Until We Meet Again, My Gorgeous Boy

On April the 1st, at about 9pm, our darling Max passed away in our arms. His precious little head, cradled by my arm. He became very ill and was starting to feel pain from his illness. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, and I am lucky that I had my darling Husband with me. The veterinary hospital staff were lovely, and we had a private room with a lounge chair.

Max was (and is) my darling Kitty for over 15 years. He was my best, and for most of that time, my only friend. He loved me through my sad times and always knew when I needed some Kitty snuggles and purrs. We crafted together, listened to music together, watched birdies together and at night, he would sleep on my pillow or under the bedclothes, snuggled by my feet. I miss my little Max more than words can say.

Not having a house of our own, or a special, safe place to bury my baby kitty, we chose to have him cremated. Again, the veterinary surgery (Small Animal Specialist Hospital) and the cremation company (Pet Rest) were lovely and helpful. Max was returned to us safely and in only a few days.

I have his little casket with his ashes in one of my vintage cabinets. On either side are my two large black Cat statues – one for Max and one for Puss, my first kitty. They guard at either side and at the front I have four little miniature ornaments of black cats. I also have a special box with some of my first Cat’s fur and now, some of Max’s fur. I have surrounded them with Max’s favourite toys.

The picture I hold in my heart, the wish, is that Max and Puss, my two black Kitties, are together now in Kitty Heaven. All safe and not alone as they have each other. And one day, I hope I can be reunited with them once more. Until then, I trust that God will look after my Kitties, because I believe that God is there for animals too.

Goodbye for now, my darling Max. Thank you for your love and for being such a wonderful friend. Trust and stay with Puss, she’ll protect you, and you her. Until we meet again, my darling Boo. xxxx

The Wanderer Returns

Hullo thar! Kind reader, does thouest rememberest me?
*cough* Perhaps it will help if I stop writing in very strange ‘accents’. heh

Yes, I am back. The last few weeks have been quite busy and most importantly, I have been taking care of my beloved Husbitect after he had surgery a couple of weeks ago. Not major, super life-threatening surgery, but serious all the same and with a lengthy recovery period. All is good now, he is up and about and experiencing much less pain and discomfort. Yay!

I’ve also been busy working on some web sites for clients (I am a freelance web designer) and at the end of the day was a bit ‘computered out’. But I am over the busy period now and feeling like getting back into my little blog. I have much catching up to do in blogland.

Regular alyshajane blogging will now resume!

Less of the Meh

Less filled with ‘meh’, today. Instead, I am happily covered with Kitty fur after my very snuggly Max Kitty decided it was snuggle afternoon. Awww. I am not, however, happy about the humidity today, but then again, I never am. Humidity and alyshajane’s are like oil and water – they don’t mix well!

Over the weekend, the Husbitect and I visited Birkenhead Point, not so far from the Sydney CBD. We visited the newly refurbished Spotlight there and I was pleasantly surprised with the range of crafty items and how well the store was stocked and organised. They still have a few things to put out, but it was wonderful to walk around. The Husbitect mused that if we won lotto, I could spend a serious amount of money in that store. He’s right! One item I really wanted but was a tad too expensive was the ‘L Letterpress’ kit. Although after reading this review, I am feeling mighty glad we didn’t buy one now!

But, what did I buy?! I replenished a few of my embroidery threads, DMC, in some lovely shades including some lovely purple hues. I also snapped up some of the mushroom Christmas decorations as they are far too cute for me to resist. I have a vintage, white Christmas tree and I am envisioning some decorating of the mushroom type tomorrow. I also bought some black aida material which I am going to use in some geeky, SciFi projects for the Husbitect. My other purchase was a fabulous embroidery hoop from Clover. My previous hoops were like reliable, but older, Holden cars. This new Clover hoop is like the Audi of the embroidery hoop world. I think so, anyhoo. Since I cannot afford an Audi, I shall enjoy my Audi-esque hoop instead.



The hoop in action! Still working on my mushy embroidery!

After enjoying a very delicious serve of tuna and salmon sashimi from a lovely Japanese eatery, we wandered around and happened upon the pet shop. We usually go in and have a look at the kittens, and talk of how we would love to get some and how our Maxie can be Grandad Kitty and teach them how to miaow for food, how to run around the house in the middle of the night and make the most amount of noise, and also, how to do the fluff-yourself-up crab walk!

We marveled at a huge fish tank that had teensy tiny baby prawns floating around amongst the fish and agreed that another tank was one of the most lovely shapes either of us had seen. After looking at the other fish and then the birds, I spied a large cage near the door that I had glanced at when we came in, but not really taken in what was inside.

I looked at the sign. SQUIRRELS. *Squeeeee!* I squeed aloud a little and ran over to see my first ever Squirrel! They were Indian Palm Squirrels and yours for the sum of $1200+ each. Unfortunately, the shop had some very noisy children playing with the squeeker toys, so the Squirrels were staying in their nesting box. But I did get to see a tiny Squirrely face peeking out! I was quite excited at finally seeing a real, live squirrel, but felt sorry for them in their tiny cage. I said ‘Squirrels’ quite a lot for the rest of the day, and told anyone who would listen about seeing Squirrels. hehe.



One of my softie Squirrels with some mushrooms.

Springing Forward. Blogtoberfest Day 12.

This afternoon I had a lovely time playing with my photos in Photoshop. The Lily above being one such photo. After titling it ‘Spring’. I thought about what I want to change and learn in this season of growth and freshness. There are too many things to list that I would like to change and learn to list them all, so I will stick to ones that more obtainable and immediate. I can always do another list!

  • I want to learn to be more accepting, more comfortable with what I do and where I am in life. No more holding back because I am scared of what other people think, or worse, that I could never be as good as others so why start in the first place. Very self-defeating.
  • I want to finally get more serious about photography and try selling prints of of my photos. I’ve held back till now because of fear of failure and also, not wanting to have someone steal my work or claim it as their own. But if no one ever sees the photos that I take, they lose their value.
  • I would like to learn how to draw, both with paints and canvas as well as digital illustration. I have plenty of paints, watercolour crayons and ideas; I just need to start.
  • I have dabbled with the older version of Terragen in the past and really enjoyed it. Now that there is a much newer, more advanced version, I want to learn how to use it in more depth. One of my images from Terragen is at the end of this post.
  • When I was much younger, in my late teens and early twenties, I used to enjoy writing and coming up with short stories. As I got older, I lost my confidence (I can see a pattern developing) and stopped writing. Time to dig out those old stories and get back into writing.
  • I would be over the moon if I could stop being so disorganized. Not to mention scattered in my approach to things. I know I will never be one of those perfectly organized people, but I would like to be better at it than I am. Being able to find things easily would be so wonderful! To start, I should create a filing system for myself.

I think that is enough to be getting on with for now, don’t you?! Writing that list highlighted just how much my confidence in my abilities (or lack of) has affected my life, particularly in terms of creativity. I want to go back to having that wild, carefree abandon in creativity that I used to possess. Deep down, I know I still have faith in myself somewhere, I just need to nurture that tiny flame and help it become a fire once again.


An ocean scene that I created a few years ago in Terragen.

Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House

At the end of August, the Husbitect and I went to the Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House. It was a lot of fun. Apart from seeing the house itself and the retro decor, there was entertainment plus lots of stalls selling retro clothes, household items, collectibles, food and so much more. We both found some goodies on the stalls, including a vintage model kit for the Husbitect and some vintage canisters for me.

This is a photo heavy post (not to mention the fact that I’ve heavily filtered the photos). I tried the built in gallery for WordPress but wasn’t all that impressed with the options. So good old insert one by one it is. If you know of a good gallery plugin for WordPress, do let me know!



The very retro hostess and the Velvet Set singing.


One of the coloured glass doors in the house kitchen.


I want one of these cute Teardrop caravans.

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All the items in the back were themed perfectly.


Including a gorgeous picnic basket!


Hula girl’s car was pulling the caravan.


Another Hula girl, with some faboo anodised aluminium cups.

Neurotic. That’s me.

Ruh roh! I am very, very naughty with this blog, aren’t I? I’m still getting back into the swing of regular updates and trying to overcome a nasty case of ‘blog nerves’. Do you have that? I do!

I get all caught up in ‘what to write about’, ‘is it interesting enough?’, ‘what can I write that is fun’…and then that turns into a complete case of blog posting anxiety. And then I write absolutely nothing. Silly. Self-defeating. Boring! So instead of trying to think of what I want to focus on in this blog, I shall just write about daily things and whatever comes to mind.

Currently in my mind, is makeup. Well, not literally as that would be bad…and sticky! But I am fretting a teensy bit about how to do makeup for a formal, evening function that we are going to very soon. Makeup for me (when I actually wear any) is simply foundation, blush and maybe a bit of pencil eyeliner. I have no clue about how to do fancy smokey eyeshadow or whether or not to use a primer, or what lipstick shades I should wear etc.

And if makeup fretting isn’t enough, there is the whole issue of strapless bras *gasp* and buying and then wearing my first pair of high heels in a very long time. Possibly since my year 12 formal. Which was about eighteen years ago….wait, what? 18 years ago? Far out, brussel sprout!

I am a failure (not that I really think so) in the area of shoes, at least compared to the *average* woman. Unlike most women, I own maybe four or five pairs of shoes. Six including my new heels. Very small heels – a kitten heel, I think it is called? I am planning on wear my new shoes around the house tomorrow in a desperate attempt to be able to walk in them gracefully. Or at least, without falling over and displaying my knickers to all and sundry!

And then we come to the strapless bra. Who invented those?! Why are they still so bad at holding things in the correct place?! We can put men on the moon but we cannot invent a comfortable strapless bra. Sheesh. I am going to cave in to fear of a wardrobe malfunction and buy some of these diamonte bra straps. It is that or the clear ones. I figure diamonte straps look more classy. More noice!

Anyhoo, being one of us women who have more voluptuous hips and busts, I was more than a little worried about whether I would find a suitable dress. I was very happy to find City Chic who cater to sizes 14+. I found a gorgeous dress and I am looking forward to wearing it. I’ve never owned such a pretty, fancy dress before so I am quite excited! I will try and take a photo of my shoes tomorrow, too. And! And, at City Chic, my size is a SMALL! Wow! That is a first! hehe


My dress. Isn’t she pretty? I hope I look half as good in it!
* Photo from City Chic website.

Hello Doris!

Allow me to introduce you to Doris, my retro sideboard. Isn’t she lovely? I found her on eBay for the enormous sum of $5. Yes, only five dollars. I couldn’t believe my luck, either. I had been searching for one of these sideboards for a long time. Today she had another spruce up and I put some of my 50s/60s collectibles on the shelf. I named her after Doris Day. Yes, I do like naming inanimate objects. hehe

Doris is in want of a replacement glass shelf, something which I will buy very soon, and then a new coat of semi-gloss paint inside and a bit of a polish. Of course, then I can buy even more retro things to display in and on Doris. Ah, retro goodies, I do so love you.

I feel quite chuffed with how much I got done today. I cleaned Doris, moved around some of my collectibles, came up with my own crocheted flower (which I am going to make into a brooch) and I made a Persian roast chicken for dinner, with mashed potatoes, spiced carrots and zucchini plus gravy. Yum! More about my Persian chicken recipe soon. Below is a photo of my latest granny squares (playing with colour combinations) and my crocheted flower. I think it is a little like a chrysanthemum in style. Happy to have had a productive day, after quite a few non-productive ones.

I hope your day has been filled with good things!

Sifting; better when making biscuits

This week saw yet another problem with the house. Some history: First we had the oven fan breaking down and almost a week with no oven. Next the water heater failed so no hot showers for about a week. The latest problem was a plumbing blockage, meaning problems with the loos! Good grief Charlie Brown, what next?! Hopefully nothing else will break or otherwise fail, touch wood *touches own head*.

Fortunately the plumbing problem was dealt with in under 48 hours. A week without toilets would be…very bad. I know many like to be close to nature and all that, but I like my modern amenities! No squatting au natural here, thankyouverymuch! I had no idea that the old style electric eels are rarely used now. The plumbers had a new fangled jet hose which blasted its way down the drains. At one point the water erupted on the other side of the garden, causing the short appearance of Mt. Smelly Water. The air was quite fragrant, to put it delicately. Ah well, all’s well that ends well.

Today I have been carefully sifting through the policies of the major political parties, deciding where to cast my vote. By the end of it, my brain was melting from reading so much political guff, but at least I have decided who to vote for.

This morning, the Husbitect and I were discussing where to vote, and he very wisely suggested that we decide by considering which school would sell the best sausage sandwiches. A winner!

The photo above was taken by me when my Husbitect was making his delicious, Pfeffernüsse biscuits with top secret ingredients. Nom! Speaking of food, I thought I would share a few links to some delicious recipes that I have come across lately. Enjoy!

Perfic!

Thanks for the Birthday wishes! It’s been a lovely few days with some lovely presents and time spent with my loved ones. I need to take some photos of my birthday pressies plus the sideboard I bought for myself. I have always wanted a retro (50s / 60s) sideboard and go over eBay regularly, searching for one I that can afford. I’ve seen them often go for over $180 so imagine my surprise when I saw one for $4.99! I won and although it was quite a kerfuffle fitting her into the car, Doris is now home. Yes, I named the sideboard. After Doris Day.

I’ve had delicious Fettucine Carbonara made by my Dad on my actual birthday, a super yummy quiche made by my Husbitect last night and tonight, Dad is cooking Roast Beef with a mustard crust and Horseradish sauce, with all the yummy roast veggie sides. Mum is baking her nommy rice pudding to be served with mango slices! I may not be able to move from the feasting, but it will be worth it.

I’ve spent the afternoon reading “Home Is Where the Wine Is” (which I am enjoying immensely) by the lovely Crazy Aunt Purl, and painted my nails with blue, glittery nail polish. Now is it is Wine O’ Clock. Perfic!

How about some John Barrowman? Isn’t his voice lovely?!

Birthday!

Said I’d write a post…but I lied. Hehe

Today is/was my Birthday; my 36th! Yay! Thank you to my darling Husband and Parents for giving me such a lovely day.

Better post (with photos) tomorrow. Promise.

Meme Time!

I was tagged by the lovely and talented Debby of Cooking Up a Storm in a Teacup. If you haven’t seen her weblog, do visit. Her blog is filled with lovely crafts, great photos, stories and some yummy recipes. And of course, her answers to the meme! Okies, time to get started! :)

1. If you had to spend three consecutive days on the same train who would you want with you and why?
Easy peasy lemon squeezy; my darling Husbitect ’cause we love spending time together! We’ve been on train trips together, but none over a couple of hours. As youngsters and before we knew each other, we both went on steam trains and loved those so a long steam journey together would be wonderful. We keep meaning to go on one of the special trips that are organised by the local steam societies.

2. Have you ever had a sewing related injury? Give gory details! If not any irrational fears?
I am one of those people who are accident prone to a spectacular degree. I think I would be quite correct in saying that there has rarely been a week when I have not injured myself in some way. It’s not always serious, but I have a gift for stubbing toes, hitting my head on things and lately, being clumsy while cooking!
As for a sewing related injury, I have caught myself so many times with sewing needles over the years. I do have a sewing machine but have not used it yet. Partly because I’m not sure how to thread it (no manual) and partly because I’m nervous about snapping the needle and having it break loose – I’ve read some awful sewing machine injury stories! Which is why when I do start using my machine, I am going to wear safety goggles. Better safe than sorry! hehe

3. What wouldn’t you be caught dead in?
Gosh. For someone who can be a bit of a dag in terms of not following fashion, I’m not sure where to start. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is real fur. I could not wear fur, as the whole time I was wearing it, I would be thinking about the animal(s) whose fur I was wearing. I don’t agree with wearing fur for fashion and would never even consider wearing it.

4. What garment/accessory do you wear the most?
With it being winter in Australia, I would have to say tracksuit pants when I am at home – it’s cold! And to top off that fashionable, around the home style, I team trackies with ugg boots. Pink uggboots. Pink is one of my most worn colours, I usually wear something that is pink, even if it is just my giant, tardis-like handbag. The colour pink and I are rarely parted.

5. Which pattern/vintage style have you been thinking about recently?
The vintage style I have been thinking about recently is a hairstyle – victory rolls. I have not yet mastered the art of them, but I am determined that I will. Having straight hair, I think I will have to try using curlers so my hair has a little more body.
I am fascinated by all things retro/vintage, particular from the 40s and 50s. I don’t own many clothes from that period, but I would love to start collecting and wearing them. The husbitect and I are planning on attending a 50s Fair in August, so we both want to find some retro outfits to wear.

6. What is one place you really want to visit that you haven’t been to before?
Just one place?! Gosh, it’s hard to choose just one. I would love to visit England and visit all the places where my father grew up and frequented in his youth. Not to mention meet all the English relatives that I have over there.

7. What do you wear when you want to impress?
A pretty dress with some feminine jewelery and makeup. I don’t usually wear lipstick or eye makeup, so for a special occasion I like to use both of those. I also like to wear something sparkly, be it a few subtle sequins or beads on my clothes or some sparkly earrings. I would love to own one of the vintage style dresses that are covered in sequins or beads.

8.Who is your favourite literary character and why?
I’m probably stretching it by including her as a literary character, but I will choose Snow White. I have always adored how she was so innocent that she not only charmed people, but also charmed animals so much that they were not afraid of her. I love the scene from the Disney movie where she is surrounded by animals, all very trusting and calm in her presence. I admire innocence, gentleness and pure goodness and I cannot think of a character who reflects those characteristics more than Snow White.

9. Which handmade project are you most proud of?
The handmade cards that I make for my family for Birthdays and Christmas plus my growing pile of granny squares. Each makes me proud that I have found the inspiration for those projects, that I have had the confidence to learn new techniques and skills, and persevere with them, even when I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not sure how many cards I have made in total, I would guess 20+ and I have completed more than 20 granny squares.

10. What was the best date you’ve ever been on?
The first date that my husbitect and I went on! We met online and after chatting via Messenger and Skype for a couple of weeks, we took the next step and met in person. It was a magical, very special day for us both. The whole day went smoothly and afterwards, we both had that special inkling that we had found ‘the one’! Everything was so perfect and we immediately felt completely at ease with each other. I fondly remember that day and all the special memories that we made. I also look forward to all those yet to come!

*If you want to answer these questions on your blog too, please do – I tag you! Let me know if you do answer them.

Feeling Sorry for Myself

There I was, planning a most magnificent, I thought, meal of baked lemon pepper chicken with fresh corn on the cob, roast carrots, bok choy & couscous. I started by slicing the carrots to act as a bed for the chicken to roast on. I’d sliced 80% of them when the knife slipped and it was not a carrot that I cut but my left thumb. Deeply. Ruh roh.

– Squeamish people look away –

Unlike my previous cuts, this one was…umm…dripping and pooling. I almost fainted. I was lucky I was not home alone and my parents were there to help. A quick fetch of a washcloth + lots of pressure and it was down to the local doctors. I was seen quickly and had a choice of stitches or suture strips. Strips were applied, then a gauze wrap & a tetanus injection. The gauze bandage turned my thumb bluey black (too tight – omigosh that hurt as much as the wound!) so back into the medical centre where a splint (MacGyvered tongue depressor) and bandage was applied. Better.

I have strict instructions to not use my left hand/thumb at all for at least four days (hence my pecking at the keyboard one-handed & needing hubbie’s help) not get it wet and return to the Dr on Saturday to check everything is okay. It hurts. Owwies. *throb*

So no doing much until the weekend. No work and NO crochet or knitting. *sniff* Lucky I borrowed Villette earlier on today. Sigh.

Do some crochet, knitting and craftiness for me, dear readers.