Photo Hunt – Wild

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This week’s theme is “Wild” and there are so many interpretations for this theme I thought I’d choose a couple of different ones.

First up is an aboriginal man who reminds me of an indigenous version of the “Wild Man” of Borneo 😉

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Then we have a “wild-eyed” crazy man in the band at The Cuckoo in Melbourne.

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And lucky last, we have a “wild ride” Egypt-style … trekking into the Valley of the Kings.

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Arrived in one piece!

Here we are in Sydney … 1190 km after leaving Melbourne, we’re really here!!  In fact we arrived on Saturday night, but I haven’t had time to post until now.  It was a great trip, with some exquisite scenery and wildlife that we encountered along the way.  Parts of the trip were a bit boring, but you’ve gotta expect that driving across such a vast land mass.  I’ll share a few photos of the journey just to give you a tiny taste of what we saw etc in another post (in fact, I think I’ll do a few separate posts to make uploads easier).

Firstly, though, I want to share some words of belated thanks to Jenna, my northern twin … weeks and weeks ago she sent me the most awesome card in the technique of quilling, and I just love it to death.  I was parading it around the office showing it to anyone who would stand still long enough, then had it sitting on my desk all day.  Unfortunately it arrived on the day when I was moving housesitting jobs and it got packed away – and I couldn’t blog about it immediately as I didn’t have internet access at the time.  I did take a photo that night, but in no way does it do it justice (I really should take another photo in daylight!).  I can finally share it, though … isn’t it the most perfect thing for a duck lover like myself?  I just adore it to bits!!  I’m going to get a wee frame for it to keep it protected – thanks so much again Jenna, I totally adore it! 😀

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Rightio, now back to the travelling news etc … in fact, I think I’ll do a separate post for each day, and I’ll start off with snippets from our final week in Melbourne.

As I’ve already mentioned, we managed to get to see Tannia and Bill performing the week before we left – it was a wonderful listening experience, and the time flew past.  I have to say the food was also great – and the company just as great.  Thanks again Tannia for your friendship – while we only start meeting each other recently, I hope the friendship continues, and I look forward to the day when we can catch up once again 😀

On the Sunday before we left, I took one more day of annual leave so Mum and I could have a “free day” to go back out to the Mornington Peninsula and Arthur’s Seat to see how the gardens have changed, and see the roses in bloom.  It was absolutely pelting down with rain, and I found out later there were flood warnings out past the area where we were … but we decided to brace ourselves and get out in the abysmal weather and still have an enjoyable day out.  The winds were quite blustery so Mum’s umbrella ended up inside out a couple of times – and she was holding two umbrellas over me while I tried to take some photos of the roses – we didn’t let the weather get us down, and we had a really lovely time together as always.  I’m very lucky to have a really close relationship with my Mum!  Here are some photos I took that day … including a funny one of Mum!

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Of course we couldn’t go and not sample the rose petal scones – which were divine! (plus some plain ones)

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I think this one is from the Myrtle family?

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Of course I got all excited when I saw a row of ducks waddling in formation across the lawn – I finally managed to get a quick photo when they stopped for a bit of preening!

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Enchanted Maze Garden
It was nice to see the cottage garden all filled in with flowers, and leaves on the trees 🙂

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And the piece de resistance:

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On the way home we called in to see our good friend Sharon, along with Pete and Erin – as always it’s a pleasure to spend time with them … Sharon was the first stitching friend I made in Melbourne, and it was sad to say goodbye – but it’s not for good as Sharon is hoping to come visit me in Sydney, which will be wonderful!  Both Mum and I adore her, and even though we didn’t see each other that often, I will miss being able to pop over and say “hi”.  Sharon spoilt me rotten with some farewell gifts, which I forgot to take a photo of, and everything is now packed up – as soon as I unpack everything again, I’ll take a piccie – I especially adore the birdie ornament, it took my breath away – but everything was very thoughtful and touching … Erin kindly took a photo of the three of us ladies together – I’ll check that Sharon is OK to add the photo to the blog and hopefully I’ll be able to post that later as well 🙂

OK, that’ll do for today – there’s so much more to write, but I have to run to get ready as we’re heading out to catch a train to Katoomba today.  Dragonfly Dreams, here we come!! 😉

Crikey, I’ve gone and done it now!!!

Today I got my ‘big boss’ to sign off on my application form, and I faxed it along with my CV and cover letter and applied for the job in Sydney … OMG, now I’m starting to freak out!!  If I have to interview for the job I’d better start applying for more housesitting jobs in Melbourne, ‘cos I’m useless at them … but if by any freak event they just decide I’m the best candidate and offer it to me outright, I’m all set haha.  Apparently they had two other applications received by the deadline, but they were considering extending the timeframe a bit longer – which to me means they weren’t too thrilled with the candidates concerned for whatever reason.  Also, apparently, the boss in Sydney was speaking to one of our Supervisors asking why no-one from Melbourne had applied for the job, which is quite interesting – it seems that Melbourne Hotline have got the best reputation across all three call centres for knowledge and expertise etc (and some staff members will actually call us directly because they don’t want to speak to the other sites hmmm).  Anyway, all-in-all, the boss in Sydney is going to try to let me know an update by the end of this week, or on Monday next week – whether that means an interview time, or something else, I’ll just have to wait and see.

The awful thing is that this has all been so rushed, and with the hours I’m working and the time difference, I haven’t even had chance to discuss any of this with Mum – she’s read all about this new adventure at the same time as everyone else!  Sorry Mum!!

Of course, all I could think of on the drive home tonight was that I’d have to start making a list of all the things I’d need to take with me in the car, if I moved to Sydney for the year … forget about bedding, and all those important and critical things, the list that was being created in my mind was all the stitching goodies haha.  Even though I’m not stitching much at the moment, it’s still at the forefront of my mind! LOL.  I’ll only be taking with me pretty much what I’ve been housesitting with -the storage unit is too well packed to get much of it out, although my computer printer and stitching stash, along with sewing machine, are nicely accessible and definitely compulsory packing items.  I think I’ll also be trying hard to reach back into the unit to get my hands on my floor model Ott-Lite.  Anyway, I might be counting my chickens before they’re hatched, so I shouldn’t start getting my hopes up …

On to a totally different story … here are some of the photos I took yesterday at the Australian Garden display – there are a couple of ‘overall garden’ photos, as well as some close-ups of some of the Australian native plants that Iliked. 

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Abbey, from NCIS, would love these plants – lovely black flowers!! 😉
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“Matted bush-pea”
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“Tiny Thomasia”
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Native orchids
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I love this display, it’s quite artistic and funky … I DON’T like those webby things, though! 😛
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And it’s amazing what you can find among the flowers when you have your head down
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And on that note, I’ll call it a night … 🙂

Rotation … again … and a decision made …

Thanks for the positive feedback about my rotation – in fact it looks more complex than it actually is … essentially it’s just a rotation with 6 projects on the go at any one time, and rather than having a measured period of time per slot (ie 10 hours or one week per slot), I’ve given myself project deadlines to complete before I move on to the next project in the rotation.  Basically the slots will be:

  1. Commitment stitching (until all 3 item are completed)
  2. Snapperville – Bent Creek; then Stitching Leporello (Chatelaine)
  3. The Drawn Thread – It’s Halloween, then Autumn Arbor, then Garden Recipe – then Victoria Sampler’s Crimson Fire Sampler
  4. CA Wells – Sailor’s Valentine, then Cottage Etui, then Pyramid Etui
  5. Lanarte – Sea Life
  6. Free choice

The next few projects that will be added as time goes by are – Blessed with Happiness box (The Cat’s Whiskers), Blueberries (LHN/CC thread pack), My Treasures Workstation (Judy Odell), plus a myriad of others, all vying for attention.  There are many ‘smaller’ projects that will slot in very nicely into the “free choice” spot, as they’ll only take a couple of nights of stitching to get each one finished (such as Xmas ornies etc).

As for right now, I put one whole hour’s stitching into the dratted Winnie the Pooh bookmark tonight – it’s the first time I’ve actually brought my stitching out while staying at Ali’s, and I can’t say I was particularly productive, but it was nice to get the frame out and give it a go!

I actually had a pretty rough night’s sleep last night and didn’t feel too perky when I finally emerged from the bedcovers.  I was cheered up pretty quickly, though, by a visit out to see Lisa to take her house keys back … and I was spoilt to death by being taken out to lunch to an awesome beach-side cafe at Parkdale (I would definitely recommend that to anyone in Melbourne!), as well as being given a really sweet tote bag from Harrod’s, and another wee black bag from Hong Kong – wow!  Gifts are always lovely purely because of the sentiments behind them, but these are super useful! 😀

After we had lunch I decided to head out to the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens, and walked around the Australian Garden, which is full of Australian native plants.  There isn’t as much to see and do as there was at the other gardens I’ve recently been to at Arthur’s Seat etc, but it was lovely to spend an hour walking around and seeing some native species I hadn’t seen before.  It was also lovely to see loads of Superb Fairy Wren birds flitting around among the ground cover – I just adore the colourings of the male bird, the bright blue is, indeed, “superb”! 😉

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After wandering around the gardens, I headed back to Seaford and picked up a healthy dinner option – fresh Mediterranean salad (mixed lettuce leaves, with crumbled feta and sundried tomato dressing), a bunch of fresh asparagus spears (yummo!), and a piece of fresh salmon fillet.  All I had to do when I got home was to crack open the bottle of Chardonnay I also picked up, nuke the salmon and asparagus spears for 3 minutes in the microwave, and pile everything on a plate … it was absolutely divine!  Of course, the added company of Ali chatting to me during getting everything ready was an added bonus! 😀

I’ve been chatting to a few people at work about the option of applying for the job in Sydney, and the consensus is that I should go for it!  I wanted to chat to Ali especially to get her feedback – even though I’m only just starting to find my feet socially here in Melbourne after being here for 4 years, it’s a damned good opportunity to give it a try.  The salary is about $7,000-$10,000 more than my base salary here, although with the shift allowances it would even up a bit overall.  I’m currently on a level 5 salary band, and the training salary is level 8 for the first 3 months, then it goes up to a level 9 (which is basically above our Supervisors in Reservations).  Anyway, it’s only for 12 months, and it would be fantastic experience – and it seems there’s no time like the present, since all my things are in storage!  So, basically, I’m going to “go for it” … that’s not to say I’ll actually get the job, but I won’t get it if I don’t officially apply!

Crikey, I’ve just seen the time … I’d better hurry up and call it a night, as I’m on earlier shifts this week, and the traffic is horrendous so I’ll need to leave early and allow about 1 1/2 hours driving time ho-hum.  I have 2 hours overtime after work tomorrow, so that will at least see me leaving to come home outside peak time, which is great! 🙂

I’m going to call the boss in Sydney tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have an update by the next time I jump online … I’ll also try to remember to post some piccies of the Australian Garden too 🙂

Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens

My next stop on my day out was Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens – I was getting peckish at this point, though, so opted to sit and have my own version of a Devonshire Tea (with coffee instead of tea) … the scones were delicious! And it gave me chance to chill out and relax while waiting for a schoolbus of noisy teenage school kids to leave – it’s amazing the peaceful hush that came over the gardens once they’d gone! 😉

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There isn’t as much to see in these gardens as with The Enchanted Maze Garden, but it’s still a lovely garden to stroll around. They have a “Great Gnome Hunt” for kids, where they have to find the gnomes with red name tags somewhere in the gardens … a great way to keep them amused.

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Once again, the gardens will look totally different when the summer flowers are in bloom – I can’t wait to see the Circular Rose Maze when the roses are out, as they just look like a garden of twigs right now! It didn’t stop me from taking squillions of photos, though, focusing on the different types of flowers that were in bloom, as well as a few of the gardens themselves.

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There were lovely spots in the garden where you could sit down and while away the hours in abject peace and serenity – there were some gorgeous little nooks where I could easily have curled up with a book without a care in the world 🙂

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It was lovely to see some of the spring blossoms starting to arrive on the trees, and also to see some spring bulbs in flower – I was especially thrilled to see bluebells popping up near the lily pond … they always remind me of England, walking through the local woods near home (one of the few memories I do have of my childhood).

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I took a few photos of the lavender garden – there seem to be quite a few new plants, so it wasn’t as spectacular as it will be when they’re more established, but it was still lovely to walk through the garden, as they have it set out as a small maze. I’ve only chosen a couple of photos from the dozens I did take, but no doubt will use a couple in upcoming Photo Hunts (I have one of a bee resting on a lavender flower that I really love … but you’ll have to wait for that one haha).

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So, all-in-all, a wonderful outing – I finished off by driving as far as Sorrento afterwards, although it was getting late in the day so I didn’t have time to look around. Next time I’ll spend a day on its own perhaps exploring that part of the world, and maybe taking a return trip to Queenscliff on the ferry as well (weather permitting, seeing as I get terribly seasick!).

Anyway, this definitely won’t be the last time I visit these gardens – I’d love to take Mum around them as well next time she’s over (make sure you bring your walking shoes Ma!).

Rightio, time to sign off and think about getting ready for work again … fingers crossed when I return home tomorrow after my nightshift I won’t have cat sick to worry about! Mind you, at least this kitty is a friendly old thing – Ally is an 11 year old tortoiseshell moggie, and definitely very laid back and relaxed … that’s a nice change! 😉

Can’t guarantee to show any stitching progress for a week or two … although I do hope to get two small pieces finished while I’m here (one revolting bit of stitching on plastic canvas, and a Winnie the Pooh bookmark – for those of you who’ve been reading my blog since the start you might remember I was ‘cheated’ into doing some stitching for a work colleague … well, these are the pieces, and I still haven’t stitched them – but this is the girl I’m housesitting for at the moment, so I thought it would be great if I could get them done in time to leave them here). I’m also really REALLY itching to start Snapperville, and it’s taking all my resolve not to pick it up and start it yet … so I may just end up caving in and treating myself and starting that one real soon 😀

I hope everyone is doing well, out there in blogland – hopefully I’ll get chance to get online again soon to catch up on some blog reading before I lose my access again.  I have to say, though, here were 1200+ unread feeds sitting in there, so it is definitely not going to be a ‘small task’! 😉

The Enchanted Maze Garden

My first garden stop was to The Enchanted Maze Garden – this would be a fun place to take your kids on a nice day … there’s something there to please both adults and children alike. When walking through the garden entrance gate, one of the first things you see sticking up out of the main maze is this wee fella … and there’s a quirky tone like this throughout the entire garden.

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There are different ‘theme’ gardens – for example the “Tile Garden”, which has a beautiful magnolia tree surrounded by pieces of tiled artwork planted throughout the garden plot … the “Enchanted Garden” has whimsical fairies etc dotted around … and the succulent garden is gorgeous (just love those terracotta pots) … and the “Christmas Garden” has a topiary arrangement of reindeer and a sleigh.

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There is a mix of different styles of artwork and sculpture throughout the gardens (you can click here to find out more about the artists and their work – and more abou the gardens themselves of course) – I especially loved the marble sculptures near the pond. Unfortunately it was the wrong time of year to go there, as the gardens in that area are bare … it will be superb in summer when the flowers are in bloom, and I’ll definitely be taking another trip out there later.

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This was one of my favourite places in the whole garden – I just love this sculpture! It was so incredibly peaceful standing and looking at it, listening to the water running … ah, bliss!! 😀

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There are a number of different mazes – there is a brick maze where you follow the brick path (no chance of getting lost here, as the maze is at ground level!), a children’s maze where each corner is set aside for different settings (such as dinosaurs, jungle, beach), a kid’s playground with three separate brain teaser mazes (loved the tyre one below), as well as the more traditional large hedge maze (which I have to admit I’m not a great fan of, so I didn’t go in).

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There is also a tiny wee petting zoo for the kiddies (with a sheep, goat, chickens, and ducks) … and a sculpture walk through the bush, where the main focus is on the artwork by Ken Blum – those carvings of aboriginal people are stunning! To top it all off, you are surrounded by the peace of the bush, with lots of native birds flying overhead … I managed to recognise a few, but there were loads I didn’t know.

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Here’s one more sculpture that I really love … and very unique to Australia, I guess … the Swagman (OK, altogether now … “Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda ……..) 😀

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At the end of your time here you can buy souvenirs or lollies from the gift shop, or have a bit to eat … but I had things to do and places to see, so I just hit the road and went off to the next gardens on my list – Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens!

A couple of VERY picture heavy posts coming up!!!

I’m back briefly for a two-week stint on the internet, before losing it again for possibly a full month … I wish I could say I’ve been spending my time offline stitching my little heart out, but the truth of the matter is I’ve hardly touched a needle the whole time … I’ve had my nose in a book instead, and finally read Diana Gabaldon’s latest novel “A Breath of Fire & Ashes”. All I can say is “wow!” – over 900 pages, and once you get into it you just can’t put it down!!! Those novels would have to be some of my all-time favourite books – and every single one has had me hooked and enthralled through every single page!  Next up I’ve borrowed “The Kite Runner to read, which apparently is supposed to be exceptional – everyone I’ve spoken to so far has raved about it, so I thought I’d find out what all the fuss is about … 😉

Anyway, I can say that I have done some sort of stitching, although it’s not embroidery … I finally hand-stitched all the binding onto my Quilt UFO – this would have to be about 8-10 years old, and it’s a great feeling to finally get it finished. One of the Supervisors at work has offered to buy it from me, as I wasn’t too sure what to do with it now it’s all finished, so I’ll probably take her up on her offer – even if I just get $20 for it.  I need to get it drycleaned first, though, to get rid of both the old musty smell and the wrinkles 😉

golliwog quilt finished

As to what else I’ve been up to … there have been some hiccups with my housesitting, which I won’t go into in huge detail, but it’s started me thinking about giving it up and looking for my own place in November. Daniel came home from overseas a day early, when I was in the middle of packing up … I got a call at 7pm (on a 6pm shift) to say they were at home and basically wanted to get into their own bed – having no spare room, they stayed at his parents place overnight and kept saying “how early can we come over?” so I felt really uncomfortable, I ended up finishing my packing after work at 2am and doing the last lot of cleaning, then going back to work at 5am to pick up a key from my pal a day early … she wasn’t expecting me turning up at work, of course, and let’s just say I had a frosty reception. Made me realise how much I rely on her for my ‘inbetween’ times of housesitting, and I think it would be better to call it quits (mind you, I did get an apology from Daniel when I saw him next.) It would be perfect if I could get something for 2-3 months over Christmas, but I guess that’s not going to happen, so decisions need to be made ho-hum 😦

While I had my days off, though, I made a concerted effort to get out and see some more of the Mornington Peninsula – I headed out for a drive to Arthur’s Seat to take in the views, then spent time in both The Enchanted Maze Garden and Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens, before taking a quick drive out to Sorrento and back home. It was a wonderful day out, and even though most of the garden wasn’t in bloom yet, it was a really pleasant way to spend the day. I’ll definitely have to go back again when the flowers are out, as the gardens will take on a whole different personality again 🙂

Here are some shots of the views from Arthur’s Seat … there’s usually a chairlift operating to the summit, but it’s closed during winter, so I just drove up to the top instead 🙂

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The next couple of posts will be dedicated to both of the individual gardens I went to, and they’ll be pretty chocka full of photos – I took oodles more as well, and in fact went a bit snap happy overall haha.

In the meantime I’ll close this post with photos of some of the colourful beach huts on the beaches of the Mornington Peninsula – I just adore their bright colours, and I’ve been dying to take some photos of them forever. I still want to head out to Brighton beach at some stage and take photos of those ones too, as they’re the most famous ones in Melbourne, I think (there’s a great shot here – love it!). Here are a few from Dromana anyway …

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Rightio, while my next lot of photos are loading up into Webshots, I’m off to clean up cat sick … that was what greeted me on my first ‘morning’ here in Edithvale – I woke up after my nightshift to find a pile of cat sick on the lounge carpet and floorboards … there’d better be some rubber gloves somewhere, that’s all I can say!!! Let’s just hope I’m not like I normally am … I often join in in sympathy at the sound and smell of sick … yukky!! 😦