Sunday, November 28, 2010

Born free

I haven't done much this weekend. I have just been so tired and without energy or motivation. I think all the hell of work at the moment is just taking its toll. I've spent a lot of time cuddling puppies.

So I will share a little bit of the crafting I did last weekend, when I was in better spirits. While hunting for something else, I came across some signature blocks I made for a get together of the online quilting group I am a member of several years ago. It was a lovely occasion - it is a small group who met online by chance, and deliberately kept the group small to ensure we could share personal things and chat off topic. Most are Australian, but from four different states, and one from New Zealand and another two from the US. So it was quite a feat for every single member to make it to this gathering.

Last weekend, I finally started to put my blocks together:

I still have a couple borders to do, but at least it is a start.

Other interesting news this weekend is my friend Michael returned from a visit to Cambodia and Laos with some interesting stories, and lots of goodies for me.

Also, while putting my bins out tonight I saw a tiny frog under my bin, near my mandarin tree. So I was very happy as I thought all the outdoor tadpoles had all perished. This one was about the size of the indoor baby frogs, so probably from the same batch. And he had found a good spot, full of tiny worms and bugs and quite damp and with lots of ground foliage to hide in. So I released five of the indoor frogs there to be with their long-lost sibling. A bit sad, as now I will never know what becomes of them but I know it is the right thing, and now I've released some, I think I will be brave enough to take some of the others to suitable creeks and locations around the area. They're still babies, but they need to experience life in the wild. Sob. I love them and I will miss them.

Here is a somewhat blurry photo of one taken a couple of weeks ago:

Sunday, November 21, 2010


That's the answer to the question in my previous post!

But I did have the sender's permission!

So here are my fabulous goodies from Anne Heidi. So my three craft items ened up being a measuring tape in cute matching case, some gorgeous mercerised cotton yarn which will be wonderful for crocheting, and a collection of some of the most gorgeous Christmas fabrics I have ever seen! My two Christmas items were a lovely silver snowflake ornament and a lovel carved reindeer ornament. I also scored a cute Goin' Sewin' pin.  And my one recipe was for some very yummy sounding glazed carrots. All in a beautiful tote.

Here's a better look at some of that fabric:

It's the kind of fabric that you just itch to start playing with, so I know I will be making something with this before Christmas.

Thanks again Anne Heidi for your beautiful and generous gifts.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Naughty or Nice?

Am I lucky or what? I received this parcel in the mail today from my 3-2-1 swap partner Anne-Heidi in Norway. 

And here is what was inside:

Three tantalising presents and a delicious sounding Christmas recipe.

So the question is. Am I naughty, and do I open my presents? Or am I nice and wait til Christmas?

Well, for now, I've compromised. I knew one would be a lovely Christmas themed tote, so after a lot of squishy-ness testing, selected the right parcel and opened that one.

And what a gorgeous tote it is! Beautiful fabrics, lovely stitching, and it is nice and roomy to use for Christmas shopping.

I am going to try to savour the remaining parcels for a little while longer. I may not make it to Christmas, but I promise to try to hold out until December before opening them.

Thanks Anne-Heidi!

Not much other news to report here. I am feeling much better after my nasty illness, although work is still quite stressful and demoralising. We had a union meeting today and there are bad things happening in other departments too.

Almost all of the tadpoles have become tiny frogs now. I'd like to look after them for a little bit longer to let them become bigger and stronger before they go to live in the scary, dangerous wild but they are getting quite difficult to look after. Cleaning their habitat has become quite an adventure as they are very good at hiding now, and also know how to jump. And I think as frogs, they are so much more fragile and delicate than tadpoles.

I try to avoid touching or interfering with them as much as possible but this week, two of them died. It was very upsetting as in 8 weeks of raising them from tiny specks to tadpoles to little frogs, they have all survived up until now. I just don't know what happened to these 2 gorgeous little things. They looked healthy and fully formed, and weren't sick looking or injured. They were just lying there dead when I got home from work. I guess none of them would have survived to this stage if I had let them dry up in the puddle they were born in, but still, I can't help but think I am to blame and something I did caused it.

Also, Sugar has started taking an interest in them. Or if not them, their food! As they are now frogs I've been gradually introducing a more carnivorous diet (dried blood worms) on top of their lettuce and kelp flakes. The worm food has quite a smell to it and as soon as I opened the container she started getting quite boisterously interested in goings on. A few days later I was on the computer and had been listening to her crunch on something for a while before realising I hadn't given her any bones or biscuits, so I went and found her on the sofa with the cannister of flakes which was now badly chewed and all the flakes were either on the floor or in her stomach. Reminds me of when she was a puppy and she was the worst kleptomaniac and used to steal EVERYTHING and chew it to bits including shoes, mobile phones, books, toilet rolls, bath mats, sewing machine attachments and TV remote controls. But she hasn't chewed up anything in ages, so the fish food must have smelt really good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beautiful surprise, and cute little froglets

I got a lovely surprise in the mail last Thursday - this gorgeous little cushion cover from Toni.

I bought the matching quilt from her some time ago and didn't know there was more to come, so it was a lovely surprise.

And on Friday, I received my copy of the latest Patchwork & Stitching in the mail and there is the cushion cover right on the front cover. So I am feeling very fashionable right now, owning something beautiful from the front cover of the latest issue of a magazine! Thanks Toni!

I've spent much of this weekend wandering around with a camera in close reach. The little froglets are starting to emerge from the water and experiment with squatting on branches and burrowing in mud. Everytime they see me coming though, they hop off and swim away. Add that to the fact that they are still no bigger than my little fingertip and it is almost impossible to photograph them!

This is the best I have been able to do. You can sort of see one froglet well partly submerged in the water to the left of the can, and a couple of others in not so mature a state behind him. You probably can't see, but there are also two in the mud near the base of the plant.

I just think they are the cutest things in the world! Except for puppies of course.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A couple of projects and a tadpole glimpse

I guess I shouldn't be showing this tote bag, as it is off to my 3-2-1 swap partner Anita on Monday. But I'm not really happy with it, so I want to publicly apologise for it to Anita, and say I hope the pressies inside make up for the crappy tote.

I did have something much nicer planned for you, and something that met the "Winter" theme brief much better, but I have been quite sick the last couple of weeks and my project just fell so far behind I knew I woud never complete it by the posting deadline. So I had to quickly whip up something else, and unfortunately, this is it.

So I am really sorry, but I have some lovely pressies to tuck inside which I hope you will enjoy.

Also, here is a Christmas table topper I finished hand quilting a couple of weeks ago. It doesn't show up nicely in this dark photo but the fabrics are very festive with gold accents.

And here is a small glimpse of some tadpoles, some of which have back legs. This was taken a week or so ago and now they all have big strong back legs and several also have front legs, so they are officially froglets now. They have now been re-homed to a larger tank with interesting climby things and hidey things so they can learn to use their new legs and conceal themselves cunningly. Once they learn to walk (hop?), sadly, they'll be ready to be re-homed again to the great outdoors. I don't want to take them down to the creek until they have all their limbs working so they have a better chance against predators. Although I've only been fostering them, I have grown quite attached and am quite scared about them surviving independently with all sorts of frog-attacking and eating creatures around.

Apart from being sick with flu and bronchitis and respiratory infection lately, I've had the stress of an impending restructure of our department at work. Morale is very low and some colleagues have even had to have time off work with stress and depression related illnesses due to it, unable to walk through the doors without falling into tears or anxiety. Throughout the process, information has been with-held from staff and misinformation given, so no one is really clear where they stand. In many ways the process being followed doesn't make sense, and doesn't even follow our internal policies or legislation, so it seems as though they just want to blatantly get rid of all the long-term staff en masse, as these are the staff on the higher salary ranges and with the most costly entitlements. It is very hurtful and demoralising to those staff who have given their all for years - often working twice their required hours and taking on additional duties and responsibilities with no additional remuneration - being treated as though their contribution has not been appreciated or valued. In fact, treated as though they themselves are not appreciated or valued. In many cases, it is not as though the jobs do not exist any more, or the skills these people have are not required, so it certainly makes it personal and impacts upon the confidence and self-esteem of the people involved. Some of whom are great at their job, great to work with and committed to the organisation. What a thoughtful thing to do to people just before Christmas.