Saturday, February 28, 2009

First Signs of Autumn

Here in Australia it's the last day of Summer, but I'm enjoying the first signs of Autumn.

Sasanquas in a blue and white rice bowl on the dining table.

I looked out the window, and there they were, all blooming in the sunshine - I'm sure they weren't there yesterday!

Their centres are like sunshine itself:

Looking forward to cooler days.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vintage Bottles

It's been so long since I joined in Vintage Thingie Thursdays, and I've really missed it! But I've just been too busy. Since I sorted out our laundry I have had a bucket of vintage bottles sitting in a basin in my living room, and today's the day.

These bottles all came from my Gran's home when she moved out about 12 years ago. My sister took them first, but then eventually they found their way to me (as do many vintage items, it seems!) The cool thing about these bottles is that most of them still have their original labels AND their original liquids! (not to mention vintage and not-so-vintage dust layers!)

I love their different sizes and shapes, but most of all, the old labels.

Let's take a closer look:

Two olive oil bottles "for medicinal and table use"

Eucalyptus oil and tincture of iodine

Metaphen (label coming off this little 2" bottle)

Jungle Mosquito Repellant, still available

Olbas, which I had never heard of, but still available, and the bottle hasn't changed shape! (but I like the old one better, with it's lovely copperplate font.

this bottle has a faded handwritten label from a pharmacist, and is stopped with a (mouldy) cork:

Some furniture polish suitable for floors, woodwork, cars and refrigerators (hmmm, never thought of polishing my fridge!)

and this last one looks like something straight out of an old laboratory, complete with oozing black sticky stuff:

Glycerine and borax - "apply to the gums, tongue and throat in ulceration, and as a preventative for thrush" - no thankyou!

I love these old bottles, but I haven't got anywhere to display them at the moment, or room in the laundry anymore! But don't worry, I'll find a place away from any visiting little fingers before too long (Jacqui that's for your peace of mind). I would love to have a little glass cabinet on the wall, or something ... of course I have no wall space either ...

I hope you've enjoying looking at these vintage bottles, for more vintage goodies visit here on Thursdays!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Excuse me, madam, a few questions ...

I just have two questions:

Who are you?

And what are you doing in my garden?

After the recent heatwave and rains two purple stems suddenly sprouted out of the ground and yesterday they started to bloom.

A spider has built a web between them, but didn't want to stop for photographs when our reporter arrived on the scene.

All offers of identification gratefully received.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

One of those days ...

Yesterday was one of those days. When I went to bed on Tuesday night I relished the thought of a full day at home, preparing for my Stampin' Up! launch, doing some scrapbooking and stamping, a leisurely, happy day ... but it was not to be! (don't read on if you're in a good mood, you won't be soon!)

I woke up late, and had to rush to get to my recorder class on time (not good for the teacher to be late LOL) Before my shower I stepped on the scales - yikes! Higher than my all-time high! (not counting full-term pregnancy but frighteningly close to that!) Luckily I would be doing some walking during the day because the car was in for a service.

Steve dropped us at school and we made it to recorder in the nick of time. During recorder I realised that a little new girl was really struggling, and in fact sitting there doing nothing. She has been in the beginner recorder group all year and was really not up to joining us in the Senior group this year. So I had to send her back to the beginners :-( I felt sad but she was ok with it. Then I had to walk home, with umbrella and recorders, a miserable uncomfortable walk, but thankfully not too long.

I got home and discovered that we had a computer virus which needed to be dealt with, which wasted about 30 minutes. Then I got a couple of scrapbook pages finished that I'd started the night before. (In hindsight that was the most productive and positive thing I did all day LOL) Then I went to work on my local Stampin' Up website only to have computer problems and have to redo everything I'd worked on in the last few weeks, which took hours.

Looking up at last from my computer I realised that it was past lunchtime and I needed to pick up the car in just an hour. My precious "free day" was rushing by! Gobbled down some lunch and did a few quick stamping things that needed to be done. Then I set out to pick up the car from the mechanic. It's a new mechanic so I wasn't sure how long it would take me to walk there. It's been raining here for the last week and a half, so I left fully prepared with my umbrella and oilcloth bag. Instead, the sun came out and for the next 45 minutes I could feel the back of my neck burning while the oilcloth bag stuck to my clammy skin. yech!

Finally arriving (nice and hot and sweaty by now) I picked up the car, by which time school was about to finish, so drove to school to get the girls. One of my daughters was not in a good mood. Just a little way down the street from the school she discovered a beetle which she had to have. I was reluctant to be late for their dance class so told her to leave the beetle, but no. This escalated into a 5-minute stand-off at the busy intersection (while the principal watched from her car - just great!) followed by a tantrum worthy of a 2yo. For the next 20 mins, in the street and at home, things were thrown, people were hurt and there was much crying, shouting and carrying on (not on my part, somehow I stayed calm on the outside). As we finally left for Irish Dancing a little late I noticed that the girls' wastepaper bin had been emptied all over our bedroom floor. grrr! Then more trouble at Irish Dancing over shoes ... then went to chemist for panadol for child in question who claimed to have a headache and a sore chest (PE incident involving a ball). After all that I had a shower while the girls were out, and felt a little better, although exhausted and sore from my long walk and traumatic afternoon!)

Things went a little more smoothly later, but I still had to put up with constant chatter, complaining and an inability for this child of mine to stay still for even a second! Just when I was about to start cooking dinner my other daughter was discovered trying to remove a biro stain from her school uniform. So I spent the next half an hour tring to remove biro stains from both her uniform and her yellow bath towel - not fun. Steve arrived home (and never was I so happy to see him!) and eventually dinner was on the table, but not before discovering that our phone and internet were down! After dinner he sat on hold waiting for the phone company and finally the girls went to bed, only to take turns getting up to complain for the next hour or so. By this stage I was coping only with huge amounts chocolate and marshmallows. No consolation from the internet, which still wasn't working .... but finally the girls went to sleep, we watched an episode of The Good Life (BBC) and had an early night, dragging my aching limbs off to bed.

(detail of one of my scrapbook pages from yesterday, using Stampin' Up! products)

This morning, things are looking much better. The sun is shining, there is a lovely autumnish breeze, the washing is hung, the floors are swept, the girls are happily off to school, and I have another free day to stamp and prepare ... and relax, before the next busy few days and nights.
Life is pretty good, after all!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Polka Dot Punches

A quick Valentine's Day card, although we don't really do Valentine's Day. It's not a big thing in Australia and it's too close to our wedding anniversary to ever remember it anyway! But I was itching to play with this new heart stamp from the Polka Dot Punches so I sat down yesterday afternoon and made it. I'm not completely happy with how the card turned out, but at least I satisfied the itch LOL

This second card I made today for a godson. It's always a challenge to make something for teenage boys, since most of my stamps are pretty girly. But out came the Polka Dot Punches again and I came up with this masculine-looking card. Lots of fun.

Do you notice a little punch out at the bottom of the card? I punched a circle in the middle of one of the doodles, and stamped a flower behind. This is what the card looks like when it's closed:

(sorry about the poor photograph!)

Besides a little stamping here and there I've been busy preparing pieces and materials for my piano students. If you have children learning an instrument there are excellent websites here and here with games and flashcards just ready to print out! Yey! I've been using some of them and making some more and laminating them so I feel more ready to roll with whatever difficulties present at each piano lesson I teach! I love the generosity of bloggers who share their great ideas and hard work. (and am hoping to do the same soon!)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Birthdays and a Heat Wave

Yesterday we celebrated some family birthdays, so out came the stamps again to whip up some cards ....

and a gift of a Note Box with 9 Notecards:

I made 3 each of 3 styles of notecard, hopefully my aunt can use them for any occasion.

This one and the box use the Carte Postale set:

This one ...Think Happy Thoughts, Short & Sweet, In the Spotlight and Friendship Blooms
and for this one I used A Little Bit of Happiness:

(all stamped images Stampin' Up!)

We have had such hot weather in 3 states and now in Sydney, my cousin set up a paddling pool complete with slide for the children, they had a ball!

It's been so long since my girls played in a paddling pool! So today at home we cleaned up the old clampool and the girls played in it, and with the sprinkler. In my childhood memories the sprinkler came out every hot day (until we got a 3ft above ground pool!), but with water restrictions here in the last years I think my girls had forgotten what a sprinkler was! The restrictions were relaxed this weekend so out the sprinkler and pool came.

(Of course they're getting a bit big for that pool now!)

Although we have had a good weekend despite the heat, in Victoria up to 100 lives have been, and will be lost, in the worst fires in Australian history. I can't begin to imagine what people are going through, and will have to go through in the next days and months. We can only pray for rain. Here in Sydney a cool change has come and this week will be cooler, with showers. This heatwave is over, for us.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Little Miss Muffet

One of (my growing list of) things I don't like about summer is the spiders. Oh don't get me wrong, a beautiful web in the sunrise is one thing, but spiders and spiderlings on the clothesline each morning are not fun, and neither is walking through webs every time you walk out the door.

But now it's getting ridiculous. What do I do about this little guy?

Yes, he's living inside our kitchen clock.

He must have gotten in the back where there is a hole in the plastic to hang the clock, but I don't know how he got from there onto the front of the clockface! He has been living there quite happily, although of course he does have to move on from time to time. LOL couldn't resist that one.

Incidentally while I am showing you my clock I'll tell you about how I made it over a year or two ago. This clock was given to us by our parents for a wedding gift. I chose it, it's a French blue with geese. I was going through a blue/geese/ducks stage (it was the early 90s) and it was beautiful. Over the years most of the geese and ducks have flown the coop, but the clock was one of the better ones and it stayed. But the trouble was that the hands and the picture behind the hands were almost the same colour, so it was hard to read from a distance.

I looked around at new clocks, and found some beautiful French style clocks, but then I had a brainwave. I pulled the clock apart (which I guess I'll be doing again in the near future) and cut a piece of scrapbook paper the right size to cover the dark blue section. I cut a straight line from 9.00 to the centre, and punched a hole over the centre. Then I slotted the whole piece under the clock hands, and voila - a fashionable clock which we can actually read.

And which is obviously attractive even to spiders.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What I've been doing ...

I haven't been posting much lately, I seem to have been flat out! So I though I'd let you know what's been happening in the last week, at least.

The girls went back to school a week ago.

They are pretty happy in their classes and everything is going well so far.

I spent most of that first school day giving the laundry a "makeover". Not so exciting, but so satisfying. Our laundry is basically a closet off the living room with folding doors. I dumped the wonky 3-section clothes hamper, which always stopped the folding doors shutting properly, took out all the paints, old bottles, empty plastic containers, etc etc that were in the cupboards behind (which I could never get to, anyway) and replaced all that with 4 clear plastic boxes, each labelled - lights, darks, towels and paints.

It took a while to find some boxes to fit the space, which is why I hadn't done this much earlier. So washing is easier and the living room even looks tidier now that the laundry doors shut properly.

Fortunately I have a window in my laundry "closet", which makes all the difference. On the windowsill I put a blue glass winebottle and a blue jar to make me happy. Oh and the shining sink makes me happy too (Flybaby that I am). So it's all good and washing happens much more smoothly in our house now.

And onto more exciting news (because I know that my laundry is really only exciting to me ;-) ... two weeks ago, after many months of thinking about it ... I joined Stampin' Up! as a demonstrator! Marelle is my upline - make sure you visit her beautiful blog.

Last week I received my Starter Kit and since then I've had just a few chances to PLAY with my new stamps, in amongst teaching piano, leading bible study, and everything else that's started up again for the year.

The card at the top of the post is one I made today, using the Bodacious Bouquet stamp set, which is so much fun. Colours are Regal Rose, Pretty in Pink and Garden Green.

Well, after my day of playing I'd better go and tidy the dining table so we can eat (and not stamp) at dinner time, then off to pick up the girls from their Irish Dancing class. Although I've been quite busy up till today I'm thankful to have things I enjoy doing to fill my days.

Summer's pleasures

Possibly the last of the nectarines.
These will only last a few days in this hot weather.