30 November 2011

A Gift Of Simple Wisdom

One of my treasured Blogerista friends who regularly inspires me is the effervescent and sparklingly delightful Saskia who writes 'Join My Joy'.

Saskia is one of the most generous and warm-hearted people I've ever encountered and each week she sends out the most beautiful gifts from her home via blog posts, notes, messages, letters, you name it! 
Today she shared a quote that resonated to my very core.

I wrote a little note on her post saying that I would have to have a think about how I might best share it with my family as there are lines in there for each one of us at the moment.

As it turns out, I've made it into this Grace card
These are little laminated cards that sit on our dining room table and each night a new person takes their turn to choose one and lead the family in Grace before we eat.
We aren't a particularly religious family in the traditional sense of the word but we are big on gratitude. 
Being able to not only recognise what we can be grateful for and expressing it, but also accepting both compliments & thanks gracefully are qualities that Captain V and I believe are worthwhile developing.

Tonight as we gather together to share our evening meal I will be introducing this new little beauty and I'm thinking that it will generate an interesting discussion where I'll ask everyone to nominate a time in the week where someone has done one of the actions listed in the quote on the card - it might be something that they've done or it might be something that they've seen another of us do....I'm hoping that I'm not left with the sound of crickets and faces bowed towards their plates!

I'm actually thinking that this will become a favourite card picked out weekly where we get to shine a light on the positive actions that enable us to nurture and grow as individuals and as a family.
Feel free to print it off for yourself our upload it as a screensaver, either way it's a lovely message to dwell upon.

Thank you Sass for sharing....oh and thank you too Mr Hemingway.

Happy day!

29 November 2011

My 2011 Ultimate Gift Wish List

You may have guessed by now that gift giving is one of my favourite things to do but I must admit that I do enjoy dreaming now and then about the ultimate gifts to receive.

The sparklingly gorgeous Karla at Ironmum Karla has tagged me in a little game where we have to share our 'Ulimate Christmas Wish List'.
Thanks Karla, I've had fun thinking this through and hope that all of you enjoy taking a peek at what I'm dreaming about finding under the Christmas tree this year....

1. Summer holidays in an exotic location.
This is the vista that would greet me if I were to stay at 'The Sun House' in Sri Lanka - one of the top picks from my travel 'Bucket List', ready and waiting for when the Lotto fairies knock at my door [remember this is my dream list]. Instead Captain V and I will be taking the 'Gifts' for a surprise trip to stay at Darling Harbour in Sydney.
I'm really looking forward to this holiday and any tips from Sydneysiders about 'what to do' and 'where to go' will be gratefully received.

2. A strong, fit and healthy body.
As you may know I'm navigating my way through the trials of Chronic Fatigue and this summer, Captain V and I will be working on building up my strength and uncovering the healthy me that I know is just waiting to burst forth from her chrysalis.

3. I'd love to hang this print in our foyer. It's titled 'Adam & Eve' by Harry Daily and is just one in a series that I truly love.  I think this would be a fabulous way to greet guests and inspire us all to get down to the beach every day during the summer break.

4.  We are a hammock-loving lot in our home and Captain V & I are due for a new one.
We currently own the most gorgeous blue and white woven number with scalloped fringing but I'm plumping for a Queen sized one in cream this year.
I can't remember where I snaffled this image from but it's been in my inspiration folder for a while now.
I'm imagining this hammock (+ cream scallops and fringing of course) and me lying there with a great book in hand & a cool drink within easy reach and I'm all sorts of happy.

5. A new straw hat and perhaps a snappy red & white kaftan to add to my collection and my summer wardrobe will be complete...these are from Sportscraft just in case you're wondering.

6.  Clear skies, aquamarine seas and clean sand.....really what more could you want?
All of this is within minutes from my home and my wish is that we have a mild summer with a nice balance of sunny days and some rainy evenings to enjoy with family and friends.

So that's it, it was fun to reflect upon with the bonus being that when someone asks what I'd like for Christmas I can point them in this direction.  Thanks Karla for tagging me.

Have I got you thinking about your own list? Well I'm thinking that I'd like to read some more.
I'm sending out the following 'tags' with the caveat that I know that some of you don't like to 'play games' and all of us are very busy, but it would be nice to know what it is you're wishing for, so in the spirit of sharing, I'm tagging:

* Jane 'Life On Planet Baby'
* Naomi 'Seven Cherubs'
* Jennie 'Posie Patchwork'
* Jeanette 'Everton Terrace' 
* Margie 'latebloomerbuds' and
* Fee 'Chipper Nelly'

Happy day everyone!

28 November 2011

My Oh My - A Beautiful Gift For Sharing

This week we start to decorate our home in preparation for Christmas, we will be putting up the tree, adorning our home with treasures gathered over the years and generally getting ready to celebrate this very special time of the year.

The one thing that I don't have is a nativity scene. It's something that I've been on the lookout for for a long time but have never found 'the right one', I guess it's a case of "I'll know it when I see it."

You can imagine my delight when I received the following gift from my friend Athanasius ,it's the most lovely telling of the Christmas Story that I've ever seen.
If you have children (actually even if you don't) I'm sure you'll watch it over and over.

I hope you enjoyed this gorgeous video and are able to go forward into your day with a bright smile on your face.  Perhaps you'll even look at your own nativity scene through a new lens at this Christmastime.

Happy day!

22 November 2011

Hugs & Butterfly Kisses

Hello lovely friend, I hope that your week is unfolding nicely.
I'm happy to report that I've been busy with both family and work commitments (loud cheer in particular  for the latter) and that although for the most part my body has been coping well (second cheer), I haven't had the energy required to either send out gifts or to visit you as often as I'd like.
I hope that this explains my absence from Blogland and you don't mind that instead of our regular 'Two For Tuesday' segment today, I share a little snippet from my home instead.

I've titled the card that I'm sending you "Hugs & Butterfly Kisses" and hope that it does indeed brighten your day.

You may not be able to see them clearly, but the wings of the little butterflies in this montage have been cut from the pages of books.....well not just any book but treasured books from my childhood which I used to collect and which have sadly been laying dormant in book boxes for several decades now.
Perhaps you've heard of them, "The Friendship Books" by Francis Gay.

When I was a little girl I would turn to the allocated page for that day which would hold a lovely poem or quote, story or bible verse and I would to try and memorise each one.
Sadly I can't remember too many of these now, but it was a delight to redeem them from their dungeon where they'd been languishing at the mercy of silverfish and mould, and to rediscover the simple truths contained on each page.

I decided that I needed to breath a second puff of life into these tomes and this is just what's happened as the wordy wings flutter across the walls and through the light fixture of the Biggest Gift's {my eldest StepDaughter's} bedroom. Whenever she has a girlfriend to stay I hear the "Ooh's" & "Aah's" of appreciation when the lights go on and know that my decision to give the pages a second life was the right one.

This photo doesn't really do it justice but it's a lovely corner of this sweet teen's room and as the butterflies wend their way up and beyond this wall, they scoot across the next and appear to flutter towards a mobile of matching butterflies which hangs above her bed.

The gelato 'hugs & kisses' heart I've added onto the card just for you, hoping that you enjoy a bright day filled with at least one moment of serendipity - unexpected and lovely.

If you've been busy in your own creative space this week, be sure to pop it into the mix to share so that we can all be inspired.

16 November 2011

Word Of The Week - Addlepated

Hey fabulous You! There's a buzz in the air and a skip in my step today and I hope that you can say the same.

Our word of the week has been suggested by my very thoughtful friend Athanasius who hosts the truly thought provoking and wonderful blog 'Perichorectic Life'.
So without further ado here is our word to play with throughout the coming week:

adjective: Confused; eccentric; flustered
From addle (to muddle or confuse), from adel (rotten) + pate (head).

Can you relate? I really can and had to create this poster for all of us, I'm really happy if you download and share. I bet you can think of many instances where it would be applicable or even someone who would get a giggle from receiving it.

At this time of the year where there are all sorts of pressures both internal and external seemingly looming down, it's very easy to become addlepated. So in the spirit of gift giving which characterizes our blogging community here at 'Serendipity', I'd be thrilled if you could share your best tips to avoid becoming addlepated particularly as the 'silly season' approaches.

Happy day and thank you "A" for setting in motion this next round of gift giving.
PS: A gentle reminder to get your camera out and pop a special photo into our gallery of furry friends.

14 November 2011

Luke - A Special Gift

The joy this fellow brings with his gentle nature, and sparkling countenance is a true gift to me on a daily basis.

If you were to meet him, he would scamper up for a 'hug' straight away whether you were human, dog, bird or frog [seriously this happens!] and then lean against your leg with that signature smile on his face and let you know that life is indeed great.

When I first moved in with Captain V and his three Gifts, Luke and his best mate Buster were a special bonus that I hadn't really anticipated.  These boys kept me company and held counsel through the challenging days, weeks, months of our 'transition' towards becoming a family and were always up for a comforting cuddle or therapy session [walk through the neighbourhood].

Sadly Buzzy passed away this time last year, leaving a big hole in our hearts and resulting in Luke becoming even more smoochy. We are great buddies this furry bundle and I, and he truly makes me laugh at least once each day - a gift indeed.

This week I'm gathering a gallery of photos to celebrate the gift that is your four legged family member/s and would love it if you could join in. Click here to read all about it....

Two For Tuesday - Craig Holmes {Dogs}

Happy day dear friend and welcome to a new interactive element in our art appreciation.
Stepping through the gallery of art and artists that I've been gathering to share, I was captivated once again by the photography of Craig Holmes.

Craig is a local photographer and his images not only capture the people who live in my special pocket of the world but I think they resonate with the essence of what makes living here so glorious.
After scrolling through his galleries I found that again and again I was returning to the one titled 'Dogs and Families'.

I know that many of you are dog lovers and hope that you're also captivated by the warmth of his images.
When you view them do you instantly get a feel for the character of the people and their pets?
Once you've had a squizz, perhaps you'll even agree to participate in a little gallery event of our own which I'll share with you in a moment....

{Loving all these toothy grins - this is a friend of mine and this photo evokes the warmth that she resonates}

{This is a common sight up and down our beaches in the early mornings and late afternoons - happy dogs and their families enjoying a splash}

Fabulous right?
So do you think you might like to help create a gallery of our 'best doggy friends' together?
What I'm suggesting is that you share a photo of your own special family member with their name in a simple post. It doesn't have to be a recent photo but one that you think truly captures the essence of your pet. You may even like to write a little bit about what makes your four legged friend so special.

I'll start by popping Luke into the mix and hope that you will not only contribute but come back and visit each other too. You can enter as many photos as you like but please be sure to include a link to this  gallery so that your readers can share in the fun too.
I'll schedule the gallery to be opened for a week and would love to create a montage to share. 

Happy day & get snapping!

My Oh My! Lifecycle With A Difference...

Happy Monday fabulous You!

I saw the following at SwissMiss recently and although I question one or two elements, I love the upbeat nature of it and resonate with the general message.

Can't wait to hear what you think and whether, like me, you're inspired to dust off your bike and go for a spin, gulping in great big lungfuls of life!

PS: The sharp-eyed amongst you may even have picked up the link with yesterday's happy-making post...

13 November 2011

Happy Making Tune - Get Up & Dance

You know how much I love a great happy-making tune - today you get  a double treat because the video is as much fun as the music....

Happy dancing friend!

09 November 2011

Word Of The Week - Celebrating The 'Zhush'

Wednesday's here and it's time to share the gift of words together.
It's been almost twelve months that we've been zhushing our vocabulary and I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a game and hoped that you would too.

Below are most of the words that have featured in this segment since it began in November last year.
Have a squizz. Do you know what they all mean? Are there any that you use regularly or perhaps there are one or two that you've been introduced to as you've played along and now use when you can.

My challenge is for you to take three {or more if you're game} of the words and put them into a sentence.
You might like to pluck them out randomly, choose three of the same colour, three in a row, three ending in 'e' or 's', three from the corners, same number of syllables....whatever you decide I can't wait to read your responses. If you're stuck for definitions, remember they're all on the sidebar under the 'Try A New Word' heading.

Here's just two I've come up with very quickly....

* It was with great 'sagacity' that I binned the 'bumf' that had piled up in my mailbox - no need for extra work to add to my already burgeoning list of 'fadmin'. {purple words} 

* I credit 'serendipity' for delivering me the man with the 'mellifluous" voice and "affable" nature. {honeysuckle}

I'll try and add some more to the comments box, until then have fun creating your own....of course I'm not a stickler for doing things by the rules and if writing sentences isn't your thing, a list of your favourites would be a gift that I'd take great pleasure in receiving too.

I've actually 'tiled' the list on my laptops desktop, this is what it looks like. I've found that this 'word wall' has the effect of catching my eye and making me use these 'zhushy' words in my everyday vocab.

Happy day!

PS: As this page has now become a summary of al the 'WW' posts from 2010-11, here are the links for your reference:

     Addlepated     Affable     Bumf     Cadence     Cahoot     Deshabille     Ennui     Evanescent   

Fadmin   Finesse     Hirsute     Humdinger    Inconspicuous     Inkling     Kip     Lacuna     Lissom    

Loquacious      Macaron     Mellifluous     Nimbiferous     'oo' Placenames     Palaver     Pip     

Pique     Quidnunc      Quixotic     Rambunctious       Sagacity      Serendipity    Shemozzle    "&"     

08 November 2011

Two For Tuesday - Kimber Berry

It's that time in our week when I send you a gift of art.
Today I'm marveling at the liquid landscapes of Kimber Berry. In her 'artists statement' Kimber tells us that...
"..in my paintings [I] actually take pictures of paint, digitizing and manipulating them, and then embed these elements on to my surface along with a mixture of real paint, thus offering the same illusion that simulated environments offer...the real versus what is not real."
So without further ado here are just two of Kimber's liquid landscapes for you to revel in.

As a lover of colour and form, these pieces really appeal to my eye and I could actually imagine hanging them in my home, I'm sure I'd revel in seeing something new in them every day.

Do you see the links to last week's underwater images? Perhaps a similarity to Gustav Klimt?

Now I know you like to explore our gifted artists further and I can't wait for you to see the multi-dimensional element of Kimber's art, click on over to her gallery for a truly fabulous treat.

If you'd like to play along with our game today, consider Kimber's art and how each piece relates to the other or to your own life at the moment, then in twenty words or less leave a comment.

Happy day, may it be colour-filled!

06 November 2011

A Gift For Feather Lovers

This is such a lovely little film that I had to share it with you today.
I originally found it via 
SwissMiss and once you've watched it (I must admit I've watched it several times) you might like to visit Liberty & Sophie's website to find out more about their process....I love their reaction at the very end.

There's even a bonus in the form of a new word....

/merr'meuh ray'sheuhn/.n
1. an act or instance of murmurings
2. a flock of starlings

Happy day my friend, I hope you are treated to a gift of serendipity or even a special visit from a feathered friend.  
By the way, did you notice any similarities with this post at all?

03 November 2011

A Colour-Filled Birthday

The Middle-Sized Gift recently celebrated a very special birthday.
It's not every day that you become a teenager and it was a joy to shower her with treats.

As is the tradition in our home, we enjoyed a special breakfast together made by Captain V and I with  the birthday girl opening the parcels and cards that had been sent to her at the table.
After this we all snuggled on our bed [it's becoming more and more snuggly with two leggy teens in the mix] and the much anticipated 'family gifts' were shared with lots of love and laughter.

I'd decided that a rainbow theme was an easy one to carry off for decorations, food and cake until it came to the crunch and the prospect of baking the multi-layer cake that has graced so many blogs and magazines threw me into a spin. Actually any cake baking will do that, so the prospect of making eight cakes was a bridge too far and I had to admit defeat.

This is where I took inspiration from my oh-so-clever sister-in-law...deep exhalation inserted right about here.
I scooted to the supermarket and within minutes had the essentials to make the ultimate 'no fuss' rainbow layer cake. Try it if you're like me and a little challenged in the baking department or equally pressed for time.

The trickiest thing was mixing the gel food colouring to six bowls of fondant without it ending up all over everything.....oh and as you can see slicing sponges equally is a skill I may have to put some more time towards.
But mix, slice, slather, layer and adorn with a gazillion smarties I did "Et Voila!", a very wonky rainbow cake that definitely met the approval of the Birthday Girl if not our dentist.

So another year older, another year wiser and that's just me!
My gift to you when it comes to birthday preparations (if you're the chief coordinator of celebrations), is to think outside the cake when it comes to making the day special and you may even enjoy it as much as the person for whom you're expending all the effort.

As for the Birthday Girl herself, I can't wait to see what the next seven years of 'teenagehood' bring as this special 'Gift' continues to grow and develop into an amazing young woman filled with sparkle and cheek.

Her birthday festival will continue for some time as her big party has had to be postponed due to representative sporting commitments. But such is the joy of living near the beach, that when it does happen we have a ready-made party venue that people travel the world to visit and in this home it's  always easy to whip up some music, a couple of eskies of food, cold drinks & some beach accessories - and off we'll go, instant party!

So what do you think of my creative spin on the rainbow cake?
Does it pass muster even thought it's really quite wonky?
If you'd like to see some more creative happenings, hop, skip or jump on over here and be prepared to be surprised, delighted and inspired.

Happy day!

PS: After reading many of your lovely comments, I do feel compelled to clarify that all the precious Gifts in our family are actually my Step-Children.  
Many of you who have been following along for a while will know this but the newer 'Gifters' may not.
I share this with you here because I'm only a fairly recently 'minted' Step-Parent and if you've ever been in this position or a child in a blended family, you would know that this can be quite a sensitive topic and although I am parenting these lovely people fulltime with Captain V, I'm very conscious of the special place they will always have in their heart for their mother and that they will only ever have one Mum and one Dad.....just saying!

PPS: 30.11.11 For those you who have stopped by via the lovely Laura's 'POTM' Club - Welcome!
I hope you enjoyed reading about this celebration that happened at the very beginning of this month but seems like aeons ago.
Please stay awhile longer and have an explore,  I've shared many interesting gifts this month....well I thought so anyway!

02 November 2011

Word Of The Week - Mystery Word Revealed

Hey-ho it's Wednesday and time to reveal the 'mystery' word from last week.
Your guesses gave me lots of giggles and a little spark of creativity as I compiled them into this image to share.....can you see your word/s?
Of course the mystery word is loquacious, nice work Rose Penelope and supermac for your spot on guessing!
What a wonderful word this is....you may have twigged by now that I have a particular fondness for words with 'q' in them and loquacious has a lovely gracefulness to it too.

As for the meaning, have a read and let me know if anyone you know springs to mind...


1. full of excessive talk: wordy
2. given to fluent or excessive talk: garrulous

All through my life I've been known as a chatterbox but a little 'heads up' for my family and friends, if you must refer to my talkativeness, could you please describe me as loquacious? Thanks.

When I first thought to showcase this word for our zhushy list, I had the intention to work with the Biggest Gift to make a stop-motion video showing you how to make a chatterbox game or as they're sometimes known handhopper. Time got the better of us again this week with birthdays, triathlons and baby-sitting so instead I'll pop up the template that I made for you & actually got to use with all the classes that I taught last week. I hope that you can follow my instructions.

The Littlest Gift modified his to create an interactive birthday card for his sister and I've used them as love letters, revision quizzes and question generators....I hope you have fun using yours too!

So tell me, tell me, tell me do....are you the loquacious kind, a lover of uttering words like me?
Or perhaps you're a quieter soul who likes to measure your conversations?

Happy day Lovely You I hope it's a goodie!

01 November 2011

Two For Tuesday - Wayne Levin

Happiest of happy days to you my friend.
I have quite a treat for you with today's 'Two For Tuesday' gift.

The work of Wayne Levin caught my eye not only for its stunning effect but because, living near the ocean as I do, I have a great appreciation for all the wonder and beauty that is contained above and below it.
I've been fortunate to have snorkeled and swum in some of the most glorious places in the world and have a healthy respect for our oceans and the creatures that reside within.

On my own beach it is not uncommon to see dolphins frolicking in the waves and if you take a little bread you will generally be able to feed the Whiting as they dart around your legs most days.
A couple of weeks ago Captain V and I saw a shark feeding on bait fish close to the surface about 50 metres from the shore. He ran to the lifesavers tower to raise the alarm as there were lots of people on their standup paddle boards only metres away....as I said, healthy respect.

As with all my artists featured in this segment it was truly a challenge to select just two images to share and I would highly recommend you visit Wayne's site for more underwater glory.
What appeals to me most is that he predominantly uses black and white which enables the light and texture of each image to really shine through.

What I love about these images is that if I hadn't told you that they were underwater photos you may not have known.  The first image of the Eagle Ray is quite mystical for me and the texture of the Akule pinwheel as they spin and churn is quite remarkable.

I hope you enjoy these pieces and I'll be sure to pack both my camera and binoculars when I head to the beach this weekend as the whales are making their annual pilgrimage to the Southern Ocean. 
We're often treated with sightings of cavorting couples splashing their fins and flukes and every so often a huge leap into the air.  
The Middle-Sized Gift has also just received an underwater camera for her birthday so perhaps we'll have a budding Wayne Levin inspired artist within our own family.

Can't wait to hear what you think of the art and please, please, please go and visit his gallery.

PS: For all those who are whooping it up today with 'The Race That Stops The Nation' - best wishes for a fabulous day. I must admit that I'm more interested in seahorses than the equine kind when it comes to racing but do love the atmosphere and excitement that today generates.