Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Goals: A look back

I thought it would be a good idea at the end of 2007 to have a look at the goals I had at the start of the year and how they've all gone.

1. Learn some new crafts (I'm kind of cheating here because I've paid for some classes already, and I also have a new sewing machine and spinning wheel to play with, but it's a goal anyway!)

I accomplished this one. I did a fusing and slumping course, learnt basic spinning (one of those things I wish I could find more time for) and learnt to use a sewing machine. Yay!

2. Get a new job (my current job was just for a year, so it finishes in February so if I don't get a new job I'll be unemployed most of the year, so I pretty much have to do this one!)

Also did this one...about three days after getting back from Adelaide!

3. Only use re-used or re-useable wrapping materials on gifts. I've started doing this a bit, but once I use up my roll of wrapping paper I'm either wrapping presents in fabric or scarves, giving them in fabric bags, or those re-useable gift bags. This also has to be appropriate, so I wouldn't give my dad a gift wrapped in fabric (well actually I might, but I'd steal it back, because he wouldn't use it)

Pretty much did this one. I did wrap a few presents in paper, but most were reusable or reused materials.

4. Try not to get any more plastic bags. I've got lots and I don't need them. I just need to remember to take green bags to places other than the supermarket.

I did really well on this one, I'd say I got less than one bag a month...and most of those were when people didn't listen when I said "I don't need a bag" or "It can just go in here"

5. Organise my craft stuff (admittedly it's not too bad at the moment, but I can see problems looming when I move back to Melbourne in February because I have accumulated over the last year). I think I need to buy a cupboard for some of my stuff, but I'll get to it once I move back and I have everything in one place.

I bought some plastic draws and got everything sorted out when I moved from Adelaide, and I've just had another sort out so I'll go into the New Year with everything tidy.

6. It's a secret, that way if it doesn't happen, no one knows! Plus I think you have to have at least one private goal!

This one was getting my embroidery design published, which I did. Hooray!

7. Read at least 15 more books from the Angus & Robertson Top 100 Books list. Currently I've read the bold books. Books in italics are those I definately want to read this year.

Ok, so the bold ones are one's I've read previously, and the underlined ones are the ones I've read this year. Some of the ones from this year I have read before.

1. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
2. The Lord Of The Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

3. Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austin (2006)
4. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
5. Memoirs Of A Geisha – Arthur Golden (2007)
6. Angels And Demons – Dan Brown
7. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (2007)
8. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult (2007)

9. Tomorrow, When The War Began – John Marsden
10. Magician – Raymond E. Feist (2007)
11. The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons (2007)
12. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire – J.K. Rowling (2007)

13. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
14. Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding

15. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton (2007)
16. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling (2007)

17. The Power Of One – Bryce Courtenay
18. April Fools Day – Bryce Courtenay
19. Tully – Paullina Simons
20. Across The Nightingale Floor – Lian Hearn (2007)
21. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho (2007)
22. The God Of Small Things – Arundhati Roy (2007)

23. Ice Station – Matthew Reilly
24. The Pillars Of The Earth – Ken Follet (2007)
25. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom (2006)
26. Perfume – Patrick Suskind
27. The Bible
28. The Bride Stripped Bare – Anonymous
29. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix – J.K. Rowling (2007)
30. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling (2007)

31. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis (2006)
32. Cross Stitch – Diana Gabaldon
33. Looking For Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta
34. Mao’s Last Dancer – Li Cunxin
35. The Secret History – Donna Tartt (2007)
36. Year Of Wonders – Geraldine Brooks (2007)

37. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell (2005)
38. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Series – Douglas Adams (2007)
39. Jessica – Bryce Courtenay
40. The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
41. The Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger
42. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
43. One For The Money – Janet Evanovich (2007)
44. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
45. The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2007)
46. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
47. Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason – Helen Fielding (2007)
48. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom (2006)
49. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens (2007)
50. Life Of Pi – Yann Martel (2007)
51. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver (2007)

52. The Poet – Michael Connelly
53. A Child Called It – David Pelzer
54. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
55. On The Road – Jack Kerouac
56. Tell No One – Harlan Coben
57. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
58. Almost French – Sarah Turnbull (2007)
59. An Equal Music – Vikram Seth
60. The Ancient Future – Tracey Harding
61. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
62. The Day After Tomorrow – Allan Folsom
63. Desert Flower – Waris Dirie
64. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje (2006)
65. The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde (2005)

66. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
67. A Fortunate Life – A.B. Facey
68. Girl With A Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
69. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
70. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets – J.K. Rowling (2007)
71. The Horse Whisperer – Nicholas Evans
72. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte (2006)

73. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
74. The Pact – Jodi Picoult (2007)
75. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (2007)

76. Wild Swans: Three Daughters Of China – Jung Chang
77. Animal Farm – George Orwell (2005)

78. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (2007)
79. Atonement – Ian Mcewan (2005)
80. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
81. Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
82. Crime And Punishment - F.M. Dostoevsky
83. Emma – Jane Austen
84. Enduring Love – Ian Mcewan
85. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (2007)
86. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
87. Interview With The Vampire – Anne Rice (2006)
88. It – Stephen King (2007)
89. Like Water For Chocolate – Laura Esquivel (2006)
90. Not Without My Daughter – Betty Mahmoody
91. Plain Truth – Jodi Picoult
92. 1st To Die – James Patterson
93. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
94. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
95. Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb
96. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand (ok, so I didn't finish it but it still counts!)
97. The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtenay
98. The Redemption Of Althalus – David Eddings
99. Retribution – Jilliane Hoffman
100. River God – Wilbur Smith

So I did this one too, although I didn't manage all the books in italics on the list. Overall this year I've read 142 books, and it surprised me that this was more than last year (121).

I'll have a think about some goals for 2008 overnight and probably post a list tomorrow. I hope everyone has a wonderful New Years Eve and a fantastic 2008.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Scatterday Y
Today's Scatterday letter is Y and the there are:

Green: It's a Yukka, and one which sadly has seen better days. In our family we have brown thumbs unfortunately.

School Days: My Primary School colours were blue and yellow and this is part of my grade six jumper. When thinking of scatterday ideas I generally start off think of sounds and so for a brief moment I was considering youniform...but then spelling kicked in and I realised that would just be silly.

Animal: Again I've gone with yellow...but to make up for that I've got two pictures. First we have a yellow bird, also known as a weaver bird or weaver finch...with some nests the male uses to attract females. Apparently if the female is unimpressed she simply destroys the nest. This is a photo taken off my parents computer from when they went to Africa. The second photo is some yellow fish, from when I did a bit of work experience at the Melbourne Aquarium.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Scatterday S Only one day late today...I'd taken my photos and everything but just didn't have a change to get onto the computer. Today's (well yesterday's) letter was S and the categories are:

Christmas: It's Santa! I got this in the Second Annual Holiday Ornament Swap by Freshly Blended and Cake and Pie. I'll post more ornaments from this next week. I made a last minute decision to take part in this swap, but I'm so glad I did, I've got some gorgeous ornaments.

Beverage: It's some Stepping Stone wine. I got this from a lovely client to say thanks for looking after some of her dogs throughout the year...the only problem is that I don't actually drink alcohol (weird I know) but I'll probably take it to a party or something.

Medical: I had lots of options for this one, but I ended up just looking in my handbag and pulling out some needles in my bag though, so they're a bit useless!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Podgy Puppies and Curvy Cats

I'm bringing up a non-craft issue today, which is work related for me, but may affect some of you guys. If it does, don't take it personally, but it is a bit of an issue that's got me riled up at the moment and I figured since it was getting close to Christmas, it's probably something worth thinking about.

Overweight pets. They're a common site in vet clinics, ranging from the podgy to the massively obese. I've seen a number of animals, both cats and dogs, recently which have been double their desired weight. It is a joy to see a labrador of normal weight, and rare to see underweight animals (normally due to a health problem, rather than malnutrition).

Obesity in pets can lead to a number of health problems, many similar to humans. As well as the visible fat under the skin, fat surrounds internal organs and obesity can lead to diabetes, liver disease, cancer, heart and respiratory problems, and joint disease. Excess weight can lead to worsening of some diseases such as arthritis. Individual fatty meals can lead to pancreatitis, which not only makes pets extremely sick, but can be fatal.

Surgery and anaesthesia is more risky in overweight pets, as in position their lungs may not expand as much. Fat surrounds blood vessels, making them slippery and difficult to tie off. Suture material becomes greasy and slippery which can make knots less secure. This means surgery takes longer, which again is less than ideal for the patient.

So how do pets become overweight? There are a couple of medical reasons, but the most common causes are too much food and not enough exercise. Lack of exercise tends to be less than a problem in dogs (this is a wide generalisation and obviously doesn't apply to every case) than cats, who are obviously quite difficult to exercise. Indolent cats are also at an increased risk of urinary crystals.

Excessive calories is a more common reason for weight gain and often snacks and scraps are a big part of this. Many dogs in particular are very food responsive and food is a common reward when training. If you give your dog treats when it begs, you are rewarding this behaviour and training them to beg. Rewards given randomly are an excellent means of reinforcing behaviour for long term training as well.

The question is then, how do you get your pet to lose weight?
Increasing the amount of exercise can help, and activities such as a getting the cat to chase a torch beam around can help. If your pet is getting enough exercise, or for one reason or another they can't be exercised more, you have to concentrate on the diet. There are a number of restricted calorie diets available for obese pets. These have increased fibre and bulk to make them feel full, but don't have the calories. In less obese pets cutting down the food given, feeding a lower calorie dog food or substituting some of the meal with grated carrots can help. Pets should be fed for their desired weight and marking a cup rather than eyeballing the amount will help. Switching to a smaller food bowl can also make it look more full. Cutting out treats and scraps from the table is also key. One very important factor is communication. Everyone who feeds the pet needs to be involved in the weight loss plan so their is consistency in the diet and exercise.

Unfortunately, like in people, weight loss in animals is hard once they've put the weight on. One of my dogs was 42 kilograms and is now down to a healthy weight of 36 kilograms. This has involved persistence with diet and a lot of yelling at other family members. However he suffers from arthritis and so the little treats, while giving him a brief pleasure, are ultimately more harmful than helpful to him. At 11 years old it's far too late to stop him begging when food is around (he's been trained too well) but it's something we do our best to ignore now.

In the end our pets weight is our responsibility, and any preventative health care we can give them we deserve.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Scatterday D
Sorry I'm late again, and I also have to apologise for completely abandoning K (because it's now been completely abandoned!). Scatterday's letter for this week is D and the categories are:

Sewing: Alright, so I've got DMC embroidery floss too but I have been wanting to take a photo of this for a while because it is very pretty...and you get to eat Fererro Rochere's too.

Vehicle: It's a Decorated Car! I struggled quite a bit with this one and ended up going through all my photo files to find something that fit!

Touchy Feely: One of my babies, Deefa Dog. He does actually have the softest fur out of our two boys, and he's also got a bit soft personality as well

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I had a wonderful trip to Bali. We spent a few nights in Kuta, then went to Ulawatu, which is at the south of Bali, and is a lot quieter, and very relaxing. Then we went back to Kuta, finished our shopping and came home.

This is a picture of the plunge pool in the backyard of our room at Ulawatu with lovely ocean views. The first room we were in, the air-conditioning didn't work, so we got upgraded to the presidential suite (the hotel was pretty empty), which was lovely.

This is a photo from the hotel next to ours in Ulawatu, looking towards our hotel. It was a bit of a hike down to the beach (down lots of narrow steps) but the pool was lovely. It was more of a surfing beach than a swimming beach, although I'm not sure how people managed to walk down with their surfboards!

And finally, a gorgeous sunset in Kuta.