Friday, 27 July 2007

Countdown to 50

It's 1,000 days until my 50th birthday. It's going to be a B-I-G deal in a lovely way so, to kick it off, I'm adding a new counter to my blog to mark the event.

Eventually, I will publish an extra webpage that I put together way back in August 2006 but have updated from time to time since then. More news soon ...

Felicity xoxo

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Kitchen Delay

We are more or less playing a waiting game here at Castle Bliss. It's supposedly only 3 days until the kitchen installation - & whilst we have seen the pre-painted cabinets, we haven't had word that they are back in the cabinetmaker's shed. We are so over not having a kitchen in our house! Everyone is dying for a home cooked meal & some leftovers.

11am Newsflash: Message from Jason just in - Kitchen postponed for 2 weeks until 13th August!

There are apparently problems related to the routing of the doors, a delay with the painter AND the stone for the benchtops is too short.

What did I tell you? I'm not at all happy about this development, but what can I do other than wait?

I'm mostly peeved the situation because Jason didn't say anything before today about these problems yet he would have known last Friday. I told him more than 8 weeks ago that if there was to be a delay that I wanted to spend 4 days in Adelaide at this time & he assured me that he would let me know if things were not on schedule (but not to worry - nothing could go wrong!). Grrr! What happened to the simple politeness of people calling & making alternate arrangements when they know a problem has arisen instead of waiting until last minute. Jason's last minute was when he was about to walk out the workshop door for a long weekend away?

Life in Castle Bliss has never been about instant gratification. Most things are like Pantene hair shampoo - the results don't happen overnight. Take cleaning the new tiles & painting trims, for example. These two are ongoing projects. The tile grout scum is gradually disappearing & I've finally finished one entire room's painting & am currently reloading the shelves & arranging the furniture. On the leisure front, cross stitch samplers also often take years to complete. I have four large unfinished projects on the go, each at about 70%. I work, work, work but it's slow going.

The waiting has started to wear down my psych (not that the dust storm with tiling helped). I've had to pass up 6 months full time work because I couldn't start on the given day.

However, I have to look on the bright side of life. Lucy's an absolute delight. Her toilet training continues. I had totally forgotten that puppies drink & pee soooo much. She's a ball of energy & chomping teeth. I gave her her first bone this week. What a sight! LOL

Gypsy's jealousy & the size of her equator (she's quite fat, there's no other way to say it) are reducing. She often sits on one side of me while Lucy sleeps on the other. Mealtimes are no longer a smorgasboard. Gypsy must eat when I put the food down & then must finish so that I can hide her bowl from the bottomless pit known as 'Lucy'. It's probably a good idea, anyway.

Apart from that, the only other news to report is that our planned 'Christmas in July' (an excuse to get out kids around the same dinner table for the first time since our wedding & only the second time ever) is set down for the weekend of 25th & 26th August. The idea at this stage is our children, siblings & their families & our friends to come for drinks & nibblies & perhaps a bbq on the Saturday night, & our children to lunch on the Sunday with their partners, Paul's parents, & Jo & Steve.

About the only worry I have about that weekend is that people will expect 'Home Beautiful'. Whilst we will have a kitchen & the hub of our house back, there are still on-going projects being done & therefore some 'organised' chaos to go with, not to mention a Labrador puppy in residence. Our home suggests we are 'interesting' people, not slaves to perfect order. Order that extreme takes too long & is boring!

Happiness & laughter to one & all,


Saturday, 21 July 2007

Harry Potter

Film has been seen, book has been read.
Thanks Jo Rowlings for the fabulous read!

Friday, 20 July 2007


Lucy - Born 22nd May 2007; Current weight - 3.5kg
Castle Bliss has become Puppy Palace!

Not quite everyone is thrilled!

Meet Jason

Meet Jason.
He's our cabinetmaker.
Behind him stand parts of our kitchen.
Woo hoo!
Expected date of install is 30th July!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

No update this week

No picture with this week's update. The stitching has slowed with the arrival of the puppy & departure of the tiler. I'm painting parts of Castle Bliss (or is that Puppy Palace) again getting organised for a belated Christmas in July that is happening in late August. It could only happen to me LOL.

I'll be back soon!

Happy stitching.



Saturday, 14 July 2007

"Wear Sunscreen" by Mary Schmich

Advice, like youth,
probably just wasted on the young

Published June 1, 1997- in the Chicago Tribune & then produced by Baz Luhrman

Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who'd rather be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns, but there's no reason we can't entertain ourselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind-side you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either.

Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander.

You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.,0,4664776.column?page=1

Friday, 13 July 2007


Happy 80th Birthday

Being orphaned many years ago, one of the spectacular things about marrying Paul is a set of really nice parents. Today, my father-in-law is 80 years of age. He's one of the special people of the world & I'm very honoured to have met him.

For those of you who are following the construction of my 'Love with a Capital L', I woke up this morning thinking about both Trevor & this project mingled together. What I worked out is that he is much like the sampler.

Trevor is patient
He is kind ... he keeps no record of wrongs.

He's like my dear old dad, really. Stanley used to say 'that's nice dear' about most things you had to tell him. My siblings & I could talk to him about most things & he genuinely listened. He wasn't the doom-monger who showed you 20 ways the project wouldn't work (and let me tell you, I've had a few really hair-brained ideas in my day!). He helped work out the logistics of many a project - & sometimes we were both surprised that it worked. LOL

Everyone needs that kind of person in their lives. Even as adults we need simple approval or encouragement at times. Trevor is one of the most supportive people I have met.

'We're gonna get married, Dad'
'That's great news, Mic!'
'We've bought a house, Dad.'
'That's wonderful!'

I hope you have someone like Trevor in your life.

Happiness & laughter always,


Love is patient, love is kind...
Love is patient, and love is kind, it is not jealous or prideful love is not rude, it is not selfish, it is never angry, it is not happy with evil, love is not happy with lies, but rejoices in the truth. Love never gives up, love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Name the Puppy

As a temporary measure, our 7 week old puppy is called 'Insanity' but this cannot continue! Help us choose another name.

Labrador Retrievers were recognized in England as a Kennel Club breed in 1903 and first registered by the AKC in the United States of America in 1917. Labradors were originally called a St. John's Dog or lesser Newfoundland dog. The breed was in Newfoundland in the 1700s and imported to England beginning the early 1800s. The Labrador's exact origin unknown but some speculate the Greater Newfoundland dog or the French St. Hubert's dog is part of the cross that made the St. John's dog.

This puppy is my 3rd Labrador. A much loved 'Elizabeth' & much maligned 'Alex' preceed her.

My advice to someone wanting a dog of this breed is this:

Hide your valuables!

Most Common Female Names Found in Newfoundland Cemeteries

These names were extracted from the StonePics database which contains the transcripts of names and dates from approximately 99% of the headstones of Newfoundland cemeteries. The numbers to the left of the names are in order of most common & show a count of how many times they appeared in Version 3.0 of the database. The database contains 319,573 given names (including repeats) and 264,284 surnames (including repeats). The change of a given name being "Mary" is 17446/319473 = 5.5%.

My great grandmother's family on my father's grandmother's side was from Newfoundland. Her name was Mary Jane Power. This would have been quite a common name! I've highlighted the ones in use by my family of today or recent yesteryear.

If you are trying to determine a given name on an old headstone in a Newfoundland cemetery, there is more than a 54% chance that it will be one of the following:

Given Names

  1. 17446 - Mary
  2. 7655 - Elizabeth
  3. 4692 - Margaret
  4. 4026 - Sarah
  5. 3389 - Catherine (we have a Kathryn)
  6. 3363 - Annie (we have Anastasia aka Annie - a cat)
  7. 2523 - Ellen
  8. 2046 - Bridget
  9. 1957 - Jane
  10. 1891 - Alice
  11. 1718 - Ann
  12. 1653 - Emma
  13. 1382 - Jessie
  14. 1366 - Martha
  15. 1309 - Eliza
  16. 1179 - Florence
  17. 1157 - Frances
  18. 1140 - Agnes
  19. 1116 - Emily
  20. 1104 - Julia
  21. 1073 - Ethel
  22. 1037 - Lucy

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Serious Cleaning Needed

It's time for some serious cleaning!

The floor tiling is done for the moment. My oh my that was a dirty job!


During Tile Removal

Two little dust bunnies (more like right wallies!)
who ground the concrete afterwards.

New tiles laid

Love With a Capital L - a week of stitching

It's getting to the point that it's too large to photograph!

Last week, as the tiler was busy with the floors of the rest of the house, Paul was away & Winter break was on, I was a captive in my bedroom during daylight hours & had lots of time to stitch. Don't expect similar updates to what you have seen in the last two weeks for a long, long while. That amount of stitching is quite unusual in my blissful life.

Thanks everyone for the lovely messages about my last post. I was not sure whether to share this info on my craft blog, but I'm so glad I did.

We removed old tiles & laid new ones.
It's now time to clean!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

100 Weeks

Paul & I have been married 100 weeks today.
It has been a lot of fun.

It has been a busy time too! Some of the things we have done include:

Travel for holidays:

  • Visit Adelaide & the Barossa Valley (December 2005) - our honeymoon.
  • Spend a month in Central Europe (June/July 2006)
  • Gold Coast weekend for our 1st wedding anniversary (August 2006)

Visit places by taking a few extra days' leave when Paul's worked somewhere interesting, for example:

  • Hobart, Launceston & the Tamar Valley (March 2006)
  • Singapore (November 2006).
  • Sydney - coinciding with Paul's birthday (November 2006).
  • The Margaret River wine region (March 2007).

We've also managed to:

  • Buy a house - now fondly known as Castle Bliss.
  • Celebrate Paul's 50th birthday (November 2005).
  • Both change jobs (February 2006).
  • Paint parts of Castle Bliss for the first time (April 2006).
  • Buy a new car (zoom, zoom, zoom)
  • Celebrate two wonderful Christmases with family.
  • Start kitchen renovations.
  • Do more painting.
  • Remove & re-tile living room floors - I can't quite describe that experience as 'Bliss' (LOL).
  • Repaint parts of Castle Bliss.
  • Find time to rekindle love of embroidery while waiting for Paul to come home, & make some very special online friends doing my cross stitching - not to mention collect some incredible stash.
  • Share countless meals with family & friends (the above photo was taken at Diana's recent 21st birthday dinner).
  • Drink copious bottles of red wine.
  • Swan away many happy Saturdays together, simply enjoying each other's company.

Overall, we live a truly blissful life!

Happiness & laughter always,


Wednesday, 4 July 2007


We've had a mostly quiet weekend. This is our first Easter spent in Brisbane since we moved here in 2004. It's usually the weekend we go south to Paul's parents' place near Port Macquarie, NSW. As we just came back from a long trip & we are seeing Mum & Dad in about a month, we thought we would take it quietly & paint the living room instead.

Nice thought ... no action. We've never been this lazy ever. Our weekend has consisted of breakfast with my siblings on Friday, breakfast in town on Saturday after putting youngest princess on the train to head north, breakfast again in town this morning with youngest son and that's about it. We've got no furniture in our living room so we've lounged on the bed, snoozed, read books, watched a DVD. Life's tough! LOL

I hope you too are enjoying your weekend.

Happiness & laughter always,


Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Love With a Capital L - nearly half way!

I'm keeping out of the way of Terry the Tiler! A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do - stitch!

Stitch, stitch, stich. Stitch, stitch, stitch. Stitch, stitch, Gypsy's cat hair, stitch. St, stitch, sti… Stitch, stitch, stitch. Stitch, stitch, stitch. St, stitch, sti… Stitch, stitch, stitch. Stitch, stitch, stitch. St, stitch, sti… Stitch, stitch, stitch. Stitch, stitch, stitch. St, stitch, love, sti… Stitch, stitch, stitch. Stitch, stitch, stitch. St, stitch, sti… Stitch, love, stitch, stitch. Stitch, stitch, stitch. St, stitch, sti… Stitch, stitch, stitch. Stitch, stitch, stitch. St, stitch, sti… Stitch, cat hair, stitch, stitch. St, st, stich ...

Thanx everyone for your encouragement with this project. It's coming along beautifully.

A word of warning for anyone doing this project, though. Check that you are happy with the centring. I'm finding that not all the graph pages match up as neatly as I would like. Some things I leave, others I unpick.

Happy stitching!