26 February 2013

all the fun of the fair

 Greetings all,
Do you go to your local town's show/ fair/ carnival??  This is our sixth year here in Canberra & the first time we've been to 'the show'.  I'm not anti show, i just prefer smaller country shows, they're a little more hands on.  We never did the Darwin Show (while we lived there, twice); Brisbane Ekka (while visiting my husband, living in Qld for the past 3 years) & we've never taken our children to the Royal Sydney Easter Show (when we lived there) either - we're not entirely horrible, they have been to Disneyland.  
 The weather was dismal, which is unusual for inland Canberra, sludging around in mud.  Our teenager went with friends on the Saturday, enjoying rides & carnival food.  I went on Friday morning when it opened & again on Sunday with the three youngest children (miraculously between downpours!!)  Much of what we wanted to see was in the exhibition halls anyway, like the cake decorating . . .   
& low crowds meant we were able to see all the animals - our main focus.  
 One of my nephews is a champion cow show'er, from boarding school - now he's doing agriculture at University.  I bet his cows behaved better than this!!  Ooppss. 
 As it's the Canberra Centenary next month, they had all sorts of old fashioned side show alley memorabilia - i loved this area. 
 The presentation ribbons are gorgeous, look at that fringing!!
 There were arts, crafts, pottery & quilts.  I thought these toadstools were adorable. 
I think we'll try again in the couple of years, with better weather & go as a family, stay for the main arena shows & more horse action.  Love Posie

22 February 2013

win one of SIX LEGO Friends prize packs GIVEAWAY

 Greetings all,
How much fun are latest offerings from the LEGO Friends range??!!  My four children really enjoy this series - fun girls with friendships, hobbies & personality - including my son, this LEGO is not just for girls!!  They have adventures & ambition which young ladies can relate to.  Meet the girls . . .
Emma’s Karate Class (RRP $15.99) Practice Emma's favorite martial arts and help her to prepare for another fantastic performance. Train hard to win the trophy by chopping the practice block in half! After a great practice, wind down in the tranquil environment with the cute bonsai tree and drink some water. Includes Emma mini-doll figure.
 My children all learn Japanese at school so spotted lots of cool things in this set - like the Samurai accessories & the LEGO bonsai.  
 Mia’s Magic Tricks (RRP $15.99) Mia's practicing hard for the big Heartlake City magic show. Help her to learn tricks with cards, a magic wand, flowers, her bunny and a top hat. Build her stage for the big performance then stun the crowds with a cute performing bunny that disappears into its own magic cabinet. Amaze the crowds when the bunny disappears! Includes Mia mini-doll figure. 
This set is so cute with the bunny & magic tricks were such a part of my childhood - my Grandfather was always pulling something out from behind my ear or playing cards.
 Win 1 of 6 LEGO Friends prize packs, valued at $31.98 each! Each prize pack consists of Emma's Karate Class and Mia's Magic Tricks!!
Leave a comment at this post & make sure you follow this blog for your chance to win!!  Six lucky winners will be randomly drawn after midnight Sunday 3rd March 2013.  Australian residents only.  Extra entries (one per link) of this giveaway on your social media (Blogs, FaceBook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter etc!!)  Thank you. 
 Thank you LEGO & One Green Bean for the goodies to test drive in the school holidays, we had a great time.  Good luck everyone, love Posie
PS please contact me if you were a winner of my last round of giveaways in 2012 (announced here) as i have lots of prizes to send off.

19 February 2013

"if this is love, then love is easy, it's the easiest thing to do"

 Greetings all,
In light of Valentine's Day last week, i'm doing a love post.  I truly believe McFly's lyrics in their Love is Easy song . . . "if this is love, then love is easy, it's the easiest thing to do" . . . love should be easy, joyful & natural.  My husband & i often come home from a night out/ trip away (without the other) & say "thank goodness we're together, & happy!!"  It's not the "i'd rather be with you than be alone" . . . last year five of my acquaintances separated from their husbands . . . it happens, they realised the love was gone.  I understand marriage, monogamy & commitment forever, isn't for everyone . . . i tell our children that some people would look at the six of us & think "OMG, imagine having 4 children" or "who'd want to be married??" . . . everyone is different & desires different things, love comes to them later in life, or tragedy strikes . . . people are together or alone for unlimited reasons.  
I love marriage, i think it's beautiful & easy.  I saw an 'Agony Uncle' style programme the other night & the question was asked "when did you know it was time to get married" & the men said "when my wife told me it was" which made me giggle.  We definitely talked about it in advance, however, it was still a surprise when my then boyfriend asked me to marry him - had asked my father . . . & minutes later my mother presented us with an engagement gift, wrapped with a card - she knew, as well as i did, i was going to marry this boy.  Then we went ring shopping.  
 If there is one thing i've learned in my 30s, it's that i don't care what other people think.  I was never a self conscious type & i don't mean this in a belligerent way . . . my love for my husband is not hurting anyone, if someone poo poos marriage, commitment or love to me, well that's their choice/ decision/ issue.  Each to their own.  Everyone strives for different goals.  That's what makes the world go round & keeps things interesting.  For me, meeting the right guy has made so many amazing things harmonious in my life, right down to wanting/ having four children & desiring a life on a farm.  I got this sorted out when i was a teenager, hit the love jackpot early & we've cruising along ever since.  Some people think it's boring if you don't fight with your partner??  Or that i'm on permanent honeymoon as my handsome soldier keeps coming home from war!!  Nothing affects the love my husband & have for each other.  In fact, we thrive on the milestones, as they are all steps to the bigger picture . . . unashamedly, life in our late 40s with four adult children & knowing it will be 'just us' again.    
My school teacher niece & her electrician boyfriend came to Canberra - to take our old Jeep Cherokee - to live in Sydney with them.  We gave it to them - we bought her cheaply years ago from friends who were moving overseas.  It was such a great feeling watching twenty somethings drive off in something which might be a big part of their future . . . marriage, maybe children.  He's joining the military soon - their story is surprisingly similar to ours, as is their love story - it's an easy one.            
A lovely quote which has stayed with me "the best thing for a father to do for his children, is love their mother" & i believe that is true.  We had our babies in our 20s, loads of energy & fun, plus they were sleepers & never ill, be breezed through it all . . . now we're at the business end, with teenagers & team parenting has never been more important.  
I just spent my 19th Valentine's Day with the love of my life & he brought home roses, that's about 5 bunches of Valentine flowers in all those years, they make him sneeze . . . they were beautiful, sweet & thoughtful, best of all, a genuine heart felt surprise & to our audience . . . our children . . . we are showing them a decent example of how easy, happy & harmonious love can be.  I can't watch shows where couples are at each other's throats, arguing constantly, yelling & not resolving anything . . . worse - manipulating & undermining their partner - that's not entertainment, it's awful, nasty & mean.  Love Posie

11 February 2013

eleven opinions on the eleventh

Greetings all,
I've been busy getting children back to school & organising my studio - every ribbon, pin & thread sorted - so quiet on the blog front.  Inspired though . . . found a fantastic old lamp shade to restyle like these ones at Koskela in Sydney.  Even discovered a cool twenty something hipster cousin of my husband's works there = excellent excuse to go back!!
Now my eleven opinions this month are random & i couldn't agree more with myself . . . 
1. I appreciate rank, experience & hierarchy, however, why do they choose Popes when they are already so elderly??  Good on the current Pope for retiring, first one in 600 years.
2. Rihanna - still hanging around Chris Brown - my issue is: people saying "they are role models"??  How can a stranger, be a role model to you??  We only see their media projected image or when they are performing, they're family or friends.  Here's a tip to those parents screaming "my child's sports/ movie/ singing hero has let them down" . . . BE YOUR OWN CHILD'S ROLE MODEL!!  Also, take the opportunity to discuss domestic violence, what is not Ok & word your children up on toxic relationships, so they know one when they witness or experience one!!
3. Chrissie Swan, busted smoking while pregnant, oh dear.  Now i am against smoking full stop, but attacking Chrissie - while pregnant & vulnerable - she knows the damage she is doing . . . threatening & lambasting her is not going to help anyone.  How about some support, she's clearly ashamed & regretful, this is one demon she can't overcome alone, even for the health of her 3rd baby & hiding it from her partner.  
4. Retail sales assistants who ignore you until you pick something up, then swoop in & offer "would you like me to hang that up in the dressing room??"  When i'm holding ladies size 4-6 clothing, a fitting room is not going to be the first clue that size is not for me.  I actually said to the last girl (after 5 stores with the same robotic speech) . . . "i'm not flattering myself, this is for my teenage daughter!!"    
5. Whinging that "Valentine's Day is so commercial."  So don't buy a card or flowers or chocolate or gifts.  I'm not into 'festive' days to remember to tell someone you love them, however, why poo poo it - it means the world to many celebrating anniversaries & romance - why spoil it for them & find another reason to be negative about something you can easily chose to exclude from your life!!
6. Cyber friends on social media aren't real friends - i beg to differ - i've made some wonderful engaging friends via my blog & social networks - if we lived closer, i know we'd be great friends in real life.  
7. Swearing in public is offensive & rude.  Teenagers are the worst - loud, obnoxious, disrespectful & so desperate to be noticed for all the wrong reasons, they are such losers thinking they are all powerful because they can say a swear word.  RightyO, do it in front of your mother or grandmother & watch hell unleash boys!!  I tell our children that they represent our whole family when they are at school, parties, socials, sports & in public, they should be proud & respectful.  They do believe we 'bug' them & know everything.  Mwhahahahaha.
8. Don't knock it until you try it . . . i bought a Mel B fitness DVD & it's excellent!!  Think old school cross training, using tins as hand weights & just get over her accent, she's funny.  
9. Next time you feel ill or have a lazy day at home, hire a DVD & chill out, it's so relaxing.  I did that today, better yet it was $1.95 New Release special & picked up a movie i knew nothing about - Jennifer Lawrence in The House at the End of the Street.  Technically the house was next door & it was a teen movie . . . it had a twist & was a bit of a thriller.
10. I met a person last week who insisted they would NEVER drink plain water.  I honestly thought that is being difficult for being difficult sake.  They had no medical reason, just that high maintenance kind of person who is fussy beyond belief.
11. Of all the weight loss, diet & exercise programmes i've tried (since hitting 32 & gaining weight, long after babies, lost all that weight each time, this is frustrating) Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation is excellent.  Yes, it's all stuff we know, eat in portions & exercise, however, she brings it all together with enthusiasm & great recipes, balanced with the exercise that day, she holds your hand, it's brilliant & it works!!  I've just started another round & i'm excited.
Have great weeks everyone, love Posie

08 February 2013

my Marimekko week & the school year resumes

Greetings all, 
Last Friday i finally made it into the Marimekko store in Sydney, wow, what an experience & boy did i wish it wasn't raining so so hard, as i was head down running, not able to soak up the experience - just the raindrops!!  I mean, look at these racks of print & colour, pattern & fun.  I've been collecting Marimekko fabrics for over a decade, they are sensational, coveted & beautiful to work with.  I'm going to make a glorious family patchwork quilt, two actually.
After cruising the entire store, upstairs & down, i managed to finalise my favourite 10 bolts & chose a shoulder bag in signature print Unikko, which my children can borrow too.  I certainly loved the cushions!!
I have been dreaming up what to make with my new prints, while clearing out my studio all week.  Life is always very different after 7-8 weeks of having my four children home on Summer school holidays, to them suddenly resuming school for the year.  My husband started his new job here in Canberra, a couple of weeks ago, so the house is very quiet, just the chatter of chickens & our puppy to keep me company.
My eldest daughter is now in year 9 & was very keen to get back into school, she is doing a triathlon this weekend to kick start her sports.  She has a variety of subjects, electives & non electives, with up to 10 different teachers.  
Finally, after a few days of a new 'organic' process of the children & teachers moving around the classes to discover what 'feels right' my 3 primary schoolers were advised who their classes & teachers were.  Girl 2 has the same teacher as last year, job sharing with her 4th grade teacher, whom she adored, so that is a nice mix.  These days in small schools, they are often composite classes with job sharing mothers teaching part time - we've experienced it all & while i prefer male teachers (as my husband is away so often) - the job sharing situation is often a really positive as the teachers are always fresh.  
Girl 3 has the same teacher as last year, if you could imagine Taylor Swift as a teacher . . . complete with guitar, beautiful singing voice & leg warmers, this is it, perfect for our ethereal little sprite, who feeds off a creative teacher.  So those twins are now year 6 & ruling the school, they will receive special Tshirts too & prepare themselves for high school.  
Finally that baby boy of mine is fast approaching his sisters in height, year 4, with a gorgeous young teacher & all his girlfriends from previous, he'll be just right.  While we've attended 9 different pre, primary & high schools as we've moved all over Australia with the Army, it's nice to be settled & know we just have one more new school - when our son commences to high school, as the girls go to a ladies college. 
All by myself . . . the housewife life . . . so what to do with all this new spare time . . . well i've organised 40kg of no-longer-loved fabric for our daughter's ladies college; middle daughter's piano lessons have extended as 'she's a natural'; sorted school stationery; piled up all the excess kitchen pots, pans, microwave, knives, oven mits, cups, bowls, plates, utensils from the bachelor pad for our primary school canteen; spare linen for charity; removed garbage bags of rubbish from my studio; booked hair cuts; organised lunch dates; delivered fresh lunch to my husband; animal entertaining; i resume a Michelle Bridges 12WBT on Monday so doing my fitness tests; hoisting up a new canopy over the chicken coop; housework; groceries; dinner planning & preparation . . . today i'm finally going to do some shopping, swim & run.
 We'll be back in this city next month for a family wedding.  After dining with Kim Pearson here last Friday night, it brought back all the happy memories of spending my 20th birthday at the ANA (now the Shangri-la) & it's where my husband proposed 16 years ago . . . we booked a suite . . . only this time with ajoining room for 4 children!!  That's my Valentine's Day present right there!!  Valet parking & breakfast for 6.  So excited!!  
Have gorgeous weekends, we're off to a triathlon, love Posie

04 February 2013

debunking instagram . . . with Stephanie_Somebody

Greetings all,
I was lucky enough to attend the Instagram Debunked by Stephanie_Somebody class at The School on Saturday.  Well i say "lucky". . . i'm pretty sure my enthusiastic registration moments after the class was announced had me guaranteed a spot.  Along with many errands, an unexpected dinner with a new friend & a business meeting i tied into a whirlwind 26 hours in Sydney . . . i was here, iPhone ready, eyes wide open.  
 We were welcomed by lovely The School Principal, Megan Morton, with an informal speech about the pretty world of Instragram, then introduced to Stephanie_Somebody.  While Stephanie remains anonymous on social media, i hope she doesn't mind this little sneak picture of herself here.  She didn't say 'no photos', however, this is her first class series & perhaps didn't think request we not publish her full face.    
The class included Stephanie's journey to Instagram fame, with discussion on how she goes about her photography, methods & a print out listing suggested application filters.  She was honest about how her followers went from 2000 in her first year . . . to 135 000+ after being featured on the Instagram 'who to follow' page.  While gracious with her success & literally quitting her day job to make good use of her audience & pursue a career in selling beautiful images (i can imagine future contracts with big brands as she sees things very differently to the average person, in particular, corporate clients) . . . her following is for good reason - she puts a lot time, effort, skill, filters, editing & thought into her images, they are deliberate, patiently uploaded & carefully considered.  I love that she even admitted she contemplates how the image will flow with her 'grid' & never posts similar photos (colour, subject, theme) in a row.  Me too, unless i'm doing a colour/ subject/ theme series. 
 Personally i found the class was for those who want to make their Instagram feed more beautiful, with quality & considered images.  Stephanie might have won 'Instagram Idol' however, she knows her stuff & even if she was presenting the class with her original 2000 followers, i would have been impressed, paid my $180 to attend the class & soaked up her knowledge, methods & experience.  As i've only been on Instagram for 4 months & i'm also new to smart phones . . . i found this experience & Stephanie's knowledge was precisely what i was after.  There were new Instagrammers in the class, many still fumbling with filters & those who are not posting to build a brand, reputation or business profile . . . i heard some ladies saying they were now horrified about their current account (after seeing Stephanie's stunning, harmonious & balanced images) they want to delete & start again.  No doubt Stephanie has inspired them to do better, but not to delete their past - especially as you learn from experience!!  I believe that not everyone has an eye for photography, natural style or even capturing good content, like not everyone can write a blog, cook a roast, run a marathon or become a doctor - not all social media, just because it's free & available to anyone, is for everyone to do well, or at a semi/ professional level which will attract thousands of followers.  Stephanie posts about 5 times a week, extremely restrained & disciplined . . . i completely understand why, especially as she had a very demanding job in interior design, Instagram was her little hobby, instead of television.  She's equally choosey about who she follows, for her it's all about inspiration.
 The top Instagram suggestions from Stephanie, which i was already doing (thanks to being a seasoned blogger) so i'm not stealing her Intellectual Property include:
use the same profile picture/ image/ logo across all your social media
your bio should include a relevant description & include a link to your website
add a story with your photos (mini blog) & name the place/ event - for community building
use hashtags '#' so people can see others doing the same thing, but ensure they are relevant  
don't over do #, they might gain you followers, however, it's quantity not quality, possibly spam 
be active in your community, leave engaging comments
continually look at your visual style, does your feed flow harmoniously 
post frequency - try to stick to a rhythm (i post about 3 times a day, 8 hours apart)
always have your phone/ camera ready, looking for something special, unique, interesting
pureists insist it's all done with smart phones & uploaded 'insta-ntly' or tagged #latergram (i'm late to the party so the rules have already been broken, however, i do reference #NikonD70SLR if it's not a genuine iPhone photo & i rarely post images while i'm at an event, for privacy, so almost everything i post is a #latergram)
keep your smart phone software up to date
constantly hone your skills & try new styles, stay fresh
be confident to take photos in public places or practise stealth
consider symmetry, horizons, natural light, subject, blank spaces & composition
use the camera phone app first, contrast brightness, crop, edit, then upload to Instagram with filters, or save & edit more, add another filter, keep playing
really consider what your Instagram account is for - personal/ business, a suitable blend of both or have separate accounts!!
Finally some beautiful quotes from Stephanie . . .
"represent your own beauty" 
while i enjoyed Stephanie_Somebody's photos, her life is completely different to mine - eating out to cafes with her boyfriend in Melbourne, finding interesting angles to shoot & starting a new business . . . i hope her words ran deep in everyone, that we all see things differently & seek our own beauty, with a variety of skills to deliver them to the world.  Right now for me, it's country properties, shacks, flowers, baking, chickens, vignettes & my family.  Ladies at the class said i had a lovely balance on my Instagram feed, content & rate of posting, which was lovely unsolicited honest feedback.  All i know is that i'm maintaining my 1% "selfies rate" & i've always mixed up my feed so you're not bombarded with 10 of the same image in a row, i respect the time anyone takes to look at my images/ social media, hold their attention & hope to take them on a little adventure, they might even choose to follow me to discover more, against millions of others doing similar things.
"Instagram is about being lovely" 
that is precisely how i feel about it.  Light hearted snippets of loveliness.  Stephanie did say she's had a lot of spam from her 'who to follow' exposure, including negative comments, to which she responded with 'hey, i'm a real person here, you found me' . . . personally at my age & life experience, i'd just hit the delete & scrap them, they're clearly not real fans, genuine followers or people i wish to learn anything more about.  Love Posie