Friday, 28 November 2008

Some Stamping Nostalgia

Birthdays make you nostalgic - at least, the ones with big numbers do. See if you can spot the mystery location :

Yes, it's Woodstock, in Maling Rd, when it used to be located in the old Post Office (most glamorous shop on the street). Woodstock was the most gorgeous stamp shop in Melbourne, and definitely where I got the bug. They had a cafe and kids play area too. Ah, those were the days. Take the kids for a run around in Canterbury Gardens, a quick morning tea and a browse at the stamps while they are distracted.

In the top photo, those two little cheeseburgers on the left are my twins, and the pretty girl is Chris' young Jayne, who's a lot bigger now.

And here's another visit to the same place :
But this time the girl is my Catriona. Reading to her brothers. Awww.

And you know, the shelves would have been full of these awesome stamps, and I didn't realise how much I'd want them in seven years time! Do you know some of these PSX botanicals are changing hands for upwards of $50? Of course some aren't, so that's why I'm patrolling eBay regularly. My collection's up to three now (of the actual botanical range). Nice! But so many more to go...

My Birthday part 2

Mmm, cake. Photo by Jonathan.

See, I told you it was a good idea to save the "4" and "5" candles from the kids' fourth and fifth birthdays.

My first try at Buttercream frosting from the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery cookbook. What a good book! Nice frosting - now I have to try different types of icing sugar, and find out the best.

My birthday!! Part 1

I had a birthday yesterday - yay! Jeff took the kids out shopping, and they apparently influenced him... now *I* have a donut maker too! That's a fun present! Got to experiment with recipes now.

The big present (heavily hinted at) was a hand blender - a really posh one. It justifies its kitchen place by replacing two other gadgets - or three actually. Froths milk like a beauty when you want cappuccino. To say nothing of all the other kitchen jobs. It blended Sweet Potato Soup for us last night. Yum!

I have to blog very slowly today - we used up our whole month's supply of internet goodness four days early, and have to go at slowed-down-speed until Sunday night. So I may just bank up the photos and add lots on Monday!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Woo hoo! My Homer Simpson Card!

Yay! I get to post this card I made! I had to wait until the birthday recipient received it (cos that's my rule, of course) but lucky for me, he has no restraint at all and opened his parcel a full five days early.

John is turning 49, and the running gag is that that's nearly 50. Not much of a gag, but it's something to tease him with.

So I made this card to go with the gift (a donut maker!). Jeff talked to him on the phone tonight and asked what he thought of the card. There was an offhand reply. Jeff prompted a bit further - "Yeah, I didn't believe Pauline had made that herself!". "Um, she didn't - did she?" said John. He had another look, and realised it was a real hand made card.

So wow, my card got mistaken for a "proper" factory made card.

A very nice excuse to use the "Doodle" alphabet I just bought. The exclamation mark is the "i" upside down. I always think stamp alphabets need to come with punctuation. Alternatively, a good stamp set would be all-sizes punctuation. It'd look silly, but I'd buy it!

I used a round punch to punch the eyes out of white glossy sticker paper. Very effective, but then I had to get the shading in, and not every marker likes glossy paper. So I got to bring out the gray Copic alcohol based marker (which came in a pencil case I bought at a market). Yes, there's another thing I always look out for, old pencil cases, because they are often stuffed full of quality art materials.

Yes, yes, I know, just a teensy bit of a copyright violation here. Wouldn't dream of making such a card for sale. Actually never been tempted to sell a card anyway.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Hail to the Chief!

I'm president of the P&C (that's the parents group at school, the people who do the fundraising). Today's task was pretty simply, cook up some sausages outside the local grocers (they were donating all the food), spruik for donations, and keep all we can earn. On a late spring day there's nothing easier than cooking out of doors and serving it all up to hungry Vermontians.

Would have been great if it hadn't HAILED! We got as far as setting up the BBQ (which was quite an effort - it had to travel by trailer). But the wind and rain were blowing right in and onto us, and it wasn't a good idea to continue.

And my house smells of onions now.

Cats are Fastidious

... about their cleanliness. Except for Domino, the number one cat in this house (Mr Burns is the Number 2 cat). Here he is with a leaf on his face, making no effort to remove it.

Domino, the cat who puts the "idious" back into fastidious.


Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Holy Snapper!

My kids' school is part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden programme. I volunteer there every week when I can. Including today. Well, good day to pop in - we rolled out pasta in the first session, and teacher Ange invited me to join them for the second session. Nicky from Trunk restaurant came in and demonstrated filleting a VERY large fish. To the amazement and amusement of a large group of kids around 8 to 10 years old. It was great! But not for the fish.

Then she made a Moroccan coleslaw, which we ate (yum!) with Fish Agrodolce (prepared earlier, but yummy). Nice day.

If you have a local school that runs this programme, ask if they need you to volunteer. You get to cook with kids and eat yummy stuff.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Go Fly a Kite

Yesterday we flew a kite! Wow, real, old-fashioned, non-electronic fun! It went up way higher than this, but photos of three kids looking up just don't convey the message the same.

The original string got hopelessly tangled, so we changed it for fishing wire (which we have left over from a marionette project) and it worked really well.

Oh, and the kite came from a school fete Trash and Treasure a few weeks ago. Another well spent $1.

Wondering if a kite making and flying day would be a good school activity? Hmmm...

Sunday, 16 November 2008

My little visitor

Jeff didn't believe I really took this photo. Because it is so fabulous? No, just because it's a bit of a cliche. Ah well. My lillium plant (the one guarded by the frog and worm) had a visitor today.

Today's game - fun!

Thomas made up a game today. He took the camera, and took a really close up picture of something in the kitchen, then we had to find out what it was. The first one was easy, but then the stakes got raised.

I had them all stumped with this :

Which is of course Peach Iced Tea cordial (it's rather nice). They all looked in the tea cabinet!

Then Jonathan retaliated with this :

Which had even me wondering. I checked all the biscuit tins, but no. It turned out to be the illustration on the front of the tea caddy!

So there ya go, a new game for you.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Some more of my favourite things

This little guy is Lego, but not just any Lego. He's from the Fabuland range, which pre-dates "minifigs" (they are the current little people). I bought him in an op shop yesterday, all packed up in a plastic takeaway box full of other little toys, for $2.

The cart came from a different op shop today. It's so nice to see them together! They go into a little storage box in the cupboard, just for Fabuland Lego. When the box is full, I'll move it into a bigger box. And in between, I won't think too much about it, but whenever a new bit gets added, I'll set them all up on the table and think how nice they look. That's how you collect cool stuff.

Oh, and also in the little takeaway box were some old cereal toys. I know they are very popular and very collected. Straight to eBay with them! And that's where all these $2ses come from.

Pizza pie for you?

Back in the middle of last century, there was a lot of migration to Australia from Europe, including many people from Italy. They, and their offspring, are all Aussies now, and everything they brought is part of our culture. But - this McAlpine's cookbook from (about) the 1950s shows what the settling in period was like. Daring cooks were invited to try "Continental Cookery", including this "Pizza". That's a type of pie, right?

Today is the Hilltop Market, a church fete I remember from last year. That was where I got my first rubber dolly. Ah, good times.

Teensy problem with our holiday, darling...

We're planning a Gold Coast trip in January next year, and the travel agent proposed a place we might want to stay. Well, it wasn't featured in their catalogue, but no matter, I'll just look it up on the net. I was wondering just how far from the Cavill Ave it was. Pretty far, it turns out...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

For no good reason

... here's something I made a while back. Chris and Gail and Lizzie came over for a cuppa, and we had a punch party. It was unintentional; Chris was just returning some borrowed stuff to Gail, and of course I had cardstock handy. I made this girl - she was pretty successful, and a nice use of the Stampin' Up tab punch.

You know all my hand made journals for the school fete? Yep, they all came home unsold. Anybody want one? We had a very reasonable $12 price tag on them. I'd send the proceeds to the school.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

An eBay success story

I have a habit of collecting pretty things, at garage sales and so on. Interestingly, my house's capacity for pretty things is pretty small, so after a bit of enjoyment, I regularly sell batches on eBay. This is one - a truly lovely clock. I had to look up all the details - it's a "Petit Point" clock - those panels are real needlework. The striped panels are decorative paper, behind glass. It came from a garage sale, for very little money, but as far as I could see, there was little chance of ever hearing it tick again. No hands, rattly works, and no glass. It sat in my craft room for ages, being a bit of inspiration.

Finally I let it go on eBay, and made a useful $20 or so on it. The buyer was pleased with his bargain. The best bit though, is that he emailed me some time later, and said he had it working! WOW! So it's a win all round - the original seller got some shelf space, I enjoyed looking at it, and scored enough pocket money to pay for a few craft supplies, and the new owner got a project that turned out great. And little miss clock lives again, just as she was supposed to. And she's probably worth a good bit more now.

The Log Fairy and the Fruit Fairy

We had some trees lopped the other day. Seriously lopped - well, to the ground really. It all started when the strolling tree-loppers knocked on our door. They seem to do the rounds of the neighbourhood offering no-hassle chopping of troublesome trees, right now if you like. They have insurance, a truck, some chainsaws, and now a mulcher. It's nice to see some blokes turning their desire to chop stuff up into a thriving business.

So they left some logs in the garden. Six trees full. We are shifting them, surreptitiously, to the nature strip each day, hoping the Log Fairy will take them away. So far, the Log Fairy is running at 100% success. I caught a look at him once - a well dressed man in a really nice car. He just took a few pieces and drove on. But by morning the pile was empty again. I suspect the Log Fairy is like Santa, and has lots of helpers.

So if that's the Log Fairy, who's the Fruit Fairy? It's Louise, who dropped by yesterday with a care package. She was surprised to find me quite well. I traded her a jar of cumquat marmalade for her gift of fresh fruit, and we had a lovely cuppa. All the rest of the day I snacked on fruit, and coped a lot better because of it. Thank you, Fruit Fairy, I really do believe in you!

Friday, 7 November 2008

So I made another birdy card

Here's a card made with my NEW stamps from Pipedreamink. It's the bigger version of the pretty birdy. I didn't realise til I was stamping that the "Flying" and "Free" words were two separate words. That works for me too.

I used watercolour paper, which is so nice for tearing. You can run a coloured pencil over the torn edge and just highlight the very edge of the top surface. Makes an interesting line. These are the Prismacolor pencils again.

See the cute eyelets? Full sized, and in bright colours. That was a garage sale find - I bought a whole jar full of coloured eyelets from a woman who had just retired from making theatrical costumes. She was delighted they were going to get used; I was just delighted.

Yes, I know, the "Flying" is partly under the eyelet. I could lie, and tell you I meant to do that, but you know I was just making it up as I went along.

Not sick enough

Surprise! I'm home! In fact, I got sent home yesterday, after spending the afternoon in an attempt to do another round of EP studies. When I saw my doctor I told him "Actually, since I last saw you, I haven't had any problems." He visibly wilted. Big sad face and everything. He can't do anything unless the patient is showing some symptoms. So I still got taken into the big scary room (it's the Angiography Suite, I now know). This time I climbed up onto the table myself. They hit me with some medicine, something adreneline-like, to raise the heart rate, and trick the heart into showing it's worst behaviour.

And what happened? A fast, strong, regular beat, just like you'd expect in a healthy person.

So I got hovercrafted off the bed and back to my room, where they kept me for a little while to do final observations, and to make sure the treatment so far hadn't upset me. They brought a really appalling meal (boiled vegies and boiled rice - they have vegetarian options, but not every day... silly me for thinking otherwise). I ate my strawberry cake. Then we went home.

I called Mum, and rearranged the carpooling for scouts. After that, I was pretty flaked, and went to bed by ten. So today I call the doctor to find out what's next - it might just be "wait and see".

The second photo here is the welcome pack they put on your bed before you arrive. Ah, my own telemetry unit, that's good. And a little handbag to put it in, how neat. A razor - urk!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Packing for my hospital visit

Just getting ready for tomorrow's hospital visit - it's a repeat of the last one, so I know what to expect. So :

Fruit for supper : check
Fruit for breakfast : check
Backup Fruit : check
Freshly baked strawberry cake for snack : check
Colourful Tupperware bowl to put it all in : check

Oh, and I suppose pajamas and stuff too.

I'll be home on Friday. See ya then.

Melbourne Cup Day at the Museum

The best place to be on Cup day (with the possible exception of Flemington) is the Museum! They run kids' activities in the Australia Gallery, near Phar Lap, and show the race on a big screen. We go every year, and have a great time.

The boys decorated hats with streamers, straws and feathers; I got to sit on the Moon seat outside the "cinema" (which was showing fabulous newsreels from the 1920s to the 1940s); and then there's the gorgeous gardens outside.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

We have Pocky!

A curriculum day, a mum who's running out of energy a bit ... we had to stay close to home, but keep amused.

So, we went to the grocer at Rich Maha to top up our spice supplies (want a 1kg bag of coriander? That's where you get it). We also found "ring pappadams" - little things that look like macaroni, that puff up to look like Cheezels when fried. Wow!

And we got a box of "Pocky", which I'd heard about, but never actually seen. Big in Japan, apparently. Definitely half an hour's entertainment.

Oh, and we read the Melbourne Cup form guide and chose our favourite horses. I like Alessandro Volta, I think he might have a burst of energy stored up. Then looked at I Can Haz Cheezeburger.

Then we looked at Tony Martin's review of Jaws 4: The Revenge, from The Late Show years ago. It's on YouTube. Then we wanted to watch Jaws 4 (yes, I have the DVD - I won it in a competition). But we'd run out of day.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Anatomy of the heart

Jonathan is doing a project on the circulatory system. Aided by the unusually detailed diagrams of the heart I have available, he's made a model with polymer clay.

So Thomas had to do the lungs...

And Catriona made a fairy and her elephant.

The WII will encourage kids to be active, they said...

Like this. Thomas discovers the remote works from under a blanket, meaning there's no need to laboriously put on a dressing gown in the morning.

More ancient terracotta unearthed

Weird little worm statue is now fully faux-finished and installed in a pot plant. A quick look at his underside reveals that under the garish paint, he's really - terracotta! I do believe that's ironic.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Jour-nal

I made another book. Another book made from a tampon box. It must be spring. This one is made from a very smart De Jour box, which was silver and white, and very elegant. The note inside said "Tell A Friend", and came in very handy, because that's where I got the "N", the "A" and the "L". Oh, look, I'm telling a friend, so I did the right thing.