Tuesday, 12 May 2015

New Addition

It's been a while since I have blogged but I have the very valid excuse that it has been pretty busy in our house lately. This is mostly due to this gorgeous young lady.

Meet Dusty, the newest addition to our household.

She is a darling little Labrador x Kelpie so she won't stay little f or long. She also have a sister, Chilli who lives with my big sister. So yes, the sisters have puppies who are sisters.

She's been pretty good so far with only a little bit of drama and has taken to her crate really well.

Is this a guilty face or what!

I'm sure my little girl will give me plenty of trouble for the future but that will be more than compensated by the joy and love that she will bring.

Now, be prepared for lots of puppy pictures!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Studio space!

Ever since I have moved into our current house my sewing machine has lived on our dining room table. When I get involved in a project (or several at once) it tends to spread across our dining room, lounge room and across my massage space. Whoops!

GM is usually very patient with having fabric and bits & pieces spread around our house (I may have also taken over our spare room) but occasionally he gets annoyed with it so I try my best to keep it contained although I am not always successful.

I don't know if GM has finally gotten sick of the creating/mess or he is just feeling particularly generous but he has offered me the use of the large workshop space in our shed. This would mean his workshop gets moved to one of the shed bays and I get to have the sealed room with all of the storage.

I'm so excited!!! I get to set up a proper sewing studio!!

It is going to be a huge task to turn it from the current dirty workshop to a nice, usable sewing space. That includes painting the walls and covering the floor so it isn't bare concrete.

So....anyone have any ideas what I should do....???

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Great Zoo of China

One of my greatest and longest running passions in life is reading.

For as long as I could remember my favourite companion was a book. Whenever we would go out I would take a book with me and my mother takes great joy in retelling a story of how, instead of cleaning my room or doing jobs, she would find me hiding in a cupboard with a torch and a book.

I reread favourite books over and and over again, the characters like old friends that I am visiting. When at other peoples houses I am drawn to their bookshelves to see what they have. The merest whiff of a book store piques my interest and I have to be quite strict on myself to curb my spending.

One of the most recent books I have read is 'The Great Zoo of China' by Matthew Reilly.

It is amazing. It is Matthew Reilly in all his glorious, action packed splendour. It is not a book that can be read casually. Picked up and put down on multiple occasions, a few pages here, a chapter there. It is a book to be devoured. To be inhaled in great chunks. It is a book that required you to turn off your phone, lock your doors and assemble snacks because there is no way you want to put it down for any reason.

Like all of Matthew Reilly's books it is well researched, action packed and wonderfully written, with just a hint of the fantastical. As soon as I had finished, I want to flip back to page one and start again.

That is the mark of a truly great read.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Colour Theory

Fabric. Over the past few years and especially recently, it has become one of the joys in my life.

Non-sewing/crafting people may not get it but there is something so joyful and beautiful about a crisp stack of fabric in fabulous colours, just begging to be unfurled and turned into something amazing.

I buy a lot of my fabrics online and seeing that parcel waiting for me in the post box can turn a bad day good and a good day even better.

There is something about the possibilities, the potential that is so exciting. It could be turned into a bag, a hat, a snuggly quilt for a new bub or just about anything. The list is endless.

Selecting fabrics for my projects is by far my favourite part of the process. My problem then lies in that I love my fabric so much I get scared and don't want to use it. What if I cut it up and make a mistake. What if I pair those fabrics together but the finished product doesn't look good. what if I stuff up the sewing and kill the entire project. I guess I am just a chicken. I'm a little ashamed to admit that there is more than one bundle of fabric in my stash that I am yet to use because I can't bear to use it. What if...what if...what if....!!

The other dark side of my fabric obsession is the buying of the fabric.

I have used the excuse of my new "Blossom Jam" adventure to buy fabric and "build my stash'. But I have to stop, for no other reason than I'm running out of storage room!

I know that my fabric stash is nowhere near the size of some of my more advanced sewing/quilting friends but I think I need to draw the line soon.

Saying that....I bought more fabric! Ooops!!

I take comfort in the fact that I know I am not the only one of my sewing/quilting/crafting friends that repeatedly says 'I cannot buy any more fabric for a while....oohh look that is gorgeous, I'll have 2 yards'

It's a sickness!!

One of my most recent acquisitions in my stash building fever is the beautiful 'Color Theory' by V & Co. for Moda Fabrics from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Something about the colours just called to me and I was not disappointed.

Now I just have to have the courage to cut it up and make something amazing!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Word for the Month: Prepare

For many, especially those going back to school, January was the month to prepare. Prepare books, prepare uniforms, prepare lunches and prepare to send off their little ones, some for the very first time. 

But for me, February is my month to prepare. Prepare for changes and challenges. Prepare myself mentally and prepare myself physically. 

To me, being prepared means being organised. I did a lot of organising in January, mainly due to the arrival of the remainder of my stuff/junk from storage. 

Who knew I had accumulated so much!! Due to moving around and bring quite transient these last few years I had not realised that I had so much...stuff. And that's what it is. Stuff. Of course there is useful stuff and rubbish stuff and fun stuff and even stuff that belongs to others. But there it all is....stuff. 

So now the challenge is to weed out the rubbish and somehow get the rest into our house. Thankfully I have a very understanding Gorgeous Man (GM) who is very (ok, somewhat) tolerant of me almost completely taking over the various storage spaces in our house. I have even...gasp...used some space in the shed!!!

As I said, I have got a bit organised including my fabrics and my crafting supplies but there is still a ways to go.

My goal is to use the month of Feb to finish off my organising so I can be prepared when things start getting crazy (crazier...?)

The other side of my preparedness is to prepare myself mentally. This means getting back into my meditation and reconnecting spiritually. 

I feel I have been been neglecting this aspect of my life for some time now and I am suffering for it. 

And lastly, I need to prepare physically. After spending nearly three years in a mining camp and the last year loved up in a new relationship, my healthy eating and exercise regime has been somewhat lax. So, back to the gym we go....

Monday, 2 February 2015

I'm baaaack!!!

Yes, I have returned once more to attempt my blog!! 

My last blog entry was in 2012 when I was travelling/backpacking through Europe. Wow. That was a long time ago.

All other things aside I have been to 5 more countries since then including Cambodia, Thailand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Spain.

Of course, so much has happened in the past 3 years and I couldn't possibly summarise it all so instead I will start fresh from 2015....

The beginning of this year has found me starting a new life as a small town girl in rural QLD. After nearly 3 years of FlyIn/FlyOut I found myself a nice country boy and decided to settle down.

To say the least, small town country life has been an experience. It is so different from what I am used to and I doubt I will ever fully get used to the politics that comes with living in a community of less that 1500 people.

I do love the country life though. It has introduced me to many new things including shooting (eeek) and changed my attitude towards life somewhat. I find it very strange when I go back to Brisbane or to the Coast and I get a little bit overwhelmed or it takes me a minute to reacclimatise myself to the noise, people, traffic and bustle.

2015 is going to be a big year for me. Well, I have big plans.

Not least of all, my plans for 2015 include starting 3 new businesses. Yes three. I know, it sounds crazy to me too.

I will finish my massage therapy study this year and once that is completed I will launch Wellness & Light Massage Therapy, here in town.

Thanks to my dear friend, the Little Red Hen, I have been inspired to turn my crafting desires into something somewhat profitable and I have plans to start a market stall and sell my crafts under the name Blossom Jam Creations.

And thirdly, through the encouragement and inspiration of my darling Lola Dee, I have become an Arbonne Consultant. For the time being this may not get a much focus as my other projects/businesses but it something interesting to have on the side, with the potential to expand later.

Because juggling all those balls just doesn't seem enough (!!!) I have also, somewhat hesitantly, joined Carrose Creations and her Finish It Fifteen Challenge (here). It is a challenge to finish 15 projects you have on the go.

While I cannot come up with 15 right now I'm sure they will present themselves soon enough. I can however come up with a few, one of which I have already finished!!

1. Danelle's Baby Quilt - Pink Tea (finished!)

2. Shannon's Baby Quilt - Jelly Jam

3. Ellie's Quilt - Ellie's Romp

4. Our bed quilt - Queen Alice Blues

5. Lap Quilt for Tiff - Tiffany's Thunder Buddy

6. Disappearing 9 Patch - Camp Comfort (Orange and Blue)

Hmmm...these all seem to be quilts....

I completely blame AJ for my quilting bug. 

I've also started to 'name' all of my quilts. This is so it is easier to refer to them (rather than 'the blue and orange one' or 'the pink and brown one' etc) plus it's fun to come up with the names.

Looking at it now I think it is hugely ambitious to think I can finish 6 quilts in one year!! Oh well, it's not called a challenge for nothing.

I have a small side note to my Finish It Fifteen. Because I will be madly sewing for my crafting business I can only include things on my FI15 list if I don't intend to sell it

Great, making it harder for myself....not so smart :P

I'll get better at taking photos...I promise...

Other personal goals this year include replacing the horrible lino our house with some lovely floorboards and getting a puppy. Along with the usual, get fitter, eat healthier, exercise more etc etc.

Keep an eye out for my quilting and crafting escapades, as I intend to blog my little heart out. The hardest part is remembering to take photos along the way!!

Until next time...

Friday, 30 March 2012

Colossal Colleseum

Day: 31

Today we finished off the last of the "Rome list" with the Colleseum, The Pantheon, and the Roman Forum.

The Colleseum was aweseome!! It was so fascinating to see the original walls and ruins as well as the reconstructions that make it that much easier to imagine how it was in its heyday. We had an audioguide which made it that much more interesting. As many of you know, I am a trivia nerd and love all the facts etc. The audioguide was perfect for this as you learned so much more than simply walking around. Example; the first show (i.e. Gladiator fight)was around 4th century B.C. and the last was around 500 A.D.

We went past the Roman Forum, which are so much more expansive than I thought. It was incredible to see the ruins all laid out and they are discovering (and reconstructing) more everyday.

We also visited the Pantheon, which from the outside looked gorgeous and impressive but inside was just a church (had my fill of that the day before yesterday!)

It was a great day. We even ended up visitng a few places we didn't plan on, simply by walking around (i.e. getting lost) such as the Bascilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, Piazza Collona and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Bascilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore has the claim of being the largest Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy. Yes, another church but seriously, we are in Italy so there is little you can do to avoid it. The inside of this particular church was incredible. The marble alone was astonishing. It is also pretty impressive from the outside.

The other interesting thing is that under the altar of the basilica is the Crypt of the Nativity or Bethlehem Crypt, which is said to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was so incredible. It is by far the largest, most elaborate war memorial I have ever seen. The statues themselves were huge!!

It has been an enormous couple of days and this has resulted in me being a bit slack with my blogging. These past days have been very long days that have consisted of hours of walking (and eating) and when they come to an end I only have enough evergy to return to the room, shower and crash into a deep sleep. I also had to wait for an opportunity to use a proper computer so I can upload the pictures from my camera. Worth the wait I think!

Today's count
Cappucino: 1

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Backpackers Best Friends!

 Day: 26

Today I travelled from Genoa to Florence. I am getting much better with the navigation and haven't gotten lost going to my accommodation here or in Genoa. There was only one almost hiccup on this trip. I fell asleep on the train and almost missed my changeover in Pisa. Close call!!

The hostel in Florence is huge and much better organised than some I've stayed (Nice, I'm looking at you).

My roommates are a lovely Japanese girl, Sayo, who I have become friends with and a pair of Argentinean sisters, ?? & ??.

At this hostel I have had the pleasure (?!) of having two very special hostel only experiences. One is the late night mysterious roommate in the form of a girl who arrived well past midnight, was asleep with a blanket over her head when I got up and was gone when I returned. The second was drunken inhabitants of the rooms next door/down the hall. Noisy and didn't care who they disturbed. Due to both of these I finally had to break out what my Canadian backpacker friend Clodie calls the "Backpackers Best Friends" aka earplugs and an eye mask.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Reality vs.....

Tomorrow I leave France and head to Italy!!

I am very excited about this. I should be just fine because my darling girl Lola has me well prepared by giving me a copy of 'Eat, Pray, Love' and making me watch 'Under the Tuscan Sun'.

 That's all I'll need, isn't it? Real life is exactly like the movies, isn't it?

Maybe not exactly like this....(he doesn't really do it for me)

Note to self: pack sunglasses and wind machine

Yup exactly like that!
Travel note: Make friends with nuns and find yellow dress

Yup I'll be just fine!!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Crowds, gardens(?!) and a fine

 Day: 12

With the lovely Clodie winging her way back home, today I was on my own.

With the sun shining and most of my Paris list ticked off I decided to head south to Chateau Versailles, former home of King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.

It is on the train down there that I get my first fine for not having the correct ticket. Ah damn it!! Even my pleas of ignorance had no effect and I hand over 20€.

The chateau itself is very impressive with wrought iron and gold gates and a huge cobblestone expanse in front so you can truly appreciate its size and grandeur.

Before reaching the chateau/exhibit itself there was an exhibition of paintings by  Louis Fran├žois Lejeune who was also an officer during the Napolianic Wars. The paintings were very impressive, large and incredibly detailed but after a while the subject of death, destruction and 19th century wars was depressing so I skipped the last half and went on.

To imagine the kind of wealth it took to build (and maintain) such a place is mind boggling. The detail and extravagance that adorned every room was breathtaking. From the massive paintings on the ceilings to the gilt edged cornicing and door frames to the marble everywhere, the whole place was one big 'look at how much money we have, we almost can't spend it fast enough'. No wonder the peasants revolted, kicked the gates in and stormed the place (exact historical citation needed).

Certainly the most impressive room was the 'Hall of Mirrors'. A 239.5 foot (73m) long room with 17 enormous mirroredarches echoing floor to ceiling windows opposite and the whole thing set off with countless numbers of lights/candles. It was truly spectacular and no photo can do it justice.

Some of the other rooms that can be viewed are Marie Antoinettes bedroom and the Kings Grand Apartment.

The chateau and the rooms were spectacular but the whole experience was ruined by the fact that there were quite a few people trying to cram their way through those narrow halls and of course everyone wants to stop and take pictures so there were several times where we were crushed together like cattle, which is neither pleasant nor fun.

I managed to snap a few photos while fighting the crush.

Finally breaking free of the crush I wandered the infamous Versailles gardens. Now these gardens are immense and there is no way you can see them all on foot (you can hire golf buggies to drive around!) so I knew I was never going to see it all. But I did expect to be completely awed by the small part I would see....

Unfortunately not the case. Bitterly disappointed. The initial gardens right by the chateau I would describe less as gardens and more as gravel surrounding dried shrub looking things. In pretty patterns though.

Most of the statues we're covered up (I assume to protect them from the weather, seems they did ok the previous century or so) and the fountains were not on. There was a sign saying they were only turned in in the summer season. Excuse me? Did I not just pay the same entrance fee as you would in the summer season yet I don't get the same experience? Not happy at all.

I continued walking to see if there was more to the gardens that might deserve my appreciation. Well, not quite. More covered over statues, more gravel and very few places to sit down. I finally found a place that was nice (and I could sit down) although I would consider it less 'gardens' and more just 'nature allowed to grow'.

As with Paris, I had high expectations and minimal results. Yes I'm glad I went and there were some wonderful things to see but the overall experience left much to be desired.

Finally I had had enough and got back on the train (making sure I had the correct ticket) and headed for Paris.

I still had some time left in the afternoon so I went the Musee d'Orsay, which is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, an impressive former railway station built between 1898 and 1900. Musee d'Orsay shows many beautiful paintings, statues etc including many by Van Gogh,  Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, and Gauguin, of the Impressionist Movement. They were very interesting and it was well worth the 4€ for an audio tour as this just made it that much more interesting.

I tried to stick around to see the Eiffel Tower at sunset and then all lit up but it had been a long and tiring day. Luckily I will be returning to Paris so I can still experience both those things another day.