Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Happy 1st Birthday!

This post was supposed to be published on Sunday – the day of my blog’s official first birthday.
However, aside from a celebration, the picture above eerily represents recent events – and I’m not talking about the cupcake!

I’ll start from the beginning and hope to make sense.

Last week, our neighbourhood experienced a total blackout.
One minute, the boys and I were watching a show, the next, there was an erratic flickering of lights, an atmospheric surge that seemed to come from nowhere, yet everywhere. Smoke poured out of the DVD player and the TV sputtered out in spectacular fashion. There was a huge electric “crackle”, then, a loud bang rang out across the forest.

And everything went black.

Shouts of panic were heard across the way.

As we called out in the darkness to the neighbours, they yelled back that their electrical fuse/meter box was aflame and beneath their house had caught on fire.
People spilled out onto the street. Confused, shocked, their children scared.
Sirens wailed and emergency services arrived shortly after. Fire department, police, and an ambulance for the neighbour who inhaled smoke as he tried to put out the electrical fire – with water.
Quite a few homes’ meter boxes were charred black. We raced throughout the house, turning off power and switched off the mains.
The rest of the night was spent by candle light – romantic at any other time.

Electricity wasn’t restored until the next afternoon. We lost a few appliances, but, we consider ourselves fortunate, as some of the neighbours had fared worse.
However, our computer copped some damage, has been on the fritz and rather glitchy, with weird whirring, clicking noises, so it’ll probably need an overhaul or replacement.

Then, two days ago, I was composing a new post in my head whilst vacuuming the house when,
I was almost electrocuted by a faulty cord.

What a scary occurrence.
The machine is not that old, and the cord previously showed no obvious external signs of wear.
But hubby now says that where it was situated on the machine, is a design fault.
It’s one of those backpack vacs. Sitting snug against the back and tightly secured around the waist by a firm buckle.

As I vacuumed, it began cutting in and out. Before I could reach around to turn it off, electrical sparks shot out past my head onto the carpet. A tingling hum and the stench of burnt electrical assaulted my senses.

There I was, with a live, potentially dangerous device, attached to my body! I fumbled with the buckle in a panic to get the bloody thing off my back and away from me.

It really is amazing how time seems to slow down as thoughts run through one’s head in moments like these. Mere micro seconds are magically long enough to formulate and process coherent thoughts.

They ranged from the concerned to the ridiculous.
Things like, "how will my boys do without me if I die right here, right now?", "will I have time to shut the door so Jack can't be hurt too?", "who will find me first?", "I will miss my son’s end of year recital". And, "hubby's shirts haven't been hung up to dry yet".
To, "oh no, I’ll never see the conclusion to Breaking Bad and Dexter, nor season 4 of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones".
Then, I worried about who will know where to pick up Jack’s arthritis meds? Finish the glazing I’ve begun?
And, “crap, did it have to happen when I’m wearing my baked bean breakfast stained tee-shirt and old, holey undies?”
Good grief!

And why oh why, did various phrases to fit on this bloody poster keep coming to me?

Like, Keep Calm and Don’t Die/Panic/Overreact/Freak Out/Call Batman - insert relevant text here :D

With the vac finally off me, and with my heart racing, I realised I had a possible very close call, as I saw the now melted and exposed part of the cord was just centimetres from my skin.

And the RCD, or house circuit breaker, failed to work. Did the previous blackout have anything to do with this?
The power was still on. The vacuum cleaner lead, still, "live".

The sad irony, which didn’t escape me at the time, was that my mother died whilst vacuuming. Although, not from electrocution, but a pulmonary embolism, which quickly took her life.
At almost the same age as I am now.


I feel a little foolish writing this, as we were fairly lucky with the blackout and, I’m still standing – thank you Elton John.
It seems rather trivial now. It wasn't a natural disaster or dreadful accident that befalls so many people throughout the world.
Just a “local event” and a near miss.
Shared here, with friends.

Some of my blog friends have been dealing with illness, major surgery and the sad loss of their beloved, loyal, tail-wagging best friends.
My heart goes out to each of you. And a wish that I could give you all healing hugs xx.

A year ago, and with a little encouraging push from a new dear friend across the deep blue sea, I ventured into blogland.
A journey I’ll never regret.
For there - here - resides a wonderful community of people who share their lives.
With them, we laugh, we cry, we rejoice in the happy times and commiserate in the sad.

It’s a very personal, and sometimes vulnerable, thing to do, “putting oneself out there”.

I think of the often asked question, “If you could have a dinner party with anyone, dead or alive, real or imagined, who would you choose?”

I would pass on celebrities or dignitaries or historical figures.
I’d choose the lovely people I have met and grown fond of over this past year.
I’m sure sitting around the table would feel as though old friends were catching up for food, drink and great conversation.
You are all so very special.

As I reflect back on the past blogging year, I want to thank you all... for opening your doors and your hearts.

And, I am grateful that you visit me here, and for all your sweet comments that I cherish.


here’s looking at you, kids.

And, I hope my blog's next birthday will be a little less, um, eventful :)

Monday, 9 September 2013

Moody Blues

My recent post titles seem to have a retro music flavour to them. I'll refrain (pun intended) from a Doors, Pink Floyd, Creedence or Zeppelin reference from now on... perhaps ;)

My early school reports always stated,

"Vicki is a daydreamer and often has her head in the clouds".

Well, I had my head in, and eyes on, the clouds on our walk - and drive - on the mountain yesterday morning. The sky was just too pretty to ignore.

Moody, broody and blue.

So, there I was, shooting into the sun again - even if it was hidden behind clouds :)

I love the giant shadows they cast upon the landscape.

And, a blue dog too.

Saturday's market update: the first market of the spring season went off to a pretty good start, considering people aren't yet in the pre-Christmas buying mode, which is more evident from mid-October onwards.
And, it remained cold but sunny. The predicted rain held off until ten minutes before pack up - when the heavens literally opened with a heavy, dark cloud burst.

Interesting to note that, although my lavender bags were a slow mover, I almost sold out of the lavender sachets/pillows and tags. So perhaps, along with my usual clay items, the sachets will be my focus from now on.

But then, the remaining bags may sell out at the next market and I get requests for more of them! Who knows? Nothing is certain in the world of markets.
Keeps me on my toes, that's for sure :)

Wishing everyone a wonderful week. Take care.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Purple Haze

Last weekend here marked the (official) start to spring, and there are bursting buds, bright blossoms and beautiful bulbs everywhere I look.
These golden beauties are on the verge alongside the footpath in Sherbrooke - our favourite walk. 

Hubby and I took a trip out to a local lavender farm with the excuse (on my part) to buy some dried buds. But honestly, it was such a pretty day, that no excuse was needed to take a drive up and over the mountain.

It's a month too early for the lavender field to be in full bloom, but I was happy to find one row flowering, with bees busily buzzing among the scented bushes.

It was hard to get a clear close up image, as the wind tickled the spikes amid a blur of bees. But here, one Mr. Beezly graciously posed long enough to be captured.

We ordered a pot of home made lavender tea under the old pepper tree. The liquid ambrosia, best taken black to appreciate the subtle, yet undeniable flavour.

Then, we ambled for a while and chatted away on this lazy day, as I snapped some images around the property.

Next month, we'll return to experience the haze of soft purple hues as these wonderful plants put on a show.

This Saturday is going to be a big one.

A three event day.

It will be my dear hubby's birthday. And, it'll be a very early start - the poor man has, once again, been roped into being by my side for the first of the large Spring Craft Markets. 
Our son has promised him a couple of beers and a meal at our lovely local pub at the other end of the day. So, that should give him something to look forward to as we drive in the pre-dawn darkness to our destination, unload, set up, mingle, chat with, and sell to, our customers.
Then, break it all down again and drive back home.
I'm eternally grateful for hubby's help on market days. He's now a wiz at wrapping and packaging too :)

These markets herald a, "full steam ahead" for me from now on until Christmas and beyond into the new year, when many holiday makers come to the area, all in holiday and (hopefully) spending mode.

Saturday is also the day of the Australian Federal Election. Ugh. I don't think anyone I've spoken to is excited about it. There's not much confidence with either party, nor does anyone seem very clear on which to vote for.
What a mess. And, I won't go into the arduous political hoopla on here. But, we must do our duty, as it is compulsory to vote here in Australia.
So, we'll toddle off to the local polling place once we're back from the markets in the afternoon and be the up-standing citizens we're meant to be ;)

On a much nicer note, I want to thank you all for your good wishes that the latest glaze firing went successfully, after the previous non-event.
And, it did! I have a lovely batch of clocks, incense holders, jewellery and ornaments to grace my stall. Phew! :)

Not to mention, I now have a small assortment of lavender bags and sachets to trial as well.

It has been the loveliest of tasks, creating them. The past few days, I've been entranced by an array of soft textures and the gentle humming of my machine, as I sewed away contentedly.
The bags and most of the sachets are made from the beautiful natural European flax linen that I wrote about a few posts ago. And some are made from a small stash of dyed linen remnants from England that I've been keeping, "for just the right project".
Tiny textile scraps and many, many snippets of cotton threads from fringed edges, strewn all over the floor.
Creative chaos in action :)

And, the aroma, oh! What a joy it's been, working in a cloud of lavender.

A tiny crystal rainbow kisses the tip of a dragonfly's wing.

There is a clay connection too - clay gift tags. Made with a smooth reverse, so that a personal message can be written in an artline or gel pen. Sweet little keepsakes from a loved one.

So, what do you think?

I would appreciate your creative, constructive comments on how I can improve them.
How do you feel about the natural jute twine as ties for the bags?
I considered ribbon, but wanted to keep a more "rustic", handmade feel to them. It somehow seems more suited to the homespun textures.

I welcome your thoughts and will keep them in mind when I make more in the coming weeks.

I wish I could magically send the scented goodness through the computer to you, it really is divine and very soothing.
Now, I have the perfect source to return to whenever I'm feeling, "manic market induced stress".

I think this sums it up...

Ahhh, relax, breathe and carry on.