Sunday, December 27, 2015

Limbo Time

That week between Christmas and New Year when not much is going on at all. I suppose if you hit the sales there is plenty to do. I really enjoy this time of year, it's perfect for staying at home doing nothing or doing plenty. This week I'll be doing a bit of both. I really want to do some serious de-cluttering and pottering about. Organise my notebooks and plans for next year and we have the rather daunting task of packing for an overseas trip for one of us. Twelve moths living in another country sounded so exciting and wonderful back in May and now it still sounds exciting but scary too. I'm going to miss my girl that's for sure. In reality I will probably leave most of my chores until after January 1st and spend the limbo time hanging out with my girls.

I have a new camera. I am not loving it a bit. After some carelessness a couple of weeks ago when I knocked my old camera off the desk, it just simply would not work. The new camera is a newer model of the kind I had before but it just isn't living up to the standards of the old camera. For one thing, the colours  are not right, not true. Perhaps I need to read the instructions. I'll persevere and experiment and hope for the best. As long as I can capture moments and memories that's the important thing, I have delusions of being a photographer.

Hope you are enjoying the limbo period.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Card Swap

This year I joined Amy's Christmas card swap. I joined up at almost the last minute and I'm happy that I did because as I've said before I didn't join any crafting swaps so I was missing the fun that comes with swapping. My partner was Debbie and she sent me a very pretty card.  I do like those sweet little red-breasted birds. I also like the snowy scenes that are on a lot of cards from the northern hemisphere.

I don't think Christmas cards are as popular as they once were but I love exchanging them. They may be just a yearly catch-up with old friends or a little bit of joy to a new friend. Next year I think they will be even less popular, postage costs are set to increase here in Australia. This is not good news to someone like me who has many penpals and likes to send happy mail every day. And yes, I do think about the environmental impact of sending cards and letters and do my best in offsetting the costs.

I hope my letterbox stays busy. Have you exchanged cards this year?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmassy Weekend

We had a Christmassy weekend, shopping in town on Saturday including a visit and photo with Santa and on a whim a trip to the beach on Sunday. Since we have a birthday in our household on Christmas day, we have our festive meal before the 25th and I earmarked yesterday for that. Instead of cooking and cleaning up, I suggested a trip to the beach and it went down very well. No cleaning up except for the towels and swimsuits that need washing. I feel very wise today especially after a deep sleep last night. We left home at 5am and arrived back at 7:30pm and packed plenty into the day so everyone was exhausted.

The wind was quite fierce at the coast and the humidity there always surprises me. I am used to high temperatures but a dry heat, not the humidity. I would love to spend more time at the beach, I love swimming in the ocean, lazing about on the sand or going for a long walk. I suppose it is the fact that when I am at the beach, I don't have chores to do or lack of rain to worry about for a while. Just relax.

Lack of rain is something that is playing on my mind and the minds of plenty of others right now. Our water tanks are quite low and we really need some rain. No, we need a lot of rain and conditions in my parts aren't anywhere near as drastic as elsewhere. I can't begin to imagine how depressing and overwhelming the drought is in the places where there really has been no reprieve for years. So if I can have anything I want for a gift this year, it will be rain. Something that money can't buy and impossible to conjure or create. I'm an optimistic realist though so I hope for good conditions but make plans for them not happening.

Now I have to figure out how blogger dropped so many blogs off my reading list and readers list. I'm not optimistic  on this front.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Decorations- new and old.

I do like the festive season. I don't like the commercialism and busyness but the festive season isn't all about that. For me it's about time with my nearest and dearest doing things we enjoy together. No big parties, just sticking close to home. A birthday thrown into the mix also makes the celebrations interesting.
Our Christmas tree is an artificial one. I can't bring myself to cut down a living tree. Some years I buy a tree/ plant to decorate with the handmade ornaments people have given me and then plant that out in the garden after Christmas. That's a bonus of having a big garden. Not this year, it is too dry and too hot and who knows when there will be significant rain. I would like it to be today thank you.

On to the decorations. This is my newest. A nice little felt Christmas tree from Kimberley. Very sweet. Thanks Kimberley.

 My oldest is this little plastic snowflake sent to me back in the 1980s by my penpal, Nena all the way from what was known then as Yugoslavia. I love it. It reminds me of her. That's the very reason why the ornaments given to me by friends are so lovely, they have a story and they make me think of the giver and they are special. Very special to me.

Another oldie, a cross stitched snowman made by my sister. I'm sure I won't be seeing any real snowmen this Christmas so I will use this picture for my snowman image for the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt.

Cards are slowly coming in this year. Surprisingly, my letterbox has been quite quiet the past few weeks with only a couple of letters and I am all caught up with letter-writing too. Hooray!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Apricots and such

Random flower picture

Apricots, apricots and more apricots. 20 or so kilograms of them and all ready at once. How fortunate I am to have such abundance and be spoilt with too many fruit.

 I picked them to stop the birds from getting them all. The trouble with birds is that they never eat a whole piece of fruit, they just take a taste of each one and leave the rest behind. I did leave some on the tree for the birds and bats and whatever else might like to enjoy them. I'm not a lover of apricots but I do like them in jam, relish, chutney and so on. Today I have a pot of apricot Worcestershire sauce style sauce on the simmer. I can't say it smells lovely like a pot of jam or even chutney does, just smells very vinegary. I'll make the jam later, it's delicious- apricots, sugar a little lemon juice and not much more.

This week I've been busy with garden and farming activities. Blood donation last Wednesday, Christmas shopping -which isn't proving very fruitful- and generally just enjoying being home again living My life. How has this year sped by in such a flash? These last few weeks are going to pass too quickly for me before the big changes that will occur here in 2016.

I really wanted to have handmade gifts for my family and friends this year but I have been slack. I haven't had the inclination to make things for most of the year. I just keep stitching my cross stitch and knitting a row or two of a dishcloth. It's enough.

Photos on the other hand, I'm always taking those so... I am joining in with Eileen and Joy's Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt. Of course it is not winter here so I may have to be a little creative with some of the prompts or resort to using the alternatives. A scavenger hunt is always fun so why not?

Pots to stir.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

winter photo scavenger hunt

That and this

 I posted a photo of the vista from my back veranda just over two weeks ago and here it is today dry and brown and hot. The grass in the backyard is still green but I don't think that will last long either. I never water lawns. Never! There does seem to be a little unsettled feeling outdoors today so maybe a storm will blow in and give everything a good soaking. We can only hope.

I didn't join in any swaps this Christmas. My heart wasn't in it and that's a big obstacle to overcome. I am enjoying cruising around other blogs and seeing all of the delightful ornaments and gifts on display. I'm certain I'll be back swapping next year, it's fun.

I may not have swaps to unwrap but I have received a parcel from the lovely Kimberley. We are penpals as well as blog buddies and just simply friends. I have put the parcel up high out of my reach and the cat's so it should be safe until Christmas Day. I'm still writing Christmas cards so I am behind with all things festive including any necessary shopping. I've had a very disorganised 2015 generally speaking so I'm making being organised a priority for 2016.

Can you see the tiny little spider on the flower? I thought he was so clever and sweet when I found him this morning.

It's hard getting back into routine after being away from home but I'm getting there. I think I got used to living the high life, eating out each night and cafes every morning. Now it's back to being my own chef and barista.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Sydney and The 'Gong

We had another trip to Sydney and Wollongong last week. Work related for some of us and just fun for everyone else. I love visiting Sydney and so do the girls. There is always something to do and the busyness is nice for something different. And boy was Sydney busy.

This time we had perfect weather for all of the walking we did. At least 10km each day if my pedometer is to be believed (my feet believe it). I love walking and hiking and beach walking is great.


 A highlight this trip was visiting the Wollongong Botanic Garden. They are lovely. Well maintained, nice paths and loads of interesting plants to look at.

Now I'm happy to say I am back at home. The garden was heat stressed, zucchini were threatening to take over and the pets were not impressed with having to stay at the boarding kennel. All is forgiven now of course, gardens and pets don't hold a grudge especially if they receive a little pampering.

Now top of my list is preparing for the festive season and avoiding the heat.