Monday, October 26, 2015

Making biscuits

One of Eli's friends came for a sleep-over on Saturday night. It was a nice treat for both Eli and his friend - it also provided a good reason for Eli to tidy his bedroom(!)

As the boys were getting ready for bed, Aidan turned to Eli and told him; "I miss your Mum. Last time I saw her we all made biscuits together. She was really nice to me."

Sometimes I'm the hubbub and chaos that is often our life it's easy to forget that it's not just our little circle of family and friends who miss Amy and have been affected by her death. 

She once made biscuits with a pair of (then) five year old boys and the fond memory of that still remains. 

Morning at the Glassworks

I think it's fair to say that we're pretty big fans of Canberra glassworks. The glassworks occupies an historic power station building in Canberra and is really interesting due to the building itself, the artwork it produces and also the ability to get up-close and chat with artists.

I think what makes us particularly fond of the place is that Audrey was the competition winner of last year's kid's glass design competition with her "Seven nosed rainbow nincompoop" plate.

We were invited back on Saturday to help launch the 2015 competition (we actually secretly harbour a desire to defend our title for another year).

It was great to help out and we got to once again meet and chat to the really talented (and very friendly) glass artist Lisa Cahill (who made Audrey's artwork).

Afterwards (and completely by surprise) we were asked if we wanted to make some glass tiles - the kids had so much fun and we also made some small brass cut-outs which were mounted in balls of glass to make paperweights. Eli made a swirly pattern, Audrey a cat.

Brass in glass.

We now declare the 2015 kid's design competition open (only don't actually enter it 'cause we want to win again)...

Audrey meets Lisa Cahill again

making a glass tile

Audrey's snow leopard (the glass will now melt onto the tile)

Football mad Eli

Loading our designs into the kiln

Our brass designs being added to glass

The hotshop

Outside in the sun.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Positive Feedback Loop

One of our friends (David) is a drummer in a band called Positive Feedback Loop. They've been playing the Canberra circuit for some time and I finally got to go and see them (courtesy of a sleep over the kids were at). They were playing at a 'pop up' venue - "Gorgeous Mortar" in Canberra's city centre.

It was good to see them, the smallish (but animated crowd) seemed to really enjoy them too. A good night out.

Jo comes to visit

Our friend Jo came to visit from Adelaide. It's always great to see her and the kids love spending time with her. It was a bit of a flying visit but we still managed to pack in a trip to the yacht club, a game of cards and some ice creams (obviously).

Jo bought some Haigh's chocolates with her (the best chocolate in the world) so that was really well received as well!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Stand up for Refugees Rally

Australia has a terrible record on how it manages refugees and asylum seekers. Processing is done 'offshore' and anyone found to be a legitimate refugee or asylum seeker is not settled in Australia, but shipped off elsewhere.

Sadly both main parties have unerringly similar policies about how we treat people from overseas.

There was a rally on Sunday to protest about it. As well as highlighting the human rights violations on Manus and Nauru rallies are also a great chance to have a jolly good shout about something. The kids went along and enjoyed waving their placards but didn't enjoy the 'march' quite so much as the trailing snake of probably around 2,000 people took us all over town.

The ice creams at the end cheered them up no end.

Toby Gunn (save the children whistleblower) described some of the awful conditions he had witnessed in Nauru

Monday, October 5, 2015

Google Visually Similar Images

A couple of weeks ago following a trip to Mount Stromlo I took this selfie and was sad how completely old and un-fit I looked compared to how young and athletic I thought I looked in my head... I had after all cycled at least 400 metres that afternoon.

To my delight I found that Google now has a 'Visually Similar Images' option (which matches your picture to one that looks the 'same'), so thought I'd put it through its paces. Who knows how the algorithm works or how it figures things out, but having 'looked' at our picture this is what it threw out...

This was more like it...much cooler. Audrey wouldn't be happy that she's become a guy and in doing so lost her long blonde hair but she has at least kept her blue helmet. Eli in fairness does struggle a bit on the uphills and in my mind the dude in the middle (who looks like he's still got tons to spare on the hill) was exactly how I expected to look in my first picture....Look - he's even got dark shorts on - just like me!

This one was good too - it's decided Eli's red shirt casts him as Spiderman. I'm more than happy being Superman especially one that's so much skinner than me. I think Audrey would be sad about being batman though. A big risk for these father's for justice guys (?) is getting their capes stuck in their spokes.

And I thought this one was good too - the addition of the horses would have made the track a whole lot easier - especially that uphill bit.I'm not sure which rider looks most like me - perhaps it thinks I look like a horse? Either way it doesn't look too comfy a ride!

I'm not really sure what the purpose of Visually Similar Images is especially if this is what sort of stuff it throws up. If nothing else it's good for stroking the ego, but perhaps not for using in a spot-the-difference competition.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Kowen Forest

I've been meaning to go to Kowen Forest for sometime. It's one of those places you go past (to the coast in this case) and think you really should stop off and see what is there.

Eli has recently got a new gear bike and his confidence on it has grown considerably over the last couple of weeks. We've been lucky to have two long weekends in a row and so on Sunday the three of us headed off to Kowen Forest to have a look at some of the bike trails there.

It was a lovely sunny and still afternoon. The kids were hot and bothered at first and reluctantly climbed a couple of large hills. We were rewarded at the top though with a long downhill track (called 'Kids stuff') which took us down through the forest back to the car park in Sparrow's Hill.

The tracks were well maintained and we only saw four or five other cyclists on the afternoon we were there.

I'm not much of a mountain biker - in fact my standard wasn't much above there's. Audrey shot off through the woods, expertly steering round rocks and trees. Eli was more tentative and came a cropper a few times. It was great fun though and we all slept well when we reached home.

Negotiating a downhill

too steep for little legs

Crafter-morning making a planter

The kids made a planter for some succulents which I had collected from our trip to the coast at the start of September. Most of the plants had successfully rooted but they needed a home. The terracotta planter was only $10 from Bunnings so it was pretty cheap entertainment.

Audrey and Eli worked together on the design and patiently glued, grouted and planted. It was a fun way to spend a morning and we were all pretty chuffed with the way that it turned out.