Saturday, 12 December 2015

Feels a lot like Christmas...

I do love Christmas and now that I've put up my tree I feel I'm finally getting into the mood. Every year I tell the story of my vintage Christmas Tree - how my grandmother Mitzi brought it to Australia in 1931 when she, my grandfather Rudolf, and my mother Lina left Vienna to make a new life on the other side of the world. I'm pretty sure Nana didn't really want to leave her sister and friends behind in Vienna but Grandpa was offered an excellent job opportunity, and it was too good to pass up. I think bringing the tree and decorations was one of her links to her past, and I know she treasured it as much as I do now.
Some of the glass decorations from 1931 have survived to this day, added to in 1947 when Nana made her first trip back to Vienna, and Nana, Lina and I have continued to add over the years. These pictured below are from the original group with some of the 1947 decorations.
Back in spring I spent a few days with my dear friends Jenny and Adrian at their property Eumalga in Tibbuc, NSW. Going there is such a joy - I even enjoy the train trip. The country looked superb because they'd had some welcome rain, the orchard was full of citrus blossom and mandarins, and J&A were busy making new gardens. The perfume of the citrus was almost overpowering - fabulous.
My garden has its ups and downs. It recovered from The Storm, it recovered from The Hail, it is trying to recover from the days of scorching heat that burn leaves, fronds and flowers, and this week there has been another setback. Some large trees that were dropping limbs have been removed - sad but necessary  - and although the workmen did their best to be careful, my garden seems to have borne the brunt of the damage. Agapanthus, hydrangeas, echiums, and worst of all, my crab apple is badly smashed. However, pretty well everything will be okay by next spring and I'll perform some surgery on the crab apple and cross my fingers. Here I am apparently levitating in my garden. Followed by what was flowering in the garden before The Workmen.

Thank goodness most of the lilies and hippeastrums had just finished flowering before they got dumped on by big branches, and they'll be fine next year. I picked all the broken agapanthus and they look fabulous in the house. The white hydrangeas are badly broken but a good prune and they'll be fine too. I did have plans for huge bunches in the house for Christmas but que sera...

Today I took the children to their swimming lessons and lunch at our local club and was so pleased to see that the Magnolia Grandiflora avenues are flowering. Here's a sample. What a flower!
On the crafty front I'm still collecting metal, rust and silver plate. Definitely turning into a crazy old lady. This is my latest stash.
Next year in July 2016 Art is You will be back in Australia. Three venues, Sydney, Perth and Noosa... and this week I went with Sallianne (the amazing Art is You doyenne) and our friend Barbara from Qld, to check out the Sydney venue. This is the fabulous Crystal Palace at Luna Park, a wonderful space in a really cool location. Check this out and believe me, you'll have an incredible time. Just a couple of photos...
Less than two weeks to Christmas! No cards made but I'm thinking about it, no cards last year but I don't want a repeat of that. At least the tree is up and I've made a Christmas cake, posted a few parcels, bought a few gifts so maybe I'll get it all together in time. Everyone, have a wonderful Christmas, and I'll be back in the New Year.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Hail storm

I'm slightly obsessed by hail at the moment after being caught in the storm and then having to find my way home through ice packed roads with ambulances and fire engines zooming to all the accidents. I found it very scary, just staying on the road, but yesterday I spoke to our postman who was on his motor scooter during the storm and sheltered under a tree. He said he was terrified and I believe him. One thing though, it has made me really appreciate everyone who lives where snow and ice are a normal part of winter. I was at our local shopping centre when it started to hail and I was amazed to see how much ice was on the ground there.
However, driving home was like driving through a winter wonderland and I was even more surprised when I arrived home. I'm so pleased I took photos of my garden a few days ago because there's very little left now... And I'm drawing a veil over the plight of my tomatoes.
Wisteria was just beginning to bloom...
Hydrangeas surrounded by shredded leaves
My potatoes growing in a bag are looking fragile now the ice has been removed
The pathway into my Secret Garden
Tennis court under ice and water
Several inches of ice by the swimming pool
It could have been so much worse. My little house didn't leak but the big house above did, and the gutters and the pool roof have been damaged by the weight of the ice. The storm cut a swathe through the district, completely missing some areas and devastating others. People lost roofs and cars and the most spectacular sight was a news helicopter filming over the beaches where it looked like snow on the sand.

One thing that has cheered me has been that I'm making an effort to reorganise my studio. This is a polite way of saying I'm trying to take it back from the chaos I've caused in the past year or so. Maybe I'll make something soon. I figure if I make one area at a time workable then I have some chance of getting my enthusiasm back. One spot that looks a bit better is my bottle collection.
It's so easy to  make me happy! A couple of old bottles, a piece of bakelite, a bit of tarnished silver and I'm in seventh heaven. Oh, and anything rusty...

Friday, 11 September 2015

Sydney Spring and other things

Nearly nine months since my last post! Not for want of talking to you, you understand, but simply because sometimes it all becomes too hard. Hopefully, my head is in a better space and I'm back on track, or nearly so... I did manage to sprain both my ankles, which was pretty dreadful, and one took over ten weeks to heal. Better now, thank goodness.

I can't possibly fill in 9 months of my life so I think I'll show just you some photos with a tiny bit of commentary. Starting with Mother's Day, which was celebrated with my family, a weekend in Bundeena with Suzy & Tracy, a night at the Sydney Comedy Festival to see the NZ Topp Twins and possibly too much delicious food. Here I am with a lime ice cream soda (or spider as it is often called). I have never matured past the need for ice cream sodas.
There have been several birthdays, this one Eddie's 6th. A Super Hero party with boys in hero guise and lots of bubbles.
Eddie put in an auction bid and won a box of monsters. He took these photos. We all love an auction.
Peggy is still the apple of all eyes, loves having her photo taken. Miss Adorable. Miss Pushy, too.
The girls have been singing in choirs and Sophia played the recorder at a festival at the Sydney Opera House. I was thrilled to see (and hear) the quality of music being taught in NSW public schools. We had a great day by the harbour with 17 children from Sophia's school and about 1500 other children.
Before I move out into the garden I have a couple of pelican pics. Can't ever get enough pelicans... They fly majestically over our house and are on all our waterways. Love them.
Flowering now because it's Spring Down Under.
Abutilon (Chinese Lantern); Acacia; Azaleas; Blue Echium
Clivia; Crab Apple; Cymbidium Orchid; Funghi
Geraldton Wax; Native Orchid; Pink Echium; Rose; Jonquils; Sydney Rock Orchid
Birds that have been unheard during winter are back and singing from dawn, especially the Willie Wagtail. I always feel the cold is almost over when I hear that song. The garden is filled with Rainbow Lorrikeets, zooming, shrieking, performing; the rainbow clowns of my garden.

I hope I don't wait another 9 months before my next post. I like blogging and I enjoy reading blogs. I feel that Facebook takes up too much time but I'm as sucked into it as the next person. I prefer Instagram (I'm on there as Rustqueen) and have found several themes that I love to follow, such as farmer/florists, gardeners and assemblage artists. I also have way too many pages on Pinterest on so many subjects I couldn't list them.

Drop me a comment if you wish, I love to know what you are doing and thinking.