Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Visiting Sheila in Mandurah

For New Years Eve we visited Mums cousin Sheila, who has moved into a cool unit near Mandurah this year.
We played some "Taboo", an excellent game for sharing, and had a fantastic lunch, mostly from the garden.

Sheila has converted her small front garden to vegetables, and a few native plants. Here's the best butternut pumpkin so far.

And here's her dog, Lady, who was found as a stray. Much searching failed to find her owner, so Lady came to live with Sheila. She was obviously a trained sheepdog.

Sheila lives right on the estuary, so she can walk there any time, and Lady can splash in the water. Here's a stilt feeding just near Sheila's house.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Ron's first computer!

While we are here in Perth, Jeff is helping Ron get set up with a computer. After some discussion, he decided he wanted a laptop, and was happy to try an Apple.

Here is Ron confidently ready to open his FIRST computer! That tooth is getting fixed soon, by the way.
And here's Jeff showing Ron and Elaine just how nicely a new Apple computer is packed.

Comparison of Pepperplate and Paprika recipe apps

I've been investigating which app would help me organise recipes on the iPad the best, and I've picked two contenders. I know other people that are wondering about the same thing, so I've laid out my findings here. Enjoy!

If I've missed something, or got it wrong, let me know in the comments.


  • Pepperplate is free with ads on the web site. There are ads on your recipe in the web site. Since they don't ask you for money, there will always be ads.
  • Paprika costs money for each platform you want it on. No ads anywhere.

Signing in

  • Pepperplate requires you to have an account.
  • Paprika doesn't need you to have an account, there's no web site to "join".


  • Pepperplate stores your recipes on their server and pushes them to your device.
  • Paprika stores your recipes on your device, and allows you to choose somewhere to back up to, and then synch from that.

Importing recipes from other web sites

  • Pepperplate only allows importing through the web site, not the app.
  • Paprika allows importing in the app.

Import sources

  • Pepperplate has certain sites it supports, not including the Thermomix recipe community, and the rest won't work. Unsupported sites, you can open in another window and cut and paste. You need to be good at switching between apps. It works fine.
  • Paprika has certain sites it supports - a big list, being added to, including the Thermomix Recipe Community. Unsupported sites, you can open in Paprika's own browser, and cut and paste from. You can see what you are doing. This takes a bit of learning, but works really well.

When you travel

  • If you take your device with you, both work the same as at home
  • If you don't have your device with you, Pepperplate lets you log in on someone else's computer.
  • If you don't have your device with you, Paprika offers you nothing!


  • Pepperplate lets you set one or more, manually. If you do something else with your device while timer is running, it won't notify you.
  • Paprika has timers integrated with the text. If it finds a time unit on a recipe, it highlights it. If you touch one, it offers to start a timer. If you do something else with your device when the timer is running, it interrupts you with an iPad notification. You can add a name to the timer (eg "take cake out", or "check if cream is chilled"). Takes a bit of effort to do this. We noticed this feature doesn't exist on the Android version.


  • Both allow you to create your own categories. Easy in both.
  • Both let you put a recipe in multiple categories.
  • Paprika allows nested categories (eg "Baking", then "Cakes" and "Biscuits" inside that).

When you are not online...

  • Both apps let you see and use everything on that device. Both apps let you add new recipes while offline, and they will be synced later.

Menu planning

  • Both let you add a recipe to a menu plan
  • Paprika can export from there to iCal, so you can get it to show up on your choice of calendar.

Shopping lists

  • Both let you add recipe to a shopping list
  • Paprika lets you select items to move to the shopping list, and others to ignore.
  • Pepperplate copies them all, but you can delete unnecessary ones later
  • Paprika lets you add a recipe to a list more than once, Pepperplate doesn't.
  • Paprika lets you export from shopping list to iPad Reminders. Can also email or print shopping list.


  • Paprika has a "pantry" list of items you expect to always have (eg, flour, milk). When you add a recipe to a shopping list, it shows the pantry items as "in pantry". You can still add them to the list.


  • Pepperplate lets you send a recipe by email. The email that gets sent is a readable recipe, so you could sent it to a non-Pepperplate user. You need to type in the email address. When you receive one, you can import straight to your own account.
  • Paprika allows you to email a recipe. It integrates with your iPad email services, so you get to choose from your contacts list. What arrives is a readable recipe, and an attachment that can be imported to Paprika. You can have a default recipient set.

Metric/imperial conversions

  • Paprika has a conversion utility built in. It's a bit hidden, but once you remember where it is, you can use it. Nothing like this in Pepperplate.

Scaling recipes

  • Both apps let you increase or decrease the quantities for a recipe - for example, convert to a double batch or half batch.
  • Pepperplate allows a few fixed proportions on the app, and free scaling on the web site (so you can ask for 30% of the quantities).
  • Paprika allows free scaling on the app.

I have Android, not iPad

  • Lucky you, both apps will work for you. I haven't compared them properly, though.
  • Paprika's Android version seems to lack a few of the nice features mentioned for iPad.

If they closed down...

  • If Paprika closed down, there would be no new features, but the existing software would keep working. Your recipe backups would stay where you have decided to put them. You'd still be able to synch them.
  • If Pepperplate closed down, their server would go away. Recipes you have on your device should stay there, but synching would go away, and all the web-only features would go away.

How do I start?

  • If you want to try Paprika, go to
  • If you want to try Pepperplate, go to

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Gingerbread house, apartment style

We like to make a gingerbread house every Christmas. Well, there's a double batch of tasty gingerbread dough chilling in Nana's fridge, but it's hard to know when we'll get there to make it into a house. But the easy kits were on sale in the supermarket. So, here we are building a village.

Then we decide to abandon the nasty tasting lollies provided, and replace them with gummy bears!

Ta dah!

The building in the top left has a helipad in top. Of course.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Lots more Laings

I finally got my hands on this great photo Pop took.

We have - Stuart, Connor. Pauline, Jessamy, Tegan, Xanthe, Catriona, Russell, Jonathan, Jeff, Thomas, James and Mitchell. All on the balcony of Nana and Pop's new apartment.

In which we seek the Christmas Pelican

There are a lot Christmas traditions around. Some of them, you may not have heard of. The kids found this out today. Did you know that it's a tradition, after Christmas breakfast, to take a nice walk, until you see a pelican? Well, it is. That Christmas we spent in Denver was very tiring, but here in Perth by the river, it's easy!
Here's Jonathan, Jeff, Thomas and Catriona looking for the Christmas pelican.

And there he is! I knew he was real.

Merry Christmas from Perth!

It's Christmas morning, and for the first time, we're in a holiday apartment in Perth. So, we've set up a fabulous christmas breakfast - grilled peaches, bacon, fruit toast, and freshly baked rolls with lemon curd and marmalade.
Later, we're going to Nana and Pop's place for a BBQ lunch, and pretty much the rest of the day.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Russell enjoys the attention

Russell hangs out with Tegan, Jessamy and Xanthe.

Mitchell is stupidly tall now

Nice kid too, obviously, but just really tall.

Grown ups club

Here's Tegan, Nana, Xanthe and Jeff discussing the future, the value of education, and who ate the rocky road.

Boys' club

The younger nephews chill out on Nana and Pop's space age sofa. We have Mitchell, James, Thomas and Jonathan.

Connor - scruffy teen or artful hipster?

Connor has finished school and is waiting on results. He's planning to do a business course.

The topic of discussion, though, was, is his hair just like that when he wakes up, or does he artfully tease it? Good grief, another little relative is now clearly an adult.

All the cousins in one nice picture!

Let's try, shall we? Let's get all the cousins into one nice picture. Shall we have them standing in a row and smiling? Nah, that's too dull, let's go for something more spontaneous.

Here we have, from left to right: Thomas (seated), Connor (cool guy), Xanthe (on-trend denim shorts), Jonathan (footrest), James (I'm fine with Xanthe hugging me), Jessamy (who can I hug next), Mitchell (let go, Jessamy), and Catriona (I can't believe I'm related to you).

And then I realised TEGAN should have been in the picture! Ah well.

Tegan's modelling debut

We're in Perth, and that means COUSINS. Well, visiting relatives generally. Last night was the one night we could get all of the locals together.

So here's Tegan, our favourite Canadian niece, on the balcony at Nana and Pop's new unit. Tegan loves the hot weather. Well, she thinks she does. This was her first 39 degree day. Ever. She just moved to Perth this year, doing the post-university thing while she thinks about a Masters degree. Or just ditch it all and go into modelling?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

What Jeff and Pauline do with their spare time

Last week we found a treasure in the car park near work - a length of optical fibre cable, a bit damaged, and clearly abandoned. It was there for a few days, and finally, we couldn't resist, we took it home.

Today Jeff cut a segment out of it, and peeled away the layers to see what is in it.

The marking on the outside said "Victrack by Corning" and also "12/24". And it's rodent resistant. The system we develop at work involves drawing maps of where cables and other equipment are installed. We don't draw the maps, that's a network designer's job - we write the software that lets them do it. So, we are able to test our software by making up new cable, and new types of cable, but this is the Real Thing.

Here's Jeff peeling away the layers. The black layers are very tough. Cable gets a lot of protection. There's also a tough woven layer.
Here's what's inside. We were surprised. There as two bundles of optical fibres, the orange one and the blue one. He's peeled the orange one to reveal the fibres inside. Each one of them has a coloured sheath too. There are twelve fibres in each of the bundles, so I'm guessing 12/24 means 24 fibres in total, presented in groups of twelve. There is a very tough core, it looks like metal with a white plastic coating. That stops the whole cable from bending too much. Then there are three plastic strands, the size of a bundle of fibres, but just inert plastic. I think this is how they get various cables of different capacity to be the same diameter - pad them with plastic to fill the gaps. They are probably easier to handle if they come in standard diameters.

And here, Jeff has managed to peel the very fine red sheath off one of the actual optical fibres. You can hardly see it, but it's the one with the half-length sheath.

We're taking this wonderful bounty to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

How we do Melbourne Cup Day

Melbourne Cup is a public holiday here in Melbourne. It's on a Tuesday in Spring, so it is just a lovely break. We like to celebrate the special day in our family. Here's how we do it:

Print out a form guide, and choose a horse each, based on the coolness of the name, the colours the jockey will be wearing, and other important factors.

A lot of people do that, but we go one more step. As part. Of the decision making process, we draw our interpretations of the horse names.

This year, Thomas gave us "Who shot the barman?":
Catriona offers Royal Diamond, Seismos, Protectorate, and Opinion (a lawyer):
Jonathan liked Siesmos, the earth-shaking horse:

And I liked "Au Revoir"

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Me, demonstrating at Picture to Page!

I had a lovely day at Picture to Page, the arty-crafty scrapbook show at Sandown this weekend. I was demonstrating for Michelle of Mixed Media Art. Here I am getting inky - this was nothing, compared to how painty we both got later in the day!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Uh oh, there it goes!

Jonathan has been stalking the T Rex all evening!

Dinosaur biscuits!

Tried these at Christmas, but now we are getting closer to the suitable recipe. ROARRRRRRR!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Surrounded by comedians

We have twins. They are sixteen. They are learning to drive. They also have the job of bringing the bins in. Tonight, Jeff reminded them that it was time to do that. And, he reminded them that placing the bins carefully makes backing out of the driveway easier. The bins are normally lined up against the garden wall. This is what they did.

Commission some art!

Here it is, the Christmas present solution you've been looking for. Commission some art! The lovely Sarah at Popcorn Blue did a beautiful drawing for my anniversary gift to Jeff. Now she's looking for more commissions for Christmas. I can tell you she consulted with me a lot, managed her time well, took heaps of care, and packed the artwork really well. Get her at

Saturday, 27 September 2014

A good egg

Here's a really pretty egg I found in my carton of free range eggs today. It's in a carrot cake now. What a good egg!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Introducing Captain Dolphin...

... terror of the 897 seas, apparently. Jonathan did this.

A nice day's market shopping

Last week at the trash and treasure market, I bought a box of mixed coloured pencils. Look what I got out of it! A whole tin of (about) 90 Albrecht Durer coloured pencils. That's the fancy kind. And I already had a cute Lindt tin just the right size. The couple of short pencils were already in my collection.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A very nervous magazine

So, I subscribed to Woman's Day, pretty much entirely because there was a way better-than-usual gift with subscriptions. So, I will be getting the next 13 copies. I reckon my dentist or doctor might like most of them, but this copy is sitting nervously on the craft room desk. I hope nothing bad happens to it.

Office cutlery

What cutlery do you keep at your desk at work? Jeff has lots of plastic forks - when they give him one he doesn't need, he can't bring himself to throw it out. I bring my lunch, so I don't face that problem.

This is my armoury - we have a grapefruit spoon, a silver plated tea spoon (for the tea caddy, not for stirring), and a grapefruit knife. Oh, I suppose I use regular spoons and forks from the kitchen too, but they are not as photogenic.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Craft room all set up now!

Here's my pretty craft room. It has soft comfy carpet, bright lighting, a door you can shut (but still hear if something interesting happens outside), and lots of drawers and shelves. And a big, big desk. It's also a better than average place to lurk.

Father's Day card 2014 - now with dinosaurs!

I made Jeff a Father's Day card... I picked out a beautiful landscape stamp to use, and as an afterthought, added dinosaurs. Should really have done something about creating a reflection for the big guy. It looks a tiny bit photoshopped.

And I forgot to write anything inside, but that's becoming a tradition locally!

Happy Father's Day!

Thomas (front) and Jonathan cook some bacon and pancakes for Dad!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Nice day's trash and treasuring

I had a pleasant morning at a church fete today. The loot includes a Twinings tin, a Wade cottage, and a real grapefruit knife!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Paperific Bingo!

Paperific is on in Melbourne again soon - next week, in fact. What is Paperific? Just the best show for paper crafters, that's all. A great place to buy fancy paper, stamps, inks, paints, markers, and weird stuff only we know about. To say nothing of the festival of ideas!

Every time it comes around, I like to support Paperific in whatever way I can. Did you know, I worked on the door at the very first show (Melbourne Paper Crafts, the great-grandmother of Paperific)?

How exactly do I 'help' Paperific?

Well, in 2012 I posted this, an very concise review of my visit. I posted it before actually going, which saved me heaps of time.

Last May I posted this description. I HAVE used the triangular books!!!

One year I took cookies. One year my stamp club ran a stall. Several times I've worked on stalls. And I've added a Paperific tag to this very blog, so if you know how to use tags, you can see a bunch of photos in one place.

Well, this year, I think we need something new. So here it is:


Yup, just print out this super handy bingo card, or pop it on your phone, and see if YOU can get Bingo. When you are ready to yell "BINGO", here's what to do. Take the card to any Paperific staff member (who's not currently busy doing helping someone), and show it to them. You will most likely be awarded a smile, or maybe a withering look, depending on how busy it's been lately.

And if you don't know who Naomi is, she's the Boss of Paperific. You'll find photos of her on this very blog, so you'll be able to recognise her.

Hmm, must go and do some more work in my triangular book.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Scintillating Diamond Encrusted Peacock of Montmartre

Just getting my NEW craft room organised, and look what I unpacked! This is one of the treasures we brought back from Paris. You know how all the famous jewellers have beautiful showcase stores in Paris? Well, I do like a bit of jewellery. 

This peacock is richly encrusted with diamonds, of which only a few have come unglued and popped out. The peacock's tail is - well, let's say, metal. And its eye, an emerald as green as the deep blue sea. Oh, wait, that should be, green sea.

All this for one euro at a flea market. That's about A$1.50. 

If you go to Paris, here's the web site you need - . That's Brocabrac, the local site for advertising markets, big ones and small ones. Garage sales are not allowed, so local markets are regular. The link I've given you is for department 75 - that's Paris itself. It's in French, so bon chance!

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Inside the cabinet of purpleness...

Check out how nice the inside of my new second hand cabinet is!

Another great shopping day

When I was donating some gear to the local op shop, I saw this gorgeous shelf unit. For a mere $50, it's mine now! It's installed in the new craft room, and it means I have yet more drawers, and some bookshelf. This is a beautifully made piece of furniture, I am lucky to have it.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The door to our new room

The door to our new study (which leads right on to the parents' bedroom) has some decoration on it now. Jeff and I have both kept the name plates our parents got for us when we were little, so here they are, marking off our domain in the house.

My study looking good!

Well, I think all of the furniture is in. See the cool step-shaped cabinet? I got that at a second hand office furniture place. It's most unusual. And a very well made cabinet, too, nice drawers sliding on rails. It got delivered today. The guy from the shop told me it had been, not in an office, but in his house! The last owners of his house left it with the house. They left it partly because it was upstairs, with a spiral staircase to navigate! His daughter used it for a bit, but finally it has come to me.

And do you know what? There's a matching desk!! His daughter still uses it, but he's going to let me know.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

More wallpaper for you

Just ideal to use as a desktop background on your device or laptop, here's a cool texture. You can see the real thing on an upper floor of Young and Jacksons pub in Melbourne. It's the decorative wall treatment on the stairwell.

Rocking out on the big organ!

Also in Melbourne Town Hall, I got to see a concert on the Grand Organ. Here is Ria Angelika Polo delighting us with a crowd-pleasing programme, including "Hedwig's Theme" from the Harry Potter films (a real highlight) along with some Pirates of the Caribbean and The Simpsons. And Bach. This woman can play it all.

Melbourne open house

I got to visit the council chambers in Melbourne Town Hall today! Open House Melbourne is on once a year, with all sorts of public and private buildings open to the public.