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Friday, 12 February 2016

Dear Mr Fitbit designer, I have one small complaint ...

Fitbit joined my life, our lives, after the red-coated-reindeer-led-bearded-one left his deliveries under our Christmas tree last year. One Fitbit for me, one Fitbit for MLP and … our lives changed, our language changed, our fitness changed.




There she is. Mine. Dutifully telling me the time. What I do like, though, is that she doesn't ALWAYS tell me the time ... only when I flick my wrist or push her little button.

This suits me why? Well, the day I finished work, way back in the annals of time, I took off my watch and never put it back on. My token gesture.

F.R.E.E.D.O.M.

In my retired state, (Yes, it is wonderful for those of you who were about to ask.) I have no desire to know the time, to keep to a timetable, to meet deadlines. Somedays, I find it hard to remember what day it is, let alone be concerned about the time.

Anyways, back to little Miss Fitbit.

It took me a wee while to get used to having something hugging my wrist again, but she and I are now comfortable with each other. Happy in each other's company. Soul mates … wrist mates maybe.

She tells me lots of things other than the time.

How many steps I've taken.


Not very many yet today.

My heart rate. How many kilometres I've walked. How many calories I've burned. How many floors I've climbed. My sleep pattern.



Wow, am I bad at sleeping! Never used to be, but ooooh, look at that pattern of restlessness and awake times. Maybe I need to do something about that.

You can see she's a wealth of information.

So how has this … have these … little additions changed our lives?


1. COMPETITION.


Oh yeah, baby. We may have become the teeniest bit competitive.

While we were away at Lake Tyers on holidays, (You can read about that little adventure here.) MLP recorded this ...


86 floors!!!!

He went a bit nuts. He'd walked with my bird-watching brother in the morning and then with me in the afternoon. These stairs were what gave him his 86 floors. Up and down. Up and down. Nuts!


2. LANGUAGE.


Our normal afternoon ritual when MLP comes home from work now begins with …

"Heellloooo."
"Hello."
"13.3."
"What! … 13.3!"
"Yep."
"Oh, I'm only at 8.6."

Romantic, isn't it?

Our after dinner ramblings sound like …

"I just need another 2 to get to 10, so I'm just going up to the park and back. Want to join me?"
"No, my wrist just went off, so I'm fine." (Yes, Fitbit sends a little vibration through our wrists when we hit 10,000 steps in a day. Exciting.)

3. ATTITUDE & AWARENESS.


We're walking a lot more than previously.

I walk out, down and around the lake to hunter-gather a few supplies from Woolieworths. I walk out, down and around the lake to yoga. We walk out, down and around the lake for breakfast or coffee on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

I have even bought an old-lady-style shopping trolley (which I am about to Libby-fy) so I can convey my hunter-gatherer supplies home.

I park at the outer edge of the car park to squeeze in a few more steps. Yes, that's me. I'm that crazy woman.

We take the steps. We always did, but now we do it for our Fitbit to record floors climbed.

4. FITNESS.


Are we feeling fitter?

Yes, definitely.

Previously, I was swimming twice a week, as per my 2015 New Year resolutions, and which I intend to continue, but I was doing no weight bearing exercise of any significance until I started yoga late last year. (Remember my yoga retreat in Bali last year? Heaven.)

So, hopefully, combining the impact of Miss Fitbit, yoga and swimming, I should be fitter.

MLP is fitter. No doubt. He's walking himself into a new level of fitness.

But, I hear you say, what is this complaint you mentioned way back earlier in this blog post?

W-e-l-l.

My complaint is real and valid and important.

This is what my little Miss Fitbit showed on Wednesday this week.


See that zero active minutes? That's my complaint.

Yes, I know, I didn't do very many steps that day. Ignore that, just look at the zero active minutes.

I cleaned shower screens, cleaned baths, cleaned ovens until the sweat ran down my forehead for ZERO ACTIVE MINUTES!!!! There's got to be some mistake. It certainly didn't feel like zero active minutes.

A little bit of searching around Miss Fitbit's App and I find "Active Minutes" are "periods of moderate activity done for 10 minutes or more." So, it seems that my cleaning marathon wasn't continuous enough for Miss Fitbit to record it. HUH!

Obviously this App was designed by someone who's never cleaned a shower screen, bath or oven.

Complaint number two.

Yes, I know, I said one small complaint, but I've realised I have a second one.

I can't wear Miss Fitbit when I swim. So, guess what … swimming for a kilometre will be … zero active minutes as well. HUH! Again.

But, regardless, overall, I'm very happy with how Miss Fitbit has changed my life … our lives.

I feel better, stronger, happier with myself for being soooo good.

Are you a Fitbit convert too?

Any complaints about your Fitbit to add to my list?

Do you think all this Fitbit gizmo stuff is hoo-haa?

Are you in the throes of racing out the door to buy one?

Let me know by leaving me a comment.

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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Pom pom beach kimono … with a little ric rac to add to the retro vibe.

Who doesn't love a pom pom trim? And ric rac? A little bit retro, a little bit cute, a little bit stylish. Combine that with my love of sewing and my version of the pom pom beach kimono is here.



You know I love to sew, I love the beach and I love a few pom poms. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you'll have seen pom pom trim dance across the top of my aprons on a regular basis. So, a beach kimono trimmed with pom poms and ric rac was a must have on my take-to-Lake-Tyers holiday list. Aaand, while I was in the swing of things, why not make a couple more. One for my also-going-to-Lake-Tyers friend and my pineapple-addict friend.

Three at the same time. Three happy friends. I had Christmas sorted.

So, how difficult was it to make. On a scale of 1 to 10 … about a 2 ½. VERY easy.

What do you need?

Twice the length you would like your kimono to be, in a nice soft fabric of your choice.

I chose these three very light cottons, some co-ordinating pompoms and a neckline's worth of ric rac. (I used ric rac from my stash and bought everything else at my local Spotlight.)


Guess which one was for the pineapple-addict.

Let's begin.

The width of your fabric becomes the width of your kimono from tip of sleeve to tip of sleeve.

Fold your fabric in half length ways, then fold in half width ways. It should look like this.


Take a marking pen or pencil and roughly mark out a curve from the non-folded top corner to the folded bottom corner. Then cut away. Like so.


After cutting, you will have a folded piece like this. 


Depending on the length you want, it will more or less like a quarter circle.

Now, it's time for a neckline. I used an old T-shirt's neckline as a guide.


And marked the curve.

I wanted to have a small V shape at the front and a higher curve shape at the back.

I'm a bit crazy about covering up from the sun. You could use the same V shape for the back neckline, if you prefer.

I didn't cut yet. I copied this curve to the opposite side of the front like so.


Carefully cut this shape from one layer of fabric, then marked in my higher back neckline curve. Like so.


Then I cut the remainder of my neckline away so I had a little peek-a-boo hole in the middle of my kimono.


Using my trusty overlocker, I overlooked both the outside edge and the neckline. If you don't have an overlocker, zig-zagging these edges would work just as well.


Then came the time for the pom poms. All the way around the outer edge.


I used the edging foot which came with my elderly Bernina and it made the job very easy.


Next came my decisions about the neckline.

My initial inspiration had been this image I found on Pinterest. Merrick gives a great visual tutorial as well, if you need further details.


I wanted my neckline to be a bit simpler, so I decided to use ric rac which I simply zig-zagged around my neckline.

Ric rac and pom poms: the perfect retro combination.


Finally, I slipped the kimono over my head and pinned the sides together for a short distance so that, if I wanted, I could wear this as a top as well. I then stitched between my pins.

You can barely see the stitching. I placed the black buttons to show you the top and bottom of my stitching. (The buttons are just helping you see the line of stitching; they are not sewn on.)


So, three beach kimonos done. Simple. Quick. Easy.




So, are you ready to try your hand at making one?
Some?
Many?

They would be fun to make in children's sizes as well.

Are you a pom pom and ric rac lover?
Do they bring back memories of childhood?

Anyone remember Rock 'n Roll George in Brisbane with his pom poms around the back window of his FJ?

Please leave me a comment so that I know you have visited.

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Friday, 22 January 2016

Lake Tyers and Lakes Entrance, Victoria: a meeting of sisters and brothers, friends and family.

2016 began for me at Lake Tyers, Victoria. A quiet spot close to, but out of, the hustle and bustle of Lakes Entrance in school holidays' mode. Why Lake Tyers? I desperately needed to be with the ocean again, smell the salt air, crunch sand between my toes. And there was the pull of friendship and family.



Four friends drove from Sydney (two via the Gold Coast), one brother drove from Melbourne and another brother from Tasmania. It seemed like a good meeting point. Sisters and brothers. Friends and family.

In reality though, it was a lucky choice. In my ignorant bliss, I stumbled upon Lake Tyers Beachfront Holiday Retreat while searching on-line.

Our two level villa, at the edge of the retreat, nestled against the bushland,




and its views


fitted the six of us perfectly.

There was the walk to the beach.


Along the beach.


The weather often blustery and rainy. Summer in Victoria.


The ocean water very cold. Summer in Victoria.

Some, braver than me, ventured in. A skim boarder bringing back memories of my youth.

I loved my skim board.


There was the walk along the cliff tops.


With wombat holes. This one seemingly not used for some time.


Native flowers.


And orchids.


In the bush beside the villa, this rather large blue tongue lizard sunned his body when the weather allowed.


And these guys sat quietly on the lichen covered fence to be photographed.


It is a quiet place; a haven for fisher-folk, sisters and brothers, friends and family.


We ventured to nearby lakes … There are lakes aplenty.


With native beauty.


And bucolic scenes to bring a smile to my face on a rainy day.


Peek-a-boo.


We ventured into Lakes Entrance too. "Lakes" to the locals. Some good coffee, a bit of retail therapy and The Entrance Walk … perfect rainy day things-to-do.


Little bits of loveliness along the track.


And sea birds to delight us and my bird-watching brother.


Lots and lots of sea birds.


And mussels to make our mouths water.



Lots and lots of mussels.


And at The Entrance itself, these guys playing.


And a couple of smiling seals having heaps of fun.


To complete the perfect holiday … food. We love to cook and eat.

Best of all ... curried scallop pie … made from scallops carried all the way from Tasmania. What could be better? Thanks Phil.



How did your 2016 begin?

Have you been to Lake Tyers and Lakes Entrance? Any stories to share?

Were you a mad keen skim boarder in your day, like me????

And, what about curried scallop pie? Tried it? Baked it? Have a secret recipe to share?

Please leave me a comment so that I know you've visited.
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