31 March 2012

'Post Of The Month' Club - March

Hello Sparklers, it's here - our first 'Post Of The Month' Club together!

I can't wait to see what treasures you pop on the table for March.

It's been a crackerjack month in our home not least because we've had so many lovely family celebrations AND I've managed to fulfill my Lenten promise of giving up coffee for a whole [well I'm almost there] forty days...I may have kicked a habit......let me emphasize the 'may' have.

Today also marks the start of a two week Easter holiday for our family and I've found myself pulling out the photo album and dreaming a little. You see a special friend is taking her Mother on a glorious holiday treat to Bali, jetsetting over to one of my favourite pockets of the world, Ubud.

Captain V took me for my first adventure to Bali for my fortieth birthday and I've been dreaming of returning ever since. I've whipped up a little montage of photos taken during our stay, I hope you enjoy...

So now, whenever I take Luke for a walk and spy the Lobster claw Heliconias in a neighbours' garden, or wear one of my colourful kaftans, bright silk scarves or souvenir silver jewellery purchased on the trip, I get an immediate flashback and exhale a deep sigh...truly I do.

It was one of those magical adventures where you're left wondering that if we went back, would it be as good.
We stayed in several locations but Ubud was my favourite and most of these photos are taken there.
So as my gorgeous friend Annie & her Mum touchdown and inhale that first blast of hot humid, clove infused air, I'll be closing my eyes and dreaming of rice paddies aglow with sunset hues, cocktails by the tropical lagoon and Kecak dancers in their silken threads....sigh.
But what am I thinking? There will be lots of fabulous new places to explore and new people to meet when we pop our favourite posts onto the 'Post Of The Month' Linky below. 
Don't be shy, it's as easy as can be. If you're a regular, you'll know what to do.

For our new friends, it's as simple as skipping through your posts from March, choosing the one that you love the best, then pressing the hyperlink below that says "click here to enter". 
You should be guided through a simple process 'et voila' you've become one of a terrific group of writers who meet every month.  Share the love by visiting a few other blogs and you're away!


I'd be tickled pink if you'd be so kind as to add my button to your lovely sidebar, that way your own readers might be inspired to join in too.

We'll be doing this on the last day of every month and I'm looking forward traveling around the globe, reading and responding to each and every post added.

Happy day!

30 March 2012

Will You Be Joining In?

A candlelight bubble bath.
A game of 'Spotlight' in the backyard.
Marshmallows, singing and stories by a bonfire.
Star gazing and satellite spotting.

All of these and more could be a lovely way to join in with this year's 'Earth Hour'.
What will you do?

Saturday 31st March 8:30-9:30PM.

29 March 2012

A Gift of Grace & Beauty

Strength, grace, poise.  All of these are words that I would immediately associate with ballet but
today's gift absolutely flawed me with its beauty.

Motions being slowed to highlight the precision of the movements enabling us to appreciate the vigour
in each placement of limb....inspiring.

Thank you to the team at Swissmiss for passing this forward, I've watched it twice already.

Happy day!

28 March 2012

Brilliant News To Share!

Hello lovely friend, I have news!
Great news....fun news....truly happy news!

I've been keeping this one under my hat [a rather large sombrero actually] for some time now and am fairly fit to burst with excitement. I've been in cahoots with a the most gorgeous lady, working on a special project and it's finally time to spill the beans.....yippee!

Many of you know the wonderful Laura of 'Happy Homemaker UK' fame....a 'sparkler' right?
If you haven't had the pleasure of visiting Laura yet I suggest you scoot on over after you've finished here and tap on her brand new front door for nice long visit. 
She's just relocated to the most fabulous neighbourhood in the English countryside and I'm certain you would be a welcome distraction from the endless round of 'packing & rearranging' that follows a house move.

Once you've spent even the shortest time at her place you'll come to see why so many people pop in on a regular basis. Laura has created a truly wonderful space in Blogland which is always a delight to visit, particularly when there's a special event happening in the UK, such as the Royal wedding or the upcoming Olympic Games.
If you're thinking of visiting the UK [or perhaps a UK resident looking for inspiration for a little adventure] and would like some terrific insider tips, you really can't go past her "Do & See' segment. 
This is jam-packed with up-to-the-minute tips and great tours, where Laura puts her own special stamp on each place she visits....believe me you're going to need to put aside some time for this as there's MUCH to see!

"But what about the news and the cahoots?" I hear you ask.

Well the other project that Laura is famous for is her 'Post Of The Month Club' which has been a favourite linky of mine since she started it last year.

Laura had the genius idea of creating a space where we could showcase our favourite post written in the previous month, then share it forward with what has become a truly amazing group of Bloggers. 
In her own words:

"You've already done the hardest part of writing a really awesome post.
This is a great way to meet other bloggers and introduce your best work."

I know many Gifters already join in with this and that it's how I originally met some of you - great fun!

So here's where I share the most amazing news.....truly I'm most excited!
Laura has decided that the time has come to 'simplify her life and live more in the present' and is handing the baton for hosting 'Post Of The Month Club' onto me - wowsers!

So each month from now on, I'll be encouraging you to scroll through your posts and pluck out the one that you think truly sings then simply add it to the bloghop. How easy is that?

The end of the month is drawing near so keep your peepers peeled for the first linky coming up in the next couple of days. You'll be able to pop my newly minted button onto each post and in your sidebar to alert your own readers to the fact that you write for 'Post Of The Month Club' and I've no doubt that in doing so you're going to make some new friends too...
I'm so looking forward to this new adventure and can't thank Laura enough for the opportunity.

The sombrero has been popped back on the hat rack and I'm polishing my reading glasses and warming up the digits in anticipation of both reading and responding to all of your fantabulous posts.

In the meantime, scoot on over to share a cup of excellent English tea or a flute of bubbles [depending on the time of day & your predeliction] with Ms Laura who is always up for a chat...as you may well know!

Happy day!

21 March 2012

More books than you could poke a stick at....

Hello friend - happy Wednesday!

I've already shared a word this week, so thought that today's gift might celebrate my other loves:

                         books  ~ creativity  ~  colour  ~  fun!

Many thanks to the ever-inspiring 'Brain Pickings' for sharing this forward. 
I wonder if you'll be like me and have to watch it several times?

Happy day!

19 March 2012

Word Verification.....Grrrr

I'm sure you know by now that I LOVE reading your posts and delight in leaving you a comment. 

However there's something that's really bugging me at the moment.
If you're a Blogspot Blogger and have word verification I'm just about going bonkers.
On bended knee I implore you to PLEASE read this terrific post by my sparkling friend Bronwyn who explains better than I could the in's & .......well in's of getting rid of this horrid beast.
Thank you Bron!

Happy day!

15 March 2012

The Road To Paris - What A Journey!

There are many 'Sparklers' in my world but Jennifer Reid would have to be one of the most sparkly.

If you have some time to sit and watch this amazing video I'd encourage you to do so, then go and say "Hi!".
I know she'd love it.

14 March 2012

The A-Z of Me

My oh my!

For the longest time I've been toying with creating an 'About Me' page for this space.
There have been several false starts but I've finally been given the kick up the bot that I needed thanks to my fabulous friend Jane  who wrote a terrific 'A-Z' post inspired by Kellie & Sophie .

It was so easy to do and I'd encourage you to have a go, particularly if, like me, you haven't got an 'About Me' page yet.

My camera is still on the blink so I had to resort to using the webcam on my laptop for the photos...and I'll let you in on a little secret, I did it in my PJs,  favourite t-shirt and morning cardigan because I just knew that if I fussed around too much I'd change my mind.

I hope you enjoy learning a little more about me and thank you Jane for the wonderful inspiration.

Happy day!

Word Of The Week - Au Fait

Hello friend, are you ready to put on your zhushy hat and play with this week's challenge word?

I'd be thrilled if you left a note here or wrote a post with the phrase 'au fait'  as the focus.

In addition to the defiintion provided you can be 'au fait' if you're acquainted with the facts; well informed; proficient; expert in or with something.

If I were to nominate areas in which I feel comfortable to say that I'm 'au fait' the following spring to mind:

* making a rich, scrummy, lip-smacking lasagne
* selecting, wrapping and presenting beautiful gifts
* the field of Gifted Education
* keeping Captain V happy & loved up
* Navigating shortcuts up and down the Sunshine Coast to get kids to sport on time - yay!

Things I'd love to be 'au fait' with:

* managing my comfort eating and anxiety [getting there]
* CPR and general first aid - coping well with snake bites, heart attack, stroke etc
* dealing with teen attitude [Captain V is the King of this, so there's hope!]
* the fine arts - art history, techniques, you name it, I'd love to have a great teacher to guide me
* the 'classics' in literature - as you know, I'm stepping my feet on this path with your guidance
* Paris, The Dordogne, Ubud, Italy, The Barossa Valley, Snow Pond, Tasmania.....actually this is a long list
* stand up paddle boarding

How about you? Don't give yourself too long to think about it, do as I did and tap it out.
If I'd thought more about it, I'm sure I'd revise my list significantly....so I'm going to press 'Post' now.

Happy day!

13 March 2012

For Fungi's Sake....

Hello friend, it's a dewy kind of day in my pocket of the world and in addition to little mists of rain, there have been spates of sunshine so that the droplets hanging from my verandah railing and the tree branches are sparkling up a treat....and then there are fabulous things popping up in my garden.

Mushrooms and fungus to be exact, and fascinating ones at that!
My camera is still not on speaking terms with my laptop so I can't show you an actual photo but I've scoured the web for you and received an education in the process.

There are two most amazing types of fungus that have popped up over the last couple of days.
They are brilliantly coloured and possess a really, no actually I should say 'REALLY' stinky odour!
Which, I've just learned, is why they're called 'Stinkhorns' - seriously I just read all about them.
{images sourced here}

The red ones aren't quite as smelly and look like pieces of tropical coral transplanted into the garden.
The yellow capped ones - peeeewweeeee!  These fellows [what else could I call them with a shape like that?] have also provided impetus for a discussion on anatomy with the Littlest Gift.

Serendipitously I was doing something totally unrelated to fungi, when I stumbled across the following video which has given me a whole new appreciation for the colourful stinkers in our garden.

If you are at all interested in nature, mushrooms, fungi or biological science it's worth a view.....

Happy day!

09 March 2012

Great Expectations

Last month saw the marking of Charles Dickens' 200th Birthday.
An unusual celebration I'm sure but one that sparked a flurry of discussion around this most famous author.
I have to confess that I've started many a Dickens title but never managed to get further than the first chapter.
I'd hoped that perhaps this might be the year that I bridged this gap.

My interest was piqued when I saw "Great Expectations" pop up as a new mini-series on ABC tv.

As you know, I'm not a fan of seeing a movie or tv series prior to reading a book, and as I've not read this one I was in two minds, but with an hour to spare I decided to make an exception.
I've just finished watching the first episode and what a rich gift of dark and devilish characters and all sorts of possibilities unfolded before me.

If you'd like to take a peek, click here [not sure if the link will work beyond Aussie shores] and let me know what you think.  I adored the opening sequence, I'm sure you'll see why.

Happy weekend, I hope that the days unfold wonderfully and more than exceed your expectations.

07 March 2012

Word Of The Week - Celadon

Colour is something that has fascinated me since I was the littlest poppet.
I have very pleasant memories of visiting my Grandparent's farm and collecting all manner of colourful treasures....wool & embroidery thread from Grandma's basket, feathers from the chookpen, flower petals, beads, shells from a neighbours driveway [I know this sounds odd in outback Australia, but it's true] and of course little rocks and pebbles.
Some of my greatest finds were coloured shards of glass dug up from the dirt near where they burnt their household rubbish.  My favourites were the rich purple and indigo glass which were rare finds, more common were the celadon green or orangey bits.

I wish I still had these fragments of my childhood, instead I have warm memories to hold onto and a love of colour that has held throughout my whole life.

If asked now to nominate a favourite colour I would flounder and then start my reply with "At the moment I love.....".
Crisp white accents are a constant throughout my home and wardrobe but there is a whole lot of ocean inspired colour happening too.

If you popped by to say "Hi!" right now you'd find me enjoying some green tea from a gorgeous handmade mug in celadon green, wearing a rose pink dress with my Grandmother's white beads wound around my wrist.  The mug being the inspiration for this post.
People often comment on it and ask me what the colour is.
I guess I could say dusty green or greenish-blue, but celadon is such a beautiful word and as we're all about zhushing up our vocab I thought I'd share it with you too.

I know that there are several of you who enjoy collecting ceramics in this hue and as you can see from my little montage below it goes beautifully with crisp white.
I had lots of fun seeking out my favourite examples for you and hope that when you see this lovely colour its equally lovely name pops into your mind.

Until next we meet, have fun zhushing up your vocabulary and spreading the word!

If you'd like to imbue your world with a little bit of celadon, all of these items are available for purchase:
Porcelain cup and cutlery rest {here}    Agave photo {here}    Earrings {here}   Brooch {here}    Baby cocoon {here}  Shoe clip {here}    
Wallpaper {here}    Ironing board cover {here]

06 March 2012

Vive Le Livre! February-March 2012

 Hello lovely friend. It's the first Tuesday in March already which means we're catching up to share our reading achievements for the month. I must say that I can't wait to tell you about the pages I've been turning.

On your many recommendations I devoured 'The Tiger's Wife' by Tea Obreht with great relish.
If you are one of the people who suggested this, please accept my heartfelt thanks as it gave me one of the most precious gifts that a great book can contain, insight.
I won't spoil the storyline for those of you who haven't read it, other than to say that the characters are beautifully drawn and the writing itself makes it easy to place yourself in the time and place of the story.

I turned to my art shelf for the next two reads and am thrilled that I did.
If you've never heard of the colourful whirlwind known as SARK but have a desire to add more creativity, zing and spark to your world, then pop either of these books onto your 'Vive Le Livre!' list, grab some coloured pencils or markers and away you go!

I've had these books for over a decade and every now and then return to them for a shot of creative inspiration. The added bonus this time was that because I'm creating this space for you, I also had the serendipitous delight in discovering her website whilst seeking images for this post = yippee! 
I'm now receiving a lovely newsletter regularly and imagine my delight when in the first VLOG, Sark used the word serendipity several times!

The final book on my February list is a true treasure, "Five Bells" by Gail Jones.
I'm not sure which one of you lovely people recommended it to me, if it was you "THANK YOU!"
From the very first page I was transfixed and I truly delighted in the many ways that Gail evoked remembered and new images of Sydney in my imagination.
This book is for anyone who has a close connection to the glorious harbour city that is Sydney, has a desire to travel there or who revels in beautiful writing filled with glorious language and real life themes. I will never think of the Sydney Opera House in the same way again....you'll need to read this book to find out why.

So there you have it, my reading goals are ticked off and on my bedside table I have:
* Anna Funder's "Stasiland" sent to me by my truly wonderful and ever thoughtful friend Jane;
* "A Guide To Natural Housekeeping" by Christina Strutt which has already made me rethink how I use and maintain my chopping boards; and
* "The Brothers Karazimov" by Dostoyevsky, which I think will be a year long endeavour.

Now I can't wait to find out what you've been up to this month.
Remember there are several ways that you can play along:
1. Leave a comment here letting us know what you've been reading
2. Leave a comment on other people's comments - I love to see interactivity between each of you
3. Write a "Vive Le Livre" post including the button or a link so that your readers can pop on over and join in too.

You'll notice that I've created a page for you at the top of my site so that you can pop in here anytime to find out what I've been reading & return to previous posts to read what others have to say.

Finally, here are the links for my books this month:
1. Tea Obreht "The Tiger's Wife"
2. SARK "Succulent Wild Woman" and "Creative Companion"
3. Gail Jones "Five Bells"

Until next month, happy page turning!