Saturday, 30 August 2014

so, what's up doc?

I need some of these.

See, I had a loose filling. It had been loose for a long time and it was bothering no one. But I got a reminder in the mail that it was time to visit the dentist, and, being a good little girl, I made an appointment.

Only about 2 months later.

I got a clean (youch. hate that!) and had the loose filling, which wasn't hurting, replaced with a new one.

Soon as the numbness wore off I began to have a headache... you know the type? Its all on one side of your head, in the temple and in the jaw... you don't even realise you have a headache really, till you realise you've been rubbing your temple with your thumb and using your knuckle to pound your jaw joint. That's when you realise that not only do you have a headache, but its really a toothache pretending to be a headache.

Well, I've had that headache for almost 2 weeks now.

I got the filling replaced on Tuesday, then on Friday I finally called the dentist to say all was not well. I saw the owner of the practice on Saturday. He took an xray and said the filling wasn't too close to the nerve, he showed me the enlarged xray and it looked damn close to me. Still, he didn't think we should be ripping out the filling just yet. He did a little drilling to lower the height of the new filling in case I was causing pain by clenching (which I do, I have a splint I wear at night for that). He also cleaned around the gum which was sore cause of the clamps the first dentist put around the tooth while filling it.

I was hit by a wave of unbearable pain.

I think the dentist realised how bad it was when I sat there holding my jaw with tears running down my face.

I got antibiotics and painkillers.

The good stuff.

I took two of them and then stuck to over the counter stuff the rest of the time.

The following Tuesday I was back again. The pain was persisting even though I'd just finished the antibiotics. I was still taking pain killers.

The dentist said "Give it another 3-4 days. It shouldn't be a problem. It just needs to settle down." Uhuh.

Sometimes I think its settling down. It doesn't seem so bad. Then I get another headache/toothache... I've been woken up twice in the last few days by the pain.

That doesn't sound like its settling down to me.

Still, I'll give it a few more days. I'm not too keen to have the tooth touched again any time soon.

I am becoming very scared of dentists...

I know I'm old, but our family dentist in Athens used to fill teeth the 'old fashioned' way. Firstly he never used anaesthetic (yikes) so he'd always drill one day, then fill the tooth up with an antibiotic paste/temporary filling. A week later we'd go back and he'd take that out and fill the tooth.

There were never any problems at all with fillings his way.

I'm told that was done very long ago cause anaesthetic was expensive and they couldn't drill too close to the nerve. That meant there was always some bacteria left in the cavity. In order to get rid of that they'd use the temporary filling with antibiotic in it.

Nowadays its so much easier. We have the numbing stuff so we use it liberally, we drill down and play chicken with the nerve, slap a filling in there and say "She'll be right mate!"

I've lost two teeth due to this method. First time my tooth abscessed before I got home from the dentist. Second time the pain started when I got home. I really don't want to loose another but I also don't want another root canal...

I think I might ask for the dual visit method of tooth filling from now on.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

this one's serious

I got home just before 4pm on Friday afternoon to find the dogs barking at something at the back fence. It was a tasmanian devil.

I couldn't believe my eyes.

Firstly it was daylight, secondly I'd never seen or heard a devil in this area, and third, the dogs weren't really carrying on... the devil had obviously been here for a long time.

It was only small, a female, and she was growling at the dogs but she was sick. She had a huge tumour on one side of her face which was bleeding in one spot and had a huge hole leaking disgustingly green pus. The eye on that side was squeezed almost shut. She was thin and her back and rear legs were motheaten with mange.


I started calling anyone and everyone I could think of to come catch and help her. I called a neighbour who does wildlife rescue, no reply. I called the vet. They gave me the number for Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They sent out a guy from Hobart to catch her. He works for Save the Devil and volunteers for Bonorong.

My job was to make sure the devil was safe and to keep track of her so we didn't lose her.

I sat on the porch and waited. Once I locked the dogs inside she moved away from the fence and found a sheltered spot among the reeds near the dam. She then just sat there quietly.

When the guy arrived he went out and managed to catch her without too much trouble.

The horrible news is that not only was she really sick with the tumour, she was also a pregnant female whose babies had died inside her. She was septic. She had to be put down. He was taking her straight to their vet but he said both the tumour and the sepsis meant she had no chance.

I have been heartbroken since. I'm glad we found her and that her pain was ended humanely. It would have been a very slow painful death otherwise.

I'm so sad for the devils. I love all animals, natives in particular. And the tassie devils are really special to me. Them and ringtail possums, quolls and bandicoots. All the ones who are threatened.

What's happening with the devils, with this disease, is just horrific. I'm considering becoming a wildlife rescuer (seeing as I have so much free time) because I become involved anyway.

Read some of the happy rescue stories here.

I pick up injured animals off the side of the road. I've now begun to overcome my fear and actually check fresh roadkill for babies in pouches. I've never had the stomach for it before cause I couldn't face the tragedy of it. So far I've found two babies in pouches, unfortunately, both already dead. Even if I manage to save one I'll feel better.

I just hate it when I see animals dead on the side of the road. Its bad enough if its rabbits or a cat, a possum or a wallaby, but when its the endangered species like the devils or quolls I get really upset. Or echidnas or wombats... its not like they dash out in front of cars fast! People have to literally TRY to hit them!

I wish people would slow down and avoid hitting things.

Anyway... it was capped off this afternoon when the dogs sent up an alert.


Another animal in distress. This time it was a young male wallaby with toxoplasmosis. A disease spread by domestic (and feral) cats which native australian animals have no immunity to. It attacks their central nervous system making them blind and wobby and they slowly starve to death or get hit by cars.

I went out, caught him easily and called my neighbour. Her son (who's also a wildlife volunteer) came down to pick him up. They'll have to put him down too.

Ahhh, the fun of living in the country!


Friday, 22 August 2014

time is(n't) on my side

 I look forward to the day when I have time.

I figure I need about another 10 hours in every day just so I can do all the things I want to do, let alone the things I have to do.

For instance... this is our carpet near the front door.

Our front door is a door we rarely use as its on the back side of the house from the front gate. It opens directly into the hideously salmon carpeted living room. I made the mistake of letting the dogs in through that door a couple of weeks ago when it rained for about 2 weeks straight.

I had steam cleaned the carpet a couple of months ago (to impress visitors) and if I had a steam cleaner I might do it more often. I was actually tempted to buy one... but who am I kidding? I hate vacuuming and avoid it like the plague, how often would I steam clean a carpet I hate?

I yearn for the time I'll have off over Christmas: three whole weeks! I have an intimidating list of WANT TO DOs including ripping up the carpet in the living room, and I can't wait! Other things on the list include doing something with the floor after removing the carpet, putting in a new/refurbished wood heater, finish painting the exterior of the house, painting the mud room, organising coat hangers and other necessities in the mud room and enclosed porch space, making stuff for another market, working in the garden and trying to fix up the casita.*

Basically I think I need another year of time just to keep up.

Of course, like everything else, a 'simple job' like removing carpet will turn into 3 solid weeks of work, effectively bumping everything else on the list to 'another lifetime'.

I mean, it sounds simple, right? Rip up carpet. Paint floor (cause we can't afford to put in new flooring right now and only 1/4 of the room has floorboards, the rest is chipboard, and I promised Wayne this won't cost a lot).

But the job isn't simple. You have to break it down into steps to understand the enormity of it:

- remove all furniture from the living room (or more likely, push it from one side to the other and listen to Wayne complain)
- remove carpet
- remove underlay
- move furniture
- crawl around on hands and knees (and butt) pulling up tacks and staples
- move furniture
- encourage Wayne to wear shoes the entire time to avoid hearing him swear when he punches holes in his feet)
- clean floor
- move furniture
- sand floor
- move furniture
- find someone to fix problems under the floor which cause the floor to be uneven
- move furniture
- wait for things to be done
- find more things that need to be fixed, replaced, removed
- move furniture
- find hidden treasure (I wish)
- pick floor colour and paint the floor, 2 or 3 coats
- move furniture
- seal the floor, 2 or 3 coats
- move furniture


Meanwhile I'll use my spare time to paint the exterior of the house cause I'll already have finished painting the hallway, entry way and mud room in all the spare time I have between now and then.

Not to mention getting back in the saddle! I need to commit to working with Dancer soon as the ground dries out enough, otherwise why do we keep horses?


As I said, I dream of a world where I have time.

Its not all bad. I've had lots of good times lately, where nothing has been done but I've socialized and relaxed. Wayne and I have had breakfast out a few times over the last couple of months, we've had visitors, and we've spent a lot of rainy days inside complaining that the rain stopped us from working outside (but secretly kind of glad to be inside and not working outside).

One thing I look forward to is visits from Zephyr and his mom. They come over every 2nd weekend for a play and groom. I adore little Zeph and having him around is my puppy fix. My kids like him too and love getting out for a romp.

Here are some pics of them running around last time he was here. It was a gorgeous day (though pretty cold) and our top paddock is the driest spot to play.

Lining up for treats.

Romeo can fly.

Zephyr trying to keep up with the big guys.

You gotta love the awkward poses dogs sleep in.

*The casita... sigh... We have another possum living in the ceiling in there. Only he's not living in the attic of the original part where Mr Ponsonby lived, he's living over the laundry. He's created 2 large holes in the ceiling from where he occasionally peers down at me, his little pink nose twitching. The plasterboard is mouldy in places and stained. Its disgusting.

In fact, the entire addition part of the casita (the flat roofed part) is disgusting. The floor is a concrete slab sitting on the ground, probably without proper lining to stop the damp. The walls in the laundry and toilet have mould growing on the plasterboard. YEECH.

The ceiling fell down in the dog wash room.

The grooming room floor flooded with water coming in through the wall/floor join when we had all that rain a couple of weeks ago. I removed all the vinyl to let it dry out and don't plan on replacing it. The ceiling is sagging too and there are holes made by the millions of birds nesting in it.

I want to remove all the ceilings, but I'm afraid that if I remove it from the grooming room I'll never be able to work in there in summer - it'll get way too hot.

I will definitely be removing the ceiling from the laundry and toilet though, to encourage Mr Possum to move on.

We have birds dancing around in our house ceiling too. There must be a village above our bedroom and another above the living room. The only way to fix that problem is to hire someone to come put gutter guards on all our guttering, then go around and plug all holes around the house using wire - NOT in the same way as my failed fix of last year.

... Anyone feeling bored and want to do something useful? I sure could use a hand or three.


Saturday, 9 August 2014

the costumes are finished. finally.

The good news is that the costumes and props are almost entirely sorted. I managed to finish the costumes this week and will have all the props ready by the end of next week. We won't start filming till the end of August due to program staffing changes, but here's hoping!

So here are the costumes. I put them together for each character so that everything a person needs is on one hanger.

Before looking, please remember I'm not a great sewer, not very neat and I make tons of mistakes. Plus I shortcut where I can. I made all costumes using fabrics, clothes, beads etc from op shops and donations from friends (and my own stash). Ditto for trims, lace and props.

Having warned you, this is the cook's costume. This comprises a plain white apron, a frilly white cap, a beige tunic and skirt. The tunic is one I made myself. The skirt is a tiered skirt I bought at an op shop. It was white so I dyed it using coffee so it matches the colour of the tunic. The point was to make the clothing darker than the apron and cap so they would stand out.

No cook would be complete without a rolling pin so I'm lending one from my collection for the film. The cook is only in one brief scene at the beginning of the movie.

Another small part is that of the guard. He'll be wearing the grey tunic, black leggings, puffy pants, 'boots' and a blue cape we already had in wardrobe.

The guard will also be holding a staff when he guards the King's chambers.

Note: the kingdom where our story is set is a peaceful one (till evil makes an appearance) so there's no need for weapons. Therefore the guard holds a glorified feather duster instead of a sword.

Wayne made the staff for another production and I repurposed it for ours. I created the feather puff ball using a styrofoam ball and used hot glue to stick feathers into it. I then glued it to the brass bell Wayne had attached to the large stick.

All self respecting guards need a helmet, so our guard has one I made using a very thin foam sheet I found in the bottom of a shopping bag. I was about to throw it away when I realized it was the perfect material to make the helmet out of.

I used some metal beads used for hanging multiple strands together - they look like military insignia, and finished it off with a gold button on the top.

There are 3 kings in our movie so I gave them each a colour to keep things easy to sort. The first king is King George. His main colour is brown. For his tunic I used a black top with gold strands through it and added a fur collar and a couple of gold buttons with a chain.

The shawl (a table runner!) adds a dash of 'je sais quoi'... although when he's being more formal he'll wear his cloak made of a shiny heavy brown fabric with a wide dalmation collar.

The costume is completed with brown leggings, brown 'boots', a crown and the 'good magic crystal'.

The crown is papier mache and rhinestones. The 'good magic crystal' is 3 chandelier crystals wired together with silver beads on a leather thong.

Next we have Prince Oscar... before he becomes a king, Prince Oscar wears a puffy sleeve tunic in 2 tones of grey. I used an old shirt and puffed the sleeves by adding in slices of extra fabric. I made some changes to the trim on the front of the shirt since I first posted about it. I removed the black laces and added silver decorations. It looks much better.

Prince Oscar wears a silver cap with black and purple feathers, matching puffy pants, grey tights and black 'boots'.

When Prince Oscar becomes king he replaces the cap for the crown and wears his fur lined cape.

Plus the 'good magic crystal'. Of course.

Lucy is a mermaid. Her costume couldn't be blues and greens cause we're using a green screen so I had to be imaginative. The top is something I found in an op shop. I added pink sequins to make it match the tail a bit. Since its too small I've added lacing at the back so we can adjust it to fit. The mermaid will only be seen from the front in our film.

I'm the director. I decide how to film it!

The tail was a bit of a challenge. I had to make something which was easy to make, easy to put on, easy to move around in, yet still look like a mermaid tail.

What I ended up doing is cutting red and pink fabric into scalloped strips to give them the look of fish scales. I then attached these to a black 'apron' of fabric. The apron tapers in towards the feet where it joins onto a tail which is stuffed with filling to give it body. The tail ties on at the waist and has 2 large elastic loops which hold it in place against the legs. There is no back to the tail and will be worn with black leggings.

The mermaid has a great crown I made with brown florist wire, crystals, silver wire and starfish I made using a porcelain clay recipe I found on Pinterest.

Sorry about the blurry photos.

She'll also have a magic wand (cause mermaids are magical creatures, at least in our story!). I made the want using a plastic seahorse, a bamboo stick, some wire and crystals.

When Lucy the mermaid becomes human she'll be wearing a gorgeous blue dress. I made this dress using the easy pattern I found on Pinterest, with the smoother armpit cuts. I absolutely love this dress, the colour is just beautiful and the lace and pearls on the sleeve are so pretty.

When she's human Lucy will still wear her mermaid crown, though she'll add some pearl necklaces to her outfit.

Another character who only appears briefly in the film is the peasant who leaves a baby at the castle gates. The peasant will be sharing the cook's costume but, instead of an apron and cap, will be wearing a scarf I brought back from Greece wrapped around her head and partly covering her face and will carry a baby in a basket.


There are two queens in the movie. The first is Queen Mary who'll be wearing a burgundy and gold dress trimmed with gold braid and gold beads. Made from an old doona cover.

This dress wasn't made the easy way. I didn't have enough fabric to make this dress using the simple fold over and cut pattern. I had to make it the normal way which involves cutting a bodice, sleeves and skirt all separately and joining them together.

It turned out quite well considering.

Queen Mary will be wearing a gold necklace given to me by my friend Merrill. Only borrowing Merrill!

And of course she'll be wearing a crown. The wiring for the crown was done by Wayne. I finished it with the black and gold band and the gold beads.

Queen Sophie will be wearing this gold dress with black and gold trim, also made from a doona cover. Since Queen Sophie is being played by a guy this dress has a lace bit in front to hide chest hair...

Queen Sophie's dress was the first one I made so its made with the same easy dress pattern which involves cutting two pieces and sewing them together. None of the dresses have zips or buttons... Given that the waist measurements are wide enough to go over the shoulders there's no need for them.

Queen Sophie spends a lot of time crying so I made her a fine lacey hanky out of a scrap of white cotton and some lace.

Then there's the bad guy... He doesn't start out bad. At first he's just a normal guy. When he's normal he wears an off-white gathered sleeve tunic with a red velvet vest.

The tunic is made in the same simple way as the dresses but I didn't have enough fabric to make the sleeves long so I added bits to it, hence the gathered sleeves. I made the vest without a pattern. I used a singlet to figure out the size and where to cut the arm holes and then just winged it. It actually looks great on.

He'll be wearing black leggings and black 'boots' both as a good guy and then as a bad guy. When he turns bad though he'll wear a black tunic made from a black pin stripe shirt and a black cape.

And he'll have the 'bad magic crystal'. Of course.

Since the 'bad magic crystal' and the 'good magic crystal' are related they're made in the same way using chandelier crystals, wire and beads, but whereas the good crystal is pink and silver, the bad crystal is black and silver.

Then there's Wallace. He starts out as a prince and wears a burgundy tunic trimmed with gold braid made from a velvet-look shirt.

With this he wears burgundy leggings and black and purple 'boots'.

In case you're wondering, the 'boots' I keep referring to in quotation marks are obviously not real boots. I've made these to be worn over the leggings and sit over the top of the shoes. The guys will wear black shoes and the boot tops should make it look like they're wearing proper boots.

I made the first pair by cutting out fabric and folding it over at the top and adding velcro for attaching it.

Too hard. For me. I kept attaching things to the wrong side and having to unpick them...

Instead, I bought stretchy pants from the op shop clearance rack, cut the legs off around knee high, added tops to them and voila... boots!

Back to Wallace though. When he becomes king he'll wear a shorter burgundy tunic (another velvet look shirt) and puffy pants.

Only they're not puffy pants... its a puffy skirt I found at the op shop which makes perfect puffy pants!

King Wallace will also wear the crown and have the 'good magic crystal'.

Lastly there's the rabbit, Robert. When Robert is a human he'll be wearing a white tunic, white pants and white shoes. He's the cook's son after all, a commoner, so nothing fancy for him.

I made the tunic out of an old flat sheet and added a bit of lace and a black shoe lace to tie it at the neck. There wasn't enough width to the fabric using the simplest pattern, so I had to add extra bits to the sleeves.

When Robert becomes The Wonder Rabbit he'll be wearing the white pants and shoes, a frilly white shirt, a red jacket with lace at the sleeves, a large bow tie and rabbit ears.

I have the wigs organised. Robert will be wearing the red wig. The short brown one will be shared by Prince Oscar and Prince Wallace as they're not in any scenes together.

King George and Oscar, when he's older, will be sharing the white wig. The blonde wig will be worn by Lucy and the long brown wig will be worn by Queen Mary. The short black wig will be the bad guy's wig.

We have a couple more wigs which will be worn by Queen Sophie, the cook and the peasant.

I'd say we're ready!


Friday, 1 August 2014

the kitty cat project

Thought I'd share a project made at work by one of our participants, with help from staff and myself. Who is also staff...

Meet The Great Hunters.

These cats were out from patterns made by myself and another staff member, then stitched together by one of our participants who loves sewing projects using recycled curtain fabric.

On their own, each cat is just a cat. But as a group they're more interesting. Especially when they each have a dead animal they hunted in front of them. Especially when two of the three dead animals are endangered... cause then you have artwork with a message and a twisted sense of humour.

I made the dead animals to go with the cats. They're needle felted wool and the bird and mouse have wire legs.

Here's the mouse. I love him. In fact I wore him as a broach when I first made him. He makes a great broach. How often do you see a dead mouse broach really? Not enough I say.

Gotta love that sticky-out tongue!

The bird is a many spotted pardalotte. We have a few of them around here and they're not nearly as chunky as the one I made...

Lastly there's the eastern quoll. Complete with its own sticky-out tongue.

Here they all are, looking pretty pleased with themselves.

Sometimes I really love my job. The participant who made the cats is thrilled with her work and its great to assist with something like this.