Thursday, 24 December 2009

Doctor Who on the Christmas Tree

Well, actually, he's not, but his TARDIS is, and so is his arch-nemisis.

I moulded my Dalek and my TARDIS out of salt dough - that's cheap and easy to make. You bake it, then it likes being painted. I found the cheaper acrylic paints were working better than the fancy schmancy ones, so that's good news for kid activities!

I confess I got the idea from here. Nice one!

My Altered Christmas Tree

This is a Christmas tree I decorated - it came in kit form. It's from a set of wooden shapes from Kaiser, which was a not-very-expensive craft idea for kids and grownups.

I let the kids loose on the penguin, snowman and reindeer, while I nabbed the tree all to myself.

I collaged pretty paper all over it, and painted it up. Then I looked in my stash and found this bead-stuff I bought in Perth years ago. Pretty!

I added a few well chosen words to add to the theme...

And this is what the kids did with theirs. The penguin is green (of course).

Boys Grade 6 graduation

Here's my handsome boys at their Grade 6 graduation, a dinner and ceremony to celebrate the end of primary school.

Here's Thomas getting his official photo taken.

And here's the reward for being good for a long, long series of formal photos....

Tis the season...

... to drink out of a flowerpot... Mr Burns demonstrates his drinking-dirty-water style. Just inches away from a nice clean cat bowl of fresh water.

AND this picture's only here because I didn't manage to snap him drinking out of the watering can!

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Princess and the Prince

At a trash and treasure type sale, I managed to find a big bucket of Lego - but not just any Lego, this is Bellville (the girly range of princesses and castles). Not only is it cute as a bug's ear, but the people are fully articulated, so they make AWESOME stop motion animation models. They stand up and everything.

Here we see Princess Gorgeous with her beau: "But wait, darling, I want to talk some more about our feelings!"

"Argh! Get me out of here"

Rabbit on the Cubes

And then there was this ... a lovely old cookbook from a garage sale. You just don't see recipes like this any more...

You see, if *I* had a rabbit shaped jelly mould, I too could make a blood red rabbit on a bed of green cubes. Freak the kids right out.

Slime Time!

School year's over, and I'm still trying to catch up on cool photos I've taken in the last few days. Like these ones :

That's slime (in two colors). We made it (or rather, the boys made it). It's made from Borax and cheap PVA glue (lucky I buy my glue in 2lt bottles!).

Keeps the gang amused...

Friday, 18 December 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone

... just as soon as he fronts up with those enrolment forms ...

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

I got flowers!

At the school Christmas concert last week, *I* got presented with a big bunch of flowers (as a thanks for being P&C president for two years). It was a good presidential year, we got our fundraising total to over $12,000, in a small school with very few stay at home mums (not even me, now!).

AND I got to make an impromptu speech. Into a microphone. With a big audience. Just as well I've had a little practice now.

Here's my gorgeous flowers!

The lilliums are opening up over the course of the week - I love that!

And do you see, florists are keen on putting a little non-perishable goody in with your flowers, so you have something to keep. Aww.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Crusty old woman

So what have I been doing lately? Mostly baking! Oh, and work, and stuff, but in the free bits, there's been quite a bit of baking. It's all Shirley O Corriher's fault. We bought a book one day, when we were browsing in a bookshop on Scout night (the one night when all the kids are busy for a little while, and Jeff and I get to sneak out). This book, Bakewise, jumped out at us, and as we read a few paragraphs in the shop, we realised it would answer a lot of our geeky baking questions, and set us off baking even more good stuff.

I made the Tunnel of Fudge Cake (which I showed off at Stamp club, and on the stamp club blog). Then there was the delicious biscuits (that's American style biscuits - warm scones with a bowl of soup for us) and they were awesome.

Then I had a birthday, and scored another great book - it's this one - which encourages you to make slow rising, crusty, fab bread. It's really easy too! Let's just enhance that photo shall we?

It's crusty, chewy, and very hard not to say yes to that last slice.

I've been walking around the block a little extra lately too.

And this morning I've made this for stamp club - Cranberry and White Chocolate Scones (really that same biscuit recipe, full of buttermilk and cream). Oh wow.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Anyone seen this, ummm, cat?

I have no wish to make fun of the public spirited person who posted this notice at the local shops ...

... but I'm pretty darn'd sure that's a POSSUM!

No wonder the little tyke's scared - they keep trying to pat him and feed him fish!

Actually I just found that same possum photo on a Google image search. Hmm. Psychology students, I think, waiting to see how long it takes someone to call. Or post it on their blog.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

My birthday!

We had a gorgeous birthday dinner with Mum and Peter - they'd driven down, stopping at both of Peter's sons places before getting to us.

They gave me a pretty cupcake shaped sugar bowl (or is it for jam??). And to go with it :

a jar of Roses Lime Marmalade, obviously the best marmalade in the world! I was brought up on it as the "treat" spread, the one you save for Sundays. Yum!

Birthdays are a good day to take photos of all the kids : here's the boys (that's Thomas on the left, Jonathan on the right, obviously). Hmm, prob'ly haircut time for you guys. Nice shirts. No, I do not make them dress alike.

Here's Catriona not looking little any more...

And here's Jeff and Peter. See how nice Peter's skin is looking? It's the special soap! He had found a hotel soap that was very kind to his skin, and asked me to look up the web site for him. Thanks to the power of Google, soon I'd found a local retailer (these people) that would sell me a box full of that particular hotel soap! They asked where my guest house was ... So if you ever need lots of hotel toiletries, or stuff like that, I can recommend them!

I had such an exhausting day...

...that Jeff was just tuckered out...

If you can see it well enough, you'll see is glasses are askew. I like that look.

And he was snoring.

And Catriona recorded him snoring on her DS. So there's the sound effect for our next animated movie.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

November 2009 Paperific Report!!

The latest Melbourne Paperific show has just been on (actually it finished a whole week ago) and here is some of my personal report - I've been doing them for years, so no reason to stop now.

Here's a typical Paperific sight, a demonstrator with several visitors, all making stuff in a Make and Take. Such a good idea (I'm sure most of the vendors say "what a hassle", but there's no better way of showing off your wares!).

Then there's ... oooh, lots of stamps! I've been thinking that there are too many fairly-cheap, imported stamps around in recent years, and they all seemed a bit "churned out" to me. No, I have no evidence to back up this opinion, just the fact that I've been to a few shows in a row and not purchased any stamps. But this year, I felt that nice stamps are coming back again (not intending any offence to the people who've been making awesome stamps all along, of course!).

And then we come to ... punches. Drool. For a stamper, I sure do buy a lot of punches. Gosh they are satisfying. EK Success have a new style out, which save space. And that means new designs. I'm giddy! And the old ones are still around, and as good as ever. Punches age well - five years down the line, a circle punch will still be in fashion! And Martha Stewart has brought out a range of punches. Very pretty, and sure to be influential. I noticed one that was a little pop-up village. Now that's a little specialised for me!

I scored another bird punch (big brother of last year's one), some photo corners, some brackets (yep, these things {}) and a bunch of little flowers and stuff - older style ones, just filling out the corners of my collection.

Then I spent longer than expected at Twiddlybitz, looking at chipboard and wooden constructions. Wow! Congratulations to their design team, the display looked amazing! We're going to make the Advent House (just as soon as we have a minute!).

And here she is, the new Queen of Paperific, Naomi Swan. She's taken the reins from Stacey, who started it all, and she's running with it. Oh, wait, I think that was a mixed metaphor. She's stepped into the big shoes, and she's walking around saying "Look at me, I'm Mummy!". No, that doesn't sound right either.

What she's doing is running a fun and lovely show, the first of many. In this photo, she's looking radiant and happy, which is odd, because she was feeling awful and on the way to the doctor!

Well done Naomi, it was a great day out for us visitors, and I'm sure it was a super day for vendors.

Next Paperific is 5-7th March 2010, at the Showgrounds again.

Oh, and by the way, I used public transport to get there from all the way on the other side of the city. SO EASY! The tram was is sight of the front door. So there's a recipe for arriving cool, calm and collected.

Friday, 20 November 2009

I use my craft skills at the office

I just knew that years of tinkering with rubber stamps and paint would pay off.

At a staff meeting the other day, I heard the expression "Code Cool" - I loved it! "Hey, dudes, it's Code Cool, get your sunnies on!".

Turns out, of course, that it's more like "we're having a code cool, so no more changes to the code please". "Code" being "computer programs". The stuff we make. And it further turns out, a Code Cool is declared when a Code Freeze is coming (that's when you stop making changes and ship a new version out). And during a Code Freeze, sometimes you have to have an emergency Code Thaw. Well, I couldn't leave all that unanswered.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Squidamatron

Well well well, what do we have here? It is, of course, the basis of my latest article sent to a stamping magazine. Which of course has not been accepted yet, and might not be, and is still under the veil of secrecy. But I think I can divulge this much.

It started one morning when I was feeling creative. I asked Boy 1 and Boy 2 to throw me some words. "Banana", "Turtle", "Turtleade" (don't ask) were followed by "Squidamatron". I nearly didn't add it to the list, but Jonathan carefully spelled it for me.

So I drew a squidamatron. Fairly rough and ready (Catriona draws better squids than me any day), but it lead on to the next idea. Later in the day I was matching cardstock and ink pads...

...And when you eventually see the results, either published or here, I think you'll see what a logical process it all was.

You should see the other guy

Nope, don't worry, none of my kids did anything physical. Fell off a chair while playing an online role playing game. That's my boy!

This happened a few weeks ago, he's all fixed now. I just found the photo - and laughed!

This one's for Meagan!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

My Potato-Based confession

While on an outing to Chadstone on the weekend, my young helper Jonathan and I committed a family indiscretion. We had delicious chips, and didn't share them with the rest of the family!

We were on an urgent snack-food-based excursion on Sunday morning. After our important chores were done, we decided to go and see if the famous Lord of the Fries Chadstone store was open. It had been scheduled to open a week ago, but got delayed a bit.

We got there, and it was clean and finished, with signs and furniture all in place, but the lights were out and the chairs were stacked.

...And when we got home, that was the story we told. But what really happened was, just as we arrived, the guy turned the lights on, and started unstacking chairs. I wandered in to ask if they were cooking yet, and he said yes of course.

So, Jonathan and I shared the very first cone of chips from the second ever day of business at that store. The guy said they had been REALLY busy on Saturday, so that's gotta be good for the all-vegetarian burger and fry business!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Well, how did YOU think they did it?

I snapped a photo in traffic the other day (it's OK, I was a passenger). We passed a sheep truck fully loaded with woolly baa-lambs.

And down between the wheels was a special little box for the sheep dog. I had never thought of that!

Also, I think I'm getting a cold. Wah!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

No axolotls allowed

I went to a garage sale this morning, and did not buy an axolotl. A young man showed me his axolotls for sale, and I had to say, I was very impressed. Apparently this parents bought him one as a pet, and he saved up for another one. They, ahem, got married, and had 200 babies. Then there were about 13 left. Didn't ask how that bit happened, but I'm guessing it wasn't pretty.

Check the web site though. It's a dot org, which I like. Apparently axolotls are an organisation. Thought so.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Not only that ... but also Choo Choo Bars!

In addition to the excellence of Barney Banana ice creams, we've also discovered that Choo Choo bars are back!

This business
will sell you two as a taster on eBay, but really you will be wanting a boxful.

I've asked my regular lolly pusher, Wallie's Lollies, if they can get them, so we'll see.

For the uninitiated, these are extremely chewy liquorice toffee bars. They can take ages to eat. They taste exactly like 50c Saturday movie matinees at the Capri cinema where they show an Elvis movie (usually Clambake) and then an Abbott and Costello one.

It's him! It's Barney!

Also at a church fete on the weekend (you know, church fetes have come a long way, they can be a fabulous family outing) we had the pleasure of meeting an old friend.

It's Barney Banana, that delicious banana flavoured ice cream on a stick, that actually tastes of bananas. Made with a big 7% real banana (I didn't check the label for other ingredients, so quite possibly some aromatic esters in there), it tastes yummy, and just like sticky, summer childhood.

Naturally the kids chose chocolate Billabongs. Heathens!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Old dictionary part 2

Cathy asked if "Locomotive" was listed. Here's what a proper train looks like :

"Postage stamp" is listed, but that dates it to after 1840. Not that helpful.

Any more?

Help me date this very old dictionary!

I bought a very old dictionary at a church fete yesterday. It's gorgeous! It's missing the front cover and first few pages - the definitions start at "abroad", page 3.

I'm wondering just how old it is. We tried looking up various words to give us a hint.

"Cinema" : not listed.

"Automobile" : not listed

"Motor Car" : not listed, but then "Motor" is not listed.

"Refrigerator" : a box for keeping things cool by means of ice

Here's some other clues - it's a Websters Condensed Dictionary. The bottom of the spine shows "...ith 1... ...ustra...", so at first I thought it was an Australian edition. But of course, it's the number of illustrations. And here's a nice one - the edges are marbled!

Here's one of my favourite pages - the kangaroo. I think the artist's mind was untainted by having seen any actual kangaroos.

And Jeff's favourite page - "Buttock - see under BUTT".

Then John suggested some words "Dreadnought" is not there, but a "dreadnaught" is someone who doesn't fear the cold, or a thick cloth that keeps out the cold. And "Submarine" is NOT a boat - the definition is "Being, acting or growning under water in the sea". He says the boat meaning arrived in 1899.

What else can I look up to date it?