Friday, May 27, 2011

Lusting over Art!

On my mind this Friday, is my current Lusting over Art!

As I've mentioned more than a few times, I rented for about 16 years, and when you're a renter you usually have little choice/input into your decor, and since we bought our house 2 years ago (in July!) I've found it a bit hard to get out of renters mode, and decorate/organise our home how we want it.

One of the areas I really want to tackle is the artwork in our home.  I adore art, anywhere we go, I'm drawn like a moth or bower bird perhaps, to any artwork hanging in the house/restaurant/vineyard/shop.

I have collected some art in my travels, and they will definitely be finding their way onto our walls in the coming month or so, before everyone arrives for our wedding!

This is one of the prints we have to hang, I bought it with the first cheque I received for my business, back in 2001!  It has been hung in every rental since, and will be the first onto the wall.  I first saw it in a restaurant in Ireland and fell in love, I knew I had to have it.

The lovely Lepa Zena (photo source)
Buy at
Lepa Zena
Buy From
Another of my prints, waiting to be hung, I found at the Racing Museum at Newmarket in England. Fittingly titled 'We Three Kings' it depicts the legends Arkle, Red Rum and Desert Orchid.
We Three Kings - Arkle, Red Rum, Desert Orchid (photo source)
Buy at
We Three Kings
Buy From

I found the website through a blog I love - Young House Love, after reading about one of their art hanging projects. Good and bad that I found  good that I've found soo many pieces of art I love, but bad in that our budget probably won't love them as much as I do.

My Lust List so far!!:

Stunning Gerbera's in a spectrum of colour, would be gorgeous for a girls bedroom, or in a bathroom
Gerbera Spectrum (photo source)
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Gerbera Spectrum
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An old favourite, never fails to bring a smile to my dial when I see it, so sweet, would love it in our future kids room.
Giraffe, first kiss (photo source)
Buy at
Giraffe, First Kiss
Buy From
Just stunning, yes another for our future kids room, the poor kidlets won't have any option but to love animals!
Big ears (photo source)
Buy at
Big Ears
Buy From
I could see this above our bed, so lovely and the colours are exactly what I'd love in our bedroom, uplifting yet relaxing and soothing.
Rows of Cherry Trees, Minnesota (photo source)
Buy at
Rows of Cherry Tress in an Orchard, M...
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One for the kitchen, such a nice shot, love the colours
Woman in Bangalore India carrying Paw Paw & Bananas (photo source)
Buy at
Local Woman Balancing Paw...
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And one for our study, inspiration for our future plans to have our own small farm, with a menagerie of animals, and becoming as self-sufficient as we possibly can.
Tranquility Farm, even the name is inspiring! (photo source)
Buy at
Tranquil Farm, c.1994
Buy From
So that is what's on my mind this chilly Friday morning!

Thanks to Rhonda from the Down To Earth blog for her 'Friday On My Mind' feature, as she says on her blog "Slow down, take the time to cruise around and enjoy your cyber visits".

Till next time,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lovely end to the day

Not much else to say, except aaahhh lovely (well I probably should say apologies for shocking photo quality, my phone isn't the best!)
Sunset in the Hunter Valley, Australia
Till next time,

Kiva - update 2

This morning a client called and during the call we got onto winning Lotto, as you do, and he asked me what I would do if I won a massive Lotto.  I of course, along with everyone else probably, have put considerable thought into where I would spend my millions should I ever have the good fortune to win Lotto.

Apart from paying off our mortgage, travelling, giving some money to our parents & siblings to help them get a bit more financial security, the thing I really would want to do is set up my own charity.

Not a charity charity, more of a here's a hand up not hand out charity.  Finding people who have great ideas, but no backing, and giving them the financial boost they might need to have a crack at their dream/idea.

The full ins and outs of my charity are a bit all over the place and definitely for another post :)  but it did turn my mind to the hand up charity I'm currently involved with, Kiva.

For those who haven't read my old posts, Kiva is "a non-profit organisation with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world". (from Kiva website)

I joined Kiva back in March 2009, and since then I have lent US$1,500, spread across 60 people whose idea/dream/plan caught my eye.

All of the people I have leant to have been women, I'm a subscriber to the theory if you help a woman, she in turn will help more people throughout her community and family, than a man may.  I'm not saying a man won't help as many, but in alot of countries females don't get the opportunity that men get, and if you can empower a woman she will take it with both hands because it's rarer for them than for men. If that makes sense, there is a quote out there somewhere that succinctly summarises my thinking, but I can't find it at the moment!

Anyway this was going to be a quick post just to update how our Kiva group was going!

I setup a team in Kiva called 'Aussie & Kiwi Savers' made up of members of a site I use Simple Savings, I thought I might be able to get a bit of support from fellow members, however the support that has been given is mind boggling.

I established the team in May 2009 and our team as at today 25 May 2011 is:

81 members

822 loans
US$20,775 worth of loans

Over US$20,000 of loans, that's amazing!  So much more than I thought would happen when I posted about Kiva on Simple Savings!

Again, just for any newbies I'm not advocating everyone get involved, I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in joining reads everything they can on Kiva, either through the Kiva website   or by googling Kiva, and make your own decision.

There but for the grace of God go I.............. rings so true to me when I think of Kiva.......

Till next time,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Not a great weekend

Working 20kms out of town 5 days a week from 8am - 6pm means my weekends are very precious, my job list is well planned out for every weekend, especially as in 2 months time we're getting married, and we have a list a mile long of things to do.

From about Wednesday of last week I had a bit of a sniffle, but thought nothing of it, I took Berocca & Echinacea day & night, thinking I would nip it in the bud.  And I continued on my weekend planning.

I start planning on Monday what we've got to do the following weekend, the weekend just gone was to include:

  • Garage Sales for decorations
  • Passport Application
  • Wedding Suit for Mr Mel
  • Shoes for Me & Brideslave
  • Suckitallin Underwear for Me
  • Shopping for then cooking Duck & Chorizo Cassoulet
  • Making Bunting for decorations
  • Visit to Spotlight for bunting supplies
  • Visit to Hall to check if iPod connector works ok
  • Visit to several Vineyards to try wines we've seen come on special online

Friday 2pm I had headed downhill rapidly, still at work, I had dizziness, and was coughing, my bosses wife caught sight of me and sent me home.

Once I got home I lasted about 3 hours, then was asleep on the couch, then to bed, having dosed up on Vitamin C, Echinacea and Codral.

Saturday morning I was feeling a bit better, so 7am I head out to the garage sales while Mr Mel finishes off some work.  I scored a napkin holder ($2) a cool old glass cordial bottle ($1) and the score of the  morning, 10 Agave's for $20!  Perfect for our front garden, with the hydrangeas we're going to plant.
Agave - I picked up 10, 1 about 1/3rd this size, the rest about 1/5 the size (photo source)
I got home at 8am still feeling ok, so we headed to Newcastle, Passport Application, we were in and out in around 15 mins, which was about 5 mins after the headspins started.

We stopped for a coffee & water, which helped, then headed into Hunter Street for menswear hire.

We ended up buying a suit for Mr Mel for only $150 more than it would have cost to hire a similar one, score!

By then I was struggling, so we headed home, I got inside, and made it to our bed, laid down, shoes and all and was asleep within about 3 minutes, woke up 30 mins later feeling a bit better.

Then the chills & fever set in, excellent.  Needless to say the rest of the weekend was a write-off, Mr Mel was such a sweet carer, making sure I was warm/cool, fed/watered, asleep!  And we swapped cassoulet for toasted cheese sangas, made with love by Mr Mel, so even more tasty :)

The downer is that weekend being a write-off means it's battle stations for next weekend!   My to-do list is already doubled the one I had above!  Am at work, which is probably silly as I feel dodgy, so will probably head home early.

The great part of the weekend is that my Mum came through her minor surgery with flying colours, I spoke to her about an hour after she woke up, and she sounded great, she is being released from hospital today, and Dad is all set to play nurse :)

Till next time,

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday On My Mind - 9

It's been a couple of weeks since I took part in the 'Friday On My Mind' photo feature from Rhonda of the lovely Down To Earth blog, so on my mind today, Friday 20 May?

A song that makes me daydream every time, it's a classic, Over The Rainbow, but with a twist, sung by the amazing Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, who unfortunately died before his time, in 1997, aged just 38.

He at one point weighed in at 350kg!  His brother died of issues relating to his obesity also.  While he was a man mountain, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole had the voice of an angel.

We'll be using this song in our wedding :), which is another reason it's On My Mind!

Plus it's one of my Mum's favourite songs (the original version :)  )  and she's about to head into surgery (minor surgery, fingers crossed), playing this song while she's in surgery helps take my mind of feeling like a terrible daughter for having moved 1,300kms away from home!  Get well soon Mum, good vibes on their way to you and the surgeon this very moment.
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - his version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is amazing
The YouTube link to Somewhere Over The Rainbow is:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's a hard life

Just a quick post, going about my day when had a feeling I was being watched, our foal, who has assumed the role of Mr Laid Back King Of The Farm, was supervising my duties from afar, I couldn't resist a pic.
Till next time,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hello Jack Frost

Was really hoping we wouldn't meet Mr Jack Frost for quite a few more weeks, but no he's decided to arrive early this year.  No offence Jack, but boooooooo to you.

The top of my little car at 7.30am, frost starting to melt off

Front windscreen, not too bad
Till next time,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Project - Garden Do-Over - Pt2

We are slowly doing over our front garden, as per earlier entry, since then we have removed the Geisha Girls, and while it doesn't look like much has changed, we're slowly getting there!

Our House the week we moved in - July 2009
House as at today 14 May 2011 - a couple of additions & deletions

Still very messy, but at least minus the GG's!
Since we bought in July 2009 we've slowly been making improvements, we have partly done some of the kitchen, we have added a gate to the top of the driveway to keep the pug safe when we drive in & out.

We also had a security system  installed in August 2010, because we spend many weekends in Sydney with Mr Mel's family, and in Victoria with my family, our house spends quite a while empty, so for peace of mind we installed a security system, so far no issues, touch wood!

Then in December 2010 we had a solar power system put in, it cost us around $9k (after Gov rebates), and so far it has generated around $900 worth of power, which offset against our usage has netted us around $360.  We were very happy with how it was going until the NSW Government announcement yesterday, which I won't go into too many details as I'll only get cranky!  

So back to the garden, we have removed the Geisha Girls, and found a few Camelia bushes buried under them, they had been struggling for light and had grown sideways to escape the GG's. There are also some small dark green bushes we're not sure what they are, but at this stage they'll stay, till we decide what to do.

We're still deciding what to do, and in the meantime, have put some manure and blood & bone etc, into the garden bed to feed it up while we work out what to do.
We are still thinking several Hydrangea bushes across the back of the garden, and then perhaps some green & bronze long grasses in front.

For now we're living with an ugly garden, but seeings as we had our first frost this week, and winter is knocking on the door, it's not the time to plant out a new garden anyway.  So for the next few months we'll remove the rest of the unwanted garden, keep building up the soil, and working out what we want to plant come springtime!

The bonus is I can take 'garden do-over' off my to-do list for the next few months, while I'm organising our wedding, and getting our new venture off the ground!

Till next time,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Birthday's In November - Here's An Idea :)

Yes if any multi-millionaires are out there reading my blog and are feeling generous, my birthday is in November, and this would kind of be a near perfect pressie for me, you'd even get a 15% discount! :)
Taronga Keeper For A Day

From the Taronga Zoo website:

Truly a day to remember for any animal lover! 

Keeper for a Day is an amazing experience that takes you behind the scenes into the daily lives of our keepers and gives you a once in a lifetime opportunity to get really close to some of Taronga Zoo’s most popular animals.
As a Keeper for a Day, participants will be able to try their hand at tasks such as preparing food and devising enrichment activities, cleaning enclosures, feeding and meeting some of our animals, and going behind the scenes at our world-renowned Wildlife Hospital.
As part of a group of up to five people, you will be assigned to one of our experienced keepers, who will be your host for the day. 
Date/time:    Wednesdays only, from 7:45am – 3:45pm.
Cost:      $595 per person

How amazing would it be, I think I'm going to have to save my pennies and shout myself!
In the meantime I'm highly tempted to go to the Jane Goodall lunch, what an amazing, inspirational woman, I have followed her career, read her books, watched just about every documentary made about her, and have her on my list of people I'd have at dinner, whenever the question comes up.
Jane Goodall lunch
Again, from the Taronga Zoo website:
Join British primatologist and anthropologist Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, renowned worldwide for her passion and commitment to conservation, environmental and humanitarian issues, for an intimate lunch party to raise money for the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The event will include a sumptuous two course meal and refreshments plus the opportunity to hear and meet Jane Goodall.
Taronga established a 5 year partnership with Tchimpounga Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo through the Jane Goodall Institute.   This chimp sanctuary is the largest on the African continent built to provide a refuge for chimps orphaned by the bush meat trade.  The Taronga Foundation is supporting the project financially as well as providing expert advice and support in the areas of animal management, research, education, veterinary and media. A close partnership has been established to identify the needs of the sanctuary and how Taronga can assist through staff placements and partner projects.
Date:            12.00pm – 2.30pm Wed 8 June 2011
Venue:          Taronga Centre, Taronga Zoo 
Cost:            $200 or $180 for Zoo Parents and Zoo Friends
Shall have to speak to Mr Mel about rejigging our budget!
Till next time,

Oh & PS - this isn't a solicitation for presents :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Taste Of Winter!

A sure sign that winter is on it's way, this mornings view over part of the farm, not great quality photos, as they were taken on my phone.

It won't be long till the frosts are well and truly here, and feed up time will be done in beanie, gloves & scarf!

Till next time,

Friday, May 6, 2011

New Kitchen Partway Done

We have been in our home for 2 years come July, and since day 1 we have wanted to change some aspects of the kitchen, especially the fan/light.  As you can see we weren't starting from a good place.
The above 'lovely' light isresident in each of the 3 bedrooms (on the 'to replace' list), and in the kitchen, yes I know, why why why the kitchen!

The one in the kitchen was doing our heads in, due to both it's ugliness, and lack of light providing, so we replaced it about a year ago, we wanted to keep a fan, to help both with cooking heat, and the general heat in the house during summer, the kitchen is open plan to the lounge, and can get very warm, and with the aircon being pricey to run, a fan is a better option.

We went with a brushed aluminium finish fan with a central light, from Rovert Lighting at Rutherford.
As the timber in the kitchen is quite dark (for now, reno pending!), we wanted to add some more light, so added a row of 3 brushed aluminium directional lights over the sink, similar to these but with brushed aluminium covers, not the opaque white
Kitchen - a week before we moved in, the hutch to the right went with the previous owners
Eventually we will renovate the kitchen, well at least replace the doors, in a lighter colour.  So far we have had an island bench made (not pictured above), in a creamy colour gloss (cafe cream) with a creamy ceasarstone top, colours below.

Almond Rocca Caesastone - island bench top, eventually use on all benches

Polytec Cafe Cream Gloss - island bench doors/drawers/walls, eventually to replace current kitchen

We picked up a couple of stools for the island bench from Ikea, a Sebastian Bar Stool, a bargain at just $39 (on special), the chrome look legs, timber seat with creamy white laminate top and bottom/back mix in well with our future plans, and still look good with current kitchen.
Sebastian stools from Ikea
We like the current tiles, and they're in great condition, with the previous owners only putting them down about 2 months before we bought it!

We're still considering what to do with a splashback, if we run the caesarstone up as a splashback or go for a coloured glass one instead.

Our full kitchen renovation (including new oven yay and a dishwasher triple yay) probably won't happen until early/mid 2012, as it's functional as it is, and with alot of expenses coming up over next few months (wedding, honeymoon!), we don't have enough funds to do everything at once. So stay tuned!

Till next time,

Unleash the pic!

Ok so it's time to bite the bullet, so many people have their photo as their profile, and I admit I've been too scared to list mine, I HATE HATE HATE photos of myself, and rarely take a good one, so the lack of choice of an ok-ish pic has also played it's part, but mainly I've been a chicken (and not in the good chickadee way that Mr Mel calls me!).

So here it is, unleashed, this is moi!  And will be my profile pic from now, unless I again chicken out and revert to my old one :)
Me!  Eeek!
The much cuter profile pic, our pug!
I'm hoping the diet we're on (Great Australian Diet) will also result in me being able to get a better photo to use on my profile, but till now this is it!  Please be kind!

Till next time,


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