Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Last year our family began the tradition of the Family Cookie Swap with about 10 people participating.
This was last year's Cookie Swap all waiting to be 'swapped'.

This year we have decided to pre-package our cookies in groups of six, ready for the 10 recipients to collect at our FAMILY FEAST this Saturday, being held, this year, at my sister Julie's house.
Here is my contribution to the Cookie Swap.  I'm calling them Glassy Bauble Biscuits!

I bought the gorgeous cellophane bags in Walmart in Hawaii two years ago.  The tags came from Big W.  I thought they were very appropriate having food picture on them.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

 My tree looks a little bare in this photo!  No present underneath yet as I haven't wrapped any.
Hope to get around to that next week.
 Part of my beautiful Lemax Village.
Above the window in the family room.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

 A TRIP TO SYDNEY ON 12 - 12 -12
Yvette and Tassy trying to fatham the ticket machine.  After several attempts we realised it didn't have sufficient funds to give her enough change.  Once she reduced the size of her money note she was right.
Jeff and I, of course, only paid $2.50 each for the whole day.
 Catching the Sydney train from Thirroul after having caught the commuter between Fairy Meadow and Thirroul.
 Jeff, Yvette and Tassy looking at David Jones's animated windows.

 We had morning tea downstairs at Bon Bon in the Strand Arcade.  Bon Bon is chocolate heaven.  It was very busy with business people as well as shoppers.  Totally hidden from view, it was like a cave downstairs, with a delicious chocolate and coffee aroma.
 Yvette and Tassy shared the delicious chocolate cake which is supposedly 80% chocolate and 20% flour, with raspberries and ice cream.  Jeff and I shared the same, after Jeff had eaten his healthy cheese and biscuits he had brought himself.
 Thye Bon Bon choclate shop.
 The magnificent Strand Arcade.
 After the Strand Arcade Jeff left us and caught the bus to Cicular Quay and took a ferry to Watsons Bay and had fish and chips for lunch.
Yvette, Tassy and I looked around the Queen Victoria Building and then walked two blocks to the Capitol Theatre to see CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG  which we loved.  It was amazing how they moved the car on stage and even made it 'fly'.  David Hobsen and Rachel Beck were excellent, as were the two child stars.  I loved seeing Alan Brough at the Barron after years of seeing him on Spicks and Specks.  He really enjoyed himself on stage.
Yvette at Tassy at Ciruclar Quay beside the Radiance of the Seas.
My front door now has it's wreath, my holly tree is tied with red bows and decorated with a string of gold bells, and my basket is filled with pine and pinecones.
 Yvette and Tassy were visiting for the last three days (more on that later).  Here is Yvette standing in the doorway to my kitchen.  She gave me the two deer years ago but this year I have changed them from gold to silver and I love them all over again.
 I love these wall stickers.  Some are out for their third trot but we have to restick them every day as they're beginning to peel off.
My new ones are now 3D and I love them.  My wooden snowmen and shovel will eventually be joined by the rest of the Christmas crew.
It has taken me weeks to get everything out.
 My Christmas Vignette at the end of my kitchen has gotten a little out of hand.  I have lots to eat then people have given me.  Haven't done my own cooking yet.  I have been just too busy.
 My Lemax village has grown again this year with a new Gingerbread Shop and a Miners Cabin representing Alaska.  Plus some extra squirrels, rabbits, reindeer and trees.
 My gorgeous berry wreath,  with a bird I recently bought as it reminded me of the Spatchcocksen I saw in the markets in Munich in 2003.  I thought I'd never get through customs, but someone can import them.
 My beautiful pinedresser in its Christmas decor.

I love this bunting.  The Holly Leaf  bunting I made a couple of years ago.  The bed balls are made of wooden I think representing cranberries, and the woven straw ball bunting I just bought in Vinnies with Charlotte.  I LOVED it.  I think it represents popcorn.
 And finally my TREE.

Hard to photograph in the daytime in front of a bright window.  I want to photograph it again at night.

 Yvette made me this gorgeous bauble from street maps.  It shows Como where I grew up, Jannali where Jeff grew up and Balgownie where we live now.     I cried!!

Each year the girls try to give me something which makes me cry.  If I do, then they win!
 This is one of my favourite tree decorations.  I have had them for years.  It is thick cardboard.  I just love it.  She is so sweet.
 This is a new ceramic flat 'bauble' I bought at a pottery exhibition Norman and Annette took us to in Gosford.
 My twig tree, holding just birds and birdhouse and a few balls.
This new owl ornament has John Howard eyebrows.  He is soooo cute.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

On the 3rd of November I had my Annual Craft Sale and Garden Party.  About 50 ladies came to shop, chat and enjoy afternoon tea of lovely home cooking, with their friends.  I had a very successful day.

 A picnic lunch in the back garden before the ladies arrived.
 Time for a quick family shot having all the girls and grandchildren together in one location.  A rare thing.
 Tassy made the paper bunting.  The topiaries having their annual airing having served at weddings and birthday parties too.
 The delicious home baking by the girls, me and a very dear friend who makes her famous mushroom tarts for me.
Afternoon tea served in the Boat Room.
 Charlotte, Yvette and Tassy taking care of sales.

 Alicia and Felicity serving afternoon tea.

Some very tired children at the end of the day having 'quiet time'.  Nice time for us to relax as well.

Friday, 9 November 2012

 This is Wellington Cathedral where we went to church on Sunday.  It was lovely to hear the pipe organ and see the clergy in their vestments again.  I miss that.
Unfortunately the choir was on holiday as it was a long weekend for New Zealanders.
St. Paul's was built in the l960's.   I didn't particularly like the architectural style but the size was impressive.  It was great being able to worship with three of our daughters again and to hear them sing the old hymns with great gusto.
 Morning tea after church was in a gorgeous cafe in a really old building that had been shored up with steel girders after several earthquakes.
Hummingbird Cafe had stuffed pheasants and birds up high on the walls.  Actually we saw a lot of stuffed animals as display in Wellington.
 Next was the Fresh Food Markets for lunch.  Charlotte and I enjoyed  German Bratwurst and sauerkraut on a bun.  Jeff are venison on a roll and the other girls ate Italian Woodfired Pizza and Roti.
 Jeff and Yvette choosing some bananas.
 Charlotte at her farewell dinner at Logan Brown.  It was our 'fine dining' night.  See Charlotte's Blog.
 More of Wellington's statue around the harbour foreshore.

 We went to the Museum of City and Sea where we watched a film of the Wahine tragedy that happened about l968.  I remember he news reports at the time.  The film was very sad and moving.  It was amazing to think that it occurred only 1/4 mile offshore when the ferry hit rocks.  Wellington harbour entrance is notoriously narrow and treacherous.
Some of the gorgeou timber house on Mt. Victoria, an exclusive part of Wellington.
 On our Lord of the Rings tour with Todd Rippon our guide.  Just Jeff, Yvette, Alicia and Me plus an older American couple with their 55 year old daughter.  They were on a Pacific Cruise and had started in Alaska's Inside Passage last August.  They were astounded at how many countries they had visited in the Pacific where Queen  Elizabeth's face appeared on the currency.
 Yvette explains more on her Blog about the tour.  It was lovely doing a forest walk, albeit Mt. Victoria, just a spit from Wellington city centre or CBD.  Todd had to explain that one to the Americans.
 Todd would show us a photograph of the scene in the movie and then point out the differences in the real life scene, explaining how they put in fake trees, and how they made them.  It was so interesting and really made me appreciate what a work of art a movie film really is.
 Two of my beautiful girls in the Spring sunshine.
 Todd showing us the tree Orlando Bloom stood beside for some publicity shots.
 Jeff caped up with some props Todd brought along, beside the same tree.

 They filmed Frodo's bedroom at Rivendell which is a National Park.
 I always find myself doing things overseas that I would really think twice about doing back home.  This suspension bridge didn't worry me at all.  They scenery was really pretty here.
 Our last morning.  Chilly and breezy.  The girls fooling about with a statue.  We really enjoyed their company over the 6 days.  They made all the decisions about what we would do and where we would eat.  It was totally relaxing for Jeff and me.  The roles were reversed.  We felt like the children.  It was lovely to see the girls deep in conversation with each other without the distractions of husbands or little children.
Alicia looking like Jacqui Onassis.