Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve at Home


It's been a busy Christmas Eve here:
Sewing (mending & adjusting for tomorrow)
Enjoying Christmas Eve dinner together
Singing carols

Merry Christmas, friends!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The last of the Christmas rush

Yesterday we put up our outside lights.

On Friday I put up my little Christmas tree in my craft room.

I love seeing it from outside.

Last week I finished my Christmas cards.
Which is quite a process. 
I've been making them for months.
In the last fortnight, I've addressed the envelopes,
stamped a greeting inside each card.
photographed them, and stamped the envelopes.
And of course, written in each one.
All 80 or so of them.

And yesterday I got the last of them in the mail.

At last I'm feeling like I'm on the home stretch, we're over the hump.

Time to enjoy the tree, the carols, the sights and sounds of Christmas.
Perhaps some paleo Christmas treats,
a little Christmas shopping and wrapping.
Time to read the Christmas story in the bible and ponder on it.

School is finishing this week.
Relaxation is almost here!
I'm snatching more moments of it each day.
So many things ticked off for the year, with just a couple to go.

Now I just want to soak up the rest of December, 
before it too disappears.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Decorating every corner for Christmas

I love to decorate our study for Christmas. This is the room where I teach piano, and so it's nice to decorate for the sake of my students, but it's also the room with the lovely old sideboard and clock that belonged to Steve's grandparents, and it's a dark and cosy room. This year I've gone a bit over the top with old silver, china, urns, bells, baubles, pinecones  and fake pine branches 
(that have conveniently fallen off our ancient Christmas tree over the years). 

This is how the room was when I finished with it on Monday. 
Since then I've added and made a little more :-) perhaps to be seen in a later post.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Tree Lights - warm or cool white?

On Saturday night we came home from a family lunch, 
to put up the Christmas Tree.
But, oh no, one of the sets of tree lights didn't work!
I rushed out to Kmart to buy some new lights, because Saturday night
was the only good night to put up the tree for some time.
We've had our lights for quite a few years now, they are the old kind,
and of course the only lights to be found now are LED lights. Kmart only had
cool white lights, so I bought them and hoped for the best. 

The new lights are bright, and sparkly, but I was disappointed.
Our ornaments are red, gold, white and cream, and the very blue cool lights just weren't doing it for me.
I tried to be content with them. Because people all over the world are suffering all sorts of hardships and I'm fussing about Christmas tree lights.... but every time I looked at the tree, the lights bothered me.

So today I shopped again, in the daytime, this time at Target. Oh joy, I found warm white lights, 100 on a string, and on special! Tonight Emily and I extricated the cool white lights from under the hundreds of ornaments and beads (no easy task) and put the warm white ones on instead.

So much better (don't you think?)

And we've ended up with more lights, which I always wanted. The whole tree seems lighter.
The white of these lights ties in much better with our ornaments, and gives a sort of golden glow.
So I'm one happy girl.

Now I'm wondering what to do with the cool white light, perhaps something for outdoors or upstairs ...
I think they would be great with a blue or turquoise colour scheme, and with silver. 
Perhaps I'll even find a new home for them.

It's late here, and it's been a hot day. Christmas beetles are kamakazi-ing around the room.
It's just started to rain, quite heavily now. I've spent some of today making the house Christmassy, and the rest teaching and rehearsing music - my recorder class is playing at the school carols night tomorrow; I had some recorder and piano students come for lessons, and tonight I rehearsed with a cellist who I'm accompanying for an exam on Saturday. Tomorrow friends are coming for lunch. 
It's all good.

How has December begun for you?
(and what colour are your tree lights?)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bunnies for a Baby - Memory Box dies

I've been completely hooked on dies lately. The Memory Box dies are way too much fun and I've found myself back at the craft shop quite a few times lately, buying a few each time. Then I rush home and roll them through my Big Shot, trying them with my other dies and stamps, and dreaming up possibilities.

This is a little scene I made for a baby gift. The frame was just a few dollars, from the Reject Shop, so it's an inexpensive but unique gift (I tell myself, justifying my growing collection of dies ...)

Here it is before I put the glass in. 

I think could make bunny and bird scenes all day ..

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hikaru, we miss you

Having Hikaru stay with us for five nights in the last week was one of the best things we ever did.
She was the sweetest, most lovely and throughtful guest one could want. Sometimes communication was difficult, conversations went slowly, but we still understood each other. It was good for this quiet family to have a temporary addition to our family, and to make her stay as positive as possible. Emily slept on a stretcher bed in Laura's room, and it all worked out well. Hikaru loved being in Emily's pretty bedroom.

We played lots of games, and even got out the boomwhackers for one fun night's entertainment. Hikaru jumped into everything with enthusiasm. There were three afternoons of shopping, and Hikaru also came along to youth group, iceskating and church, as well as our picnic. There were about a million photos taken, these were all Hikaru's iphone pics, (yey for her selfie stick!). We had dinner out on Tuesday night (where Hikaru could enjoy more Aussie beef, despite the distractions of Australia vs Japan soccer in the background, how ironic) and enjoyed meals together at home the other nights - more steaks, burritos, and satay chicken, while we tried not to overload our guest with questions.

Come Wednesday afternoon, there was a school BBQ, followed by many, many hugs and tears as we said goodbye, and she boarded a bus with her friends from Okinawa. When we came home afterwards, everything reminded us of her. Will we ever play Rat-a-Tat Cat again without remembering her? We're thankful for instagram and email to keep in touch. 

Hikaru, I hope we can meet again one day.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunny Monday

It's Monday morning, and the sunshine is streaming in through the back door.
The temperature is just right.
But in the last couple of weeks, the light has changed, there is a feeling of summer.
The sun doesn't shine on to the sofa anymore, and outdoors is filled with a sort of golden glow.

This is my third week of getting up early, 
and it makes such a difference to my mornings.

The girls have gone to school 
- one early to band, one in a rush to the bus, and one in a cute Japanese school uniform.
The house is tidy enough, thanks partly to having Hikaru with us.
Hopefully we can keep it this way after she has gone!

I'm so glad to have a houseguest here at last.
Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite having this quilt on my wall,
we really have so few guests at all. I made it years ago, when the girls were small,
and we had more guests over, for playgroup and so on.

The bed is made.
I'm loving our fresh new bedspread/quilt cover.

The verandah needs a sweep after the strong winds yesterday.

There are instruments to practise,

and plenty of craft to do,
 some in preparation for the church cardmaking night I'm running.
Some tidying of my desk wouldn't go astray, either.
I'm also slowly working on Christmas cards, which I love to do.

I rearranged the books last week, and am happy
with this view (while I teach piano).

I've done the washing up and the first load of washing.
Time for some bible reading in the warm sunshine.

Oh, how I love a sunny Monday morning!
So full of promise!

Hoping yours is good, too.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Evening Picnic




The lovely Hikaru from Okinawa has joined our family for 5 nights, on a homestay organised with our school. She arrived in blazing 40deg heat on Friday, but by late Saturday afternoon, when we were free for a picnic, it was a breezy 22deg and lower, with no sunlight in sight. Nevertheless, we dragged her to a typical Aussie picnic at Brooklyn, to enjoy some cold dinner by the water, surrounded by marauding brush turkeys, play a card game and go for a walk. She seemed to survive her first picnic,  and there was plenty to see, from pelicans to rock formations to slightly inebriated fishermen. 

And it was so good to see that despite our two different cultures, we still have so much in common, things that really bind humanity, despite the language barrier or age differences. 

Things such as ...


and Apple devices.