Archive for March, 2013

There hasn’t been a great deal of crafting lately as I’ve been busy working on my thesis. I have some deadlines coming up and need to submit an oral presentation and a written presentation of 3000 words, plus a bunch of other stuff like a literature review and outline of thesis chapters etc. However, I have needed a whole bunch of cards lately, so Gorgeous Girl and I sat down recently to make some.

These were some birthday cards and a thinking of you card.

Gorgeous Girl made these ones as thank you cards for some gifts she received (yes, I’m an old-fashioned mum who makes her kid write thank you cards).

Living so far away from her family I think it’s especially important that she send notes to say thank you as it’s a way of keeping connections strong with her grandparents and aunties and uncles. I was impressed with what Gorgeous Girl did on the second card. She cut the green strip into ‘grass’ all on her own. It’s a technique she’s never seen me use so she invented it all on her own.

On Wednesday Gorgeous Man and I are travelling to the US. He is presenting a paper at a conference and I’m going to attend the conference and then visit some archives for my own research. Gorgeous Girl is going to spend some time with her cousins – she’s very excited about that. Long story short, I figured it would be handy to have some thank you cards up my sleeve and came up with these.

The spotty flower was from scraps run through my sister-in-law’s die cutting machine. She sent me a little packet of goodies a few months ago. On the front of the packet was the flower which now adorns the card at the bottom right. The zebra is fussy cut from scrapbook paper. The blue paper behind the owl is really old. I bought it in 2006 while we were on a stop-over in Singapore on our way to move to South Africa. I think that is the last little scrap of it used out of the stash now. I save my scraps by colour and eventually they all get used up.

Gorgeous Girl was busy doing other things while I made the above cards, so I took the time to make up a quick scrapbook page as well.

I’ve kept the photo a bit dark to make it harder to distinguish the individual children, but you get the idea of the page. The embellishments were from a pack I bought in Kmart while we were in Australia at the end of last year, and the title stickers come from my good friend Kerin (who started me on the whole scrapbooking journey).

Gorgeous Girl was very eager to get back to school when we arrived home in PNG. She was so impatient that this was the best picture I was able to get of her.

First day of Prep. Coming into the class 5 weeks late was a bit of a shock. She was warmly welcomed back by the kids, but there are only three in her class that she knows well from last year and she struggled a bit with the idea that she needed to sit and work and not just play all day like in Pre-school. But she has settled in well now. Yesterday she told me that the best thing she did at school was writing, and she’s doing well on her spelling tests, so it’s all good.

Excuse the mess behind Gorgeous Girl – I’m in the middle of getting ready to leave again and so the house is once again a disaster. Here is a shot of her self-haircut.

Note the very short fringe and sides when compared to her first day of school photo…

I’ve packed my English paper-pieced hexagons for the flights from PNG to Australia, and Australia to the USA. Then I have some long car and bus rides ahead of me, so I’ve packed two easy knit shawls as well. I also have some cross-country plane time so both of them should be finished by the time I get home (this may be wishful thinking). Getting knitting needles onto planes is a much simpler process in the US than in Australia, in my experience. Your mileage may vary…

I’ll try to sneak in some blogging from the US, but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have.

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Trying out a new feed reader given that Google reader is closing down…

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Fishing the Rio Negro

One of the options available on the farm was to go fishing. It was actually much more fun than I thought it would be.

It helped that the fish were biting and I caught a lot of them.

Gorgeous Girl and I with some of the fish we caught. On my line is a very small pacu, Gorgeous Girl has a piranha. Apart from a small catfish caught by Gorgeous Man all of the fish we pulled from the river after this were piranha.

A close up of the fish sheΒ  caught.

Some of the fish we released live back into the water. Here Gorgeous Girl is learning how to safely handle the piranha in order to release it.

She missed the first 5 weeks of school (Prep) to spend this time with us. But I think she learnt things that she can’t learn in the classroom…

Other fish we fed to the waiting caiman. First you throw the fish onto the sand bank and the caiman comes out of the water.

It waits until the fish flops and then snaps it up.

The fishing expedition was the closest we got to jaguar. There were paw prints at both of the fishing sites we visited.

After a while Gorgeous Girl had enough of fishing and decided to go for a swim.

Taking her cue from the African animals she saw on safari in Zambia in 2011 she has covered herself in mud to prevent the mosquitoes from biting.

This is the last of the holiday posts. Regular craft blogging will resume shortly. Internet speed permitting. It’s been so slow I haven’t been able to upload photos for 3 days.

In real life, here in Papua New Guinea, Gorgeous Girl decided to hide in her closet and cut her own hair on Sunday. According to her she wanted ‘to look funny with short hair on one side and long hair on the other’. She also has cut part of her fringe (bangs) extremely short. She’s achieved her aim of looking funny…

We haven’t been able to find a hairdresser in PNG that cuts her hair well, and I’m unwilling to risk repairs to an unknown hairdresser, so Gorgeous Girl gets to wear her funny do until we get to Australia in a few weeks time and I can take her to a hairdresser who has cut her hair before…



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One of the options at the farm was to go horse riding. I haven’t been on a horse since I was a teenager, but Gorgeous Girl was very keen, so we agreed to go for a gentle ride around the farm.

Gorgeous Girl was thrilled. They found her a very quiet and sedate horse.

And away we went.

She started off with her horse being lead by a guide rope, but soon insisted that she be in total control of her horse. We have a very independent five year old…

The view around the farm was amazing.

We saw armadillos from horseback, but they were too small for me to get a good shot of with my little point and shoot camera.

This rhea was big enough to get a good shot of though.

We will return to regular crafting soon, but in the meantime, the grandparents are enjoying the holiday snaps…

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A drive and another boat ride

After arriving at the farm in the Pantanal we were treated to a truly outstanding lunch. One of the best meals I’ve eaten. Beef kebabs and salad. I think it may have something to do with the fact that the beef came from the farm and was processed on the farm, making the journey from field to kitchen a very short one.

After a few hours siesta we were taken on a late afternoon/early evening bush drive. Basically you get driven around the farm in an open topped jeep looking for interesting things to see. Fortunately for us, the other people in the jeep were also bird watchers, so they were happy to stop every time Gorgeous Man spotted a new and interesting bird.

One of the first animals we saw was a capybara. There were hundreds of these around, and I think they are really cool animals.

We were very, very lucky to see this little creature.

This is a lesser ant eater. It was the only one we saw the whole trip. Apparently it’s very unusual to see them out during the day. This one, however, was completely unfazed by our presence.

Gorgeous Man and our guide were able to get very close.

After an early breakfast the next day we opted to take a trip down the Rio Negro. This time it was a beautiful day.

Gorgeous Girl was very interested in these floating river plants.

So there was an impromptu science lesson to show her how they float.

Little cell pockets of air…

Gorgeous Man got to take lots of photos of birds.

And we saw the first of many, many caiman.

In real life since we’ve been back things have been rather hectic. I’ve been sneaking in a little bit of crafting, but not much. I managed to spin and ply a braid of corridale (I was able to use both feet on the wheel for about half of the process, so that is a huge step forward). Unfortunately the reason why I had the time to spin was because Gorgeous Girl was home from school sick with tonsillitis and all she wanted was to sit next to Mummy on the couch.

I have some writing deadlines for my thesis coming up – the year seems to be sprinting ahead of me! and so crafting time is very, very reduced at present. I’m trying to get as much done as possible in the next 2 weeks because Gorgeous Man and I will be attending a conference in the USA at the end of March. He is presenting a paper, I’m just attending the conference and then I’m heading off on my own to visit some archives for my research. The conference is being held in Lincoln, Nebraska which is where the Quilt Study Museum is. I’m hoping to sneak in some time to visit the museum while I’m there. I’m also very excited about the week after the conference. One of my very best (and oldest friends we’ve been friends for the past 22 years) happens to live very close to the university in Michigan that holds a lot of archival material that I need to access. So I’m going to stay with her while I research. πŸ™‚

Gorgeous Girl is going to go back to Australia and spend the week that both of us are away with some of her cousins. We have to fly to the USA from Australia anyway – there are no direct flights from Papua New Guinea (lol) so it’s not an extra flight, and we don’t really have anyone we could leave her with here in Papua New Guinea.

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Onwards to the Pantanal

After leaving Iguazu Falls we travelled to the Pantanal.Β  We were hoping to see lots of wildlife here and we were not disappointed.

We had booked in to stay on a farm in the Pantanal. To get there we had to get up very early and catch a plane, then transfer to another plane and finally we arrived in Campo Grande.

We were met at the airport by the pilot who was to take us to the farm. We drove for 1.5 hours and then arrived at a little airstrip.

The men moved the plane to fill it with avgas.

Then we took a huge stack of some pictures

and it was time to go.

The runway.

The view from the plane was amazing.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous on this flight, there was lightening and thunder and in a small plane (this one seated 4) you feel every puff of wind. Gorgeous Man thought it was fabulous πŸ™‚ and Gorgeous Girl was so worn out from our early morning start, that she slept the whole way and didn’t wake up until after we were on the ground and the engine had been switched off.


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A trip down the river

On our last morning on the Argentinian side of the falls we decided to take a boat ride down the river. We checked out of the hotel early and stored our bags and headed back to the falls.

We saw more coatis on our walk.

At the boat shed we were pleasantly surprised to discover that as she was under 6 Gorgeous Girl was free.

Waiting for the boat. By this point in the week Gorgeous Girl was pretty sick of me taking photos of her…

It was a simple inflatable boat and we perched on the sides. The river was very calm.

It was very peaceful and relaxing.

Then the sky darkened

and the heavens opened. This was not a light rain. It was buckets of water pouring from the sky. Cameras were hastily packed away. Gorgeous Girl protested mightily about getting wet and a peaceful boat ride turned into an epic of endurance.

By the time we got back to the hotel we were sodden. We left a trail of water on the shiny floor of the hotel lobby. Because we had checked out of our room we were forced to retrieve our bags from storage and get changed in the public toilets.

The plan had been to go back to Brazil, check into our hotel and then head to Brazilian side of the falls (we had a very early flight scheduled for the next day and so needed to be in a hotel closer to the airport). However, the rain didn’t let up and so we just checked into the hotel in Brazil and stayed put. I’m sad that we never did get to see the falls from the Brazilian side of the border.


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More Iguazu

A picture of Gorgeous Girl and I at the falls.

This was as close to the falls as we could get to take a picture. The rest of the space was filled with crowds and professional photographers.

This is the view from the hotel balcony.

We took things fairly easy at Iguazu. Gorgeous Girl enjoyed swimming in the hotel pool when it wasn’t raining.

In fact she quite wore herself out.

(We’re still battling those two fingers in the mouth…mostly when she gets tired).

Gorgeous Man came down with a throat infection while we were at Iguazu. I can now ask for a pharmacy and antibiotics in Spanish πŸ™‚

We went into the nearby town to find a chemist and had a very delicious lunch in this cute little cafe.

Gorgeous Girl really enjoyed her steak and salad sandwich.

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Iguazu Falls

After finishing our course, we flew to Iguazu Falls. The falls are on the border between Brazil and Argentina and we elected to stay in the park on the Argentinian side of the falls. The hotel in the park was a little more expensive than we would have liked, but it meant less walking for me with my foot, so that was a good thing. We had a carparkΒ  jungle facing room. These are slightly cheaper and don’t have views of the falls. However, for this birdwatching family it meant views of toucans roosting in the trees and so that was a bonus.

To get to the falls from the hotel there was a short walk to the little train station. Along the way we saw coatis.

These creatures had me thoroughly charmed.

Then we caught a train.

After a short ride we had to walk on a raised walkway to reach the falls. The river was beautiful.

Along the way a butterfly decided that it wanted to spend some time with Gorgeous Girl.

The falls were magnificent.

This section is known as the Devil’s Throat.

The experience was somewhat marred by the hoards of people and the fact that Gorgeous Girl was in major meltdown mode due to the spray from the falls making her wet πŸ™‚ But they were still pretty spectacular.

All up, the walk out to the falls and the walk to and from the hotel was about three kilometres. My foot managed the trip, though I was pretty sore by the end of the day. I have to wear trainers (with everything) for the forseeable future and I’m being very faithful with stretching twice a day. There is improvement, but I think it’s going to be a long road to full recovery. At least I’m no longer walking with a cane…


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