Sunday, December 26, 2010

They've gone

So much has happened in the last couple of weeks - and no time to record it. First I'll update you, my readers (?) on the fantail story.

I came home a week or so before Christmas and the three babies were bursting out of their nest. We had a few quite warm days aso little mother didn't need to sit on the nest, which was just as well as there was no way she would have been able to.

I grabbed the camera and took this shot. As I was snapping, one of the babies hopped out of the nest and perched on the branch.

Then, he suddenly took off like a bullet and disappeared over the mulberry tree. Meanwhile mum was swooping around my head and dive bombing me.

And then there were two.

I was a little worried that I might have pre-empted the departure, but by next morning the nest was empty and all three and the parents had gone.

Two days later later Don reported that he had seen the two parents with the three little ones flying around the silver birch in the back garden. So all is well. I wonder if they will nest so close to the house next time.

I hope so.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Babies

Our baby fantails have hatched amid great excitement. We can see it all from the kitchen window, but the little things are so used to us that I can go right up close and snap the progress. The other day I was taking a photo of the babies while neither parent was home. One parent flew in with a mouthful of food. She fluttered around me for a moment then flew straight in and fed her brood.

There are three of them - now getting too big for the little nest.

Close up. Only a mother could love 'em.

They don't seem at all worried by us or the camera. I am about a metre away.

It's funny watching them sitting on the nest now. Not really enough room in this abode for 4!!

We are hoping the little nest will last until the babies are ready to leave home. It's starting to get quite misshapen and squashed looking.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Canadian Postal Truck

The Roaring Twenties

I didn't realise until I had completed the 1930s blog that I had skipped the important 10 years of the 1920s, so here they are - The Roaring Twenties.

The Jazz era and the legendary Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong and his golden trumpet. This ATC was the work of Cathy Smith

The first feature length film, "The Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolson premiered in 1927. This was my contribution to great moments in the 20s.

In 1921Australian author May Gibbs published 'The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie" and delighted generations of Australian children with her captivating gumnut children. Pam Murray created this delicate little ATC.

The 20s were known for a fashion revolution when women through off their long skirts and corsets for shorter skirts and modern designs. This ATC, crafted by Christine McKenna, depicts a 'flapper' from an Art Deco fashion poster.

Margaret Ware added to the fashion theme with a beautifully decorated cloche.

And finally, that great Australian icon on which millions of Australian children have been raised - Vegemite. This clever ATC was devised by Karen Rosewarne.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Mating Game

We love to sit on the verandah and watch the birds in the garden. We have been watching with delight the courting of a pair of grey fantails. These little birds are quite fearless and often join us on the verandah, sitting on the rail or even perching on a spare chair.

We watched their nest building, marvelling in the delicately woven nest, built from spider webs from the verandah eaves just in front of the kitchen window. As the nest progressed we chuckled at the little creatures as they added soft strands to the inside of the nest then sat in the nest and spun around shaping it to fit perfectly.

The camellia they have chosen for their nest is right up against a verandah post and we have to pass within a metre of the nest everytime we go into the garden. They seem to have no objection to us stopping to have a chat, watching us with bright eyes and no sign of fear.

On cool days they snuggle right down, but on warmer days they seem to sit quite high in the nest. We are just hoping they escape the notice of the marauding wattle birds. We have also noticed a couple of little ravens on the back lawn recently. Not sure whether they would attack a nest, but they haven't been around before.

They've been sitting for just over a week now and we are getting quite excited about the forthcoming happy event. We have had numerous blackbird nests close to the house, but this is a first.

Yesterday we also spied a very large koala in one of our gum trees. He was gone today, but he'll be back.


Friday, November 19, 2010

1930's ATCs

The 4th decade of last century attracted fewer particiapnts, but the three of us who did swap were not stuck for ideas. It was a decade of despair and misery with the Depression affecting so many lives. Cathy Smith depicts this in her poignant portait.

Through those years popular heroes arose to capture the hearts and spirits of the people. One such in Australia was the cricketer Don Bradman - "Our Don Bradman", whose exploits on the cricket field gave rise to great national pride.

This ATC was my creation for the 1930's.

Shirley Temple captured the hearts of people all over the world with her bright, bubbly screen personality. She was one of the Delights of the Thirties.

Christine McKenna created this delightful ATC in her memory.


Late Spring

Spring was late this year in the garden, but the plants have flourished after the wet winter and most have recovered or are recovering from the long hot summer years. Those that did not survive will be remembered in the photo albums we have built up over the years.

Despite the weeds there are many corners of the garden that lift the spirit and refresh my soul.

I love the brilliant blue of the babiana with this little yellow iris. Both flourish in our garden.

This close up gives you a better idea of the colour in the iris.

Another variety if the same iris species. They thrive in our cooler area. Last year I took a fancy to the larger species of irises and they are just beginning to flower this season.

I love hellebore and though they are now well past their best, they still look beautiful with their faded old world beauty.

You don't see flowering chestnuts often in SA, but they are a beautiful tree and grow easily in the hills. This is a white flowering one. My glorious pink flowering chestnut was smashed when a tree came down on it last winter. Fingers crossed that it will come good.

The fuchsias have struggled with the drought, but this little one is a fighter and has managed to soldier on.

And finally the exquisite and delicate beauty of Solomon's Seal. A real oldtimer. I struggled with this for years, but it has finally rewarded me with a good clump of bulbs.

In the words of a wonderful old gardener, "That's your lot for today." Off to snap some of my new irises and the the lovely old roses that are just starting to flower.


Friday, November 05, 2010

ATCs 1910-1920

The next set of ATCs. Less swappers this time.

Christine McKenna kept going with her 'corset' theme with these beauties. I can remember my mother wearing something similar.

Some of my very early memories are of buying poppy badges on Remembrance Day. It was a day my mother and father held very dear. This was my card from this decade.

On September 1st, 1912 the Golden Wattle was declared Australia's National Flower and was incorporated into the coat of arms with the kangaroo and the emu.

1st September then became Wattle Day. I don't know if it is still celebrated.

This exquisite card was made by Pam Murray

The last card in this set depicts WW1 - Gallipoli and in particular Anzac Day - April 25th, 1915. This very evocative card was created by Cathy Smith.

Liz Needle

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

History in ATCs

One of my interests is to create ATCs (Artists Trading Cards) in fabric, using a variety of techniques. I rarely have time to sit and make quilts these days, so making these little pieces of 'art' gives me an interest, a chance to try new techniques and to express any latent creativity I may still have in me. I swap my creations with friends from quilting groups - mainly the Southern Cross Quilters.

One of my favourite swaps has been the "Past Decades" swap where each month or so we use a decade of the 20th century as our theme. As a history buff, I have enjoyed these swaps as I find they have more significance than some of the other swaps and they set my brain working..

Here are the cards I received in the first swap - 1900 - 1910.

This was my contribution. "Federation"-a representation of Australian Federation in 1901. The trickiest part was making the little fabric flags.

These gorgeous corsets were worn around 1905. This card was made by Christine McKenna

These much loved books - "The Wizard of Oz" and "Anne of Green Gables" were first published in the first decade of the 1900s. Cathy Smith made this delightful card.

The "Breaker" Morant card was created by Karen Rosewarne. The photo does not do justice to the beautiful craftsmanship. The little book opens and has Harry Morant's photo inside.

Women's Suffrage - the right to vote was granted to some women in Australia in 1902. Pam Murray depicts this in her clever card.

One of the fascinating things about this series of swaps is learning what other women consider to be landmarks in each decade. You will just have to wait and see what we thought significant in the 1910s - 20s.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So Long

Oh dear. It's so long since I played with my blog that I had actually forgotten my password. Tragedy! Now have a natty little bit of software called Roboform, so my ageing memory should no longer cause me any anguish.
These last school holidays were very fruitful. This year I have been really slack and achieved very little during the holidays, but this time I decided to get off my butt and do something. Each day I made myself do an intensive clean out of part of a room. Brilliant. I managed to get through two complete rooms and the front hallway and since then another room. Everything was washed, dusted, polished cleaned out and left sparkling. I threw out bags and bags of unwanted stuff that had been collecting in cupboards for years. Only 4 rooms and a huge bank of storage cupboards to go. LOL!!
At the same time I determined to work in the garden each day and to complete some sewing - catching up on ATC swaps.
Where to from there - painting inside and out. In my dreams. Still I do feel good about actually getting something completed.
Our poor garden suffered several tragedies of its own this winter. In the fron garden we have a huge willow that has provided welcome shade for a num,ber of camellias, tree ferns, other shade loving plants and the patio. This year it collapsed in 3 parts and fell on the garden underneath it. No way we could cut it up so had to call in a tree expert. Said it was the largest willow he had ever seen. He charged us $2300 just to cut it down and cut it up. We had to dispose of it. So far we have burnt quite a bit of it in the middle of the front lawn, but there is a huge pile of logs that we cannot shift - the agreement was that the tree would be cut up in manageable lengths, but because it was not written into the contract, that did not happen. That's one business we will not deal with again.
We still have another 5 or 6 willows that need to be removed - may have to wait until we strike Lotto!!!
Oh bum!! Now Blogger won't let me download photos.

Here we go after much fiddling and swearing!! This is the tree as it collapsed. Willows are lovely if they are relatively young and not subjected to winds. This one was here and a decent size when we moved in 40 years ago.

This is one part that came to rest on another tree.

Another view of the mess

These are the stumps of the three branches - the main trunk was huge and encompassed all three of the branches shown.

Here we are starting to build up a pile of small brances

Once we got it going we were able to roll some of the logs onto the fore and Mark helped with some larger ones when he got home. It burnt for 48 hours. BUT, we have at least 3 times as much agin to burn when we work out how to move it. Never plant willows!!!!!

And this is what it used to look like under the willow tree!!!


Monday, July 12, 2010

So Far Away

My girls - Mandy, Niamh and Erinn are currently holidaying in Ireland. Well, Mandy has been to Italy and now Barcelona as well. They are having a wonderful time, but I wish they were back in Australia. Sydney doesn't seem nearly as far away as Ireland.

Waiting at one of the airports. Amazing pink seats

On the beach in Ireland

With some of the Irish cousins. I wonder whether they will want to come back after all this fun.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jump Rope

Have a look at this video. . And I thought my kids could skip. This group is amazing!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Catching up

May already and it is ages since I blogged - and after all my promises. Still, by this time I imagine I am the only one still reading my blog!!

We have had an eventful few months with Don's heart problems flaring up until last Wednesday he went in for another Ablation procedure. 9 Hours on the operating table! The doctors are fairly confdent that the procedure was a success this time, so we are keeping our fingers crossed. He's pretty miserable at the moment as his heart took a fair beating and there has been a lot of pain. He floated around on morphine for a few days until I pointed out that I wasn't working to keep up his habit. LOL!!

Autumn in the garden. How I love this season. I was a bit late with photos this year, but this old persimmon is a favourite.

Thanks to Mark's enthusiasm we were able to grow most of our own vegies this summer - and supply the restaurant as well. Nothing like home grown produce.

And an update on the antics of young Ollie!! As cute as he is, he is also very naughty!! His latest escapade was to find a half bag of potting mix which he proceeded to spread all over the patio.

Still I guess that was better than the bag of flour I rescued in the pantry!!