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Friday, April 29, 2016

A bit about our Sydney Trip...

We crammed a fair bit into our week, which suggests a series of posts doesn't it? But not in chronological order as I'm just 'itching' to write a post about what was the highlight of our trip...the day I met my 'new' cousins and their respective spouses. My cousin Lucy hosted a lunch at her home.
So, with the introductions over we all sat down. 
I had a little jewellery pouch in my handbag containing some special items that I brought with me from Brisbane. My plan was that I would show the contents to my cousins after we had had lunch. But I was so eager to show them these items that within half an hour I had taken them out of the pouch and unwrapped the tissue paper parcel...
Here are some close up photos of the items. I'd taken the photos at home.
Nothing special perhaps at first glance, except these had  belonged to my Sicilian grandmother. She had died in the early 1900s when my father was very young, and my mother had found these items in my father's belongings after he died. 
The rings show that my grandmother ( my cousins' great grandmother) was a woman with large hands/fingers. The rings are also very thin...from wear.
The ring resting on my right thumb has always been my favourite piece of Nonna's jewellery.
I wore it at my first wedding as my 'something old' ( probably over 100 years old in the 1970s) as did both my daughters. It's that ring on my middle finger, right hand in the next photo. ( even on my middle finger it was still too big and kept slipping around my finger! Lol)
Ann, my cousin's wife, also took photos of Lucy and I checking out the earrings and rings...
Last month I had made the decision that I would keep that one ring and give the other items to my cousins...I just knew it was the right thing to do and I know the items will be treasured. 
After that we all sat down to a delicious cousin Lucy and her husband put on quite a spread! 

During the afternoon we checked out our family trees...Frank and Lucy on a laptop and me with my well travelled iPad. 
We also looked at family photos...I had missed out on seeing my cousins and their siblings grow up so it was wonderful to see all those photos.

No longer strangers...we all felt so comfortable in each other's company; as though we'd known each other all our lives.
And my wonderful and generous cousins also gave me some ID documents that had belonged to their uncle...another nephew of my father's. I 'see my father' when he was a young man in these photos...very special.

What a wonderful day! . 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Good, The Bad and The Somewhat Ugly...

DH and I finished our recent holiday in Sydney last Tuesday, when we flew home. We'd had a really enjoyable time and I saw lots more of this city than I had ever done on previous trips. And even that 'tumble' I took couldn't take away any of our wonderful memories. So...back to that subject line. 

The Good...
The return of the hire car on the Tuesday morning before our flight. 
Yes the car hire company staff member couldn't have given us better service when we returned the car. And The Good continued at the airport where the Qantas staff were wonderful. Of course when we had booked our tickets weeks before, we didn't know that we would need assistance. And that's when you need to ask...not when you arrive at the airport. But that didn't phase the staff and a wheelchair was quickly found...

And DH and I got to board the plane early and get fussed over! And arrangements were made for a Qantas staffer with a wheelchair to take me off the plane at Brisbane, help DH with collecting the luggage and then take me to the pick up point...all possible problems beautifully 'ironed out'. 

The Bad...
The person who was paid to look after my veggie patch 'sorta didn't do a very good job'...hmmm very disappointing!
I hobbled around trying to save the plants...this had been my lovely mint plant..

Water every day was the request and the collage below is how I left it...especially my beautiful and healthy tomato plants...
Oh well...I can but try to save the plants.

And lastly, The Somewhat Ugly...yep! The bruising continues to were taken on Tuesday afternoon...
And today I was really surprised to find some new is bruising but doesn't it look like I haven't washed my feet for weeks? Lol

As requested by the Sydney hospital, I attended a local hospital here on Tuesday afternoon. More x-rays were done and according to the Brisbane doctors, they couldn't see a break...but there was obvious soft tissue damage and possible torn ligaments. I still can't put weight on it and have to continue using the moon boot when walking. But every day, the swelling gets less, as does the discomfort. Next Wednesday I have to have some more X-rays done and possibly an MRI scan if there is still pain. Even though I might have a while before it's all back to normal, it was good news that it is probably not broken. And it all happened in just a few seconds :-/. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Yarn on Sunday...

Well...I have had a lovely day today, just knitting. What bliss to just be able to sit on the sofa and work on DsD2's throw? 
This enjoyable state of affairs has come about by a silly little accident I had yesterday. You see while I was admiring a beautiful little ginger and white kitten who was at the foot of a small set of stairs, I missed the bottom step, lost my balance and fell in a goodness how embarrassing. Lol. And a bit 'ouchy ' too as the afternoon wore on, and my ankle swelled. Early evening saw DH taking me to the Prince of Wales Hospital here in Sydney where I had the most wonderful care and attention. The diagnosis, ' mild head injury ( hit my head on the rim of a plant pot) and a small break in a bone in my foot'.
So the instructions from the doctor were rest the foot, keep it elevated, use ice and wear the 'moon boot' to walk or when I felt I needed support. Follow up will be Brisbane after we get home on Tuesday. So I have followed these instructions with 'due diligence'! 

Never let a chance to knit go by is a good motto! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Last December, I decided to order a DNA test through So when the kit arrived I read all the instructions and duly filled the vial with saliva up to the mark. Then the top was screwed on to the vial thus releasing a reagent. 

Then the sample was packaged up and posted. The wait for results is about 6 weeks...
so why was I bothering to do this test? Well probably just because I could! Lol. Maybe just a bit of curiosity of where my 'roots' are?? I'd been brought up to believe that my mother's side through my grandmother, 'were Irish to their bootstraps!' So I expected to see that in my Ethnicity. 
Now my dad was from Sicily, which has a long history of being influenced by those who invaded the island...from Carthage and also the Etruscans played a large role in the history. And then there were the Arab I was interested to see if what I'd learned in history at school would be reflected in my DNA...and it was; that tiny bit of North African! 

I was surprised to find that I have a relatively small percentage of Irish...much more Great Britain than I expected. 
As well as giving me details of my Ethnicity, Ancestry also gave me a list of those who shared my DNA...( the list is now up to 28)

I'd already traced back a number of generations on my mother's side but had a pitiful amount of detail about my father, so I looked through the list of DNA matches and checked out names that looked Italian. I sent a few messages via Ancestry...and amazingly I found some cousins in Sydney, whom I'd had no knowledge of...the family ( 7 cousins plus their late mother) in the main photo of this collage. 
They are the family of my late cousin, my dad's nephew; he and his wife are in the small photo on the top right. My new found cousins and I started sharing old family photos which has been absolutely wonderful. Ann, the wife of my cousin Frank ( both pictured in the small photo, lower right), is absolutely brilliant at trawling though the Trove resources ( old newspapers) and has found articles about my dad. 
So all this sharing of information, spurred me then to reconnect with other branches of my father's family...cousins I 'd had little contact with for many, many years. One cousin from North Queensland, was going to Sydney and organised to meet one of our 'new' cousins and his wife while she was there...small photo at top left. This cousin has given us a lot of help translating what is written ( in Italian) on the back of old photos.
The other cousin I contacted is in the small photo on the lower left hand side of the collage. She has given us lots of details about our family...and photos too. Carmela was able to tell me about 2 brothers of my father's whom I didn't know even existed! So 4 branches of my dad's family are back in contact again...all hoping to fill in as many gaps in our Family Trees as we can. 
And today DH and I flew to Sydney...
We will be doing lots of 'touristy stuff' but the main reason for the trip is to meet up with some of my cousins. And next Saturday we are meeting up and I'm really looking forward to it.
( I took advantage of a 'special' offered by Ancestry and paid $120 plus $29 P&H. Specials are offered on a regular basis. If you check out DNA testing articles etc online, you would find a number of articles saying that the tests available to the general public are meaningless and useless, but in my case, the results have been wonderful. 
Of course the effectiveness of the results depends on how many people have done the test. I was lucky that a fairly close relative ( 2nd cousin) had taken the test. My other matches are nowhere near that close; those being suggested are 4-8th cousins, so our common ancestors are a fair way back) 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Wool on Sundays...

My goodness the week goes quickly! So it's already time to link up with The Rainbow Hare blog to share some yarn related posts. Janine has written a post about a beautiful blue flower she has crocheted...the colour of the yarn is stunning!
Last week I decided to sort through the items in this pink box...

For a number of years I've put printouts from craft/quilting/knitting websites and photocopies of project patterns and instructions from craft mags in this pink box...and then have forgotten about them!  :-/. So I had a 'sort and turf out' session of anything that I knew that realistically I would never make.

But I did find items that I was delighted to see and keep. A surprise find was some patterns that I used to use in the 1980s...
A cardigan pattern that I knitted many times, both for my girls and for church fete stalls. It was torn from an English Women's Weekly. My mum had been buying the EWW since the 1950s and I bought it too in the 1970s-1990s...loved their knitting patterns. 

The other 'find' was this rather battered photocopied sheet. One of my neighbours ( since passed away) when I lived at Newmarket, hand wrote this pattern for baby slippers for me. And I made lots of these too...such memories.

In the envelope with Dulcie's handwritten pattern was this one which I wrote out by hand too for the same slippers...I wouldn't write something out these days! Lol

And today I posted the completed baby afghan to the collection point for K4C ( Knit for Charity) . One of the Charities of this Month was Mara's Rest Cottage. I also sent a colourful knitted blanket that I once bought from an elderly lady at the local markets. The lady was selling some of her handiwork and had very low prices on them. I offered her more money but she wouldn't take it, so I paid $8 for a brand new metre square rug. I always planned to knit up another border on the blanket to make it larger...never did, did I? Lol. But it's perfect for a child, so it's off to Mara's Rest too.
So these 2 are now on their way to the ACT and new homes.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Friday Night Sew In...

In the first part of last night, DH and I were at a fundraiser Trivia Night...
There were 9 in our team; a combination of family and friends.
We had lots of laughs, lots of questions that we knew the answers to...but a few we didn't know...despite really 'racking our brains'!! The team at the table next to us were scoring similar results to us in all was 'neck and neck' there most of the time!!
But...we won by one point! This was good as the tiebreaker questions are always tough!

So it wasn't until we were home again that I was able to do some work on my latest knitting project. And it was a lovely way to 'wind down' after our fun evening. 
I also wrote about this throw for FNwF at the beginning of the month.

And it has grown since then.

I really would like to have this throw finished by the second week of May.
Wendy, over at Sugarlane designs blog is our lovely hostess for can see and visit all the other FNSIers via the links here on Wendy's post.
P.S. While you're visiting Wendy's blog, read her last post on her fun cooking lesson experiences with Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pottering around...

Once upon a time I would always plant flowering annuals for each season. Then came the drought in the early part of the 2000s. Water became too precious ( and more expensive) to use in the quantities needed for annuals...and hosing was banned, so watering was by bucket or watering can. And that was hard work after a full day at work! Lol Even though we installed some rainwater tanks, I still didn't plant my usual annuals. 
Then in November 2010 we hosted a 30th birthday party for the man who eventually became our son in law. That meant a bit of a spruce up of both the house and the garden. So in Spring that year, I potted up flowering annuals in the September school holidays so they were ready to put around the garden by early November. It was still drought so it was all hand watering. But the pots of petunias looked good on the night. The drought broke here with the floods of January 2011 and gradually we could use mains water for gardening again. But my potted colour efforts were pretty hit and miss until this year. Having our Canadian friends visit on Easter Sunday spurred me on...after all potted colour distracts attention from a lot of things!! Lol. varieties jostle with old favourites! 
 I love lots of 'old fashioned' plants and my geranium plants decided to flower too! 

I love bromeliads too and I brought up some extra ones from the shaded area in the garden and put them on the veranda...

You know how they say you learn something new every day? Well on Easter Day morning I discovered that possums like petunia flowers. And the resident possums continue to de bud /de flower/raid the flowers in several of the pots. 

The ones near the front steps are untouched...this is possibly because the sensor light would come on when the possums approach...

On the bright side, the constant 'trimming' should mean the plants get more 'bushy'? Lol. At least the possums are not eating the plants down to ground level like they do with my parsley.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Wool on Sundays...

Joining in this weekly link up on The Rainbow Hare blog once again. This week, a bit of musing from me about the 'knitting scene' of the past plus a more recent trend in the same scene.
Brisbane is a city in the sub tropics. In times past, despite the rather warm climate, knitting and crocheting were still a necessary pastime of those of my mother's generation. ( it was very rare to see the children of my generation in 'shop bought' knitwear!)  My childhood memories were that there weren't a lot of small speciality yarn shops mum used to purchase yarns from department and chain stores in the 1950s and 60s. We did have 2 Drapery shops near where we lived and these did have a very small range of wool.

Travelling to Melbourne in the early 1970s, I fell in love with that city's yarn shops. Back home though, I bought my yarn in department stores. Years later, the 'big' craft shops like Spotlight and Lincraft arrived. In recent times though, the modern version of the small yarn shop arrived in Brisbane...and I loved them! I made sure I supported these local businesses.
 But...there is always a 'but' isn't there? In the last few years at least 3 local yarn shops that I know of, have closed. But we still had the lovely Knitch in Paddington...
Knitch with its lovely items to inspire us on display...and there were classes so we could learn more techniques. 
Lots of lovely yarns for sale...many hand dyed by the owner of Knitch...

Anissa, the owner of Knitch ( on the right of the top photo) was a wonderful supporter of local charities, including inviting K4BN to hold monthly Knit and Natters in the shop. We would often share tables with regular customers who came in to classes or social group gatherings...the place was always busy and 'alive'. 

Each month there would be a large number of donations for the group...both from Anissa herself, as well as her customers.
Sadly 'all good things come to an end' and last Tuesday at the April Knit and Natter, we were met with the news that the store would close in the next few weeks...Anissa and family are moving to NSW and with the lease on the shop expiring next month, she is just closing the doors not selling the business. 

So to assuage my disappointment at this news, I bought some yarn didn't I?? Lol 
No idea what I'll make  but probably they will feature in one of my multi-coloured throw 'creations'. 

Goodbye Anissa! I wish you all the best for the future in whatever endeavours you embark on. A big thank you for all that did for the community, and we will miss your lovely, 'bubbly', cheerful, welcoming self!! And we'll miss that wonderful atmosphere that you created in your lovely shop. 
Vale Knitch!