Sunday, February 10, 2008

December 21 - January 1 2008

Finished Tote
It was a cold start to the year here, windy and chilly. Perfect weather for sewing! John headed off on one of the last days of hunting season, David decided to tidy his room so I went merrily off to my sewing room and did not come out until I had that baby finished! I tell a lie, I did come down once to make a cup of tea. I decided to make something simple for my first project on the new Janome (yep I did get spoiled this Christmas). The tote was a nine patch which I quilted crosshatch and in the ditch. Very easy. I lined it with muslin and made some sturdy handles out of a contrast and it was finished! I will test run it tomorrow when load it up for work. I have already chose my next project. A queen size quilt for the spare room. I will post a pic if I can remember how the scanner works! Digital cameras have spoiled me!

The dogs are so happy now, the fence has been completed and they are free to run and jump, dig and do anything else that dogs in a huge wide open space do! It has been a huge undertaking with John building it by himself these past couple of months. It is 7' high and encloses the area immediately to the left and back of our house. There are over 50 fence posts and more than 1000 pickets. John has worked tirelessly to get it finished and last night he put the gate on as the sun was setting. It still needs to be tweaked but it is good enough to hold those crazy dogs in for the past 24 hours! LOL.

My four days off work (mini vacation) comes to and end tonight and tomorrow I head back to the salt mines. LOL. Can you tell that I would rather be sewing now? So many projects, not enough hours. Oh there is a doll that I owe Louize too. YIKES!

'Sposed to get very cold these next few days. Snow could be in the forecast. Stay warm everyone and drive safely.

Tags: tote, fence, janome, quilt | Edit Tags

Tuesday January 1, 2008 - 06:40pm (EST) Edit | Delete | Permanent Link | 2 Comments

Quilting and New Years Resolutions...
My New Years Resolutions are..

1. Lose 20 pounds (at least) through diet and EXERCISE!

2. Be more patient!

3. Stick to budget! LOL

How do you think I will go? I am determined with all 3, I will check back here next year and let you all know how I did. :)

Yep, I finally put foot to pedal and started my first project on the new machine. A tote to carry my work lunch in! Thought I would start off with something small and simple so that I could get the feel for the machine. Yesterday I cut and pieced it and the machine works wonderfully well. I am very pleased! Today I will finish off the tote and check out my magazines and plan the next one! It is so much fun and will be even better when I dont have to stumble over christmas dec boxes in my sewing room. I think we are pulling down tree and other decs tomorrow. Sad eh? I hate saying goodbye to Christmas. :(

fabrics for tote ^^^

Tonight John and I are going to spend New Years Eve with our friend Al who I worked with at my old job. He got married beginning of last year and we are going to see his new house and have dinner with he and Linda. They are a very fun couple but I am not sure if any of us will have the stamina to see 2008 in! They live near the city of Richmond, a fair drive for us but hopefully we will see some early fireworks from their house.

Happy New Years to all my friends and family, wishing you all the best for 2008 and hope it is a healthy,peaceful and prosperous one!


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Monday December 31, 2007 - 05:28am (EST) Edit | Delete | Permanent Link | 1 Comment

Ivan guarding the Christmas booty
It is back to work for me today.....have a great day all. xxTags: ivan, stockings | Edit Tags

Wednesday December 26, 2007 - 05:13am (EST) Edit | Delete | Permanent Link | 1 Comment

Wishing my friends and family a peaceful and happy Christmas...

We are relaxing at home, just the three of us, the turkey and ham are baking and the football is broadcasting. My family and friends in Australia are all sleeping off their feast and will be lying in tomorrow as they celebrate Boxing Day and probably either go to the beach or watch the boxing day test (cricket). I hope that you all are enjoying the day with your families and celebrating the birth of Christ our Lord.
Happy Christmas all!
Oddly, quite a few people here in the USA have asked me if Christmas is celebrated in Australia. The answer is YES!! Some info for those who are interested...

Christmas season celebrations in Australia

Violet Teague (1872-1951), Adoration of Shepherds, 1931, oil on canvas. Photograph by Colin Holden. Image courtesy of Anglican Church of Australia Archive.

Christmas is celebrated in many parts of the world on 25 December. Protestant and Roman Catholic churches hold Christmas Day services on 25 December. The Eastern churches - the Ethiopian Orthodox church, Russian Orthodox church and the Armenian church - celebrate Christmas on 6 or 7 January. There have been rituals, parties and celebrations at this time of year for thousands of years.

The birth of Jesus
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is 'the son of God', the Messiah sent from Heaven to save the world.

The 'Christmas story' tells of the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem, the angels announcing the birth to the shepherds in the fields, and the Magi (wise men from the East) visiting the stable and offering gifts to the newborn child.

The origins of Christmas
A Roman almanac confirms that 25 December was used to celebrate Christmas in 336 AD, although it was nearly 600 years later that the churches created a liturgy - a service for public worship - for the occasion.

The choice of date is believed to have been influenced by the northern hemisphere winter solstice, as well as ancient pagan rituals that coincided with the solstice. These rituals included the Halcyon Days in Greece, a period of calm and goodwill when it was believed the sea was calm for birds to lay their eggs; and the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, a celebration of the god Saturn, which involved wild parties, the exchange of gifts and the temporary suspension of social divisions between slaves and masters.

Christmas traditions and symbols

A photo of Santa arriving at the beach by boat. Image courtesy of the National Archives of Australia: A1500, K26950.

Christmas trees are part of a long tradition of greenery being taken into the home at Christmas to brighten the dreary winter. Mistletoe was popular with Druid priests because it remained green throughout winter. Holly placed over the doorway was believed to drive away evil. Placing branches from trees in the home was first recorded in 1494, and by the beginning of the 1600s there are records of fir trees being decorated with apples.

The story of Santa Claus has its origins in the legends surrounding the humble generosity of Saint Nicholas, whose feast day is celebrated on 6th December. Saint Nicholas was a 4th century Christian Bishop from Myra (in modern-day Turkey) who became the Patron Saint of Children. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed up as bishops begging alms for the poor. Later, the Christ child 'Christkindlein' was said to have accompanied Nicholas-like figures on their travels. The 1822 poem 'Twas the Night before Christmas forged the link and Saint Nicholas (Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Christ Kind, Kriss Kringle or Sinter Klass) became known as Santa Claus.

Christmas in the southern hemisphere
The heat of early summer in Australia has an impact on the way that Australians celebrate Christmas and on which northern hemisphere Christmas traditions are followed.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas houses are decorated; greetings cards sent out; carols sung; Christmas trees installed in homes, schools and public places; and children delight in anticipating a visit from Santa Claus. On Christmas Day family and friends gather to exchange gifts and enjoy special Christmas food.

Many Australians spend Christmas out of doors, going to the beach for the day, or heading to camping grounds for a longer break over the Christmas holiday period. It has become traditional for international visitors who are in Sydney at Christmas time to go to Bondi Beach where up to 40,000 people visit on Christmas Day.

Carols and music

Christmas tree in Martin Place, Sydney 2005. File photograph. Copyright Commonweatlh of Australia.

The tradition of an Australian Christmas Eve carol service lit by candles was started in 1937 by radio announcer Norman Banks. This outdoor service has now been held in Melbourne every year since then.

Carols by Candlelight events today range from huge gatherings, which are televised live throughout the country, to smaller local community and church events. Sydney's Carols in the Domain has become a popular platform for the stars of stage and music.

Some uniquely Australian Christmas carols have become popular and are included alongside the more traditional carols sung at carol services and at Christmas church services: John Wheeler's The Three Drovers is perhaps the best known of these.

Many light-hearted Australian Christmas songs have become an essential part of the Australian Christmas experience. These include Rolf Harris's Six White Boomers, Colin Buchanan's Aussie Jingle Bells and the Australian Twelve Days of Christmas.

Christmas plants

Denise Greig, Blandfordia nobilis - Christmas bells. Image courtesy of Australian National Botanic Gardens: A6952.

There are many native Australian plants in flower over the Christmas season. A number of these have become known as 'Christmas plants' in various parts of the country, including Christmas bells, Christmas bush and the Christmas orchid.

When Europeans first arrived in Australia they were delighted that they could pick wildflowers resembling bells and bright green foliage covered in red or white flowers to use as Christmas decorations. This was a huge contrast to the bare trees and dormant gardens they had left behind in Europe.

Christmas in Australia comes at the beginning of summer and many people no longer serve a traditional hot roast dinner. Cold turkey and ham, seafood and salads are often served instead. It has even become acceptable to serve the traditional Christmas plum pudding with cold custard, ice cream or cream. Pavlova, a meringue base topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, and various versions of the festive icecream pudding have also become popular Christmas desserts.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Coles company are engaged in a project to cultivate native foods. They are working with Mandawuy Yunupingu (of the band Yothu Yindi) and Aboriginal communities to grow sufficient quantities for sale in supermarkets across Australia. The aim is to offer all Australians a Bush Tucker Christmas.

Film and television

Cover of Wombat Divine by Mem Fox. Image courtesy of Mem Fox.

The films Bush Christmas (1947) starring Chips Rafferty and the remake Prince and the Great Race in 1983 (with Nicole Kidman), and Miracle Down Under starring John Waters (telecast as Bushfire Moon) are insights into the early Australian Christmas culture. Many television series have used Christmas episodes to explore the changing culture of Christmas in Australia.

Children's stories
Australian children grow up enjoying traditional Christmas stories such as Clement Clarke Moore's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, but children's authors and illustrators are beginning to create truly Australian children's Christmas literature. One favourite is Wombat Divine by Mem Fox, while a more recent addition is Aussie Night Before Christmas by Yvonne Morrison.

Major sporting events
The Christmas break is an opportunity for sports fans to enjoy two major sporting events. The 26 December is the opening day of the 'Boxing Day Test' between the Australian Cricket Team and an international touring side at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This has been well attended since the first match in 1950, and watched by many others on television. In Sydney one of the world's most prestigious ocean races, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, starts on Boxing Day from Sydney Harbour.

Indigenous Australians

A. Shnukal, Celebrating the Coming of the Light at Kemus on the anniversary of the arrival of the London Missionary Society on 1 July 1871. Darnley Island, Torres Strait. Image courtesy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, University of Queensland.

Indigenous Dreamtime stories obviously do not include Christmas. However, this date in the calendar coincides with other seasonal changes. In Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Yolngu Aboriginal people will observe the last season of their six-season cycle. Gudjewg, the wet season, begins in late December.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities include Christian groups within them which celebrate Christmas. The Ntaria Choir at Hermannsburg, via Alice Springs, Northern Territory, has a unique musical language from mixing the traditional vocals of the Ntaria women with Lutheran chorales - the hymn tunes that were the basis of much of J.S. Bach's music.

Baba Waiyar, a popular traditional Torres Strait Islander hymn, is featured on Lexine Solomon's debut album This is Woman (2003) - showing the influence of gospel music mixed with traditionally strong Torres Strait Islander vocals and country music. Significantly, Torres Strait Islanders celebrate the 'Coming of the Light' on 1 July, the day the London Missionary Society landed at Erub Island in 1871.

Modern Indigenous Christmas celebrations are beginning to take on elements of traditional Indigenous culture. The Department of Conservation and Land Management in Western Australia offers a Christmas celebration by organising activities which encourages people to join in Christmas bush activities with Nyoongar guides.

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Tuesday December 25, 2007 - 01:14pm (EST) Edit | Delete | Permanent Link | 0 Comments

Paul Kelly - How To Make Gravy

My favourite Paul Kelly song. It is a Christmas one too!

Paul Kelly is telling the story of a man in jail (why he's there is never revealed), missing Christmas with his family. He's scared of many things, but he also wishes that his kids remember him and love him for who he is, not what he did.
It's a beautiful sad song, but it still has some very funny bits when talking about his extended family. It sums up an Australian Christmas very well, with the hot weather but insistence at sticking to a traditional Christmas meal.

The Lyrics...

Hello Dan, it's Joe here, I hope you're keeping well
It's the 21st of December, and now they're ringing the last bells
If I get good behaviour, I'll be out of here by July
Won't you kiss my kids on Christmas Day, please don't let 'em cry for me
I guess the brothers are driving down from Queensland and Stella's flying in from the coast
They say it's gonna be a hundred degrees, even more maybe, but that won't stop the roast
Who's gonna make the gravy now? I bet it won't taste the same
Just add flour, salt, a little red wine and don't forget a dollop of tomato sauce for sweetness and that extra tang
And give my love to Angus and to Frank and Dolly,
Tell 'em all I'm sorry I screwed up this time
And look after Rita, I'll be thinking of her early Christmas morning
When I'm standing in line

I hear Mary's got a new boyfriend, I hope he can hold his own
Do you remember the last one? What was his name again?
(Just a little too much cologne)
And Roger, you know I'm even gonna miss Roger
'Cause there's sure as hell no one in here I want to fight
Oh praise the Baby Jesus, have a Merry Christmas,
I'm really gonna miss it, all the treasure and the trash
And later in the evening, I can just imagine,
You'll put on Junior Murvin and push the tables back
And you'll dance with Rita, I know you really like her,
Just don't hold her too close, oh brother please don't stab me in the back
I didn't mean to say that, it's just my mind it plays up,
Multiplies each matter, turns imagination into fact
You know I love her badly, she's the one to save me,
I'm gonna make some gravy, I'm gonna taste the fat
Tell her that I'm sorry, yeah I love her badly, tell 'em all I'm sorry,
And kiss the sleepy children for me
You know one of these days, I'll be making gravy,
I'll be making plenty, I'm gonna pay 'em all back

Tags: paulkelly, gravy, christmas, | Edit Tags

Saturday December 22, 2007 - 07:07am (EST) Edit | Delete | Permanent Link | 1

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