Sunday, May 17, 2020

Embroidery Project - Blue Butterfly

I downloaded this pattern as a PDF from Hoop Embroidery Co on Esty as my first attempt at the technique known as "thread painting" (or sometimes long and short stitch) because your are attempting to colour in and shade with thread. It uses quite tiny, overlapping satin stitches in varying shades. You go very close to one another and each shade layers over the previous one.

I like it because despite appearances, it is actually very forgiving and I'm having fun exploring how to vary up the stitches and their placement for different effects. I learnt a lot from Trish Burr Embroidery on YouTube (as with all my YouTubing - I watch at at least 1.5x speed because they go too slowly!).

I think I did OK for my first attempt and I have collected quite a lot of images for future inspiration for more butterflies and other insects, flowers and birds. So much inspiration, so little time!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Virtual Trip Around the World - Stop 2 - Sabah, Malaysia

I can't travel in real life, so I'm taking my ultimate bucket list trip around the world virtually, where there is no covid19, unlimited budget, super-human body and unlimited leave!
After a fabulous few days at Ningaloo Reef, WA, we headed back to Perth, where we took the 10-hour flight to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The Business Suite on Malaysian Airlines was excellent, as were their satay sticks! ✈️
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Haha, I love your coffee! Now bugger off so I can sleep in my pod thingy
After such hardship, we needed to recharge our batteries. Kota Kinabalu's (KK, for those in the know) Le Meridien Hotel. The ocean-facing Presidential Suite was lovely - the main bathroom has a sauna room, a bathtub and a walk-in closet. We'll make do for a couple of nights.🛀
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Not bad views!
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Just a little bathroom
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I suppose we can get comfy here
Just off the coast of KK, lies the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, comprising of 5 islands. We decided to stay at Gaya Island Resort in a Kinabalu Villa for the best views. The next day, it was time to get our adrenaline surging on the world's longest zipline between Gaya Island and Sapi Island. It's 45m above the ground and a tad scary! But exhilarating and the views are to die for (not literally). The island is on a marine reserve, and the snorkelling was lovely.🏊‍♀️ But it was the wildlife around the resort that surprised us - the Resident Naturalist took us for a walk to spot proboscis monkeys 🙈🙉🙊(Andrew was brave as he hates monkeys) and we were lucky enough to spot the giant red flying squirrels 🐿 around the resort gardens! Dinner was an excellent beach BBQ.
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What you looking at?
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Fly! Be free!
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Dinner for two
A short 40-minute drive north to base ourselves at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, so we could spend the evening waiting for fireflies🦟 at Kawa Kawa River, close to Kota Belud. It was worth the wait! As they slowly engulfed us, our guide turned off his flashlight and we were surrounded by a shiny galaxy of glowing beetle stomachs. Mesmerising!

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Again slumming it with the views!
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You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
We were ready to tackle the big one - the World Heritage-listed Mt Kinabalu!🏔 It is an 8.5 kilometre trek to the top that takes two days and one night, but it was worth it! You don't need to have mountaineering experience, but you do have to be fit. Luckily for me, I'm virtually fit! An experience I'll never forget - I felt like I was standing on the top of the world! After that effort, staying at the Jungle Lodge at the Poring Hot Springs was just the recovery we needed.💤
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Andrew was below me to catch me if I slipped!
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Huzzah! I made it!
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Soaking in the hot springs...aah
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Slumming it again, but the hot springs were worth it.
We headed over to the east coast to Sandakan. The Sepilok Forest Edge Resort might be 3-star, but the Chalets weren't too shabby and it is handily located to both the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Sanctuary and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre! The Orang Utan Sanctuary provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans and then helps them return to the reserve, where you can see them in their natural habitat. They are amazing creatures and we donated a few thousand dollars to help with their work.🐵 The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) has 43 rescued ex-captive sun bears residing at the BSBCC.🐻
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Hello #706
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I lub you too

After all this land adventuring, we ended our stay on Sabah at the Lankayan Island Dive Resort, in an overwater bungalow. Wreck diving, beautiful reefs and those ubiquitous whale sharks were the perfect end to an amazing trip!
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Tough way to finish, but someone has to stay here.

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Andrew with his little mate

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Virtual Trip Around the World - Stop 1 - Ningaloo Reef

Inspired by Jean Watson's virtual visit to the USA, I've decided to take a virtual tour of the WORLD. Money is no barrier, so I'm choosing all my dream locations I haven't been to. It's free of COVID-19 and super-safe, and virtually carbon neutral. I'm going to stay at the best hotels and do the most amazing activities! Who would like to follow along?
For my first stop, I'm staying domestic, although the flight is lengthy. ✈️Although we lived in WA, we never got to go to Ningaloo Reef (stoopid pregnancy🧸 - love you Sean).
We flew (business class, of course) to Perth, then Exmouth (which did not have business class), then hired a 4WD to take us to Sal Salis beachfront safari camp, about 90 minutes drive from Exmouth Airport. It's the right kind of camping - glamping! Each Wilderness Tent has an eco-friendly en suite bathroom with a solar hot water shower. Ours had a four-poster bed with mozzie tent! Guests help themselves to a selection of beverages from the open bar and watch the resident chef as he prepares contemporary Australian cuisine with hints of native produce. 🏕🏝🥂🦞

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Our humble (glamping) abode 
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Dressed ready for dinner!
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Dinner on the deck

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Gotta balance out the fancy-schmancy with a back to basics picnic (don't we look amazing?)

We timed it perfectly, so we went snorkelling/diving with whale sharks, humpback whales AND the manta rays! Virtual travel is great like that. What an experience - water was clear and warm and I'll never forget those gentle giants. 🐋🐠 We also saw baby turtles hatching on the beach in front of our tent! 🐢How lucky!
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That's a whale shark snorkelling with me! 
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Andrew took the underwater camera (no gopros for us) to capture the moment with the humpbacks
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So excited to see mantas I almost peed in my wetsuit!
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Naw, bubbies at sunset
We also kayaked over the water and went on a stunning walk through Mandu Mandu Gorge, where we saw black-footed rock wallabies 🛶🦘

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Fabulous kayaking over the reef

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It was a hike, but worth it! I mean, I'm super fit, so the heat didn't even bother me.
Bonus - dark sky night viewing! 💫🌌I never thought about it, but once we got here, we realised just how far it is away from civilisation and how dark the skies were - apart from our amazing Emu in the Sky! Glad we packed the telescope and I know how to use it 😁🔭

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Stunning remote skies - that astrophotography course I took paid off!
We then boarded the 51ft catamaran ‘Shore Thing’⛵️for a couple of nights - all meals and beverages as well as snorkelling, diving, kayaking and fishing as you explore the outer Ningaloo Reef and islands are included. We also got to see dugongs grazing seagrass beds and dolphins can often be seen chasing fish through the clear water 🐬

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Lucky I never get seasick, but the ocean stayed calm the whole trip anyway.

So glad I finally got to visit this amazing part of Australia and I hope you enjoyed it too 🌏😘

Embroidery project - Australian natives

I finished my second embroidery project! 

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This one I bought from @lilyadelaideupton - I couldn't buy a hoop big enough (there's been a run-on) so I re-used my too-small Aldi hoop. And there was no black thread, so I've improvised. And I'm still looking for iris seed beads! 

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But I loved doing it and it looks pretty good, I think!

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Saturday, May 09, 2020

First embroidery - floral kit from Aldi

I'm officially old now! I've discovered hand embroidery (thank you middle aisle of @aldiaustralia ). First one done, now scouring the internet for more patterns and venturing out to @lincraft to buy supplies.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

The epic saga of the Aldi sleeping bag onesie!

I originally went to Aldi on the advertised date to snaffle up my sleeping bag onesie before they sold out. But no luck at my local Aldi, so I drove to Tuggeranong. But alas, the onesie shelves were bare there too. A couple of you kindly volunteered to search your local Aldis, but no luck there either.
A couple of weeks later, huzzah! Onesies at Lanyon Aldi! I bought a Small bright pink one, because they are sized by length, and I'm a short-ass. But alas, it was too short.

So I took it back with the receipt. They only had navy blue in stock by then. So I took that home and tried it on, and huzzah! It fit!

Then about two weeks later, I was grocery shopping (like I seem to do about 10 times a bloody week during this everyone-is-home-and-eating-all-the-food-all-the-time phase we are in), and lo and behold (Angela note correct usage of "lo") they had PURPLE onesies! Purple is the main ASTRO 3D colour. I could not resist and the anticipation of my work colleagues reactions to my dedication to ASTRO 3D was almost too much to bear!
So I brought my navy onesie and packaging back (sans receipt). The very nice lady there (Mrs Aldi) said I could swap. But do you think by then they had purple Mediums left? Spoiler alert - they did not. So I got a Large (as you will recall, Small was too short).

I enjoyed my too-large purple onesie last week as it kept me from freezing to death in my garage when we had Canberra's coldest April day EVER.
But what (as I was grocery shopping - again - tonight) did I see but a huge motherfucking pile of sleeping bag onesies at Lanyon Aldi! 6 weeks after their advertised sale date! Including the elusive and rare Medium purple onesie! AND they were on sale ($39.90 down from $49.90 - bargain!).
I'm sure you are wondering at this point in this laborious tale if I am, in fact, going back for my FOURTH Aldi onesie sleeping bag. I can assure you that I am NOT. At the rate I'm putting on weight during this lockdown, perhaps Large will be the perfect size soon.
There endeth my tale, and I hope to never post about Aldi sleeping bag onesies ever again.
The end.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

It never ends...

Let's talk about the good stuff first.

We are all moved into our new home. The boxes are all unpacked. I can get my car back in the garage. We have taken tonnes of stuff to charity and the tip. I feel lighter, because we have less stuff.

I love my new house. It isn't big or grand. It's a 3 bedroom villa. We have one living room, one dining, a small-ish but very functional kitchen, a small but functional laundry. It has a big main bathroom and an ensuite. That's it. Oh and don't forget a lovely, neat garden with back deck with a view over the lake. With BBQ and spa. These are just some snaps of our view and our deck - I mean, how good is it????

And our "lake" - it's actually a large water quality detention pond - a big dam that filters out the bad crap from urban development before it goes into the Murrumbidgee River. But it's lovely - full of habitat, birdlife, and probably lots of other things. It is about 2.2km walk around it and we walk regularly (not quite every day, but a few times a week). There is also a lovely dog off-leash area literally 5 minutes walk from our house that we intend to put to good use.

We are loving it and you may have to drag me out in a large wooden box before I move again (famous last words, I know, but I am VERY reluctant to move again for about 30 years).

However...on the homefront, am I the only one that knows where the outside bins are? Am I the only one who's figured out how to plug in the ducted vacuum? The only one who can work the washing machine? Who can actually cook (rather than reheat) a meal? I know I'm the only one who can write a bloody essay - I know that much to be true!

I'd love to be writing that both kids are loving school, doing well (brilliantly even), trot off happily every day, are well-adjusted, do their homework and assignments with great self-management skills and life is just rosy. Alas. I do not have those imaginary children.

I have kids who are gifted. But both also have inattentive ADHD/executive functioning disorders. Both are suffering from anxiety and probably some level of depression. One has some OCD issues including trichotillomania. One is really struggling managing in class. Both are really struggling with time management and self-discipline. I think both have sensory issues, which I think are related to the giftedness and the anxiety.

We are seeing more specialists and counsellors. We have been to appointments with the schools (yes, plural). I am filling in more forms, because the forms we filled in last year are no longer valid. My calendar is a matrix of work appointments and events interspersed with school meetings, doctor and specialist appointments. My spare time is filled with nagging reminders to get on task, stay on task - both school and home related.

It. Never. Ends.

My support is still required - probably WAY MORE than when we weren't taxing executive functioning to the extreme by homeschooling and I was fully responsible for their education. In many ways that was shitloads easier. Now we have to get to school on time, do work in class, do assessments and exams. I'm glad we homeschooled - it managed our learning environments to focus on the learning, not all the other crap. We may yet still have to modify things. Some days just feel so difficult - I'm really having to look after myself so I can look after everyone else too. I'm walking a tightwalk rope of supporting known issues and helicopter parenting.

I write about this stuff because I want other people going through the same thing feel like they aren't the only people going through this (please tell me other people are going through this!). I want other people to know that things aren't easy, for me or for the kids. I want also to have a record of our journey - albeit a very public one, but it helps me process where we are at and how are managing (or not managing).

I often think "can someone make it stop, please?" and if you offered me a month on a tropical island resort by myself I think I would kiss you. But the issues are still there. The domestic duties are still there. Paid work is relentlessly pushy on my time too. So all I can do is set some boundaries. Say no to stuff that's really not important. Go easy on myself. Let the small stuff slide and ignore Mount Washmore occasionally. Because it never ends and I'm in this for the long haul.


Embroidery Project - Blue Butterfly

I downloaded this pattern as a PDF from Hoop Embroidery Co on Esty as my first attempt at the technique known as "thread painting"...