Category Archives: Creating


I’ve been incredibly busy at work these past few weeks, and even have had to work over the weekend. Therefore I haven’t been free to do any crafts for myself, but I have had a bit of spare time for Google. Here are some great ideas I’d like to share:


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DIY fish tank decorations

We bought a fish tank, for our large goldfish who previously lived in our leaky, cold pond. I used to think goldfish were dull and stupid, but now I know this is not true. There is a difference between a fish you keep alive, and one you keep happy. They are fun and full of personality, and need stimulation.

Plants are pretty cheap and are effective if you experiment with depth and height. We chose ones with spots or pink leaves for interest. You do have to be accepting that goldfish might eat your plants.

The boy got an old terracotta pot from the back yard and smashed to make a cave for them to swim up through. Be sure to soften the jagged edges and give it a good clean first.

I put one of my coca-cola glasses into the tank. I haven’t been permitted to display my collection in the living room (in exchange for him not displaying items I find unpalatable), so was happy to sneak this in. The glass has turned out to be the goldfishes’ favourite item, as they take turns sitting inside.

I have made some bright sculpi decorations but we haven’t been brave enough to put them in the tank yet for fear it will give the fish cancer. We’re goingt o test it out on some pest fish first and see how we go.

What are strange or pretty things you have seen in fish tanks or aquarium?

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Interior Painting

Blizzard blue

As you may know, I recently bought a house of my very own (well the bank’s, but that neither here nor there). Part of the privilege of home ownership is the right to paint the walls. Among the original colours on our humble abode were apple green, blizzard blue, burgundy, asparagus, dandelion and, my favourite, an orange which resembles the filling of an Arnott’s Orange Slice biscuit.

We thought we’d go with something neutral but modern. After contemplating a myriad of nearly identical swatches, a situation I have been told which can be described as Buridan’s ass*, we settled on a blue-grey, named by Taubman’s as “Oyster Grey”. It looks very chic with white trims.   Painting can be a surprisingly cerebrate activity. I had done a lot of reading and research on how to paint, what paint to use, and various preparations before embarking, but disregarded all of the advice because I had the flu at the time and couldn’t be bothered. The only thing that worked was using a sponge and paint scraper to remove the wallpaper.

A few lessons:

Taubman's Oyster Grey with white trims

Taubman's Oyster Grey with white trims

You really should put down a drop sheet

You really should tape everything up first

You really should get all the furniture out to give you room to work

You really should wash the brushes quickly, or wrap them in glad wrap immediately.

Given the mess I had made, I braced myself for some philippic comments from the boy, however, much to my delight, his man-look (the kind where they can’t find the vegemite next to the toaster) found no faults.

* Imagine a hungry donkey standing equidistant from two identical piles of hay. The donkey tries to decide which pile he should eat first and finding no reason to choose one over another, starves to death. Explanation courtesy

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Moving house has given me the opportunity to do an inventory of all the craft stuff I have accumulated over the past few years. An uncrafty onlooker (ahem, my mum and the boy) would say I have far too much craft stuff, and have a serious case of affluenza, but really, most was purchased over 2 years ago and I still use occasionally.

1 box scrapbooking supplies: purchased two or more years ago when I was doing a lot of travel. I am gradually using this up with each trip, but could probably afford to do a cull of all the bits and bobs I’ve saved.

1 large box fabric: purchased within the last two years, this is quite shameful. I have over-purchased for projects which I am getting better at not doing. I must try to use up all the fabric I have before buying more. I have given away many smaller pieces to the quilter I know.

1 box paints and brushes: bought well over 4 years ago, being acrylic, most are still usable. I only paint about once a year, but no use buying more each time. After a quick test, I throw out a few dried up or separated ones, but keep the rest.

1 box misc items: I throw away magazine cutouts, unimpressive sketches, old half-used note books (recycled) and the like. I keep rulers, stencils, Derwent coloured pencils and other such things I can use occasionally. I donated items such as coloured hair spray, scoobies and safety pins to the Girl Guide district I volunteer with.

1 box sewing items: this includes my sewing box so not too bad really. There are also a lot of random ribbons, buttons and threads, which again, I vow to use up before buying more.

1 box wrapping paper: This is a steady amount and I use and keep wrapping from presents received and given.

As I unpack and find a new home for everything I will endeavour to think of ‘Hoarders’ and ask myself, “Will you honestly use this?”

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Easter Parade

Easter Parade

I must mention, somewhat predictably, I love 1940s and 50s movies, and own several with Judy Garland, and Gene Kelly but only a few with Fred Astaire. One of these is Easer Parade. Bing Crosby does a nice rendition of this song too. Last Easter I had a party on this theme, and everybody wore their own creative Easter bonnet. Enjoy!


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Make Haste


I haven’t had much of a chance to do any sewing, baking, reading or creating this last fortnight. The boy and I have bought a house, which settles the day before my exam. Needless to say I have been mostly packing and studying.

I did attempt to make another loaf of bread in the oven. It burned into a brick. I threw the same recipe in the bread maker. It sank as I hadn’t used special no-prep yeast.

I will pop up some photos of Easter bonnets my friends made for an Easter Parade party soon, I promise!

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Fun in the day

While in the northern hemisphere it is Spring as we approach Eater, here in Brisbane it is Autumn. We do not have the same array of colour and blossoms. Then again, flowers are not common in Brisbane in general as they are either dehydrated or drowned. In Autumn we do not have the rich oranges and reds of the north, as our native trees generally aren’t deciduous, and those that are, for the most part, just turn death-brown and fall off quickly.

Fun at night

So what can we do to bring some Spring-colour into the Easter season? I like to draw colourful pictures on the footpath with chalk. Those of you with children would be familiar with this one – though it is equally fun for adults. At a party of mine, we brought out the chalk at around 10pm, and my inebriated friends delighted in the task. I’m sure you will be too – if you can brave those judgemental neighbours!


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Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth (wikimedia)

I just had to share that I saw a Tawny Frogmouth tonight! I am very excited as I haven’t seen one since I was 9. I remember specifically, as I was at brownie guides, and it was sitting on the fence there. We used to see them quite often, but don’t anymore: whether that’s because I’m not outside as much or because they are diminshing in numbers, I don’t know.

For those non-Australians, a tawny frogmouth is a type of bird, which looks a bit like an owl. However, it is not an owl, just as the Koala is not a bear, except without the Playschool song. They have exceptional camouflage, so it can be hard to spot them.

I saw him sitting on the grass next to the church hall next door in the lights. I thought it was odd for him to be so exposed, but all the insects, his primary diet, are attracted to the light so I guess it makes sense.


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One for the team

Despite my author bashing [ 🙂 ], I am a supporter of the sisterhood at heart:

My fellow Girl Guide leaders sent this powerful link onto me:

As we teach the girls the millenium development goals (we make them rhyme), some goals are challenging to have your young girls relate to. MDG5 Keep mothers alive, MDG6 Diseases get fixed (focused on HIV and malaria). This short film is a great tool.

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Jiminy Cricket!

You may remember that a few weeks ago I bought a basil plant at the Rocklea Markets. It has been growing superbly, unlike any other basil I have attempted to grow. I have been able to use it frequently as it is sprouting so quickly.

Yesterday I noticed that the leaves were looking ratty. At first, I though it was just dying, like the rest of my plants. However, upon closer inspection I noticed it had been eaten. I looked around for a caterpillar for a few minutes before noticing a perfectly basil-coloured grasshopper. As cute as he was, I couldn’t have him eating my plants.

Not wanting to use chemicals (defies the point of growing my own), I got some old netting that I had left over from making a  tutu-type underskirt, stapled it into a pillow-case and slipped it over the pot. Works a charm as Mr Grasshopper has been sitting on the outside of it for a few hours now.


I guess he’ll have to go back to plain old grass.


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