Category Archives: Projects

RECENT ACTIVITIES (16/08/2015)

Goodness me, I can’t believe it is such a long time since I last blogged.  I seem to have been chasing my tail and feel I should slow down but on the other hand there is so much to do and enjoy.    First of all I want to chat about books and how I have been inspired by other retirees.    First a little apology to the male readers of this blog because the first book is slanted towards the ladies.

BOOK LAUNCH OF:  OLDER & BOLDER – LIFE AFTER 60 – Author Renata Singer

Last week I went down to Melbourne to attend the launch of this book.  It was a coming together of women to connect, share and inspire.

Older and Bolder is a rallying cry to living audaciously in the last third of your life.

For the first time in history, women can expect to live well from their sixties for another three decades. A drab existence of retirement, disease and disconnection is not an option for this generation of women.
In Older and Bolder, Renata Singer contrasts the stories of the pioneers of active, productive old age against the anxieties of those facing the milestone of turning sixty, considering each viewpoint in the light of revealing research. Older and Bolder is her rallying guide to living audaciously in the last third of your life.

Here’s a picture of the book to help you find it in the book store or library if you decide you would like to read it:

preview_Preview

 

One of the ladies featured in the book, Elizabeth Kirby, participated in the launch.  What an impressive life she has lead;  a star of the Australian soapie No.96 in the 1970’s, a politician, a radio broadcaster, an Order of Australia Medal recipient and now at 93 a PhD graduate.  Here is a link so you can read more about this amazing lady’s achievements:

Dr Elizabeth Kirby

BASS COAST WRITERS SHOWCASE

My local library hosted a writers showcase where 10 authors from the area were given 5 minutes to showcase their book(s).  It’s really surprising the talent and interest there is in writing.  The youngest published author was 22 and the oldest 80+ and all managed to inspire the audience.  I have decided to read The Dandelion (Fiction) by Terry Guilford, who is a local Psychologist.  I liked the sound of the the relationship plot.  A lady sees her husband sitting in a park with another woman and waits for him to tell her he is leaving.  When he doesn’t she decides to make the decision and leave herself.  Haven’t started yet but will let you know what I think.

MY FELTING PROJECT

At last I have managed to source some carded wool from South Australia suitable for felting.  It arrived a couple of days ago and I am absolutely thrilled with the quality.  Now I need to get down to work so I am planning a free day next week i.e. no housework or cooking, as  once you start on the project you have to follow through.  I ordered three different colours, shown here together with a Felting Book I found at the library which is full of really good advice.  I intend to make a hat;  if successful I will post a picture, if not !!!!!

P1310876

Have a look at Bennett & Gregor website to be inspired:

Corriedale and Marino type fleeces

CROCHET LESSONS

After seeing some beautiful crochet work, I was at a loss to understand why I had never learnt the art.  My mother was always crocheting so I ask myself why she did’t teach me.  Perhaps she tried and I wasn’t up to the task.  I still have a shawl she crocheted for me when they were very much in fashion back in the 60’s.   I mentioned this fact to my friend Olga who said she would teach me so under her instruction I have been practicing different stitches and enjoying it very much.  I did a circle which turned into a small hat, mainly because I kept going round and round.  I think it’s going to take a while to perfect the art but I will keep trying.

 

I still have a few other things to share with you but that’s for next week’s blog.  I hope you are all keeping well and enjoying your activities.

 

Janice

 

PROJECTS, THE GARDEN, A RECIPE, GOOD FRIENDS

PROJECTS

Felt hat project

I am still in pursuit of assembling sufficient information and skills needed to be able to make a felt hat.  Last week I collected flowers from the garden to try and make some natural dyes.   I followed a recipe I had seen on Gardening Australia.   My efforts all resulted in very pale colours.  First I soaked red salvias, blue salvias and yellow/orange calandulas in glass bottles using cold water and then brought these to a  simmer in my electric preserving pan.  Next I drained each colour and put in a separate pan and added some white wool bringing that slowly to a simmer for half an hour.  I definitely need to do more research and practicing but I’ll keep trying.  I know you can buy special dyes but I think it would be nice to achieve a result by my own efforts.

Video for Author page

As mentioned in my last Blog, I needed to make a video for inclusion in my Author page on Amazon.  Location for filming the video was the first hurdle.  Ken said he could add film behind me if I sat in front of a green screen which is the recognised method of superimposing someone or something on a background.  I bought some green material and we taped that to the wall and then I sat at a small desk in front of the camera.  I’d written out a sort of script of what I wanted to say but of course I couldn’t look at that because I had to face the camera and speak.  Ken was so patient;  it took me 11 attempts to sort of get it right.  I had no idea how hard it would be to talk without making mistakes.

Ken superimposed me on different pieces of film he had but nothing looked right.  I had the idea a library background would be good so Ken went up to the local library.  He described to the librarian what we were trying to do and approval was kindly given.  Joining the film making club has certainly given him some new skills not to mention a few headaches besides.

If you would like to see the end result it can be accessed on my author page at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

 

THE GARDEN

I can’t believe how colourful the garden is even though it’s winter.  Some of the fruit trees still haven’t shed all their leaves but at the same time are budding up, likewise some of the ornamentals.  Even sweet peas, which self sowed, are whizzing up.  This surely must be a sign of how confused nature is due to climate change.  I planted garlic on the shortest day of the year, which is what I normally do, then read in a gardening blog that wasn’t the best way and it should be planted sooner.  Anyway I’ll keep with my method of planting on the shortest day and harvesting on the longest.  My last crop was fantastic.  A while ago I planted broad beans which are now looking healthy and strong and I am fortunate enough to be able to harvest carrots, lettuce, beetroot and corriander as required.  Gardening is very rewarding if you are able to accept failures along with the successes.

 

 

RECIPE

Once again I have to thank Jo Marty for kindly allowing me to include one of her recipes in this blog.  This time it’s for Spaghetti and Pea Pesto.  I tried it out last week and it tastes really delicious.   In Jo’s words ‘the recipe is super cheap yet flavourful and filling’.

200g frozen peas, defrosted, generic is fine
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons almonds/35g, skin on is fine
100g cheddar cheese, grated, reserve a little for sprinkling over
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup vegetable oil (olive oil is best but any mild oil will do)
500g spaghetti pasta

Method
Half cook the peas. Set 2 tablespoons aside for garnishing later.
Place the almonds in a food processor and blend well. Add the garlic, peas,cheese,salt and pepper then vegetable oil. Blend well until smooth.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente according to the instructions on packet.
Ladle out and reserve approximately 2 cups of the cooking liquid then drain the rest.
Add 1 cup (i.e. Half of the reserved cooking liquid) of the cooking water to the pea mixture in the food processor. Blend well, stopping to scrape the sides and base.
Return the spaghetti to the pot then over medium heat toss through the pea sauce until well heated and well mixed. Add more of the reserved cooking water if necessary.
To serve divide amongst 4 bowls and garnish with the reserved whole peas and grated cheese.
Serves 4

ENJOY ………………………………….

GOOD FRIENDS

25th June was the birthday of my good friend Olga.  It was a happy celebration.

Olga blowing out the candle

Olga blowing out the candle

 

A get-well message to Joan Blain, a regular contributor to the blog, who is in hospital with a broken ankle.  I hope she is catching up on her reading.

To everyone else, keep well and treasure each day.

Janice

 

 

 

 

CELEBRATIONS, INTERESTING PEOPLE, PROJECTS

KEN’S 80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

Last week we spread the celebrations of Ken’s 80th Birthday over several days, after which I have to say we were quite exhausted but very content.  We spent quite a bit of time deciding how to celebrate the big day with the family.  Our first idea was to do something really different like GoKarting.  However, on investigation of the costs i.e. in the region of $900 for 20 minutes for participation of the whole family, this idea was quickly discarded somewhat to the disappointment of the teenagers.  Ken had often wondered if his children and grandchildren knew anything about his working life as a Compositor in the printing trade, starting at age 15 as an apprentice in London, until the dimise of those skills with the advent of computer technology.   With this in mind it was decided to take the family to the Melbourne Museum of Print for a guided tour.  I have to say that this was met with groans from some as a possible boring outing.  It turned out to be a most enlightening experience for all and amazement at how technology had changed the printing trade.  You can visit the site at:  www.mmop.org.au – as well as being a museum there are teaching courses on the practice and origins of typography and they also provide a letterpress studio for typographical printmaking.  I took some photos and made them into a slide Ken is busy making a film of the day so I may be able to share that at a later date.

 

 

I bought Ken a new wedding ring.  It was a real surprise for him.  He lost his ring when building his bird aviary some years ago.  Although we searched and searched it was to no avail.  It’s probably encased in concrete in the ground.

Congratulations Ken on reaching 80

Congratulations Ken on reaching 80

 

MEETING UP WITH BOB BAKEWELL

Recently I had the opportunity to have a coffee and chat with Bob Bakewell.  I was introduced to him recently through the Ken’s movie making club.  Bob is 83 and has had the most amazing and eventful life.  He shared some stories of his adventures working in Papua, New Guinea as a land surveyor in the 50’s and 60’s where he had many near death experiences at the hands of the locals including being shipwrecked when travelling between islands and spending hours in the water before being rescued.  He told me a little of the tragedies of his life.  The death of his 5 year old son at the hands of a drunk driver, the suicide of his 30 year old son who suffered from spina bifida and the light plane crash that killed his three brothers and brother in law returning from a fishing trip.  He said, with tears rolling down his face “I should have died many times, why was I spared”

Anyway I thought I would share with you one of Bob’s more fun stories as reported in his local newspaper.  This is an abridged version:

A tall tale but true Australia Day story

AUSTRALIA Day 2015 is one that Cowes resident Bob Bakewell will not forget in a hurry.  In fact, he is hopping mad, after a wallaby gate crashed his home.  Bob opened his door on the morning of Australia Day after hearing a knock, expecting to welcome his next door neighbour in, only to have on of Australia’s iconic national symbols in the form of a terrified wallaby go flying up the hall.  It proceeded to create mayhem throughout the house as Bob attempted to quieten it down.  He found that the the more he moved toward it, the more agitated and flighty it became. Bedside lamps, pictures, photo frames all went flying and the curtains and bed linen were all but destroyed in the ruckus.  The Phillip Island Nature Park were contacted and someone arrived to capture the wallaby.  Australia Day celebrations were put on hold as Bob set about a major clean up.  He was still at it the following day, the house unliveable that night.

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Fortunately Bob was able to take photos of the destruction in process which he forwarded to his insurance company.

Retirement is a time when we can share our stories and reminisce.  Hope to include more of Bob’s stories in the future.  He is an amazing character.

PROJECTS

My latest project, the publication of my book A VEGETARIAN AT THE TABLE (how to mix and match a meat and vegetarian menu at the same time) has been uploaded to Amazon Kindle.  It’s been so much work as I decided to include pictures of each recipe so of course my kitchen became a production set.  I had a lot of trouble with formatting for conversion to Kindle and am still not completely happy with how that has turned out.  Fortunately you can edit your book as many times as you like so I will make some changes.  The next thing I have to do is make a video for my author page which Ken is helping me with.  That’s work in progress.  You might like to take a look at my book on my Amazon site at:  Author page

 

Do share any stories you may have or any ideas for Retire and Enjoy.

Until next time

Janice

 

 

 

 

UPDATES/PROJECTS/ACTIVITIES

Hello everyone – sorry I’ve got so behind in updating the blog but I have been occupied trying to get my new cook book finished.  I received advice on the importance of  including photographs of my recipes in the book so that’s what I have been doing, not realising what a massive task it would be.  Ken has been my photographer and thanks to him the job is almost complete.

Oscar’s doggie antics – Sophia’s best friend

My little dog Sophia loves to meet up with Oscar, who is a fearless little terrier, when we happen to be walking on the beach at the same time. Sophia always knows if Oscar is about when she sniffs the imprint of his paws and dashes off to find him. He in turn races to meet her with ‘open paws’, much wagging of tails and sniffing. Today Sheri, the owner of Oscar, posted the most amazing story on Facebook. I know you will find it fascinating. Here it is:

Another close call for the fearless Oscar today. He and I went for a walk along the Kilcunda beaches, starting from Shelley Beach and around the corner onto the main Kilcunda beach. Halfway down that stretch was was a great big bird sitting on the sand. Still a fair way from it, I saw it half-walk, half-fly out into the water a ways – it looked like it was struggling a bit. When we walked up past where the bird had been on the beach, Oscar decided to go for a swim, as is his wont. All of a sudden the big bird (bigger than Oscar) turned around and surfed in on a wave straight towards Oscar! I don’t know who struck first – the bird or Oscar. But the bird quickly had Oscar by the neck and onto his back. Oscar was trying to get free but his paws were above him and he couldn’t get much of a wriggle up in the water. The bird wasn’t going to let go – it looked like it was trying to drown him. By this time I had gotten my coat off, tossed my iPod and phone up the beach and went in after him, into about hip-deep water. Fortunately the surf wasn’t very big today. I just swatted at the bird (huge wing-span, I might say), grabbed Oscar away from it and we got back up onto the beach. No skin broken, but some fur missing around the front of his neck. Oscar was making a strange hacking, convulsing noise – I thought maybe the bird had damaged his windpipe or something. I tipped him upside down but he didn’t lose any water. So when we got up to the carpark on the bluff I called Neville to come down and pick us up. Also because I was dripping wet!  And it was cold!  When Nev got there, I pointed out where the bird was (Oscar had recovered by this time and was keen for another play). We saw a woman come along with a little staffie, and the bird, who had gone back out onto the water, made a beeline for the staffie! The staffie obviously isn’t a swimmer so it ran barking up the beach away from the water and the bird gave up and went back into the water. It looked like it had either a broken foot or broken wing.
When we got home Nev called Wildlife Rescue who sent someone from Phillip Island Nature Reserve out about an hour later. Nev went down to see if she needed a hand (I stayed home with Oscar, as we were still thawing out). AND, wouldn’t you know it, I was wearing a brand new pair of Brooks runners – not enough time to take them off, as Oscar was in trouble – so I had to spend some time rinsing them out well enough – I hope!
By the time the rescuer and Nev got there, the bird had gone out into deeper water and the rescuer said she couldn’t go out that far. Nev suggested he walk out alongside the deeper water on the rock platform. Sure enough, the bird came back in towards him and followed him back to the shallower water! The rescuer then waded out with a big blanket, flung it over the bird and wrapped it up. She said it was a Southern Giant Petrel and that they are quite aggressive by nature. And that they would check it out, put it in a cage, give it some food, and release it if it recovered. She didn’t think it had a broken wing or foot, but maybe that it had gotten knocked around in a storm out at sea and was just exhausted. Interestingly, she told Nev that they had rescued a pair of these same birds a couple of weeks ago. Overnight in the cage one had killed and eaten the other one! I hope none of the fairy penguins hear about this!
And you would think Oscar would have learnt a lesson.  No way – all the way back up the beach and the bluffs, having trouble breathing, he was still wanting to get back and have a go. As with the seals, every time we walk past that spot he will be looking for that bird…

This is Oscar:

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Update on tofu making

Well my tofu making did not get off to a very good start.  I haven’t heard that anyone followed the recipe I gave for which I am thankful.  I made three attempts and the results were pitiful.  I went to the beach three times to collect sea water.  The last time a young surfer gave me a very strange look as I bent over a rock pool with bottle in hand trying to fill it with sea water.  It was windy and starting to rain.

After each failure I rang Bruce, the master tofu maker, and he made various suggestions as to what could be going wrong.  The curd was just not coming together.  Eventually he said he would come round and we would make tofu together which he kindly did.  The problem turned out to be in the grinding of the soaked beans.  I used my kitchen mixer whereas he had used the traditional grinder.  Before coming he practiced using a liquidiser to grind the beans, and that’s what we did together.  SUCCESS – is it worth all the trouble, I’m not sure, but have decided to have another go on my own.  I don’t like being beaten.

Update on felt making

I haven’t lost interest in the idea of making a felt hat.  I trawled the internet for courses but found them to be too far away to travel plus they were costly, in the region of $120.  Borrowed some books from the library and also watched YouTube tutorials.  Last weekend went to Spotlight and bought 70g of Merino Wool which was packaged and ready for use in wet felting.  I was horrified to see that it was imported from China and cost $14.95.  Now this is not economical but it will allow me to make a practice run.  I have looked on eBay where larger carded quantities can be purchased at a fraction of the cost.  My idea is to buy one of these larger amounts and have a go at dying it from natural infusions.  Could be challenging !

Leche asada

Each week when I participate in a Spanish language lesson with Rosa my teacher from Lima in Peru, we share a variety of topics.  Recently she has given me links to recipes, written in Spanish, which are very popular in South America.  Leche asada is one that I would like to share with you all because it is so easy and is similar to a Creme Caramel.

2 cups evaporated milk, 2 eggs beaten, 4 tbs sugar, vanilla and nutmeg.  Beat ingredients together except nutmeg,  poor into 6 individual moulds then sprinkle over nutmeg.   Fill an oblong roasting pan with boiling water (bain marie)  stand filled moulds in water and bake at 175C for about 40 minutes until set.  You can make them a bit more special by first caramelising 200g of sugar  in a saucepan for 5 minutes.  Poor into moulds before adding the milk mixture.  Chill for at least 3 hours.  

I can’t take credit for this picture as it came from the recipe I was given but I thought you would like to see the end result.  The ones I made turned out really well and were absolutely delicious served with raspberries.  Olga my Chilean friend gave them her seal of approval.

postres

 

 

Outing to Scottish/Celtic Heritage Day

Ken was keen to do some filming so last Sunday we went to the Annual Scottish/Celtic Heritage Day at Dandenong.  Unfortunately it wasn’t well attended, probably because of rain and wind, but we managed to make the best of it.  There were some magnificent Clydesdale horses and foals and Scottish Dogs sporting tartan colours but what stood out was a Town Crier competition.  One of the Criers was a lady with a massive voice:  here she is strutting her stuff:

town crier

 

I think I’ve made up for my lack of news over the past couple of weeks.  Hope you are all travelling well and enjoying life.  Do share your retirement stories with the blog if you feel so inclined.

Janice

ACTIVITIES – Harvesting/Preserving/Tofu Making (18/05/15)

Harvesting and Preserving Fruit

At last apple harvesting has come to an end.  Our one small Golden Delicious tree produced so much fruit it was impossible for me to cope with it all.  However, there is always a good side to everything and I was able to share the fruit with friends.  Likewise I received some quince paste from a friend, which from her description, seems a huge task to prepare and not a job that I would be prepared to tackle.  It is particularly good with brie or camembert as shown here:

Quince paste with camembert

Quince paste with camembert

I still use the method of bottling the apples in glass jars using an electric preserving pan (Fowlers Vacola).  It’s quite a labor of love.  I remember my grandma meticulously picking over the apples and making sure they were absolutely perfect.  I wonder what she would think of my somewhat slap-dash approach which seems to work quite well.  So far I have filled 35 large bottles and made various pies.  I think we will be eating apples every week from now on.

P1310744

My fig tree didn’t do very well this year.  Even though Ken netted it, the birds still managed to get their fill.  Anyway I never quite know what to do with them all.  Ken doesn’t like the seeds getting under his denture plate.  I know some people make fig jam but I don’t think I would use it if I made it.  I did try drying some and that was quite a success but I’m not sure if all the electricity I used in the process was really worthwhile .

I noticed recently that a book has been written about bottling using a microwave method.  That might be worth checking out though it is unlikely I could use my large bottles.  A while ago I found a recipe for corn relish using the microwave and that turned out well so perhaps that’s the way to go for small quantities.

Making Tofu from scratch using sea water

Last Saturday I went to a tofu making demonstration given by Bruce, a master tofu maker, followed by a light lunch using the finished tofu.  The process is absolutely amazing and Bruce has kindly allowed me to reproduce his method.

Now I know this isn’t for everyone but I am sure there may be some readers who will be tempted to have a go.  If you don’t live in close proximity to the ocean an alternative to sea water is Nigari available from Asian and Japanese grocers.  Bruce advises to use a heaped teaspoon of Nigari powder diluted in 250ml water (scale up volume as required).  Do not be alarmed by the use of salt water in the process of tofu making as it is poured off with the whey and takes no part in forming the tofu curd.

The amount of sea water or Nigari you use is the same as the dry soy beans i.e. 1 cup of dry beans needs 1 cup of seawater.

First you have to make the Soy Milk:  

  1. Soak beans fror 12 hours (possibly 300gm or more if wished)
  2. Mince the softened beans into a large pan of hot water at 100C
  3. Bring the water and ground beans back up to 100C and hold at this temperature for 20 minutes stirring to prevent burning.  A trivet is useful.  This destroys an enzyme called trypsin inhibiter that is bad in the human gut.
  4. Strain through sieve or colander.  Now you have REAL SOY MILK

Making the Tofu

  1. Heat sea water or Nigari to 80C
  2. In another pan heat soy milk to 80C
  3. Add the milk to the sea water while gently stirring for 10 seconds.
  4. Stop all swirling in the pot and allow curd to form over next 6 minutes
  5. Ladle out the whey by pressing onto the top of the curds and whey mixture.   Do this again and again until all you have is tofu.  The whey can be used in bread making.
  6. Drape some muslin over a small squarish plastic container with drain holes then spoon the soft tofu into the mould then weigh down for 20 minutes or so.  You now have tofu.  Store under fresh water in fridge.

I collected some sea water today and intend to have a go myself at making the tofu tomorrow.  Will advise how it goes.  I have my fingers crossed!

Update on Realising your Talents (31/03/15)

Recently I wrote about how Lesley had realised her talent for painting.  She has been working away at improving her art and sent me some more of her paintings.  Here is one I particularly love:

Lesley's latest picture

Lesley’s latest picture

Until next time warm regards to all

Janice

 

 

 

 

REALISING A DREAM (26/04/15)

I am sure many of you have had, or still have, ambitions to do something really different.   It’s not easy to realise your dreams;  there is so much effort between you and the successful outcome.

I would like to share with you how I came to write my first vegetarian cookery book What to Eat if you Don’t have Meat.    When my husband and I first came to Australia back in 1976, I was extremely unhappy.  I describe leaving ones family as a bereavement – no e-mails, or Skype in those days for instant communication.   I started asking myself what I would really like to do to fill the void in my life and that’s when I decided to become a vegetarian, something I had always had a desire to do.  Soon the family were trying out my new menu.  The dishes they liked I jotted down in a note book and I wrote to my mother on a regular basis telling her of my successes or failures.

In Australia there is a rural journal, The Weekly Times.  At that time they had a a page called Dear Miranda which included peoples stories and recipes and items of interest.   I used to pull out and send this page to my mum because I knew she would enjoy it.  Unbeknown to me she wrote to the Dear Miranda page telling how her daughter was producing vegetarian recipes and her letter featured on the page.  Within a few weeks the page received many requests for my recipes and the editor sent the letters on to my mother for forward transmissions to me.

The dream was born.  Could I write a cookery book, how could I do that, who would publish it anyway.  I had to do something.  I was working as a secretary at the time so I asked my boss if I could type up my recipes and print them out on the Gestetner machine  (How many of you remember those?).  He agreed and said I could have some spare paper not in use which turned out to be pink, not the best but it had to do.  I stapled the books together and sent them off to all the people who had written in.  I was inspired by how many letters of appreciation I received back but still had no idea of how I was going to get the book published.

I read everything I could on self-publishing.  It had become quite the thing in those days.  I saved up some of my wages and approached a company in a nearby town who produced text books.  They were a bit sceptical but agreed to print 1500 of my books, the minimum run for them.  I contacted a local artist to do some line drawings for me and I typed up the pages, again thanks to my boss.  Ken, who was a compositor and had the know-how on layout,  pasted up the pages at home.

What a day it was when I went to pick up my books.  I was so excited.  Now I had to sell them;  easier said than done.  I needed distributors.  I started phoning around but because I wasn’t a known publisher most weren’t interested and brushed me off.   Anyway persistence paid off and eventually things started to happen very slowly.  I also went round Health Food Stores, gift shops, tourist outlets  and learned how to become my own representative.  My friend Olive visited from Perth, WA, and kindly took back a heap of the books and managed to get a distributor to take them.

The book was of it’s time, small by book standards today, no colour photos or bright cover.  It was a time when self-sufficiency and an alternative lifestyle were the buzz words.  Over many years I changed the cover and had three re-prints the last being in 1992.  Eventually I sold in the region of 10,000 copies which I consider quite an achievement.

Has my enthusiasm for writing gone, no it’s still alive and well.    With the arrival of  the e-book anyone who wants to publish has the opportunity at their fingertips.  It’s a wonderful opportunity which I have taken full advantage of and plan to continue doing so.   Of course it’s not possible to compete with celebrity chefs and public figures who sell vast numbers of their titles but you can still take your place in the sun.

You might like to visit my author page at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

 

 

 

 

 

REALISING YOUR TALENTS

Hello everyone

Sitting in the shade of a beautiful palm, which incidentally I bought in a small pot many years ago, I have been enjoying the glorious autumn weather and reflecting on the 101 ways in which we can enjoy retirement.  There are so many opportunities to be explored whatever our interests and abilities.

I hope by sharing my ideas, reading about what other retirees are doing and deciding what you have always wanted to do but never before had the time, you are really going to RETIRE AND ENJOY.

Today I want to tell you about Lesley who visited recently.  Some of you may recall an item I posted a while ago about how Lesley, who had been recently widowed, had been knitting the most amazing and colourful scarves which were being worn by friends and relations travelling around the world.  Lesley has now realised her dream of starting to paint and without receiving any formal training, has found her talent.  Her aim is to steadily improve so that she can paint and do justice to a picture of her late husband, David, though I am sure she already has the ability.

Have a look at some of her work:

 

KEN’S SHORT FILM MAKING

Ken has been continuing with his short film making activities and enjoying every moment.  Recently he attended a Working Horse and Tractor Rally and from that has, in his own words, produced his best film ever.  Joining the Wonthaggi Movie Makers was certainly a good decision and has provided many hours of occupation.  He’s now called himself:   KENNYBOY PRODUCTIONS.  

 

I’ll be back with more ideas and achievement tales soon.

Janice

ACTIVITIES AND VOLUNTEERING (8/03/15)

Hello all – welcome to autumn here in Australia where there are all kinds of activities and festivals to enjoy.  Ken is continuing his quest to make as many short movies as possible so has planned a calendar of events that we can both attend which will provide him with colourful subject matter.   There really are so many opportunities and ideas for projects to pursue now that we are retired.

Dahlia exhibition and show, Mt Waverley

If you were interested in growing dahlias or just wanting to enjoy the beauty of these blooms, this exhibition and show was absolutely magnificent.  Here are a couple of photos:

Dahlia Show at Mt Waverley

Dahlia Show at Mt Waverley

Mt Waverley Show

Mt Waverley Show

One of the exhibitors was Country Dahlias from Winchelsea near Geelong.   If you live near Melbourne it is possible to visit their 2 acre dahlia garden and wander around at your leisure.    They are hosting a festival on the weekend of March 21st/22nd which sounds good.  Unfortunately their brochure does not give a web site and I haven’t been able to find one, though they are mentioned on the net under plant nurseries.   If you live in other States of Australia, search out the events calendar for your area.  Conversely, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will just be starting to think of planting out your tubers.  I remember with nostalgia how my father loved his dahlias;  he grew those ones with the huge heads.

Quilt and felt hat display at Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne

I was so inspired by the felt hat display and came home full of enthusiasm for making one for myself.  However, I was a little sobered by the process when I checked out some YouTube tutorials.  I am undaunted and think I will pursue the idea.  It could be a good project for the winter months.  I will keep you posted.  The quilts must have taken hours of work.  I have never attempted one myself though my daughter made one some years ago.  I am sure if you want a really absorbing pastime, quilt making would fill the bill.

Here is a picture of the hat display:

Felt hats and wall hangings at quilt exhibition

Felt hats and wall hangings at quilt exhibition

Kite Festival at Rosebud, Mornington Peninsula

Yesterday we went to the Kite Festival at Rosebud.  Though this event was more for young people, racing around flying their kites, there were still quite a few older folk with their grandchildren, enjoying the spectacle of the professional display as shown here:

SnapShot

I didn’t realise there was still so much interest in kites.  Ken says he remembers, as a boy, making a kite from split bamboo canes to required shape, putting cotton around the outside, then laying on tissue paper and sticking to the outside string after which he attached a tail and more string to pull it into the air.

Volunteering as a Community Visitor

I have chatted before about the Community Visitors Scheme which pairs volunteers with a resident in an aged care facility who is need of a visitor to share some time them.  There are so many people who sit alone all day and never have a visitor.  This is so sad.  After the death late last year of the lady I was visiting  I decided to take some time away but this week I was introduced to a new inmate who I will be visiting from now on.  We chatted briefly and I am sure that we will be able to develop an ongoing and fulfilling relationship.  Here is a rose for her from my garden:   P1310686

If you are interested in finding out more about the scheme in your area, visit:

http://www.communityvisitorsscheme.org.au

That’s all for this Blog.  Let me know about your activities.  Until next time,

Enjoy every day

Janice

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEN’S VIDEO PROJECT (21/02/15)

Hello all – thanks for continuing to read my Blog.  It has given me immense enjoyment so far and I hope to continue sharing my ideas and projects with you.

Today I thought I might share with you the progress of one of Ken’s video projects.  In a past post, under the category  ‘Joining a Club’,  I talked  about how Ken had joined a movie makers club and had the idea for a video story which traced printing methods back to the time 60 years ago when he was an apprentice.  I have to say, this is still a work in progress, as it has proved to be a bigger challenge than at first thought but he has been laying the ground work and it will be produced in the future.  In the meantime making films/videos has certainly been an unimaginable  learning curve for Ken which has kept him occupied for hours.  So if anyone out there really wants a project to get involved in, I can recommend joining a film and movie makers club.

At club meetings films are submitted for critique by participating members.  One of the most difficult things is to keep the movie within 6 minutes as apparently this is the time frame you have to maintain viewers interest.    Ken’s first effort was far too long.  Other problems include  subject matter so now he is on a quest looking for ideas.  Tomorrow we are going to a Swap Meet where there will be vintage cars and the following weekend to a dahlia and quilt making show.  Just goes to show how many opportunities there are for enjoyment when you decide to join a club.

I thought I would include one of Ken’s short movies which is of our garden.  Have to say that caused heaps of complications because the film has to be converted into the correct format.  After many false starts and disappointments, we found that the format that best suited being added to a Blog was the YouTube format.  Ken’s not that happy with the colour quality, which on the original is perfect, but I think it does give an idea of what he is trying to do.

He says he has many more skills to master but the opportunities for enjoyment and learning will certainly keep him occupied.  You can find Wonthaggi Movie Makers Club on Facebook.

Looking forward to hearing from my readers.

Janice

FLOWER PRESSING (07/02/15)

 

Hello all

A little while ago I was out walking with Sophia in a rather scrubby coastal area when I came across some beautiful little yellow and mauve flowers.  I couldn’t resist the temptation of picking a few.  This brought to mind a hobby that I put aside some years ago of pressing flowers and ferns.  There are many ways to press flowers including a kit with accessories made for the job, in the microwave or oven or between the pages of a large book.  I favoured the latter and have to say I still come across flowers that I pressed in the past and forgot all about.

It’s a lovely idea to press a flower from a special occasion, a holiday or for no other reason than you just want the joy of preserving the moment.   Many years ago I found a spray in an old Bible of my mother’s from her wedding bouquet, still perfect from 1934.  I had a few attempts at mounting dried flowers on  satin cushions and then framing them, the effect was good though these did fade over time.  One long lasting idea I came up with was to make paper weights.  I would find a suitable rock or large stone, position the flowers or ferns and then varnish over with clear nail polish.  Another idea was a double photo frame in which I placed a photo on the left and pressed flowers on the right.

Now, like any hobby, you have to be careful you don’t overdo it, otherwise all your friends and family will be the recipients of pressed flower cards, pictures, calendars etc. etc.  Anyway, it’s worth having a go and can be very rewarding and provide constant memories of a day out or, as I said, that special occasion.  When I visited my dear friend Olive, who lives in Perth, WA (we have been friends since we started school together at the age of 5),  I was thrilled when she showed to me framed Bluebells that I had sent to her many moons ago.  We both love Bluebells as they bring back happy times of walking through the woods in Spring back home in the UK.

Here are some of my offerings.

 

UPDATE ON MY HAT MAKING

I have  to admit to very slow progress on my hat knitting for my grandson Nicholas;  I have only managed a few rows.   Hopefully I will have a couple knitted by autumn/winter which still gives me plenty of leeway.

All for now

Janice