Category Archives: Interesting people

Looking back and bringing to life a special event, Helping cut flowers last longer and other tips, Who remembers Wendy Lord of the 70 hats, The Spirit of Warragul Steam Engine and a super recipe for Pesto, goats cheese and mushroom burgers

Hello everyone, welcome to my blog and a special thanks to those who sent in comments last month.  It really is rewarding to receive your responses.  

Looking back and bringing to life a special part of your past

Last week I decided to turn out a cupboard which stored all my photo albums, I’m sure everyone has one such place, and I stopped to pore over my time in the Girl Guides.  What happy days they were;  I believe the values that were instilled into us then are still relevant today.  The first album was from 1950 and do you know, looking through those photos, I could remember every event especially my pride in being enrolled.  From the age of 11 the Guides were a big part of my life and continued so into my adult life as  Lieutenant.  During those years we camped, hiked, held concerts and contributed to the community by engaging in different projects.

 

However, one event stands out more than most. To obtain my First Class Badge it was necessary to do a 5mile hike.  My friend Olive accompanied me on what turned out to be a terrifying day.  

This is how the story starts:

“Jan, RUN, RUN” shrieked Olive, frantically putting on her shoes and taking off through the trees —–     click the link to read on:

THE HIKE 

 

Helping your cut flowers last longer and other tips using Aspirin

I was recently given a large bunch of cut flowers so I had a search for tips on prolonging their life and surprisingly came up with Aspirin.  The same article indicated other uses so here are the best of them:

As plant food   Help your roses or cut flowers last longer by adding a crushed aspirin to the water in the vase. Give it a quick stir and then add your flowers. Changing the water every few days – adding a ground aspirin each time – will also help extend the life of your flowers longer.

For flower pots   The same way aspirin works for fresh cut flowers, it’s also useful for planters in the garden. Dissolve an aspirin into the watering can and water as normal – it will help prevent fungus from growing around fresh flowers and keep your plants looking their best.

Remove sweat stain    Aspirin makes an inexpensive and effective stain remover, particularly for any yellowing that occurs from sweat stains on white clothing. Grind the aspirin down and add a few drops of water to make a paste. Spread it over the yellowed area then put it in the wash as usual.

Soothe insect bites    Aspirin paste can quickly reduce swelling, itching and
redness from insect bites and saves you from needing to carry around extra supplies if you’re camping or hiking. Grind down aspirin and add a few drops of water. Apply it over the bite and leave to dry. It will quickly help calm the bite.

 

WHO REMEMBERS WENDY LORD, THE LADY WHO KNITTED 70 HATS – blog post of 14/2/17 (70 Hats for Seventy Years)

I hope many of you will remember Wendy Lord who visited Coal Creek Heritage Village and chatted to the volunteers in the Spinning Cottage.  Wendy and her husband were on a visit to Australia from UK celebrating their 70th birthdays and trying to do everything in sevens.  

I have been able to keep in touch with Wendy who has kindly sent me a photo of her 7 grandchildren,  

Wendy and her husband are now part of a 180 strong volunteer team  at Hillier’s Arboretum, in Romsey, Hampshire, UK where there are 72 hectares of gardens holding one of the world’s most important plant collections.  If you are visiting UK you might like to call in at the gardens and even catch up with Wendy and her husband Alan.  Now wouldn’t that be something.

 

The Spirit of Warragul Steam Engine

I spent a really great day with Ken and my daughter Abigail on Saturday 13th May participating in the celebrations to unveil, after a 30 year restoration project, The Spirit of Warragul Steam Engine.  

We stopped off at Drouin on our way to Warragul to see the train pass under the bridge and enjoy one of our childhood experiences of being enveloped in steam as trains passed beneath us.  Glad to say we weren’t disappointed.

Ken has produced a short video, which he tells me isn’t yet complete, but I wanted to share it with you so badgered him to let me use it.  Please enjoy.

 

The A2 Class steam train 986 began its working life more than 102 years ago, but was retired in 1963 and written off by Victorian Railways in January 1964.   The train has special significance because it was the last A2 in service in Victoria.

Fortunately, this historic treasure was preserved, being plinthed in Warragul Latrobe St Park with the assistance of Warragul Rotary Club.   It remained there until acquired for restoration by Steamrail Victoria in 1986, which saw the A2 986 move from Warragul to the Steamrail Victoria depot at Newport.  It was stripped right back to its frames as part of the restoration process.   After three decades of painstaking work by Steamrail volunteers, the A2 986 made its journey to Warragul from Melbourne with much fanfare.  

…………………………………

 

Here’s a yummy easy recipe to try out.  Ideal as a lunch time treat:

Pesto-goats-cheese-and-mushroom-burgers-with-shallot-topping 

Serves: 2     Prep time: 10 minutes      Cooking time: 15 minutes
You’ll need 

* 2 large mushrooms
* 8 shallots, peeled and quartered
* 4 tbsp vegetarian pesto, plus a little extra
* 1 tsp olive oil
* ½ tsp sugar
* 85g round soft goats’ cheese
* 2 ciabatta rolls

What to do
1. Pre heat oven 200c/180c fan/gas 6.  Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and chop them very finely. Finely chop one of the shallots and mix it, and the chopped mushroom stalks, into the pesto.  Place the whole mushrooms gill side up on an oiled baking tray, fill with the pesto mix and cook for approximately 15 minutes until softened.

2. Whilst they are cooking place the shallots in a pan with the olive oil and sugar, cook over a low heat until softened and lightly caramelised.

3. Top the mushrooms with the goats’ cheese and return to the oven alongside the ciabatta for a few minutes until the cheese is beginning to melt and the bread is warmed through.

4. Serve in the split ciabatta topped with the shallots and an extra drizzle of pesto.
Cook’s Tip: The goats’ cheese can be replaced with gruyere or any other easy to melt cheese. Serve with a rocket and watercress salad tossed in a little lemon juice and olive oil.

 

I’m going to close this post with a quote that I really like.  I found it in an article written especially for Girl Guides in 1933:

I WILL NOT WILLINGLY OFFEND

NOR BE TOO SOON OFFENDED

WHAT’S AMISS I’LL STRIVE TO MEND

AND BEAR WHAT CAN’T BE MENDED

 

Until next time

Janice

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Poignant story of love, Hat felting technique, National Volunteer Week, Grated Apple Cake and more to enjoy

Hello everyone – a month has slipped by since my last post and although I always intend to write more often, I just looked at the calendar and realised I’d failed to put pen to paper so to speak.  Lots of things have been happening, one of which is that I have been elected President of the Coal Creek & Fibre Arts Group after the sitting President had to sadly resign due to the ill health of her husband.  I hope I will be able to do justice to the task and fill her shoes admirably.  When I mentioned this to her she said I may have a hard job as she took size 11 to which I replied that I took size 11 too.  Mmmm I’m not sure what this means, is it an omen !  

Firstly I would like to share with you a short story that I heard the author, Ken Stokoe, read on Radio National Life Matters recently.    I am sure if we thought about it many of us could write our own love story with a happy or sad ending.  Unfortunately this story has a sad ending though it does reflect life’s journey so I hope you will enjoy it as I did.

Heartbreak !

It’s not about Verona, not Romeo and Juliet; just about Balmoral Beach and us.
An early Saturday afternoon 70 years ago.
She just free from work, I to the city from my working-class home in an outer suburb. We to meet and spend the rest of the day on an outing. There was a pack of sandwiches she had brought – sweet-corn filled. The first I had ever tasted. So delicious. How long had this been going on, I pondered?
That taste followed the ride from Wynyard in a very swish corridor tram with padded seats to Balmoral Beach. The first time there for this unsophisticated teenager.
It was a great adventure, crossing the harbour by the mighty bridge, another first, to rumble through posh streets of elegant houses such as I had not seen hitherto. Then down winding cuttings in the sandstone to a golden sand strand and a sparkling sea.
What a thrill, what revelations.
The lunch taken on a lawn in the beachside reserve under a clear blue sky, the air tempered by a soft breeze.
Presently, a stroll along the shore towards an adjacent islet of rock. I was so elated by it all that I shyly took her hand in mine. Things of this nature must have developed slower then than now. Certainly did for this couple who, although companions for many months, had never made so bold a contact.
How sweet it was.
Her hand so soft and smooth. Everything about her perfect; so pretty, so learned, so kind, so thoughtful.
A dog came bounding up, its tail wagging, as mine might have done had I possessed one. It dropped a stick at our feet, then dabbed at it with paw while gazing expectantly into our faces. Quite obviously dog-speak for “Let’s play”.
I released her hand, took up the stick, hurled it into the bay. The dog swam to the stick which was brought back to our feet to soak lower limbs with the water shaken from its shaggy coat, seeming then to grin as if to say, ‘What fun is this!’. The game continued.
Although I was joyed by the whole outing thus far, I did not take her hand again. Later, I came to realise she was not so pleased and did not share my attitude to the friendly dog. Much later, approaching marriage, I was told how cross she was when the dog caused the unclasping of hands, was disappointed that the holding of hands did not resume that day.
The years of marriage, though at first financially stringent, were idyllic.
Three daughters and Mum a girlish quartet. In the early years, we combined to nail together a ready-cut house. It is another tale of how the extensive backyard became a miniature farm. In time, the daughters branched out on their own.
We became Darby and Joan, had paid off the home loan, were in the ‘Golden Years’, but knew that someday it would end in death and grief. There would likely be a great price to pay for the happiness we now enjoyed.
And so it was.
She was diagnosed with an incurable terrible disease.
The closer the end approached, the greater grew our love. We mourned together through those months.
Two broken hearts, shattered. Not the mere bruised heart of all those years ago, irreparably broken hearts.

A NEW CHALLENGE

Wiping away the tears and putting away sobering thoughts, have any of you been undertaking new or challenging projects recently.  For over a year now I have been very interested in all things felt, reading about it’s origins, production and practicing the art.  I have turned my hand to making flowers, vessels, scarves and more recently hats.  When I read about a Russian lady, Irina Spasskaja, who had developed a unique way of laying out Merino wool fibres to create a soft hat with a double brim, which at the same time was water and wind-proof, I had to investigate further.   This culminated in my purchase of her 6 video tutorials (rather costly) followed by many hours of practice and the necessity to have a rotary board made to facilitate the work.  This was achieved by purchasing a ‘lazy susan’ base and then going to our local carpenter wiz, Gary, who goes by the rather strange name of DUCKS GUTS FURNITURE, who luckily had a circular piece of wood in the corner of his work room, ideal for the task, and within 24 hours I had my rotary board for the grand sum of $30.  Amazing.  Here’s  a picture of Irina showing her rotary board which I copied with the help of Ken of course. 

Irina showing the rotary felting board

I won’t bore you with all the technicalities of the process except to show you a few photos of how the layout works.  If you would like more details send me an e-mail (sbf@dcsi.net.au) and I will be happy to supply a fuller description of the process.

Now after nearly 5 hours of work here’s the completed hat:

Irina says you have to make at least 10 hats before you are ready to progress to the next level of expertise.  I think that could be sometime in the future for me.   One hat is a huge task.  

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK – AUSTRALIA

As many of you who are volunteers will know, this week has been National Volunteer Week with lots of activities and afternoon teas around the countryside.  I celebrated by attending my local neighbour house and participated in a group session of laughter.  We were told how laughter is beneficial for us whether it be real or false.  We had to walk around the room making eye contact with each other, clapping, repeating hehehehe, hoooo,  and making various movements, like simulating knitting, driving, digging and so on.   Yes, this did cause laughter amongst many of the participants but left me with a silly false smile on my face.  At least I did’t sit out like some, but I really didn’t enjoy the experience.  Have any of you tried this activity I wonder.  

At the end of the session different messages relating to volunteering were read out, this one says it all for me.

Volunteering can be an exciting, growing, enjoyable experience.  It is truly gratifying to serve a cause, practice one’s ideals, work with people, solve problems, see benefits and know one had a hand in them.

 

ABUNDANCE OF APPLES

I am at last getting to the end of my abundance of apples, well almost, and in my quest to process the last few kilos found the following recipe which turned out really well, though for me the topping was too sweet, so I would suggest you reduce the amount of brown sugar a little if you don’t have a sweet tooth.  
Aunty Wendy’s Apple Cake                                                    
125grams butter
2 medium apples, peeled and grated
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon all spice
pinch of salt
…and for the topping:
25grams melted butter
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350F) and line a round cake tin with baking paper.
Mix butter, sugar and egg and then add grated apple. Mix well.
Stir in sifted dry ingredients, mix well and pour into cake tin.
Mix the topping ingredients together and spread evenly over the cake.
Bake for 45minutes or until golden brown on top.

SPECIAL CAKES FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS

What do you think of this marvellous Birthday Cake produced by the sons of Christine (retired President of the Coal Creek Spinning Group) for her recent birthday?  So appropriate and so clever:Congratulations Christine.

I’m going to finish of this post with a bouquet of felted flowers produced by the participants at a recent workshop:

THERE ARE MANY THINGS IN LIFE THAT WILL CATCH YOUR EYE, BUT ONLY A FEW WILL CATCH YOUR HEART, PURSUE THOSE

(Michael Nolan)

Until next time, enjoy every day.

Janice 

 

 

Seventy hats for seventy years, Is sleeping in separate beds the beginning of the end, The satisfaction of a baking day, Vintage knitting, Beetroot superfood truffles

Thanks so much for the comments I received following my last blog.  It really is good getting your messages so please keep writing.  As many of you may  know I am fortunate to be part of a group of volunteers who man the Spinning Room at the Coal Creek Heritage Park in Korumburra, Victoria  http://www.coalcreekvillage.com.au/ .  It’s amazing how many visitors tell us that they have a spinning wheel gathering dust at home or that their mother or grandmother used to spin.  The male visitors and some little boys are particularly interested in how a spinning wheel works.  Each week we are delighted by interesting stories and anecdotes about projects past and present which leads me to:

Seventy hats for seventy years

70 hats for 70 years

A lady (Wendy) who visited the spinning room with her husband last Friday told us that she had  recently knitted 70 hats.  Apparently when her and her husband both reached 70  they decided to do things in units of 70 and the hats were part of that challenge.  As a member of a group of 5 churches in Romsey, Hampshire, England, she participated in the Samaritan Shoebox Project providing children in poverty with gift-filled shoeboxes.  A total of 140 hats were in fact knitted by the group. 

I had to admit to my ignorance of not knowing anything about the Shoebox project but have since checked it out on the net.  If you want more information go to:   http://samaritanspurse.org.au   

Unfortunately there wasn’t time to find out about all the ‘seventy’ projects except that at the birthday celebration each of their 7 grandchildren displayed a cake with 10 candles.  

Wendy kindly agreed to send me an e-mail with a photo of her hats (shown above).  If you read this Wendy, thank you very much for sharing your story and do let know what other ‘seventies’ you achieve.  

What a unique way to celebrate a milestone in life!

 

Is sleeping in separate beds the beginning of the end?

As we get older and trying to get a whole nights sleep seems to get harder, I wonder are separate beds or bedrooms the answer?  I have read that nearly one in four couples sleep in separate bedrooms or beds, according to a 2015 survey by the National Sleep Foundation.  Recent studies in America and Japan have found similar results.
The marital bed, once the symbol of  matrimony on a par with the diamond ring and the tiered wedding cake is threatened with extinction. “Till Death Do Us Part” is fast becoming “Till Sleep Do Us Part.”  Apparently separate sleepers cite a range of reasons for their habit, including snoring, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and regular trips to the toilet which cause disturbance to their sleeping partner.

People are suddenly making their own sleep a priority. If their rest is being impaired by their partner, the attitude now is that I don’t have to put up with this.
So what is your view?  Do you sleep in the same bed with your partner, or separately? Have you tried sleeping apart?  How do you feel about separate beds or separate bedrooms?
Is sleeping in separate beds the beginning of the end?

Personally I don’t like the idea of abandoning my queen size bed for one of those  single ones. Seems a bit of a lonely idea to me except I know that circumstances alter cases and there may be no other alternative, so it’s a matter of what triggers the decision.  It  would be difficult for me to give up that companionship but that’s how I feel at the moment;  who knows what the future may hold.

 

The satisfaction of a baking day

Nothing gives me more satisfaction than a baking day.  Well it doesn’t take all day, usually a morning.  I get started nice an early usually around 7 am when the house is quiet and still.  First off is the bread.  I’ve been making bread for more years than I care to remember though I’m not as ambitious as I used to be.  I usually make one large loaf and 12 rolls which is more than enough for a week.   It’s so therapeutic kneading the dough all warm and silky letting your mind meander around.  This morning I reminisced how it used to be the normal practice to have a cake on hand in the event visitors popped in.  In my case it was usually a Victoria Sponge.  I haven’t made one of those for quite a time.  What about you?

Following the bread I make some sort of pie, apple, apricot or rhubarb. Or it could be a quiche.   I always have some shortcrust pastry rubbed in and stored in the freezer.  Lastly I pop jacket potatoes and a rice pudding into the oven for lunch.

Seeing all those goodies sitting cooling on the kitchen bench gives me a great feeling of well being.

 

Vintage knitting

At the last meeting of our Spinning Group it was proposed that we take up the challenge of knitting an item from a vintage pattern.  Christine, our President, had a heap of patterns which she had collected over time and put them on the table for us to browse through.  There was much discussion as to what we thought we could knit and recollections of past projects.  Then Janet picked up a pattern which brought a huge smile to her face.  It was one of a dress that her mother knitted her in white with red smocking when she was about six years old.  “That’s what I’m going to knit” said Janet.  It will be great to see the result.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to knit yet but I did spot a pattern for a lacy pair of gloves like I used wear on special occasions when I was about 18.  Who wears gloves now!

 

Beetroot superfood truffles

Just before Christmas I went to a cooking demonstration of vegan recipes and one which took my fancy was for beetroot truffles, which sounds a bit odd I know, but when I tasted them they really were good so thought I would share the recipe with you.  The recipe is courtesy of http://www.lovebeetroot.co.uk and reads as follows:

Feel good about your next indulgence with these beetroot superfood truffles.
They contain no dairy or refined sugar, and thanks to the addition of beetroot and avocado, practically offer up two of your five a day too.
They’re a perfectly moreish snack when you’re trying to eat well but still want an afternoon sweet.

Serves: 12     Prep time: 15 minutes plus 1hr chilling     
You’ll need
* 1 large ready cooked (vacuum pack) beetroot
* 1 large ripe avocado, peeled
* ¼ tsp vanilla extract
* 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
* 100g unsweetened cocoa powder plus extra for dusting
* Desiccated coconut for dusting

Method
1. Put the beetroot, avocado, vanilla extract, maple syrup and half of the cacao powder into a  blender or food processor. Process until well combined.
2. Add the remaining cocoa powder to the blender and again process until well combined. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Once chilled, scoop tablespoon-sized portions of the mixture. Roll in your palms to form balls – the mixture will be slightly sticky but should form balls easily.
4. Put some extra cocoa powder and desiccated coconut in a plate and roll the chocolate truffles around in one or the other to coat. 

 

Because it’s Valentine’s Day today here’s a beautiful hibiscus and an appropriate quote:   Happiness is ……… being with people you love.

 

Janice  

 

 

 

 

Remembering our grandmothers, Things that have a special place in our hearts, Exhibition of hand made items from 100g of wool, Visit to Mohair Goat Farm, Yummy quick cake recipes

Remembering our grandmothers

I wonder how you remember your grandmothers.  Did you live close and spend lots of time together?  How did they affect your life?  It’s a really interesting topic and one which I would like to explore if any of you are happy to share your memories with me in future blogs.  At a Spinning Group party yesterday I asked Anne what she remembered.  She said she spent a lot of time with her grandmother who loved hats and handbags and always gave her an Aspro when she took her out so that she wouldn’t want to go to the toilet.  I asked how she thought she would be remembered.  She said “that lady whose house was so full of wool you couldn’t get through the door”.

I lived next door to my paternal grandmother whose name was Caroline.  She spoke very little and always seemed quite hostile.  In later life I realised she was very deaf and could hear little of what was being said so didn’t respond.   I loved helping her mash up the boiled potato peelings and mix with pollard for feeding the chickens.  She did once  come out of her shell, so to speak, when she told me that when she was at school the other kids used to chant:  “Car, car, Caroline hang your britches on the line, when they’re dry bring them in and hang them on a safety pin”.  After that revelation I never told anyone my middle name was Caroline.  Sadly she died from a tragic accident which haunts me to this day.  Unfortunately I didn’t know my maternal grandmother as she died in childbirth in 1912.  I do have a photo of her and a letter she wrote to her sister just prior to her death, apart from that there is little information.

What will my grandchildren say of me.  Now wouldn’t that be interesting, though I hope they don’t have that opportunity any time soon.

Things that have a special place in our hearts

Today I thought I would share with you something that has had a special place in my heart and life since I can remember.  It’s a grandfather clock.  A couple of years ago I wrote some short stories relating to my youth which I published as an e-book.  The first was about the grandfather clock and after many attempts at getting the story started I came up with the idea of writing from the point of view of the clock, therefore the clock is the narrator of the story.

To save space you can read the story by clicking on the link below.  It doesn’t quite open as I would like.  When you click on the link it takes you to my Reply Page where you have to click again.  Very strange.  I’ve sought the help of my son but he’s busy so I’ll have to leave it as it is.

Mum, Dad and Janice - think I was 18 in this photo

Mum, Dad and Janice – think I was 18 in this photo

the-grandfather-clock-tick-tock

 

Although the clock resides at my daughter’s house, due to lack of sufficient space in my house, it still presides over events of the family.  Unfortunately its hourly ring has had to be curtailed due to it being a little annoying during the night.

Here I am with the clock last Christmas

Here I am with the clock last Christmas

 

Exhibition of hand made items from just 100g of wool plus a visit to a Mohair Goat Farm

Recently the Coal Creek Spinners Group participated in an exhibition of items made from just 100g of wool.  The variety was amazing from small toys to beautiful wraps, to hats, scarves, wall hangings, skeins of different wools  and one really special exhibit, a jumper so finely crafted it was hard to believe the skill  of the knitter (view in the video) who won 1st prize at the Bendigo Wool Show for her work.

As part of the activities of the group there was a visit to Mohair Rare, a working farm, producing mohair yarns for spinning and other crafts.  I have to thank my husband for producing this video which is very informative showing both the exhibition and the activities of the farm, explained in some detail by Lill Roberts of Mohair Rare, and returning at a later date to view the shearing of the goats, one of the shearers being a lady who kindly explained on camera the process.

 

Now for some recipes

Now that Christmas is approaching its wise to have a few goodies on hand, possibly in the freezer, in case friends or family pop in unexpectedly.  I have used the recipes I am going to share since back in the 60’s when I used to subscribe to a small publication which was full of ideas for the freezer.  Quite an innovative concept in those days plus there was always a home testers note about the recipe which I can confirm freezes really well.  I have also made and stored portions of the Fudge Icing in the fridge and used on other cakes.  Very handy.

Chocolate Cakes with Fudge Icing   

You will need two shallow foil pie dishes about 18cm across

180g self raising flour
60g cocoa
180g soft brown sugar and 180g butter
3 eggs plus 1½ tablespoons milk

Grease the dishes. Sift together flour and cocoa then in another bowl beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat eggs and add gradually beating mixture well. Fold in sifted ingredients with milk. Divide equally into dishes and bake at 180C for about 50 minutes. Fan forced ovens a little less. Cooked when centre of sponge is springy when pressed.  Cool before icing.

Fudge Icing

60g butter
60g cocoa
3 tablespoons milk
120g icing sugar

Melt butter in heavy pan. Add cocoa and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in milk and sifted icing sugar. Cool then pour from pan onto cakes in foil dishes. Leave to set.

No Bake Cake – only 10 minutes to prepare

100g butter
100g marshmallows
25g cocoa
300g Rich Tea Biscuits roughly broken
50g plain chocolate
50g white chocolate

Line a 450g loaf tin with clear film or glad wrap leaving about 2.5cm hanging over the edges. Place butter, marshmallow and cocoa in a pan and heat until melted. Remove pan and stir in biscuits. Press mixture into loaf tin and chill for about 2 hours until firm. Turn onto serving dish.

Melt plain and white chocolate in separate bowls over hot water.  Spoon on top of cake and swirl together with a skewer to create a marbled effect. Chill until set then cut into slices.

It freezes well but probably best to add the chocolate topping after thawing.

 

Well I’ve come to the end of another post, there is always more to say but I’ll leave that until next time.  To finish up here’s a Funny Minions quote:

I MAY LOOK LIFE I’M DOING NOTHING ….

BUT IN MY HEAD I’M QUITE BUSY

 

Janice 

Enjoying a new experience at Halloween, Christmas is approaching, Recipe for Mincemeat (fruit mince), The joy of spring flowers and 5 tips for using Silica Gel bags

Hello everyone – once again I have a few activities and snippets of information to share.  Do feel free to write a comment on any item in ‘Leave a reply’ at the top of this blog.

Enjoying a new experience at Halloween

It’s been a long time since I gained so much enjoyment out of dressing up.  I don’t mean getting ready for a special outing but actually dressing up in costume and acting a part.   It’s not something I’m accustomed to doing and I found it a little difficult at first but I can certainly recommend it for letting yourself go.  My daughter commented when seeing the photos that she had never seen me having so much fun.

More than 4000 people attended the annual Halloween event at Coal Creek Heritage Park in Korumburra on the 29th October and myself, along with other members of the Coal Creek Spinners group, dressed up as witches and welcomed visitors into our coven.

Here’s another clearer photo of Avis which I thought you would like to see.  She is a marvellous lady and an inspiration to us all.

dsc00467

 

Christmas is approaching – puddings and mince pies

I usually do my Christmas Puddings during October but somehow this year I’m a little behind, though it probably doesn’t matter, they will still taste good on the day.  As customary Ken and I stirred the mixture and made three wishes.  I always make the same wishes which I think are supposed to be kept secret.  Being a little nostalgic I decided to look back over my Christmas pudding photos.  I find it very comforting to see I am carrying on with the same traditions as my Mum and Dad.  How well I remember them doing their puddings, except in their case they made them as gifts for those friends and family who could no longer make them so their kitchen was filled with steam for a week or more.

Now for today’s photos:

A recipe for Mincemeat (Fruit mince)

Last year I was very disappointed with the quality of the fruit mince I used for my mince pies so this year decided I would have a go at making my own.  Having gone through all my cookery books, including a Mrs. Beaton’s (too difficult), I settled on one from my favourite cookery book which was given to me as a wedding present in 1960.  I have to say it turned out really well and of course I just had to make a batch of pies which I intended to put in the freezer.  They had no chance of that did they – yum, they were so good.  If you want to try this recipe you will need:


500g mixed fruit                                                              dsc00477

2 grated apples
120g shredded suet or melted butter (I us
ed the butter)

120g dark brown sugar
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
50g blanched almonds chopped (optional)
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp each of cinnamon, grated nutmeg and cardamon
4 tbs brandy, whisky or rum                          dsc00473

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Pot in dry jars. Keep in a cool dry place.

NOTE: I added some water to make the mixture a little more fluid and because I didn’t have the specified spirits to hand I used some Mezcal, a type of tequila, made from Agave nectar that we brought back from Mexico 10 years ago.  At last I found a use for it !

Some information about Agave Nectar (you may already know of course) – Agave nectar, sometimes called agave syrup, is most often produced from the Blue Agaves that thrive in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico.  Agaves are large, spiked plants that resemble cactus but they are actually succulents similar to the familiar Aloe Vera.  They come in many sizes and colours.  The Aztecs prized the agave as a gift from the gods and used the liquid from its core to flavour foods and drinks.  Now, due to increasing awareness of its beneficial properties, it is becoming the preferred sweetener of health conscious consumers, doctors and natural food cooks alike.

The joy of spring flowers

What joy the spring flowers bring even though some of them are having a bit of a struggle coping with the very strange weather we have been experiencing.  The wind has played havoc with many plants coupled with the naughty behaviour of Ken, who in his effort to control the weeds, accidentally pulled up my very best sunflower specimen which I had been nurturing.  Admittedly it was in a strange location, amongst the loganberries, but it was the only space I had available at the time of planting.  Fortunately I have three more in another spot.  He has been forgiven – somewhat.

My Lilac was a real disappointment, only having a couple of blooms, but the various clematis and sweet peas are lovely.


Some useful tips for using silica gel bags
Next time you find a sachet of silica gel in a handbag or in a box of new shoes, don’t throw it away – these multi-purpose little sachets have a range of practical household uses or so I have read in a recent article.  I have picked out what I think to be the best.

  1. Preserve old photos and books – Moisture can wreak havoc on old photos and books. Silica gel placed inside an album or in an old book will help absorb unwanted moisture and can even do away with the musty smell.
  2. Absorb unwanted smells – If you carry your gym bag with you between work and home, try popping a few silica gel bags into the pockets to keep things fresh. You can also try this in your shoes – the silica gel bags will gradually eliminate dampness and help prevent the bacteria that causes smells from thriving.
  3. Preserve Christmas decorations – For the majority of the year when they aren’t in use, Christmas ornaments tend to live in the far corners of our cupboards or tucked away in the loft or garage. Keep them safe from damage with silica gel bags; they’ll draw away moisture and keep your precious items at their best.
  4. Saving seeds – If you’re a keen gardener and you save seeds between seasons, you’ll know how important it is to keep moisture out to prevent sprouting and molding. Put seeds in individual envelopes and then store together in an airtight plastic container – add one or two silica gel sachets to soak up any residual moisture and keep them safe until it’s time to plant again.
  5. For drying flowers – Speed up the process of drying and pressing flowers with the help of silica. Put your dried flowers in a paper bag with a packet or two of silica gel to help speed up the process.

Apparently if you find your silica gel bags aren’t working anymore, don’t throw them away – you can dry them out by placing them in the oven on low temperature – about 95C – for one to two hours. Then keep them in a sealed sandwich bag until they’re ready for use again.

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So here I am at the end of another blog post which please enjoy.  I’ll close with a quote from Aristotle:

PATIENCE IS BITTER BUT ITS FRUIT IS SWEET 

Janice  

 

 


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Newspaper seed pots, Feeling thankful, A yummy snack, Looking back and Projects

Newspaper pots for seed starting and cuttings

For many of us gardening provides many hours of enjoyment and health giving benefits so it’s good to start thinking about Spring.  I like to start my seeds early and then plant them straight into the soil without having first to remove them from the container.  I think it avoids those early attacks from snails and slugs as the plants are more established.    Last year I bought some containers which were supposed to easily break down but they proved unsatisfactory as the roots of some plants became stunted failing to easily get through into the soil.    You just have to have a medium that breaks down otherwise you are wasting your time, so I did a bit of research  and found a tutorial on making pots for seed starting and cuttings using newspaper.  I followed the instructions but my pots didn’t come out as perfectly as shown on the tutorial.   I eventually realised that the newspaper I was using wasn’t the same size so I practiced cutting my paper until I sort of got right.  Having produced six pots, I merrily went down to the shed and planted some giant sunflower seeds, which failed last year.  Of course I’ll have to be careful when watering using a spray or the newspaper will quickly collapse.

Here’s a photo of my effort followed by the tutorial which shows the pots perfectly formed.  I wonder how long that took !

 

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Feeling thankful

With all the terrible things happening in the world, and who knows when it could affect one of us, I have been trying to stop having a groan about various small issues which really aren’t important.   I realise that regardless of our current circumstances, there are people who would trade places in a heartbeat.  I’ve decided to make it a daily habit to feel thankful for all the good things in my life and have been following some good advice from a recent article I read which is that before I go to sleep I think about one best thing that happened during the day and say “thank you, thank you, thank you”.  It’s amazing the things I’ve been taking for granted.  Let me know what you think about this challenge.   Some readers of my blog have mentioned there is no ‘Comment’ area, but you can use the ‘Leave a Reply’ invitation at the top of the page.

 

An easy and so yummy snack

Thought I would share this yummy recipe with you.  Only drawback is that you can’t stop tucking in.

You will need a tin of chickpeas, 2 tsp coconut oil, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1½ tsp honey, pinch of salt.

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Step one: Preheat your oven to 180C.

Step two: Drain your chickpeas and then rinse, dry and pop to the side.

Step three: Spread your chickpeas out onto a lined baking tray, and bake for around 40 minutes until crispy!

Step four: Pop them out of the oven and mix with your honey, cinnamon, salt and oil

Step five: Whilst still warm place back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes until golden.

 

Looking back and sharing special times

I originally posted this item on the 14th April 2015 and thought that I would  re-post it as there are now many more followers of the blog who may enjoy the story.  Even if you have read it before, perhaps you will revisit the experience.  So here goes:

Looking back over past achievements and getting together with those who shared those times can create many hours of enjoyment. I would like to relate one such story with you of how music became our lives.

During the 1960’s my brother, Ted (Vocal, Lead Guitar, Organ), got together with a group of friends, Alan, (Bass guitar), Colin (Drums), Peter (Vocal and Rhythm), Andy (Lead Vocalist and Song writer), to form a Rock Band. Ken, my husband, who had been an avid jazz fan up until that time, took to the music and became very involved, eventually performing the task of Manager touting for venues at which the group could perform and going out one day with our little Vauxhall Viva and returning with a Bedford Utilabrake van for the purpose of transporting all the equipment.

It was a heady time filled with hard work, ambition to succeed and purchasing of equipment to create better sound quality. The group first practiced in a room adjacent to my parents house and then in our garage and later in a room at the Red Lion pub at Northchurch (UK) One of their first big opportunities came when they won a Beat Group Competition at Hemel Hempstead (UK) with the name THE ASSOCIATES. What excitement. The boys were always supported by their girlfriends who travelled around to the venues with them putting up with late nights and lots of just sitting around.

Over the years the group supported many well-known bands one of whom was Bill Hayley and the Comets at a venue in Dunstable. Once they were booked as top of the bill in Llandudno, North Wales and another time in Newmarket where their PA amp blew up. The other group performing that night were The Idle Race who allowed them to use their equipment. The lead singer and guitarist was Jeff Lynne who went on to front ELO and write their songs. He was also in the Travelling Wilburys after being producer for Tom Petty, George Harrison and Roy Orbison. Now I realise that many of my readers may not be aware of these names, but it could be of interest to some.

The group continued for many years until the music scene changed. Alan (Bass) is the keeper of the Groups history and has been in contact with us over the years sharing stories, photos and a copy of a record The Associates made. He has maintained his interest in all things musical, likewise my brother Ted, who still has his Fender and Gibson guitars plus others I believe.

Though Ken and I are unable to meet up with the members of the group due to tyranny of distance, we were so happy when Alan sent a photo of a get-together they had recently at a birthday party. I wonder if you can spot which is which now, but first Ken and I toast them with this photo from those days (venue unknown).  Just look at that hair-style!

Janice and Ken in the 60's

Janice and Ken in the 60’s

THE ASSOCIATES

and here they are now:

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Listen to their record, Virginia Water (written by Andy)

 

Projects

I’ve been pursuing quite a few projects recently i.e. knitting, spinning and felting.  If you are at all interested in felting you will love visiting  http://www.rosiepink.typepad.co.uk.  I have just bought their e-book Creating Felt Artwork.  It’s truly inspiring and my fingers itch to get started.   My spinning skills are slowly improving but I think it will be a long time before the wool comes out uniform.  I was given a 1kg roll of Bendigo Mills fine merino toppings which I have been working on.  If and when that’s spun I will try to knit a cardigan but I’m not holding my breath.  My daughter asked me if I would knit her a jumper which I finished a couple of weeks ago.  I used Bendigo Mills Pattern 8290 in 8 ply with good results.  Here’s a photo:

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I’ll sign off with this quote:

Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures

Janice

Prioritising your time, iPod birthday cake that plays music, Cycling without age scheme, Easy marmalade recipe

First of all I have to report that despite all my good intentions to post a blog each fortnight, I’ve sadly failed.  Sometimes I think I need to plan my time better and I do try.  When I say that to Ken, he nods his head knowingly;  of course he’s heard it all before.  No matter how carefully an intention or project is planned, something may still cause delay.  I think the saying   “The best made plans of mice and men often go astray”  (adapted from a line in “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns) is very appropriate.  

This got me to thinking about the best way to  prioritise my time so I trawled through various blogs on the net and came across the following very good advice.  It’s certainly worth a read. 

The Art of Mindful Prioritising (extract from an article by Marc Chernott)

The moment we admit to ourselves that we’re trying to cram too many things (tasks, obligations, distractions, etc.) into a relatively small space (24 hours in a day), it becomes obvious that we need to clear some clutter from our schedules.

Mindful prioritization is the key.

Pay close attention to all the things you do today – all the things you’re trying to fit into 24 hours. How much TV are you watching in the morning and evening? What websites are you browsing? What games are you playing? How much time are you spending texting, emailing, or updating your social media accounts? How much online window-shopping are you doing? How much time do you allocate to eating, cleaning, and taking care of others? What else are you spending the precious minutes of your day on?

What you might notice first is that you’re doing too many random things that don’t need to be done – too many time-wasters. Then you might also notice that you’re overcommitted with too many obligations – and those obligations are filling up your life.

You can start stealing your time back by eliminating as many needless distractions and obligations as possible, and saying “no” to new ones that arise. Easier said than done, of course, but the important thing to realize is that you CAN change how you allocate your time.

Next, look at your to-do list (assuming you have one): how many of these things can you reasonably do in the next 24-hours? Probably only three to five, with sanity.

Now ask yourself this: which task would you work on if you could only work on one task over the next 24 hours? That is your #1 priority. Just that one task. The truth is, you probably can’t complete everything on your list in one day’s time, and you can’t do your top three to five tasks right now. You can do only one thing at a time. So just focus on your #1 task and, once you’re done, then figure out what your next #1 task is.

Clear everything else away, and focus.

 

Our hidden talents – the story of the iPod birthday cake that plays music

I really love chatting with people about what they enjoy doing and frequently they reveal what hidden talents they have.     I met Karen Suttie some years ago whilst visiting at Armitage Aged Care facility.  Karen works in the catering department and always makes sure I had a nice cuppa and a piece of cake.  I knew Karen cared for her young grandson Jordan and during one of our brief chats she told me she was going to buy him an iPod for his birthday but, as a surprise,  make a birthday cake in the form of a pad which appeared to be playing music.   Karen says she is fairly new to serious cake decorating but likes experimenting and trying new techniques which makes it exciting.   I think you will be amazed at how she got the cake to play music.

Here’s Karen’s description of her iPod cake

First picture shows the cakes. Second picture was to show you that I drilled a hole in the cake board and threaded the speaker cords through ready for the cake. It also shows the bottom layer of the cake where I cut out a hole for the cords to go through to make it look ‘plugged in’.


Third picture, I’ve put the bottom cake back on the rack and iced the two layers of cake together with a chocolate ganache. I iced them back on the rack so I wouldn’t make too much of a mess of my cake board.
Fourth picture, a layer of red fondant. I cheated and bought ready coloured fondant.
Fifth picture I had cut a rectangle of white fondant, put that on top of the cake and then had a go at drawing the designs from the home screen of an ipod. This was hard and I wasn’t very confident.  I used cake decorating textas to draw the designs and although they weren’t perfect, I thought they looked ok.
Sixth and seventh pictures – I did the screen background cover…..the worst part and the one that almost ruined the whole thing!  I thought I’d try spray painting with cake decorating spray paint.  Bad move! I got runs of paint everywhere. I decided to use a paint brush to try and even out the colour. I sprayed the paint into a container where I dipped the brush and finished painting. I also added a few details like the indented on/off button and I wrapped a little white fondant around the cords to make it look like the end of the cord at the plug point. I had also wrapped the two speaker cords together to make them look like one cord that split part of the way up, forming the ‘earphone’ look which I taped this to the board. 

I  taped my daughter’s ipod to the bottom of the cake board and with the help of a double plug jack, I plugged in the speakers to run music through the speakers so that it appeared that the cake was playing music. The two speakers were cheap $1.25 speakers that I got from China and the double plug jack was about $2.50, so the whole ‘real music’ look cost me a whole $5.00 but looked, and sounded, quite impressive. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great effect if you know what to look for!

 

Cycling without age

I recently became aware of a new program, Cycling Without Age,  it’s not unlike the Community Visitors Scheme I volunteer with,  however, instead of just visiting, the volunteers take their friends out for a ride on a specially designed bike rather like a rickshaw.

The program was initiated  in Denmark by Ole Kassow and now has licensees around the world including Australia and the UK.   Of course Denmark is a bike riding country and very flat, so I am not sure how it will work in Australia plus there are bound to be lots of regulations to satisfy before it could get off the ground.    Be inspired and uplifted by watching Ole Kassow’s YouTube video describing the scheme and the joy that is being given to residents in aged care facilities.

 

For more information you can visit the Australian site at:  http://cyclingwithoutage.com.au/melbourne/  or the UK site at:  http://cyclingwithoutage.co.uk

 

Marmalade – my easy and somewhat lazy recipe

Making your own  marmalade may seem a little old-fashioned or even a redundant skill but with my easy recipe, which I have used for longer than I care to remember, it’s a breeze.  Seville oranges are the best oranges to use because they have such a tart taste and high pectin content but unfortunately their season is short here in Australia, only available during the first weeks of August.  Not to be deterred any combination of citrus will do the job.

Recipe

4/5 oranges, 2 lemons, 1 grapefruit, washed and cut into quarters.  Remove pips and any discoloured pieces of fruit.  Put fruit into a microwave safe bowl (I always use glass) and add a cup of water.  Cover and microwave on high for 15 minutes.  Let cool slightly then transfer to a liquidiser and pulse until the fruit still has chunks of rind.  Alternatively if you want a smooth product continue to pulse. Place a large saucepan on your scales and pour in pulsed fruit, now add the same weight of sugar to fruit.  Stir to dissolve sugar then boil rapidly for more or less 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  I always put the saucepan on a trivet to save the marmalade burning. Test for set by putting a small portion on a cold plate and leave for a few minutes.   If ready the marmalade will wrinkle when you push up with your finger.

DSC00370

I like to pot my marmalade while it is still warm so I transfer from the saucepan into a large glass jug and then pour into pre-washed and sterilised jars.  Seal immediately.  This way the marmalade keeps really well.   

 

I’m going to sign off  with the following quote:

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory

Ringing the bells in the Bell Tower, Perth City, with my dear friend Olive. We have been friends since we started school aged 5

Ringing the bells in the Bell Tower, Perth City, with my dear friend Olive. We have been friends since we started school aged 5

 

Janice 

The not so retired retirees, Soap making, Don’t be discouraged, Useful tips and a story to make you smile

The not so retired retirees

Recently I have been thinking about what it means to be retired.  Our generation is known for a strong work ethic, but I’m not sure we could keep up with some inspirational seniors, who still work full time even in their 90s.  Apparently recent studies have shown that as you work past 65, your life expectancy increases.  Here are the three not so retired retirees I read about recently.

Jean Beanham, 92

Beanham’s Melbourne motorbike parts store has been a fixture of Elizabeth Street for more than four decades, and the 92-year-old has been there through it all. Her 38-hour work week runs from Monday to Friday plus a half-day on Saturday. “I don’t like holidays,” Beanham says “When you get old, you need your brain working.”

Agnes Zhelesnik, 102

This amazing teacher really is 102 years old.  In fact, she has officially been named America’s oldest living schoolteacher. Affectionately known as “Granny” by her pupils, Zhelesnik only began teaching at the age of 81 and still works 35 hours a week at the Sundance School in New Jersey. “I’m busy every minute,” she says.
Reginald Huntley, 96

This British grandfather works 40 hours a week, travelling around Kent in the UK selling woollen clothing and accessories. Rising at 6 am every morning, Huntley works 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. In an interview with Mirror Online, he says, “I hate the thought of sitting at home because people deteriorate.” As for what keeps him going? Huntley visits the gym once a week and loves a good meal of “meat and two veg.”

These three obviously really enjoy what they do, but likewise changing your lifestyle after retirement can open up new challenges and opportunities.  Retirement doesn’t actually mean that you stop work, far from it.  There is time to pursue those things you have had in the back of your mind to do if only you had time together with other activities you never thought it possible that you would enjoy or try.   As we age everything has to be tailored to suit our abilities and needs, but through our local clubs, community houses, libraries, on line courses of every category etc. there is something for everyone to help you retire and enjoy to the full.

Soap making

More years ago than I care to remember, possibly in the 80’s during my alternative lifestyle era, I had a go at soap making.  I recall writing to tell my mother back in UK all about it.  I quickly received a reply from her saying that if I couldn’t buy soap in Australia, she would send me some.  Anyway when I saw a Goats Milk Soap Making course being offered at my local Community House, I booked in.  With all the so called “natural” soaps on the market, I had the mistaken idea that it was possible to produce soap without the use of lye, apparently not so, a fact the course leader acquainted us with at the start of proceedings.   All real soap is made with lye (sodium hydroxide mixed with liquid).  However with the chemical changes that take place during the soap making process, namely, saponification, the finished product does not contain lye.  If you would like to know more about these facts, check out Wikipedia.

I have to say it was a very enjoyable morning with much laughter and chatter.  After having the process demonstrated, we were divided into groups of four, provided with the ingredients which consisted of goats milk, solidified oil, copha, vegetable oil and caustic soda (lye) plus our choice of essential oils, clays, colours or abrasives together with the necessary utensils, following which we set to work with varying degrees of success.

So far I haven’t practiced at home.  We didn’t add any colour other than clay during the course and I thought the finished product looked quite grey and uninteresting, although having used the samples we were given, the soap smells and lathers really well and is soft on the skin.  I have written to the course leader to obtain some more advice.

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If anyone would like the actual soap recipe and instructions, I’m happy to send you a copy.  Just drop me a line at sbf@dcsi.net.au.

 

Don’t be discouraged if you mess up a project there can be a silver lining

Having joined a Spinners group some months ago, I have been practicing my technique under the mentorship of Joan, a long time spinner with 15 years under her belt.  I really do appreciate all her help and advice.  In fact all the members of the group have been fantastic.    Believe me it’s harder than you ever imagined.   Having eventually got to the point where I could spin ‘reasonably’ well,  I decided I would like to start from scratch, washing a fleece, drying, preparing for spinning (carding), then eventually spinning, plying and knitting a finished article to wear.

Without going into too much detail, I thought I had the wool ready for spinning and took it to show Joan, who on inspection kindly said “it will make really good stuffing”.  Apparently I had pulled the fleece in all directions instead of in the way of the staple (direction which the wool grows) which would cause lumps when attempting to spin a smooth thread.  I had so much to learn.  However, over the next few weeks I watched some YouTube spinning videos and saw one  lady who spun absolutely anything and everything.  Out came my wheel and ‘stuffing’ together with some bits and pieces of coloured wool my friend brought back from Chile and I set to work.   Yes big lumps and bumps did emerge, breakages frequently occurred,  but undaunted I spun on and eventually had enough to make a small circular scarf.    Here’s my finished article which I’m quite proud of and wear frequently.

 

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A few useful tips for using Cream of Tartar

I was reading an article recently about the varied uses of Cream of Tartar and thought I would share a few of them with you.  I realise of course that you may already have them in your repertoire but if not you may find them useful.

Stain Remover
Make a paste of cream of tartar mixed with lemon juice to lift stains on clothing and carpets. Let the paste sit for an hour or two, then either machine wash as usual, or blot with a damp cloth. This mixture works well on ink stains!

Kitchen Cleaner
Make a paste of cream of tartar mixed with white vinegar to make a great all-purpose kitchen cleaner. Use it on burner pans, grout lines, ovens, sinks, and to clean up mould and mild

Coffee Pot
Clean stains and residue out of your coffee pot by sprinkling cream of tartar inside. Add boiling water to fill the pot, let the pot cool to room temperature, and rinse well.

Homemade Playdough
Make homemade playdough by mixing 1 cup of flour, 1 cup water, 1 cup salt, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon cream of tartar, and 3-5 drops of food dye (optional). Add more flour if the mixture is wet or sticky, or add more water if the mixture is too dry.

Meringue Miracle
Add an 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for each 2 egg whites in your meringue. The acid from the cream of tartar will stabilize the egg whites and add volume to your finished product.

A story to share and make you smile

I’m going to finish this post with a happy story.  I can’t imagine riding around a busy city like Lima in Peru on a bicycle but what fun – enjoy.

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On May 23, 2016, photographer Jean Paul Merino posted photo to a Facebook community page for aspiring and professional photographers. Today the photo, titled “Tercer Juventud” (Third Youth) has over 1,000 ‘likes’. Here’s the photographer’s story behind the spontaneous image that would capture hearts (and thumbs up) around cyber space.
I was heading for the center of Lima on my bike, and suddenly I crossed paths with an elderly couple enjoying a bicycle ride. They were both laughing, and it caught my attention. So, without thinking twice, I pursued them for what would be 3 blocks in order to capture the scene, and waited on a corner with my camera and backpack for that shot.
I published the photo on my Facebook group, Peru StreetPhotography …[and] a week later, a Ms. Anita Navarro wrote me, congratulating me for the photograph. She said she was the daughter of the woman on the bicycle.
Then, she continued to tell me the couple’s story: The man is the husband of her sister, who died 14 years ago. He was left alone with their four daughters, so Anita’s mother stepped in to help raise the girls. The man never remarried.
The family has told me the couple likes the photo and have no problems with my having posted it on social media – to the contrary, they are quite pleased. I plane to give them a copy of the photograph.

I’ll sign off with this quote:

A GOOD LIFE IS WHEN YOU SMILE OFTEN, DREAM BIG, LAUGH A LOT AND REALISE HOW BLESSED YOU ARE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE

Janice

Making instant friends, Gain knowledge, Felting, Dog training, Quick stain removal

Making instant friends

It’s amazing how instant friendships can spring up.  A couple of weeks ago I was out walking the dogs when they introduced themselves, as they do to anyone who will give them a pat, to a couple of cyclists who were admiring the beautiful costal scenery along the cliffs to Kilcunda (South Gippsland, Vic.).  Gray and Leslie Hodge introduced themselves and our conversation developed as we chatted amiably about the area and our shared interests.  It’s amazing how much information can be imparted in no less than 10 minutes or so.  Gray and Leslie were over from Tasmania enjoying a cycling holiday which is their passion.  They told me of a cycling holiday they had in France where all the equipment you need is provided.  I must say that’s a great holiday idea, imagine cycling through France.  If you are interested visit at:   www.bretonbikes.com

Eventually I waived goodbye only to catch up with them 15 minutes later as they were again admiring the view further along the cliffs.  We started chatting once more and before I knew it I had an invitation to visit them in Tasmania.   Here’s a photo of ‘brand new friends’

Leslie, Gray and Janice

Leslie, Gray and Janice

Since Leslie and Gray’s return to Tasmania we have shared e-mails and their invitation to visit has been renewed.   They have a sign writing business located in the most beautiful landscape in Tasmania:  http://www.camriversigns.com.au/

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Gain knowledge with a Learn and Share Program

I’ve previously mentioned my local Neighbourhood Centre (Mitchell House & Harvest Centre, Wonthaggi) where you can access a wide variety of courses.  Neighbourhood Houses began in the 1970’s with people coming together to share their knowledge and skills with each other at low or no cost in a process called LearnShare.  LearnShare recognises that throughout our lives whether working with our hands, our head or our heart, we all acquire valuable knowledge and skills.  As part of the ongoing process of lifelong learning we can all learn something new or share what we know.

This week I offered my knowledge of vegetarian cooking in a LearnShare program.  It was a great experience made even more rewarding by the enthusiasm of the participants.

I would urge you to seek out your local Neighbourhood House to enjoy good company, learn new skills or volunteer to share your own experience.

You can join Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre on Facebook or e-mail them at:  mitchellhouse@dcsi.net.au

Felting projects

In my blog of 2nd February 2016 I talked about the project I was undertaking making a felted jacket from wool my friend Olga brought back from Chile.  At one stage I thought I had taken on more than I could chew.  It’s one thing having the idea of what you would like to do and actually putting it into practice.  Once started I realised that the jacket needed to be lined, another challenge.  Olga found a length of lining in a local Op Shop for $2.00;  a great bargain.  The project is now a reality and whilst by no means perfect in every detail, Olga now has a very unique reminder of her trip home.

Here the jacket is modelled by “Doris” my dressmakers dummy.  It has a zip-up front which is not visible in the picture.

Felted jacket

Felted jacket

I still have wool over and hopefully one day will manage to make a jacket for myself.  I’ve made up a couple of sample panels though I don’t think it will be quite as elaborate as Olga’s.  We will see.

Training your dog

Sophia my little terrier met up with her doggie boyfriend Oscar yesterday at the Powlett River. They had great fun running on the beach and scampering in the sea.   Oscar is becoming very responsive to a training whistle – he has a tendency to investigate the bush and sometimes doesn’t return for over an hour.  Sheri, his owner, told me that with the aid of this recently acquired  whistle and a treat he now returns promptly.  Truly amazing as in the past she has had an hour or so wait for him.  She used it during our walk when Oscar periodically went missing, so I saw the results in action.  I checked out Rufus and Coco Dog Training devices on the internet at  www.petology.com.au  so you might like to have a look for yourselves if you have a need for this idea.

Sheri also uses a Soggy Doggy Drying Blanket when she gets Oscar back to the car.  I really must get one of these for Sophia as she often needs a rub down after a walk or swim and it does save a mess in the car.  Again I looked on the internet where there are various companies offering these blankets at different prices.

Here’s Oscar in the back of the car accompanied by his mascot, being dried after a swim with the Soggy Doggy Blanket.

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Quick stain removal chart

Thought I would share this chart I recently came across on Pinterest.  I’ve already made use of it a few times:

   How to remove one of these stains:

      GRASS               –        VINEGAR

    RED WINE          –        WHITE WINE

    GREASE              –        SODA

    BLOOD               –        HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

    OIL                   –        WHITE CHALK

    COFFEE               –        BAKING SODA

    DEODORANT         –        DENIM

    SWEAT                –        LEMON JUICE

    LIPSTICK              –        BABY WIPERS

    INK                     –        MILK

    MAKE-UP                       SHAVING CREAM

                      

I’ll sign off for today with a quote I saw posted on a blackboard at the hairdressers I use:

YOUTH IS A GIFT OF NATURE, BUT AGE IS A WORK OF ART

I think we all have a lighter step when we leave the hairdressing chair;  I know I do.

 

Janice

Meet 2 interesting and gifted ladies, make easy Banana Ice Cream

Meet 2 interesting and gifted ladies

Noelene Lyons – Genealogist and Family History Researcher

Noelene Lyons

Noelene Lyons

I first met Noelene last year at a Moviemakers Club Meeting and having previously been told of her interest and knowledge of cemeteries, asked if she would be able to spend some time with me chatting about her cataloging work  (as mentioned in a previous blog post).  Last week I was fortunate enough to spend three hours with Noelene during which time I was absolutely amazed by her knowledge of both cemeteries and genealogy together with many other activities with which she is involved.

I started the conversation by asking Noelene what sparked her initial interest in cemeteries.  She told me that as a child her parents went on regular picnics and during these trips they usually parked close by a cemetery and walked around.  It was not until she was on her honeymoon in Port Campbell (a coastal town in Victoria Australia) that her interest was reignited when she decided to wander around the local cemetery.  Although life was very busy during the following years, raising children, running a business with her husband and caring for other family members, she said she still took time out to wander around a cemetery.

Unfortunately her husband had a very bad car accident which left him with some disability so that’s when they decided to move from Melbourne to their present location in Inverloch a seaside town in Gippsland, Victoria.  In 1990 Noelene said she was left alone at home with her dog, the children were all at school, her husband was working part time and she felt at a loss.  After working for many years and now semi retired she asked herself  “what to do”.  She started taking an interest in the history of the local area and became involved with the starting of  Wonthaggi Genealogy in 1997 helping catalogue the resources of the area, its schools and shops.  She found that there had been 18 cemeteries which fell into three groups, Private Cemetery, Old Cemetery and current cemeteries.  Noelene studies burial registries, copies to a data base and takes photos.

Eventually she was tracked down by the Cemetery Trust Group of Melbourne and asked to provide the history of the area which she has been doing.

Noelene provided me with detailed information about her work which I found fascinating.  For example sometimes she has to walk through paddocks and rough ground to locate an old cemetery, not in summer she said for fear of snakes,  to take photos and document burial sites as shown in these photos of  of Woodside Cemetery, Yarram, South Gippsland, Victoria.

She also explained what happens in the case of a property that has family burial sites.  It is possible for the property to be sold but an area of an acre remains around the burial and is the property of the original family or their heirs.

Often there are problems locating where a person is buried or who occupies a certain grave.  She draws what is termed a ‘Mud Map’ – like this:

 Plot .31    Plot  32     Plot  33      Plot 34     Plot 5     Plot 36
 Jones A    Dodd C   No plaque

which is a map of the rows of graves.   She documents the plots that have names, then photographs the rows of graves following which she views the photos and compares the Burial Registry and makes comments.  Noelene says it’s like a huge jigsaw.

In addition to all this work Noelene runs workshops to help people find a relative who may have been a convict transported to Australia, continues her work documenting historical schools and is presently recording details of the history of Wonthaggi State Coalminers.  Apparently there are many photographs of these miners but no details of who they are.  A campaign is being run in the local papers to see if anyone can identify them.

If all this isn’t enough Noelene helps people with their family trees, provides a Computer Tutoring Service for 50+ age group and pursues her hobby of locating and selling collectables like salt and pepper pots, teapots and money boxes.

At 65 Noelene, who now only has one kidney and suffered ill health for a couple of months last year,  is a wonderful example of what one lady can achieve.  You can contact Noelene by e-mail if you would like to seek her help at  noelene@dcsi.net.au.

Rhonda Armstrong embroiderer –  special project 

Rhonda Armstrong

Rhonda Armstrong

Rhonda enjoys water aerobics which is where we first met, often having a chat after class about our various activities.  A couple of weeks ago she mentioned that she was making a baby blanket as a gift for the daughter of her sister-in-law who sadly died last year without knowing she was going to be a grandmother, something she had longed for.  Rhonda also discovered, tucked away, some giraffes her sister-in-law had made and given to her for her youngest child some 40 years ago.  This sparked the idea of making these into a baby mobile for the coming baby which she has now completed

 

What a truly wonderful gift this mobile will be for Rhonda’s niece when she finds out her mother made these giraffes and now she has them for her baby.

Rhonda worked in the Head Office of The Embroiderers Guild of Vitoria for 18 years.  The Guild offers workshops and courses at all levels, meetings, monthly special interest sit and sew groups, exhibitions, a borrowing and reference library plus a newsletter.  All these promote the art and skills of both traditional and contemporary embroidery and textile arts.  Beginners are always welcome.  http://www.embroiderersguildvic.org

 

EASY BANANA ICE CREAM (courtesy of Jo Marty from her book HOW TO EAT WELL FOR NEXT TO NOTHING

You simply won’t believe how creamy and ice cream-like this dessert is.  Recipe only works in a food processor.

You will need 4 large ripe bananas plus 1 tablespoon of honey

Method:  Peel bananas and wrap with plastic food wrap.  Freeze for several hours.  Chop bananas into a food processor. Process until creamy, stopping and scraping down the sides occasionally, then add honey and blend through.  Serves 4.

 

LISTENING TO WHAT PEOPLE SAY

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what someone has to say.  

This was brought home to me the other day when I was trying to get some information and the person I was talking to had absolutely no interest in what I was trying to say.  I came away very frustrated.  Is this happening to you or do I need to upgrade my skills of communication?

I’ll be back soon

Janice