Colours of summer

On my trips to the local shops I always pass these wonderful displays of red hot pokers and agapanthus – they are growing wild on the reserve above one of the local coves.  I keep meaning to stop and photograph them, so on my way back from the hairdresser this morning, I did just that. 

I love the colour of agapanthus – in Victoria they are a declared noxious weed – but here, they seem to be everywhere (I guess that is what noxious weeds do!). Shame to call something so pretty noxious.

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This and that

This is the time of year when I would normally take down the Christmas decorations – but as I didn’t put any up, I am saved that chore!  I have always made a big thing about our christmas tree – but for Christmas 2009, we were in the apartment, so had nowhere to put it, so I gave it to daughter number 2, as we were having Christmas at her house.  And there it stayed – I didn’t feel the need to bring it down to the coast – firstly I don’t have anywhere to put it up without moving a large piece of furniture, and secondly, it just doesn’t seem to fit.  All that northern hemisphere emphasis on mid-winter looks a bit silly against the deep blue backdrop of the Australian summer sky and the Pacific.  My girls weren’t too impressed at the lack of a tree – it was obviously part of their childhood memory of christmas, so they were a bit put out.  Never mind, they’ll get over it.
One concession I did make was to make stockings for the two grandbabies.  The girls have had stockings since they were little, and over the years, I have made extras for special people who have spent Christmas with us.  I can just about get away without having a tree, but would have a full scale riot on my hands if I dispensed with the stocking tradition.  This was Leo’s first Christmas, so in the few days I had after starting leave before they all arrived, I made this for him. 
Lincoln’s was the same style, but I had to make a thermofax screen to fit his name on – too many letters to applique in a reasonable size – couldn’t the girls thing of these things before choosing names for their children??!  Here is Leo enjoying his first visit to Nanny and Poppy’s place for Christmas and visiting the beach.  I guess for my grandkids, memories of Christmas will be of sea and sand, not evergreen trees decked in lights – and that’s ok!
Here is a clever shot of Lincoln in a typically thoughtful pose.  My eldest daughter took this using my new camera – I don’t know how she managed to get this two shots combined – I must read the instruction manual and find out – apparently you can take videos too – not sure I am up to that yet.
We have been doing quite a bit of kayaking over the holidays.  Trouble is the waterways are very crowded at this time of year with all the holiday makers – some of our favourite spots are completely ruined by the arrival of skiers and jet skis – I really can’t see why people have to tear around churning up the water, creating pollution and noise and spoiling a beautiful spot for every other user.  Completely inconsiderate.  We even heard someone yesterday complaining that they had to slow down, because the damn kayakers were in their way!   I had a birthday just before Christmas (as I usually do!) and Karl got me a new camera that can tolerate getting wet – I was a bit worried about using my normal camera with wet hands and water sloshing about while kayaking.  But there are so many wonderful things to photograph.  One of the delights of being on the water is that you get to see things from a completely different perspective, and you get to see things you normally would never see at all.
These lines are the ripples caused by a fishing boat going by.  Interesting lines! 
There is a sea eagle nest at Lake Corunna, about 10 minutes from home.  This was the first day I had my new camera, so didn’t get the zoom right – although you can click for a bigger version.  Shortly after I took this, the other one (don’t know if it was male of female) came to join its partner on the branch.  Very majestic and beautiful birds.
This is an old jetty on Wagonga inlet.

 Lots of oyster farms in the inlet.  I can safely paddle about in these areas without fear of speedboats mowing me down, as it is too shallow for them.

 And finally – to show that the investment in the paddle kayak for fishing was worthwhile – Karl’s first big catch – a flathead from the Tuross River.  We had it for dinner last night – yum!



New Year catch up

Hmm, I have been a bit slack in the blogging department – so thought I had better catch up – start off the New year as I mean to go, etc.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year celebration.  From reading blogs and watching the news, it is obvious that many people didn’t.  The heavy snow in Europe/UK and US obviously caused havoc – I can’t think of anything worse than being stuck sleeping on an airport floor (or indeed, any floor) for days – good reason to stay home, I reckon!  Which is what we did. 

Daughters, partners and the two grandsons came down for their first Christmas with us in our new house.  It was noisy, hectic and fun – mostly!

I did a bit of sewing here and there.  I saw Maria Elkins work in QA and decided to give her method of fabric portraits a go.  This was my first attempt, with the source photo below – actually I am not sure it is exactly that photo, but it was one taken at the same time. 

 My second attempt, with daughter number two.  Thank goodness she wasn’t wearing her glasses, which would have made it more difficult!

It is a very simple, and very effective technique, which depends on using double sided, sticky webbing – Steam a seam Lite2, I think it is called.  Trouble is, it isn’t readily available here in Oz, so I had to mail order some.  By the time I added in postage, it worked out at around $13 a meter!!!  So next time Hancocks of Paducah had their terrific, free postage (yes, even to the other side of the world!) deal on, I ordered some from there – less than $5 a metre!

There is a big debate going on here at the moment about people ordering things online and avoiding GST (the national sales tax) – retailers want the $1000 limit (under which, you don’t have to pay GST on goods ordered from overseas online) scrapped.  But they really don’t get it – even if I paid an extra 10% to bring the stuff in from the US, I would still be miles ahead. 

Yes, I know businesses have overheads, and Australia is a small market in a big country a long way from everywhere, so we don’t have economies of scale etc etc.  BUT, businesses are just that – not charitites – and if I have a $ to spend and I can get nearly three times the value by shopping online/overseas, then I will.
I also made a quilt late last year, quite a large one.  It was an advent quilt for my previous parish church – I first made  Lent and Easter quilts about ten years ago and had intended to follow up with others for the main liturgical seasons – but life got in the way, and I didn’t get around to  it.  So late last year (as in 2010!) I started putting together an Advent quilt – in many different mauvey blues, with the starts of the southern cross in rose – the colours reflect the Advent colours used in Australia, and the southern cross is a far more relevant emblem of light in our southern summer skies than the candles traditionally housed within an evergreen wreath – light in the winter darkness is fine for the northern hemisphere at this time of year, but doesn’t quite work for us!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo,as it was too big to hang anywhere here – but I have asked that they take a photo in situ and send it to me -I’ll post it when it arrives.

I am working on an Ordinary times quilt now – the last one – lots of greens – lots of sewing – I worked out yesterday that it will have 1,280 pieces! Yikes, better get back to sewing.