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To read or not to read

I’ve been doing a little experiment. I have not read my RSS feeds for a week. The reason is to free up time to be creative. To give my brain space to think. I normally spend my morning going through my RSS over my cuppa tea and breaky. Some days it takes me a couple of hours to go through it all! My morning then becomes a blur from information overload. Not a good way to start the day. 😯

But I started to miss reading it. I missed not knowing what my favourite bloggers were up to. I missed looking at all the pretty pictures and all the creative projects people get up to. Most of all, I missed feeling like I was part of this community. Is that silly?

[Reminds me of a great article I read on Make + Meaning. The article is called Choose your own adventure and it’s about how you participate in the craft community. Worth a read and I dare say, worth subscribing to.]

Photo from Mashable

I launched my Google Reader this afternoon and I had over 600 items to read! Bugger! It’s a good thing that Google Reader has “Sort by Magic”. Really. Magic. I’m not kidding. Well, not pull-a-rabbit-out-of-the-hat magic. But the popular feeds that people like get shuffled to the top. Like magic.

I’ve been using it for a few months and it works a treat when I’m short of time but need a quick update. I don’t miss out on the good stuff. To return the favour of those who helped sort by magic, I click on the “like” icon too whenever I feel a post deserves it.

Silly me in 2006

Buddhism got it right when it taught us to find the middle path. My experiment proved that I cannot remove reading RSS from my life and it was stupid of me to think that I could. But I do need to evaluate who and what I read.

Then the question is what makes a blog subscribe-worthy? Here is my list:

  1. It has to entertain me visually. Great pictures are a big attraction.
  2. It mustn’t be too wordy. Some people have huge brain farts and I don’t really want a stinky mind.
  3. Don’t post too often. Once a day is plenty.
  4. I would like to be able to learn something new every now and then.
  5. If it makes me laugh or go WOW, then I’m subscribing.

So what makes you subscribe to a blog?


Happy New Year!

2009 was a great year, filled with fresh beginnings, new friends and exciting experiences. I had regrets and sadness but I am as thankful for them as the happy memories for they have made me just a little bit more patient, a little bit more appreciative and just a tad wiser.

I’m excited beyond words of what 2010 has in store for me. No doubt there will be plenty of crafting, designing, blogging and great food! Bring it on!

Umina Beach on New Year's Day '10

Thank you so much for reading my blog, buying my patterns and being so very supportive! I don’t think I could have made it through 2009 (in one piece) without you. 🙂

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.

~Edgar Guest


Part 2: 5 lessons I’ve learned from my first camping trip

This is the second part of ‘5 lessons I’ve learned from my first camping trip’. Click here to read from the beginning.

Photo from

Photo from

Our tent was erected quickly, along with the foldable table and chairs. Richard made us tea from the hot water in our shiny new Thermos flask. We sunk into our chairs, listening to the birds chattering away as they returned to roost.

This peaceful moment did not last long. A loud, heated argument had erupted from The Tent – the one we avoided like the plague! The angry man started pulling The Tent down as one of the girls flung herself on him, begging desperately for him to stop.

“I’ve had enough! We’re leaving right now!” he bellowed. The woman chased the girls away from him and they cried hysterically behind some trees. The argument grew in intensity and there was nothing anyone could or woud do but watch, completely gobsmacked, like a herd of deer in headlights.

The bedlam finally ended when the man suddenly stormed off with one of the girls in tow. And then there was silence. The woman and the other two girls retreated into The Tent for several hours, probably asleep or in shock.

As we cooked over our little camp stove, we theorised about this extraordinary turn of events. The main question was what was the story behind this family. It made for an interesting dinner conversation but I could not help but feel for those poor, traumatised children. There is no doubt in my mind that they would be scarred.

4. Summer ≠ warm nights

We had our fleece jackets and long pants on over dinner. The temperature had dropped quickly and the wind was chilly. Some of the other campers were not as prepared and they had to take shelter in their tents (and car!) to get away from the elements. The sun had not even gone down yet.

I’m so glad we used this camping checklist when packing. It paid off being prepared with the right equipment. We sat outside chatting and playing chess until bed time, which brings me to the last lesson.

5. Air beds in a small tent is not a good idea

As it was our first camping trip, we did not want to spend a lot of money on equipment in case we hated it. So we brought along a couple of air mattresses we owned, instead of buying sleeping bags. We had a doona to share and pillows too. We thought we’ll sleep pretty well…

Until we placed the inflated air matresses inside our small tent. The air matresses took up the entire tent floor! It was like stepping in and out of a cramped jumping castle!

Richard in tent

And if that wasn’t bad enough, both the matresses had a slow leak and we gradually deflated through the night! LOL… 😀

On the up side, we slept better than those in The Tent as another explosive argument ensued when the man returned near midnight. It was weird and scary at the same time as the man started bawling like a two year old!

“No, no, no, no! I don’t want to go!” he pleaded endlessly.

We remained shut up in our tent, only peeking out when it was all quiet again. Thankfully that was the last we heard of them until we left bright and early in the morning.

Do you think I will go camping again?


5 lessons I’ve learned from my first camping trip

We went on a short 2 day trip to Canberra. It’s a 5 hour drive there with a couple of mandatory breaks in small towns along the way. The scenery was mostly golden – rolling hills of dry, parched grassland in desperate need of rain. A reminder that we are indeed still deep in drought.

Road trip to Canberra

Car cricket amused us for hours as we made the rules up as we went along. Utes and trucks were 1 point, SUVs 2 points, hotted up cars were 4, emergency vehicles and luxury cars scored 6 points, and creeks and red or yellow cars got us out. It made the monotonous driving rather exciting for Richard as he strategically sped up and slowed down to get the best score. 🙂

The reason why we drove to Canberra brings me to my first lesson.

1. Grab the chance of a lifetime

Photo from National Gallery of Australia

Photo from National Gallery of Australia

‘Masterpieces from Paris’ is an extraordinary and rare exhibition as it is the first time that these impressive artworks have ever been displayed outside of Paris’ Musee d’Orsay. There are 112 of some of the best-known works of modern art, including those from Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso and Monet. You can view all the works on display here [link].

And it certainly did not disappoint. There were so many moments where we stood there in silence, hand-in-hand, in absolute awe of the beauty that greeted us. “I can’t believe I’m looking at this in person,” we whispered, nodding in agreement.

We have decided to make a return trip to the exhibition in a couple of month’s time before these masterpieces leave for Tokyo and San Francisco. Just one more time to soak it all in again.

Well, after having our minds fully nourished and feeling a little bit more cultured, we head off to our campsite and to my second lesson.

2. Motor village ≠ Holiday park

No, it really does not. They might have the same things like cabins, camp site, swimming pool, tennis court, bbqs and shower amenities. On the surface, it sounds like Canberra Motor Village could be a holiday park but I think we were just naive and too much of an optimist.

Maybe it was because we were in Canberra. The grass isn’t thick and lush due to poor rainfall, and our camp site looks more like a fenced in dirt patch. Whoever wrote the awesome reviews for this place on Google were probably in cahoots with the owners!

On the upside, the amenities were clean, modern and everything looked rather new. Not too bad, if you don’t mind setting up camp on dirt, by the fence, with the endless drone of traffic in the background. Not too bad… I guess.

3. Don’t ignore the warning signs

The reason why we chose a site near the fence was we both listened to our instincts. We were actually designated a powered camp site next to something that looked like this:

family tent
Photo from

The music emitting from within the tent was rather loud and unfriendly. There was a dirt bike parked in front of the tent too. Our two sites were seperated by towels and clothes hanging from a make-shift clothesline between a pair of skinny trees.

There was no way I wanted to spend an entire night next to that. I’m glad we didn’t ignore the signs and moved as far away as possible from them. The events that unfolded through the night will surprise you.

But I will tell you more about that tomorrow and I will share my last 2 lessons from the trip with you too. See you then!

Update: Click here to read Part 2


Scrabble with a Scientist


Richard insists it’s a word. “It’s in soap!” he fervently argues. 😉


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