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Monday, February 29, 2016

The first day of Autumn...

In Australia the seasons change on the first day of the first month in each season, so March 1 is the start of Autumn or Fall. In most parts of the country, we've had some very hot summer days.
This is one way that Eduardo copes with the heat...

Lying on his back, catching the afternoon breezes!

And here in Brisbane there are not a lot of trees that start to lose their leaves as Summer turns into Autumn...but those crepe myrtles sure do! These trees at the side of our property have been shedding leaves for a few weeks now...
It's a daily job to sweep up the leaves from the veranda. 
But just because Autumn has arrived, the hot temps won't ease...the weather won't start to cool for a few months yet. But that's life in the sub tropics. 
Regular readers would know of my 'battles' with the bush turkeys, to grow veggies and herbs...these birds dig up anything I plant in Spring and early to mid summer. So Autumn is the time I plant up a crop, hoping to grow and harvest before the turkeys come back on their 'seek and destroy' missions.

The quarry tile in the foreground isn't for throwing at any errant turkeys, it helps hold down the big umbrella that I sometimes put over the young plants in the middle of the day to stop them 'frying' in the hot sun. These plants are well established now and are fine with the sun. So I'm hopeful of being able to pick some homegrown tomatoes, eggplants and herbs, just like I used to before the bush turkeys took a liking to our backyard. :-)


Sunday, February 28, 2016

The weekend...

On Saturday DH played golf, leaving me lots of pottering time. (I did talk  on the phone to my cousin for just under 2 hours as we still have lots of catching up to do after 52 years! Lol)
In the afternoon we went to DsD2's place to collect some laundry which needed doing, and that of course is always an excuse to cuddle Miss Anthea. 

Now that 'feeding' has been all sorted out, she is putting on weight nicely.

We had some vouchers for the movies and DH had discovered that the latest film of the Coen Brothers, 'Hail Caesar', was showing locally. DH loves their work! So we went off to the 6.15 pm session. was certainly 'different'. Even though it was a rather disjointed storyline, I didn't mind it too much, but DH didn't like it at all. George Clooney starred so there was some 'eye candy' for me! Lol. And there was a wonderful synchronized swimming sequence in the film...shades of an Esther Williams film. And there were a few 'laugh out loud' bits too. 

DH had promised dinner out after the film and true to his word, we had a lovely pasta dinner at Zingara's...formerly Fasta Pasta. 
Today we travelled to Deception Bay to help celebrate a family birthday...the husband of DH's cousin.

The table was heaped with food! Lol. 
And of course I came home with some 'cuttings' from their garden!

Yes, a couple of bromeliad 'pups'.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Remember how I was decluttering?

Yes well...I was in the city on Thursday and went for a walk in the Myer Centre. There's a shop in there called 'Bed, Bath and Table'. I don't think I've ever ventured in the store before, but they had this Easter display right near the store entrance didn't they? You could say I was 'entranced', as I found myself entering the store to 'ooh and aah'. 
I did more than admire...this is what came home with me...after I paid for them of course! Lol

Which, when unwrapped, reveals...
Another Easter eggcup to join the vintage 1950s ones I have!

I could have bought heaps more but I was very restrained...
I found the Easter selection of the store online... Check it out and be charmed/entranced too maybe!
My niece's children love it when I decorate for Celebrations and next year little Anthea will be much more aware of what's going on. So that's my excuse for buying some Easter 'stuff'

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Follow up on my previous post...

In my last post I wrote about my 'philosophical disagreement'  with the writer Marie Kondo on the subject of old photos and their value. I loved reading all the comments that readers posted. Now I may scan all those old photos and make digital albums, but I still keep those original photos. But my relatives, no matter where they live, are able to copy photos from those Facebook albums at any time. I've seen a few of my photos uploaded to family trees ( other branches of my tree) on, so even fifth or sixth cousins can access pics of my great grandparents and numerous other relatives.
The portable scanner that DH bought me last year piqued the interest of a number of readers. Unfortunately, at the moment, the Kogan website does not appear to have any for sale. A quick Google showed that scanners similar to mine are certainly available, but the ones I checked out seem to be available from Amazon. Buying from Amazon tends to be an expensive enterprise for Aussies due to the high costs of shipping. My scanner slides over the photo or document; it's not fed through. The images are then uploaded via cable to a PC. If anyone does find a source of these portable scanners, I'd love to hear from you!
So yesterday I met up with one of my cousins whom I have not seen for 52 years...yep, you read that correctly, 52 years! Her mum was my dad's niece and for various reasons, my mum and I lost touch with many of dad's relatives after he died. Carmela and I met to mainly talk 'family tree'. Recently I have renewed efforts to fill in gaps about my father's family. It's not an easy task. This year though, I've had some help but I'll tell you about that in another post.
1963 my family went to my cousin's wedding...and yesterday I took a photo of this lovely couple! 

Yesterday I showed my cousin those old photos that had belonged to my father. She positively identified one person; a little boy who was another of my dad's nephews. But most importantly, Carmela told me that there is another of my father's nieces who is still alive and is living in Sicily; her late mother's sister. And this lady is spritely and has all her faculties. So the family plan is for this aunt to see my photos...soon!
I scanned a few photos and took photos of ones that were in frames...this is a special one!

  It's my dad's sister and her husband...Zia (Aunty) Carmela. 
And my dad's niece Lucy at 18 years...

  (Lucy is the mother of my cousin Carmela)
I have always thought that my dad only had one brother. I found out yesterday that there were 4 boys in the family, but my cousin could only remember the name of that's another mystery for 'our team' to uncover. 
My cousin's eldest doesn't really like the photo I took of her parents, so she sent me her favorite pic of her parents...
Lovely, welcoming people to a cousin (me) who went off the radar for all those years! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Old Photos; M Goodwin vs M Kondo!

In that previous post where I wrote about Marie Kondo's book, I mentioned that one of the categories used by the author for tidying/decluttering was 'Komono' which means miscellaneous. And part of a chapter is devoted to Photos. 
As expected, Kondo iterates that you must look at each one of the photos you have and ' will be surprised at how clearly you can tell the difference between those that touch your heart and those that don't.' p119 And of course only keep the ones that 'spark joy'. 

According to Kondo, 'The meaning of a photo lies in the excitement and joy you feel when taking it'. She continued on to say that in many cases, the prints developed afterward have already outlived their purpose. Hmmm...she would be in a state of constant apoplexy if she met me!!!

You see I have not only my own photos but I also treasure photos that were in my dad's drawer. Dad kept them in an old plywood strawberry box/punnet. In most cases I didn't have a clue who was in the photos, but I've hung on to them all these years since he died in 1967. 

With the advent of Facebook, I've made albums of old family photos of both my parents which can then be accessed by not only my generation, but the next one down.
The first screen shot is part of the Facebook album of my mum's Aussie cousins had never seen some of the photos of our Nanna that I had...they were rapt. My children and my nieces and nephew had never seen most of them either.

My dad's old photos...

Thanks to having these photos in FB albums (I have some in my Box account too), I now know the identity of some of the people in these photos. Despite the photos being several decades old, some of my Aussie/Italian cousins have recognised was so exciting. 

And another exciting thing was that my collection of old photos meant that some of my cousins saw a photo of their great grandfather for the first time! And the same cousins identified a photo of a baby as their much loved uncle.  What a thrill for them and a thrill for me as I knew him as an adult. And even my cousin in FNQ who hasn't a Facebook account could access the albums via a share link I could send her. This cousin can speak and read, not only Italian, but also the Sicilian dialect of the region where my dad came from, so she could read the scans of the writing on the backs of photos.

Now back to Ms Kondo and her opinions. She claims that 'unexciting photos of scenery that you can't place belong in the garbage'. Well that could be true but may be she doesn't know about Facebook sites like Vintage Queensland and Old Brisbane Album where people post old photos of scenery. There seems to be always some reader who can pinpoint exactly where the photo was taken...the power of social media! And then those 'unexciting' photos of  scenery become very exciting! Well in my opinion anyway!!! Lol
Tomorrow I'm meeting up with a cousin I haven't seen since her wedding in 1963. With a bit of 'detective work' and googling I've found her again and we're going to talk family and look at photos. (Carmela kept all her parents photos too!) 
A few years ago DH bought me this little gadget and it's coming with me tomorrow...batteries have been changed so it's all systems go!

Saturday, February 20, 2016


I'm finally writing up the post about the project I worked on for Friday Night Sew In...although it should perhaps be FNKI as its a knitting project.

In November last year I had bought some Patons Cotton Blend yarn at a sale at Knitch. I had the vague idea I would make a crib/pram rug for the coming baby. Not knowing at that stage, whether it was a boy or a girl, I selected a range of colours,( there weren't many to choose from by the time I was there) including a soft pink, that yellow, some purples and those 3 blues. 
Other than find a pattern on Ravelry, I didn't do anything with the yarn last year...or this year for that matter, until a few days ago when I started. And even though I'm 'not really sure' about those colours, I'm really enjoying this project and the feel of the knitted piece is lovely and soft. 
As I mentioned, the pattern is from Ravelry. and is free! I love the colours in the pattern photo and I'm already planning to collect some colours that I do like, to make a 'Mark 2' version. 
And in a first for me, I am using the pattern via iBooks on my iPad. (I actually have a lot of patterns stored in iBooks, so I should start using more of them! Lol)

Not that I need to refer to the pattern very much; it's a simple 2 row pattern.

Wendy, over at Sugarlane Designs has once again hosted FNSI and this month there were 35 of us... Why not visit Wendy's blog and check out what other people worked on...I am! 😀
And also linking with Wool on Sunday's over on the Rainbow Hare blog...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Another recent read...

The name Marie Kondo has been 'popping up' for a while now in some of the blogs that I follow. Marie's book, 'The Life-changing magic of tidying up' seems to have become very popular and I was curious. Not curious enough to buy a copy, but when the BCC library catalogue indicated that the book was now available, I placed a hold. I was #81 in the holds' queue, and it took a few months to get 'to the head of the line'. 
It's a tiny book compared to the other book I borrowed on the same day.
And it was a quick read. The person who translated the book from the original Japanese did an excellent job...the discourse isn't stilted in the slightest.
 But Kondo attributes 'things' with having feelings which to me was a bit quirky, but maybe saying 'thank you for your service' to a pair of shoes as you discard them helps assuage the guilt if you had paid a lot for them?? Lol
Now what has Kondo got to say about tidying/decluttering? I won't go into great details here; suffice to say Kondo has identified two reasons for cluttered houses. One is that we have too much stuff and secondly many of us don't put things away. Kondo's method is to divide possessions into her designated sections or categories, and, taking a category at a time, discard or keep. The criterion for keeping the item, is, if after you hold it, it sparks joy, the item can stay.  Kondo's method relies on discarding items first and only when all the discarding is done, start to organise the space. 
The discarding must be done in one fell swoop. 
Kondo suggests that clothing should be the first items in your 'tidying' project. Gather all items of clothing that you own into one place...the author suggested the floor...and then take each item, one at a time and if it doesn't spark joy...out it goes. Keep going until all the clothing has been examined and a decision made. And of course thank each item that you discard. 
Using this technique, Kondo then lists the other categories of your belongings...following this order, Books, Papers, Komono ( which translated sort of means miscellaneous) 

Kondo is quite disparaging about other methods of decluttering, especially any that allow you to declutter gradually...a little at a time. (I used the 30 days of decluttering a few years ago with some success, especially in organising what I kept). Kondo warns anyone who reads her book and doesn't follow it exactly...' Don't change the method to suit your personality' p 26-28) as you will fail. Oh dear...that counts me out! Lol
But...I did get inspired to declutter the linen cupboard...yeah not the correct order is it? 
The photo shows DH with the 4 large bags of sheets, pillowcases and towels that 'got the flick' and have gone in the local charity bin. Now the cupboard is manageable...there was so much crammed in there it was always difficult putting things away. We are now left with 2 pairs of sheets per bed in the house and that's enough I reckon. I also filled another bag with outfits that were bought for weddings etc and have sat unworn after the first outing,  in my wardrobe for up to 14 years...gone!! ( mother of the bride outfits bought in desperation as nothing suitable  had been found until just a few days before the wedding is a recipe for disaster!) 
And a heap of stuff has left my craft room for the same reason...not used and unlikely to be now...
I felt really good when all these kits worth a total of well over $500 went to Sunshine Linus! One lot of these quilt block kits were bought to help raise funds for Dr Catherine Hamelin's Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. But I quite disliked the fabrics and the designs in the kits...
At the moment I am working on a particular cupboard in the kitchen...the one where everything gets 'dumped' when a quick tidy of the bench tops is needed! :-/

This book has enjoyed runaway success if you look at the sales but to me it's very simplistic and Kondo obviously is not a crafter! Lol. 
One comment she made that did resonate with me was when she discussed the problem of others who sabotage a person's efforts to declutter. These are family or friends who declutter by 'dumping items' on you. My best friend has done this to me for many years. But 2 years ago, I started saying no. Best thing I've ever done! 


Monday, February 15, 2016

Wool on Sundays...

Linking with Janine's ( from the Rainbow Hare blog) Wool on Sundays. 

On January 8 this year I wrote a post here about my Knitted Minestrone scrap project which had been an 'on and off' project since early 2011...well maybe more 'off' than 'on'! Lol. Back in January, I was rather chuffed about the progress and that my knitting mojo seemed to be back!
But I'm even more chuffed now, as yesterday I knitted my last stitch, wove in the 4 'ends' on the side borders, and voila! I'm finished!!
And I love it! And I'm pretty sure I will keep it for me...just for a change. But...I know I would part with it if there was someone in need that it could help...but for now it's staying here. 
Details; the throw is knitted on 4.5 circular needles and I cast on 230 stitches for the main part.
I alternated bands of scrappy stocking stitch with black garter stitch bands. 
There is a variety of yarn types and textures but I used mainly 8 ply equivalent weights but some of the mohair scraps were more like a 12 ply.
After I got to the length I wanted, I 'picked up' and knitted stitches down the sides to complete the garter stitch border.
When I started this project in 2011, I didn't know about those clever yarn joining ideas that are around. This is one method called the 'magic knot' that I know of, but there are a few out there. But  my scraps of yarn were just tied together and I wove them in as I knitted.

And I plan to continue saving scraps of yarn for a new 'Minestrone' throw, so that means I need to start some new projects so that I can start to build up that scrap supply again! I do have a little bit of the 'Mystery Ball' of yarn left though.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The last week...

This year, (for once!) I remembered Shrove Tuesday, so we had some pancakes for breakfast...something my mother always did each year! 

I did some more cooking for DsD2's freezer...

On Saturday morning we went to the car boot sale at church and made sure we spent some money on the Parish Stall. ( the parish raised $500!) 
Our buys...a DVD and some books.
Six bottles of white wine...
Two bunnies to add to some baskets of Easter eggs next month...
On Saturday afternoon, we went to my great niece Lucy's 6th birthday...a noisy and fun affair! All the child guests came with one or both parents so the guest list of 45 is understandable. I was a bit circumspect with taking my photos, trying to avoid having other people's children in photos...there is one child's back view.
While the other children were running around, the party girl (in pink) came back to have another look at all those presents! Lol

DH and I gave Lucy an umbrella with ballerinas printed on of course! It seemed to be a hit :-)
DH, my nephew, my brother and his partner standing around chatting...

We left the birthday party at 5.30 as we had a 'date' to see Anthea. My DsD2 lives only a few streets away from my niece. 
The little lady and her mum of course were going through that settling in stage where everything is so new and a bit daunting. Not long after we arrived bub was really getting upset. 
Throwing caution to the wind I offered to take the baby and walk her around the was a complete fluke! Anthea settled and fell asleep! ( But I do remember my own babies settling if they were vertical and up high! Lol) 
And then DH had a sleeping bub to cuddle...
And then we handed her back to mum...
And then it was time to go home. Not long after we left 'Grandy', another grandmother was due to arrive after she finished work. And here is a photo of Anthea and Grandy.

The other grandmother, who is Nonna, is in NZ so she hadn't had a cuddle yet, poor thing! 

During this last week, I did some more decluttering, and some knitting, but I'll write about that in another post...although it probably doesn't sound too scintillating a subject matter! Lol

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

At last I can say something!

On Monday, late in the afternoon, DH and I received some news but we were 'sworn to secrecy'. 

But yesterday afternoon the 'news blackout' was lifted. On Monday afternoon at 3.16 pm, after 21 hours in labour, DsD2 gave birth to a little girl, whom they've called Anthea. The reason for the parents not wanting the news to be spread straight away was that they wanted to ring all their close family and friends first to tell them of Anthea's arrival. And they needed a fair bit of time to do that but first they needed to rest. 
As the little family were too tired to receive visitors that night, it was next afternoon that DH and I went for a visit and a lot of cuddles! 
Proud grandpa!
DH has chosen 'grandpa' as his 'title'. There are 3 grandmothers and the other two didn't want 'grandma' but I did! So Grandma and Grandpa Goodwin it is! 

So our first grandchild has been born and what a sweet little cherub she is. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

So good to see!

A few years ago now, I taught 2 sisters. Not long after I retired in 2011, the family of 3 daughters and one son moved from the northern suburbs of Brisbane to Logan City. And as they were no longer my students I accepted the girls' Facebook friends requests. And that's how I discovered that their little brother had been diagnosed with leukemia. And there followed some pretty terrible times for the family.
There were many times when little Anthony was very ill...
Infections were the bane of this little man's life! 
At the end of 2014 Anthony spent a week in ICU, and against all odds he survived. 
Last year, Anthony's mum told me that he had seen some photos of novelty beanies that had been donated to K4BN, on my FB wall. He really loved the frog one. But we discovered that it was far too small for him.
Enter my friend Jenny, another K4BN member. Jen made Anthony a frog beanie...which he loved!

But that's not all; she also made him this one!
Yep, Anthony's favourite Ninja Turtle...whatshisname? :-)
In the last month Anthony has had his last chemotherapy treatment...and he is already training with a local footy club. His footy boots are his proudest possessions I think!
Looks like a different child doesn't he? 
How proud is his family of their 'baby'. And how kind and wonderful was Jenny making those beanies.