Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The day after

Tues Dec 26th

Well, Christmas is over for another year. We have a couple of family get togethers later in the week, but at last I can relax. I actually feel like a limp dishcloth, even though we had a pretty quiet Christmas Day. I think the last 2 weeks of school, then organising the staff dinner, then Christmas has been a bit too much.

We were only 4 for lunch - Don, our daughter Jo and my brother Fran, but we had fun. Mark (son) came home after his stint at the restaurant and helped cook a wonderful dinner for us - after he had cooked 100 lunches for other people. We had a hilarious night eating, drinking and playing a game Mark was given - Smart Ass.

A highlight of the day was talking to and seeing our Sydney family on the computer. Don was given a webcam for Christmas and we were able to link up. Not quite like seeing them in person, but better than just a phone call.

Santa was kind to me this year - and my family was just brilliant. We had such fun opening each gift, small or large. We are not much into birthday presents, but we do love Christmas and I got some wonderful, thoughtful gifts.

I am a member of a small quilting group affectionately known as The Cows. We have been friends for ages now, though before we got together quite by chance, we hardly knew each other - only as names on emails. This year we exchanged small gifts and I had a lovely time opening my eleven parcels on Sunday night. Lots of beautiful quilting fabrics and other little gifts tossed in. Here is a photo of my selection.

I must really thank each and every one of The Cows. Their friendship over the years has been an important part of my life. They are a wonderful group of friends.

Liz Needle

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Sun Dec 24th

It's Christmas Eve, but a very different one for us - just the two of us and my brother who is over from Canberra. My son is working, we will have Jo with us tomorrow, but Mandy will be in Sydney with her delightful family. So, a very quiet Christmas for us, but none the less a happy family one. At times like this I remember how much my mother was involved with Christmas at Lenswood and how very much I miss her - every day.

The tree is up and all the gifts are under it. As much as I love it, I do sometimes think of how much we spend on Christmas and how many people are living is circumstances where they never get the chance to enjoy even the small pleasures that we take for granted. How lucky we are living in Australia where it is safe and for most of us, very comfortable. I guess Christmas is the time to count our blessings and try to do something to help others.

I walked around the garden this evening watching the many little birds enjoying the bird baths and the flowers. a garden is great for the soul - my sanity in times of stress and a reminder of how beautiful the world can and should be.

The rain has freshened up the plants and none more so than the hydrangeas. They are coping surprisingly well this year, given the lack of water and the fact that last year they were sheltered by an enormous old mulberry tree which sadly came down last summer. Instead of giving up the ghost when the hot spell came, they have thrived with the extra sunshine and this year have produced an abundance of flowers in a variety of beautiful shades.

Lace caps - one of my favourites .

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. A day of Peace on earth - how wonderful that would be. Have a wonderful day with your loved ones and spend a moment thinking about those people who will not be able to share the love and fun you are having.

Liz Needle

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Staff Dinner

Sat Dec 23rd

On Thursday we had our school staff dinner at our place. This is the third year we have done it this way and everyone loves it. My son Mark is a chef and he loves the challenge of producing a dinner for up to 20 at home. Luckily I have a well equipped kitchen!!

We have had a very dry year, but would you believe the weather forecast for Thursday was a deluge - between 20 and 40mm. American readers, 25mm is an inch in your measurement. We always have the dinner outside because it is beautiful in December on our front lawn. We do not have the room inside to seat 20 people. So we were in a quandary and had several contingency plans in mind. 1. Clear the house of furniture or 2. Have it on the veranda.

We opted for the veranda and set up three tables - I have three sets of everything we needed. Don and I had a heated discussion about how we would set up the tables - his plan required 4 tables - and I have only 3 of everything. I won. As long as the weather was coming from the back of the house(south-west), we would be OK. Everyone arrived, admired the tables and stood around with nibbles and drinks. Just as we were about to sit down, the wind blew up - from the north and down came the rain. The outside row of chairs was drenched.

We hurriedly swung the tables around against the wall - the way Don originally suggested - dragged in an old wooden outdoor table, found a white table cloth, picked a bunch of hydrangeas which went into a jar and reset the 4th table.

After that things went swimmingly and no-one actually got wet. Food was brilliant, company fantastic anf the wine delicious. Anmd my garden adored the rain which was slow and steady all night and the next day - 27mm in all.

]The only thing that went wrong that night were the cheap cabndles I had bought from Ikea. Check out the photo. Now I have to figure a way to get all that wax out of my red tablecloths!!

Tables set up before the rain fell down.

Disastrous candles. Next time I'll buy decent ones. Not so sure about the tablecloths, though. You can't actually see all the wax in this photo, but it was everywhere by the end of the night.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.
Liz Needle

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More Christmas things

Strange things are happening. Hopefully one of my readers can tell me how to fix them. My profile is not appearing where it should - at least when I looked just now.

More Christmas pictures (I hope)

Well, that worked. If I don't have time to write again before Christmas, have a wonderful day everyone with lots of family cheer and a load of love.


Christmas Things

Wed Dec 20th

Wow! Nearly three weeks since I posted. But at last holidays are here and hopefully I will have time to do my own thing - like my blog. Funny, I always have so much planned for the holidays and I rarely get past the first couple of things on my list. I seem to get so much more done when I am under pressure. Still, I have these plans.

We had a lovely family day yesterday. Mandy sent Don's present over early so we could use it for Christmas. It was a cute little web cam. Finally got it set up - my poor old computer is not used to all this modern technology I keep loading it up with. We skyped away for a couple of fun sessions with the little ones - such excitement. Erinn (nearly 3) wasn't quite sure what was going on. These weird adults peering at her from the computer and talking to her as well.

After that we set up the tree and put out the Christmas stuff. I love this time of the year and my adult children always make it such fun. We always have to have a tree that touches the ceiling (and we have 12 foot ceilings). This one doesn't quite because I cut the dead tip off - and was soundly scolded. Decorations go up in a certain way and each of us has particular things we put on the tree. Woe betide anyone who takes the wrong decoration! Some of them date back 30 plus years, though quite a few of the older ones have succumbed to age and moths.

This years tree is a very bushy one. Lots of branches to hang things on. What a pity the littlies will be in Sydney and won't see it. Still, we'll be able to show them with the webcam.

The next photos are of my collection of angels and Santas. I love the Heartwood Creek Christmas stuff as you can see from the santa collection.

Well it looks like the old blogger is playing up again. Won't let me upload any more photos this session. I'll have to do the rest separately.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Holiday Countdown

Friday Dec 1st

Only two more weeks to go before we break up for the school holidays - well, until the kids break up. I still have to go back for a few days because I have not officially racked up my 37 hours of professional development training. Is there another industry in this world that demands that its employees do 37 hours T&D in their own time and at their own expense? If we don't do the time, then we have to go back to school after the kids have gone to make up the time. Its a bit like naughty children staying back after school to catch up on work not finished in class!

I know we get longer holidays and our working day is shorter etc etc and all those other things that teachers get criticised for, but they don't take into account all the extra hours we do................... Nuff said. I'll get off my hobby horse.

Had an easy day today - my Year 7s went off to their new high schools for a transition day and as there were only 8 Year 6s left, I was able to farm them out and go to town for a couple of urgent appointments and to get some shopping done for the school. Back to the grind stone on Monday. We (my class and I) have the school year book to finish, I have reports to write and the Year 7 graduation and a Disco to organise. No rest for the wicked.

Cleaning out my computer desk last night, I found a CD of quilt photos, so I will add a few more to my blog. Some of these are pretty early ones I made, so don't be too ctitical.

This is my "Newbie Star" Quilt, so called because it was the result of a block swap amongst mwmbwers of the Southern Cross Quilters who had never participated in a block swap before. The photo doesn't do it justice. The border is actually a nice country green.

"Daiseez" is a pretty quilt I made for a school raffle. It is made in 30s fabrics and from a Jan Mullen pattern. The family that won it were so pleased that each of them took it in turn to have it on his/her bed.

Well, it looks like the dear old Blog has decided that two photos are my limit for the night. More next time.

Have a great weekend.

Liz Needle