Driving west to Miss Betty ... continued.

20 December 2013

Part 2.
In the morning, we rise to the sound of more gentle rain. A welcome respite from the heat but a threat to the rising humidity.

Outside our Pioneer Hut, nature breakfasts in the cool air.

Driving to Miss Betty ... via a western route ... Part 1.

13 December 2013

After three weeks away, MLP has three days leave. Yea!  If we tack them onto a weekend, we can turn them into a road trip to see Miss Betty before we head south. But where to go for these five days?

I've always hankered to see the Undara lava tubes ... and ... MLP just looovvveees to drive.  So, we have hatched a plan ... drive west ... then north ... then east ... then south. A spectacular plan. Over 1000kms, give or take a couple of hundred kilometres, not far in FNQ. 

So, let's get started.

First we have to drop Ralphter off at the Townsville Pet Resort along the way.  He can't be home alone.

Pet Resort! Who ever decided pets should board in "resorts"?!?  But it IS a resort and he loves being pampered there.

We then drive west with Defence Force Land on either side.

A red flag flies ... live firing in progress. Gulp!

Hope they don't overshoot.

Hope they're not on their Ls for firing.

Hope, hope, hope.

Lessons I learnt from ...

6 December 2013

Wow, this sounds like it's going to be profound and soul searching!  Life's lessons, THE very important lessons ... and from whom I learnt them.

But where to begin?  There have been so many life changing lessons. Possibly the best place to start is with my older-and-wiser sister.  She's been around for all of my life so I've probably learnt more from her than I realise. (I'm sure she would agree!)

Lesson 1.
Dry as much washing as possible on hangers on the clothes line. 

Yes, I know, profound, very profound!  But, hey, it makes putting the washing away fundamentally easy and it eliminates peg marks. I don't know why I didn't think of this before I saw it in action on my sister's clothes line ... I suppose that why she's older and wiser!

So, on washing days, I raid every wardrobe for empty hangers and head to the line with my basket and my cache of hangers.  Every T-shirt, shirt, dress, cardigan ... goes on a hanger and into the FNQ sunshine (of which we have plenty). Well, maybe not cardigan, they don't get a showing up here!

My clothes line looks something like this ... 

How to make a hanging driftwood Christmas tree.

5 December 2013

What to do with a pile of driftwood collected by my pineapple-loving friend and me as we strolled along a spectacular, palm fringed, tropical island beach many months ago?  

How to make a hippy-dippy denim shoulder bag.

25 November 2013

For some unknown reason, denim has a special place in my heart.  Maybe it's my 70s Uni days.  Maybe it's that my mother abhorred it to the point that when I bought my first pair of denim jeans with my own hard-earned cash, I had to hide them in my bottom drawer and secretly stroke them ... but NEVER wear them.  

Sad, but true!  Ladies did not wear denim. And certainly not denim with a fly at the front! Ladies wore pants with zips at the side or the back.  Zips at the front were only worn by THOSE types of girls. And, yes, my precious Levi's were soon discovered and removed from my possession.

Thus, I become distressed when I wander through the swathes of no-longer-loved and hardly-ever-worn denim apparel at my local Salvos.  Jeans, skirts, jackets, shorts, vests ... bought with, perhaps much excitement, then cast aside when jeans suddeny had to be thinner ... or wider ... or lower ... or denim had to be darker ... or lighter ... or ripped.

I have to up-cycle denim.  Re home it.  Relove it.

And, hence, the hippy-dippy denim shoulder bag was born!

How to make a tee pee ... finally.

15 November 2013

Yes, at last, I've done as promised: I've made the tee pee for my Great-nieces.  The tee pee that started the bedroom make over not so long ago.  But, not only did I make one for them, I also made one for Marigold's family's youngest, my Great-nephew.  My house is, at the moment, under attack by small cone-shaped abodes.

How to make your own dishwasher tablets ... you've got to be kidding!

8 November 2013

I love my sister.  She's older, wiser ... most of the time ... and it's seems of late becoming wonderfully eccentric.  As I leave from a visit to her home she hands me a gift ... home made dishwasher tablets.  "Try them.  I'll give you the recipe, if you like."

Now that we're both retired and have, supposedly, time on our hands, we get to dabble in all things obscure.  Home made dishwasher tablets was not what I expected her to be making in her non-working time. But, it seems she is.

Carefully encased in a zip-lock bag were around eight strangely ice-cube looking dish washer tablets ... my gift.
"Just drop them in the bottom of the dishwasher."
"What about Rinse Aid?" I ask.
"Nope, you don't need it."
"What, not even vinegar or anything?"
"You could use vinegar if you like, but you won't need it."

So, I mean, I have to give them a go.  She is my older-wiser-sister after all. And they worked.  They worked, in fact, VERY well.  Gleaming dishes and sparkling glasses emerged from my dishwasher, much to my surprise.  No vinegar rinse aid, no nothing.  I think she's onto something here.  I have to give this a go myself.

So, off I go to Woolieworths to get the supplies.  I have to venture to my most favourite store, Bunnings for the Borax and I'm set.  But I delay.  This is insane!  Will making my own dishwasher tablets mean I have to grow dreadies, wear weird leather sandals and velvet harem pants??

My ingredients wait patiently for me to make my move.

How to create vintage style prints.

7 November 2013

A Pinteresting birthday present for a pineapple-loving friend ... What does one do when searching for an idea for a gift for an amazing friend, a pineapple-loving friend, for their up-coming birthday?  Go Pinterest  investigating, of course!

Wedding allergy and the year of weddings.

31 October 2013

My allergy started a few years ago when my beautiful niece, my brother's first of three daughters, married her love and, since then, it has become chronic.

You couldn't find a more idyllic setting than the bush near Anglesea along the Great Ocean Road, Victoria.  We couldn't have asked for better weather: sunny, warm ... perfect. We couldn't have selected more picturesque accommodation.  Cockatoos sat quietly on our balcony railing; sun streamed in through large glass doors.  But, where was I? In bed, of course, sick with what I thought was a head cold.  I felt guilty.  Stop being a wimp.  It's just a cold. "Soldier on" as the adds tell us.  So, I did.

New suitcase. It's the Mickey Mouse!

A new suitcase is not what most people celebrate but, for me, this is a major occasion worthy of much excitement.  My old suitcase has had a fantastic life.  It has travelled widely to Istanbul, London, Prague, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and countless other exotic places over many years. Yes, I looovvee to travel.  However, I have come to the sad realisation, that my much-travelled case is too small.  

As I packed for our last adventure, MLP muttered, "You need a bigger suitcase."  Packing for me is panic attack territory.  I worry that I have packed too little, that I have forgotten something important, that I have packed too much.  I hate arriving home with things in my case that I haven't used.  They've taken up vital possible shopping space!  MLP knows to retreat to areas unknown as I go through my ritual packing nausea.  Yep, nausea.  Once at the airport, champagne in hand, I'm fabulous but, prior to that, well ... I'm not good.

So, as MLP and I are about to embark on a journey southwards, and as we contemplate OS for next year, his muttered words begin to sound sensible, very sensible.  Why have I travelled for so long with a panic-attack-causing case?  Why have I persisted with a case that is adequate but not travel-shopping friendly?  I decided, he's right ...  again.  It's time.

This time I'm doing the real deal: large suitcase AND matching carry-on case.  Celebrity status here I come.  I want those fancy, light suitcases and not just any case; I want the Mickey Mouse.  Not the Mickey Mouse as in the Mickey Mouse but THE Mickey Mouse as in cartoon character, lover of Minnie, wearer of big shoes and red pants.  THAT Mickey Mouse.  And my local Zellows has them in stock AND on special.  It's meant to be!  My friend, Lorraine always says, "Put it out to the Universe and the Universe will provide."  I think that's what just happened.

Fabulous ... no?

Reconnecting with cousins.

25 October 2013

When I was a little girl my biggest joy was to visit my Auntie Von, even though she was a strict one, and play with my cousins, Mark and Maria.  The best play time was when she created a mud puddle in the back yard and let us get in.  Oh, yeah.  Mud, glorious mud ....

Sciatica: why is that woman doing the seal-wobble-walk?

19 October 2013

My friend Judy, currently residing for 6 months of each year on a canal boat somewhere in France, used to suffer terribly from sciatica.   Yes, canal boat + 6 months + France, in the one sentence!  Livin' the dream.  She used to tell me of the pain.  The shooting pain down the leg. The difficulty sleeping, walking, sitting.  The slow process of recovery.  But, me, I was living in Healthy Land.  And then ...

That's Pintersting!

18 October 2013

Since buying my iPad mini, I have entered the world of Pinterest. How many great ideas have been out there living in cyberspace that I was oblivious to!?! The problem with Pinterest is I started to think, "I could make/do that ...   that looks sooo easy!"   

Then, of course, I thought, I need to have a go.  I need to make/do some of these things that I find so Pinteresting.  But where to begin?

My friend Karen ... yes, Karen-of-the-various-emails ... and I had decided to test the waters selling our wares at one of the local markets.  Carlyle Gardens Arts and Crafts Market, first Saturday of every month and Riverways Artists Market, in case you were wondering.  I felt I needed some small goodies on my market table for children and the person who, like me, arrives at most markets with only small change in their purse, VERY small change.  So, I went to my Pinterest boards and found these ...

Cute denim dilly bags.

How a tee-pee grew into surprise new bedrooms.

11 October 2013

It started as a question to a mother. 

"Would it be okay if I made the girls a tee-pee for Christmas? I've seen one on Pinterest and really want to make one."

Then, as we huddled over my iPad mini ooohing and aaahing over tee pees, it morphed into how the mother would love for the girls to have beautiful bedrooms AND how they were holidaying in the snow soon  AND, then I was saying, "Well, I could come up and do the bedrooms while you're away.  The girls could arrive home to surprise new rooms.??."
"They need more storage and, can you please do something about their rock collections!?!" came from an exasperated mother.

Driving to Miss Betty.

4 October 2013

Miss Betty, or Mrs Betty, as she would probably prefer, resides in Farnorha RSL Aged Care Facility in further north FNQ.  She's my 87 year old mum. The carers refer to her as Betty Boo.  I refer to her as Mother Duck and she, to me, as Daughter Duck ... Well , at least she does when her memory allows. My siblings and I are ever grateful for the quality of care and attention Farnorha provide her.

Pantry makeover.

27 September 2013

Because of MLP's line of work, he is often away from home for periods of time and this is when my Virgo-perfectionist-obsessive nature reveals its true self. I try to keep myself busy so the time alone passes more quickly.  Well, those are my excuses for what you will read in this post.

Orienteering, or are we just totally lost?

3 September 2013

When you're trying to find Number 3 and you stumble across Number 12, then you know you are totally lost!  Seriously lost.  But, in finding Number 12, we found our mojo and completed the entire track ... backwards.

What, you ask, am I raving about? Orienteering ... of course.  Doesn't everyone go orienteering on a beautiful September morning on the Gold Coast? No ... Well, I suppose not, but I was visiting my pineapple-infatuated friend, Linda, and, for Fathers' Day she thought it would be a great idea to try orienteering.

Neal, her dutiful husband and father of her two amazing sons, had, unbeknownst to me, been a gun orienteering youngster in his days of non-grey hair, Scouts and woggle wearing.  Linda and I, well, let's say we were orienteering virgins.  Short skirt, white T-shirt ... I did at least sport my walking shoes.  How was I to know it would mean scaling fences, wandering through overly moist, not-quite-swamp-land, tackling spider webs, weaving through pine forests AND heaps of FUN?  Yep, capital letters, F-U-N!

After some, in hindsight, meaningful instructions from the organising orienteering guru, we set off. Neal on his own: Linda and I together. We had a map, a pretty and colourful map, with a legend on the side which we were meant to be able to comprehend AND use ... apparently.

Our colourful and pretty map.

My coriander experiment.

29 August 2013

Don't you hate it when the recipe you're making only requires half the bunch of coriander you bought from, in my case, Woolieworths?  I diligently wrap the remainder and place it carefully in the crisper drawer of the fridge.  Don't we all?

Then, in a few weeks' time, I find a green slimy mass pretending to have once been coriander lurking at the bottom of said crisper drawer.  Shame and guilt reign supreme.  How could I have let this happen?  How could I be so wasteful?  How could my fridge conceal such an atrocity!

Well, it happened again and I got to pondering ...

Friends had chopped the tops off slimy spring onions, planted the slimy roots and, within a short period of time, new, fresh, un-slimy growth had appeared!  They now have an on-going supply of non-slimy spring onions.  Chop off the tops, leave the roots in the soil and a never ending, garden-fresh supply of spring onions sprouts forth.  Think of the millions to be saved!  Think of the overseas holidays to be had on the savings!  Well ... maybe not.

So, I thought, why could I not try this with my slimy coriander?  Might I never have to buy coriander again?

And I did.  I chopped off the unidentifiable green slimy mass above what I hoped were coriander roots, planted them in a not-very-attractive pot, gave them a little drink and a little fertiliser, placed it in a semi-shaded spot and waited ...

Week 1.

Out and about, window shopping.

25 August 2013

One of the memories I have of my childhood is going window shopping; something I'm sure no one does these days.  My family would go to town, at night, usually a Friday night from what I remember, and walk the town looking at the displays in the shop windows.  At the end of the day's trading in preparation for viewing by window shoppers that night, shop assistants would have artistically placed the latest trending items across the floor space in front of the shop doors.  No huge display windows then.   Ah, what a nostalgia trip!

But what is the pertinence of this to today's blog you may ask.  Well, I consider these window shopping outings to be the cause of my browsing disease.  These days I window shop inside the store and in broad daylight, but the outcome is the same: no money spent but ideas gained.

So, this week, when I was on a mission to find a car wash, (I'm new to this town and not yet familiar with the lie of the land.) I found myself in Freedom ... might just have a look through here since I don't have the correct change for the car wash, I thought.  And I soon realised I was in Linda heaven.  You're familiar with my friend Linda's obsession with pineapples.  Well, it seems pineapples are IT at the moment.  Certainly, that's the case in Freedom.  I was surrounded by all things pineapple.

Beautiful pink pineapple cushions

I confess; I'm an apron wearer.

22 August 2013

Yep, it's time to be upfront. I'm an apron wearer, have been for a gazillion years.  I know it's an old- fashioned thing to do, but hey, there's lots of closet apron wearers hiding in their kitchens in fear of being outed.

The first one, which I wore for a long time, was plastic coated. Yick, the thought nauseates me!  Why did I persist? That wasn't an apron.  It didn't do what aprons do ... wipe flour encased hands, morph into a pot holder, transport a collection of goodies from pantry to kitchen bench, get REALLY gunky and blotched by the love of cooking a family meal.  Sure, it protected my clothing, but it had no soul.  It was plastic for goodness sake!

Tea cozy challenge?!?

15 August 2013

Nobody uses tea cozies these days. NOBODY! So, why am I making one for the challenge at the local RSL market?  I keep telling myself it's all about the challenge.  It's not because tea cozies are functional in any way.

Tea left to brew under a tea cozy is bitter and horrible; everyone knows that.  Yes, real, loose leaf tea tastes a thousand times more wonderful than tea bags and, yes, I do use a teapot. Tea bags are anathema to me. (Why does "anathema" sound weird without "an" in front of it??) Sometimes, rarely, tea bags make their way into my cup.

Roger, the robotic vacuum cleaner, my new best friend.

11 August 2013

I'd been thinking about these robotic vacuum cleaners for ages.  One of the girls I worked with in my previous, non-retired life had one and loovved it.She'd bought hers with her stash of wishing-well-wedding money.

In the beginning ...

9 August 2013 Townsville QLD, Australia

This has all started because my cousin, Maria and I bought iPad minis.  What a revolution.

I discovered blogging and all those wonderful people who share their creative passion, their homes and lives. Well, rather, I discovered Pinterest and then blogs and my world changed. I'm know I'm late coming to this revolution but at least I'm now here.

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