Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Driving miss daisy....

We've been on a road trip! this was all quite unexpected & done in haste, as I was told I had 8 days too much leave (I found that hard to believe when I just had 10.5 weeks off & only came back to work in august!) but who am I to argue about going on holidays-so rather than be paid out for them I checked out the roster, said there was enough staff & I'll have 10 days please & off we went-all that quick!!!

We left Sydney & drove to Wagga Wagga where we stayed with my friend Marge (of the cupcake postcard) & spent 2 days with her.

Wagga has certainly changed since the days when we lived there- the main street is so pretty with trees planted up on the footpath & lovely wide pavement to walk along. The gardens are looking all a bit sad since we lived there- with all the water restrictions no one has the lovely green lawns that once adorned all the homes- more dusty & dry looking these days. Its hard to maintain beautiful green lawns on water restrictions.

After leaving Wagga we headed down into Victoria leaving the freeway & meandered across country through the top of Macedon, passing Hanging rock & the Organ Pipes (beautiful countryside through here) winding down towards the coast to Warrnambool where we stayed the night in readiness to the Great Ocean Road drive.

The great ocean road is one of those trips that everyone should do once in their lifetime- Wow!!!
we pulled in at all the little vantage points along the way to take in the view, see the rugged coastline & have a break from the driving & to take many pics....many, many pics.

The twelve apostles (I think there are not 12 anymore as a couple fell into the sea-I certainly couldn't count 12 of them) were quite amazing- bus loads of tourists here & it was well set up with parking & an under road walk to get to the coast & the view.

One place where we pulled in had a boat ramp-the sign said only 4WDs beyond this point...sheesh it was nearly a shear drop into the water from the cliff above (we walked to have a look)-I think putting the boat in & out could be quite tricky at this place! It was so steep I didn't even try to walk down the ramp!

Our next stop was Melbourne to visit with our son & his family- they are living in St. Kilda- an interesting mix of people to say the least & we did many trips on the trams. I did not drive in Melbourne- just couldn't come to grips with driving with the trams beside me or behind me- maybe next time.

While in Melbourne we went out to the Dandenongs to go on Puffing Billy- what a fun trip that was- I'm sure its the only train where they encourage you to sit on the window ledges & hang out of the train. Our Grandson was in his element- he choo- chooed all the way & sang his train songs! Took some coaxing by his father to get him to sit on the window ledge with him.

After leaving Melbourne we drove to lakes entrance- not my favourite place of the trip- although DH was sure he saw a penguin- he insisted it was (yeah, right!!!) I took some pics with the zoom- penguin, shemguin -it was a cormorant!!!!LOL

Once I headed the car up the coast towards Syney I was like a horse given its lead to go home- instead of staying another night on the road we drove right on home-long drive, weather overcast & drizzling most of the way-but its so good to be back home again.....until the next time.

One thing we did decide on was that we don't travel by car well together & Dh's idea of buying a caravan & touring Oz in it has been finally put to bed (not that I ever wanted to do it).

I've told him he wants to drive long distances, go right ahead- I'll fly & meet him there!LOL

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fabric Postcards & a yarn or 2

Today I've been making fabric postcards. These are so easy to make & so much fun-little mini quilts. The one of the cupcake is for my friend, Marge's birthday-she'll be 82 next week- she'd shoot me for saying her age, but I know she'll never read this blog!

Marge & I used to work together some 30+ years ago- I was a newly finished RN & she'd been working for a long time-she has been a wonderful friend over the years. I have decided to make her a bag similar to the one I made Sandie & fill it with Crabtree & Evelyn products as I know she loves nice, pretty, smelly things!

Marge also appreciates what I make & with any crafty person- show some appreciation & you'll get more handmade things than you know what to do with.

In the swap I am participating in, I had to make 4 postcards to send-there are lots of tutorials & blogs on the Internet on how to do them, in an in depth way, so I'm not repeating instructions here.

A quick explanation of how I go about making them-I just play with fabrics, trims, threads, whatever grabs my fancy at the time- place them on some fabric a little bigger than 4x6 & play until I'm happy-then stitch it down with whatever stitches & threads I feel like. Some of my sewing friends say they never know if what they are doing is right, or what to do- I think these get over thought a lot of the time- unless you are doing some really arty swap & have a theme.

I use a postcard back that I downloaded years ago, & add all the details for posting- I also always give my work a name. Marge's is "Eat dessert first, Life's short!" I put the back through the printer & use June tailor's Quick Fuse-these are the perfect size to make postcards from. Sandwich it all together & satin stitch or serge around the edges to hold it all together & they go in the mail as is-never had any problems with them being posted 'naked'.

The Aussie $ certainly took a dive this week & as such I have curtailed my spending on US sites- I'm not even buying from Aussie sites that sell in US$'s- boy has it made a difference.

Pay pal is giving a shocking exchange rate, so I'll be avoiding them as well. Looks like my bank account will benefit from all this upheaval. I'm sure a lot of ebay sellers will notice a difference & those that sell in US$'s here in Aus.

Thankfully I ordered fabric & a book a couple of weeks back when the exchange rate was reasonable-now just waiting for them to arrive.

The book I ordered is by John Deere and although there are times I'd really like to know how to digitize for the embroidery machine, I bought the book to have a better understanding of how its done. One day I may start to do my own designs but at this stage I want to edit in a better way & understand all the software a bit better.

My knitting is progressing-slow but sure. I'm at the stage where I'd like to start a new project but I prefer to only do one at a time, that way I don't have UFOs all over the place.

Socks are calling me.....I really enjoy knitting them & have a few patterns saved to try over the hotter weather. Ravelry has certainly re-sparked my interest in knitting and on the downside has given me access to more patterns than I could knit in 10 lifetimes!LOL

In my yarn stash I have some beautiful silk lace weight yarn to knit up (bought while the $ was still up, thankfully!) Not sure what pattern I'll do with it- but it has to be something special. One is Schaeffer Andrea pure silk in Virginia Apgar colour & the other is Handmaiden lace silk-I think the colour was lily pond or water lily- something along those lines. Both are beautiful & feel wonderful.

Did you know its only 11 weeks to Christmas this Thursday- time to start thinking about a few handmade gifts. These days I make everyone in the family something-I never used to- it started when I did them all monogrammed towels one year. Now each year I try to think of something useful that I can make for them all-just a fun gift more than anything.

DD has told me they need some more bath towels, so they'll get a set with their names on them-easy peasy-not so sure about the boys they did mention that they did not need more towels!

DGS- I found the most adorable pattern in a get creative magazine for a tee pee-what fun for a 4 year old! Hopefully I'll find enough fabric in stash- if not I will just have to go to the fabric store! More on this as it progresses.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

King Parrot & Cockatoos

I was out in the garden early this morning & look what I found at one of the feeders- a beautiful male King Parrot. The colours on these parrots are just beautiful & although wary & watchful I did get some nice shots of him before he flew hopefully he'll call again & we'll see the return of the rainbow lorikeets & rosellas.

Once they get used to the feed being out we can have 30 or more of these birds in the backyard at once ,they make a lot of noise ,but oh, so worth it.

The cockatoos seem to know when I fill the feeders- it's almost like they have a sixth sense that seed is about-this morning there were 4 in the yard, swinging on the feeders, sitting in the trees & dive bombing across the backyard- they even get in the covered feeders that are really too small for them! There have been times when we have 8-10 of them in the yard- the noise level is horrendous with them all squawking & fighting over the feeders. I did notice that one of my geraniums has been be-headed again. I'm not sure what it is with my geraniums this year, but the cockies have taken a like (dislike) to them & keep stripping them!

I took a couple of pics of the one cockatoo coming down the rope of a feeder- sneaking down, thinking I wouldn't notice that he was heading for the seed- talk about a poser- he stopped half way down, more or less to give me a photo op with him!

After he made the move to the feeder his mates all flew in for a go as well-no doubt now that I have left the backyard it will have many more out there!!!

Yesterday we had our DD's dog, Ella with us for the day. DH picks her up & brings her around for the day- I'm not sure who is keeping whom company but they have a mutual adoration society going! Ella hates cockatoos. You only have to say "there's cockies in the yard Ella" & she's outside chasing them out the yard-doesn't bark- just bounds about frightening them. Mind, if one bit her she'd know it! Funnily enough she leaves the other birds alone for the most part- it's just the cockies she chases!

Here is Ella- with a flower on her ear! LOL no telling me she hadn't been in the flowers!LOL For all her size she is a big sook- although you wouldn't want to come in the yard on your own! her size alone is enough to frighten most people off.

Today is our GS's 4th birthday. We have spoken to him this morning- they are flying up from Melbourne tomorrow & we are having a bit of a get-together to celebrate. We've also promised a trip to Symbio to see the animals & a visit to Toys R Us to buy a birthday present!

GS was explaining to me how he could stop the kangaroos from scratching see the last time we were there an over zealous wallaby wanted all the grass clippings GS was holding & scratched him to get at them- mind you it didn't really hurt him ,but, not being used to them it frightened him. All the while Grand dad is saying move out the way- what a great pic this will be- not realizing poor GS was being 'attacked' by the wallaby! You can see where his priorities were! I told GS that he was a year older & a year taller now, so he'd be bigger than the wallabies this time! He has a plan, no doubt he'll want to try it!LOL

Yesterday I made GS a pillow case for his stay here-this may become a regular gift as I remember doing this the last time for his arrival, then another one where he picked the fabric. (see previous blogs)

Now he is into space & astronomy in a big way so I found some suitable fabric, in my stash,a design & made him another one-he can take this home with him. Pillow cases make a great gift for little kids I've found.

I have a chuckle to myself when I look at the pic-all you see is a snippet of the bed- the rest of the bed is waiting for me to tidy up before they arrive & looks a mess!!! No pics though!LOL

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Days off at last.

Six days wonderful! After doing 9 straight, its now time to be able to take a well earned break.
This morning I even managed to have a wander around the back garden-I use that term loosely as it's more a mish mash of plants stuck around the fence line-but in the spring they make wonderful photo ops....and those looking at the pics think we have a wonderful backyard.....

What we do have, & one of the reasons I went to the backyard, was birds, lots of birds & the feeders were empty. I love to entice all our native birds into the backyard & living on the edge of a National Park we get quite a variety.

The cockies are a pest...they empty the feeders looking for sunflower seeds & chase the smaller lorikeets & rosellas away until they have had their fill- which normally means all the feeders are empty or tipped out onto the grass. I need a cockatoo proof feeder. I have even tried buying seed that does not contain the seeds they prefer .....well ,that didn't work, they smartly tipped everything out & squawked loudly in the trees to tell me a thing or two!.......for all their faults they are the funniest to watch & have the most amazing antics.

Work this weekend was horrible- if it was going to go wrong, it did. I had a diabetic who had a hypo & had no symptoms & no food in the house-I don't understand relatives who leave their oldies with little or no food. Another diabetic that had a hyper & interfering neighbours who wouldn't listen.....

A gorgeous oldie, who was under the influence & fell &broke a humerus & clavicle-and her siblings say she should be left at home- I feel very sorry for her daughter who must be at her wits end trying to cope.

Another who was wandering the halls of a hostel looking for her DH (deceased) & her 2 DD's who were all staying at the same 'hotel' she was.....a schizophrenic who disappeared on me....and a client who tried to commit suicide.

This is the one I'm having the most trouble with-I feel that I could have done more to avert this from happening. His wife had told me through the week he had said he was going to- I did contact his LMO, but no answer there- they never get back to you-he seemed to pick up on Friday, then on Sunday my colleague said he was flat when she called in-it never crossed my mind he would attempt to kill himself....I should have been more adamant with his LMO-or rung mental health on the now he's in ICU after an overdose. He is also a schizophrenic- with no history of self harm.....why is it that Nurses always feel that they could have done more & we take this sort of incident to heart so much? These 6 days have come right when I need them most.

On a brighter note-

I'm back knitting this week- have started my collar scarf again-sketched out what I wanted & just cast on & started knitting, doing the increases as I thought it needed it-hopefully my gung-ho approach will work. The yarn is a hand dyed pure wool I bought on eBay from the USA- they called it sock yarn but it's so fine I think the socks would wear out pretty quick! It's the colour of pansies,so hopefully it will jazz up a black outfit I have...and more importantly work out!LOL

We have had a run of repairs being needed in & around the house.The saga of my dishwasher continues- I've been without it since Christmas-it was repaired & blew the circuit board again after 2 weeks....these boards apparently have to be shipped from Germany...hence the long hold up waiting. Seems shipping from an over seas country will explain everything....the long & the short of it was that they put in 3 more circuit boards in the workshop & everyone blew they said, no more it's 10 years old buy a new one, which is what I wanted to do 10 months ago-but DH wanted it fixed.

So, the new dishwasher is in its place- looking all shiny & bright- I can't use it- can you believe this- there is a leak in the plumbing (the drip drips right onto my quilting machine in the garage below!) - 3 days we have been waiting for the plumber to turn up to fix it- I have a feeling this could take months.

The side stairs need repairing outside-we've been waiting over a week for him to turn up for a quote. Then on Monday night the tension spring on the automatic garage door broke so now we are getting our exercise walking up the steep drive-he was supposed to come yesterday,but we are still waiting.......what is it about tradesmen never turning up, returning calls or never seeming to want work? Is there some secret trick to getting them to turn up-do you offer them favours if they will turn up? I'm at a loss to know......I'm still waiting.

Friday sees my "Melbourne family" as I've now started to refer to them come for the weekend. DS no1, his wife & our GS who will be 4 tomorrow. We saw our son back in august when he flew up for my birthday, as a surprise & we caught up with our DIL & GS back in July, while we were in the UK-so it hasn't been all that long-but it's lovely to have visitors & especially the little one.
Grandchildren are surely a blessing & you get to give them back!
Not sure what to get this 4 year old- I have a number book for him & a book of pictures taken in space- he is very keen on astronomy- his parents are buying him a telescope.....I thought a trip to the toy store might be fun-although I better have an idea what's allowed & not allowed by his parents. For all his amazing brain power this kid can still throw the biggest hissy fits you ever saw & loves Thomas the Tank in some ways he is just like a normal 4 year old (that asks about the speed of light, black light & super novas.....glad I don't have to keep up with him). Of course, he has a pencil roll as well- made by me.....and everyone who I gave them to liked them as well- I like it when what I make is appreciated.