Month: March 2016

A final tribute to my furry friends

It’s hard to write about losing beloved pets, ones like Harry and Jemma, 15 year old border collies. You say, well, they’ve had a good, long life – they’re old. Yes that’s true. It’s also true that their parting was very unexpected and sad. Without any warning black and white Jemma disappeared and did not come back. It was obvious to me that she had gone away to die. During those first few days and terribly hot ones, my heart broke a little as I was puzzled, confused, bewildered and yet accepting of her fate. The mystery will always remain unanswered. She was a beautiful pooch without a dignified burial.

Exploring throughout the back garden, bushes and neighbourhood, under every hidden place, I lost heart for dear Jemma. That’s when I realised that Harry would be alone, lost without his companion. He was OK the first 2 weeks, perhaps he thought she would return to sleep next to him. 7 weeks later I find myself noticing a definite decline in his eating, movement and his cheerful, friendly licks stopped. Deaf and almost blind, Harry’s blood test came back with pancreatic cancer – a grim outlook. So on a Monday evening I arranged with my vet to have him put down.

When you wake up and know this is the outcome, it’s difficult to distract yourself from the pain that is waiting around the corner. The school hours, classes to teach and activities throughout the afternoon meant I did have some distractions, yet from 4-6pm were the dark hours. On the way to the vet I cried remembering all the good times, the family love affair with the pups at 6 weeks, the chasey games, throwing the balls, clever tricks taught, walking on the leads , jumping up at visitors, barking at bats, snoring, belly scratches, the car trips, the athletic vigour of Harry and the snappy yet sensitive nature of Jemma, the tears came and the reality of putting him on the stretcher – the last crying words whispered in his ears as I stroked him tenderly – thanking him for his abundant energy, fun, loyalty and charm.

And then just like that, rusty red Harry breathed his last breath, his glassy eyes stared like an empty vessel. The black moment was over. No more “speak Harry!”, no more jumps. No more bones to chomp, no more baths, no more walks around the neighbourhood.

IMG_0582

There’s more to the story but I won’t go on. My tribute to my furry friends is this – they give love unconditionally, and allow us to learn from them. They share their amusing antics, misadventures and naughty ways. I have learnt more responsibility and patience, organisation in life and lived with my short comings. The dogs have never judged me or complained. I will truly miss them.

As one of my son’s said in his text message to me, ” Poor fella. He’s been a great dog and will miss his optimism. Give him a big cuddle from me and lots of love.”

Apart from the recent sadness, I have wonderful memories of the two of them playing and running on the beach. There was always the chase, splash and healthy outdoor dip in the sea. What fun!

photo

Let me know if you have a tale to tell or a doggy memory that you cherish.

 

Embrace collections!

Having a collection of something special in your home is simply about telling a story. I love telling stories and sharing my arty things. It’s part of who I am, a reflection of me and it has meaning for me. Let me explain.

My first blue Bristol glass vase was a gift from Jane who lived in the city of Bristol, England. I was thrilled to receive it and have looked after it for many years admiring its form and beauty.The story of Jane and her 5 daughters and me is inspiring. Jane lost her husband to a brain tumour while the littlest girl was a baby. We connected through playgroup and church, craft and dinners. She eventually met Richard who raised and supported her girls, headed to sunny Spain and started a new life. This blue vase is a treasure.

IMG_0569

But it did seem alone. So I have bought a few more bits and pieces from op shops, collectible fairs and received the odd blue gift along the way. Add a touch of copper to the mix and presto – a beautiful collection of bottles, candlesticks, vases and ornaments on a living room shelf.

IMG_0503

I have many visitors and friends who admire this collection. Thanks to my friend Jane it started with this farewell gift. The Venetian vase a symbol of romance in Italy, blue goblet a Christmas present from a neighbour and a coper crumb tray circa 1920 I bought from an antique fair in Nambour.

Do you own a collection? Do you like finding surprises, hunting out little treasures in hidden places? What is the meaning behind your collection?

For a bit of fun in my sun room ( where all the grandkids hang about) I have assembled a green collection. I actually love the colour green in all its many tones – aqua, emerald, jade, forest, turquoise etc. Grouping these items together makes for an eye catching display as the sun shines in on the surfaces. It brings joy to my home.

IMG_0505

Now my best collections are my books. Plenty of them. I love the real life stories within the pages and the feel, smell and colours of books. Stacked on top of each other and placed on a table, chair or sideboard, books invite you to read and enjoy them. They remind me of places I have travelled and the good memories that linger like perfume.

IMG_0506

Embracing collections allows me to experience my passions, interests and curiosity.

It’s fun too! like my handmade owls that I make for gifts.

IMG_0720

So whether its a toy collection, vintage coffee cups, old kitchenware, rusty tools or glass bottles, why not start a small collection today and watch it grow.

Start a collection with your grand daughter or grandson – tractors, fans, teddies, Tin Tin books, wooden objects, buttons. Have fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday celebration

Not mine yet, but a friend whose husband did a special, romantic something for her recent birthday. They first dined at the Hard Rock cafe at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast back in 1996 where T shirts were bought to commemorate the grand opening of this trendy place. Now 20 years later, why not take her back there to rekindle the joy , nostalgia and high energy vibe of the past with the same classic T-shirts in hand. Featuring a stylish dining room, indoor bar , good music and collectible gear, the hard Rock cafe is the hottest international tourist destination with friendly staff and ambience.

The owners of the cafe were very impressed to see their autographed T shirts. The memorabilia, food, bottle of wine and birthday celebrations topped off the weekend away. Not many people can boast that they have immaculately kept their souvenir T shirts from long ago only to return with the same excitement to “show off” their keepsakes.  I salute my dear friends ( R and I) on their loving, romantic time away.

Victor Bauer-カイ-23

 

Romance in a glass! Tell me about a birthday experience that can match this one?!

 

It takes two to Banjo!

My most recent visit up north to see baby Matilda who is approaching 6 months allowed me into the world of melody, madness and mess! Tilda as she is sometimes called by her daddy loves a whistling tune, a sweet melody on her fisher price toy and the singing voice of mummy who calms her before sleep time. Now the madness comes when this little one is both defiant, cute and all smiles. She’s active now and has become more attention seeking and prone to a fit of tears when mummy walks away. But the mess is the reason for my post.

Now there’s baby toy mess, sewing table mess ( Rachael and I are making a cloth book which is interactive) hence the materials, buttons, braids, scissors, and sewing machine on the dining room table.

IMG_0456

But the biggest surprise mess that shocked us all was the 2 dogs, Banjo and Tinker clawing, biting and chewing up the sleeping mat into a thousand little pieces that spread all over the lawn like a snowstorm!! Unbeknown to us adults inside, the dogs were having a field day. Justin couldn’t believe his eyes – here’s the mess!

IMG_0465

Paris Tango

A teacher I know gave me a copy to read of her favourite French book called Paris Tango by Carla Coulson. It’s a visual feast of beautiful photos that Carla captured while moving to Paris. It’s a book about beauty and the finer things of life.

8dd0b41f-1c86-4ee3-8585-767ebd7a02f0

Carla says that she felt like Alice stepping into Wonderland. A new adventure, betwitching and enchanting – as a photographer discovering romance and charm in every street. Carla takes us into studios, workshops, introducing the perfumers, architects, couturiers and artists.

In the chapter on gardens, I want to share with you about the romance of flowers.

“Parisians scent the air with little bunches of orange and white lilacs, melon and leather, musk and vanilla, bergamot and cinnamon.” It’s the unexpected beauty of roses mixed with mint that Carla mentions. She loves to combine all sorts of fruit, seed pods, exotic bark, stones, crystals, mint, basil and coriander..something that adds a surprise.

I love my garden in Mapleton – the cascade of colour, smells and textures. I step into the garden and feel immediately relaxed and tranquil. It’s a place of beauty and surprise. I have even developed a French country sign post that points to different parts of the garden.

IMG_0402

There’s the scent of lavender, jasmine, lemon balm and rosemary. Le Jardin is a place where family and friends gather and enjoy a meal. A rustic table and chair set the scene for a glass of champagne and a beautiful view tops it off. In the cool of the evening as the sky turns a soft pink, the black cockatoos fly across the sky to sit in the tall trees.

What flowers suggest romance to you? Where in your garden could you create a romantic vista?

I am also reminded of my childhood garden or backyard with the mango tree, veges that Dad proudly grew and the chook shed. At Graceville in Brisbane my brother Jim and sister Kim and I played  on the swings, rode our bicycles and chased each other past the hydrangeas and hibiscus hedges. Dad was always proud of his strawberries and plants saying to me, ” I talk to them”. I will be forever happy in a garden. It was a simple space that took us away from the noise of television and homework inside. As Carla Coulson says in Paris Tango, “our backyards exuded a heady perfume of freshly cut grass twisted with the sweetness of white gardenias and old fashioned roses. The sight of sweet peas tumbling down the length of an old paling fence is a treasured childhood memory.”

 

 

 

 

 

Romantic books for the bigger ones!

We’ve already read to the little ones. Now it’s our turn to escape into the fictional world of romance and enjoy the pleasure of reading !  Without interruptions. Is that possible?

Tender and true The Forever Girl traces love’s unpredictable path to maturity with style, wit and feeling. Written by the international author Alexander McCall Smith, it boasts a good story with a touch of complicated love. If that’s not your style, then a delightful romantic comedy series filled with laughter, music and one sexy cowboy. The Darling Songbirds by Rachel Herron can be bought in a Big W store – what a selection of books! Browse further on the shelves and you will see a title called That Scandalous Summer by Meredith Duran.

IMG_0389

IMG_0396

96e4f5a4-9ad3-4610-ab35-216901f58c02

 

Now to be honest I haven’t read this book but the cover caught my eye and with a blurb inside saying it’s sensual, exciting and unforgettable, I have to imagine!! With a historical backdrop and a novel to sink your teeth into, I wonder if the author had a lot of fun writing it.

ff7eaf82-7d63-4672-bb0d-488420e187c9

Lastly I have read this book and seen the movie called The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I cried at the end. And the falling in love scenes were tender. Be sure to feel moved and romanced by this one. What is it that captures a woman’s heartstrings in a well told, beautiful love story? What is it about this genre that is uplifting and makes them feel good? Why do women of all ages read romance stories?

I would love to hear your thoughts.