Monday, 10 August 2015

Adapting to change

Routines - I love them! Knowing what's coming and what I have to do and be prepared for it is great! Nothing bothers me as much as being ill prepared. Therefore I do a lot of planning - I plan daily/monthly/annual routines, holidays, planting in the garden and my career. But sometimes plans have to change.

I think I have always adapted well to change. I moved often and since I moved continents several times, they weren't small moves. I work on Projects and as they always come to an end, my employment period is anywhere between 18 months to 3 years. As long as my daily routines aren't interrupted, I can deal with change quite well.

Currently I work on a project with a sensational 4/4 roster (4 weeks at work, 4 weeks off). Now this project is coming to an end and resources are being consolidated. I probably have another 12 months work and then that's it. But due to the upcoming changes, I might have to change my roster to 2/2 (2 weeks on, 2 weeks off) which is a pain having to fly all the way to Central QLD. I'm not complaining, many people here are on a 26/9 roster (26 days at work, 9 days at home) and fly back to the east coast, so it's doable but I know I wouldn't enjoy it because I will always feel like I never have enough time.

As Steve loves to travel and because he's always worried that he's getting too old, we decided to take the opportunity of having a FIFO job and travel around Australia. Obviously with the wedding coming up, there wont be any changes until the end of this year. We will use this time for planning and preparing. Decisions have to be made what to do with the house and the animals. There's no question that Hera will come with us if she's still around. But we wont be able to take the birds and chooks.

We need to discuss where we want to go and what we want to see. For now we have decided to travel for 6 months. By then we should know how long I actually have left in my job and what I want to do afterwards. My job could get extended and we might travel a bit longer. We might be sick and tired of travelling and decide to go home - we will see.

What brought all these changes on? It wasn't just the restructure at work. It was also my recent birthday. I turned 39 - my last birthday with a 3 in front of it. Kind of scary. It was my birthday which made me think about my life and how I want to life it. At home I have organised my life and am slowly getting where I want to be. But my career is due for some changes, however I'm not sure what they are at the moment, also I do have an idea.
I have promised myself to live a life worth living and not wishing it away. Therefore things will have to change. I'm looking forward to walk on an unknown path in my life because I have done it so often, I know that if it is the wrong one, I will find my way back. I always have, I always will.

I will start a new blog soon for our travel adventures and stop this one for a while. Hope you will all come along and follow us!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Buying Australian Made

The EOFY (= end of financial year sale) in Australia is a BIG thing. Normally I don't take much notice but this year I wanted to get some new furniture and a new rug for the living room - the room which just didn't feel right yet.

I really wanted to buy some Australian made furniture but this was harder than first thought. Most of the furniture was more or less made to order and was therefore extremely expensive. But finally I found a shop which makes their furniture in Australia. The timber came from NZ which is borderline but closer than anywhere else.

We bought two bookshelves - a smaller one for this corner I really disliked before.

Now this corner keeps my most valuable books - all of my 'antiques'.

The other bookshelf is a bit bigger. I'm still looking for something decorative for on top of the bookshelf but so far haven't found anything suitable. We'll see. 

When I told Steve that I found those Australian-made bookcases, he wanted to add a new entertainment unit. Our old one was bulky for the old style television sets and I know how often we hit our toes on it.  

We also got this rug which isn't made in Australia but it's nice and it's the right size and colour. After searching and searching for an Australian made rug, this one will do.

We both love the new look and soon will add a new coffee table. We have something special and locally made in mind. Stay tunes....

Buying Australian products is becoming more and more important to me, however sometimes they're hard to find. Most textiles come from Asia, are cheap, dyed with chemicals and don't life longer than 4 washes. And most of the time, you don't even find what you're looking for.

One of the things I have been looking for was a rectangular pillow for on top of my rocking chair. For some reason the cushion ended around my neck and my head is always leaning on the timber. Now where I have a sewing machine I can make my own which I did.

When I saw this embroidery file advertised, I knew this would be perfect for my rocking chair pillow. I bought it and started to look for the right coloured fabric which I have now found. So one night I started to embroider my pillow and I LOVE it! The size is perfect, the shape is perfect, the picture is so pretty and so colours turned out to be amazing! I'm so happy and so proud - this is my favourite spot!

If you don't know how an embroidery machine works, you actually load a file into the machine and the machine embroiders but YOU choose the colours. Every single colour in this picture was chosen by me and I think it just looks absolutely amazing. I feel so accomplished - making something so beautiful myself and for me...

To further increase my mood I received a parcel from my Sister with my favourite German magazines. I made myself a nice Cappuccino, sat on my rocking chair and started reading.

Isn't it nice when you can make something yourself, isn't it? I'm thinking of starting to learn woodwork, maybe I can make our next bookshelves? Also they will not look as nice as the ones we just bought, I would e very proud to have something in our home which we made ourselves. As it is so hard to find good quality Australian made items here, I think I will try to make as much as I can in the future. I started with growing our own food, buying local meat, making our own products for cleaning and skincare and have started knitting and sewing to make our own clothes and decoration. I have learnt a lot and I'll keep on learning. But what I've learnt so far makes me proud, feeling accomplished independent and extremely satisfied. Of course making a jumper takes a lot longer than just buying one but you also appreciate it more and it is exactly what you wanted - even with the little mistakes.

What do you do these days? Can you buy local products, do you make them yourself or do you prefer to buy what you need?

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

4 months to go...

Today in 4 months time, on the 7 th November 2015, I'm going to marry the love of my life.
4 months sounds like a lot of time but as I'm only going to be home for 2 out of 4 months, it's going to be rather quick. As I love planning and organising, it's all under control.

1. Venue
We've chosen the Montville Country Cabins in a he Sunshine Coast Hinterland as our venue. It's central for everyone and I love that we have the entire venue to ourselves. There's individual self-contained cabins set on 19 acres of beautiful gardens, so we will be all together but still have enough privacy. Steve & I decided to pay for our guest's accomodation because we're able to afford it and we find it a nice thing to do. The guests will arrive Friday afternoon, we will go out for dinner, Saturday is the wedding and on Sunday everybody goes home again. Very relaxt! 
Photo by Montville Country Cabin

2. Guestlist
We established the Guest list rather quickly. Only immediate family was invited and inivitations were sent. You seen those in a previous post on my blog. I've got my invites done via Etsy. Unfortunately most of my family members will be unable to attend our wedding, therefore we're planning to set up skype, so my family in Germany can follow the ceremony. Fingers crossed, it will all work well on the day.

3. Celebrant
We decided on a Celebrant and met up with him to discuss our wedding. We want something fairly informal and fun. We want it to be relaxt - for us and our guests. For me personally, this wedding is about combining 2 families into one and I'm very much loooking forward to my family meeting my new family and vice a versa.
Photo by Montville Cabin

4. Catering
As we will have a late afternoon ceremony (so my family in Germany doesn't have to get up in the middle of the night), we decided to serve canapes just before the ceremony, so that nobody drinks on an empty stomach and feels strengthened for the ceremony and reception. For dinner we have decided on Tapas style, as we both love Tapas. For dessert we will have the wedding cake as well as a cheese and fruit platter. We have decided in a caterer but haven't yet worked out the menu yet (too many choices). I know how I want my wedding cake to look like and we will go cake tasting next time I come home from work. Luckily enough, we wil be able to bring our own drinks which saves us a lot of money. We will have a purple signature cocktail and Steve and I have been trying different varieties. That's a lot of fun!

5. Presents
We don't want presents from our guests. We will have a wishing well if anybody wants to give us something, we will use it towards our Honeymoon. I don't think Steve is getting me a present - he already got me the world's most beautiful engagement ring. But I wanted to get something for us, so I bought these matching Swiss Watches. A Swiss watch is a companion for life - just like we will be becoming companions for life on that special day.

6. Rings
Steve and I have decided on a set of beautiful wedding rings. It was hard to find something suitable for me as I do want to continue to wear my engagement ring. This one fitted the best and maybe once we're married, I can get them combined.

7. Flowers and Decoration
I haven't decided on a florist yet. I have a bouquet in mind and my Mum wanted a bouquet as well rather than the traditional corsage/boutonnière. However, I will get one for Steve's mother. All decoration and other flowers will be supplied by Montville Country Cabins. With their beautiful garden, I can imagine what a gorgeous display of fresh seasonal flowers it will be. Absolutley amazing!
Photo by Montville Country Cabins

8. Photographer and Entertainment
There will be no wedding photographer. Most people have cameras on their mobile phones or can bring their own and take pictures. My best friend who is attending the wedding, will take some nice shoots of us before, during and after the ceremony, including some family shoots. It saves money and feels much less formal. 
Our entertainment is our iPod and a docking station. We have chosen 2 songs for the ceremony and Steve is creating a playlist for the evening. We will not have a first dance, so this will be a perfect solution for us.

9. Make up
I will splurge on getting my make up done on the day. My Mum wanted to get hers done as well. I normally don't wear a lot of make up. I wear moisturiser, powder when I go out, eyeshadow, some blush, eyeliner and lipstick. Sounds like a lot but it takes me less than 3 mins to do and looks very natural. I like it. Next time I come home from work, we will stay on the Sunshine Coast for a few days to finalise all arrangements. Then I will go and get a trial make up done. If I like it, I go with it, if not, I might end up doing my own. We'll see. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

10. The DRESS
I wanted a short dress as I always wear short dresses, so I went to a few wedding stores just to disappoint the sales women that a) I don't want a 'princess' dress I cannot sit in and never wear again and b) nor do I want to spend $2500 on a dressand chop half of it off. I tried on real wedding dresses. Just to see if it gives me that certain feeling you're supposed to feel. Nothing. I really disliked it. The only dress I liked was an off white Mother-of-the-bride dress but it was long as well. I saw some nice dresses online but really wanted to try something on before I buy it. Then I started to check 'normal' shops such as DJs and Myers for nice short whiteish cocktail dresses. I took pics in the change room, sending them to my friend asking for her opinion. Looking at those pictures now, I look like a lamb being taken to the slaughterhouse. It just wasn't me. Then as I was walking around, I found it! It's short, it's beautiful, it suits me, it's lavender and I feel fantastic!
Sorry about the wardrobe selfie but this is me! It's an Athena Crawford dress and it was reduced to $299. How good is this?!

With the average Australian wedding costing $36,200, couples spend a house deposit or a good chunk of their mortgage for this one day. I know it's a special day, I want our wedding day to be special too. But what makes it special? Having to pay for 100 people attending, giving them something to eat and drink but not even able to talk to everyone? Having people attending you haven't seen in years? A marriage to be is a close bond between 2 people and a newly formed bond between 2 families. Very close friends could also be included. But if I don't invite someone for my birthday or Christmas, then I don't need that person at my wedding. 
Our wedding is under $10,000 and that includes the venue for 20 people for 2 nights as well as all the other items mentioned under 1-10. Yes, you can have a wedfing on a budget and make it beautiful.
We will have a special day amongst family and close friends and I'm really looking forward to it!

Now, since I never ever attended a real wedding (with one unusual exclusion); have I forgotten anything???

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


After 28 12-hour days, I'm finally home again. Well, at least for a week and a bit...

We had Oysters Kilpatrick on the Friday night with a glass of white wine, just before I fell into bed as I have been travellung since late Thursday morning.
Saturday morning after a good-nights-sleep, I start the day with a wonderful breakfast - everything on my plate is homegrown! Well, the grains for the bread weren't but I baked the bread. After 4 weeks of fruit and vegetables which get washed in a chlorine solution so they still have colour despite being cut up a week before being served, this IS heaven!
While I was away, Steve picked up sone aviaries from Brisbane. We decided to move the birds into the chook pen, so it becomes more interesting for them and a little less mess for us. The suspended aviaries are handcrafted and great quality! I'm sure they will actually survive the birds.
Bella is mean as usual but I think he likes her new spacious home. If she wouldn't have killed 2 previous boyfriends, she wouldn't be alone but now I'm too worried to give her company.
Stormy and Sunny love the new cage and the space.

'What did you say?!'
The aviaries have a small door at the front and a larger one in the back. I'm more than happy with the craftmanship and the guy obviously knows birds as well!
The new suspended aviaries are spacious and offer shelter from sun and wind but still maintaining air flow. Perfect for the QLD weather.
I also asked Clive to do up a nesting box for the chooks. The wind blew the lid of my ebay timber nesting box off and crows got into the 'cat toilet' nesting boxes. This one is crow and weather proof. I'm going to add some shadecloth in that large door for additional privacy but so far, the hens love it.
3 eggs I was given - despite the cooler weather.
Busy at work.
The aviaries and nesting boxes are good quality and they're heavy! While carrying them inside the chook pen, I really struggled. To carry 120 kg between 2 people is a lot! This is the end-result: my arms turned blue-green-yellow with bruises from carrying those heavy items. My whole body actually ached. No wonder after a full day of carrying and gardening! I soaked my poor aching body in some Epsom salt and some nice smelling bath salts and everything was alright again.
I also ordered a 'Grandpa Feeder'. The chooks will have to walk onto the platform to open them. Hopefully this will save me some money as I currently feed a large swarm of wild birds, so called 'freeloaders' 😉.
Despite it being winter, the garden strives. The Pigeon Pea looks beautiful and I'm looking forward to trying those peas (and sharing them with my chooks).
I already harvested a bucket of those beautiful Roma Tomatoes and when I looked today, there's at least another bucketload! Can you ever have too many tomatoes?
The Bauhinia flowers spectaculary at this time of the year.
I placed some lavender next to the front entry door. I just love that scent.
More tomatoes are growing...

But not just the tomatoes, everything is coming along, such as these snowpeas.
This forage gardenbed for the chooks. Potatoes are on the way next to it.
The herb garden is also in full bloom.
Cabbages, spring obions and more snow peas are amongst the Lavender, Marigolds and Nasturtiums.
My garlic is sprouting as well. Lots more is coming - no more vampires!
Dill, Sage, Curry, Tarragon, Parsley, Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Chives and others are in this gardenbed. I have planted all my fruit and vegetables from seed this year, so I'm super proud that of how well they have come along!
Lunchtime - a green tropical smoothie with ingredients out of my backyard - how great is this?
Steve is burning some unwanted items - unfortunately including my pellets I've collected to make gardenbeds. Ah well, I'm sure, I find some new ones.
In the evening, I light the Chimnea to enjoy the BBQ. How good is life?!
The fire was nice and warm but it took off a bit more than I envisaged. However, no harm done, I really enjoyed watching it.
After dinner I retract myself to my study, light the candles and wish this part of my life would never pass.
However, now I have to go to bed. 5 more days until we're on the road again and I want to enjoy every second between now and then.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Happy 16th Birthday Hera!!!

Today my beloved Hera turns 16 years old! Happy Birthday Miss Hera!!!! Have a wonderful day and I'm looking forward to come back home soon and take you to the beach.

I've adopted Hera from the RSPCA in August 1999. I think she's a German Shepherd x Kelpie - I will never know for sure. She's my first dog I'm solely responsible for and it has been a learning curve for me. I grew up with the mellow characters of a whippet, so owning a working dog is an absolute challenge. I think the most difficult thing was to listen to everybody's opinion and decide what's best for me and my dog's personality and our lifestyle. She has turned out great! Very obedient despite being dominant and still independent, she's got a great personality and has become a lot more mellow in her old age.

She always loved the water and she has travelled around the world with me. She's been to many places here in Australia and overseas, such as Germany, Netherlands and Italy.

Today my golden Lady is turning 16. She doesn't hear very well, she's got problems with her hips but she's still the best girl in the world and I'm so grateful that she's sticking around for that long as I love her more than anything.

Happy Birthday Hera!!! May you have a wonderful day with chicken necks and chasing the Magpies. I'll take you to the beach when I come back. Love and miss you very much!