Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Year On...

It's 2018 and already my art classes have recommenced. All those great photos I took at Brunswick Heads before Christmas - from all angles and at all hours of the day and night - have become something of a wonder to Aaron (my art teacher). He loves the different areas and colours I found there; and how much I love the place comes through those photos. He's impressed to say the least... and has said to me that he has to teach me to paint faster if I want an exhibition next year.

This is something I can do - I know I can.

The heat has been getting to everyone - especially those poor people in Sydney and Melbourne. It's been horrible there! And we've been getting some really sticky here in Queensland as well, but not as bad as our southern friends; who are melting in the heat.

Well, I've been helping out the poor wild animals around my garden by feeding the possums - as it's been so dry here - and a young little mickey bird landed on my window sill yesterday calling out. I don't have a container for water on hand - but I will look around for one after this, just so they can run around and jump in it in the shade. 

Yes the heat is really bugging a lot of the animals here. I hope you do your part and help them.

Otherwise, I've been decluttering my home again, trying to read (rather unsuccessfully) and I'm also working on making sure I save more money (yep, like I promised last year). Anyway, must be going. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Friday, January 5, 2018

It's A Heatwave!

Yep, it's heating up big here in Australia, and it doesn't look as though it's going to stop... it appears to be getting hotter.

So, it's five days into the New Year; and I thought it was high time I jumped on here and told you all what I've been up to.

First off, I'm a little injured - not badly - just muscle soreness from twisting the wrong way; that's all.

My car's power steering pump finally gave up on me on Tuesday while I was out dropping a friend off at her place at Crestmead and I spent the longest ten minutes of my life struggling to get my car around round-a-bouts and corners and through traffic lights! It was like driving a damned tank!

So, I thought to take it to my folks' house to grab Mum's car - but that was a bad idea that night... the car's power steering came back for one last punch and scared me, and... well, let's just say it didn't end up well with one of my neighbours. We had a good chat and I ended up taking the car to my folks' house early the next morning... I was so tired that I went back to bed and slept for another few hours. 

But the heat really hit me bad; and I found that Mum's car's steering felt strange... so I left it for a bit and yesterday went and looked at the power steering fluid. It was almost empty. 

This is where I hurt myself. I twisted the wrong way as I closed the bonnet of the car, and well, pulled a muscle in my back. I'm sore as hell. But, I've been doing Yoga stretches all day... and last night I had a hot shower, stretched out the back muscles straight afterwards before going to bed, and today? Gotta say, the more I move, the better it feels. 

But I'm digressing

Um, I don't like driving a car where something 'might' go wrong if I think it's not right. So, I went and got it looked into at a place near me called Napa - it's Autobarn but not Autobarn - and the guys there were really cool, helping me find the right stuff but said yep, it looked liked it had a leak. Told me to advise Mum to get it looked at asap.

Anyway, I was on my way home when I thought to take the car for a good ol' drive... and called up Tutasi - a friend of mine (the same friend I dropped off on Tuesday) and she jumped at the chance to head out to the op-shops and look around for furniture for her and window shop for me... I'd already spend some money in the past few days; so didn't really need anything big.
We browsed through some Super Stores and she found some lovely towels and spotted great wardrobes she really needs and kept an eye out for curtains for her step-daughter's bedroom. We found some great-looking old wardrobes, but curtains were another thing.

Well, we headed home at around 3:30pm after a good day out. I had found a bottle to put my leftover Limoncello in - which was scrubbed and sanitised within an inch of its life - and then I found some gorgeous placemats to replace my peeling ones. I'm so pleased with my purchases. 

Now, this weekend, I'll be pulling down the Christmas Tree and putting away all the decorations into their respectable boxes and the townhouse will go back to everyday living.

I'll be back into declutter mode.
I'll be back into looking at packing things away to hopefully move.
I'm looking at what to paint for the following year.

Yep, this year is going to be a busy one! 

How about you? How's your year going to turn out for you? What are you plans? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Chilled Weekend

It's not long now until the end of 2017... and really, I can't wait to jump into 2018; as I get in and get ready for it all.

There's a huge list of things to get done!

* A home office to organise.
* Clothes to sort out for the year.
* Craft Gear to organise into boxes.
* Art School to attend.
* A garden to fix up - again.
* Decluttering to do around the house.
* Books to edit the get published.
* Markets to attend as a retailer.

Man, the list goes on!

Is your next year going to be as busy as mine? I find that as the years go flying by, I'm busier and busier in my life; and that's a great thing.

Well, I'm hoping to also be out of the townhouse and into a proper house - sooner rather than later. I've lived in a townhouse complex for far too long. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

This Year - 2017

It's been a bumper year in the life of me and my family - and my friends as well!

January started out this year - as it does in every year - and really I had absolutely zero idea what I was going to do with my life this year. There were no plans, no work I was going to do, no books to work on, no paintings... nothing really to help me kick me into gear. But I decluttered parts of my house during a heatwave, followed Peter Walsh's 30 Days of decluttering... and that was great. I have learned so much from Peter that I don't just declutter in the first month of the year, I keep on decluttering throughout the year - and now, this year, I've been decluttering for over 5 years; and this month, I start up a blog called 'A Work In Progress'... it's slow getting off the ground, but it'll pick up soon. 

In February, I join the Logan Artists Association and begin taking art classes. I've wanted to go to art school for a long time; and it's something I wanted to do improve my artistic ways. I want to be able to work with other artists as well as with my niece, Riley, in the future as I learn more about different ways to paint and draw. 
During this month, my Dad turned 70 and the Queen Beez Craft Group turned 25... two big milestones right there where I was able to attend both parties. I also took part in an interview with SBS about how Muslims are living in our society; then was told that it was going to be shown this November. 

Over the next few months, I attended art school, donated plenty to the Vinnies at Underwood/Slacks Creek and then I looked for some armchairs for the living room and put my large, IKEA lounge on Gumtree... but nobody wanted it. We asked charities to take it but they wouldn't take it because it wasn't perfect. It broke my heart to have to tip it. It had been working very well for over 30 years and there was nothing wrong with it; and still we had no choice. 
I also went to workshops at the Logan Art Gallery and scored a great Easter present from Mum - a Kitchen Aide! How cool is that? I ended up making a brilliant sponge cake with it! 
I started seriously looking at how my house was furnished and making my place into a home I wanted to live in - and not just something I came home to and existed in. So, the next time I move, all the furnishings will be for the next home; and will fit in it.
My family also got to meet Ellie, Gabe and Kat's new little fur-baby. She's such a cutie, but still was getting used to being around people.
Art school continued on through Winter and I also added to my wardrobe with second-hand clothes and other items around the other charity stores. I also started looking for things to shop for this Christmas... yes, I'm a very early shopper.
Then, the LCC came and pulled up the sewer lid in my back yard to look at the drains and if they needed relining... a smelly and weird job. In the process, they wrecked my lawn. So, I had to reseed it and get it growing again in the worse time of year - Winter.
In June, I went to a stocktake sale at Eckersley's and scored myself a Jasart easel at half price! But instead of letting me pay for it, Dad wanted to pay for so he could get me to do things around his place for him. I don't like dirty pool; and told him that it's not a good thing to do to a person.
Also in June, I went to an outdoor art class for the day, took care of myself and made sure I was warm; but 3 days later, I woke up at 4am and found I couldn't speak let alone swallow... yep, I had laryngitis - again! So, there I was quarantined for over 2 weeks inside my house so I didn't spread it around... oh... yay... how much fun is this? Not!
Once I got over the hacking and coughing of Laryngitis, and I was able to sleep through the night, I got in and repotted most of my plants into bigger pots, or back-filled them... then Kat's birthday came around - and it was freezing! - but we had a great time! 
Then August was here before we knew it! It has been 20 years since I had been to the UK and the same amount of years since Lady Diana and her lover Dodi had been killed in the most horrific car accident! I was over in the UK when this happened and I was also there for the funeral... however, the locals didn't treat me all that well, which was dreadful. They weren't the only ones who were taking it badly. 
Triple M hit the big 37 year mark and cut a vinyl and the day it came out, I drove like a mad woman to Garden City to pick up my copy... and the one I scored was the only one in stock. Lucky me! I play it Every two weeks or so; as it's so much fun to hear those great songs.
I also removed my medi-alert bracelet from my arm for the last time. Now, don't get shocked: I went in and got: 'Alert! Epilepsy' tattooed to my right arm instead. Now, I'll never lose another bracelet ever again... it's right where the police and emergency personnel can see it.
In September and October, I made my first batch of Limoncello; and it put me to sleep when I tasted it... making me miss out on the last half of the AFL Grand Finals! Dammit, I wanted to watch that! For the whole months of October, I seem to celebrate my birthday... so I made a sponge cake for my birthday, received a box of chocolates from one of the class mates at art class and enjoyed my day. My birthday was actually on the Wednesday, and so we all went out to a dinner near Gabe and Kat's house... but during the week, I bought some weird and crazy things for my birthday; including Bruce Springsteen's autobiography and a box to put my phone in (which in the last few weeks I haven't used).  In late October, the Pop-Up Store at the Logan Art Gallery started up and my display was in there... and I'm proud to say that it looks wonderful!
November was National Novel-Writing Month worldwide and I got in and wrote a great book! I worked my butt off on the damned thing and finished my 50,000 words! Yes, I was a champion this year - unlike the past years - I made it! I wrote over 3,000 words a day and didn't do any editing; not until next month, which will be good for me to get in and do. 
But during November, seeing I was locked inside my home for a good part of it, I made sure I went out in the car a lot too... it just made sense to keep myself decluttering and op-shopping and looking for Christmas presents - and also shopping for a new tree; a 6footer! - to adorn my home now. 
December has been a huge social occasion after another. First my brother had his art opening, then there was the Logan Art Gallery's Christmas Party, then I went back to art school on the Monday morning again and then there was the lunch for the Queen Beez Craft Group and the following week, I went to the morning tea for the Logan Art Gallery where we got our certificates and presents and other goodies and food and great things as well for the year. And then, I attended the Queen Beez Craft Group's last meeting; and I told them it was my last group for them; as my life is taking in other directions with the Logan Artists Association and I feel my time at the Queen Beez is coming to an end. They were kinda sad about this but asked me to come and see them when I could... I promised I would. Then, there was Christmas... oh boy! Christmas Eve was at my cousin's house and Christmas day was split between my folks' house and Tutasi's family and it was great, stinking hot and there was so much food! And then there was a massive storm which hit just as I got home and pulled everything inside from the car.

Yep, this year has been full of great things, bad things, arts and craft and other wonderful things. Next year is going to be the same. I'm going to be painting more, writing more, gardening more and looking at tossing out more from my house to make it better and better and easier for me to move out of here when the time does come to move out. 

So, this was the yearly newsletter of what's gone on in 2017! It feels like it's been 10 years since the beginning of the year, doesn't it? Here's to the next year of 2018!  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day - aka: Christmas Recovery

Yep... this is what Boxing Day is really all about: recovering from eating and drinking so much! Well, did I eat! 

On Christmas Eve, I had most of the day to myself. All of my presents were wrapped, in a box, and ready to be loaded into the car. The Cranberry and Blueberry Christmas Cake was ready to go as well as a gorgeous fruit salad (of 3 mangos, 4 bananas, 4 yellow nectarines and 5 bunches of red globe seedless grapes and the juice of a whole lemonade tree lemon - OMG! Yummo!). Yes, my work for Christmas was done and dusted on 23rd, December... so I could chill out on Sunday for most of the day in the air-conditioner of my home office.

At around 3pm or so, I turned off the internet and the computer and got myself ready... had a shower, dressed in a dress my ginger-sister, Tutasi, brought from the USA and did my hair then loaded up the car and the eskie and headed on over to my folks' house to car pool with them to Kate's house. 

We got there around 5:30pm and grazed on nibbles... but we at outside and not inside simply because it so much cooler. We didn't wander inside until it was time to eat... or until we couldn't see outside anymore... whichever came first. 
Dinner was wonderful! There was so much food... and dessert was just gorgeous! Blueberry Trifle, Pavlova, and fruit salad (which somebody took a look at and left the lid off of while it was in the fridge), then we were all too full to do anything; and nobody really wanted to give out gifts. So, I volunteered, and the kids got a lot of gifts from a lot of people. 
Soon, though, Mum, Dad and I were off - along with Gabe and Kat - to Gabe and Kat's place to open pressies there. We arrived there and got in and opened presents together and found that they didn't put up a tree, tinsel or anything (they're not really into Christmas; but that's them... not us, or me. I love Christmas) 
Well, Riley loved her Obsidian, and was stunned that I bought her something as strange as that. Gabe took a look at it and said it was purple, no blue, no hang on... purple.. no... well, we weren't sure about the colour, but it's cool! Riley then opened her two other gifts and found I had bought an art piece by Marnie Linger and framed it... she loved it! And then, she opened her third present and found I had bought her a fold-up table easel; and loved that she could take it everywhere with her! 
I knitted Kat a towel, and she loved that it was so well-done... and soft. I said that once it wears out, she can just throw it in with the other rubbish and it'll break down in land fill as it's made from cotton, and that's a natural fibre. She was thrilled about that!
Gabe received a framed AC/DC 'Back In Black' vinyl I had spent 2 months working on... it was a right bitch trying to find the right frame for it; then realising I had to paint the brown frame black, and then work on the backing board too... it took 2 days to pull together.

Everyone loved their goodies - and all of them were either from op-shops or hand-made. This was a great plan of mine; and I'll be doing this more often in future.

The next day, was Christmas Day... I had a light breakfast, washed up, packed the car and closed up the house completely to make sure if a storm hit during the day, no rain got in while I was out.

I headed over to my Aunt's house to pick up my eskie - as I had left it there the night before - and then to my folks' house to open presents. We had a great morning in the nice cool air-conditioning for a few hours.
By around midday, I was off to Crestmead where I had been invited to a Christmas Lunch by a great friend of mine, Tutasi, and her husband. This was their first family function and I represented her side of the family; as she was meeting his side of the family (well, part of it) and this was going to be a big day.
I helped out with serving up a delicious tuna dip that Tutasi had made and then set out some of the meals as well. Then, people started to show up. Tim, Tutasi's husband pulled out a large ham from another relative's box of mangoes and accidentally dribbled oil and fat all over the white table cloth, and I helped out cleaning that off the cloth - and by the time I was finished with that, it looked like nothing had happened at all; well almost nothing. 
The day went on, and became hotter. Tutasi made sure we had plenty of nice cold bottles of water and attended to Tim's Uncle - as his Uncle is the head of the family. Blessings were said, prayers as well and a song sung by the family - in their own wonderful language - and then we all ate! Oh man, so much food! Then, there was dessert. The adults sat outside, in the heat and the children sat in the living room in the air-conditioning (lucky them!), but it's how Tim's Uncle wanted it for the day.

By around 5pm or so, I could see storm clouds gathering down near Beenleigh and coming up towards Brisbane, I said that I better get going; if I wanted to beat the storm home - and I had to drop by my folks' house to pick up my presents as they were left there for the day. I thanked them all for lunch and that it had been a pleasure meeting them all, wishing them a Merry Christmas. And then, I was on my way... it didn't take long to get back home, after picking up my presents. 

By the time I got them inside and took a shower, it was really dark outside and thundering with rain! Yep, I left at the right time! But man, I didn't eat anything for dinner, just mineral water and a bit of chocolate, and fruit... that's all. Well, that was my Christmas. How was yours? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Last Week of 2017!

Well, it's coming up to the last week of this year... and what a year it's been!

So far, I've decluttered plenty, donated to Vinnies 15 times and collected some very beautiful things to make my home more cosy and lovely than it was before.

In the first quarter of the year, I got real estate agents around to look at my place to see how much it's worth... and found out it's gone up in value. But then, when I asked a bank for loan - any bank - I was practically laughed at for not having any debt, or collateral, and then told by a broker that I wouldn't be able to get anywhere near my asking amount.. so there went that idea!

I kept on decluttering like a machine.

I kept on going to art school.

I kept on going to my volunteer work.

I was editing another book; and finished editing 'The Tour Guide' - last year's NaNoWriMo book and asked my Mum to read it for me. However, she's putting it off all the time.

I started up in the markets again - and it's slowly, slowly - but I'm having fun! Next year will be better; and busier too.

My Birthday was great fun - as always - and my family is becoming closer as time goes by. I find that we used to be a little distant due to work and other issues; but now, we're better.

Now that Christmas is upon us, I've been op-shopping my gifts and hand-making them as well for the past 2 months. This has made my gift-giving not only more thoughtful, but also a little cheaper than it has been in the past.
There's Limoncello, paintings, framed artwork, hand-made towels and upcycled artwork as well as books and other things I've been able to pick up at local markets and op-shops and other things as well.

However, along the way, my computer monitor spat the dummy and blew up on me (and for a 20 year old monitor, it was due to leave this planet at some point or another pretty darned soon) and then my car played up in a huge way. We thought it was the power steering pump, but it ended up being the mounts - which were the originals that were installed in the engine bay when it was built 17 years ago! So, once they were replaced and everything was put back in, along with the old power steering pump, the car ran like its old self again... okay, the power steering will need looking at - but not for another 12 months! 

Anyway, this Little Green Machine is getting me around town just nicely again; and I'm glad to say it's going to keep going for a while.

Op-shopping has been going quite well; as I made my 15th donation to Vinnies in the past week for this year! My goal to get out as much as I could in the year has been reached... and next year I'm going to blast that again - if I can! But the home office is going to be a bigger focus; as it's really not going to plan. 

Otherwise, I'm hoping to see in the New Year on a positive note... either quietly or out with friends. Life has started out being good to me - and I'm really happy about that.

So, how has your year turned out? I hope most of it has been positive for you as it has been for me. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and have a very Merry Christmas... and remember, I'm always here.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Little Bits and Pieces

I'm coming to the pointy end of my Christmas shopping... yep, I'm still going with it; but as promised, I'm not going to the big retail stores.

And you know something? 

It's really become a relaxing thing for me this time around! 

Honestly, you have to try op-shopping for your family next year... and hand-making things as well... it's not as bad as you may think.

I've found some great things; and today I'm planning on getting in and finishing up on some housework, then popping out and catching up on checking the mail, going to Bunnings and buying a few things there, then getting in and finishing up with a spot of op-shopping at Vinnies to buy a couple of picture frames - one of them has to be really big to fit something in it.

It's the bits and pieces part of the shopping; and I'm looking forward to doing this part.

When I returned home from the coast, I got in and did a bit of grocery shopping, two loads of laundry and put away the wiping up on that day... then the next day day, I was out to get more food, the paper and to check the mail before coming home to weed the garden, water the lawn and gardens (as it's been horribly dry here) and then wash the car from it being at the coast for a week. 

Today, I'm washing my sheets - well, it's been hot and sunny... and I'm sure it'll all dry in the sunny conditions.

While the housework is being caught up on, I'm making sure the presents are being taken care off too... yep, a busy time for me all around. 

So, how is your Christmas shopping going? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Shopping Days

It's that time of year where we burn a really big hole in our pockets; and wonder how we're going to pay off the credit card bill for the next twelve months... then we go and do it all again.


Yeah... I get it.

But this year, I'm not doing that.

I'm doing hand-made and op-shopped presents for my family. I know that sounds like the cheap way of doing it, but in all seriousness, it's not.

I like making things by hand and enjoy op-shopping; so it's the best of both worlds. 

It also takes times to make things; so I also have a lot of that up my sleeve if I time things right - which I have. 

The best thing of all is that I haven't spent an awful lot of money on things that people really don't want... because when you think of it, you don't know what your relatives want - and it's not normally a lot - and so the best thing to do is to make something they can eat, drink or hang on the wall... and it is normally something that makes them happy. 

And I'm doing that... I'm hand-making things for my family members and some of them have taken a few weeks, another thing will take another 3 weeks to do, while I've been working on yet another item for the last 3 months. 

So, really when it comes to Christmas shopping, I haven't spent all that much money - except on things for myself. I bought a new vinyl and a left-handed desk calendar for next year (the latter I always get)... and that's it's. I've spent around $80 this year compared to around $200 last year; and that says something about how I'm looking at my budget. 

Yep, this year should be fun! So, do tell, what are you doing for pressies this year? You don't have to go into detail, just hint around the edges... hehe... until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember I'm always here.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thankful Album

Today, on Facebook, I started a 'Thankful' album. Every day, for a month, I'll be taking a photo and uploading it and explaining why I'm thankful for that item, those people, event or the ways I'm thankful.

It's going to be an ongoing thing - but I'll begin with Christmas and see how it goes. 

But right now, I'd like to say how thankful I am to be still alive, still breathing, still living, and as healthy as I am. However, it took a lot of effort from me to get where I am now -  didn't just expect people to take care of me and leave it at that. No, I had to make sure I got to sleep at the right time, I ate the right food, I did the right things and was doing everything right in my life.

Yes, I have Epilepsy, and it can really beat me around, but staying on my medications and making sure I do all the right things in my life - like everyone should - is a thing which keeps me healthy.

I have found that there's a few things to learn by:

Don't be lazy. It's your life, and you take care of yourself.

Don't expect people to do everything for you. A little elbow grease and work never hurt anyone.

Always be learning something new. No matter how old you get, the learning process is ongoing.

Hand on your knowledge to the next generation. There's always somebody to help out who doesn't know what you do.

Being thankful doesn't mean you take life for granted; it means you see life as a gift. I love life and will always love living... no matter how much depression gets me down. I enjoy reading books, and collecting them. I love writing books, even though there's a high chance they will most probably never be published. I love painting and art, even though I most probably will never sell a single piece of work... I'm thankful to have learned how to do all these things in my life and knowing how to get these things done is a good thing for me. I have learned skills. 

I am thankful for family. I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for the roof over my head. I am thankful for the beautiful flowers in my garden and the birds who fly freely singing overhead. 

I am thankful.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Busy Month

It's been a busy month; and so the reason why I haven't been writing in here all that often.

But at this time of year, I do slacken off writing online; on my blogs and do write more offline. So, what has been happening in my life is more cleaning out, Christmas Card writing, decluttering, working on what to give who for Christmas and enjoying the time of the year - which is supposed to be boiling hot, but it's not.

And this year, I'm making things for my family or op-shopping the things for them... so there's no mad rush to the big retailers for me. I'm going out to the charity stores to look at what's there and getting nice things for my family.

What a way to shop!

So far, I've got two presents on their way to being done... one is a painting, another is a t-towel. And next week I'll be pulling together the third one for another relative - well the beginnings of it anyway. 

This is the least stressed I've been for Christmas presents ever; mainly because it's the most fun I've had doing something for this time of year.

And isn't that the main thing? To have fun?

Sure it is.

So, when you're looking at what to get your family this year, stop and think. Do they really need something that's going to blow out your credit card, or do they really need that little something that will last longer than six months? 

I'm picking carefully... and going for something from the heart which is either hand-made or preloved. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.