Thursday, 28 February 2008

The Rose Garden - Update No.4

Not that much stitching this week, unfortunately.
Uni's back in session & there's lots of reading to do.

All the same, here's the finished centre piece of my rose garden.
The photograph is a little over-exposed, but it's still possible to see how pretty it is.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Beading Classes

I've enrolled in a beginner course of beading. I figured that if I was going to spend more money on projects, I would have to know what I'm doing (it's the academic in me!).

Here's the programme:

Week 1: Daisy chain bracelet or necklace

Week 2: Brick stitch bracelet

Week 3: Two way weaving necklace

Week 4: Wire-work earrings or necklace

Week 5: Square stitch bracelet

Week 6: Loom work bracelet

Week 7: Spiral/Tubular netting

Week 8: Peyote necklace or collier

These projects use terms I've seen/heard bandied about in beading magazines & when talking to friends who bead, but to me they may as well have been written/spoken in Greek. I'm having a marvelous time on Wednesday/Saturday mornings (depending on my work commitments) trotting off to see Edith & Madeline at International Bead Collection or IBC for short.

Are you learning any new craft techniques in 2008? If so, let me know.

Happy crafting to one and all,


Monday, 25 February 2008

New Stash

I recently spent a fortune at Colours Down Under, an online counted cross-stitch shop based in Perth, Western Australia. The experience was very satisfying too. I've now organised all my birthday groups for 2008, & since I left a few people to the last moment, I was thrilled that Janine & her team processed & delivered my new stash within 3 working days.

But "That's not all, folks".

I'm dreaming of being a grandmother some day in the not too distant future (well, hello! I have 4 adult off-spring. It's bound to happen one day, isn't it?) so when I saw these cuties on EBay, I just had to bid for them.

Cute, huh?

Happy stitching, everyone!


Saturday, 23 February 2008

Oh Boy! It's hot!

It's the last weekend of the Australian Summer. It's not just hot in Brisbane today; it's REALLY hot - 40°C or 104°F. I'm not complaining, or anything. It's just a statement. We haven't had the extreme temperatures that other places around Australia have had in the past few months. This Australian summer has gone down as the hottest summer in recorded history. In fact, for all but a week of the last two months, Brisbane has had rain which means that the temperatures have not been summer-like at all. With the daily max at 25C, it has been marvelous!

To put you in the picture, dear reader, the northern parts of Australia have wet summers and very dry winters. It's the opposite in the south. For Brisbane, the weather is usually sunny & clear for 300+ days of each calendar year (& for the last 11 years or so we've had probably 330+ sunny days each calendar year). How lucky can you get having all this glorious weather? It's great. The clothes dry on the line outside, we can plan events without worry of rain ... and so the list goes on.

I'm sure my SIL & her family are enjoying their holiday at the Gold Coast. They live in Sydney, so it's nice for them to have good weather.

But enough of the weather. There are other things to blog about.

We are enjoying our new Darby & Joan lifestyle. You don't know the expression? The term 'Darby and Joan' is defined by the Random House Dictionary as "a happily married couple who lead a placid, harmonious life." After raising 7 children between us, the MOTH & I have no problem with this placidness, let me tell you.

The Cadet Princess has happily settled into life in Townsville, as I knew she would. She has gone to live with her father, so it's not like she's living a struggling student's life. She's enjoying the comforts of her childhood home & bedroom, surrounded by teddy bears on the shelf, baby photographs & enjoying her dad's cooking. He's a great cook!

Meanwhile, back to life in Brisbane ...

Having given the impression that life's tranquil, I won't pretend that it's void of the interesting. We went out for lunch on Tuesday (after seeing off the Cadet Princess at the airport - we used frequent flyers points to gain a business class seat so that she could take 3 x 35kg suitcases!) & then went out again last night to 'Phantom of the Opera'.

'Phantom' was brilliant. I loved the costumes, voices & the music. As ever, I was so fatigued after a working week, that I was ready for a snooze as I sat in the dark in the comfy chairs, but I resisted & managed to stay awake until well after midnight & after a delight supper of quiche lorraine at a French restaurant, Belle Epoque in Ann St Fortitude Valley 4006 QLD (Phone: 07 3852 1500).

So now back to Saturday & the heat. I'm swanning around whilst the MOTH whips up something delicious for dinner. He's the Saturday cook & feels deprived when I do it. During the week, I'm working hard at the new routines of work, exercise, the housekeeping & study. The MOTH's still travelling most weeks so he enjoys domesticity on weekends. Life's good.

Keep the emails coming. I love hearing from you.

Happiness & laughter always,


Tuesday, 19 February 2008


The year, so far, has been a one-foot-after-the-other, one-day-after-the-other kind of time in our lives. Some days are diamonds, some days are stone and some have quarry face written all over them ...

Some of the 'ordinary' is simply due to the continuation of the rain, Lucy's illness & work commitments.

I guess we have to have these 'ordinary times', just like the Catholic Church has them. They make the special times seem extra special.

Having talked of ordinary times though, I'm happy to report that this week has a few red letter events happening:

Monday (yesterday) was the start of my academic year, so my head is now back into the books etc. Also, the MOTH & I had dinner at Indooroopilly Pig & Whistle with crown and cadet princesses and the crown princess's consort (LOL ... I wonder what Duncan thinks about that title). It was like a last hurrah for the cadet princess.

Tuesday (today) the cadet princess is leaving on a jet plane (can you hear the music that goes with?) heading to Townsville. She was booked on the train but the flooding in central Queensland means that the train cannot get through. We've used frequent flyer points to get her a business class seat because the baggage allowance is very generous (three 30kg suitcases). She's heading back to where she spent her childhood, so she's taking most of her 'stuff' with her.

Wednesday is a work day. I have three a week, these days. It means that I will go to beading class on Saturday morning.

On Thursday, the packing boxes arrive. We are packing away the books in our library so that we can paint & tile. This use of boxes is not extravagant! Having renovated the kitchen, we have learned a lot about 'order' versus 'chaos'. LOL

and Friday is "Phantom of the Opera"! Woo hoo.

The best red letter of the week is that this is a week when the MOTH is working in Brisbane all week (Big smile on my part).

I hope you have some Red Letter Days or events happening in your life too.

Happiness & laughter always,


Sunday, 17 February 2008

The Rose Garden - Update No.3

This week's progress.
Like most projects, the outlining makes a big difference.
I'm still as pleased as I was when I first stated that it is my fave work ever!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Leaving Home

The Cadet Princess is leaving her life in Brisbane to live in Townsville, 1533km away.

She's off to James Cook University in Townsville, North Qld to study medicine, & reality has struck me that she will probably never come back to live anywhere nearby again in my life time.

While pleased for her, I'm heart-broken.

Every visit back to Brisbane will be a red-letter day rather than the quotidien. It won't be the same relationship & nowhere near as close as it has been.

How do parents cope under such circumstances?

To a Daughter Leaving Home
a poem by Linda Pastan

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving

from The Imperfect Paradise, 1988

Sunday, 10 February 2008

The Rose Garden - Update No.2

Here is this week's progress photograph. The regularity of posts has diminished with the return to work after the Summer break. Seriously though, the stitching rate couldn't have stayed that high much longer. What with stitching and the rain, my bottom would soon have outgrown my comfy chair.

I hope your week has allowed you time to stitch, too.

Happiness & Laughter Always,


Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Frustration with Bigpond

I need a new ISP fast! Bigpond is a pain in the bum when it comes to the billing system!

Every month for at least the last 5 bills, I have been over-charged $10 for my internet plan. For some reason, my plan costs $69.95 but I get charged $79.95.

Every month, I ring up & get someone to do whatever it is that they have to do to change it back so that I get charged the correct amount.

Then, on top of the extra $10, I am now starting to be re-charged for the whole kit and kaboodle. So this month's bill has the extra $10 from this bill plus the extra $10 from last bill. Last month's bill had the extra bit taken off the bill before added to it. Hence, I'm being charged an extra $20 each month, not to mention that I have overdue fees when they feel like it.

This month is the last straw! I got charged the extra $10, the over-due $10 from last month's adjustment (which was supposedly wiped because it was over-charge in the first place) PLUS a $55.00 slug for a supposed change of address transfer!!!

As far as I can tell, I'm still living in the same house that I've been living in since August 2005.

I'm not happy, Jan! Bigpond has made a stuff-up somewhere along the line (pardon the pun) and the company assumes that I will be blond enough to keep wearing their mistake. I could spit!

Anyone who wants to suggest another plan by another ISP, I will listen carefully to the advice.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

The Rose Garden - Progress Pic No.1

The Rose Garden

I've been stitching for a long, long time but never have I enjoyed a project so much as this one. The funny thing is that I procrastinated its start because I didn't like the idea of the 'natural' colour of the fabric. However, all's well that ends well. The photograph doesn't do it justcice. The first week of stitching on The Rose Garden looks lovely!

I hope you, too, are enjoying your stitching progress as much as I am enjoying mine.

Happiness & laughter always,


Weekend at the Gold Coast

My brother, his wife & their kids - they have great smiles, don't they?
(Just to give you an idea of how tall that 17 year old nephew is in the background, my brother is 6'3" tall!)

The view from our hotel balcony.
We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the Gold Coast Highway. I recommend you stay there any time!

Paul flew to the Gold Coast instead of directly back to Brisbane after his latest trip for work so that we could attend the party for my brother's 50th, last night. Boy, we had fun! I got to see my brother & his family & four of my five sisters.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Gifts for family members

For Genevieve, my sister - finally, her Christmas 2007 gift finished!

For Danielle, my niece - a gift for her 20th birthday on Saturday

Loved by both recipients.