The Thong Christmas Tree - 2014 - Lighthouse Beach

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

2013's Tree

The last couple of years we have been delighted to see the Christmas Thong Tree appear, in the dunes at the southern end of Lighthouse Beach. (If you're in Port and would like to see it, turn right where the camel rides are held, and keep walking - it's a way down the beach but the exercise'll do us all good after all those Christmas puds.)

Rudolf, Blinker, Daisy, Snotty and Spitty the camels at Lighthouse Beach

I was a bit late in going to see if it had been put up again this year. The end of November I had a phone call, at midnight, in the middle of one of the worst storms we'd had - it was my mum to say, she'd fallen and couldn't get up - she'd managed to drag herself across the room to the phone to call me for help. She'd broken her hip poor treasure, so what with going back and forth to hospital, combined with a rather large share of thunderstorms in our area, I hadn't been able to see if the tree was up this year.

The Christmas Thong Tree 2014

But today, I managed to wander down to see if it was there... and there it was in all it's thongy, Christmassy glory.

Moments from our Christmas

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. ~ W.T. Ellis

Hope your Holiday break was a joyful one - I love all the little moments that happen during the holidays - little memories that linger after the festivities are gone... here's a few of ours...

Christmas Tree Pavlova

This year, we voted the Christmas Tree Pavlova - best desert ever. My niece created this delight, staying up to 2am to finish off our Christmas Day pièce de résistance.

Angel on our kitchen shelf, with Maggie's Christmas Cookbook - a gift from Wombat

Christmas art on the deck

Reindeer Flying School - a favourite of ours

Candy our dog near the Christmas tree

Kangaroos at the back fence

From our house to yours - Seasons Greetings

Season's Greetings

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love. ~ Ada V. Hendricks

Seasons Greetings - from our kitchen to yours...

Well we're in the midst making Christmas lunch decisions - that is... what culture will we learn from this year, to include in our Christmas lunch? A few years ago my sister-in-law introduced us to the delights of Pierogis - a Polish traditional filled dumpling.

Then when it was our turn to host Christmas lunch, I wanted to include Pierogis on our menu. To my delight, I discovered a great tutorial by Gary 5x5 on youtube on How to make Pierogis. I followed Gary's great tutorials and I was able to surprise my sister-in-law with one her favourite Christmas treats that Christmas Day.

We had lots of fun watching and cooking along with the video throughout the day - made lots of mess and ended up with some great Pierogis for our first try.

Find the Pierogi Recipe handed down through generations by Gary and Chris Dyrkacz - transcribed and enhanced from Helen Dyrkaz's recipe - click here

Our finished Pierogis from Gary and Chris's recipe

So this year along with Pierogis, I'm not sure what other cultures' treats we will attempt. In the past we've included Hawaiian Ambrosia (now a regular), Ukranian Borscht, Maltese Pasitizzi (I have a great dough recipe if you want it for those), Italian Panettone, and the ever favourite, but has never been repeated, Bombe Alaska - now there's another story which includes a rotten ham, but that will have to wait till another post. I'll give you a heads up though, don't wait till Christmas Day to check your ham!

Table settings with Oscar De La Renta Home

Some whimsical, creative ideas, for unique table settings can be discovered in this video. Learn tips from celebrated flora designer Raul Avila as he creates his centerpiece and tag along as we speak with several of the other designers to learn their inspiration for their tables.

One of my favourite tables - coral and leopard skin plates.

I'm sure you can tell why it was one of my favourite tables... yes my tango shoes match

No matter what type of home you have, it is just not complete without a dog

I found Oscar De La Renta Home at: Quintessence - find more amazing information there.

View from a very favourite house... Lennox Head House Sit

My favourite corner of the world...

If in doubt... paddle out. ~ Nat Young.

Beautiful one day, gorgeous the next.

Dawn breaking.

Trick or Treat

Time for a giggle - Jeanne Robertson - 'Don't Trick or Treat without the right costume'

We're house sitting our own home at present while some renovations are going on. So exciting, the stairs that we've hummed and hawed about putting in, are well and truly underway. We seem to be in the flow with the renos, we've been so lucky to have the best gyp-rocker in town to do our work, and he's been able to put us onto some other great tradespeople. So while we're at home we decided to decorate for Halloween.

Making a spider and Halloween decorations out of old Christmas ornaments

We started with a few cobwebs at the front door with spiders and a bat, the kids visiting, loved it. Some of them even thanked us for decorating the house. Anyway, they inspired us to do some more decorating this year.

Candy in her Halloween outfit.

We're all ready and waiting for the trick or treat visitors.

So do drop by - we have eyeballs, frogs and rat's tails.

But BEWARE, you're in for a scare.

On the Hello Koalas Trail

We'd almost forgotten about the Hello Koalas exhibition until we stumbled across Retro Rita the Bikini Koala by Francesa O'Donnell.

Retro Rita reminded us to get onto the Hello Koalas Trail to visit these cuties around Port Macquarie. Was it just me or did she whisper the eternal question... 'does my _ _ _ look big in this?'

Gum Blossom by Suzanne Pride.
There are 50 of the Koalas located all around the mid-north coast.

Mack the Surf Life Saver by Pauline Roods

Ziggy by Kim Staples at Zebus

Celtic Koala by Yvonne Kieley on Town Green Port Macquarie

Starry Soul by Goya Torres - loved the wings.

PK Sparkles above and Kalido below both by Francesca O'Donnell - the mosaic work is amazing

The Hello Koalas sculpture trail is on from September 2014 till December 2015 if you are on the mid-north-coast of NSW. To find out more visit Hello

Traffic Light Signal Box Art - roadside Art Gallery

Art is not to be taught in Academies. It is what one looks at, not what one listens to, that makes the artist. The real schools should be the streets. Oscar Wilde

Queensland Colours by Debra Hood

On our Brisbane house sit, (thank you to Aussie House Sitters) I've been delighted with the traffic light signal box art we have discovered, while out and about on our travels. It's like visiting an art gallery on the roadside each day. I find myself regularly calling out, 'stop there's another one', so Kev obligingly pulls over and I hop out to take yet another photo.

Hippie Flowers by Charlotte Bakker Myers at Sandgate

Traffic boxes like electricity boxes, can be dull and green not to mention a magnet for graffiti vandalism. 'In 1999 Brisbane council realised that the boxes were their most graffitied asset'.... (~ Cath Ovenden)

ABC Stateline Feature - Brisbane's Painted Traffic Boxes

To combat the graffiti problem, Brisbane council has embraced a community art project called Artforce, and in the process has brought a sense of fun and vibrant colour to the local streets.

Love Life and Life will Love you Back - by Laura Hughes

Local artists in Brisbane are invited to showcase their artwork on traffic signal boxes, artists of all ages are invited to contribute their designs, and if selected to paint a box.

Boof on the job by Trevor Proud

Venus in a hat - by Frag Spawn

Cats of the outback - by Jo Fairweather at Enoggera

Tango Tango - by Lydia Commins

Paint tubes

Artforce provides residents of all ages and artistic backgrounds an opportunity to design and paint an artwork on a traffic signal box. You can help decorate Brisbane's busy streets and be part of Brisbane's "drive-through gallery" click here to participate. Brisbane council even supplies the artists with paint.

Many cities are now turning to artists to combat their once graffitied boxes and if you like this type of art, or are interested in how it can combat graffiti, google traffic box art, you'll be able to amuse yourself for quite a while. I would love to see them appearing in our town. Hhhhmmm... how to do that? Do you think this could be one of the solutions to graffiti problems - to give kids a space for their art?

Dogs in the city
  • Links:

    Traffic Signal Boxes Art Force - Brisbane

  • Traffic Box art and maps of where to find them... Urban Smart
  • Debra Hood Art
  • Laura Hughes Art
  • Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day - Sept 19

    A bit of fun from the ABC news team this morning...

    What was the pirate's favourite subject at school?

    'What once was a goofy idea celebrated by a handful of friends, International Talk Like a Pirate Day has turned into an international phenomenon that shows no sign of letting up'. The day has turned into a fun way to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation.

    So drag out those dubloons and pirate outfits - it's not everyday we can practice our pirate talk me hearties, and do some good fer the kiddies at Make a Wish at the same time.

    Cute teepee I spotted at Scarborough Moreton Bay Queensland
    Links & Credits:

    Talk Like a
    Make a Wish Foundation.

    An armchair visit to... Stiltsville, Miami

    "No one who chances upon the phenomenon of Stiltsville for the first time will ever forget the sight of homes that hover above the waters, miles from any shore, like structures from a dream." ~ Les Standiford

    Jimmy Ellenburg House - Image from Wikipedia

    I chanced upon the Stiltsville houses when I saw images of quirky houses, hovering high above the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay, Miami Florida, while on the search for a houseboat stay online. I quickly forgot the search for the houseboat, and found myself captivated by these enchanting houses. Have a look at Matt Stock's stunning images of Stiltsville...

    Stiltsville Illuminated documentary from matt stock on Vimeo.

    Houses have always held a fascination for me, especially houses on the water (probably explains why I am a house sitter) and could you get any more on the water than the ones at Stiltsville? Looking at them I started to wonder, what sort of person would think to build houses in the middle of all that water... and 'how?'

    Bay Chateau House - image courtesy of

    So I did a little bit of investigation and met some lovely folks that assist in the running and care of Stiltsville, as well as the great folks from Miami Beach Real Estate, who were happy to share information and their photos. As it turns out, the houses are as colourful as their history...

    Leshaw House - image courtesy of

    "Crawfish" Eddie Walker built a shack on stilts above the water in 1933, toward the end of the prohibition era, allegedly to facilitate gambling, which was legal at one mile offshore.

    The Shaw, Sessions, Baldwin House - Image courtesy of

    Crawfish Eddie sold bait and beer from his shack and was known for a dish he called chilau, a crawfish chowder made with crawfish he caught under his shack. Thomas Grady and Leo Edward, two of Eddie's fishing buddies, built their own shack in 1937. Shipwrecking and channel dredging brought many people to the area and more shacks were constructed, some by boating and fishing clubs. Local newspapers called the area "the shacks" and "shack colony". Crawfish Eddie's original shack was destroyed by the late season Hurricane King of 1950.

    The Hardin House - A frame house - Image courtesy of The Hardin House was used by Lloyd Bridges in one of his movies and is used in a lot of commercials. ~ Dr Paul George

    Image courtesy of

    At one time there were 27 houses in Stiltsville, but hurricanes that hit the area over some years, fires and the exposed nature of the area, over time have taken their toll. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew hit and left only seven of the houses remaining.

    If the phenomenon of the Stiltsville houses have fascinated you too, come along and take an armchair cruise to see the houses and learn some more about them with Dr Paul George ...

    If you happen to be in the Biscayne Bay area, you can join the cruise and
    view Stilstville for yourself - visit Miami Beach Visitors Center

    And in case the thought of 'Crawfish Eddy's Crawfish Chowder has got your taste buds fired up... I stumbled across the recipe... true story...

    Crawfish Eddy Chilau

  • 12 crawfish cleaned
  • 1 lb. bacon, fried
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • garlic to suit your taste
  • 2 cans tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

    Cook it all up and serve to friends with a couple of cold ones. Cheers.

    Credits and to find out more:

  • Help save Stiltsville
  • Our National Parks.US - Stiltsville
  • To stay at Stiltsville: Visit the Stiltsville Trust
  • Cruise and view Stiltsville: Miami Beach Visitors Center
  • Information on 'Crawfish Eddie" from Wikipedia
  • Thank you to Miami Beach Real Estate