Category Archives: Projects

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

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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

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Dog friendly short holidays, Events, Crafts, Gardening, Recipe + more

Dog friendly short holiday accommodation and horse muster

Over the Easter long weekend we were lucky enough to find the most amazing dog friendly bed and breakfast accommodation through Airbnb, a site where you can rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries.  Here’s the  link if you want to check out the site:  www.airbnb.com.au.  We travelled north to Euroa in Victoria and stayed with Tessa at The Terrace Bed and Breakfast in a self contained cottage on her property in a perfect setting.  The cottage was beautifully appointed down to the last detail and the breakfasts superb.   We were reluctant to leave when the time came and so too was our dog Ferdie who had enjoyed the company of Tessa’s little dog during the visit.

 

Our  trip was primarily to attend the annual Moora Horse Muster and take the opportunity at the same time to visit Echuca on the Murray River and view the paddle steamers.    If you’re at all interested in working horses and a glimpse back into the past, this can be a great and enjoyable experience.  The muster started with a parade through the streets of Rushworth, a town that was established during the Victorian gold rush in 1853 and was named by poet and later local Goldfields Commissioner, Richard Henry Horne in 1854,  and continued on Sunday at the Moora Recreation Reserve some 7 km away.

Since our return Ken has been busy downloading lots of film from his camera which is still a work in progress but he has produced the following video of the horse parade and muster for me to include in this post.

 

 

Gardening

My garden is looking quite sad through lack of water and the effects of the climate being so variable.  Some vegetables simply couldn’t make it especially the snap beans and runner beans though I must say the pumpkins peppers and carrots did really well.   I lifted the last of my carrots and planted some more seeds.  We’ve decided to cut back on the veggie plot, just too hard battling the elements, so are about to take down two of the raised beds and limit what we grow.

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Ken says you start off as a young man desiring acres of land, slowly over the years your expectations decline to being happy with a large plot, then it’s a small plot and then it’s a patio until finally you are really happy with window boxes.  I don’t think we have quite got to that stage although Ken has bought some of those small fruit trees which grow happily in pots.

If you are a keen gardener and want inspiration visit Lamely Nursery’s web site or Facebook page.  www.lambley.com.au.   David Glenn’s Lambley Nursery and Garden is set around an old farmhouse in the hot dry wind swept plains of the central Victorian Goldfields.  The garden features frost-hardy plants requiring very little watering and is world renowned as a benchmark in dry climate and sustainable gardening.   Ken and I visited the nursery last year and were truly inspired though unfortunately haven’t been able to get our plants to grow in the same way.

Crafts – wool dying

I recently attended a hands-on wool dying session with the Korumburra Spinners Group at Coal Creek Heritage Village.  My friend Olga came with me and we had a very informative morning using the various dyes.  There’s quite a technique to getting the process correct so it’s a matter of trial and error.  Olga’s wool dyed really well but mine felted.  I have since been told that was probably because the wool Olga used had been spun but mine had not so the effects of drying the dyed wool were different.  If you are interested in a fuller explanation e-mail me at retireandenjoy@dcsi.net and I’ll send out details.  Here are a couple of photos of the session in progress.

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Recipe for ANT RID

My recipe today is not for food but one I was given for ANT RID which I am sure we all need from time to time:

2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons borax

Place in a saucepan and boil three minutes then cool.  Store in a sealed jar making sure the lid is tight or the ants will find the mixture.

Pour some into jar lids and place in the path of the ants.  Be patient as they will not come to the liquid immediately.  By day two they are usually swarming.  Many will disappear with some of the liquid and others will remain in the lid.  Use two lids if you think it warrants it.  When the activity stops, remove the lids and discard the whole thing into a plastic bag and then into an outside rubbish bin.

Wash saucepan thoroughly.  Best to scald with boiling water as well as washing.

I’ll close this post with

The Five W’s of Life:

WHO you are is what makes you special.  Do not change for anyone.

WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery.  Do not be afraid to explore.

WHEN life pushes you over, you push back harder.

WHERE there are choices to make, make the one you won’t regret.

WHY things happen will never be certain.  Take it in your stride and move forward.

 

Janice

 

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FINDING AN ON LINE COURSE, VOLUNTEERING, KEEPING IN TOUCH, RECIPES AND CRAFTS

Finding an on-line course that has the bonus of being free

Have you heard of FutureLearn?  I recently found this site where you can browse free on line courses from top universities and specialist organisations.  You are able to join courses that are about to start or are in progress or register to find out when courses will run again.  Ken booked in for three courses, two with regard to film making and one run by the University of Southampton, UK, dealing with the Battle of  Agincourt in 1415.  There are opportunities for you to offer your opinions regarding the course you are taking, ask questions and join in a forum with other participants.  Amazingly the courses are all free.

There are a large number of topics available on a variety of subjects so have a look at their site:

www.futurelearn.com/courses

U3A courses

This morning I attended a course at my local U3A on Memoir Writing.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or whether it would help me with the writing of the book I have in progress covering our ‘alternative lifestyle’ days.  That still remains to be seen but hearing snippets of other peoples life experiences was so interesting and inspiring.  Human endeavour is absolutely amazing and should be documented.   As I have mentioned before, if you are unable to find the type of course you are looking for, have a look at the U3A website where they offer on-line courses in variety. www.u3aonline.org.au

Volunteering

After the death of Josephine, the lady I was visiting through the Community Visitor Scheme, I was undecided whether to continue on the program.  It can be a challenge when you realise that many of the inhabitants of the Aged Care Facilities where you visit  are only a little older, and in many cases, younger than yourself.  However, when Rosemary, the Co-ordinator of the program, rang me and asked if I would be interested in visiting Dorothy who is 102 and in need of a visitor who could chat and listen to her life stories, I just had to accept.  I visited Dorothy for the first time this week and spent a really enjoyable hour in her company.  I was amazed to find that she can see perfectly without glasses and loves a game of bowls in the recreation facility at the home.  She told me about her family, the number of which she has lost count, and of her late husband who she met when she was 14 but didn’t marry until she was 24.    I anticipate having many happy visits with her.

How rewarding volunteering can be!

Keeping in touch with family and friends

I was reflecting recently on friends and aquaintances that had passed through my life and who I no longer had regular contact with.  This got me to thinking how great it would be to re-establish some of these connections so I made some phone calls and wrote some letters.  Everyone I contacted was pleased to hear from me and although it hasn’t been possible to meet some personally due to tyranny of distance, we have exchanged e-mail addresses and agreed to keep in contact.  One really enjoyable experience was finding the son of a friend on Facebook and asking if he could put us in touch again.  He arranged for us to chat on Skype when she visited him and it turned out to be a very long conversation.  We first met when both 16 at an interview to enter Secretarial College.   She has now bought an iPad but has not yet mastered using Skype though I’m sure she will quite soon.

Fortunately I have managed to keep in contact with most of my cousins in England and a few friends of my late mother, two of whom still write long and interesting letters.  Sadly one of my cousin’s has developed alzheimer’s and is no longer able to communicate, so I am glad that I maintained contact with her over the years.

Friends and family make up the fabric of our lives.

Update on my felt-making project

My friend Olga recently returned from visiting family in Chile and kindly brought back a present for me of some beautiful carded wool in brilliant colours.  I decided I must make a vest-type jacket for her as a thank you.  I did some practice panels,  and eventually a panel which will be cut into two for the actual jacket.  I still need to do more panels in order to complete the vest.  One panel I made was a complete disaster as I didn’t use sufficient material and it turned out covered in holes.  Perhaps there will be a use for it in a later project.  Ken  took some film of me doing the felting with the idea in mind of eventually making a short film of the process.    He produced what I thought was a nice title showing some of the coloured wool.  There’s a lot of perfecting on my part before a film could be made but there’s a challenge on the horizon.

 

Title for proposes movie showing carded wool

Title for proposed movie showing carded wool

Sharing recipes

A couple of weeks ago I decided to look through all my cookery books with the idea of discarding those not used.  Goodness what a collection and what memories were contained within those pages.  I spent an enjoyable couple of hours recalling successes and failures.  My most used book is one given to me as a wedding gift by my Aunt Helen.  It has lost the cover and the index is stabled together at the back but it’s still the book I pull out first for an old time favourite.   Another of my well used cookery books is one I bought when I first came to Australia in 1976 and is The Rodale Cookbook from Fitness House, Pennsylvania, USA.  One of the recipes I’m confident you will enjoy and which I always have in the cupboard is

Almond Crunch Cereal   

Preheat oven to 225F/110C
3 cups uncooked rolled oats (not quick oats)
1½ cups dry coconut shreds, unsweetened
½ cup wheat germ or soy grits
1 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ cup honey
¼ cup oil
½ cup cold water
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup raisins (optional)

Combine oats, coconut, wheat germ or soy grits, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Toss ingredients together thoroughly.

Combine honey and oil. Add the cold water, a little at a time, mixing until crumbly.

Pour mixture into a large, heavy, shallow baking pan which has been lightly brushed with oil. Spread mixture evenly to edges of pan.

Place on middle rack of preheated oven and bake for 1½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Add almonds and bake for a further ½ hour. Mixture should be dry and light brown in colour and feel crisp to the touch.

Turn oven off and allow cereal to cool in oven. If raisins are to be added to cereal, do so at this point. Remove cereal from oven, cool and put in a tightly covered container. Store in a cool dry place. Yield 8 cups.

A recipe from my book:  What to eat if you don’t have meat

BEAN CURRY

1 medium tin red kidney beans
1 clove garlic crushed
4 mushrooms
4 medium carrots
300ml stock
2 cooking apples
2 medium onions
3 large potatoes
2 tsp Madras curry powder (or your own mix)
1 tsp yeast extract

Fry onion and garlic gently in oil then add sliced apple and continue cooking until pulped. Add sliced mushrooms and carrots together with curry powder, stock and yeast extract. Cut potatoes into small chunks and add to curry. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer very gently for half an hour. Add kidney beans and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes.

It’s well worth making up a double quantity of this recipe and freezing because it will be a firm favourite with everyone.

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Well once again I’ve come to the end of the blog but will sign off with a quote:

LIFE IS LIKE A CAMERA

  • FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT
  • CAPTURE THE GOOD TIMES
  • DEVELOP FROM THE NEGATIVES
  • IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT, TAKE ANOTHER SHOT

 

Janice

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A NEW SKILL, WATER AEROBICS, PROJECTS, RECIPES

A new skill

Although obtaining ‘a new skill’ wasn’t on my desired achievement list for 2016, I was recently inspired by a blog I came across where the author had taken up whittling.  Amongst her many projects were crochet hooks.  I just couldn’t resist the temptation to have a go.  Ken pulled a face when I told him and suggested I would cut myself.  Anyway he very kindly came up with some twigs for me to practice on and I tried to follow the instructions in the blog without much success.  I decided to resort to a YouTube tutorial which was extremely helpful and gave a list of requirements needed before you could commence your project i.e. a sharp craft knife or similar, various grades of sandpaper and of course the material you were going to whittle.

i didn’t cut myself but had aching shoulders and sore fingers from all the sanding.  I have to say it really isn’t easy to make the hook but with persevierance some sort of success can be achieved.  Of course you have to get the wood very smooth otherwise your wool will catch and snag when crocheting on your finished hook.

You may well wonder why on earth I wanted to try and whittle but the idea brought back memories of both my grandads sitting on the back step whittling.  Ken also remembers his grandad making cigarette holders from cherry wood.

Here’s a photo of my efforts:

4 hooks with croched cushion

4 hooks with crochet cushion

If you would like links to the Tutorials I viewed, e-mail me at retireandenjoy@dcsi.net.au and I’ll be happy to pass them all on.

Crochet

On the subject of crochet, I really have taken to the creative possibilities and following on from the success with the blanket I made for my daughter’s Christmas gift, I recently completed a second blanket for use by Ken and I during the winter months.  Must say I was a bit ambitious with the size because it really is rather large.

Blanket which took 1.2kg wool

Blanket which took 1.2kg wool

I’ve acquired a pattern for an antique type throw but need to get some advice from the Crochet Group before I attempt what are termed ‘puff stitches’.  I think a lot of practice will be required.

Water Aerobics

If you don’t already pursue some exercise activity, have you thought about water aerobics?Every week I try to attend three early sessions at my local gym.  It has become so popular that there are now six classes a week.   After the class refreshments are provided and in addition to the social aspect of the group there are the health giving benefits which I think we are all looking for as the years roll by.  Some of these benefits are documented as:

  •  Aqua aerobics can benefit us as we age by improving muscular development and our cardiovascular system
  • Since water buoyancy supports your weight, strain on joints, back and torso is greatly reduced
  • Due to increased resistance under water, it burns a great deal of calories, up to 400-500 calories/an hour taking any excess body weight off
  • Long term aqua aerobics increase joint flexibility and lowers the risk of stress and anxiety

Can you spot me in this recent photo of the group?

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Vegetarian cookery

On each of my blogs I have decided to share with you a recipe from one of my cookery books.   You certainly don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these recipes, in fact it might help if  you are looking for a substitute when cutting down on the amount of meat you eat.   I know in the UK the idea of a meat free Monday is widely promoted.

SEMOLINA CHEESE FRITTERS

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120g/4oz semolina
1 small onion
1 bay leaf and 1 clove
600ml/1 pint milk
125g/4oz grated cheese
Large tbs parsley chopped
Egg and wheatgerm to coat

Pin bay leaf to onion with clove and place in saucepan with milk. Heat until almost boiling then remove and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Discard onion, bay leaf and clove and re-boil milk sprinkling in semolina, being sure to stir continuously until very thick. Remove from heat and add cheese and parsley.

Turn out mixture onto a small wet dinner plate and with a knife dipped in water smooth over. Leave to become quite cold in the fridge. Cut into portions like a cake.  Coat with egg and wheatgerm or breadcrumbs and fry in hot shallow oil until crisp and golden. Alternatively bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes turning once.

If you would like to view any of my cookery books you can find them at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

Two recipes for when you have excess quantities of cucumbers and rhubarb 

Depending on which hemasphere you reside in you may well have an abundance of certain produce.  I have far too many cumbers and loads of rhubarb.  Rhonda a companion at water aerobics passed on a recipe for rhubarb chutney which I decided to try.  Mine came out somewhat stringy but I think I should have chopped the rhubarb into smaller pieces and made shaw there were no stringy bits at the same time.  It tastes really nice so the stringiness really hasn’t spoilt it.   I also have a really unusual recipe for preserving cucumbers which I have used for years and shared many times with others.  Here are both the recipes:

RHUBARB CHUTNEY

½ kilo rhubarb chopped, 120g sultanas, 1½ cups brown sugar, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp curry powder, 2 onions chopped, 1¼ cups vinegar, 1 tbs mustard seeds, 1 tsp ground ginger.

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan, bring to boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 1¼ hours or until mixture is thick (I stood the saucepan on a trivet to prevent burning).  Pour into hot sterilised jars, seal when cold.

PICKLED CUCUMBER USING THE FREEZER

This is not your typical pickle recipe and will produce a crisp sweet pickle that goes well in salads, on sandwiches or as a side. The secret to the crisp texture is the sugar, so do not reduce its content.  Of course you may have to vary the recipe depending on the amount of cucumber you wish to pickle.  

1 litre volume of cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced, 1 small onion sliced thinly, ½ tbs salt, ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup white distilled vinegar.

Mix cucumber, onions and salt in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Set the bowl on the work top for 2 hours.  Pour into a colander and drain water from cucumber mixture.  Combine sugar and vinegar.  Stir well and pour over cucumbers.  Pack into freezer containers or zip-closure bags (ideal).  Freeze immediately.  Pickles are ready to eat in 3-4 days.  

International Women’s Day (March 8)

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.  If you would like ideas for celebrating the day visit the following link:

www.internationalwomensday.com 

I’ll sign off with one of Buddha’s quotes:

DO NOT DWELL IN THE PAST, DO NOT DREAM OF THE FUTURE, CONCENTRATE THE MIND ON THE PRESENT MOMENT

Janice

 

 

 

 

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ENJOYING RETIREMENT IN 2016

WELCOME TO RETIRE AND ENJOY IN 2016

Firstly I would like to thank all my Blog followers for their continued support and wish everyone, including those who are not yet retired, a year filled with opportunities and achievements.  It’s probably a good idea to make a plan of what goals you would like to accomplish whether it’s to catch up with friends, start an exercise regimen, travel, volunteer or work on something you’ve been putting off until you had time.  Many of us hate making lists but if you write down a “to achieve list” you can refer back to it in the future just to check on your progress.  Of course conversely you could also make a “not to continue doing” list which could prove interesting.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Break a bad habit
  • Learn a new skill
  • Do a good deed
  • Visit a new place
  • Read a difficult book
  • Write something important
  • Try a new food
  • Do something good for someone who cannot thank you
  • Take an important risk

Now I would like to share the contents of my “to achieve list” with you:

  1. Complete the Upper Advanced Spanish Course that I stopped doing last August because the homework became quite daunting and difficult.
  2. Sew a bomber jacket with felt panels.  I have plenty of wool over from the felt hats I made so no excuse.
  3. Complete a book about my family’s adventures with an alternative lifestyle i.e. living without electricity for 10 years, building a mud brick house and running a goat dairy.  This book has been in progress for far too long.
  4. Try to practice the piano each day.  I’m only a novice.
  5. Enjoy every day to the full.

I’ll keep you up to date.  It’s a bit of an ask especially items 3 and 4

5 REASONS TO VOLUNTEER IN RETIREMENT

Because I am very passionate about volunteering  I would like to share with you an article I came across  recently on the website  www.oversixty.com.au which listed five reasons to volunteer in retirement:

Want an active, happy and meaningful retirement? The evidence shows that volunteering isn’t just good for the community, it’s also good for you. Here’s five reasons why you should consider volunteering in retirement.

1. You’ll find satisfaction

It’s better to give than to receive, and the data backs this up. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, volunteers – defined as someone in the previous 12 months who willing gave unpaid help – reported higher levels of life satisfaction than non-volunteers.

2. You’ll be happier

Numerous studies have shown that volunteering not only makes people feel emotionally better but boosts their own happiness. 

3. You’ll connect with the community

For some people, retirement can lead to loneliness, boredom and a sense of isolation. Volunteering both opens you up to the wider community and connects you with likeminded people.
4. Your health will improve

Studies have found volunteering has many health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and a longer life span.

5. You will have a greater sense of purpose

It’s been long known there’s a significant correlation between volunteer work and social wellbeing but research from Duke University and the National University of Singapore that looked at data of 3,200 volunteering Americans found that volunteering just one day a month will give your life a greater sense of purpose.

JOINING A CLUB

Joining a film making group has been an inspiring experience for Ken so if you have a passion to learn a new skill it’s well worth looking around to find a suitable course.  The University of the Third Age is a good place to start or your local Community House.  Shire Councils put out a book which includes all the clubs in your area together with contact details likewise the library is a fund of information.

Since his youth Ken has had the desire to ride the high seas on a sailing ship having been inspired by the Hornblower book series.  Late last year his dream came true when he found that trips were available on a replica vessel sailing from Mornington in Victoria, Australia.  He booked on line and enjoyed himself so much that he took a subsequent trip.  I decided to keep my feet firmly on terra firma but was able to take a little film from the cliffs which have been included in the production.

I hope you enjoy the film Ken produced of his adventure:

 

Crocheting

I have decided to continue joining the group of ladies at my local Community House this year for their weekly get together of crochet, knitting and project discussion.  Just before Christmas I was inspired by a blanket pattern I saw on a crochet blog to make one as a present for my daughter.  Because the blogger was American the yarn she used was not available here in Australia so I had a bit of difficulty sourcing what was needed.  However, with a few false starts, some undoing of rows and issues with row  lengths, I managed to complete the task.  I did deviate from the pattern by using contrasting wool mainly because I didn’t purchase enough material in the first place.  My daughter was delighted with her gift and one of my granddaughters has put in an order for her next Birthday.

Christmas present for my daughter

Christmas present for my daughter

Whilst searching for wool supplies on line I joined   www.ravelry.com – Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content is all user- driven and is a great place for you to keep notes about your projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world in their forums.

ROCKET, FETA & POMEGRANATE SALAD

Here’s a salad recipe I located on Pinterest recently.  The description is a bright, crisp salad which is a little different but it works really well.

-media-13479-salad-1.CACHE-620x305-crop

Ingredients:

• 200g feta
• ½ lemon, zested and juiced
• 120g rocket
• 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 red onion, sliced
• 2 pomegranate, seeds only
• Salt and pepper, to season
Method:

1. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, vinegar and olive oil together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine rocket, pomegranate seed, red onion and feta cheese. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

REMINISCING

I wonder if like us you have piles and piles of old films in various forms that haven’t seen the light of day for many a year.  One friend told me that her husband had transferred their films to a memory stick (hope I have that right) and when they take a coffee break they watch and enjoy.  Ken has recently decided to transfer our old footage and what a walk down memory lane that has turned out to be.  A few tears have been shed when seeing parents and family members no longer with us.

Here’s a real antique that our son came up with of Ken in his ‘alternative lifestyle’ days.

Ken on the farm with the leader of our goat herd

Ken on the farm with the leader of our goat herd

I’ll sign off this blog with a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

IN THE END, IT’S NOT THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE THAT COUNT, IT’S THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS

Janice

 

 

 

 

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ACTIVITES, PROJECTS, IDEAS VOLUNTEERING AND MORE

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Hello everyone.  I have lots to chat about so here goes.

Recently I came across BLOGLOVIN which is a platform that allows users to read, organise and discover their favourite blogs on mobile and desktop.  You can easily find blogs on any subject in which you have an interest.  I have been inspired by the creativity of people especially the dressmaking and crochet blogs which provide so many ideas and in many instances free patterns to download.  My eyes pop at the possibilities.  Of course some of you may already subscribe to Bloglovin but if not here’s the link:   http://www.bloglovin.com

Update on my crochet and dressmaking 

I’ve been continuing to enjoy the weekly meetings with the group of ladies who crochet, knit and chat about all manner of things.  The envelope purse I was making morphed into a small bag to carry my crochet hooks and pattern book.  I’ve since made a cushion cover which I have to say left a bit to be desired in shape.  The ladies of the group suggested I enter my “bag” in the local show in the Beginners Section but I’m somewhat reluctant.

Joining a group at your local Neighbourhood House or Learning Centre is a wonderful way to get to know people and learn a new skill.

I’ve finished the two piece I was sewing in Peruvian Cotton and am reasonably happy with the outcome though I did make a mess of the shoulder seams at first.

 

Milton Film Club – do watch the film they produced

Ken recently received a newsletter from his film club with details of films that had been made by various clubs around the country.  I selected one which I’m sure you are going to really enjoy showcasing a ukulele-playing group of women from Milton-Ulladulla, NSW Australia, with a sense of humour and rhythm who enjoy just jammin’ with their ‘ukes’ and having a glass of bubbly or three.  Apparently some of the members were a little hesitant about making the film, especially in regard to the personal clips, but they bravely went ahead and you can see the result here.  They call themselves CHOOKS ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

 

 

Ken’s latest video

Ken’s latest video is a reminder of how we used to travel way back in our past.  We can both remember standing on the platform waiting for the train to take us to London.  It came thundering along like a huge monster belching and hissing steam before finally coming to a stop.   We also remember as children standing on the bridge over the railway line waiting for the train to pass under and envelope us in steam.  It all seemed great fun in those days.

At Coal Creek Community Park and Museum in Korumburra (120km south east of Melbourne) you can ride on the Count Strzelecki Steam Train and take part in other activities.  I submitted the video to the Museum and received a notification that they were so impressed that they were going to include it in their web site.  Watch the video and enjoy the experience.

 

Whilst waiting for Ken to do his filming of the train I popped into the General Store in the village where they sell all kinds of sweets packed in the old fashioned way together with other goodies.  One of the things that took my fancy was a small pack of recipe cards which the lady in the shop told me were reproductions of recipes of cakes and breads made every week by a volunteer for over 30 years and served in the cafe in the village.  Here are 4 of the recipes that I have tried and which turned out really well.  You will be amazed at the simplicity:

JOHNNY CAKES

250g plain flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbs baking powder, biutter

METHOD – Mix flour, baking powder and salt, slowly adding water until mixture is stiff.  Make into small cakes and fry slowly in butter (5-8 minutes each side).  Serve with honey, jam, molasses or golden syrup for a real bush treat.  The flavour is greatly enhanced if served with Billy Tea.

PIONEER BOSTON BUN

1 cup mashed potatoes, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup dried fruits, 1 cup milk., 2 cups self raising flour.

METHOD – mix potatoes and sugar into a cream, add the fruit, mix well then add the milk and flour gradually.  Put into well-greased sandwich tins and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour.  When cool ice lightly and sprinkle with coconut.

BUBBLE BREAD*

METHOD – Mix 1 cup plain flour, 2 tbs grated cheese, 30 gas butter, pinch salt, mustard, cayenne, squeeze of lemon juice and a little water to combine.

METHOD – roll out thinly, cut into fingers, cook in a very hot oven.

* I sprinkled the fingers (and twisted them) with black pepper.  They turn out like cheese straws.  Very yummy.

BISCUIT FRUIT SLICE

Place in a saucepan 125 gms butter, half cup sugar, 1 cup mixed fruit.

METHOD – crush 250gm arrowroot biscuits then mix with boiled mixture.  Press into greased tin.  Cover with lemon icing.

(ALL RECIPES COURTESY OF COAL CREEK MUSEUM)

A new member of the family

Last week we adopted Ferdy, a fox terrier/x, 8 years of age from Save-A-Dog at Malvern, Melbourne.  We have been looking for a companion for Sophia for some time without success.  Apparently small dogs are very popular so it has been quite a search.  We took Sophia to introduce her to Ferdy before making a decision and they got on really well from the first sniff.  Ferdy is a little over-weight so has had a hard time keeping up with Sophia when we go out walking but I think he has already lost a little bit of his fat.  He likes a lot of attention so we are being really careful to make sure Sophia is top dog.  I think it will all work out well.  Here’s a photo of them together:

Volunteering

I received the sad news this morning that Josephine, the lady I have been visiting in the aged care facility, (Community Visitors Scheme) is fading fast.  Recently it has been very difficult to communicate with her due to the strong medication she has been prescribed which makes her sleepy.  Jo is only one year older than I am which is very sobering.   During her lucid days we were able to chat about our youth in the UK as we came from more or less the same area.

For Josephine

For Josephine

Volunteering in whatever field you choose is very rewarding.  If you are interested contact your local Council or search the internet.

Interesting people

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet up with Noelen Lyons who is a Genealogist and Family History Researcher also a Cemeteries and Local Area Historian.  Although she is a very busy lady she has promised to give me a little of her time to have a chat about her work and hopefully give me a few snippets I can pass on to you all.   Her moto is:   To know who you are, you have to know where you came from

Buddhist Prayer

In closing off I would like to share with you this Buddhist prayer:

MAY YOU BE WELL

MAY YOU BE HAPPY

MAY YOU BE PEACEFUL

MAY YOU BE LOVED

Until next time

Janice

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Trips, projects and people who inspire

Well, it’s certainly been a while since my last Blog, but I have some stories to share and some inspirational people to chat about.

JOURNEY TO NED KELLY COUNTRY

Federal Standard Printing Works

Ken’s quest for film and information about printing methods from the past, recently took us to Chiltern which is in northern Victoria about 300km from Melbourne.  Chiltern is very close to Glenrowan where Ned Kelly made his last stand.  The purpose of the visit was to go  to the National Trust Printing Museum, which is in the original building of the Chiltern Federal Standard printing works, and see the original letterpress machinery in operation.  It turned out to be a rewarding experience.  The custodians, Robert and Mary Martin, made us really welcome and their enthusiasm was catching.  Now it’s up to Ken to document our visit on video.  Hopefully that will be available shortly.

Robert operating the type setter

Robert operating the type setter

Printing machine

 

Chiltern Athenaeum Museum

Chiltern has lots of other attractions to offer like the Athenaeum Museum where I felt I could have spent the whole day.   I was especially interested in the life of Alfred William Eustace who came out from England in 1851 and was initially employed as a shepherd.  Whilst tending his flocks in the solitude of the bush, he turned his attention to painting and music to while away the long and weary hours.  He endeavoured to capture the spirit of the bush sometimes painting on board, canvas or tin plate, but as these materials were not always readily available he then started painting on large round eucalyptus leaves from the White and Red Box trees that grew around about.  By the turn of the century his paintings had become world famous even being acknowledged by Queens Victoria.  Some of his leaf paintings are displayed in the museum.  I found this all absolutely fascinating as I had no idea you could paint on leaves.  However, having searched the internet I see there are many artists who use this medium today.

One of Alfred Eustace's leaf paintings

One of Alfred Eustace’s leaf paintings

Whilst walking in the Mt Pilot National Park I was able to pick up some of these large leaves.  Of course I’m no artist but had a doodle with a pen to see the result.  The leaves are really thick so presume that’s why it’s possible to paint on them.

 

My doodle on the large eucalypt leaves

My doodle on the large eucalypt leaves

Actually there’s lots more to tell about this trip like the Chiltern Recipe Cookbook from the Past printed in it’s original format, but I’ll leave that for next time after I tried out some of the recipes.

INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE

Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe

Some time ago a friend suggested I went to a cafe in Loch (Gippsland), the incentive being that one of the partners was from Spain and it would give me the opportunity to chat in español.  It turned out to be a great experience and I can certainly recommend the food and the atmosphere of the cafe.  You can challenge your taste buds with some of the hot sauces or experience milder flavours as well as indulge in delicious chocolate beverages.  It’s called The Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe.  Diana and her husband are working very hard to make their venture a success and have now produced an outstanding website (link below).  I’ve extracted the following from their site to give you an idea of what they are doing and what’s available if you visit or order on line.

Here Diana tells their story:
“In this beautiful Village of Loch was born the first Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe.

When you arrive in Loch you can feel some of the rustic spirit of this country and the old-fashioned hospitality.

We, Alan and Diana, think that we just may have the opportunity of creating something different, like manufacturing genuine and tongue tingling products and merging the Spanish and Aussie tastes by cooking dishes that embrace both cultures.

Here, I manufacture a thick raw cacao with Australian sweet spices or chilli. You can have a “free tasting” of this unique hot drinking chocolate or iced chocolate, every weekend, at The Rustic Cacao Cafe.

Alan grills tasty meals on the barbecue and you can give your lunch a kick with any of his 20 varieties of the World’s Hottest Chilli sauces… if you dare!… We always have a glass of milk ready to put out the fire inside your mouth.”

The Cafe

The Cafe

Diana

Diana

Follow this link to their web site:   www.rusticcacao.com.au

Kira’s Legacy written by Joan Woods

I met Joan Woods, a local resident of Wonthaggi in Gippsland, a couple of years back but didn’t realise what hidden talents she possessed.  Kira’s Legacy is Joan’s first full length work detailing the History of the first Twenty-one Years of the West Australian Ballet Company (1953 to 1973).  It highlights the triumphs and difficulties of members of the Company in those fledgling years whilst at the same time brings to life the performances of the ballet together with photographs.

The heroine of this book, Kira Bousloff chose Perth as her home and through hard work and perseverance, so emotively described in this book, started what today is the highly acclaimed and successful West Australian Ballet.  If you decide to read this tale of the birth of a ballet company it will be obvious to you that Joan Woods not only has an intimate knowledge of the West Australian Ballet but also great affection for all the many dancers who gave so generously of their time and talent.  This is a story that perfectly illustrates that dreams can come true.

Joan plans to visit WA in the near future where she has been invited to do a book launch and signing.  The book is published by PJW BOOKS, 4/13 Hunter Street, Wonthaggi, Vic.  email:  joanwoodz@bigpond.com

Book cover of Kira's Legacy

Book cover of Kira’s Legacy

I’m going to sign off for now but in the next few days will continue with details of my quest to learn how to crochet and also my latest dressmaking challenge plus more.

Here’s a saying sent to me by my son:   “It’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up”

Janice

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CREATING MEMORIES, PROJECTS, TRAVEL, SPRING

CREATING MEMORIES INTENTIONALLY OR OTHERWISE

It’s amazing how we are able create happy and rewarding memories intentionally or otherwise by past actions.  One memory which I am able to enjoy every day, had its roots 10 years ago when my grandchildren came to stay for a weekend and I needed an activity to amuse them.  I recall browsing through various books and magazines where I saw some painted totem poles and thought what a good project that could be.    I knew Ken had some poles behind the garden shed and I had various sample pots of paint and so the idea became a reality.  It turned out to be a fun weekend, very messy, some tears, much laughter and best of all I still have those poles in the garden.  They have moved location over the years as the garden has changed design and the colours have faded but now they are outside my living room window, so every morning when I draw the blinds there’s my happy and continuing memory of my lovely grandchildren painting and placing their hand prints on those poles.

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Another memory  is of my mother participating in a drawing class at the age of 90.  In her effects after she died I found a couple of her pictures one of which was of a window in different colours.  At the time we were in the process of building a small mud brick cottage and I had the concept of having the drawing used as a pattern for a lead light window.  The chap who did the work for me reproduced the colours exactly and installed the window half way up the staircase.  I feel my mum’s light shines through that window and gives me great joy as I pass by it each day.

DSC00033

 

KEN’S FILM MAKING PROJECT

Since Ken joined the Movie Making Club and set out on a quest to make a film of how printing had changed from the days when he was a Compositor up until the present time,  we have embarked on some very unusual adventures.  Ken needed to find a letterpress machine that was still operating and he located someone  on the internet with a company called Printing Museum Pty Ltd.  He phoned and had an in-depth conversation about printing methods and the chap said he had all types of machines, some still operating so Ken made arrangements to visit.  It was right out in the country up in the hills, necessitating us to stay away overnight.  When we looked at Google maps I thought it was an odd place to have a museum and I mentioned this fact to Ken who said not to worry.

It took about 5 hours drive to get there. We went round and round these narrow roads until we eventually came to a derelict pub and post box. There was a man collecting his mail so we asked for directions. He told us where to find the place but said “he’s a weird bloke”. Eventually we came to this really run down row of houses, most with wonky roofs and planks falling off.  The chap we had spoken to earlier drove by, stopped and said ‘that’s the place’. Ken got out of the car as a man emerged from one of the buildings and introduced himself as Kerry and told us to go further along the road and through a farm gate. Well, there was rubbish everywhere. Great first impression. I said to Ken, ‘I’m not going in there’. Anyway Ken sets off with Kerry and was gone for nearly 2 hours.   I started to wonder what had happened to him. Fortunately I had a book with me.   When Ken returned he said Kerry did in fact have printing machinery and equipment but none of it was in working order and it was all going rusty and was impossible to film. It was all packed into these falling down houses.

Kerry told Ken he wanted to set up a tourist facility and was hoping for Government assistance.   Poor man, what wishful thinking.

We came down from the hills and stayed in a small cabin by the side of the river which was really pretty and tranquil though the weather wasn’t that good. What an experience and a real talking point.

Not to be deterred, when we got home Ken set about surfing the net in search once again of someone with a letterpress machine and came up trumps finding a man in Melbourne printing authentic looking tickets for trips on tourist trains such as Puffing Billy.  We were invited to visit and Ken came away with some great footage of a machine in operation.  I will post his film when it is complete.  Goes to show perseverence pays off.

 

TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE

I recently caught up for a coffee and chat with a friend who had been on holiday to Alaska and various other destinations.  Her trip sounded absolutely amazing.  Enjoying good company, sharing experiences, chatting about adventures and plans for the future is so uplifting.

Continuing on the adventure theme here’s a link to the 10 BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN ARGENTINA as promoted by the Spanish Cat Language School:  There are also links to the best things to see and do in other South American countries.

http://www.thespanishcat.com/learn/index.php/learn-spanish-blog/the-10-best-things-to-see-and-do-in-argentina

It might inspire you to visit South America or think about learning Spanish.

 

Spring is coming to Australia

I am very excited to have a new camera.  Ken said that the one I was using didn’t have enough pixels to do justice to the pictures I wanted to take so he bought me one that he considered would do the trick.  Well, I’ve started snapping away and will finish off this blog with my first efforts, Spring coming to the garden:

I wish you all well and hope you are filling your days enjoying retirement or planning for when that day comes.

Janice

 

 

 

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FELT HAT PROJECT, ADVENTURE IDEAS, A QUICK RECIPE IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING

FELT HAT PROJECT

I am happy to report that my felt hat project was a success, in fact I was so inspired that I made two hats.  There were two options open for the hat felting process;  the first was to lay the wool out on a template and the second to use a ball and cover it in layers with the wool.  I chose the second option though, on reflection, I think you may be able to get the design a bit more consistent with the former method because you have more control on how you lay out the fibres.  That’s for next time if I decide I need another hat!

I took photos of the hats on Photo Booth and came up with these as the best examples:

In case you are inspired to have a go here’s the YouTube tutorial I followed.  It’s a bit quirky but fun to watch.

 

 

 

PERU, LAND OF HIDDEN TREASURES

Following on from my post about the 10 best things to see and do in Peru, I thought you may be interested in the Peru Official Travel and Tourism Portal.  I subscribe to a newsletter called PERU THIS WEEK, which is packed with information about Peru, not only travel but lifestyle, recipes, music and culture.  This site makes you want to pack your bags.

http://www.peru.travel/en-us/

 

ALL IN ONE QUICHE – IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING AT SHORT NOTICE

This quiche really is delicious and so easy to prepare:

200g smoked salmon chopped, 1 cup grated cheese, 3 eggs, 1 onion chopped, 1½ cups milk, ½ cup cream, ¼ cup melted butter, ½ cup self raising flour.

Place all ingredients into an airtight container.  Shake well.  Pour into a heavily greased flan dish.  Bake 180C for 45 minutes.  Garnish with smoked salmon.  Serve cold.  For vegetarians replace salmon with chopped vegetarian sausage.

S1010012Photo taken in my garden last summer.

 

BITS AND PIECES – crocheting, water aerobics and books

I’m still practicing my crocheting skills and have managed to make a very large circle with different patterns.  Nothing to be proud of so far.  I had a bathing costume malfunction and couldn’t go to water aerobics until I bought a new one.  I think the costume was about 15 years old.   I’m now the proud owner of two bathing suits being unable to choose which one I liked best so bought both.  I finished reading The Dandelion by Terry Guilford (mentioned in my last blog).  I enjoyed the psychology advice given to the main character but have to admit to skipping a few pages.  I’m now reading a book of short stories, entitled BRAVO,

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which was kindly sent to me by the author, an American lady, who is a volunteer in a school in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The school was set-up especially to help educate indigenous disadvantaged children.  It has had enormous success thanks to donations and volunteers from all walks of life.   The book is in both Spanish and English (Spanish on the left page and English on the right).  I am reading the stories to my friend Olga whose native language is Spanish.  It’s good practice for my pronounciation and causes quite a lot of hilarity when I get things wrong.  Olga is a wonderful help to me in my quest to converse in her language.

I hope you are keeping fit and well and filling your days with enjoyable activities.  Until next time,

Janice

 

 

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