Thursday, July 31, 2014

His and Her TBT: Christmas in Australia

Angela at The Teacher's Desk 6 is hosting a Throwback Thursday linky party. The rules are simple - choose a previous blog post and re-post it.

I have been seeing all kinds of Christmas in July images everywhere. I decided to bring those seasonal greetings to our blog. 

In 2012, Sean explained what Christmas Day in Australia is like. Enjoy!


image source:
Merry Christmas to everyone! Christmas Day is very different in America to the ones I remember growing up in Australia. I thought the easiest way to explain the differences is to do a timeline of a past Christmas as a child.

    We would wake up and rush to the tree to see what Santa had brought overnight. He was always good to us as my parents had us leave him a nice cold beer (instead of the traditional milk or juice) and cookies. Our Christmas tree was always an artificial tree as using a real tree was not very common at all. In fact the first time I saw real trees on sale was sometime in the late 1990's.

         After opening the gifts left by Santa it was time to get dressed and get ready for church. Most Christmas services were on Christmas Day in the morning so you could attend a service and still be home mid morning to open presents. We always celebrated Christmas at our grandparents house and they had plenty of food to share. The food we enjoyed was mostly cold food like deli meat, different types of salads and fruit as it was usually extremely hot outside. There were a few hot items but it was mostly finger food like party meat pies and mini sausage rolls. Christmas is in the summer time in Australia and the temperature was usually at least 90 degrees. No sleigh rides or snowball fights to be had here.

        Once lunch was consumed we didn't have anything definite planned. We figured the best thing to do is try to stay cool since it was so hot. Some years we got water pistols as gifts so we would go into the backyard and spray each other with water. If it wasn't too hot we would play cricket, ride our bikes, or play another game outside, but that wasn't too often. One year it was so hot the only way to stay cool was to go swimming. The only problem was that the local pool was closed and the river was only about 9 inches deep so our choices were limited. Luckily I was old enough to drive so a few of us got in the car and headed 30 miles out to go for a swim in the lake. There were signs warning about a blue green algae outbreak in the water but it was so hot we took our chances. Thankfully, none of us go sick that day.

      That is what a typical Christmas day was for me growing up in Australia. It is a big difference to the hot meals and cold temperatures that is common to many in America. We used to have Christmas in July parties in Australia so we could experience a cold Christmas. They were a lot of fun and something that I will have to do here one day so my mates here can experience a nice, hot Christmas - Australian style. I'll even be kind and leave the vegemite sandwiches off the menu.

Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Her "Love-y" Photo Collage

Two years ago I found this pin on Pinterest...

(Click here to go to the original post.)

A few weeks ago I was looking at my Pinterest account and thinking about how I had pinned all of these fun things to do around the house, but hadn't done any of them. Motivation knocked and I answered. Here's my version of the pin...

Sean and I live in the same town that we married in, which happens to be my hometown so I knew I couldn't follow the original exactly. I found a frame at Michael's (on sale - score!) and went from there.

Here's what I decided to do...

Step 1: I went to Google Maps and typed in the name of my hometown. I took a screen shot and then opened Paint. I clicked "Control + V" to paste the map's screenshot and cropped the map to include just the areas I wanted to see. This is what it looked like when I was done.

Step 2: I repeated Step 1 for Sean's hometown. Thank goodness Google Maps is global. This is what Sean's hometown map looked like.

Step 3: I wanted a quote about love traveling across miles and I found the perfect one on Goodreads after a Google search. 

I found a free clipart image of a heart, saved it to my computer, and opened it in PicMonkey (love PicMonkey!). I added the quote, played with the font, and came up with this.

Step 4: I decided to add a wedding photo to the collage as our fourth image. We hung it on the wall in our living room with other photos of our family. 

I love how this turned out! I am so glad I decided to go back through my Pinterest account to see what I have pinned over the past few years. I wonder what other great ideas I have lurking in there.

Have you created something inspired by one of your pins? 

Happy Pinning and Creating,

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

His: The Guy Who Sews is in Business!

For Christmas this past year, Amanda got me a sewing machine. I have been learning a lot and have had fun trying out some new techniques.

Amanda asked me in the spring if I could make her a project bag for her knitting. She showed me a tutorial and I made one. She loved it! She took it to her knitting group and one of her friends loved it and ordered one. Since then I have sold eight to Amanda’s friends at knitting group.

A similar thing happened not long after. Amanda’s sister, Jenn, asked me whether I could make pacifier clips. I tried and it turned out pretty good (if I do say so myself). Jenn liked it and I made a few more.

After a few project bags and pacifier clips were made, people started suggesting that I start an Etsy (an online, crafters marketplace) store. I went back and forth, but decided to open a store and see how the items would be received.
I am not good with graphic design so I enlisted the help of one of my friends who does it for a living and he made me the cool logo for my store.

I have been so happy with the feedback I have gotten. People really seem to like what I am creating. That's such a good feeling.

My most recent project bag - click here to see the listing on Etsy.
I have recently set up a Facebook page and a Pinterest account for the business to help people see my newest creations. 

I would love to have you stop by and see the items I currently have for sale. I can also do custom orders, so just let me know what you need and I will do my best to make it happen. 

Etsy Store: 

Below are some of the listings that are currently in the store.

Which fabric pattern is your favourite?

Monday, July 28, 2014

His and Her Travel Review: The Giant Fiddle in Sydney, Nova Scotia

A few years ago we went on a cruise to New England and Canada. The first stop was Sydney, Nova Scotia and it is home to the world's largest fiddle. Seeing giant versions of different items is nothing new as Australia is home to dozens of them including the Giant Prawn, the Big Pineapple, the Big Banana and the Big Merino. I had read that Sydney had a giant fiddle and it was at the cruise ship terminal so it would be easy to see. It was probably more interesting to me than most people as my home town, Tamworth, was home to the Big Golden Guitar and this would be like its Canadian cousin.

   Since we had a shore excursion that left right as we got off the ship (you can read about that here) we were not able to get any good photos before we left. Luckily we had enough time to get a few photos when we got back to the port. It was pretty cool to see the giant fiddle since we were in the area, but it was just a big fiddle and once you took a few photos in front of it there really wasn't much else to do. 

When Sean told me about the Giant Fiddle, I was intrigued. My area of the U.S. is not home to many of these kinds of attractions. (I wish it was!) I was excited to see this and have a photo taken in front of it. 

I played violin for 8 years in school - from fifth to twelfth grade. It was a big part of my life during my middle school and high school years. Lots of fond memories! Seeing a giant version of what I played for so many years was exciting. Sean's right, though; once we took a few photos we were pretty much done. It's a pretty cool memory though. The violinist got to pose (in true violin form) in front of the giant fiddle.

**You can't tell in this photo, but I am wearing my Sydney, Australia shirt --- in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Several locals commented and thought it was fun. I loved visiting another Sydney, though the Aussie one is still my favorite.**

Below are a few more photos of us and the Big Fiddle.

The Big Fiddle next to the cruise ship terminal from the pool deck of the cruise ship.

It may not look big in the photo but it is well over 3 stories tall.

What "big" attractions have you been to?

Happy Traveling,

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Her TBT Post: Australian Town Names

Angela at The Teacher's Desk 6 is hosting a Throwback Thursday linky party. The rules are simple - choose a previous blog post and re-post it.

If you follow His and Her Hobbies on Facebook (and if you don't - click here so you can), you have seen some throwback posts already this week. We were in Australia this time last year and I have been sharing the blog posts from that trip on their one year anniversary. (That sounds wrong. Can blog posts have anniversaries?)

Anyway, one year ago today I shared my love of Australian town names. They are the best!! 


I absolutely love driving around Australia, going in and out of all the small towns that dot the countryside. This is mostly because the names of these towns are so much fun. Enjoy this list of town names from all around New South Wales, Australia.

Which town name is your favorite?

Happy Travels,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Her: Fancy Hotel (Wyndham Crossings, Richmond, VA)

Have you liked our "His and Her Hobbies" Facebook page? If not, click here!

Last week I spent three days in Richmond working with the Department of Education on some Civics curriculum/testing stuff. It was a great experience and I am really grateful that DOE organizes events for teachers to come and give their opinions about what is being taught to the students. These are pictures of the hotel where we all stayed while we were working - the Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center in Glen Allen, VA.

Click here to go to the hotel's website.

"The Jefferson" - check-in and meeting rooms

"The Madison" - meeting rooms, ballrooms, and the restaurant

A circular courtyard is in the middle, with benches and classical music playing.

"The Monroe" - guest rooms

A putting green and "thinking spot" overlooking the golf course.

They have tunnels that connect the buildings so that, should there be inclement weather, guests do not have to walk outside.

The view from my room.

It was one of the better hotels I have stayed in. I loved the size of the room and all the amenities offered. It was the perfect place to stay while we worked.

Of the hotels you have stayed in, which is your favorite?

Happy Wednesday,
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