Saturday, February 28, 2009

Birthday wishes...

Happy Birthday to my darling husband who turned 49 today...ooops was that supposed to be a secret?????

I've put in this photo of him when he was just 3 years old, standing with his older brother in their school uniforms.
He looks so innocent & cute, much too young to be going off to school or preschool or whatever it was. Thank goodness we are more relaxed about kindergarten wear these days. Can you imagine playing in sand or water or with fingerpaints with those clothes on.

I love his mothers handwriting on the back of this photo.

Chris grew up in Manchester, England until his family emmigrated to Australia when he was 9 years old. He grew up in fairly tough conditions, not quite 'Billy Elliot' style but there are always loads of funny stories that come out when the 6 of them are together (which is a rare event now that they all live in different states).

One story that gets repeated every birthday is the 'potato cake' story....

There wasn't much money in the household & their mother had a very tight budget. They had very few luxuries but plenty of loving. One year (maybe 7th) as a very special treat the 3 older children were allowed to go to the local bakery to get a 'shop bought cake' for Chris' birthday. Chris had the important job of carrying home the cake but once they got to the front door Brendan pushed Chris over & the cake & Chris went down. The cake was ruined & not fit for anything.
So that night instead of a lovely cake, Chris' mother made do with a potato with a candle sticking in it. Not a cooked potato, not even a washed or pink skinned potato, just a brushed potato with a solitary candle to blow out.
Chris always brings out this story if anyone thinks they are hard done by. No one can top the potato for a cake story.

So our tradition is that you always get a cake for your birthday....irony is that Chris doesn't even eat cake, maybe the trauma of the potato cake got to him!

But I still make one just the same & we all sing 'Happy Birthday' to him & he blows out the candles.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Photo booth style...

I had a few photos left over from what I needed for my on-line class so I used them up in this layout. Hayley loves to take multiple rapid photos so has a load of 'em to choose from.

I thought I'd put some of the girls own handwriting on it for posterity, it will be a nice addition to their albums.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Popped around to Ness' for a swim & Erin asked Stew for some bubbles please!

Milo was a little unsure of what was going on.

And what all the squealing was about.

A little bit of dishwashing liquid was very entertaining.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The homework...

Erin rang me at work to tell me that "the guinea pig ATE my homework!!!!!

Not sure if the teacher will believe this new version of the classic excuse. It's one of the downsides of having a free range guinea pig in the backyard.

The maths sheet had blown off the outdoor setting table that she had been doing her work on yesterday afternoon. Not known for packing up after herself this sheet was left behind & the guinea pig found it very tasty.

I wonder if he knows all the answers.

This is the culprit with another of his fancies....this plant gets a trim when the leaves are long enough for him to reach

And the broom also fell victim to his jabber jaws.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Whilst looking for some photos to do my online scrapping layout I decided to do a page for Hayley's album titled 20, with some of the funny, quirky pics of our lovely girl.

And it got me thinking about when I was 20.....

This pic of me taken at Currumbin Sanctuary when I was 20. Can't you see my love of birds???
I do not like birds!!!!They are one step up from moths which I DETEST. Uurrrgh, makes me shudder just thinking about how much I hate moths, with birds a close second. I nearly ran off the road when a rogue moth FLEW straight at me from behind the visor, luckily Chris was there to save the day & grab the steering wheel.

(I just asked Chris 'do you remember the time when the moth attacked me in the car?'...his reply... 'which time') See... moths attack.

I must have been in real tourist mode when this was taken as I can't remember why I would voluntarily attract birds, colourful or not, to me.

This was part of a Contiki tour I did from Cairns to Coolangatta before I started nursing, before I met Chris, before I was cool.

Mmmmm Hayley is way cooler than me.

Last nights work...

Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 23, 2009

Let the scrap begin...

I was set up on the kitchen table, laptop at the ready

Supplies at the ready too.

Lots of action going on for my first online scrap

Much better to do it with (real life) company but still lots of fun. Just have to add a few finishing touches then I can photograph it in good light & upload to share!

There were fires around Vic again today, the closest one over at Daylesford, so lots of smoke here tonight...fingers crossed the wind change has helped.

On line scrapping...

I am doing an 'online' scrapping class today with my pals from the Boxx. Its the first class I've done this way & I think its going to be fun. I'll be back later with some results...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More decor...

Hayley found this cute cushion at the Daylesford retro shop. It really appealed to her sense of style. It sits on her chair in her messy room.

Looks like a really nice Grandma made it.

Looks like it should be sitting on a floral chaise lounge

And I found these lovely beachy shots in a mini calendar that had been discounted to $3, then added them to the plain frames from Coles ($1.55 each!). So for next to nothing I have a little bit of paradise to look at each day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shadow shot...

Thanks to Gina I'm going to try a Shadow Shot Sunday shot on Hey Harriet's blog. My first attempt is with this shot I took of Erin while she was scootering today. I walked & she scootered. Bless her it was quite difficult riding along the bike tracks that are full of very gravely bitumen


Erin has always loved art. She likes to produce arty things, particularly painting.
I dabbled with folk art painting a while back & still have lots of tubes of acrylic paint but after having done oil painting at school she wanted to try this style.
This box of paints only cost $7.95 for 18 colours.

I added in some new brushes & a pad of paper & off she went.

The first of many paintings I think Erin will produce.

They make money from the paintings the zoo elephants produce, maybe she has a great future!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I was just reminded of a story from my childhood, so please indulge me the retelling. Maybe its on of those 'you had to be there' stories...we'll see.

I grew up in Essendon & attended the local high school (I'm showing my age because nowadays high schools are called secondary schools)

My younger sister & I walked about 5 blocks to school each day. Sometimes we would see the Bottle-O man collecting empty beer bottles that had been left out next to the rubbish bins.

This particular man was thin, dirty looking & had the appearance of a 'homeless' person - not that we knew what that was back then. He used to push a wheelbarrow around the streets picking up the empty bottles to collect the cash refund.

One morning I clearly remember him following us to school with his wheelbarrow. The barrow had a squeaky wheel & as we walked a little quicker so the rhythm of the squeak also quickened.


We sped up, not wanting to look back to see him following us, but we could hear that squeaky wheel getting closer & closer, Eeek.. Eeek.. Eeek.. Eeek.. Eeek, the faster we walked the faster the squeak, Eeek.. Eeek.. Eeek.. Eeek.. Eeek, until we were running!

It was the quickest trip to school we ever made.

That was 30 odd years ago & we still laugh & laugh when we remember this incident.

Finally friday...

Do you like this new frame I put together?

It hasn't photographed very well but I like the black & white photos of our 3 as newborns set in the black & white sweet.

My 4th funeral for 2009 was a nice tribute. This time the service was run by a civil celebrant & it was nicely done, very personal...funny, sad & summed her up perfectly.
It included some truths about grieving, hope & the legacy left by Joy.

I just hope I don't have to get out my 'funeral frock' for a long time now, its had quite an airing, its time for a rest.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Joyful Jo...

This little treat was appeared on the kitchen bench this morning.

Hayley found it for me,a leftover from a Valentines Day promotion at Taco Bill.

Mostly I am joyful, but tomorrow I'm off to yet another funeral.

I just have to tell my sister I can't come to her place for our scrap time...Sorry sweets

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


All this thinking about Mum & her gardening skills has been sparked by the local Montessori pre school having a bulb fundraiser. I'm going to try with a bowl full of grape hyacinths.

Mum's garden was always full of flowers &, amongst loads of other things, I miss being able to come home from her place with an armload of flowers. Whether it be roses, rannunculas, gardenia, iris' & others I have forgotten the names of, I could always get some colour.
She liked an exotic plant, a tuber rose or lillium & that plant out the front of my place...clivia or hippiastrum?

So I dug out these layouts, from Hayley's album. They showcase Mum's garden, full of flowers & a wonder for a little girl.

My scrapping style has evolved somewhat from these early layouts.

And I wish I could still pop in for a vase full of flowers.

Unknown plant...

Can someone tell me whether my fabulous plant on my doorstep is a Clivia or a Hippiastrum????

Mum was always my source of gardening info, my green thumbed clever mother. She gave me the bulbs in the first place, & it must be her divine assistance that is helping it along.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Another shot of the plant that lives at my front door.

I'm amazed it is doing so well. It has to contend with my brown thumbs, shower water & the blazing sun that sets on the front door each afternoon.

The buds remind me of Audrey 2 from the Little Shop of Horror!

The flowers are such a beautiful colour.

They are a similar colour to Erin's new Betty Boop PJ's. I bought them on Sunday & she has only taken them off to put on her uniform, then back on straight after school.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My day off...

I love having a 4 day weekend. Working just 3 days a week means I have Fri, Sat, Sun & Mondays off each week but from 1st March I will be working alternate Mondays. At least I will still have a 3 day weekend.

And because the house was still nice & tidy I did a little scrapbooking.

I did a couple of Christmas layouts, I joked on Christmas Day that I would photoshop Chris in later as he was missing because he was at work. I don't know how to do that so he is still missing from my photo.

One for my album & one for Erins. I can't get Callum to smile, I can barely get him to stand still for a photo. I tried to get a shot of him on his first day of his last year at school & ended up with some nice shots of his hand & the back of his head!

Erin spotted this lollipop at the Reject shop today

If she ate lots of these her teeth may not look like this any longer. And if she ever gets her lip pierced she will have to move out!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A day out... Daylesford.

Hayley needed a day out with her Mum as a distraction from her breakup with her boyfriend.

Daylesford is a quirky little place, full of spas, cafes, pubs & churches ( & today - bikers).

Not very far from Melbourne its a popular spot with day trippers, & we joined the small throng & had a lovely lunch & a bit of shopping

The smoke haze is quite thick today, I suppose its because there is very little wind. We are not close to the fires but the whole state is affected.

We had our lunch on the street at a cute deli. Daylesford was not very busy for a Sunday.

Just perfect for a lazy Sunday

Doesn't Hayley look fetching in this hat????

And a bit of fun on the way home!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A week...

A week has passed since the excrutiating heat wave ended in an inferno in parts of Victoria. The devastation of last Saturdays fires is still being counted...over 1800 homes gone, 181 dead & 80 still missing. Those directly affected have been doing it hard, in temporary accomodation & relying on donated goods to get by. They are hovering close to what was once their community & each night on the news we see their pain & suffering.

I have donated, volunteered & cried with each story that unfolds. Some of the stories are not of tragedy but how people have gone to amazing lengths to assist or of survival of soul & spirit. They make me cry even more.

I am lucky not to be directly involved but still the whole thing is affecting us, draining our spirit, & question the fickleness of nature & circumstance.

I've struggled to put anything on to the blog this week as you have noticed. Haven't had the heart to really. I tried with the photos of Hayley & her birth story but it seemed a bit frivolous somehow. I had some girls over last night for a distraction of a previously booked cookware demonstration. We had a very pleasant evening (thanks girls for coming over) but the conversation would turn back to the bushfires very quickly. "Did you hear about ..." " did you see story/photos showing..."
So today being St Valentines day, Chris & I celebrated as we usually do & had a very ordinary day!
We headed out on the 'red dwarf' for a ride & spend some time together. Chris loves taking me out on the bike because I can't talk! communication is limited to a few hand signals, taps on the leg & the odd squeeze if it gets a bit fast!
It was a really good riding day, we haven't had many lately, its either been too hot or too windy.

We went down towards Geelong then right, up through to Anakie & on to Ballan. Everywhere is really dry & brown, dusty with trees down after the heatwave. I saw many dried up dams & stock eating what looks like bare dirt.

The smoke haze gave the whole landscape an even drier, gloomier atmosphere.
We startled a few horses & cattle as we burbled along the road. As we rode slowly through Ballan a gutsy little dog came out to chase, & bark at, us.
When I was telling Erin later we laughed about the size & behaviour of this dog, she said maybe he though Dad was the postie!! Only 1000cc difference!

Erin & Tayla had some fun with some of the tiles I had when I dabbled with mosaics. They were very pleased with their efforts.

I think the bits & pieces are still out there. Erin loves to create but cleaning up afterwards is another thing.

Monday, February 9, 2009


A quiz about your first born...

1. Were you married at the time?

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant?
Thrilled to bits!

3. How old were you?

4.How did you find out?
I did a home pregnancy test after I missed a period.We were actively trying & in those days you had to wait weeks before you could do an accurate over the counter test.

5. Who did you tell first?
Chris. He knew I was going to the doctor for the confirmation.

6. Did you want to find out the sex?
It wasn't an option in those days.Sounds like I gave birth in the last century - oh thats right I did!!! but it wasn't available then.

7. Due date?
7th August 1988 by the doc's calculation.

8. Did you deliver late or on time?
3 days overdue, if I or she had waited another 12 hours she would have been born on 8-8-88 but I wasn't hanging on any longer & my BP had started to get high.

9. Did you have morning sickness?
If I got really hungry I would feel sick.

10. What did you crave?
Nothing in particular.

11. Who/what irritated you the most?
I don't remember anything or one irritating me. I do remember worrying about how we would manage without my income (no paid maternity leave either in the dim dark ages)

12. What was your first child's sex?
Girl .

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout pregnancy?
About 8 kgs all up.

14. Did you have any complications during pregnancy?
Just a bit of high BP towards the end. I loved being pregnant & felt great throughout.

15. Where did you give birth?
Essendon District Hospital

16. How many hours were you in labour?
12 hours - long enough!

17. Who drove you to the hospital?

18. Who watched?
Chris & I moaned & groaned through 2 shifts of midwives, the doc turned up at the very end to wave the forceps around.

19. Was it natural or c-section?
Natural... if you call the 'big tongs' as Chris calls them, natural.

20. Did you take medication to ease the pain?
One shot of Pethidine that did very little & gas that made me feel yuk & still the pain!

21. How much did your child weigh?
7lb 7oz.

22. Did your child have any complications?
She was really well but tired, she'd had a rough time too, & had a bruise on her head from being 'face forward'.

23. What did you name her?
Hayley Brooke...just because we liked it. She was almost Hannah, Imogen or Grace (or Alistair John if she was a he) I had almost completed a cross-stitch & left a space for either name.

24. How old is your first born today?
She'll be 21 in a few months, I told you it was a long time ago!!!

She has turned into such a lovely young lady, she was a lovely baby as well & we learned how to be parents along the way.

I need distraction...

Today the tragedy unfolds...even more people found dead from being caught in the fires that are consuming areas of Victoria, the toll is over 130 & expected to climb.
Over 750 homes lost & these people have been left with absolutely nothing with a very long road ahead of them as they try to rebuild their homes & lives. Despair is everywhere, its too early to think of the future & the fires are still burning but not with the ferocity of last Saturday. Volunteers are coming from interstate to give relief to tired firefighters & the police have the onerous task of trying to identify victims. This firestorm has been the most damaging ever. In 1983 when the Ash Wednesday fires devasted Victoria & Sth Australia 75 people lost their lives.
Its hard to go about your daily life as if nothing has happened but little has changed in my corner of the world. My family is untouched physically, we are all safe & have our schools, jobs, homes & comforts as normal. We are moved to tears by what we see on the TV reports, we can donate money, time or blood but it doesn't seem enough.

Like those people involved I need a little distraction from reality.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Tragedy is gripping Victoria in the form of bushfires, fuelled by extreme temperatures, strong winds & lots of dry fuel in the dry bush.
65 people have died alredy & over 640 homes have been lost, with the count still to rise. Thousands of people will be affected & we are so very lucky that it hasn't touched us personally.

Thankyou to all the CFA people who are fighting the fires on the front line, sometimes losing their own property while they are volunteering, stay safe.