Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: Bubble / Biscuit Quilt

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

Today we are linking up with Melinda at West Metro Mommy for Super Saturday Snapshots.

A few weeks ago I posted pictures of my first quilt that I made for my niece. I also mentioned that I was working on a bubble quilt for my nephew that was due this month. I finished the quilt last week but held off posting photos until the parents were able to see it first. Here are some of the pictures that I took of the quilt.

I made this rainbow pattern as it was requested by my sister in law. It creates a very bright and colourful quilt design. The finished quilt was 25" (63cm) X 45" (112cm)

A close up of the bubbles and the binding. I am still struggling to make the binding look perfect but that will come with practice.

I used a black fabric with coloured dots for the quilt back as it was a good contrast to all of the bright colours on the front of the quilt.

A baby's eye view of the quilt.

I had a lot of fun making this quilt as it seemed to go a lot quicker than the other quilt that I had made. It took a little while to make all of the puffs but once they were stuffed it was just a matter of sewing them all together. I used this pattern to make the puffs but I chose not to make the ruffle and made a simple binding to go around the edge instead.

If you would like a quilt like this for yourself or someone you know please check out my listing on my Etsy store and I will be happy to design one that is right for you. 

Have you ever made a bubble quilt or had one as a child?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: Frozen Waterfalls

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

Today we are linking up with Melinda at West Metro Mommy for Super Saturday Snapshots.

Back in early 2002 I took Amanda up to Skyline Drive for a weekend away and to propose. When I planned the trip the weather was ok but there was a cold snap right before we left. Since I had prepaid for the hotel we decided to go anyway. Along the way we saw a couple of frozen waterfalls which is the subject of today's post.

Some of the icicles were massive and thicker than my fingers and toes.

 Although most of the waterfall was frozen there was some water that was still flowing.

It was pretty chilly down here with all of the ice and the shade from the trees.

A few miles down the road from the frozen waterfall was this tower of ice that was at the entrance of a tunnel.

 I had originally planned to propose at the bottom of the first waterfall but it was frozen and the path down here was too slippery and icy to bring Amanda down there. I ended up waiting about an hour more until I found a nice overlook to pop the question. Even though it was pretty cold on our trip we had a good time and enjoyed our time away.

Have you ever been to Skyline Drive?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

His and Her Thankful Thursday

Erin, who blogs at Miss Lifesaver, is hosting a November linkup all about what we are thankful for. What a fitting and fun linkup for this time of year. What are some of the things we are thankful for? Read on to find out.

I am thankful for Alex, our adorable puppy. It does not matter how long or tiring my day has been, hearing him howling and seeing his tail wag when I come home, makes it all better.
I am thankful for knitting. It has been a great hobby for me to destress at the end of a long day and has allowed me to meet some really great people. I love it!
A scarf I knit last year - one of my favorite yarns because it did the striping all on it's own. :)

I am thankful for my new Arbonne business. I am getting to meet some really great people, try new products that are making me healthier, and make a little extra money each month. 

I am thankful for disc golf. I enjoy going out to the different courses in the area and playing a round or two. It is also a great way to spend time with Amanda's dad as he enjoys the game as well. It's a great way for me to get outside and it's also a cheap way to have a day out.
Teeing off at hole 4 at the Jesmond course in Australia.
I am thankful for my sewing machine. I have enjoyed it since I got last Christmas as a gift. I have made quite a few different things including quilts, cushion covers, knitting project bags and an ottoman cover. Its a great way for me to use my creative talent.
The ottoman cover and cushion cover I made for Amanda's sister and brother-in-law.
I am thankful for running. I don't run as often as I should, but I enjoy running and entering different events. It also allowed me to enter the City2Surf in Sydney last year which was a lot of fun.
Approaching the finish line at the City2Surf.

What are you thankful for this week?

Happy November,

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

His: Living in America - How is living in America different to Australia?

One of the most common things I get asked is what are the biggest differences between living in America and living in Australia. There are so many little things that makes it a difficult question to answer. The following items would be among the top things that the biggest culture shock

Portion Sizes - When you go out to eat in America you get huge portion sizes compared to the serving sizes in Australia. For example the large drink and fry in Australia are about the size of a small in most fast food places in America. Serving sizes at a sit down restaurant are no different. I remember taking my parents and sister out to an Applebee's when they came over to visit and when they brought out the food my mum asked me how many people are sharing with her since the meal was so big.

Driving on the other side of the road: This took a long time for me to get used to. For months I would forget that the driver's side was on the left and I would end up on the wrong side of the car. I would then have to do the walk of shame around the correct side which was quite embarrasing. When I first started to drive I had a tough time staying in the lane as I was not used to having the bulk of the car on the right of me. I also had trouble when coming out of a driveway onto a road as I would instinctively go to the left side of the road and not realize I was on the wrong side of the road until I saw oncoming traffic. After a few months I got used to driving on the right hand side of the road and now I have to be careful not to make the same mistakes when I am visiting family and friends in Australia.

The Accents and being understood: When I first came over to America I had trouble being understood, especially with new people. Even when I wasn't using Australian words there were many times people would have to ask me to repeat myself. I realized that my accent was quite thick and that I was probably talking too fast for them to understand me. Because of my accent it was nearly impossible to be able to use the drive thru at a fast food place for quite a long time. As the years have gone by my accent is not nearly as strong but I still have a distinct Australian accent that will likely stay with me forever.

There are many other things that were a culture shock to me but these are the ones that most readily come to mind. What has been the biggest difference(s) that you have noticed on your travels?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

His and Her Travel Review: M&M's World

Located on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip near the MGM Grand Hotel is a large M&M's World sign. We weren't quite sure what would be inside so we decided to head in and take a look. I had heard of Coca-Cola World in Atlanta and knew it was a museum of the history of Coke and thought this might be the same. To my surprise it was not a museum or a factory tour but 4 floors of M&M's merchandise. At first I was a little disappointed that it was just a huge store but it had a good layout and had plenty of different items to look through. I ended up having a good time just wandering through each of the levels and it was an adventure to see what sort of items would show up next. It was a good way to spend an hour or so out of the Nevada sun and it was a nice break from the casinos. If you are a fan of M&M's it is definitely worth checking out.

There are dozens of different coloured M&M's for purchase here and you can make your own custom mix.

M&M's themed baking supplies.

The interior of the store is bright and colourful.

They even have a full sized M&M's NASCAR race car on level 4.

We both had a lot of fun browsing through the different items and even bought a few things including some coffee mugs. Have you ever been to M&M's world or something similar?

Monday, November 10, 2014

His: Living in America - Music note value names

Monday's are usually Travel Review days here on the blog, but I wanted another day to get that post organized so I switched. Come back tomorrow for our journey!

I learned how to read music at a young age as I played the trumpet and cornet. One of the quotes that I remember from my bandmaster was "Music is the universal language because anyone who can read music can play the tune even though you may speak different languages". 

I always thought this was true until one night when Amanda was talking about what the kids were doing in band. She used terms like "Whole Note" and "Quarter Note" and I figured it must have been guitar chords since these were terms I was not familiar with and chords were one of the only types of music that I had not studied. I came to find out that she was referring to regular sheet music and I said, "So you are talking about Crotchets and Minims and so forth right?" She was just as lost as I was when I used those terms. 

We soon learned that, like many things in America, music note values have different names to what I grew up using in Australia. Below is a chart of the most common note values and the American and British/Australian names for them.

American and British/Australian Note Value Names
Not a complete list but has the most common note values.
The Americans use a fairly simple system where the name of the note is the value of the note compared to the whole note. So a half note is half as long as a whole note, a quarter note is a quarter as long as a whole note and so forth.

The British (and others including the Aussies) use mostly Latin for the name of the notes. It has some similarities to the American system, but it is a little different. 

Longa - means "long" and is equal to 4 whole notes.

Breve - means "short" and is equal to 2 whole notes.

Semi - means "half" when placed in front of another word. So a SemiBreve is equal to a whole note since it is half of a breve and a Semiquaver is equal to a sixteenth note.

Minim - means "Very short" and is equal to a half note.

Crotchet - was named after the French word for "little hook" which is what the note resembles. It is equal to a quarter note.

Quaver - was named after the quavering from very fast notes. It is equal to an eighth note.

The short notes get even longer and crazier names. For instance a 1/256th note is called a semihemidemisemiquaver. (Try saying that 5 times quickly!). This system seems more difficult to master, but it wasn't too bad since it was all we knew and were taught.

I thought it was very interesting that the names of the notes were so different especially since so many of the other Latin terms used inside sheet music are the same. 

Did you know there were two different sets of names for the note values? Which set you prefer?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday Snapshots: Australian Stockmen

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

Today we are linking up with Melinda at West Metro Mommy for Super Saturday Snapshots.

Last year we were driving between Bingara and Narrabri, in NSW, Australia when I saw some stockmen droving some cattle down the road. I was lucky that I was not driving at the time and had my camera ready so I could get these shots. It is not uncommon for farmers to use the area beside the road to move their livestock from place to place and the grassy area beside the road is wider to allow this. I only got a few shots as we drove by but they turned out pretty good.
The cow at the back is not behaving so the cattle dogs are getting it back in place.
The cow is back in line with its mates now.
The dogs are keeping a close eye on the cow to make sure it doesn't try to take off again.

It is amazing how the dogs can work together to keep a herd of cattle or sheep together. Have you ever seen cattle dogs at work?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Her Kitchen Herb Garden

Towards the end of July, Sean and I were talking about how expensive fresh herbs are in the store. I told him about all the kitchen herb gardens I had seen on Pinterest and he thought it sounded like a good idea. I explained which one I liked the best and he went to Lowe's for the supplies. Here's what we did...

We bought self-watering planters, some chalkboard paint, painter's tape, and some herbs. We chose Basil, Parsley, Thyme, and Sage.

We put three coats of the chalkboard paint on each planter. That seemed to be just the right amount. It covered beautifully and was really easy to paint!

I wrote the names of the herbs and we filled the planters with dirt. We added the herbs and moved them into the kitchen window. I wasn't expecting much for several weeks because each herb said it would take longer than 10 days to grow...

But in less than a week we had seedlings!
This is what the herbs looked like after just one month. I couldn't believe how well they had grown. (Please ignore the view of my bookshelf and dog's food area.)
The Parsley, Basil, and Sage are doing amazing! I have to keep turning the parsley and sage because they grow towards the window and it looks funny. Right now they are turning back so they are a hot mess. The basil is the best grower so far.
The thyme is our slow and steady herb. It's only just grown over the top of the planter lid. 

I cannot wait until we can start using our fresh herbs in our dinners. Do you have an herb garden? I would love to know how you did yours.

Happy Growing,

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

His: Living in America - The Race that stops a nation

The first Tuesday in November is one of the most recognized and important days on the Australian sporting calender. The big event is not a football game, but a horse race called the Melbourne Cup. It is the Australian equivalent to the Kentucky Derby but attracts the attention that the Superbowl does in America. It is known as "the race that stops the nation" and it truly does as just about everyone will stop what they are doing and watch or listen to the race. While it can be compared to the Kentucky Derby this is a much bigger deal to Australians than the Derby is to Americans.

    Melbourne Cup day is a holiday in the Melbourne area and many others get the day off as well. The Flemington Racecourse, where the Melbourne Cup race is held, will have close to 100,000 attendees. Many other race courses around the country will also have races and other events for people to attend. It is a huge social event and many people look forward to it each year. It is customary to dress up and for the ladies to have extravagant hats when they attend the races on Cup Day.

As you can imagine the betting centers are very busy on Melbourne Cup day as just about everyone will have a bet on the big race, even if its just a dollar or two on their favourite horse. Another popular activity on the lead up to Melbourne cup day is something that is known as the "Cup Sweeps". They are normally conducted at workplaces and most people buy into the sweeps in the hopes of winning a few dollars. In a Cup Sweep, 24 tickets are sold for a set amount, usually $1-5 and then each ticket is randomly allocated a horse from the race. Usually first place gets about 50% of the funds, then 2nd, 3rd and the wooden spooner (last place) gets the rest of the funds. The fun of the sweeps is that it is totally random and you don't have to worry about odds and you could walk away with enough to buy lunch for a $1 investment. Here is a link to sample sweeps form.

Even if you aren't a big punter (gambler) the Melbourne Cup is a fun day for everyone. I would love to hold a sweeps at our workplace but we don't have enough employees. Even though we are unable to place a real bet on the race Amanda and I usually make our picks for the race. This year our picks are:
Sean:      Horse 3 -  Fawkner
Amanda: Horse 5 -   Protectionist

 Hopefully I have picked the winner this year. Normally my pick will finish in the top 5 but I have never picked a winner. Amanda on the other hand picked the winner a couple of years ago so I need to catch up before she is up 2-0. 


Monday, November 3, 2014

His and Her Travel Review: Toboggan Ride at the Big Banana

It takes a good part of a day to travel from Surfers Paradise to Newcastle so we planned to stop at the Big Banana for lunch and to let Amanda experience a toboggan ride. The Big Banana is a functioning banana plantation, but is also a tourist attraction with a huge fibreglass banana, a gift shop and cafe, and a few other attractions including a toboggan ride. Shellie, Tim and I had all been on it before, but Amanda had never been on a toboggan ride as there is none anywhere close to Virginia that we know about.

We bought 10 tickets between us for $30 which would gave us all a couple of rides each. The track looked similar to a bobsled track, but inside of ice it was made of metal and the toboggans had little wheels so it could roll down the hill. I don't know how fast you can can go, but it seems pretty quick and I almost fell out of the toboggan on one of the corners as I took it just a little too quick. You don't have to fly down it at break neck speed as you are able to control your speed by using the brake. It was a lot of fun and was a welcome break from the car journey. I would definitely come back and ride it again if we were in the area.

I LOVED this toboggan ride. It was so fun and, if we had one like it nearby, I would be there every month. I was scared the first time, because I am afraid of heights. As the cart was pulled up the hill (like a roller coaster car is pulled up the lift hill), I just stared at the brake lever. Then when it released the car and I started rolling, I could not stop laughing. As soon as I finished, I wanted to go again. And again! And again! It was fantastic!! I was so glad for this pit stop and for the fun that it brought.

Shellie was going faster than me, because I was nervous, so she caught up a little. We didn't play bumper toboggans though! 

Tim trying to get around the corners as fast as possible without flying off the edge or tipping out.

 This is the "lift hill" where the mechanism pulled you and your cart to the top.

Sean flying through the corners (and almost flying out).

The final stretch was fun because of the speed, but sad because the ride was over.

Big Thumbs up for the toboggan ride!

We all had such a good time. I'm so glad we got to do this together!

Have you ever been on a toboggan ride like this? If you have any in your area or have come across them in your travels please share them with us. We would love to find one closer than Coffs Harbor, NSW Australia. :)

Happy Travels,

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