‘T’was the Night before Christmas

and all through the house

Not a creature was …

well, actually, several creatures are currently stirring.  No mice though. I think the cats have eaten them all.

Anyway, here we are, and Christmas Day is only three hours away for those of us on the east coast of Australia [ except of course those folks in Queensland where summer daylight saving time dooesn’t exist ]

If you have survived the rigours of the Annual Catsmum Christmas House Tour of 2013, I salute your intestinal fortitude. Here … have a shortbread. Hot chocolate anyone? or would you prefer to join us in a Baileys-with-real-coffee-ice-cubes¬† ?

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Here we are at the opposite end of the house from whence we started, lo, these many weeks ago [ yes I managed to work in a ‘whence’, and even a ‘lo’. Last year I resisted the urge and some were sorely disappointed. Or so I choose to believe ]

This is normally the rumpus room but, just for these six weeks, it is renamed ‘ the explosion at the North Pole’ or as someone-who-shall-remain-Tara said recently “This IS Christmas”christmas 014

There have had to be a few concessions made for little people.

The more breakable and/or heaviest and/or topple-over-able santas have been moved onto shelves

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or behind the fire guard. Not to mention the playpen style fence loaned by an acquaintance here in Castlemaine.

Still there are about 150 Father Christmasses in this one room, with the emphasis on the rustic and where possible, the handmade. One of the smallest is a reclining china figurine that I’ve had since my first birthday 012 (2)

and the largest at a metre tall is one I made from an American pattern around 12 years ago. You can sort of see him lurking next to the tree in one of the photos.

The tree is decorated with an eclectic assortment ranging from vintage mercury glass, through pieces from when the kids were small, scandinavian straw hearts and angels, a liberal scattering of candy canes, cornflour [ cornstarch ] stars,cinnamon ‘cookies’ a la Martha Stewart, and hearts of all sizes and materials.

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There are patchwork cushions [ with totally gratuitous dawg ]

christmas 001 and tablerunner[s],

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more of my crochet snowflakes,

christmas 006 but it’s really all about the santas.christmas 008

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The family arrived just before dinner and we all opened one present each.

Miss Abby is in bed now but first she helped me read Clement Moore’s 1823 classic, ‘A Visit From Saint Nicholas’, better known to most of us as ‘The Night Before Christmas’,

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just as I read it to her mummy and uncles for so many years.

And isn’t that what Christmas traditions are all about?

Family.christmas 018

Not who has the biggest light display, or the most decorations [ although that’s good too of course ]

So that’s pretty much it. See you after the big man in the red suit has finished his rounds.

From my family to yours, may your Christmas be filled with peace and love.



Today I officially join the ranks of Senior Citizens. The big 6-0

I did my celebrating on the weekend with wonderful people that I love.

There was knitting

and singing

and barbecueing


and cake

today though is also the 14th anniversary of the day I lost the love of my life



for my children, my little Italian mother-in-law and myself, today is for Marc.


Christmas will resume tomorrow

Sumer is icumen in*

Well it’s the first of December, which, by the way such things are measured here in the Antipodes, is the first day of Summer.

It is also [ usually ] the day upon which I begin blogging the Christmas House Tour.

Not so this year, my sweets.

On December 1, 2011, and again in 2012, I managed to kill the then-current camera[s], and because of that, have been summarily banned from anything involving photography upon this date into the foreseeable future.

Instead I will share with you pix taken yesterday, immediately prior to the arrival of guests for Miss Abigail Rose’s first birthday. [ the actual Natal Anniversay is December 3rd ]

abby 015cake entirely made and decorated by her mummy

abby 016one of several celebratory buntings courtesy yours truly

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What a difference a year makes.


* translation from middle english: summer is here


Cuteness alert … oh, and some knitting too

Professional portrait photographer, the lovely Kenny Yam, who also happens to be a friend of a friend, was our sole male guest at Nadie’s Biggest Morning Tea Cancer Fundraiser last Thursday. Of course I’m a little bit biased but I have to say that under somewhat less than ideal studio conditions, in the middle of the happy chaos of cucumber sandwhiches, fairy bread, cups of tea, multiple conversations, and at least one baby in need of more sleep, he managed to get some wonderful pics.

With his permission, I’m sharing this pic of a shaggy dog myself, my late-mother’s younger sister Fay, Abby [ of course ] and her yummy mummy Nadie [ or Renata as she now prefers to be called ]


For those of you playing along at home this means Fay is Abigail’s Great Grand Aunt.

and just so that I can’t be accused of favouritism, here’s both my gorgeous girls:

Guess which one had just been woken up?


and no, I didn’t make the cute wee jacket. Other Nannie Janice did. Debbie Bliss Baby Duffle for anyone that’s interested

and yes, I did make one for Abby because Asher’s one was just

so damn cute:130 (2)

BTW If anyone in Melbourne would like to get in touch with Kenny, PM me for his email.

More cute kids in hats

I’m just back from Melbourne again, and so so so much to blog about … but not right now. If I try, my brain may well explode and that’s never going to be good.

So for now I’ll show you Master Noah [ last week’s birthday boy ] in his TMNT hat which did not come off his head the entire time that he was at his Auntie Nadie’s place yesterday. Please excuse Nannie’s dishevelled ‘do’ – I forgot to pack a brush or comb. This is me more or less au naturelle, or would be if blue hair could be considered natural.


and just so that no one can accuse me of being unfair, or biased in any way:

here’s my little Abby monkey


[photo:Judie Gade]





introducing Miss Abigail Rose vP, formerly known as Cookie, who arrived at 7pm last night [December 3rd] weighing in at 8lb and 10oz, and 50cm [20 inches ] long.146

I dropped Dave off at 9am and did a flying drive down and back by 3pm for pickup. 153

‘T’was totally worth the 5 hours in the car, weird weather, homicidal truckers and suicidal Christmas shoppers

185to meet my newest little princess who is probably one of the quietest, most serene newborns I’ve ever met. She is totally daddy’s girl already. Pfft … could’ve guessed that one. After all ‘Abigail’ means Father’s joy.