Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Aussie Maria's Sunburnt Country

Happy Australia Day!!!

A poem which I always feels epitomises to me, my Australia is copied out below.

Dorothea wrote this on a trip back to England when she was extremely home-sick.  I think the poem really shows this.  The bit in red is the most often quoted part of the entire poem.  It is also frequently called "A sunburnt country".  It was originally title "Core of my heart".  I was trying to find a video of Leonard Teale reading this poem, as I saw it once and loved the way he spoke, but no luck so far.  The first part is of course referring to England.

by Dorothea Mackellar
written in 1904

The love of field and coppice,

Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea, 
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly

P.S Key to photos - 1st one is of Uluru in Apr 1988 (dug out of the archives, the old-fashioned way); the 2nd one is Heron Island at the jetty end, Jul 2003 (you can see where they blasted the coral to allow the boats in) Heron Island is totally surrounded by coral and is in the middle of the Whitsundays

Friday, 22 January 2010

Books & Slippers

Hi everyone

Sorry, no show on the "WARNING" project.  Things have slowed down a bit and with the weather being so warm (high 30's/high 90's) and humidity being about 90% or so, its way too sticky to deal with - even with wool.

A few of you were lucky enough to pick up some books for Christmas, either as gifts or just because you deserve it - of course  (HUGE grin).  There were a few I was very interested in but had only seen online.  Now with books and yarn, I am the sort of person who needs to touch, look, feel, read a bit etc - I'm sure you have the idea.

So I went to our 2 local bookstores, 1 of which is an international store, and looked and looked and asked - but no, nothing what I was really after, some vague may-be's if I have-to, but nothing that said "take me home now, I'm what you need".  So I very disappointedly gave-up and resigned myself to buying online with looking - very, very, sad face.

I decided to wander into my LYS/LCS, Hornsby Wool & Craft Nook.  The shop is small and caters for most craft, so there is only a little bit of everything.  They had about 20 books for various crafts and I spotted it!!!!!!!

Something I had been eyeing off online out of curiosity

Something that teased my interest - longing to look inside

So I grabbed it (just in case someone else might want it)

Flipped a couple of pages

And yes, it had enough in there that I was looking for

I was interested in the fact that there were different shapes for motifs, not just squares.  So you will see something during the year of these motifs.

And then just after Xmas, they had stalls in the mall, one of which had calenders etc, which was fund-raising for the local hospital.  Now I had been keeping an eye-out for a particular one.

And look what I spotted, and it was only $10.00  - Woo Hoo

Mixed patterns, some I don't think I will ever get around too - but you just never know  :-)

I have been Knitting too,   :-)
Making more of these

More Slippers With Soul!!!!!
I made and sent 8 pairs last year and I wish to at least equal this, preferably increase it.  This is with Knit 4 Charities group, which are planning on sending 500 pairs for Nursing Homes, Hospitals for elderly etc.  They are only about 100 pairs short so far.  I am rewarding myself - I can't do personal crochet projects until I completed 1 pair and then I can work a little on "my" projects.  So far I have made 4 pairs - so half way.

Hope you have a great weekend planned

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Aussie Maria's Australia

Hi everyone

Congrats to Toni Collette on winning a Golden Globe!!!!!  She is very Aussie and is a wonderful actor.  I still love Muriel's Wedding and Sixth Sense

Now to another little trip we did while Hubby was off work.  We decided to finally drive the "Grand Pacific Drive".  The "drive" basically starts on the southern side of Sydney at the Royal National Park near Waterfall.  Royal National Park is the second oldest park in the WORLD!!!!

It only took us about an hour to get to the start and we were planning on doing the drive to Wollongong and staying the night there.  Instead we had a lovely day out and had a wonderful lunch overlooking the ocean.

Ok, so we started driving through the Park, but decided not to visit the beaches, such as Wattamolla & Garie, as they were off the main road and a long way to the coast.  We did drive through a lot of this though

And then we arrived at Bald Hill which overlooks Stanwell Park

On a windy day this is what your view would be (not my photo)

and there can be lots and lots of them

You can just see in the background the bridge built over the water which is fairly new

We had lunch at the Headlands Hotel.

  It is a very old pub which unfortunately needs lots of money spent on it.  The food was excellent though and as for the views, well they can speak for themselves.

Finished the drive in Wollongong, even though the drive goes further and look what I spotted in the middle of town shopping area

Bye for now

Monday, 18 January 2010

Don't think I will make it to 2011

Hi everyone
Many thanks for all your kind thoughts and comments.  I feel very embarrased as I wrote the last bit without thought, just merrily typing away as my thoughts went zooming with mental notes in my head, not thinking that I would get comments about it.  But thank you all so much for the very lovely ones left for me.

Now to my title. 

Ok, Hubby is dealing with a lot at the moment with chemo, then his Nan's funeral within the first few days of this year, having his card skimmed (minor, but very irritating) and then .......

Friday night, about 8.30pm, Hubby gets a phone call from his #2 son to say he is in hospital and that they will be doing an emergency removal of his appendix at 10pm.  Now we both know its not a major operation, but it was an emergency one.  #2 son lives 1-1/2 hours driving from us.  Hubby really wanted to see him before he went under, but there was no way possible to get there in time and by the time he came out of surgery, it would be late (just before 12pm actually) and he would be sleepy.

So I managed to convince him, although relunctantly, to wait until the morning and then we would travel to see him.

Operation went well, as most of them do.  #2 son was home about midday on Sunday and is taking it easy.

But really, if this is what has turned up within the first two weeks of 2010 I "don't think I will make it to 2011"

One day at a time, one day at a time has become my mantra  :-)

Now with all this stress, I have been crocheting and knitting.  And I promise I will show you, but one of the projects is coming along so quickly and I so "love, love, love ...." it (the song has been going round n round in my head, now I need to find out who sings it).  But I have to warn you - BIG WARNING - cause it may damage some people.  Interested yet?????  Well maybe by the end of the week (with a teasing smile)

And now I am getting ready for Australia Day!!!!!!

Attached to my balcony, so flying 10 levels above the ground (and we are on a slight rise) with my make-shift herb garden :-).  BTW the photo is reversed so that you can see the flag correctly.

Bye for now

P.S. - Well done to the Aussie Cricketers winning the Test against Pakistan 3-0

Friday, 15 January 2010

Technology v old fashioned

Hi everyone
Well you must be wondering what the title is all about.  Well ...............

Hubby's card got skimmed!!!!!!!!

Lucky for us its a Visa Debit card in which we only keep a small amount of cash. 
Makes me seriously want to go back to the old-fashioned "Cash Only".
Actually that is how we have been operating over the last couple of years - the Visa part was only for those situations that require it, like accomodation bookings.

Why don't all these so brilliant people who come up with these scams do something worthwhile - what a waste of their brains!!

Anyway, while out an about over hubby's break, guess who I saw??????



And it was after Christmas too??????



I'm sure this is Santa on holidays having fun!!!!

I will post more about the engine he is driving another time

And I may have mentioned it before (huge smile) but hop on over and check out The Garden Bell for her Give-Away.  And yes I am trying to score more entries in her Give-Away.  She's almost at her 100!!!!!

Which makes me think (I know it does hurt), I find Kate's blog a laugh a lot of the time and experiences that I can relate to.  What I am thinking is that no-one - and that includes me - would find my blog funny at all.  I seem to lose the little funny-side I have when I write things down.  I become all serious, which I naturally am.  But I love to laugh and I love to make others laugh.  So there is something I need to work on when I write these posts. 

And did you notice - that was very serious!!!!!  :-)

Another thought out of nowhere - do other countries corner stores sell their chocolates from their fridges where the soft-drinks are (like Coke)?????  In Australia you will always find them there - they would be puddles other wise.  What made me think about this is a current TV advertisement for "Chilled Mars Bars"

Bye for now

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Garden Bell Give-Away

Just a quickie post to let you know about a wonderful blog that I have been reading for a little while.
It is funny, crafty, educational and just like chatting with a best friend.
Pop on over and check out -

Kate from The Garden Bell

You will enjoy it

Bye for now

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Aussie Maria's Australia

Hi everyone
Something I was thinking and churning through my brain over the Christmas break was about having a regular post when I could not think of anything to say or nothing was going on.  I knew it had to be about Australia, especially with my blog name.  Even though the blog name came about for an entirely other reason - with a name like Maria and being dark-haired and skinned, I have repeatedly been asked if I was Italian or Maltese etc - so hence the blog name.

Well I love travelling and my country is fantastic!!!!  I thought that would give me something to write about.  Only do a little travelling now, but over time I have visited every state and territory in Australia -
except, Tasmania - and I so very much want to visit there.  Another one for my Bucket List.  Don't think it will be this year with DD3's wedding under 4 months away.

So I will show you the places I visit now and the places I have visited in the past, so some of the photos may have a distinct retro look   :-)

I have shown you some photos of last years visit to Western Australia, including Perth and Broome.  Now for todays photo ..........

Right in between Xmas and New Year I have a birthday and this is how the morning looked

not typical Australian summer weather

  Hubby organised for us to have a lovely meal and show on Darling Harbour Showboat Cruise

Harbour Bridge with the fireworks mesh setup for New Years

bottom of Harbour Bridge to Opera House

Opera House

and this is how the daylight hours ended on the showboat
My photos of the area at night did not turn out too well - Sorry  :-)

Bye for now

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Crochet laugh

Hi everyone

Firstly thank you to all for the kind thoughts with the coming funeral, which is tomorrow.

Secondly, I won another blog give-away before Christmas and I did not get the chance to say thank you or show my lovely gift.  It was from another Maria's blog, Cats, Crafts & Penguins.  The name caught my attention initially and then when I found out her name was Maria!!!   Well, I had to read further

Thank you so much Maria for the very lovely cosmetic purse and gorgeous card that came with it.  I received it  on 23rd December, but I could not wait 2 days to open it.  So I opened it then and there.  How pretty is it!!!!

Thirdly, the following came through Knit4Charities group and while I had a laugh I thought others might too.  Enjoy!!!

"Hooks & Humor: Funny Crochet Definitions

by Cindy Long

Do those crochet terms and abbreviations have you stumped? Read on...

Pattern: A set of written instructions that may or may not result in creating the object in the picture. Most patterns include a list of supplies, but this is for your amusement only. After all, Amazonian Rhesus yarn in smoky turquoise does not exist, and cannot be obtained. Patterns also have fun-to-do math problems, such as 1 dc in next 7 dc (34 dc made)?!

Yo: Yarn Over, meaning you need to wrap your yarn over your hook. Of course, this assumes the yarn doesn't split, fray or tangle. If this happens, yo then stands for, "Yell Outrageously."

Dtrtrc: Double-treble- treble-crochet. This is a stitch where you yo four zillion times, insert hook in stitch and pull through the next two loops, repeating until all loops are off the hook, or until the end of time, whichever comes first.

Reverse sc: This stitch is the lefty's revenge on all of us righties - for once we have to work backwards, too! (This has got to be for Garden Bell)

Catalog: A dangerous device that hypnotizes crocheters. It lulls them into a catatonic state, causing them to spend the family's grocery money on patterns and yarn. It may also be an evil plot to cause the downfall of the American economy.

Hook: A device permanently attached to a crocheter's hand. It is also connected to her blood supply, and if for some reason it becomes dislodged from her hand, she breaks into a sweat and starts to feel faint. If the hook cannot be immediately replaced, the only valid substitute is a catalog (see above).

Yarn: The only reason sheep farms still exist! It's also what crocheters buy when they have money; if there's any cash left over, they buy food and clothes.

Doily: This seemingly innocent item looks like a table protector, but if someone actually tries to put a wet glass or an ashtray on it, the creator will instantly turn into a snarling Doberman. Use doilies at your own peril.

Cat: A non-mechanical device used for unraveling afghans, unwinding skeins and keeping one's lap warm. A cat requires daily maintenance in the form of light stroking.

Dog: Another non-mechanical device that is used for chasing down balls of yarn and putting tooth-mark engravings in wooden hooks. It's a high-maintenance item that does not store easily.
Baby: A valid excuse to crochet something.

Housework: An ancient rite that was performed by some B.C. women (Before Crochet). Historians believe it may have had something to do with a device called a "vacuum cleaner," which was kept in closets now occupied by yarn."

Bye for now

Monday, 4 January 2010

I'm baaaccckkkk

Hi everyone
I finally made it back to my blog.  Hubby has gone back to work today and I now have a little more time up my sleeve to blog.  Two weeks away has felt like aaaagggggeeeeessss!!!!

I did get a little time to read the wonderful messages that you have left either complimenting or with seasons greetings - thank you all so much for them.

I am as pleased as Punch to say that my hand-made gifts were very much appreciated and loved.  In fact they were so admired I was given another order for a matching blanket  :-)))))))) - Yep, I had the biggest grin on my face with that request.  As for the other blankets, they loved them so much they requested they become a little bigger so they can be displayed and used for more than just laps.

The weather has not been our typical clear skies and sunshine over the holiday period, but it certainly has been warm and sticky.  Humidity has been sky-high.  Not very conducive to working with wool, it keeps sticking on my hands.  But they get bored with nothing to do, so I perservere and work slowly.  Can't show you the new project I have been working on as I will frog it today as there is just not enough yarn.  I have been working on expanding the Xmas blankets.

No photos this post, as I need more time to sort through what I have taken while away from the blog, so keep an eye out in the future.

New Years Eve was quite for us.  We decided to watch the Sydney Family Fireworks on TV and then off to bed early as hubby's medication is making him feel unwell.  Unfortunately he received a phone call at 11.30 pm that night to say that his Nan had passed away.  Hubby was very close to his Nan.  She made the grand total of 88 years - a fantastic innings.  It is from his Nan's family line that hubby has a connection with the First Fleet Convicts.  We spent New Years Day with his grandfather, who is holding up well, considering.

So not a good time with a death to finish off 2009 and a funeral to start 2010.

I was hoping to get back into normality this week, but with a funeral in a couple of days, it might be next week before I can work out what "normal" is.

Happy New Year to all and may your wishes and dreams for this year happen