Showing posts with label Canberra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canberra. Show all posts

Saturday, 18 June 2016

A Glorious Weekend in Canberra

Yes it was. Driving all the way to Canberra just for a long weekend is a bit of work, but I had a Hankering.

It all started when I was perving on the Instabrag and saw some amazing pots of honey posted by a local Canberra business called Handmade Canberra.

They run a large quarterly market at the Exhibition Centre which has lots of yummy eats and beautiful items made by local Australian artists.

That deliciously gratuitous picture of honey resulted in a comment exchange where the Handmade peeps totally twisted my arm and completely demanded that I come up for the market....


And then they cemented the deal with donuts.

Like srsly?  How delicious do they look?

My tastebuds commented under the photo before I could control myself....

Yummy donuts by Donut Papi

I also wanted to catch up with a couple of close friends, and see my brother and his family, and soak up some hometown bliss.

So on the Friday afternoon, we left jolly old hipster Melbourne and after an overnight stay at Albury, arrived Saturday morning at the Handmade Market in time to meet my super dooper oldest bestest friend Bibi and her two Sonofaguns.

A very misty welcome to Canberra!!

We let the kids play on the good old iconic Action Bus. This was a novelty for Sonofagun No.2 who's used to grotty old Metro Trains.

We ate yummy French Crepes, Phillipino Chicken Satays, marinated pulled beef and rice, drank creamy hot cappuccinos and tried our best to browse the stalls while 3 of our 4 boys said all of those wonderful things boys say when you're shopping:

"When are we leaving?"
"My legs are sore."
"Why are you looking at these skirts when you looked at skirts over there?"
"Can we go now?"
"This is soooo boring."
"Don't you have enough wool at home?"
"When are we leaving?"

Much peace. Very relaxment.

So we gave up and took them back to Bibis house for pasta and lego.  AND the best thing of all for oldest bestest friends who haven't seen each other for 18 months: several cups of tea and lots of talking.  And then a round of selfies which just reminded me that I'm old and have too many wrinkles.
And Bibi still looks the same as she did when we were a couple of young single gals cruising round town in her little Ford Laser...

Thelma, er, Bibi & Louise....

We stayed at Auntie Martha Stewarts that weekend. For those of you who haven't been following my blog for a while, Auntie Martha Stewart isn't her real name. I've used a Nom De Plume to protect the innocent, but she is so named because she is a very clever crafty lady who has dabbled in every craft known to human kind and taught me how to crochet. 

She lives in a lovely little townhouse in an estate in the south of Canberra that has the most beautiful view from her back courtyard.

Pretty, frosty morning

Much serenity. Very scenery.

Sunday morning I was able to visit my little big brother the Red Haired Viking and his family. They are lucky enough to have a family of Blue Fairy Wrens that hop around their backyard. They hopped and flew around so quickly, all I could get was this one blurry photograph.

Then after bribing my boys with the promise of food, I popped back to the market to buy all the things I wanted from the day before.

Like donuts from artisan donut makers Donut Papi!!!

From back left around: Marshmallow & Lychee, Rose (?), Black Sesame, Matcha Green Tea

And these beautiful cards by Marja-Leena.  I had to buy a small stack of these. Even though they are gift cards, I think I'm going to pop them in frames and keep them. They're so beautiful!

And that scrummy local Canberra honey and chocolates.

I also bought a couple of these amazing notebooks by Funky Journals.  They are old kids books which have been made into spiral bound notebooks. And the original story pages are scattered inside amongst the blank pages. I kept the Scuffy the Tugboat notebook for myself as I remember it was one of favourite books when I was little and when Sonofagun No.1 was little, I bought a copy for him too. I did buy a couple of others but I am keeping them secret ATM as they are put away for Xmas pressies!

I was awfully tempted by the Knight Rider Annual notebook!!  So much Hoffness!

I walked into a yarn stall with lots of soft, colourific merinos and silks when I spied the most amazing granny square coat. On a person! I asked about her gorgeous coat. And her gorgeous self. Her name is Jackie and she was simply another shopper like myself who crocheted this deliciously warm creation....

She was kind enough to let me take a couple of photos. Isn't she clever? I think I might need to make one for myself!

So yes, I spent Dollars and had a lovely time. I also bought some Ginger Beer with Chilli for the Bear, Some Lemon Meringue Marshmallows, A gorgeous skirt by Sheesh and stopped by a roadside stall on the way home past Benalla and bought some local Olives and Strawberry & Vodka jam!

After my quick 2nd whizz around the market I headed over to my very clever and talented friend Naomis house for some crochet.


I spent a glorious afternoon with Naomi, her mum Kaija (who has been my very good friend for over 20 years) and Naomis daughter Elmi who at the age of 9, is already an amazing artist like her mum and grandmother. If you'd like to check out some of Naomis art, check out her webpage or Instabrag!

Naomi said she wanted to learn how to make a doily like this one that I made a few weeks ago and posted on Instagram...

And once she got the hang of it (which was super fast), she posted this on Instabrag...

I also gave Elmi a little How to Crochet lesson. She did really well despite my dodgy teaching!

So after a good night's sleep and a delightfully frosty Monday morning...

we packed ourselves into the car, did a quick drive to Lake Burley Griffin for a few gratuitous photos and left for the long drive back to Melbourne.

The Museum of Australia

Telstra Tower aka The Batman Rocket (according to Sonofagun No.2)
Quick story.

See this section of lake looking towards Telstra Tower?  When I was in Year 10 at high school, we had a catamaran lesson in this section of lake.
It was a fun afternoon. There was much boating, and lots of falling in and swallowing lake water etc.

That evening on the news on tv, they reported a body had been pulled out not far from where we were drinking lake water....

The National Library, and that weird triangle thing in the background is Parliament House

The Captain Cook Memorial Globe
Ah Canberra! Ah Markets! This weekend I've discovered there is a market MUCH MUCH closer to home called the Maribyrnong Makers Market. I'll definitely be popping around to have a look there as I've heard there's THINGS. And it won't take 7 1/2 hours to get there!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Busy End of the Year

We all know things start to get a bit busy at this time of year.  But it still surprises me every time!

It's been a couple of weeks since I last popped my head into Amazona Blogland. For busy reasons.

My weekday office job has been a bit busy-ish, both the Sonofaguns are almost at the end of the school year which means lots of end of year excursions, concerts, dinners and getting ready for next year preparations are already kicking in.

Especially for Sonofagun No.1 who finishes from his school this year.

Victorians are weird. As in the state, not the era.
Back where I come from in the Imperial City, grommits (the affectionate Aussie slang term for kids, not the medical devices used to expel earwax) first go to Primary School from Kindergarten to 6th grade, then High school which is Year 7 to Year 10, then College for yrs 11 & 12, then out into the big crazy word of university, technical college or apprenticeships.

There are now some schools there which go from Kindy to year 12, but whateves. It's straight forward.

Down here in crazy Victoria where the football is kicked around by lanky basketballers in tighty tight pants (yes Warwick Capper. I'm talking about you.) and singlets, most schools seem to go from Prep (their weird name for kindy) to year 9. Then Senior college is from year 10 to 12.

I'm a bit out of touch with the football world, but apparently since retiring from AFL, Mr Capper has since dabbled in acting, politics and pornos. source: Wikipedia. So it must all be true.

Sonofagun No.1 is ending his first batch of school years to start Senior College next year.

So what is the most thoughtful, well considered thing a Senior College can do to parents who are trying to help their kids finish up the school year, wrap up their own work stuff, get ready for all those End of Year Xmas parties and start thinking about shopping for Christmas?

Send them all the wonderful book list and invoices for school fees for next year of course!

All payable just before Christmas!

Why thank you! How incredibly THOUGHTFUL!
Why don't you give me a papercut and pour lemon juice on it?

That's my Sunday afternoon exasperation over with.

In more fun news, I finished Henry J. Fox!

I found the pattern in a copy of Simply Crochet magazine Issue. 35 and he was designed by Yan Schenkel.

After spending so much head space designing Stevie Bird and Pearly the Hummingbird, I wanted to just let go and be led along by someone else for a little while, so he was a nice, easy diversion. It was so easy to follow the instructions and worked up in just a few days!
crochet amigurumi fox

Isn't he handsome?

I've also been writing up a quick tutorial for a cute little Christmas Star Garland.  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have already seen a few of my pics.

There are so many different variations on this theme out there in Crochetland.  I did a bit of research and am hopeful this pattern isn't already out there. I'm almost finished writing up the tutorial to post in the next few days.

Sonofagun No.2 decided Baby Penguin & Captain Fluff had to see what Mama Amazona was doing...

Yes there'll also be a stitch graph for the graphically minded of you!

I have also been attempting to sort through some over flowing shelves of crap treasures.  You only get my After photo. The Before photo was a dusty mess!

Our Melbourne Spring has continued to display it's usual buffet style weather.  I received a call from someone in Queensland last week who asked "How's the weather down there?"

"Oh well, this morning it was rainy, then windy, then sunny, now it's rainy but it's supposed to clear up soon."
"So the usual Melbourne weather," they replied!
But today has been just beautiful so I took a few gratuitous flower pics...

free crochet tutorial

Just before I sign off, I thought I'd show you some pics I posted on Facie yesterday afternoon.

My BBB (best bloggy buddy) Vicki from Off the Hook and I were comparing the weather in her section of the world and mine.  We took photos at around the same time right there and then!

Here in Melbourne....

And up on the other side of the world, Vicki took this photo...

What's happening in your corner of the world?

The Red Haired Amazona

Sunday, 20 September 2015

A Weekend in the Dandenong Ranges

I dragged the Sonofaguns away from the comfort of their Playstations and Laptops last weekend for a minibreak to beautiful mountain villages east of Melbourne.

I had heard of the spectacular National Rhododendron Gardens in the village of Olinda.  And the Interwebs also told me it was Tulip Festival time in the nearby village of Silvan. So to make a weekend out of it we hopped in the car to see the sights of a small part of the Dandenong Ranges.

First stop was Olinda and the National Rhododendron Gardens.


So our weekend began trekking through this beautiful park and the Sonofaguns got lost when they wandered off in another direction after getting bored of the Amazona taking ALL of the photos of every single thing.


Unfortunately the Japanese Cherry blossoms were about 2 weeks late and the Azaleas were not yet flowering, but the Rhodies were beautiful and the views of the far off Blue Dandenongs were breathtaking.

I'm a real sucker for a gorgeous Mag that's bigger than my head...

Carpets of Helleborus everywhere

Sonofagun No.1 contemplates like, bushes and stuff.
After we walked our legs off, we piled into Luce the Xtrail and the GPS took us down rollercoaster country lanes and mountainous steep curves to the village of Healesville.

I love driving around these curvy mountainy roads. Just beautiful!

We were running a couple of hours behind a very casual schedule so we first checked into our cabin at Healesville Tourist Park, before driving a short kilometer to the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary.
Healesville Tourist Park. The view from our cabin. How's the serenity...

Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the three Zoo Victoria zoos, this one featuring Australian native wildlife.

I've visited all three zoos now and whilst it's always lovely to visit Melbourne and Werribee zoos, I really loved this one.


The Sanctuary is set in lush bushland with all sorts of close encounters and zoo experiences.  There are also lots of beautiful places to sit and have a cuppa or picnic while the kiddies play.

One of the first animal enclosures we found was the Emu enclosure where these inquisitive huge birds were at the low fence and the keepers were handing containers of lettuces and greens to the kids to hold up for the birds to eat. Sonofagun No.2 thought this was the best!

The Koala enclosure was also amazing. 


Similar to the Koala Sanctuary on Phillip Island, you walk around on an elevated bridge with the Koalas dozing and gazing sleepily at us from their perches just out of arms reach. Just as well. We all know they are closely related to their vicious cousins the Drop Bears and turn on you any minute....

koalas healesville wildlife sanctuary
Will rip your head off. But easily deterred by a smear of vegemite behind the ears.

There were also sweet Fairy Wrens hopping and flitting everywhere throughout the Sanctuary.

healesville wildlife sanctuary
Cute as a button Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)

The next morning after a scrummy breakfast at a café on the main street in Healesville (Sonofagun No.2 had all his breakfast dreams come at once when his choc chip pancakes came with icecream! Sonfoagun No.1 opted for the ridiculous and bewildering choice of chicken nuggets?!), we hit the road for the 35 minute drive to the Tesselaar Tulip Farm Tulip Festival.

In my misspent youth, I was a horticulturist so was very familiar with Tesselaar Bulbs being a major producer of bulbs in Australia and as such I was keen to see what kind of displays they could produce.

Where's Tiny Tim when you need him?

tesselaar bulbs tulips dandenong


tesselaar tulip festival

Does this blossom make my bum look big?

Sonofagun No.2 is hiding. 10 bucks says you won't find him.

It was beautiful but I had to stop myself from comparing it to Canberras annual Floriade Festival which is happening now as well. 

Floriade is truly amazing with garden beds and sculptures following a theme, this years being 'Reflection' with the garden displays created to represent the ideas of war and peace as a part of the 100th Anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli.  I am super sad I won't make it this year.

The Tesselaar Tulip Festival was beautiful but the key difference is the bulb beds are in long nursery fields.  On one hand it's a little boring. But on the positive side they are set up so you can walk right in and take lots of photos of yourself and the kids tiptoeing through the tulips.  And all the different varieties were clearly labeled which was fantastic.

Because clogs.

Sonofagun No.2 thinks mum is awesome for saying 'yes' to a ride on the Tulip Tractor. Mum just couldn't be arsed walking all the way down the the end of the field.
It's a Win-win!

Each weekend over the 4 weeks of the festival have a theme. This weekend was Turkish Weekend because apparently tulips originated in Turkey!

I almost blew the weekend budget to buy one of these beauties. But I was a good girl and opted for a much cheaper little bowl instead.
There was Turkish food stalls, Turkish music, Turkish pottery.  It was a lively fun atmosphere and there were thousands of people there.

tulip festival floriade
See that yellow flower bowl up in the back left corner? That's now in my loungeroom!
There was loads of easy access parking and most importantly loads of dunnies.  And we all know that's super important, am I right ladies??

Sonofagun No.2 and I went on a Tulip Train (a truck with a couple of carriages) whilst Sonofagun No.1 slunk off in his teenage angsty way to discreetly find a pressie for his girlfriend. 

In the 'Top Garden' there are beautiful perennial garden beds and a gorgeous fairy/ gnome garden filled with lots of different varieties of violets.

My favourite opportunistic pic of the day...

Hope you all are enjoying your Spring and Autumn wherever you are in the world!