31 July 2012

Olympic fever & a flash back to Mexico 1968

Greetings all, 
Feeling groovy with Olympic fever??  My primary schoolers took my Olympic Relay Torch to school & now students keep asking me which events i was in at the Olympics.  I wish!!   
Olympic poster of the day: Mexico City Mexico 1968.  
Olympic Scandal: the 'Black Power Salute' at the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m where Tommie Smith & John Carlos (both USA, gold & bronze medalists respectively) each raised a black gloved fist as a "human rights salute."  Australian Peter Norman won the silver & wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge.  All 3 were suspended from the games by IOC President Avery Brundage.  Sorry, where were then US Olympic Committee President Brundage's 'apolitical salute standards' during the 1936 Berlin Olympics??  He made no objections to the Nazi salute on the dais 'as it was a national salute' - disgusting!!  Brundage, a Nazi sympathiser - double disgusting!!  Hitler, Germany's Chancellor - triple disgusting!!  Anyway, both Smith & Carlos kept in touch with Norman & were pallbearers at his funeral in 2006.   
Found this sweet photo of our twins from their Mt Kosciuszko hike on the notice board at school (girl on right in borrowed track pants!!)  My third girl received an A+++ for her Olympic project, with thanks to some free TinyMe printables linked off Tania McCartney's blog (so my daughter wrote her a thank you note & handmade a felt heart, too cute!!)  We have the Medal Tally on the fridge for Australia & one for Spain (son's homework assignment.)  Did you hear Usain Bolt learnt Spanish as most of the 'hot athletes' only speak Spanish??  What a charmer.  
Because i'm an over sharer & gasp when i see colourful things i adore, i whipped out my copy of Mollie Makes magazine to show the manager at Seed, the friendship bracelets on the front cover . . . they have similar ones in store!!  I went back the following day to get a dozen more as they make great gifts (we're going into the birthday months remember) i spent many a Christmas pregnant, not making babies!!   
A gold medal for my number 1 son!!  His 'bracelet' in the image above is from Afghanistan, he likes to join in.  Yes, he maintains his supreme olive skin colouring all through Winter, the Italian genes run deep.
 The chocolate gold medal didn't last long, bless his heart, she shared it with his 3 sisters.
 Don't forget the Limp Bits challenge starts tomorrow - get ready to link up your cooking entry - bake, cook, roast, sauté, BBQ, grill, smoke, poach . . . something you've never tried before or haven't for a while.  Details here
Love Posie

28 July 2012

a week of Olympic proportions & flash back to Seoul 1988

Greetings all,
I often use 'Olympic' as a huge-prolific-amazeballs adjective . . . we had one of those Olympic weeks: children thrilled to be back at school with their friends; successful parent/ teacher interviews; my eldest is in a new Volleyball team in a higher grade; dinner out; my husband started work locally; even the chickens are laying more eggs since the Winter Solstice!!  I wrapped up the week with a clean house; read a few magazines; wrote thank you notes; lots of exercise; cooking new recipes; tending to animals; somehow became the marketing manager for our school fete + consulting with Jan-Maree of Aussie Hero Quilts about her trip to Canberra next week (including a sewing Saturday at Duntroon) 415 patchwork quilts have been sent to our troops overseas already!!   
Olympic Poster of the Day: Seoul South Korea in 1988.  
Olympic Scandal: attention London Olympic organisers, there are two very different Koreas,   perhaps you might like to check the flags (at the North Korean Women's soccer) as they are separate countries.  'Peace & good will' at Olympics = don't upset the North Koreans!! 
 Then a Friday treat - brunch with Tania McCartney.  While we gobbled down panini, exchanged 'just because' gifts & chattered a million miles a minute, we hit our favourite haunts - Typo, Seed, Pepe's Paperie, Laura Ashley - then Tania dashed to meet some authors for lunch (socialite) i had time to kill at Kikki-K, Fossil & Witchery.  Lots of sales, the sequin & tulle skirts cost me less than $40 (total value $150) for my eldest to wear to discos, socials, parties - baby steps, she's not a girlie girl - so the sequins were met with a screwed up nose, however, amazing what you're teenagers will do when you pay the entry fee &/ or drive them to said discos, socials & parties!!  Plus i met her after a volleyball clinic with sushi, she loves me!!  Actually Tania sighed her daughter wasn't frilly either, would live in jodhpurs if she could, alas, i have two extra frill-sparkle-sequin loving daughters to dress & hand these down to.  

Tattoos & London cup cake wrappers (thanks Tania) i baked my English Mummy's fairy cakes for my little athletes today.  Adorable stationery - Squirrels with acorn push pins, Oh Deer stamp, dotty tissue paper, quirky clips, note cards & book (bunting, hello!!)  A bunch of little things that pulled at my heart strings.  I saw the Amanda Paino fabric on Kate from Foxs Lane blog.  Just realised that is not the current issue of Mollie Makes magazine, ooppss, i flick through them constantly. 
I was up at 5.30a.m. to catch the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics, thrilled to find two of my girls already up watching, had to wake the rest.  The athletes parade - Italians, chic as ever; Australian team uniforms matched the French, only with bottle green jackets - we looked very smart (for once!!)  Very excited to see Patty Mills (a Canberra born & bred Basketball player) out there.  Then the Americans came out, oh Ralph Lauren, berets off to your classic style!!  We particularly enjoyed the Pacific Island & African nations with their glorious national uniforms.  Actually, i would have put the French in cravats or scarves (the ties were a bit bland) like my new red, white & blue Witchery birdie scarf!!  How i'd love to dress an Olympic team.
Now i don't have pay television & am suffering Eddie McGuire.  We picked up various faults in Eddie's opening commentary, including . . . this was the first Olympics where every team has both male & female participants (not quite) . . . & how ANZACs fell alongside British troops during the first few days of the battle of the Somme, France in WWI (no Eddie, they hadn't arrived yet!!)  Who researches this stuff & worse . . . who lets Eddie on television??  Just let Andrew Gaze do all the talking please (5 x Olympics, Sydney Olympic flag bearer, son of Olympian) as he actually knows how it feels unlike over paid, non athletic, television executives!!  What did you think of the Opening Ceremony??  I loved Daniel Craig with the Queen (corny but forever-hunky-in-a-suit); David Beckham looked pretty pleased with himself captaining that boat; the music was ace, although Paul McCartney was a bit off key; the cauldron was AMAZING!!  I didn't realise the British were such fans of the National Health System??  All my English relatives complain about it!! 
  Want to join in a blogging challenge during the Olympic Games??  My Limp Bits of cooking/  crafting/ photography improvement here, starts Wednesday 1st August with cooking.  Love Posie

27 July 2012

feeding the lions at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Greetings all,
Before we even left for Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, my husband declared he was going to feed the lions.  When we arrived at the zoo, we immediately booked him for the afternoon lion feeding, then toured the zoo on bikes.  We saw the lions in their enclosure first, they were very affectionate to say the least!!  I actually felt like voyeur watching them, worse, photographing them.   
 Feeding the lions (or tigers in the morning) is for the over 15s & costs $59, i was encouraged to have lunch in the cafe with the children while my husband went behind the scenes.  Handsome soldier returned, almost speechless & in awe of these incredible animals.
 Just for scale, my husband is over 6' tall & the lion is standing about 5' back from the fence!!
 They have INCREDIBLE reach & the keepers assure you, they are still very much wild animals, if you went in to their enclosure, they would still try to kill you.  I didn't doubt that as we got up very close to them on the Zoofari tour (part of the overnight lodge stay.)
 Look at her pretty face, so calm & gentle.
 Handsome soldier was the only person in the afternoon feeding group so he let a novice keeper have a turn too.  While my husband was watching her feed the lion, the lioness put her paw up next to his face.  Look at those claws & the fluff sticking through the fence!!
This is my favourite shot, look at that magnificent face!!
This was the absolute highlight of the whole zoo for my husband, an adrenalin rush & . . . complimentary face full of lion breath!!  He would do this again in a heartbeat.  Actually i would have him do both lions & tigers next time & go along to take the photos (the keeper taking the shots didn't zoom in, i would have taken 100 shots!!)  Value for money??  To see the look oh my husband's face afterwards, priceless!!  
Gather round the children folks & show them these amazing animals.  Stay tuned for the next instalment - the Zoofari lodge overnight stay & a family zoo pass giveaway!!  Love Posie

26 July 2012

my creative space . . . 'an Olympic challenge to improve the Limp Bits of your life'

Greetings all,
I'm Olympics mad.  I love sports & the Olympics take my breath away.  I was an athlete, ditto my husband & now our 4 children.  Track, field, teams . . . love it all.  I was lucky enough to run in the Sydney 2000 Torch Relay (i was so overwhelmed after my part, i didn't even recognise my own daughter!!)  SO in honour of the . . . .
 . . . where athletes have trained for years to reach the pinnacle of sports performance . . . for fear of being sued for using the sacred word 'Olympics' . . . i'm encouraging bloggers to peak too, in a Creative Limp Bits Challenge - that's right, sounds like Olympics, only it's Limp Bits.  Challenge yourself to fix the Limp Bits of your cooking, craft & photography.  
It will run 1st to 15th of August (3 Wednesday link parties) you're encouraged to join in & be challenged to find something you haven't cooked, crafted or photographed before to reach the pinnacle of creative performance.
Week 1 Limp Bits Challenge: bake, cook, roast, sauté, BBQ, grill, smoke, poach . . . something you've never tried before or haven't for a while.  One of the Limp Bits of my life is that i've NEVER cooked a roast, nope, never.  I'm going to try & shall present it on Wednesday 1st August for the first link party.
Who's with me??  Prepared to fix the Limp Bits of your life by Olympic proportions??  
Week 2 Limp Bits Challenge: sewing, crochet, knitting & design.  
Week 3 Limp Bits Closing Ceremony: Photography!!  
Gold, Silver & Bronze blog badges will be awarded!!  Are you a join'er in'er??  Maybe just the cooking, baking or photography challenges??  If it went for longer i'd add Bargain Hunting & Vintage Finds too!!  International players very welcome.  Australians like beating other countries in anything & everything!!  
For more creativity, check out Village Voices Creative Space, love Posie
Grab the badge & start planning.  I'll be practising crochet watching Aquatics.

25 July 2012

snap it 'soft'

Greetings all,
Wednesday already??  Poof what a week.  Just last night we had parent teacher interviews, a volleyball match & dinner out with a friend visiting from Sydney . . . plus i've battled a headachy/ bodyachey virus for a week.  I'm also in withdrawal from my husband as he's returned to work (after 2 months of war leave) & our children resumed school.
I'm about to bombard you with stunning images from Taronga Western Plains Zoo, to kick it off, what brilliant timing that Snap It with Faith Hope & a Whole Lotta Love this week is 'soft'.  Mother nature totally nailed it when she created the peacock.  Look at these glorious patterns, textures & colours!!
Friendly peacocks grace the eating area around the cafe at the entrance to the zoo.  I desperately wanted to feel the silky soft feathers.  I'd have zoomed in closer to the patterns on this magnicifent animal, however, i had the point & shoot camera, meanwhile, the Nikon D70SLR was off taking pictures of my husband feeding the LIONS!!  Those images are a post unto themselves, along with his reaction.
Have a gorgeous midweek blog schmooze around & remember to love your fellow 'real person' blogger.  Love Posie 

23 July 2012

postcards from The Dish in Parkes NSW

Greetings all,
In the school holidays we visited The Dish in Parkes NSW.  This week is the anniversary of the moon landing too.  We grow up in Australia very proud knowing the images of the first man landing on the moon in 1969, came from this humble dish in the middle of a sheep paddock.  We arrived as the information centre opened for the day & the weather was perfect, albeit, windy so the dish was locked in the upright position (winds over 35km per hour) just like the anxious moments in the fantastic movie The Dish.
The information centre is free to visit, there are movies (including 3D) which weren't playing when we were there, so we took snapshots & read all the details on the plaques.  Did you know i studied physics a University??  It came in handy explaining how the dish & various ancient machines worked (even though i was at Uni in the mid 1990s, the equipment didn't look any more technical than these bulky boxes with chunky dials & knobs!!)
 My 3rd daughter (top left) was whispering messages to her brother (top centre) at the other side of the garden, as the discs formed perfect parabolas.  Geek heaven - sun dials included!!  We're all set for any future school assignments.
The Dish stands out, but it's not ugly, i find circular objects, even serious 68m wide construction, look beautiful anywhere, even across these lush meadows.
Next time you're cruising the Newell Highway (20km outside the Parkes township), absolutely stop by & take a look.  They mention these areas in the latest Donna Hay magazine - with a little NSW tourism pull out book too.  Love Posie

22 July 2012

social commentary Sunday . . . 'where has the blog love gone??'

Greetings all,
Gosh, what has happened to blogging lately??  I've been chatting to some fellow bloggers off line & we've noticed a shift in blog happiness.  There are fewer friendly blog awards around; a decline in comments/ posts/ link ups + the reaction against people monetorising their blogs or scoring a paid gig on a forum group site - geesh, i thought the working mother debate was fierce enough - earning money off your blog is the new 'thing' to attack.
How about we turn it around??  Today!!
I don't care if you started your blog as a personal diary or business pursuit, i'll read when it interests me (& always comment) or if i disagree about something because . . . 
i don't drink alcohol, 
i am a full time mother, 
i don't like coffee, 
i loathe smokers, 
i disagree with junk food, 
i am not religious, 
i don't have depression, 
i still struggle with crochet,
i can't afford to flit off to Europe,
i'm discouraged by swearing, 
i dislike wives complaining about husbands, 
i feel icky about social-media-climbers, 
i can't bare whiners 
& a string of my own personal judgemental/ preference/ health issues . . .
i click away & move on with my life!!  I don't leave some horrendous-bitchy-nasty-hatefilled-personal attack comment!!  If i'm going to disagree with a point of view, i ensure i have a learned reason, it's never 'i disagree & now i hate you' especially on personal blogs.  Those bloggers are baring their souls & reaching out, that is so brave!!  Sure if you're going to venture beyond 'vanilla blogging' as Edenland calls it, you're going to get more than people's 2 cents worth of opinion, but that can still be filled with love & care, why the negativity & vitriol??  
We are real people, with ideas & feelings, putting it out there . . . many bloggers simply disappear into the ether after a heinous comment or attack . . . that is crushing to think some anonymous troll has such power over you & your happy place - so many of us blog as therapy & our blogs are our happy place
 So grab a button or make your own up, let's get blogging back to where it used to be.  Sure i've written posts about competitive blogging & jaded blogging, here, on my own blog with my own opinion, NOT on the blogs of the people who i was generalising about.  Just because you do drink, smoke, eat junk, work, believe in God, swear or whinge, doesn't mean i don't like you blog because you're different to me - one post does not make me judge a blogger!!  
I mention depression as a non blogger asked me "don't you have to have depression or something to complain about as an angle on your blog??"  Ouch, she was corrected, promptly.  I don't have depression nor understand it, however, if blogging helps you, that's wonderful, it's just unlikely i can add a helpful comment to your post about that topic.  Ditto for other issues like special needs children or a physical injury - but hello to my carpal tunnel syndrome readers!!  We have a great sense of community here in blogland.    
I don't care what product you promote in a post & if you're making cash from it . . . good for you.  I personally don't dig the blogs who end up looking like the back-of-magazine-advertising pages filled with flashing ads, they are so distracting & kind of . . . no longer a blog anyway.  But if you do the odd paid post here & there, brilliant, they are informative & the voice of a real person, someone i 'know' & trust.  Most have a reader giveaway - i've won dozens of product giveaway prizes, from simply entering cheerfully. 
If you run a blog off your business, it's very likely i found your business first, then realised there is an ace blog attached.  Tessa from Down That Little Lane is a great example & recently posted on being 'amused by pompous, slaggy abusers' taking it with a grain of salt.  Their loss, as her blog & business are delightful. Tina Gray {dot} Me wrote a beautiful post on forming blog alliances, what a lovely idea for those starting out, or even established bloggers, like a warm blanket.  I would be careful who you pick & reassess, as i've seen informal versions crumble as one blogger has reached great heights (read: income from blogging) much to the jealousy of others in the 'group', guess what, the anonymous negative comments came pouring in.  Blah!!  
Now this is not for journalists & professional writers who write posts to bait comment, indifference & ferocious debate, they're paid to get under our skin & evoke a response.  This is for your fellow, humble, honest, real person blogger.  Who's with me??  Bring back the love & positivity with happiness & support, love Posie

20 July 2012

when i was a little girl, i was a tom boy

Greetings all,
I was a total tom boy growing up, my best friend was the boy one house over & we played for hours in my back garden.  I had huge rocks, climbing trees, a swimming pool & then my dreams came true, my father built me a tree house.  My father was the son of a carpenter & everything he built "would hold the Sydney Harbour Bridge" as he hammered in a zillion nails to all manner of structures.  When my big brothers were little, they had horses, in our back garden, in St Ives!!  Seriously, 4 horses on Sydney's North Shore!!  As a child i played in the barn, clearly zero fear of spiders & let my imagination run wild.  
 Now my tree house looked nothing like these fancy images - the base was the neighbour's old ping pong table - but it had a balcony, ladder, windows & a shingled roof.
 It has a steep stair ladder & was among the Jacaranda trees, you had all manner of exits.  We could reach out & eat Mulberries.  Life was ace.  
 We were even allowed to sleepover in it with friends!!  Bless the 1980's.  My mother would bring midnight snacks & hot chocolates out on a tray like room service!!
 My tree house still lives on, solid as a rock, my children play it when we visit Sydney.  I'm going to be more heart broken than i realise when my parents sell our family home next year.
 One of the best things about planning our own home, is dreaming up things like a tree house for the children or a fancy viewing platform to show off the best views to guests.   
In the latest Smith Journal (Frankie Magazine's brother) they had a great feature on tree houses, ditto google images for tree house eye candy.  When we finally buy land & plan a house, i'm going to do some carpentry courses so i can fiddle around with off cuts & build something amazing.  Don't you love the branchy hand rails??    
I might be lady like now . . . take away the sequins & fluff - give me gum boots & a hand saw - i'm right back to my roots.  I've spent the day gardening (weeding really) & tossing all the off cuts to the chickens & ducks.  I even gave them the leftover roses from our Friday the 13th party, which were gobbled down with gusto.  Can't wait to go out into the chicken run tomorrow & slip over in extremely-organic-poo.  I might sew with precision but i'm very clumsy & a slipper-overer, normally with a public audience.  Have gorgeous weekends everyone.  Love Posie

19 July 2012

postcards from Cowra NSW

Greetings all,
We just visited the Western Plains of New South Wales.  On the way out, we stopped in Cowra, famous for the Cowra Break Out (largest prisoner of war break out in history) & the beautiful Japanese Gardens.  I took gazillions of snaps, so enjoy a photo overload.
Look at the Australian countryside top left, the gorgeous playground park area, the views of the Cowra township & compare them all with the Japanese tea house & how it frames the garden around it.
 We spent hours here, just looking, exploring & letting the children run free after 200km of driving.  Note the bamboo water feature - it's a movement device to scare deer.
 Family entry was under $40 including a couple of bags of fish food . . .
 & feed the fish we did!!  There were some huge koi in there, they'd come from across the pond under the water sending ripples to the surface, very spooky, then up & gobble!!
 The foliage was incredible, as you can see, i was completely besotted by the gardening.
 The trees were stunning & i want their gardener to create the grass-carpet-perfection at my place!!
 Waterfalls anyone??
 There were new shoots & stunning berries.  We bought a 'talking tour' guide which explained everything, along with a map which correlated with tree details by number. 
 Stunning, simply beautiful & incredibly tranquil.  Aren't the snow lanterns gorgeous??  
I'm saving many more images for future flora inspiration.  Only a few more days of school holidays left, sob.  Enjoy, love Posie

17 July 2012

raising ducklings in suburbia

Greetings all,
When our chicken breeders asked if we were interested in ducks, i jumped at the chance.  Ducklings take longer to incubate than chicks & are well worth the wait!!  They are born running - they dash about & leap out of your hands.  We have Khaki Campbells in 3 different shades, named Bugle, Bongo & Calliope.  Even from birth, their little flappy webbed feet slap on the ground in the most adorable flip flop fashion.
Raising ducklings is very much like caring for new chicks, they can eat the same food, they grow quickly & will soon climb out of the box you keep them in, however, ducks will saturate EVERYTHING by filling their bills with water & spraying it EVERYWHERE.  After a couple of weeks their fluffy fur starts to get oily & they can splash in the bath.  It's too adorable for words when they start swimming. 
Our ducks sleep interlocked together, they'd also happily curl up on our laps after a bath.  They started spending days outside with their similar aged chicks from 3 weeks & had extreme confidence with the adult hens.  Even though it's Winter & they were sleeping under lights in a cage under a blanket in the garage, by 4 weeks they were sleeping in the coop at night outside . . . we'd check them in the morning, their bellies are toasty warm, even after a -5C night.  
 We put a trough in the chicken run so they can have a paddle & wash themselves.  They now stand bigger than any hen & while they still hang out as a trio, they are so social, love a cuddle (now 7 weeks old) & look fully grown, with beautiful silky smooth feathers & glorious wings.  They eat more than the chickens & their weight is more dense, they still dart about only with a waddle.  They started quacking quietly at 3 weeks, then very loud & clear at 6 weeks. 
Unlike roosters, there ducks are not marked for death if they are boys, although we'd love some lady duck eggs when they mature.  On the future farm, we will breed them for meat, they seem to get so big so quickly, i can imagine butchering them in batches (as ugly as it sounds, but did you think of that last time you enjoyed a Red Duck Curry??)  Will they stay & not fly away??  I don't know, i'm not into the idea of clipping their wings, surely if they love us, they'll stay??  We've not seen them try fly, none of the chickens have shown any interest in leaving us, the run is not covered.  Bugle, Bongo & Calliope have remained different colours so we can pick who is who easily.  They go bonkers for lettuce & share food with each other.  
If you have chickens, i recommend ducks too (their eggs are bigger & tastier.)  On a proper farm you'd have a separate coop with fences going into a dam or lake, for their safety & love of mud.  They poo way more than chickens!!  Enjoy, love Posie
PS feeling clucky, check out the Birth Stories giveaway

16 July 2012

postcards from Sydney Harbour National Park Middle Head

Greetings all,
While i was at Blogopolis in Sydney, my husband took our children to Middle Head, because he's awesome & knows our children are at their best running free, making adventure & exploring - with a touch of danger.  Middle Head was a gunning placement from 1806 to the 1960s, what a place to work, i mean defend the harbour!!  
The walking tracks have amazing vantage points over the harbour & the network of underground tunnels, gun pits & cages are tonnes of fun for the children.
 It's near HMAS Penguin.  Mum would take us here after school & wait to collect my father, she'd knit or read while we'd run wild or swim at Balmoral Beach.
 There are tours some months of the year, or just go on in with your camera & picnic, the park's free (car park at the entrance is not, so we park at Penguin, benefit of being military!!)
Just watch the cliff edges, there aren't fences.  The children loved it so much, we took them again the following day, with me & the camera!!  I don't like tunnels or rocks over my head, so i'd stay up top & wait for the children to pop out into the open again.  Enjoy, love Posie