Archive for March, 2009

Majestic Australia

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Yesterday, March 24, I took a GrayLine Tour to the Great Ocean Road.  If you are ever in Victoria do drive here, take a bus tour, somehow get to this area.  It is truly a natural wonder.

GreatOceanRoadDarryl
Darryl, our guide and driver, stopped south of Geelong for morning tea.  He warned us about Vegimite.  You may not be able to see the slab of Vegimite he's piled onto the cracker.  Me?  I love it.  Full of Vitamin B, but many don't like the taste.

He also brewed tea and added Eucalyptus leaves, which adds a bit of sweetness to the tea.  I didn't know that and shall try it when I get home.

If we didn't want Vegimite with crackers, he also provided Lamington's.  I may not have that spelled correctly, but they are good.  It's a type of sponge cake dipped in chocolate, or strawberry, then coated with coconut.

After a short 20 minute morning tea break we were off to the Great Ocean Road.

There is no way of describing this amazing coast southwest of Melbourne.  The ocean has shaped the limestone coast into works of art.GreatOceanRoadApostles

Several of us decided to take the helicopter tour of the Apostles.  There used to be 9, but now are only 8.  Many years ago there were 12, but the ocean has sculpted them away.  Here you can see 4, and what is remaining of one. 

There are several places you can walk to see the Apostles.  But, seeing them first from the air gives you a better view of what they are. 

GreatOceanRoad2

Behind me is Apostle #6, also referred to as the Two Sisters as they believe that someday the ocean will split these two and create two more Apostles.  And, yes, it was pretty chilly along the coast.  The day before I had purchased a long sleeved undershirt and this scarf.  I had been warned it would be chilly.
GreatOceanLondonBridge
 

Further down the road we came to London Bridge.  People used to be able to walk across to the section to the right.  But, in 1996 a large section crashed into the ocean.  It stranded two people, but they were rescued a few hours later.  In about 100 years from now the hole you see will disappear and two more Apostles will be created.  So, eventually the 12 Apostles will be together again.

 As we traveled along the Great Ocean Road we saw kangaroos, magpies, kookaburra's and many koala's.  Exciting to see all of the wild life in their natural habitat.
DiggersBeachMagpie
I'll end this post with a photo of a Magpie, or Maggie as the locals call them.  I took this photo at Diggers Beach in Coffs Harbour with Don and Gloria McKinnon.  This Maggie was quite interested in some leaves in the hedge and hopped close enough for me to take his photo.

I love the way they wake you up in the morning as they chortle.  Yesterday, at morning tea near Geelong we had two who were quite interested in what we were doing.

It isn't only the wild life I love here in Australia.  It is the people.  I've made friends here that will last my lifetime.

It is a truly wonderful country.

Australia Adventure

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

From the cruise to Australia.  Life is good!  I arrived in Tasmania March 6 after a 27 hour flight from San Diego, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart.  My host Jan, and Marjorie from the doll club were at the airport in Hobart to greet me.  The next day started a 3-day Deowyn class.

TassieDeowynClass
After the 3 days we did a 1-day face class then it was on to a 2-day Aerin class.  It was exciting to finally meet Linda Misa, who is one of Tasmania's premiere doll designers.  I was thrilled to have her take my class.  TassieAerinClass
Lisa is in the middle in the red blouse.

I love going to Tasmania.  Jan and her husband Alan were wonderful hosts.  Alan took me to the top of Mt. Wellington one night after class.  My photo's didn't turn out very well, but if you ever get to Tasmania be sure you get to the top of Mt. Wellington.  The drive is breathtaking and at the top you are basically at the bottom of the earth.

After "Tassie" (how the locals refer to Tasmania), I flew to Newcastle where I caught up with Don and Gloria McKinnon.  I took a fabulous embellishment class with Gloria at her Ann's Glory Box. 

While in Newcastle we drove to Ann Maulin's so I could see her studio.  Ann has been in a couple of my books and I loved seeing where this talented woman creates.
AnnsStudio

We then drove up to their home in Coffs Harbor.  This is another beautiful area of Australia.  On the Pacific Ocean and full of wonderful wild life.  The Rosela's woke me up each morning.   Along with the Magpie's.DonGloriaCoffs

Don and Gloria still run Anne's Glory Box in Newcastle, but they bought a home in Coffs Harbour to be close to family.  Gloria teaches several embellishment courses at her shop in Newcastle, then travels up to Coffs to relax with Don and catch up with her sister, Lorraine. 

While visiting Don and Gloria we drove up to a wonderful town in the rainforest, walked along the beach, and had a fantastic relaxing time.
DiggersBeach
That is me walking on the beach near their home.  I picked up some fabulous rocks to add to our dry river bed at home in San Diego.  Sorry for all who have to lift my suitcase.

After my time with Don and Gloria I flew back to Melbourne and Jenny and her mum, Gwen, picked me up and we drove to Bendigo.  Bendigo, and the Good Time Dollies are another favorite of mine.  But, I have become such close friends with Jenny and her husband, Alan.  They treat me like royalty.
JennysKangaroos

Alan and Jenny live out in the "bush" near Bendigo.  They survived the horrible fires that swept across Victoria recently.  Over 60 homes

were destroyed in Bendigo along with ColourCraft, a fabulous dye company.  But, at Alan and Jenny's the "roos" were gathering to clean up the feed that they provde.  Many local people have had to buy feed for the kangaroos and other wild life due to the long draught they've had here. 

My time with the club here was truly refreshing.  We dyed, drew, sewed, embellished for two fabulous days.BendigoGroup

Tomorrow I will be doing a bit of touristy things.  I'm going to the Great Ocean Road, then Wednesday to the Yarro Valley.  Thursday I go to Canberra then next week home.

In an upcoming post I will be featuring the amazing artists here in Australia.  We have a lot to learn from them.

Cruising with Soft Dolls

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Presently I'm at LAX awaiting my flight to Melbourne, Victoria then on to Hobart, Tasmania.  But, I wanted to post one photo I've received from Imara Larkin of part of our cruise group.  We hired two buses to take 26 of us to the Batik Factory on St. Kitts.  This was the 2nd stop on our doll making cruise.
St. KittsGroup
The handsome guy at the center, kneeling, was one of our drivers – Socrates.  He gave us a terrific tour and history of St. Kitts on our way to the factory, then entertained us on our way back with one of his CD's.  He's got a lovely voice.
We had great fun shopping at the factory, as you can see by the picture.  When I return from OZ I'll post more photo's of our amazing cruise.  We had 56 on the cruise making dolls.  So, come back soon for more pictures.