Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All Things Homespun...the faux mink throw...more bohemian bedroom thoughts...

On my Tray of Bliss today is the next step in the Divas Bohemian Bedroom.

The Faux Mink Throw.

Luxurious fabrics, even in smallish amounts give the whole Gypsy/Bohemian look a new spin.

 I'm chanelling the new Red Riding Hood movie, Vikings, the Clan of the Cave Bear, luxury cave stuff.

What could be more luxurious than a 'genuine' fur throw. The one above is extraordinarily expensive, but look at the one I whipped up for just $60 from a few well chosen remnants....

The greatest expense was the faux blonde mink...the pretty jacquard satin lining was next to nix. The velvety plush fur is a joy to snuggle beneath on a chilly night too.

Faux fur cushions, chenille throws, feather boas all add a sensual touch that is irresistible. Go on, add a touch of Bohemian lush to your bedroom.

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Monday, August 29, 2011

All Things Homespun...the crochet rug...more on the Boho Bedroom..

On my Tray of Bliss today is a new take on the crochet Afghan rug, another element in the Divas Bohemian Bedroom.

These were all the rage back in the 70's and groups of teens could be found everywhere, madly crocheting enough little squares to make a bedspread.

Oddly, most of us only ever accumulated enough squares for a cushion, but the intent was there.

Of course, we used recycled wool, unravelled from old jumpers, and the colour choices were limited according to what your little brother had grown out of that year. So needless to say, some of the finished products were eye popping...and not in a good way!

This one is pretty though isn't it, and just the thing to add to the Divas growing collection of Bohemian treasures. We get to use this vintage one, crocheted by Great Grandma. It's more in the form of the aforementioned eye-popping colour range, but I think that might just be okay.

What do you think?


Friday, August 26, 2011

All Things Homespun...more Gypsy Bohemian Bedroom Inspiration...inspiring elements

On my Tray of Bliss today, more Bohemian Bedroom ideas.

I'm trying to define the elements of this look so that Mademoiselle can replicate this look faithfully for her room.

Rich colours and textures are the focus in this first one, seen above. Not for the faint hearted, I'm thinking. But okay, so rich textures and colours added to the list...check.

A whimsical round bed (how does one not fall off at night I wonder?), with an equally whimsical canopy tied into rosebuds to keep it aloft during the day. The round bed I cannot do, but a dreamy canopy with whimsical touches I can...check.

Clearly, this is an anything goes style. The one pictured here is actually the interior of a Gypsy caravan, I think. Rococco, Baroque, Victoriana touches all noted....check.

This style is really a bit busy for todays minimalist decor, but maybe that's why my daughter and I love it. It's a happy jumble of well worn and cozy.

Lots of luxe fabric, cosy throws, worn surfaces and cuddly cushions are the order of the day.

Just the antidote for a frantic world. This is not a style for someone who worries about cleaning. Clearly the dusting and airing alone will give someone (me) a days work a month at least.

But it's worth it for the sake of a haven to come home to for a young daughter.

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

All Things Homespum...Bohemian Chic Style...

On my Tray of Bliss today is a plan to renovate my daughters bedroom.

Well, truthfully, it's her brothers' old room, and she's about to inherit it.

We've talked a lot about the style she'd like, and we've tossed around Shabby Chic, American Country, and French Provincial. None of them were 'quite' what she was after.

Then we accidentally stumbled upon Bohemian Chic.


More colourful than Shabby Chic, more relaxed than any of the other styles. Formerly called Eclectic or Gypsy, this style allows a freedom of colour and the choice to combine old and new pieces into a pretty, fantasy design.

Now, her room will not be wallpapered like the one heading this post...husband dear would have a coronary!

Possibly more like this pretty one.

We already have much of the furniture and accessories for just this very look....all scooped up at the thrift shop or on eBay.

Wrought iron bedhead   $20

Patchwork quilts x 4 purchased as vintage quilts on eBay...$50  Note: These are listed as 'topper' or 'cutter' quilts, and are wonderfully worn and soft and have a true vintage bohemian feel. They are also a glorious bargain and a secret that should be shared!

Chandelier wall lights   $10

Hoop and net for over the bed $25

Glass and brass gooseneck lamp with beaded fringe forming black and pink roses  $35

Faded Vintage Ballet Print..large  $20

Vintage satin peach coloured quilted bed jacket to hang on the wall  $15

Lots of other knick knacks that she has collected from travelling and thrift shopping will be on display and we'll add to the theme as we go along.

Now that we've clarified our thinking, I see that this was 'her' all along. And the fabulous thing is that this is a wonderfully frugal style to emulate. No big budget required!

A very special girly room for my theatrical, funny, earthy, loving little Diva.

Can't wait to get started. Stay tuned. Photos to follow in the next few weeks!

We're both soooo excited!

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Motherly Advice on voting for inclusion...

Sometimes I just get so tired.

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I am working hard to set up a social calendar for my disabled son who is 20 years old and gets around in a wheelchair.

We've made some good progress, and his circle of friends is growing all the time.

But out of the blue, we've hit a stumbling block.

He started ten pin bowling, on the understanding that this particular bowling alley had a vacancy in one of their leagues. We had stressed from the very first phone call that Mr A, my son, is a savvy bloke, who should not be judged by his wheelchair, and that he was keen to make some able-bodied friends. We were told that this was fine.

Well, the first visit, half the league was ill with the Winter flus and chills so he bowled alone. The second visit, the league was back but the president wasn't and for some reason, he bowled alone again. He missed the third week as he was ill himself.

This week he was told that the 'committee' had yet to 'vote' on his inclusion in the team which has the vacancy. WTH????

He's been bowling 150+ every week, and should be a welcome addition to any team.

That aside, I wonder if the committee 'votes' on including able-bodied team members?

I am livid. In these situations, I would normally not hesitate to wave the 'anti-discrimination' flag, and use a few well chosen words to make them aware that what they are doing is WRONG!

But that's hardly the way for my son to start a friendship, and that's what we are trying to do after all.

He's coping with this, but I see on his face that it's another rejection.

Jeez I just hate human beings sometimes.

I'm tempted to persuade him to go elsewhere, but I actually think the best solution is for him to just keep getting in their faces.

So that will be our strategy.

He'll keep attending, bowling alone with his support worker or with friends when they can accompany him, he'll keep improving his score, and he'll keep making them feel bad...if they have any feelings that is.

It's so sad.

No Tray of Bliss today....sorry.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Musings....a Mums' Dilemna...

On My Tray of Bliss today is the dilemna facing many Mums of Tweenies these days.

How to preserve those last fading moments of 'childhood' before our daughters fling themselves headlong into the dreaded adolescent years.

The Diva is still very child-like in so many ways. She loves cuddles, snuggling up to Dad, and prefers our company to that of others...well for the most part.

But we know that these moments now have a expiry date.

For her to curl up on my lap now entails folding herself virtually in half with arms and legs dangling everywhere. For her to sit with Dad to watch TV, now means Dad moving to the big couch to give them both room...no more curling up in a corner of a single recliner  chair.

This was brought home to me even further on the weekend.

The Diva had her first Theatre performance. In terms of what she's done to this point, and having danced for 8 years, it was kiddy stuff. A pantomime in a local theatre, aimed at the 3-10 year old demographic.

But The Diva was in a fever.

The hair had to be right, she wanted to do her own makeup including eyeliner and mascara, she wanted to arrive at the Theatre 15 minutes before the scheduled time for performers, she didn't want me to take her photo in front of the theatre for posterity, she didn't want me to escort her in...welll, you get the picture. Miss Independence was rearing her pretty head.

I swallowed my Maternal Pride and having snapped my photo for her scrapbook, left her to it. I watched from the door as she wandered in, suitably theatrically attired (think black striped loose T-dress, opaque tights, black converse and dark denim jacket with home made bag made from an old pair of jeans slung casually over one shoulder), and embraced her new friends enthusiastically.

This theatre stuff is different to the dancing she's been doing for so long. The kids are different too. They're not the Designer Fashionistas that we know and love from dancing. Young girls who love labels, jewellery and never leave the house without a fancy hairstyle. These kids are more low key, a bit arty, don't give a toss for fashion, and have a certain warmth about them that sometimes lacks in the whirlwind of dancing...not because the kids aren't lovely, but because it's all so serious.

If you saw my post a week or two ago about Theatre Industry Snobbery, you'll understand where I'm coming from.

I don't believe for a second that The Diva will abandon dancing, but rather foresee her reducing her commitment to Dance to embrace Theatre.

I'm okay with that...although my heart squeezes at the thought of her not using her graceful limbs to be a ballerina before she gets too tall.

It's hard...the start of this letting go business.

I'll get there. I know she's destined for something in the Arts. My role now is to GUIDE her, rather than making those decisions FOR her.

It's not a bad problem to have, but I want to look back in ten years and have a sense of having done 'the right thing'.

The only one who knows that for sure is the Greater Spirit in whatever form you believe that exists.

And in that sense, I have to leave some of it to The Universe, don't I?

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Friday, August 19, 2011

French Dreaming...

Supermarkets in France are just different...they're less 'super' and more 'market'...
The landscape begs to be included in your pastel or watercolour repertoire...

Evidence of faith is all around...

Even the smallest village takes time to make the streetscape more lovely...

And the serenity of a tiny chapel, awaits you around each corner...

......what's not to love?

Frugal Friday....Repurposing for the garden...

On my Tray of Bliss today is a vow to repurpose as many things around the home as possilbe.

I was recently in the sad position of having to help two families farewell a baby born sleeping.

Out of such a sad situation, grew an outpouring of love and support, such as I 've never witnessed.

On the day of Babys' farewell, families all over Australia paid their own tribute.

Once again, this arose out of a community generated by a common on-line interest, and left me breathless in it's unity.

This was my tribute to the Babies. The Diva is outgrowing her childhood toys (a tale for another day), and I had intended donating this dolly sized high chair to the school fete.

Closer inspection revealed that the opening of the seat was just the right size to house a pretty flowering plant. So the high chair (bereft of baby) now sits in our garden, flowering prettily, as a reminder of Angels too precious to remain in this Earthly realm.

A fitting tribute, and sweet garden addition, and a link to a more meaningful conversation with The Diva in years to come, when I know she will ask the significance of the ornament.

It gives repurposing, real 'purpose'.

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday...To live well, we must behave well...

On my Tray of Bliss today is a renewed sense of purpose on the idea of dining together.

I find it increasingly difficult to get the three of us together for dinner. The Diva has so many commitments, it's usually eat-on-the-go or not at all.

But I miss my pretty china, my placemats, my crystal glasses and beautiful serving dishes and utensils. I miss the conversations, the laughter and nagging my daughter about her table manners. For as the title of todays post suggests, learning to behave well is an important social skill.

This gorgeous photo has inspired me to set the table tonight come hell or high water.

I'll lay out the silk placemats, resurrect the linen serviettes, and use my prettiest platters.

Dinner will, once again, be an occasion.

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Homespun Things...make your own luxurious hand cream.

On my Tray of Bliss today is a method for the easiest ever home made hand cream.

Now I hate to rain on your parade, but Christmas is just 18 short weeks away and the clock is ticking!

This is a real favourite as it's inexpensive, simple, and just oozes luxury. Make it top of your list for home made gifts this year.

Now you don't need many ingredients. The main one is Emulsifying Wax, which I ordered through my local pharmacy. It was $13 for a 500gm tub, which will yield up to 20 batches of 500mls of thick scented lotion.

So your list of ingredients is:

1/4 cup Emulsifying Wax
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 1/4 cups water
One or Two drops Food colouring (optional)
2 teaspoons Scented or few drops Essential Oil
4 drops or one pierced capsuleVitamin E Oil (optional)

Equipment requirements:

2 cup capacity microwave safe glass jug
1/4 cup and 1 cup capacity measuring cups
Bowls or Jars to hold your finished lotion


Put the emulsifying wax and olive oil into the microwave safe jug. Microwave for between one minute and one minute, twenty seconds, until the beads have melted.

...add the Vitamin E Oil if using it...

...then the scented oil....this is a $2 rose scented one from a discount store. I prefer essential oils, but frankly for everyday use, it's a little cost-prohibitive. It's up to you....

....then the food colouring, just a drop at a time, if you want it prettily tinted.

Heat the water for one minute to one minute, twenty seconds, and add it to the stuff in the jug. Give it a good stir.

It should be looking like a jug of flavoured milk at this point.

Give it another good stir, and carefully pour it into your waiting decanters of choice. I tend to snap up these pretty cut glass sugar bowls at thrift shops. They're my favourites and usually set me back no more than $1 each. Alternatively, use sterilised and recycled wide mouthed jars. Here in Australia, the commercial Salsa jars are perfect.

SUPER MONEY SAVER TIP:     If you can be bothered, whipping this in a bowl with electric beaters as if you were whipping edible cream, almost doubles your yield and gives a fluffy light souffle style cream :D

ALERT:    If, once your hand cream has cooled, the oil congeals on the surface, simply stir well with a fork or a tiny whisk, until it is emulsified back into the cream.

And you're done!

Add some pretty ribbon or whatever you fancy to doll them up. Ballet Pink double satin ribbon is my favourite.

For gift giving, I usually wrap them in swathes of clear cellophane or bridal tulle with more ribbon gathering the corners into a topknot. Bridal tulle is particularly pretty, and although a bit of an outlay initially, is totally reuseable! Most recipients simply return it to me on the spot.

That's it.  A gorgeous gift, under $5, and under 5 minutes to make.


What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Whatever happened to Mothercraft classes?

Here's a question. An important one. Where are the Mothercraft classes?

When I was at high school and in Year 9, we actually had a class called Mothercraft. We all looked forward to it. Incomprehensibly, it was just for the 'girls', but hey, this was the 70's. The Midwife who taught the classes was just plain scary, but all medical personnel were in those days. They were revered. None of this first name stuff. It was Doctor This, Nurse That, and 'Sister'. 'Sister' did not even need a name. Even the nurses referred to her simply as 'Sister' and I think the Doctors feared her too.

But all of us adored bathing the baby dolls, putting on their (cloth) nappies, or diapers as some call them, and compiling our piece de resistance`, our Mothercraft Scrapbook.

These scrapbooks were works of art. Elaborate beyond imagining, they consisted of breathtakingly beautiful baby cards, hacked to pieces and wedged between snippets of information on how to be a good parent. Pretty ribbon abounded, as did photos cut from the Womens Weekly magazine (an icon here), showing delicately robed angelic like new mothers, snuggling picture perfect babies to their not-quite-visible breasts.

We were graded on these, as much as we were on Maths and Science. They were a source of great pride and displayed at the school fete and on Open Days.

I'm not saying they instantly turned us into perfect candidates for Motherhood, but at least we had the grounding.

Did these classes slip into oblivion courtesy of Womens Liberation or Political Correctness? Because frankly, it's a darn shame. I'm not saying everyone wanted to be a Mother, but at least you were prepared for that outcome.

I wish I still had my Mothercraft scrapbook, but alas, it's long gone. It honestly was a thing of beauty, quite apart from it's practical aspect. Mine was filled with the aforementioned vintage style baby welcome cards like this one...

..... and was beribboned and embellished with lace, to within an inch of it's life.

Maybe it's my love of pretty things that finds me nostalgic for Mothercraft Classes...nothing more.

Did you take a Mothercraft Class at High School?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Foraging Friday...The rules of harvesting free food...

My Tray of Bliss today holds six passionfruit, two green paw-paw, some rosemary, six oranges, some garlic chives and a basil plant.

I haven't been shopping.

I've just been doing my usual morning walk and foraging as I go.

Free food foraging is another good reason for getting to know your neighbourhood. And here's a News Flash. You can't do it from your car.

Over a period of years, I've got to know which of my neighbours on my walking route have produce that simply falls from it's tree or vine and rots. They simply aren't interested or have too much to worry about it. So I've asked for, and received many little bits and pieces that supplement our diet when harvest allows.

But there's a courtesy involved here. I ALWAYS ask first. I don't want to feel like a thief in the night. A note in the letterbox with a phone number will usually suffice. Some people call back, some don't. I usually give them an incentive. Eg. Passionfruit curd made from their own passionfruit, jam in exchange for pawpaws, orange and poppyseed muffins from thier oranges and so on.

If I don't hear anything, I keep careful watch, and harvesting only from what has already fallen on the ground, and in public space, I save many a stray passionfruit or orange from simply becoming compost.

I NEVER take from the tree or vine without prior permission. I NEVER put my hands inside someones fence. I NEVER take anything without asking first.

If I take from what's fallen on the footpath, I still will leave a little something in return. Sometimes it's some hand made greeting cards, or some relish or a little bucket of something from my own garden as a gift with a note saying that I gathered up what would have otherwise rotted and have left this in return.

What I harvest in my foraging would not feed us on an ongoing basis, but gosh, if you're doing it tough, you could do worse than getting to know your neighbours! You'd be surprised what they might share.

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Theatrical Thursday....Industry Snobbery...

On my Tray of Bliss today is a ticket to a local theatre production.

Not just any theatre production, but one featuring my daughter.

Now you'll notice the byline of my blog is 'creating a parsomoniously plentiful, posh and polished life'. I believe attending the theatre is one of the great lost 'posh' arts. It can be done in a parsimonious fashion and certainly makes our life feel more abundant, fulfilled and polished. We adore theatre in any form and it's something we put money aside to attend. But I'm about to tell you how to see all the great shows (albeit on a smaller scale) for FREE. That's right. Nil cost. Psst...I think this is where the 'snobbery' comes in. I find that unless the theatre ticket carries an appropriately exorbitant price tag, it's often not considered worth 'seeing'. We have found this to be patently untrue on a grand scale. One particular instance was when we attended a performance of The Wiz (a modern updated version of The Wizard of Oz) AND The Wizard of Oz, two weeks apart. The Wiz was staged by a community based theatre company, and The Wizard of Oz by the big guns. You know, national tour, big names, fancy schmacy sets. Well, that was 8 years ago. Which one do you think stands out in all our memories? Hint...it ain't the big flashy one. To this day, that performance of The Wiz is the benchmark by which we measure all other productions. The only one that's come close is Wicked, but that's a whole other story...well, figuratively speaking!

There is a wealth of talent in any city, large or small, and we love the thrill of seeing budding young actors bring characters that we know and love, to life. We dress up and make a real occasion of it, as befits the hard work put in by the many front and back of house volunteers that pull a theatrical production together.

The Diva has been dancing and singing for nigh on eight years, but this is her first foray into the world of acting.

Now I say that blithely, because in truth, she's been theatrical her entire life...hence her Nom de Plume.

But of course, this is acting in its' purest form. Many times I've read that famous actors return to tread the boards in Broadway or West End to remind themselves of what the craft of acting is all about.

Of course, at this level, we're really just talking about reciting the script expressively...there is very little of the craft of acting involved.

The surprising thing for me is the amount of 'industry snobbery' I've encountered over this little foray. This is a long standing theatre, a grand old Dame of our  city. She's 75 years old and the theatre itself is an icon. It's well respected, viewed on a par with the so called Professional theatres, and attracts a loyal fan base.

But Divas' dance school are up in arms (they're very particular), in case the 'production' is not of the standard favoured by them for their students. I can't seem to make them see that this is not a clash with what they offer our Diva, but rather another string to her creative bow. All they can see is that it's not Professional (their capitals, not mine).

We are not being 'tolerated' as long as the Theatre does not interfere with her commitment to Dance. It's a jolly shame as they've taken no joy in her role and have not announced it to the dance school at large. It's very much hush-hush. Poor little Diva still had to audition..the part was not simply handed to her. At the tender age of 11, she had to sing a solo (Reflection from the Disney movie Mulan), learn a dance in 5 minutes and perform it, and do a cold reading from the Script. She actually read for three parts. So no mean feat!

I gotta say....HUH???????

The Diva is having a blast. We are too. She is meeting people and learning things in Theatre that she would never learn at Dance classes. How to take direction, respect older members of the cast, take responsibility, and not forgetting of course the old adage 'the show must go on'. For us, we find ourselves exploring the local restaurants near the theatre, and indulging in some Mum and Dad time. A whole two hours twice a week. It's like dating again.

What is it with 'industry' folk that they look down their noses at local theatre, the true lifeblood and cultural heart and soul of any city?

I say phooey, pip-pip and cheerio to them.

Do you support your local theatre group? Almost every town or city has one in some form, if not several.  It's much more fun than the movies and often costs the same or less. It gives your family a whole new entertainment option. What would you rather they remembered when they're older?  That you all sat at home watching DVDs, or that you got out and about and supported the Arts. 

The other positive is that your family may be inspired enough by attending Theatre to get involved. Most community theatre groups are always on the lookout for talent. And not just front of house. They need ushers, musicians, technical people, IT people, bar staff or coffee shop and kiosk staff, office and admin staff, make-up artists, set designers and construction people, stage managers, PR people, graphic designers, costume designers and seamstresses. I bet they'll welcome you with open arms. Best thing? It's all free! Imagine going to ALL the new productions, supporting the arts, giving your family the opportunity to tread the boards, and learn a wonderful new, self esteem building skill!

Go soon, and support the theatres in your area. You won't be sorry!

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Motherly Advice...The String Bag and Octopus Guide to Parenthood...

The String Bag and Octopus Guide to Parenthood
Preparation for parenthood is not just a matter of reading Sheila Kitzinger and decorating the nursery. Here are eleven simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real life experience of being a mother or father
  1. Women: Put on a dressing gown and stick a bean bag down the front. Leave it there for nine months. After nine months take out 10% of the beans. Men: go to the chemist, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter and invite the pharmacist to help himself, then go to the supermarket and arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home pick up the paper and read it for the last time.
  2. Before you go ahead and have children find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run riot. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behaviour. Enjoy it - it will be the last time you have all the answers.
  3. To discover how the nights will feel walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing about 3-5kgs. At 10pm put the bag down, set the alarm clock for midnight and go to sleep. Get up at 12pm and walk around with the bag again until 1am. Set the alarm for 3am. As you can't get back to sleep get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. Set the alarm for 5am. Get up at 5am and make the breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
  4. Can you stand the mess children make? To find out smear Nutella on the sofa and jam on the curtains. Hide a fish finger behind the stereo and leave it there throughout the Summer. Stick your fingers in the flower bed - then wipe them clean on the wall paper. Cover the stairs with crayons. How does that look?
  5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. First buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus in the bag, so that none of its arms stick out. Time allowed for this - all morning.
  6. Take an egg carton, Using a pair of scissors and a pot of paint turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet roll tube. Using only sticky tape and a piece of foil make a Christmas cracker. Last take a milk container, ping-pong ball and an empty packet of Cocoa Pops then make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations you have just qualified for a place on the Playgroup Committee.
  7. Forget the Peugeot 205 and buy a Ford Wagon. And don't think you can leave it on the driveway spotless and shining, family cars don't look like that. Take a choc-ice and put it in the glove compartment and leave it there. Get a 20c piece, stick it in the cassette player. Take a family sized pack of chocolate biscuits, mash them down the back seat. Take a garden rake - run it along both sides of the car. There - perfect.
  8. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the loo for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come back in again, go out, come back in again, go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes. Stop to inspect every cigarette end, piece of chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect on the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you have had just about as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out to stare at you. Give up and go back home again. Do it all over again. You are now just about ready to take a small child for a walk.
  9. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child - a fully grown goat is ideal. If you intend to have more than one child then take more than one goat. Buy your groceries without letting the goats out of' your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even consider having children.
  10. Hollow out a melon, make a small hole in the side, suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now take a bowl of soggy Weetbix and try to spoon it into the swaying melon whilst pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half the Weetbix has gone, tip the rest in your lap making sure that a lot of it ends up on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12 month old baby.
  11. Learn the names of every character from Peppa Pig, In the Night Garden, and Playschool, sing their theme songs at work. Congratulations. You finally qualify as a parent.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Floral Friday...the French Florist.

When I can't afford to travel, I dream of travel and France is a perennial favourite.

On My Tray of Bliss today is this pretty shot taken in a village in the South West region of France. The name of the village escapes me, but we'd driven there from the Chateau we'd rented in Chillac, to find some internet access.

In driving the distinctly empty main street, we came upon this glorious display. The store served as the local convenience shop and florist. The florist side of things was clearly more important and made more money as two thirds of the floor space was devoted to display of the blooms.

So gloriously quaint was this display that I couldn't resist snapping a few pretty shots. The shop owner was delighted, couldn't believe that we'd come all the way from Australia, and gifted me with  a bouquet which included these blue roses.

The language barrier made things difficult, but I gathered this hue is achieved with tinted water into which the cut blooms are introduced, resulting in this glorious shade. Yes it's strangely unreal, but they were quite beautiful.

Love of pretty things transcends all languages.

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thrifty Thursday...who knew lentils could be a decorator item?

On my Tray of Bliss today...a new use for lentils!

Now I've enlarged this photo, sourced from here:
and I still can't tell what those green things are.

But, I tell you, my first thought was lentils! Hey, I've got those. I've got red ones, green ones, brown ones, and black Puy ones, as well as dried green peas, black eyed beans, red kidney beans, yellow split peas.

Today, I'm going to line up a some of my stash of recycled jars, complete with dried beans and lentils and pretty little pillar candles.

I can't wait to light them up tonight!

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thoughts for Tuesday....Learning by imitation....

On my Tray of Bliss today is this question.

What behaviour am I modelling for my children?

My children are all good and decent human beings. The are kind, caring individuals. They are cautious spenders and careful savers. They all enjoy good food and relish preparing it for friends. They know that one argument does not signal the end of a friendship or relationship. They're well aware that sometimes life just throws you a curve ball, and you have to deal with it, and that collapsing in a heap and claiming 'stress' or 'depression' is not the solution. They know that the best cure for 'stress' or 'depression' is action. They know that politicians, doctors, oncologists and lawyers, are not gods. They too are people and accountable for their decisions and answerable to any and all of us. They give to charity, not just in money and words, but in deed. They give back to the community by being involved with youth in sport or schooling. They work hard when required and celebrate hard when warranted. They value family above all else and respect the right of their siblings to choose the life partner they want without interference. They commemorate the good, the bad, and the sad when necessary and offer up their prayers for others doing the same.

My children do these things because they had significant figures in their life who showed them the way. Grandmother, Uncles and Aunts, Cousins and Teachers, Sports Coaches, Dad and Mum. We have all modelled the good, and frankly sometimes the bad as well. But hopefully the good outweighs that by far.

What are your children or the children you love, learning from you by imitation?

What's on your Tray of Bliss today?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Musings....from little things....

On my Tray of Bliss today, a sense of accomplishment rests.

My son has a new friend.

This friendship has sprung, like a new seed, from a joint love of blogging.

A friend who writes the Serendipity Cafe blog (see right hand side of my page) has helped to introduce her son, to my son.

No big deal you might say.

But she and I have yet to meet. And my son is disabled and her son is able bodied.

From little things, big things grow. And finally, we as a family see that our young man will have friends, now and in the future. There is light at the end of the tunnel, or in this case, through the trees.

And that, as my friend says, is Serendipity.

What's on your Tray of Bliss today.