Monday, December 31, 2007

FlairGreetings and thankyou for visiting my design and creativity outlet. Basically my name is Gillian, and I shall be posting up things I find inspiring such as textiles, patterns, designs, musical things...whatever takes my fancy currently!
A friend, who lives nearby, has begun a blog. Go and have a look. Cute stuff!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Project 365
Some days I have time to go from blog to blog, via the links on other people's pages, and am amazed at what I find. I read on HeyLucy about a Flickr group called Project 365, and so went to have a look. It is great... and because I have all the time in the world, I joined.
The idea is you post one photograph a day. Anything you like - a picture of somewhere you have been, something you have seen, your everyday surroundings. It is great to look at the photographs posted by others each day.

This is my day #2 post. Oliver and I have been working on various Lego constructions over the past few days.
The Cat Empire

Saturday, December 29, 2007

What to do with all that leftover Christmas ham?
My family, one by one as the afternoon progresses, come and ask, "What's for dinner?" If I answer is, that we are having 'leftovers', there are groans and exclamations of, "Not again!" So... I have been thinking of creative ways of serving up ham and baked pumpkin (which we have a mountain of!) in various guises. Last night it was pasta.

I mashed the pumpkin, and combined sour cream and fresh parsley & basil (from our garden - they are growing so well!), which I stirred through the pasta. To top the dish off I fried thinly sliced ham and added it to each individual bowl.
To my delight, the whole lot was polished off, and the kids did not even realise it was ham!

PS: One of the joys of cooking last night - leftover blue vein cheese, and a glass of chardonnay.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Recently I have become enamored with all the delightful bird fabric and decorations that have become popular.
My parents gave me this gorgeous candle holder for Christmas, which looks perfect in our bathroom.

My friend Vanessa gave my these tin decorations that look great on my tree.
And I bought this fabric for a bag, and use it all the time at the moment. You can find this fabric, and may others with the 'bird' theme on ebay - Funky Fabrix. I buy a lot of my fabric from them.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Boxing Day

Last night we hosted dinner for all of Andrew's family at our place. The weather was perfect for eating outside.I love when it is my turn to decorate the table. Last January, in the sales, I bought lots of red and white trees, which I painted the names onto as place markers. I tried to keep everything else white or lime green.

Once again, there was lots of eating and gifts.
It is time to wind down and relax this coming week, and to visit the gym.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day

We spent Christmas Day at my parent's place in Corrimal (a coastal town 1 1/2 hours south of Sydney). Once again, another eating fest.

It was Zac's first Christmas, and he received lots of attention throughout the day.

This year Mum used an Australian native as her tree, which she has been shaping during the year. It was very pretty with blue and silver decorations, and the trees own cream flowers.

Christmas Eve
As I said in my previous post, we spent Christmas Eve with out neighbours, and Pam's family. It was such a lovely evening. There was good food and wine in abundance.

Alex cooked an enormous amount of pork on a spit; and then haloumi, lamb and chicken on the BBQ. We ate souvlakis for dinner. Pam's sister, Pat, had baked lots of yummy cakes, friands and biscuits.
Pat also made a pinata and some lovely bonbons (crackers).
Santa arrived after dinner to hand out gifts.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Stockings are Hung
...and there are three very excited children, constantly looking for food and annoying their mother.
I am trying to do all the jobs that will make tomorrow far more pleasant - washing the dog, and tidying the house.
Tonight we are having dinner with our next door neighbours, which we are looking forward to, then off to bed to dream lovely dreams.
Christmas Party
Last night we celebrated Christmas with friends.

Cath and I organised a party with a music theme (we love doing that!) - songs you love, but would never really admit to. We compiled a song list after surveying the guests prior to the party, and burnt a CD. Cath wrote a blurb for the back and I made a cover.
Everyone has their share of secrets...particularly of a musical know what I am talking about...those songs you sing to in the car when you are driving around looking for a parking spot...those songs that take you to a melancholy place or a happy place or your year 12 formal...those songs that are so bad that they are good or just so iconic they are emblems of a glorious but faded past! Those songs that bring out your inner angst and torment!
Well, this year it is time to let all those musical disasters or clich├ęs come right out of the stocking! It is time to stop being cool and time to start being a dag! Time to get sentimental and time to get out of character! Time to stand up and say "I LOVE THIS SONG AND I AM NOT AFRAID TO SAY IT" Having said that, some of
your choices are scary so we warn you to be very afraid as you listen. Alternatively, you can just fast forward to the next track!
Jen & Cath xxoo

Towards the end of the party the kids (especially my girls) really got into the dancing. Cath had taught them 'the Nutbush' awhile ago, and they danced it again and again.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Front Verandah
This week I have rearranged the front verandah to try to utilize space more efficiently, and to make it look tidier. Our house is relatively small for a family of five, and storage is always something I am organising and rearranging.
It began with Oliver's room, as I decluttered it on Thursday, in preparation for the goodies Christmas will bring. I was able to send many toys home with my sister for Zac.
Then I was on a roll and decided to move his furniture around, and eventually the wardrobe that was in his room went to the verandah, and is now a place to store some gardening bits and pieces, raincoats, and the tools I regularly use around the house.
The metal trunks that sit on the verandah, storing gum boots etc. were given a spruce up with some spray paint.

The little table I rescued from my parent-in-law's place was also given the spray paint treatment while I had it out.
As a result, everything is looking tidier, and I wont have to cringe when friends come to the door.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Andrew and I went to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age this week. We enjoyed the first 'Elizabeth' film, and were keen to see this one. It did not disappoint.
There have been a lot of reviews that have panned it, but I thought it was magnificent. The gowns...the wigs...wonderful! Just imagine having to wear all that stuff everyday. No wonder Elizabeth's real hair was in such shocking condition underneath, and that she needed so many ladies-in-waiting to help her get dressed. Andrew wasn't so impressed with the 'romance' between Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh, and would have liked a little more historical action and intrigue, but I thought it was an interesting way to portray Elizabeth's vulnerability.

And I must say, I think Cate Blanchett is just beautiful.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas LightsTonight we drove around our local area to look at some houses, whose owners have gone to a lot of trouble decorating, with lights. The kids were delightful in their response to the lights. Every house brought a fresh, excited exclamation of wonder.
There was one who almost came close to the Griswold family home, but not quite.
PS: I'm sure one of our TV stations will show 'National Lampoons Christmas Vacation' this week. I really do get a lot of pleasure watching it each year.

Tim Winton and Whales
One of my favourite authors of all time is Tim Winton. I read another of his novels this week, 'Shallows'. It is his second novel, and won the Miles Franklin award in 1984.
I love Tim Winton's stories because they are so real and gritty. I think they capture the pain and beauty of relationships of people with each other, and with the land. And they are very Australian.

This is a synopsis of 'Shallows'.

Winton places human stories within natural history, notably in Shallows (1986), where the action takes place during 1978 in Angelus, the last whaling town in Australia. The conflict between whalers and conservationists is personalized in the rupture between newly married Cleve and Queenie; she joins the protesters, while he becomes absorbed in an ancestor's 1831 diary of a whale ship voyage. Other historically rooted conflicts are taking place in the town, between landowner Des Pustling and a retiring but stubborn clergyman, while other local characters succumb to guilt and weariness. Meanwhile, Cleve and the now pregnant Queenie are reconciled, both nursing doubts about their causes, just as the annual migration of Humpback whales arrives offshore. (Dr Jules Smith, 2003)

If you want to read some more about Tim Winton there is a link here, and the transcript of his interview with Andrew Denton on 'Enough Rope' is here.

Tim Winton often writes about whales. A big coincidence - at the time I was reading 'Shallows', a friend sent me a link to a site name 'Whales Revenge'. There is a game to play and a petition to sign.

“Play the game, sign the petition and send it to all your friends”.. this is the simple message in a campaign by Melbourne man Patrick Bonello to raise awareness about the whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean by Japanese whalers.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Free Rice
Click here to play.
Each morning, as I go outside into the yard, I wave a stick in front of me to tear away all the webs that have appeared overnight. There are hundreds of them! It is a shame to destroy such magnificent work, but they do make it difficult to complete daily chores.
The worst is when I charge out, forgetting about the spiders and their webs, only to have a face coated in web... and maybe spider. A little, manic dance follows, with me checking again and again that none of the eight legged creatures are attached to me.
I took this photo last night on our back deck. The spider had caught a Christmas beetle, and was preparing its meal.