Tuesday, June 28, 2011

at what cost?

I have never been known to be fashionable, or have the latest, the greatest, in anything.  I don't want to follow the trend, I like what I like, I know what I like and I wear what I like - it really is that simple for me.  I know, I am special, what can I say.  

First and foremost I love op-shopping, no matter what town we are in, op-shops rule.  I love old stuff, I love stuff that has been loved and looked after so well that it still looks new.  I love that it's not in landfill, I love the price tag and I love that through most of my op-shopping, my purchase is going towards helping a particular charity.

I am trying to be more aware of what I purchase, and where it comes from.  This is fairly easy when it comes to food, thanks to people power, we are now getting items labelled correctly and honestly (some of the time), and for me, I have the power to make  informed choices, because there are people out there that are willing to search the truth, willing to put themselves forward and share their knowledge to inform me, the shopper, on what I am buying and where my money is going when I purchase certain items.  I like that.

So what about my clothes then?  Where are they coming from, who is making them and how do I know my money isn't being used for evil?  

I don't know.  

I really would like to know.

I have seen the odd documentary on sweat-shops over the years and each time I am horrified at the abuse that is wrought on those that slave 'work' there.  Oh and I am guilty, most certainly 100% guilty, because I am a purchaser of clothing.  

I recently read one of my absolute favourite blogs, notions.  Here's the nail, and here's the head, thanks Rosie for putting it out there. 

Then, I was out shopping on the weekend, stores screaming 'sale' from every window, with cheap posters and flashy signs - such a waste of beautiful trees - each store with prices lower than the one next to them.  I did stop, I did look through the racks, I was taken in by the hugely discounted price tags, sheesh, I am a girl after all.  But then I stopped. . . . . . I put the items back on the racks and I walked away.  I don't need these items, not at all, I don't need any of them.

So how does it work?  Is there a little family starving tonight because I didn't purchase those items on the weekend?  Is there a Mum selling her body on the street just so that she can put a mouthful of dry rice into the mouth of her child because she has lost her job at the clothing factory?  Will I ever, in my lifetime, know where my clothing comes from or the fabric that I sew with?  Don't I have a right to know these things, to be in control of where I choose my money to go?  Would I allow my children to become slaves all day and all night?  So why do I so easily accept the fact that another Mothers children are?  Just because I cannot see something happening, does not mean it isn't.

I do say a huge thank you to those that are fashionistas and turn their entire wardrobe over with every season.  Without these people, I would not have the pleasure of op-shopping.  The op-shops would not have the pleasure of making a bit of money to give grocery vouchers to those that need it.  But does that give me the right to feel at ease with myself because I op-shop?  The clothing was still made by the same hands no matter how many times the item has been donated.  I am just keeping it out of landfill, and giving money to a charity.

So where does that leave me now?  Is there a nudie run in this at all?  Then of course if we all go back to birthday suits, what happens to all those mammoth shopping plazas, and job losses.  Don't even go near the gazillion lightbulbs being used, or the electricity that is used to even open the store doors. . . . . . . . . I know, how far does one take it?  I am not even touching the subject of the toy sales.  I am just hoping right now in every major chain store that none of them have a fire over the next 3 weeks.  We will all choke on the fumes of melted plastic. 

Moderation and awareness could well be the key to sorting out this mess.  I am going to start with me.  I am going to start asking more questions, finding out more information.    I do hope to get a hold of this book.  You can read a review about it here.  (Thanks Rosie)

I typed this post out last week, however, I have not felt comfortable in hitting the 'publish' button.  I am not sure why, possibly because I don't know enough on the subject, possibly because I cannot express myself quite so 'artfully' as others.

I had come to the conclusion that I would link the article but not comment on it, until, after a conversation (totally unrelated to this subject, but equally real) with my lovely and very intelligent neighbour, she made a comment to me that although each of us are 'one person', we should not fear wanting more information, we should not fear being able to express our concerns, and we really can make a difference if there is enough of us willing to do so.  Now you have it, I have hit the publish button.  It's out there, my mish-mash, shared with you.

Please read the article, and if you feel as strongly as I do and would like to, please pass it on to others.  Please leave a comment of your own thoughts on this topic whether it be on your blog or in my comments.  If you post and comment on your blog, please let me know, I would love to read your post.  I would so love to hear from you, I would love to learn more if you have more to share.  

Thanks so much for stopping by my place today.  

Friday, June 24, 2011

trees. . . . are not always green.

The beauty of the tree,

can never be duplicated, 

between tree to tree, 

nor season to season.

 So take a look up sometime,

and see.

These photos were all taken by me between April and May 2011 while I was galivanting about the countryside in my flying by the seat of my gypsy pants, type pants.  *sigh* I so miss those pants.

No stories, no adventures, just a moment, a quiet 'tree' moment.

Go outside, lay yourself down on the grass, and breathe. . . . . . just breathe. . . . . .

Thanks for stopping by my place today, have a wonderful weekend at your place.


Friday, June 17, 2011

b r e a t h e

A quiet moment of the experimental hooky kind.

It's Friday night down time before a busy weekend.

Thanks for stopping by my place.

Wishing you a quiet moment at your place too.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

still raining

Photo taken by Joyce at Cockington Green Gardens

After four five days of rain the locals were rather taken aback at the dizzying brightness of the dazzling ball that shone in the sky above them.  

* * * * * * * * * * * * 
It has been (and continues to be) rather damp and a little bit wild on the Mid North Coast of NSW -  They say the sun is due to shine soon.  We hope 'they' are right.  Our thoughts to those sheltering in high schools and other evacuation centres the next few nights in various little towns in this region.  There is going to be a bit of a mop up when this rain subsides, but we will all pitch in to help out in any way we can.  

Thanks so much for stopping by my place today.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

'T' is for Today.

I was going to use this Monday of our long weekend for study, I was going to pull out the books and do a bit more and leave my boys to entertain themselves for the day.  

 Then I thought to myself - there is time enough for study.   

Today is my gift.  Today I will never get given back to me ever, never again.
If I were to die tomorrow, then at least for today I have lived.
 At least, for today, I found time to enjoy the rain on my garden. . . .
at least, for today, I got to write letters with my boys. . . . . .

at least, for today, I will have coloured and drawn. . . . . . 

If I die tomorrow, then, at least today, I will have seen my boys set up their rally racing indoor course. . . . . .

and watched as they taped and rolled the cardboard for their jumps and ramps. . . . . .

at least today, I will have tidied our wardrobes and have had a mini clean out, so then there will be less for hubbie to sort through . . . . . .

at least today, I would have snuggled with my darling boys and read a bit more of our current favourite book right now.  

If tomorrow was the day that was marked for me to breathe no more, then at least today I would have had a chance to make a few more squares for charity. . . . . .

Today is your gift too, make the most of it, treasure it, hold it gently with both your hands, savour each particle of it, the low bits the high bits, the choccie chip bits and the bits in between.  You will never get them back again, absolutely never.  

I am out of here for today, it's happy hour at our place now, and I am thirsty.  I hear the feint but persistent calling of a board game, it's getting louder. . . . . 

Thanks so much for stopping by my place today.

Today's blog post has been brought to you by the letter T, the letter T for Today . . . . . . and for Thirsty.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Loop-a-liscious Lushness

 I have not been doing a lot of crochet since busting my hand here but this last week I have managed to get a few rows done, just enough to finish this loop-a-liscious lushness scowl?  Well its not a scarf and nor is it a cowl, so I am guessing a cross between the two gives us a scowl, either that or it could be a carf, yeah, ok, maybe I will call it my loop-a-liscious lushness, cause that is just how it feels.  

I would like to credit Heidi Hirtle who credits Jen on Ravelry for her version.  

The scarves I make to donate to our local cancer ward can feel quite heavy, but I have been making them for warmth.  The back of the neck can really feel the cold and I find myself that a heavy scarf although provides warmth, ends up giving me a dull head and neck ache.

I wanted a scarf, I wanted a chunky scarf, I wanted a light weight scarf.  I had Heidi's scarf on my Ravelry faves for quite a while, but for some reason, I didn't think to use it at first.  Before I went away, I played with all manner of stitches but while it sort of worked, it just really did look crap.  And we don't want that.  

Flicking through my fave pages on Ravelry, I come back to Heidi's Mesh Scarf and thought I would give it a go.  I wanted longer, so I made some changes to suit and ended up with the pink scarf that I am wearing Here (keep scrolling, and scrolling).  I love it, I totally love it, I wore it so much while away, dangling just like the photo then other times wrapped and wrapped about my neck, lovely and chunky and light and warm.  Luckily I had enough of the grey from my beanie and scarf combo of which you can sort of see in the photo Here (again, scrolling, and scrolling some more) to begin on the mesh pattern.  

It was going to be a scarf just like the pink one, however, now I am back home and into the classroom with my little students, a scarf can be a bit cumbersome, dangling down, hanging over the desk and generally just getting in the way.  I have seen in the shops quite a lot of loop scarves or cowls and I am also seeing quite a few on ravelry popping up.  I don't want a single cowl thing, some days I like chunky, some days I like drapey, some days I like loopy.  I wanted something that would do all three.

I think I did it.  (Just ignore the monster eyebrows and bad hair.)




Introducing my Loop-a-liscious Lushness

See, just one big loop.

I am going to make some of these for the local cancer ward and hopefully they like them just like I like mine.  

I am going to post my pattern count to ravelry, when I work it out and I will let you know, in case you would like to make one too.

Thanks so much for stopping by my place today.
Have a wonderful weekend at your place.  

Today's blogpost has been brought to you by the letter L.
L is for Loop-a-liscious Lushness.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bingo - make your own

As part of my studies, I am to put together a portfolio of activities suitable for the classroom.  I can do that!  Here is one that instead of just writing up the instructions, I escaped the computer desk and got hands on making.  Much more fun than typing a whole bunch of words *yawn*.  

Did you know that Bingo used to be called Beano?  There you go, so now you know, oh and also did you know it is believed to have originated from Italy in the 14th Century, and they still play the same 'Lo Guiocu del Lotto D'Italia' every week?  Now you know that too, just like me.

Then some dude by the name of Edwin Lowe saw Beano being played at a local county carnival in Georgia around 1930, he was astounded by the excitement of the players and so went home, made a few changes invited some friends over and watched the excitement of his guests as they got hooked on Beano.  

Around this time some chic was playing Beano, so the story goes, and in her excitement of completing her full line on the card in front of her, she called 'Bingo'.  Edwin must have really liked her, cause he then called the game Bingo.  The game become so popular that Edwin needed help and so called a mate, Carl Leffler, a University Math Professor and so pretty ok with numbers and stuff, and offered to pay him a lot of money to make up original Bingo card combos.  Poor Carl did it, but sheesh, he must have had a rotten headache by the time he finished around 6,000 original bingo cards.  

So there you go, now you can impress your friends with some bingo history.

So, ok, here is how I made mine.

Cereal boxes.

Print out your number cards.  If you don't want to print your own, in the comment box below this post, let me know with your email address and I can send you my 8 cards, however, you will have to print them out yourself, then adhere them to your own cereal boxes and you will have to trim them yourself, then laminate or contact cover yourself, but it's ok, cause that is the easy part.  You can also print them on coloured cardstock of which I am going to do another set.  

Then because I felt like it, I drew up 50 x 3cm squares and in black marker wrote the numbers from 1 to 50 on each of them with a black dot in the top left corner (to show orientation).  You can type your numbers out or if you ask nicely, I can type them out and send them with the bingo sheets for you to print, cut and paste.

Once you have printed, pasted, and snipped, you will have 8 x bingo cards.  Again if you ask nicely and need more, I am more than happy to supply a few more for you, or you could even make more of your own using mine as a template.  I am nice like that you know.  I like to share, cause I know so many others share with me.  

Go find yourself some lego blocks, buttons, dried macaroni, bottle tops, counters, lollies, whiteboard markers (if laminated or contact covered) or whatever is on hand to start your game, invite your friends over, get cosy and bingo away.

Some little notes:
The game I have set up does not have 'BINGO' at the top of the card.  I have made it for little ones, it needs to be easy, it needs to be fun, it needs to be quick-ish, it needs to not feel like learning stuff.
It's a 5 x 5 grid, made up of 
1 − 10 in row 1, 
11 − 20 in row 2, 
21 − 30 in row 3, 
31 − 40 in row 4, and 
41 − 50 in row 5.  
Nice and simple, all the numbers in order along each row.  

We start the game by putting a block on the 'free' square.  You can have a single person be the 'caller' or you can each take turns dipping into the container to pull a number and calling it.  

You can call the rules of the game at the beginning of each game, for example the winner is the person that can cover all their corners, 5 in a row, or 'x' marks the spot across the middle.  It's your game, it's your way.  

You can pull out the monopoly money, collect your 5cent coins, or use fantales to purchase your bingo cards.  You can wrap up little prizes for the winners, you can do a nudie bolt down the street if you so wish.  Just let me know if you are coming down my street so I can give you a cheer and spotlight you as you go past with my torch.  No point doing a nudie run if no one is there to see it now - you gotta share the love you know!


In a classroom situation, (nudie runs are not allowed) in a similar age/ability class group the teacher can be the 'caller' and when a number is pulled instead of saying '9', they can say '5 plus 4 equals. . . .' then let the students find their answer and cover it if they have it.  It can be just the number, it can be subtraction, addition, multiplication it can be a combination of any or all.

The number can be written on the board for students that need to 'see' the number to match it.

Thanks so much for stopping by my place today.  

Have a wonderful weekend at your place, and Happy Birthday to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.  We have a long weekend here in Australia.  Shame about that really.  

Take care of you.

B is for Bingo!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday, Monday. . . . . .

*sniff* the house is too big, the house is too empty, the study books are too gross, I want my boys back.  The caravan is singing this song in the garage.  I am trying to ignore him, but I too feel his pain.

We got the blues, the caravan and me, we got the blues.  

Today is my first day without any of my boys with me in 8 weeks, and I don't like it.

Thanks for stopping by my place today, *sniff* I gotta go find me the littlest violin and play me a tune.  

Only 4 hours til my boys come home. . . . . . 


Sunday, June 5, 2011


We haven't really had a chance to enjoy being home until today.  It's not that I mind the chores, actually quite the opposite, it's down time for me, the methodical task of pulling everything out of the caravan, restocking shelf items that need restocking, cleaning and checking all is in order for the next adventure.  It's just part of the journey really.  It's a sort of closure to this chapter of our time together.     

It's a little bit sad and a little bit happy for me.  Time is passing, my boys are growing up, a holiday so longed for and counted down for is now behind us, but the memories we carry with us will always be there, there are so many more adventures ahead of us to count down to and plan and look forward to.  Times to share together that will always be with us in years to come.    

This has been our longest trip away in our caravan, and my feet itch, they itch so much more now we have been 'out there', to get back 'out there' and see more with my family.  To create more memories together, to be together in our caravan.  To hear my boys sleeping in their little bunks just down from me in the dark. To hear their breathe so close to me.  To hear the odd sleeptalk from my Eggyman as he dreams his little dreams, I so miss that here back in our seemingly big house.

On our way home we went through Parramatta in Sydney.  We drove past My Map Shop, and just had to find a side street to pull into.  We did, and then we met Dianne and we bought a beautiful big map of Australia that was laminated and framed.  It is perfect, just what we had wanted to get to put on our wall and track our travelling.  We are going to pin all the places we have been to.  Each trip we are going to use a different colour.   

As for this trip, here are some stats that I have collected.

- klms travelled                            x 6,800
- stops                                         x 16
- states                                        x 3
- fuel                                           x AUD$1,622.89
- bog experience                          x 1
- suicidal bird (RIP Larry)              x 1
- photos taken                              x 1960 (approx.)
- turn back for fuel                       x 1
- quarantine fruit gobble quests     x 2
- caravan sleeps                            x 40
- busted wrists                              x 1
- toilet/bathroom cleaning            x 0
- new nicknames                          x 2 (please refer *)
- hours spent in the car travelling  x 64 hours and 30 minutes.
to the next town.  This does not
include day trips, getting bogged
or turning back for fuel.

* explanation for new nicknames.  No matter where we go, it seems there is a new nickname for at least one of us.  
This trip produced two new nicknames.
Eggy has a new nick name of 'Lunchpac'.  Simply because at Dubbo zoo the beautiful cheetah was lazing in the sun as you do in the middle of a cool day and when we walked up to the enclosure to say hello, Mr Cheetah raised his head to our voices and just quietly watched us unmoving other than his long tail flicking invitingly friendly to us.  ha ha ha ha, sorry Mr. Cheetah, we know you only want us for lunch!  Well Eggy, walked along the fence line and Mr. Cheetahs head turned to follow Blake walking all the way along the fence.  Eggy commented 'he is watching me!',  Oh you bet we said, he likes the look of you for sure, what a nice little lunchpac he would make.  So lunchpac it become.

The other nickname belongs to Minnie.  'Mr Apples' - when we got to our quarantine bin disposals we would cut up the fruit (mainly apples) and put them in a plate to munch on in the car as quickly as we could.  One occasion Minnie had the plate and was dishing them out like an apple nazi and counting each piece and how many were left, you had to be there, it was just so funny, this little monkey of ours distributing pieces of apple from the back seat in the middle of nowhere.  So Mr. Apples it became.    

I do have more photos to share, but they are odds and ends that I will collage another day.

Thank you again for joining in on our journey.  Thank you for allowing me to indulge in my family and our time together.  I cannot begin to elaborate on how magical this time together was for us, how wonderful the landscape we encountered and how much fun we had feasting our way through the 40 days and nights of our adventure together.  I cannot wait to do it again, I regret not a single stop, not a single moment, I am in absolute awe of the country we live in and I so want to support our awesome farmers and growers and owners for the produce they presented to us through local markets, restaurants and shops along the way.  

Thank you so much for stopping by my place tonight and have a wonderful week at your place.

Joyce. xx

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dubbo, a surprise and journeys end.

28 and 29 May 2011

Dubbo Zoo

There is lots to do and see in Dubbo, however, we ended up spending our two days visiting the zoo.  We did not go to the Dubbo show that was on that weekend, we did not check out the Gaol, we did not visit the wineries, we did not visit the skate park, we did not go to the Dundullimal Homestead, we did not visit the Observatory, we did not go to Traintasia. 

We spent two days at Dubbo Zoo, we love Dubbo Zoo, it's our favourite zoo.

Here are some of the reasons we love Dubbo Zoo.

Lunch time, part way up this trunk.

Meeting some of the residents, without bars on tiny enclosures.


Far aways.



Time out.

Thirst quenching.


Making friends.

We had a lovely time in Dubbo.
Thanks Dubbo for looking after us.

Here our journey begins to end.

 From Dubbo we head to Newcastle, or so I thought.  Much to my surprise, it was to Sydney that hubbie drove, through Orange, Bathurst, Katoomba then into Sydney. . . . I said I would love to stop by and see my parents, just quickly you know, just for a hug and to see them, then back in the car on the road again, the weather was awful, the roads very slippery and it was windy.  Hubbie said we couldn't do that.

Much to my surprise he pulls into a little caravan park not far from my parents place, it was a total shock, he had called my parents a few nights before to arrange a visit with them.  All unknown to me - oh what joy, what a wonderful way to close our holiday to see my Mum and Dad.  We quickly popped over to see them that night, then spent the whole of Tuesday with them.  It was wonderful.

Tuesday night my little man wasn't well, but early hours of the morning, he got rid of his tummy bug and the colour returned to his little face and I knew he had got rid of it.  

Wednesday to rain and more rain, we packed up our caravan for the last leg of our journey and headed up the highway to home.  

It was then Minnie's turn to be unwell, but he is back to bouncing health once again this afternoon.  

The reality of routine will surely smack us in the face rather very rudely Monday morning, but for now the weekend dangles seductively before us. . . . . mount washing pile has been diminished to a molehill - well it does if you stand far away enough.  The caravan has been washed inside and out along with the car, most of the photos are sorted, the journalling of the pen kind was completed today, along with the sorting of collected business cards and other items of which are in a 'computer' pile ready to be sorted through and notes of things to 'look up' for further information.

Thank you so much for tagging along our little adventure, it has been such a pleasure to share this little bit of Australia with you all.  It has been an amazing time with my family, the memories we have created together will always be our wonderful souvenirs to share and treasure.

Take care of you and yours at your place, and don't forget to get yourself some travelling by the seat of your gypsy pants, pants, you really must get out there.  

Posted by Joyce.

Friday, June 3, 2011


26th May 2011 journalling.

Here is a link to Cobar Shire Council if you are interested in gaining a more professional insight into this middle of New South Wales town.  

For a view from my eyes, here is what I found of Cobar in the middle of the New South Wales stunning outback.  

The road that leads to Cobar from Broken Hill.  The sky, as always the sky is just so beautiful out here.

One part dryness, one part wetness, the ever changing landscape.  

Golden grasses by the roadside.

Twisted branches, dancing shadows, red underfoot, shimmering blue ceiling above.

Still we travel, still the road stretches before us, still the shadows dance and grow longer as the sun again dips down behind us, still we feel like the only ones to witness this moment, right here and right now.

Hello Cobar.  What another lovely place to visit.  
Lucky me, my little big brother was passing through here on his truck route from Perth to Brisbane and he could only stop for a short time, but long enough for me to feast my eyes on him and give him a big bear hug.  Ooohhhhhhh it was wonderful to see my brother.  The boys loved his big truck too.  Travel safe bro.  xx  

An open cut mine.  T'was huge I tell you, h u g e type huge!  Kinda makes one dizzy looking at it really!

Just look at the bluest of blue, wow, I know, I know, Joyce loves the sky, what can I say, I love the sky.  

Cobar Town Hall Cinema.  There is something magical about an old building, something regal, something secretive, almost like it is grinning at me and saying, 'oh if only you knew the secrets I knew.'
Do old buildings do that to you too?

Back to the caravan park, we spent a rare afternoon relaxing, feasting on cheeses, olives, and wine, chatting with the neighbours, chatting with ourselves, talking about the yesterdays, talking about today, but not talking about the tomorrow.  Just loving our togetherness, loving our caravan, loving our travelling by the seat of our gypsy pantsness.  There is such open space here, the boys wandered off playing, I sat and watched them, running and playing, the sun slowly winking away on another glorious day in paradise.  I wanted to capture this moment, this afternoon of bliss, so I grabbed my camera.  

I am so glad I grabbed my camera.

My two cheeky monkeys were playing a little game together, such imagination they have, and such lovely little mates.  

Running free.

I lay down in the grass to take these shots, laying in the grass is so lovely, the warmth of the day still in the ground but just a hint of cool earth to remind of the recent wet.  

What a stunning view from so close to the earth.  I can almost feel it living and growing beneath me.

Four sun-kissed gypsy shadows.

Thank you Cobar, thank you.  

Thank you once again for travelling with us to Cobar.

Posted by Joyce. xx