Christmas recycled

Visiting Daughter Number Two in Sydney this weekend we came across an interesting recycling concept – Reverse Garbage. The idea is you buy household items which have been discarded by others, fill a bag or buy individually. I came across these nifty Christmas decorations.

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On man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

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In our world of excess, consumerism and the lure of the new – recycling seems to make sense to me. How did we get to this point of excess? How have come to devalue things so quickly? There were dozens of people dipping into bins and coming up with treasures to take home – another life for discarded goods. More importantly though, what would otherwise be relegated to garbage dumps has a chance to be reused and readmired.

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Not sure about these Aussie thongs though!

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I must admit to a penchant for rummaging in vintage, used and second hand stores, one Daughter Two shares. Maybe we could also make our own Christmas gifts – I think I may have left it a bit late!

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Enjoy the lead up to Christmas, where ever you are.

Pecker’s Christmas Present

With Christmas well and truly out of the way, it’s back to the garden and the chicken house. Our Christmas was wonderful with family and friends gathered together. Daughter Number One came down from the sub- tropics to join us and brought with her a delightful bronze rooster. We consumed too much lunch and lots of sweets.

20121226-155139.jpg I tried my hand at gingerbread stars!

20121226-155238.jpg A selection of sweets – I have such a “sweet tooth” – Mango and Passionfruit Pavlova, Summer Pudding, Chocolate Pear Tart, fresh fruit and a delicious Plum Pudding with Brandy Custard were served. The chickens didn’t have too many of these leftovers!
One of my early gifts this Christmas was from Daughter Number Two (I am not much into gifts really) but this was a garden rooster in memory of Pecker who died six weeks ago – a Sad Day post. He is made of tin and shows off fancy tail feathers. He came wrapped in a hessian blanket – just like the one we placed over Pecker to keep him warm.

20121226-160216.jpg He now sits on my winter wood heater.

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I guess the most enjoyable part of Christmas is in the giving. I loved giving goodies from my kitchen to my neighbours…

20121226-161459.jpg I made these to celebrate each of our little houses in the bush.
I hope you had a peaceful Christmas. It can bring out the best and the worst in people but it really is a time to stop and take stock of those who are with us and those who have gone before us. This year many of us have been touched in one way or another by loss – for us it was our beloved rooster Pecker. But we cannot be untouched by the unspeakable losses in Connecticut just before Christmas. We must mourn for these poor souls and for their families. Additionally, we must also care for our animals, our elderly, our earth and our selves. Above all else let us try to reflect on what is most important to us as humans, as stewards of our earth.

20121226-164126.jpg May we use the tools of our hands to benefit others and bring joy and warmth. Pecker’s Christmas Present is for all those who commemorate the simple life and for those who have left our lives but whom we remember with much joy.

A Special Christmas Wish

Recently I began reading Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” again. You might remember the film vision directed by Martin Scorcese starring Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. The novel gives an insight into the social mores of Old New York at the turn of the century – how wealthy socialites should behave and conduct themselves. This is of course punctuated by the main character Newland Archer’s infatuation with his bride’s divorced cousin, Madam Olenska. But it really is much more than this – it is about our wishes, our decisions, and the losses we have to endure.

“Archer did not accompany his son to Versailles. He preferred to spend the afternoon in solitary roamings through Paris. He had to deal all at once with the packed regrets and stifled memories of an inarticulate lifetime.”Excerpt From: Wharton, Edith. “The Age of Innocence.”

Sometimes the decisions we make can have far-reaching consequences. We can treat ourselves quite harshly over these decisions and our judgements of others. So, for anyone who has ever experienced difficult decisions or experienced heartbreak and sorrow

This Christmas

I wish for you greater tolerance of opinion
I wish for you greater acceptance of reason
I wish for you greater recognition of loss
I wish for you less consumerism
I wish for you less anxiety
I wish for you less anger
I wish for you less animosity
I wish for you more tolerance
I wish for you more understanding
I wish for you more connectedness
I wish for you more love

And in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut sorrow, I wish for us all to expand our hearts to the entire community and reach out in a collective embrace and in sympathy over this tragic event. May all the innocent angels, their teachers and their families find Peace.

And may your God’s gentle hand guide you on your path. May you live a life which can be expressed not through introspection but through understanding and giving to others.

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MI MI MILANO

As a continuation of my previous post, our visit to Milano, the last major city before we left Italy was a mixed affair. The weather was hot one day and rainy the other. The hotel we stayed in was a twenty minute walk from the Duomo and a tee shirt displayed en-route revealed to me what Milano was really about – Mi Mi, the pursuit of the self and all its adornments.

One of the major department stores which we apprehensively walked into was seven floors of glitz, gloss and glut. Called il Rinasciamento, you too could be reborn as a fashion icon, for the right price! We decided what the heck, let’s go right up to the top – the food floor. Anyone for chocolate shoes or sushi train or Moët Chandon and oysters? Wild mushrooms and truffles were readily available, though no prices to be seen.
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The magnificent Duomo was a billboard for famous brands and a perspex kiosk inside the magnificent cathedral sold expensive religious icons. Indeed, Milan is the fashion capital of the world and if one wants to be the first to see what we as Australians will be wearing next winter, then please come to Milan. However, if you want to seek out history, art and opera, then you may need to share your search with the frantic shoppers eager to be swept up by the glamour and irresistible call of the credit card.

In addition, you may like to load your purchases into a Lamborghini, Ferrari or more to our budget, The Twizy. Colin tried it out for fit.

Despite my skepticism, Milano left its mark on me. Yes, ultimately it did come down to me. There was one other very famous venue which had unexpectedly overwhelmed me. Can you guess what that was? I will leave this to the next post.

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