Saturday, June 30, 2007

Should I stay, of should I go....

Last month, The Most DH & I went to the Timber and Working with Wood Show. I enjoyed that show immensely, but the best part was 'twisting his arm' into buying a planer/thicknesser that I knew he'd wanted for the last year.

So heres my quandry: the Craft & Quilt Fair is on in Sydney this weekend, and he has suggested we go. But I know if we do, he will buy the first expensive thing that I covet. So, Im thinking the noble thing to do is stay home, and save him the money.

Besides, theres alot of stuff here to do.....but I do need some nice fabric for the quilt I want to make......Nah! Surely I dont have to go to the show to find nice fabrics......but it would be nice to go and feast the eyes......Aw, come on, you never let yourself have any fun........

OK, I will have a cuppa, and see if I cant shake off the temptation.

Friday, June 29, 2007

New Photo Meme...Lensday...Accidental

When he was just a featherless chick, a rogue hen invaded the nest. She attacked the mother hen driving her out, and then attacked the chicks.

In the three years since, Ive watched this bird very carefully, expecting that he would be susceptible to respiratory infections or, should he be unable to keep his beak in trim, not be able to feed himself. But neither of those have happened and at this point I dont expect they will.

Sure, he has buckleys chance at being adopted as someones pet. But thats OK, I will look after him for all of his days. Ive even seen him feeding his girlfriend! He can still do all the things that a budgie is meant to do. As a bonus, he has a very cheerful disposition too.

I thought Id name him Phantom (of the Opera), but decided against it. I mean, how would you feel, if your name was just a reminder of a traumatic event? So although Im not especially fond of the composer of Phantom, I thought "Andrew" was a nice enough name for this happy chappy.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Discovered - The Joy of RSS feeds

There are so many blogs I like to read, that Ive reached the point beyond what I am able to surf to in a day. Ive got full blown blog addiction now.

Yesterday I discovered The Joy of RSS feeds and feed readers. Once the penny dropped, I saw how this could save me heaps of time while still allowing me my blog fix. I even added an RSS feed to this site (see "Feed Me" in the right hand column), so I can share The Joy of RSS.

As I surf my fave blogs, if they offer thier content in a feed*, I add them to my feed reader. If you arent familiar with this concept - all you do is click on the RSS icon and it will guide you thru the rest of the process. Often you will be given a choice of which reader you want the feed served to. To keep it simple, just make sure you select the same reader with each blog you subscribe to. I can recommend Google Reader. Its what Im using and its a no brainer as far as how to work it goes.

Now here is the beauty of it: When Im ready to read my blogs, I sign into Google Reader, and Wha La! Theres all the new posts for each blog - all on one page - I can just read and scroll till Ive had my fill. No more waiting for each page to load - which can add up to alot of time if you have many blogs you visit. You can still see pictures and links, and you can still click thru to the site to make comments, check older posts etc.

If you have a blog, and would like to offer your readers this very convenient service, visit Feedburner, its not hard to set up. And from a readers standpoint - oh please go do it now - pretty please?

* If they dont offer thier content as a feed, its still possible to add them to Google Reader! With the Google Reader window open, look to the left hand side of the screen, click on "ADD" and an address box appears. Just type the address in and hit enter - every blog address I entered this way was added to my feeds if the blog was on either Blogger, Wordpress or Typepad. Groovy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Op-Ed: Our Land Rover and Volume Plus' Bio-diesel

The Most DH and I share a Land Rover Discovery TDI (1990 model, 4 cylinder, Turbo)*. Last year we began using Bio-diesel fuel available from Volume Plus service stations in our area. Im happy to report that its been working a treat for us.

On the Bio-diesel, we get only 3 kilometres less per litre. I dont think thats too bad given the potential benefits for the planet. It is a harder start in cold weather, given that the bio-diesel is just that little bit less combustible than regular diesel. Again, thats a small price to pay....and oh yes! Price wise its been around the $1.22 AUD a litre mark too - Sweet!

There is another 'benefit' too. Everywhere we go, we spread the scent of a fish and chips shop. Much nicer on the nose than regular exhaust fumes, eh?

What can you do for the environment today?

*Now before anyone gets upset because we drive an SUV type vehicle, hold your fire! Let me repeat the word SHARE...we have chosen to run only one car between us. (Yes, it is inconvenient.) But imagine if more families ran only one in Australia its not uncommon to see five or more cars parked outside each house. More importantly, the fuel economy of our Land Rover is comparable to a Falcon or Commodore. So you cant get me on that one either. Unless you never drive anything other than a bicycle. Thank you.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Cure for "Comment Anxiety"

My recent post Blithering Blogger recieved a gem of a comment from Snoskred. She'd recently written a guest post for FreshBlogger entitled Challenging Yourself to Comment.

If you ever found yourself hesitating to leave a comment on a blog, this article will snap you out of it. Kudos, Snoskred, and many Thanks!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Budgie Sunday - Goldies Chicks, All grown up

This will be the last post following Golides' chicks from hatching to full grown. All five are flying well, feeding themselves, and completely independent. The eldest chick is now 48 days old, and the youngest 38 days.

This first picture is of the youngest chick, a yellow faced pied. The main tail feathers have not yet emerged, I have no idea why. Its very unusual, but it doesnt seem to impair the chick at all, so no worries.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The next picture is of the eldest chick, a yellow faced greywing? Im curious about this chick as Im not certain that it is a true greywing. Anyone out there more knowledgeable than I about greywings? Dilutes? Im under the impression that greywings have the standard blue/grey legs, and this chick is sporting pink legs and a more orange beak....mysterious chick.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And finally we have the rest of the crew - plus a cousin. Goldie and Freebird had two yellow faced blue and one 'normal' blue (white face).

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Its a very short childhood for the budgie, its amazing to me how fast they grow from just out of thier tiny egg - to a full grown and fully independent bird, in just a matter of weeks.

If you would like to see earlier chick pics, click "Sunday, Budgie Sunday" under Labels in the right hand margin. Next week on Budgie Sunday we will meet another adult bird in my flock. Have a great week!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Blithering blogger

Ive been making myself dizzy surfing all over the net looking at hundreds of blogs. Its amazing whats out there, from the wonderfully informative to the hopelessly self-indulgent. Im not naming names, (at least not yet), and its up to you if this blog fits in either of those two categories.

Personally, I like to keep my posts 'short and sweet'. When Im reading blogs I find that I can get antsy if a post is too long. My main problem is Im interested in too many things. So there are many, many blogs that I like to read. But heck, Ive only got so many hours in the day, and I assume you've no more than I do. (Naturally, some topics will require a longer post, and really interesting content hardly ever seems 'too long'.)

While Im running from blog to blog, I like to leave as many comments as I can. Now I have the impression that some of the comments Ive made in the last few days of marathon blog reading may have come across as...less than intelligent?

So I wonder, regarding comments, is it better to make a less than stellar comment, than to make no comment at all? What do you think?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Do Follow Blogs - Im one, are you?

Learn more at Randa Clay Designs

When you leave a comment on someones blog, it leaves them a link back to your profile for them to follow to visit yours. Nifty! But it doesnt count as a link for your blog -in search engine terms- because the templates most of us use, have a speck of code that prohibits that. How would you like to get around that?

Easy to understand instructions have been already been written by people more qualified than I am - so heres three links to get you started. Everything you need is on these three pages. Right, off you go then!

I follow at Randa Clay Designs
D-List at Courtney Tuttle
Removing 'nofollow' at Dummies Guide to Google Blogger

I do have comment moderation enabled, and I recomend that you do that too. We want to share links not spam. My comments policy is simple:

"Comments on this blog are made DOFOLLOW for the Google Spiders. Comments are moderated. Spam will not be tolerated."

That covers me from the spammers. With the comment moderation enabled, I have a chance to check out your blog before allowing the link to go live.

Yes folks! That means Im going to visit your blog if you leave a comment here.

Have fun on the net - and stay safe out there.

Aug 07 Edit: The comments policy is now displayed on the comment entry screen, and is worded largely the same as it is here - Cheers!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Far out Fungus

There was a break in the much needed rain, so I took my cuppa out for a stroll around the garden.

Noticing the splash of vivid red, I grumbled about the candy wrappers that always mysteriously appear in my front garden. Bending to pick up the suspect litter, I got my eyes closer to! Click the pic for a better view, if you dare.

Im fascinated and repulsed by it at the same time. Never, ever saw one of these before. Its so alien AND beautiful AND ugly - all at once. If I find out any info on it, I will edit this post to add it.

THANKS GOOGLE!! Its fungus alright - Aseroe Rubra. Want to know more? Visit

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lampwork winter hiatus, Surgery, Ageing

I have four ruptured discs in my neck. They bulge out from between the bones and press on the spinal cord and nerve roots. As a result, not only does my neck really hurt, but my fingers and hands are usually completely numb and/or full of assorted pains.

Now, you can still do things with hands you cant feel. Its just that they will take much longer, and you need to exercise considerable care to avoid injury. This is why Ive always said "Iam not a prolific bead maker."

I dont let it stop me doing things, (like playing with fire to melt glass into beads). After all, a gal still has to chop veggies for dinner, mend socks, etc. So the way I see it, if I have to do things Im not really happy doing, then I might as well also do things that I am happy doing. But man, do I get frustrated with these limitations. I think that is the worst part of it all.

Over time Ive realized that it gets worse in the winter. This winter seems to be breaking all previous records. As a result, I will be making very few beads till spring.

There are at least two surgical options available to relieve these symptoms. However, with both of them there is a very high risk of quadriplegia. The neurosurgeon therefore deemed me 'not a candidate for surgery'. Now, I agree with him, in theory...although in my heart (and my hands!) I would really rather they just fixed it!

But it made me curious, so I asked: "Who is a candidate for a surgery with a risk of total paralysis?" He answered, "If you were 76 years old, you would be a candidate."

I had to take some time to process that...
Im too young to be paralyzed...ok, Im cool with that.
A 76 year old person is not too young to be paralyzed.....What?!
Well, I know what he is saying, but it seems so wrong. Ive got some ageing relatives, and you can bet I will be asking thier doctors plenty more questions about thier care and treatment.

But enough of those dark thoughts, if I live to see the day, my next appointment with the neurosurgeon is in the year 2039!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday, Budgie Sunday...Goldie's Chicks June 17th

This first picture is of the youngest two chicks. They just left the nest yesterday afternoon, and had thier first night out on the perch. Today they will have thier first flying lessons!

In the picture below, you can see thier three older siblings. All three of these guys are flying well and are feeding themselves about 80% of the time. Goldie & Freebird are nearly done with thier parental duties.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So now we can tell we have chicks from both Freebird AND Gorgeous George. Tsk Tsk! But we shouldnt be too judgemental of Goldie. After all, Gorgeous George is an aptly named young stud, and being as it was his first chance to breed - well - he was trying to nail anything with feathers. In other words, Goldie didnt have a chance to resist him. Good thing Freebird has chosen to forgive and forget.

Please excuse the picture quality today, we are having wild weather and its just a bit too dark in the aviary for my light hungry camera.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Op-Ed: Sponsored Posts? Tell 'em they're dreamin'!!!

If you spend alot of time blogrolling around the internet, youve begun to see banners etc for the latest money spinning schemes like PayPerPost. Get paid to blog! Yeah sure - like I always wanted to grow up to be a shill*. Not.

Trouble with these things is, some bloggers dont make it clear that they are presenting a paid advert to thier readers. That bugs me in a big way. I think its important for folk to know when they are being sold to.

Some bloggers are giving you a fair-go by disclosing which of thier posts are 'sponsored'. But some insist that disclosure is not important.

How can it not be important? Every other media has laws or consumer protection groups which have rules to which these media must adhere. Just because this is the internet, doesnt mean that its a free-for-all-feeding-frenzy.

In the interest of my own transparency: Yes, I started blogging as a way to help people get to know me as a person/artist/decent human being, so they would feel more comfortable buying from me on the internet.

That was the plan, but for me the blog has developed a life of its own. Most people who buy my lampwork beads arent clicking over to the blog, and the blog readers arent really clicking over to the beads - so I feel free to work both as different 'art forms'. Since I very much like being free, and diverse - it suits me down to the ground.

Be careful out there folks!

* shill: to act as a spokesperson or promoter
DISCLAIMER: Im not omnipotent. These thoughts are only my opinion.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Crimson Rosellas visiting the backyard

Crimson Rosella, Fact Sheet at

He and his Mrs' had a lovely time in our bird bath, but by the time I got back with the camera, they had 'winged it' to the top of the tallest gum tree for a preen. While he was non-plussed at my perve-ing on his personal hygiene routine, she opted to preserve her modesty by placing herself outside of the cameras reach. Dang!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nearly four years later....

On June 25th 2003, I bought two metres of this black Birds-feather fleece to make myself a 'funkier than average' sweatshirt.

You know how it goes? Stuff happens, and the next thing you know, its nearly FOUR YEARS LATER...egads!

So I put my rear in gear and got it done. Its nice and cozy to wear too.

Im feeling very smug about it, as I made the pattern as well (out of newspaper), and finished it with a loose turtleneck to keep my aching neck warm.

Well, must not rest on my laurels for long, theres more projects where that came from!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday, Budgie Sunday...Goldie's Chicks June 10th

Here they are today! Arent they adorable? The Fab Five are moving right along, growing well and learning that life wont always be so sweet. Momma Goldie is no longer sleeping in the nest with them at night, and she and Daddy Freebird have started 'encouraging' the eldest to leave the nest.

The eldest chick is now 34 days, and the youngest 24 days. The eldest chick is flying well, but really wants to pretend its still a helpless baby and gets itself back in the nest whenever possible.

I was able to get a nice shot of 'eldest' while he was out of the nest this morning.

Eldest chicks out of nest pic

Excuse me while I play the proud grandmother here for a moment - isnt this the sweetest little baby bird you ever saw?

Looks like its time to start thinking of names for my new friends.

Have a great sunday!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sick & Tired of being sick & tired....

But Ive had worse, I will be back tommorrow with Budgie Sunday - see you then!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Sunday, Budgie Sunday...Goldie's Chicks June 3rd

Hi Everyone, can you believe how fast they grow?

The eldest chick is in the upper left hand corner, under the youngest one. The eldest is now 27 days old, and the youngest is 17 days old.

Im kinda sorry that I started blogging about this clutch, as I have some sad news. If you are the sensitive sort, enjoy the picture and please dont read any further.

If you look at the white chick closely (click on the pic for a better view), you will see that there is something wrong with its legs. This is commonly referred to as "splay". The legs work, and have some good strength in them, but they are at a totally wrong angle to the body.

What causes it depends on many things, and in the end, it doesnt really matter. Birds are not designed to rest on thier breastbones, and there is no way he can stand. He is currently making his way around the nest box by using his wings. Leaving him to let nature take its course would be a far worse fate. So tommorrow I will take the little soldier to the Vet. There will be no more suffering.

So when you see them next sunday, there will just be five. Sometimes things just dont work out. Thats true with birds, beads...and people. Be good to yourself today.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Op-Ed: What Arrrrr ye gonna do?

Dont worry, no spoilers here. Im not a movie critic but Iam a fan of the Pirates flicks, and yesterday I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

Pirates 3 is the first one Ive seen on the big screen, and Im amazed at how much more detail there is to everything, (special effects, costumes, sets). Its a full on action spectacle providing a great escape from the everyday world, which is what I expect for $15.30 AUD. (Thats a matinee price!)

Ok, so there are too many sub-plots, a few moments Id never have expected from Disney, more schmaltz* than I can stomach, and the end does leave them open to a fourth - but it is such a rich visual treat you quickly get over that. Disney knows how to suck you in, thats for sure.

Is it as good as 1 & 2? Well, the first two were more polished in plot, and had much better flow. But if you enjoyed the first two, you wont feel cheated by three.

* schmaltz: excessively sentimental, sugary banality
DISCLAIMER: Im not omnipotent. These thoughts are only my opinion.