Sunday, January 11, 2015

Out of the abyss and back to normal programming......

Well, as normal as possible at this time of year which is always a little surreal I think.   The weather hasn't helped - it has been hot (low 40'sC) with fires burning in the hills.....then cold (17C) with lots of rain.....so a little bit of a mixed bag there!  I went back to work last week and put the final touches on getting all the ducks in a row for the Australia Day breakfast - it seems no time at all since the last one - which I organised, but didn't go to as I was still at home recuperating after surgery.  How time has flown by.......

The travellers are in Canada, in BC somewhere having a great time!  Thank goodness for Viber, Skype, FB and emails!  It is great to be able to keep in touch a little easier than when I went gallivanting overseas for a year in the early 70's! 

So.....I need to catch up a little......

I had the pleasure of the company of Alison and Chris for a few days after Christmas.....we had a great time and the days passed all to quickly - it was fun to play tourist/guide - I even went to a few places I hadn't been before......

There were meals to be had.....


some shopping......and sightseeing......regular readers of my blog would have seen this view before.....from Mengler Hill overlooking the Valley......this day started out to be overcast and gloomy, but soon brightened up......


No visit to the Valley would be complete without a stop at Maggie Beer's establishment....




Or a winery or two.....the Wild Witch sparkling shiraz seemed appropriately named for Cardy and I.......


Another winery had this fearsome looking character in the tasting room.....very cleverly put together with pieces of scrap iron........just the piece for the living room??


Chateau Yaldara.......



...and on to the lavender farm......



During our tripping around we stopped off at a couple of cemeteries which are always fascinating I think, and can tell you so much about those who have gone before.....

such as this ill fated fellow........."Killed at Adelaide by falling under the wheels of his dray....August 30, 1872 ....aged 21 years on the day he was killed".....


Beautiful, peaceful surroundings.....



 some with a great view like this one ......


All too soon it was time for the travellers to depart and the house was vewy, vewy quiet without them :(  I busied myself with taking down all the Christmas decorations (which took a while!!) and packing them away for another year.  The place looked really bare once they were all down!  A good chance for a good clean/dust and change around!

Not much stitching going on this past week, but I do have to show this cute bag which was part of my Christmas gift from Christine in our online stitching group......it arrived a few days after Christmas and was accompanied by some Lindt choccies...unfortunately, they didn't make the photo shoot!  Christine is a girl after my own heart with her love of red/white!  Thanks Christine!


I did get the stitchery component of the Leanne Beasley project from Stitch in Spring (in September) finished.....it should become part of a bag one day....it was fun to work on the stitchery and I may even just frame it...one day :)


Last weekend I traced this Kathy Schmitz design and finished the stitching during the week.  Today after the usual household chores were completed (why I can't just hang out in the sewing room if there are floors to be vacuumed and washing to be done is beyond me...)

I quite like this  little guy.....


he is one of a "set" .....and with Easter coming up in a couple of months I thought I had better get on with him........

I also spent a fair bit of time in the sewing room organising it a little better (read for that - so I could walk in here without climbing over stuff) ...I prepped some blocks for the Bring me Flowers BOM which was put down sometime last year and wasn't picked up again....so that is on the trolley next to my chair ready to be worked on.....and I won't be  shouldn't be subscribing to any more any time soon until I have caught up with those I already have.

That's about it I think......pretty much caught up now ......Looking forward to the year ahead - should be some fun times coming up!

Oh before I go..........I was reading  Libby's blog the other day and saw this link - what a fabulous idea....something to do on a cold wintery evening - or a hot summery day......and I love the look of the twisted cord!  Now to find the some time to sort and twist scraps!!
 
'Til next time.............................Lorraine

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I have fallen.....

into the post-Christmas abyss...but will claw my way out soon!  Not sure if you know what I mean....the days leading up to Christmas seem to be full on - planning/packing/preparing/baking/shopping...oh and of course throw in working! Then comes 'the' day which seems to pass in a blur - fun/food (usually too much of a good thing) and catching up with family. Boxing day arrives and I like to spend most of the day watching the cricket and the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race....with copious amounts of water and several naps!  Today I woke up not knowing for a minute what day it was.....this because my days are usually very structured with work so this time between Christmas and New Year is quite a surreal time for me....long summer days with no structure at all - which is lovely for a while but not sustainable - this morning I laid some really excellent plans for the day (in my head) - which didn't eventuate because I spent the entire day reading and watching the cricket.  As I said, not sustainable!  So tomorrow I will claw myself out of the abyss and make a start on cleaning the sewing room so I can at least get in there to sew! 
 
All too soon it will be time to go back to work!

Christmas Day was lovely.......Skype time with Rhi and Wade in Denver and some pics from their day on the slopes....they are having a ball and enjoying the novelty of a white Christmas.......
 
 
..and I think Rhi makes a pretty cute snow angel!
 

Mark arrived home safe and mostly sound from his Thai adventure...and Terri was pretty happy to have him home......

 
He spent some time helping Terri's nieces open their gifts....... 
 

Terri did a great job with the lunch and although I tried not to over-indulge I still didn't need to eat dinner that night! 

The online stitching group I belong to has a Secret Santa swap with five small advent gifts and a gift to open on Christmas Day......my partner Christine sent these gifts for days 1-3 ....


 and this fabulous table runner for Christmas Day....Aus Post obviously knows I love to make Christmas last so is holding on to the parcel with days 4 and 5 for next week........


So that was Christmas.....I hope yours was merry and bright as well.

Happy New Year.....!!

'til next time...........................Lorraine

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's the day before Christmas......

....and all through the house is strewn stuff from my making and baking.....which all needs to be cleaned up soon!  It's been a big week....lots of emotional stuff with the kids leaving and lots of tiring stuff with getting things finished off at work so I can have a couple of weeks off. 

Rhiannon and Wade arrived safely in Denver for the holidays and have been enjoying the snow and the chance to have a white Christmas......Mark is due back tomorrow from a 10 day visit to Thailand with some mates so I am looking forward to him being home! 

But I need to go back a bit and recap the last 10 days......

Breakfast of Champions on the morning after the annual Festival of Loz......


...and this is the type of pic you find on your camera when you leave the kids home and go to work.....

A couple more pics of Christmas decorating for 2014....the 50% off Christmas decorations sale at our local homewares store a couple of weeks ago might have been the reason for a few new decorations this year...


 the tree is the same though.....


with a couple of favourite decorations from overseas....



....now where was I.....oh yes.....the airport farewell for Rhiannon and Wade.....
 
 


 Rhiannon asked Wade to get her a magazine for the flight......his choice was an interesting one...which took the girls' mind off the imminent farewell....for a couple of minutes anyway.


On the way out of the airport Jessica and Jianna stopped off to be gingerbread people for a minute......
 
I drove home and went to work......always a good way to keep the mind busy and off other things (like kids departing for a year!) 
 
Saturday was spent with some of the NTFW girls - always fun and super supportive!  .....and a good feed guaranteed!
 

 
Which brings me to Sunday......I have to say at this point that my weekends are usually pretty quiet but I was pleased that this one wasn't......My sister and her hubby had family/friends visiting so brought them up to the Barossa for the day.....I played tourist with them and had a lovely time.....a few pics from the Yalumba winery...a beautiful setting on what was a very hot day......
 

This little fellow caught my eye....very unusual looking .....hard to tell if he was the predator or the prey!


..and the resident emus.....quite prehistoric looking among the agapanthus.....



Monday was back to work to finish off ready for the break and a bit of shopping.....and yesterday I decided (as one does) to make Christmas cakes....not my usual recipe and I will be going back to that next time...but ok.....I also had to go out for a couple of last minute gifts.....no crowded shopping centre for me......got to love having some amazing local shops! (not to mention Maggie Beer's Farm shop just down the road......where I went for my lunch....a tub of  vanilla bean ice cream....well a girl has to eat doesn't she?!)


So here is said cake ...oh and some mini cakes and some gingerbread as well......just because....


The cake topper is one I use every year...it was on our Christmas cakes when we were kids....love it! He is getting old and is a little battered, but still going....and it's nice to bring him out of the cupboard every year.  Which is why I had to make a cake - otherwise he wouldn't have gotten out this year!


So ......to everyone out there reading this I wish you a safe and happy Christmas and a New Year that is filled with health, happiness and creativity.

'Til next time...........................Lorraine

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Last call for Mrs Rogers................

I have no idea who Mrs Rogers is, but in all likelihood she missed her flight to Sydney this morning - and there were three people standing near the departure gate with tears in their eyes who thought that one of them should be Mrs Rogers so they could get on the plane and have another couple of hours with this beautiful couple as they flew off for a 12 month travelling adventure.....first stop Denver, Colorado for (hopefully) a white Christmas.......


Safe travels......Rhiannon and Wade....miss you both already!  Have a fabulous time! 

'Til next time.......Lorraine

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Oh Fudge....and not the sweet stuff this time......

Firstly I just want to put it out there..I am tired...(and I know I am no orphan there!)..and I will also be laying the blame for this afternoon's little fiasco squarely at the feet of Mrs P ....there I am guilt free....stupid, but guilt free......let me set the scene for you.......looking at FB the other morning at small-hours o'clock when anybody else is sound asleep and I see Shay has posted a pic of a beautifully glazed ham......since I am having the family here for lunch tomorrow I thought it would be something I could do....so after an early start to visit the hairdresser I went food shopping......lugged all the bags in from the car and put everything away...sat for a while....then decided I should glaze the ham this afternoon....made the glaze and was about to put it in the oven when I realised the seal on the juice I had bought for basting was broken....so not wanting to poison anyone I put the ham in the oven to get it started, gathered up car keys and purse and nipped out to the shop.......I might mention here it is about 35C here today and I was getting around the house with a big t-shirt and a daggy pair of 3/4 length trackies......which I would normally never go out of the house wearing.....you can see where I am going with this can't you.......raced up to the shop.....and home again........will I leave the car out because I am going out later for dinner.....nah....it's hot it's better in the garage.....and because the ham needs the basting stuff like now I grabbed the shopping bag out of the car...locked the car.....flicked the switch on the garage door on the way out......and as it reached the ground and locked I came to the awful realisation that ...yep....the house keys are still in the car.....garage remotes?  One in the car....the other in the house......Oh Fudge!!!  did I mention it is hot here today???  ...there are two people with spare keys to my house.....the one who lives 5 minutes away is in Melbourne (just for today to see a show with her girls)...the other set is with the kids in Adelaide an hour and a half away and I know they are out with friends today having farewell drinks before their trip......so over to the neighbour's house (my but that ham smells good.......) phone a locksmith who is happy to come and help me out......ka-ching.....as we are at the door and he is working his magic......he comments that the ham smells good.....I race in and rescue the ham as he writes out the invoice.....forget dentists and doctors people....encourage your kids to be locksmiths!  seriously though I was happy to pay every cent to get into the house.....not my finest hour, but as I said...I am tired!  :)  and the ham is saved.........

I guess since  it's the first time I have ever locked myself out  I can't complain, and it could have been worse.....the only local locksmith in the book (yes, I had to consult an actual phone book as the neighbour doesn't have the internet...and I didn't have my phone....gah!! ) with a mobile number was at home 5 minutes away - he could have been out at a Christmas party somewhere!  

So all's well that ends well.....


'Til next time.......Lorraine

Monday, December 8, 2014

Oh....Fudge!!

...lots and lots of fudge!  In my preparation for the stitching girls coming for lunch on Saturday I decided to make fudge....and it turned out to be very very delicious...and the recipe made like a gazillion pieces!  so I wouldn't be tempted to eat any more of it than I already have I sent some down to the kids in Adelaide and bought some to work because with this stuff in the fridge my willpower went out the window..... (which is on the way to the fridge)...it was like it was calling my name and I have to confess Leanne if you are reading this.....it made me fall off the "no sugar" wagon but luckily I wasn't hurt and will be back up there now!  If you want to try this recipe you can find it here.....be warned.....it is easy to make and even easier to eat!


So .....lunch on Saturday went well......always fun to catch up with the girls and for this lunch the guys are also invited......there was healthy stuff (to counteract the fudge and pavlova roll)..here is a dreadful pic of the pavlova roll which is "dressed" with strawberries and raspberries which have been mixed with a dash of balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar and basil leaves......the filling is mascarpone and Greek yogurt, so it isn't too sweet......and it never lasts long!


....the afternoon passed very quickly!  I love this salad which has a variety of vegies and a couple of mangoes with a home made dressing with a Thai(ish) bent .....easy and very delicious!


Sunday was spent in the sewing room - the most neglected room in the house I have to say....but I have some deadlines to meet so it was time to get back in there......no pics of projects completed ...secret squirrel stuff! :)

It's a busy time of year - with most people gearing up for Christmas / New Year - I finally got the tree up on Friday night and the house is suitably attired for the season now.





a local store had a 40% off sale on Christmas "stuff"......and I bought home a berry garland which the Christmas ducks are enjoying......

 
Of course before Christmas comes the annual Festival of Loz which will take place this coming weekend......this year it will also be an early Christmas get together and a farewell for Rhiannon and Wade who are flying to the States next week - the first stop in a twelve month working holiday...which will also take in Canada, the UK and Europe....this means of course that I have to think about visiting them at some stage!  In the meantime we had a family lunch last weekend at my ex-MIL's house...lovely to see her again - 90 years young.....Not sure if Mark still has the Movember mo!! 


Wade and Mark had the job of preparing the prawns for the table......here they are hard at it.....I think it was like...one for the table ....one for us.....


Since I was going to be in Adelaide last Sunday I went down on the Saturday and spent the day  with Rhi - among other things (including some shopping) we made these cute little "gingerbread" houses for her students.....they were a lot of fun to make!

 
I also took the opportunity to give Rhi her Christmas present - a little early I know, and what do you get for someone who is about to pack a bag and go away for a year......??? I found this place on line and ordered the pendant with the words I wanted stamped on it on Monday and it arrived on Thursday....can't beat that for service! Very happy!
 


So that's about it for a wrap of the past couple of weeks.....looking forward to the Christmas break - no plans - just hanging out at home I think.  Hopefully I will get some time in the sewing room - I need to have a serious clean / tidy in there - it's just a little out of control!

'Til next time.............................Lorraine