Showing posts with label dandenongs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dandenongs. Show all posts

Friday, 19 August 2016

Snow and Socks

For the past 3 weeks it's been crazy busy in Amazonaland.

I've been dabbling with yarny projects and taking the Sonofaguns on a couple of adventures.

After making a big project such as my recently finished Staggy The Yarn Bombed Stag, I kind of usually feel a little burnt out so I spent time making things that don't require much brain work.
One such project is a granny square blanket for my boyfriends (AKA The Bear) own Bear cub. 

He requested his own blanket in his 2 favourite colours: lime green and bright yellow. Wowsers! Get me some sunglasses! Its super bright but what the Bear Cub wants, he will get!

It will be made up of 12 large green granny squares with a soft grey edge each, then another row of yellow. Then all 12 squares will be sewn together and edged in a basic edging of maybe moss stitch.

It's been hard working on one colour because #ihavetheattentionspanofagoldfish .

I also love following Winwick Mums blog and if you have heard of her, then you'll know Christine is the Queen of Knitted Socks.


Yes. For my fellow Crochet Queens that involves two things that look like very long crochet hooks without the hook thing on the end.

Now I don't know about you, but when I knit on super rare occasions, I feel like this guy...

But for some bizarre reason I decided I wanted to have some hand knitted stripey socks.
So I went to this gorgeous LYS Morris and sons in the Melbourne CBD and a lovely lass sold me what can loosely be described as small little stabbing things attached to garrot wire. AKA Magic Circle or Loop or something.
Everything has been going really well thanks to Christines wonderful Sockalong tutorials.

Until I reached the heel.  I have had to frog back 4 times.

Do you know what happens after you frog back teeny tiny knit stitches 4 times? You start to cackle hysterically when you discover that 'knit' rhymes with 'shit'.

Really? I beg to differ. <roll eyes>
So I despondently put it aside until I finish posting a tutorial I have been trying to write for my little amigurumi owl. I think I just needed a mental health break!

Down in the city, Melbourne has been giving us beautiful sneaky glimpses of Spring weather. Which made us leap into action to get in some last minute winter action. Last weekend the Bear and I piled the younger kids into the car for a day trip up to the snow.

Now I don't really do snow. It just seems kind of you know, cold and wet which isn't really very appealing on a regular basis. And I kind of never got into skiing because it involves moving very fast in a downward motion from a high place relying on some sticks. I did try it once.
Many years ago an old boyfriend took me for a day trip skiing with some work buddies. They put those long ski sticks on the ends of my legs. I decided to try skiing from the top of this little kids learners hill. 
I first laboriously walked up the hill sideways.
I looked down to the base of the hill.

Look, you know it may have only been an extra 2 metres higher over a 60 metre slope but I looked DOWN and said, "Nope." and then laboriously walked back down sideways, took off my skis, and happily skipped to the Snow Hut where there was a large fire pit and Hot Chocolates with a dash of rum waiting for me.

This time however we were simply going to Lake Mountain where there was a toboggan run and snow play area. Tobogganing I can handle!

The drive down through the Yarra Valley and up into the Victorian High Country is beautiful.

It was the perfect morning for ballooning and there were many about the valley.

Then we climbed into the mountains.  Now I know car driving pics are a bit boring but the scenery in the mountains is so amazing. The trees are taller than tall with lush tree ferns underneath. It's my favourite place to drive through.

Then we arrived!  It was a fun couple of hours of tobogganing and snowness. I even made a Sno-ala...
(Snowman/ koala)

As it's the end of the season, most of the natural snow had already melted from this resort, but resorts higher up in the hills were still very snowy.

Later that afternoon on the way home, we stopped by the Maroondah Dam Reservoir Park just outside of Healesville.  The only way to describe it is a dam with a park at the bottom of the dam wall.
On the right is the water bit and nice bush/ water things to look at...

And on the left is a massive drop down to the parkland...

It was the end of the day, so we decided after walking along the top of the wall to go home, but I first asked Bear to drive me into the park so I could use the loo. Which was a lie.

Because as I skipped down the path that led towards to toilets and out of view of the carpark, I really took lots of pretty photos of flowers!!!

"Oh yes Darling! I really really need to wee! I won't be long!!" <skips joyfully down the path hiding the camera in her pocket as she keeps going past the filthy 1970s dunnys and towards the arboretum!>

And then I came back to my very own little house to find this magnificence!
A tulip fully blown out in August? Crazy.

As I mentioned earlier, I am working on my amigurumi owl tutorial which has just finished being photographed. Hope to have it available for you soon!


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!