you Fiona, you know me well it seems, wonder what tomorrow will bring :o)

Here's our cedar table all finished and in the dining room. Still has all it's character left on it but it's usable now. Repaired, reglued, cleaned, sanded and polished with beeswax so it smells fabulous in there too. According to a couple of antique dealers that we know, it would probably have been made anywhere between 1895 and 1905, what a gem we have!

Lastly here's a pic of the girls (and me) from my local patchwork group out on our Christmas break up. The young waiter (Rayner I think) at Saffs in Castlemaine took this photo so that we could all be in it. We had lunch there and the food was fabulous, reasonably priced too. From left to right we are - Vicki, Merle, Brenda, Karen (behind), Pam, Eileen, Wendy (sitting), Lyn, Norma (sitting), moi and lastly Di.
Tomorrow we are off to Melbourne for the day with our daughter, son-in-law and the terrible two. On the list of to do's are - Myer Christmas windows, which this year is 'Olivia Helps with Christmas' the Christmas atrium at Crown, some secret shopping by the kids, perhaps the Southbank market first thing. He Who Works is going up the Eureka Tower and out on the Skydeck with Bec, Tony and Caitlin, Ryan and I are staying down the bottom with a good cup of tea for me and a hot chocolate for him I think!! It seems that my grandson has inherited my fear of heights and fast lifts!! And perversly, our granddaughter has inherited her grandads love of anything that even smacks of adventure!! Who knows hey?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Advent, Indulgence and a bargain............

So today is December 1st and the first day of Advent, today is the day all the kids get to open their Advent calendars and eat their first piece of chocolate!! Today is the day all of us adults that are taking part in Fiona & Jo's Advent Swap, get to open present #25......Yippee..........soooo, this is what Fiona sent me for the first day of our swap.....................

..............fabulous pink thread and Lindt chocolate (which is sadly gone now 'cos Lindt is my absolute favourite chocolate in the whole wide world.........sigh!) but it was deeelicious, thanks Fee, can't wait for tomorrow!!
On Sunday 'He Who Works' started his holidays, lucky for him really because he got to escape the changeover of rail operators in Melbourne, he is now employed by Metro - whoopee - that's going to make a HUGE difference - not! So anyway, we took ourselves off for a day out. Drove over to Maldon for morning tea. Quick (as if) wander around the quilt shop, then round a few of the other shops where we found our bargain of the year!!

This gorgeous cedar table was shoved at the back of the Old Grain Store antique shop, it had old (read ancient) lino nailed on the top, it still has the original old castor's on the legs. Fortunately for us the lady that owns the place is selling up and getting out of the business, she had no idea what timber it was (we had a fair idea that it was cedar) and sold it to us for $450. We're pretty sure that it's turn of the 20th century, definitely no later that about 1905, love it, love it, love it. Now we do have somewhat of a surfeit of tables at our place! One in the dining room, one I use for sewing, another John uses to build his doll houses on in his shed and another that you can see stacked with 'stuff' at the back of the shed, all of them at one time dining tables! Oh yes, and a small one on the verandah with pot plants on! That's the advantage of being married to a man who builds furniture as a hobby! Anyway, this one is well on the way to being restored and should be in the dining room by tomorrow night!! Now, what are we going to do with the two year old French Provincial table we already have in there??
When we left Maldon with a promise to return the next day in the ute to pick up our treasure, we pointed the Mazda in the direction of Castlemaine, there to go to Threadbear Quilt shop where Di Ford was launching her new pattern 'Ann's Legacy. It was lovely to meet Di and her new quilt is gorgeous, BUT, my heart belongs to this one.....................
......................Phebe's Quilt, still by Di Ford, just adorable, this one she told me, was the pattern before Ann's Legacy. I just loved everything about it, colours, tiny little squares, fabulous applique and the stars! Oh those stars are wonderful. So of course (what else did you expect?) I bought the pattern and a starter pack of fabrics and I shall start it......................?? Next year!!
I did take some photo's of the Civil War Bride Quilt while I was there, the photo's are over on the CWBQ blog, still a gorgeous quilt.

Just adorable isn't it? How could I resist it? I couldn't could I? I'm so glad that you agree. LOL!
So as a final hurrah, I thought I would show you the start of my Christmas decorating.

I don't know whether you can actually catch it, but the fire is lit! It's been so cool here with all the rain that we lit the fire again! Can you believe it after all that heat we had the other week - crazy weather, lets hope it settles down now that December is here?

I'll be back in a few days to show you what else the lovely Fiona has sent in the advent swap, stay tuned, more goodies for me! ;o)


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