Monday, 11 August 2014

Healesville

This morning saw me setting of at 9am with Genevieve and boyfriend in tow to Healesville Sanctuary.  The drive out there is quite lovely with the first part of the journey through Sherbrooke forest in the Dandenong Ranges, through Silvan, a semi rural area and then onto the Yarra Valley.  We had allowed an hour to get to the Sanctuary which would have given us ten minutes or so to spare but unfortunately there had been a bad car accident just before our turn off and the police had to redirect us to another route adding an extra half hour travelling time.  We arrived 20 minutes late but as other people in the uni group excursion were also affected by the accident, it wasn't too much of a problem.

After dropping my passengers at the Sanctuary, I headed back into the town of Healesville in the search of coffee.  I found a little retro/vintage style cafe called The Gilded Lily which served wonderful coffee and when I asked if I could have a home baked mixed berry muffin as well, I certainly wasn't expecting one the size of a small dessert.  It was delicious and I certainly didn't need lunch as I was so full.


I sat in the window to enjoy what little winter sunshine was peaking through the clouds while alternately reading my book and people watching.


After coffee I strolled along the main street wandering in and out a few shops that took my fancy.  One shop sold all manner of beautiful home wares from Turkey but unfortunately were out of my price range.  I stumbled on a gorgeous shop selling candles, candle holders, soaps and all manner of pretty things.  The range of candles and holders easily rivalled Dusk and in fact I think the range was probably more varied and affordable.  This is one shop I will be visiting again.

Further along the street I found this yarn bombing effort.  Someone has even made a kookaburra which can be seen just under the light.


My journey home involved taking the alternate route as the road was still closed from the car accident.  I didn't mind at all as I'd not travelled it before and the scenery was lovely.  I stopped to take a few photos but I must apologise for the quality as it seems something has happened to my camera and there are blurred patches here and there.





So that was my morning out which was most enjoyable.  Any opportunity to get out into rural areas and I'll take it.

Anne xx


Sunday, 10 August 2014

This week

This week has been very a very pleasant one with me just pottering along with everyday things.  Something that had me very excited was the discovery of this little cauliflower growing in my vege patch.  The day before I had been weeding and not noticed it so I can only assume it grew fast.  It's only about the size of a 50 cent coin but it's a start.


We've had some lovely weather (not raining and not so cold), which has meant my daily walk has been most enjoyable.  My beautiful Labrador Sophie is really starting to slow down with age and not able to walk as far.  It's breaking my heart to see her getting older but she is happy and eating well and just as loving as ever.  As I don't get a brisk walk (for fitness) with her now, I take myself off again and yesterday on the spur of the moment took my camera.  The photos below are Cherry Candle banksia, just a stones throw from where we live.  They are quite beautiful and provide nectar for birds, possums bats and other nectar loving animals.



I love the colours and shape.

I noticed some ornamental cherry trees are just starting to flower.  A tad early as we aren't into spring yet.



The wattle is starting to flower too and saw these two different ones on my walk.



Yesterday afternoon both hubby and I were busy out in the backyard.  Hubby is working on steps and a landing for my studio and I was pruning the apple tree.  I love climbing trees so although I look a bit precarious in the photos below, I'm loving every minute of it.







We had some handsome visitors recently.  In amongst the nice weather it has been very cold and the King parrots usually come to visit when they are really hungry.  Even though we are encouraged not to feed the birds so they don't become dependent on humans for their food, I just can't help myself putting out some seeds for these gorgeous animals.  The King parrots are so tame and it's a joy to see them so closely.  Where there is food, other birds will come too and some Crimson rosellas also came to visit hoping for some food.  The King parrots are a much bigger bird and higher up in the pecking order so there was some squabbling going on at times.



Juvenile male King parrot with mum's head on the right.

Male Crimson rosella in the foreground.


Juvenile Crimson rosella in the foreground.


The week before last hubby and I went to see the Melbourne production of Les Miserale with friends.  The performance was outstanding in every way with brilliant props, costumes, acting and singing.  The music was/is amazing and considering the small size of the orchestra, the sound produced was incredible.  We were sitting quite close to the front and were able to see the expressions on the actors faces, the effort they put into their performances which only consolidates my opinion that live performances/performers are remarkable.  You cannot hide anything on stage, there is no opportunity for retakes as there is in film or television.  It's raw and what you see is what you get.  The audience has a very powerful connection to the actors, which I find/found exhilarating.


On Friday a friend came to visit me for a couple of hours with the hope that I could teach her to crochet.  It went very well and she is off to a good start.  Of course cups of coffee were consumed and there was much laughter and joking around.

Tomorrow morning I'm taking Genevieve and her boyfriend out to the Healesville Sanctuary where they have a uni excursion.  Public transport to the Sanctuary at that hour of the day is horrendous involving multiple buses and trains, so I'm playing taxi as neither of them have their drivers license.  It is a lovely drive out that way so I might take the opportunity to have a look around and grab a coffee in a cafe somewhere.  Last week Genevieve's uni group had another excursion to a waterway where they were doing all kinds of interesting experiments for their fresh water ecology unit.  It involved some of them wearing waders and boots which had great appeal to some.  I wish I had the photos to share (they were hilarious) but I don't have access to them to share on here.  :(

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and wishing you all a fab week ahead.

Anne xx

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A big catch up.

This last month has been a bit of a write off for me for various reasons which I won't go into but I think I am now back in a place where I can focus on things of a more positive and creative nature.

One positive thing I have maintained for the last six weeks or so is walking everyday for about a half hour which is about a two kilometre walk.  I decided that there would be no excuses, winter weather or not I'm out every day and feeling better for it.  I now have wet weather gear so I go out even when it's raining.  I purchased a warm and waterproof coat for Sophie too and as she is an older dog now, just turned 12, she is appreciating protection from the weather too when we are walking.  Each day on our walk we say hello to these two Labradors named Molly and Clancy.  They are always ready for a pat through the fence, Sophie has a quick sniff and then shows no further interest whatsoever.


Another part of our walk takes us past this beautiful Hardenbergia violacea, currently in flower.



Last week I noticed some workmen down the end our street with diggers and earth moving equipment and enquired what they were doing.  It seems the little creek that runs along in the gully was eroding toward the footpath so council decided to step in before any more damage was done.  I must say I was rather pleased that something positive was happening with the council rates we pay.



During the past two weeks on our walk I've seen a pair of Australian wood ducks which come back to the same spot to nest each year.  They are quite shy and are not to keen on remaining close so it was hard to get a good photo of them.  This particular property has a very large yard with a creek running though it which they appreciate immensely it would seem.




I have finally got back up into my studio.  The new heating unit which blew the second time it was used is finally fixed and making being up there much more pleasant.  I've yet to feel my oil painting
 mojo kick back in so in the meantime I'm pottering with some art journaling, putting some photo albums together and enjoying some alone time.  As colour is a very important part of my life especially in winter, I worked on a crazy little art journal piece chock full of colour.  It's rather fun just to let yourself go creatively and see what happens.




As can be seen in the photo above there is a lot of colour in the studio.  Colourful markers, a gorgeous owl mug a gift from my niece, washi tape and an inspiration board with illustrations I've drawn in the past and a birthday card from my parents from some years ago which has words on the front which are inspirational and encouraging.

The sun came out the other morning and the light was lovely.  Not too much of it comes into our backyard but the brightness gives plants and flowers a different look than on an overcast day.  I couldn't help but wander outside and snap a few photos.



Eucalyptus trees in the distance.

Tiny Fuschias that the Eastern spinebills love so much.

Even the Continental parsley looks good.
I took a couple of photos inside too.

The one indoor plant that seems to thrive.

I love the blue of this planter and the crazing of the glaze.

In other exciting news, hubby has taken to the notion of keeping bees.  As the bee population is in decline worldwide, he/we would like to contribute to the bee population and perhaps in our endeavour to do so might be rewarded with some natural honey, honey that has not been treated commercially.  Hubby attended a workshop to educate himself thoroughly and then bought some equipment to get started.  He has been putting together the hives in readiness for a bee colony to move in perhaps in the spring when they begin to swarm.  (We will have to purchase a hive from the people who collect them when they swarm.)  He is fascinated by these amazing little creatures, their habits and all the different things they actually produce within the hive apart from honey.

Bee boxes in the making.



Every now and then I pick up my crochet and am currently working on a shrug which I'll hopefully finish before winter is over.  We do see cold weather well into spring so I'm sure I will have ample opportunity to wear it when finished.

For those lovely people who follow this blog, thank you for sticking with me in my absence.  That's the way it goes sometimes, either you feel you have nothing to share and write about or life gets in the way and other things receive priority.  I have been continuing to read your blogs although not always commenting.  It's been lovely to see lovely summer scenes in the northern hemisphere when it's often been bleak here downunder.

Anne xx


Sunday, 29 June 2014

Dressing up

Last night Genevieve went to a Great Gatsby themed 21st birthday party.  She pulled her outfit together using mostly what she had on hand with a few shop charity shop purchases.  The little dress I found in Target in Merredin, Western Australia (of all places) for $15, a bargain.  You just never know what you'll find, a purchase made the last time I was visiting Mum.   I saw it hanging there and I knew it would be perfect for Genevieve although at the time I had no idea she was going to a 1920's era party.   So here is the young lady all dressed up.  I love how she styled her hair, worked out a head band from a necklace and wrist jewellery from another necklace.

 




Friday, 27 June 2014

Winter days

Winter has finally hit Victoria and with a bit of a vengeance too.  Some days in May were quite mild  but now we have cold winds, rain and even snow in the high country which means the snow resorts will be breathing a sigh of relief.  

I've been making an effort this past month to get out and walk every day for my benefit and for my gorgeous Labrador Sophie.  Usually in winter I don't want to walk because of the cold so the purchase of some wet weather gear and making a few crochet items is helping to make walking more pleasurable.

Please excuse the quality of these next photos, it's a bit hard taking selfies when it's freezing and you can't quite get the angle of the camera right.

First up I made a scarf in an 8ply teal acrylic.  I chained 250 stitches with 4.5mm crochet hook, crocheted 2 rows of double, 7 rows of treble and then 2 rows of double.  I did a simple picot stitch around the edge to finish off.  This scarf started life as something else entirely but adjustments were made when I ran out of patience.

I'm thinking Stripey makes a better model than me.   :)



I rather fancied making a shawl or something similar to throw over the top of my clothes when venturing out.  I finally bit the bullet and purchased a pattern from Etsy that I fell in love with.  Big mistake.  Nothing is wrong with the pattern, it's wonderful but trying to find a similar yarn in the right ply was a nightmare.  I finally found (after spending about 1 1/2 hours in Spotlight) a yarn I thought might be suitable, Patons Midnight, an acrylic, wool, metallic polyester and nylon mix made in Italy.  The wool was heavily discounted at $5.00 for a 75g ball so it being the best affordable option for me, a purchase was made.  Trying to find a nice 12 ply yarn in this country for a reasonable price is rather challenging so I hoped my yarn which seemed more like 8 ply than 12 ply would suffice.  Of course the right hook size for the pattern wasn't in stock in Spotlight so I decided to wing it with 6mm hook I had at home instead of a 6.5mm.  I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to crochet but I did think to add more stitches to increase the size of the wrap.  My wrap is o.k. but it's not at all like the one in the pattern picture which looks soft and drapes beautifully.  I've opted not to use a button to secure it with, rather using a large kilt type pin I embellished a couple of years ago which doesn't show up particularly well in the photo.



Oh the joys of developing ones skills  :)

As our days are cold, gloomy and overcast I decided to bring a little colour into the house with these Camellias from the garden.

 
 I'm eyeing off the Daphne that will be in flower soon too so I can bring some of the fragrant blooms inside.

Have a lovely day everyone.

Anne xx