Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Australia Day

After enjoying the hospitality of another country recently and being a guest in their land, today I reveled in being in my own country on our day.
Today I enjoyed visiting my dear friend, watching our local beach life savers compete in a very long swim, sipping a crisp Australian chardonnay with my sister on the most gorgeous beach with the sun  reflecting off the water just the way we like it.  I went completely flagccentric and got some shots of our flag being worn as a cape, used as a sunshade and of it being paraded and enjoyed in the most positive way possible.
On this day I give myself permission to be as parochial as I like and appreciate how wonderful it is to live in this amazing country. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The long trip home

Hokkaido Spa and Sports Resort

Our journey home from Japan was made quite a bit longer due to engine trouble in Sapporo before we left the runway .  So we were off loaded, had to go through immigration , get our bags and skis, board a bus and travel off into the Hokkaido country side to a hotel for the night. The sign on the long driveway looked promising - Spa and Sports resort. We were promptly checked in to a more than adequate room and then I had a beautiful bath and bed. I went exploring the next morning. The resort was full of Japanese couples dressed in yukatas heading for the onsen or breakfast. The onsen was beautiful with several pools inside as well as one outside surrounded by snow. There was a litte ski run in the grounds and a splendid backdrop of snow clad volcano mountains in the distance.
After breakfast we loaded all the bags onto the bus , went to the airport and repeated the whole process again. Not Funny.
Our plane took off this time. We landed in Hong Kong where the Chinese airline staff had to find seats to Melbourne for our large group. There was much drama and time taken to sort us all on to flights and in the wash up I agreed to fly on a later flight than my husband who wanted to get home to participate in the big sailing event of the year - Geelong Week.  So I was the Lone Ranger on the final part of the journey. I felt a bit weird but I lost myself in yet another onboard movie and fell into a half sleep. We had to transfer on to a domestic flight at Sydney and then finally arrived in Melbourne. As expected half the luggage was missing when we went to pick it up. So in our exhausted states we arranged for missing pieces to be sent to our homes the next day. On to another bus with much less baggage and then finally home. Oh sweet warmth in the air and the familiar surrounds. Bliss!
My dogs went crazy - but not as much as usual . I think they rather liked their baby sitter that minded them while I was away!
After a lovely nights sleep in my own bed my first task in the morning was to have a pedicure. Those ski boots had taken their toll on my poor feet. Now they feel smooth and my toenails are summery tangerine.
Revlon 914 Tropical Temptation

The ski clothes are washed and drying outside in the warm air. I will fold and box them up ready for our winter in six months. I have lots to do before then. My knees need attention from an expert - a brace might be necessary. And I am going to have to get my legs stronger. Lots of lunges for me! I love having a goal.
I've put my new little softies with my collection and now they peek down from my chest of drawers to make me smile.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meadow skiing

Our little day trip to the nearby resort of Moiwa was a pleasant way to end our Niseko ski holiday.
Conditions were clear for the first run and I managed to get a few shots of the hill without fog. The snow had been groomed overnight so it was like a lovely smooth blanket ready for us to carve up. Meadow skiing with a few ventures into the trees. You can’t get better than that.
I always love getting back to the lodge and getting that helmet off and then the ski boots. I was a bit sad this time though because the trip is over. A bit of fun on the bus and a hot chocolate after and the day was almost over. But not until we cooked up a storm with Sukiyaki for dinner.
 Its home to Melbourne and back into Summer albeit with floods all down the east coast. We will get involved in a bit of fund raising for those that have lost their homes when we get home.

I love puppy dogs in the snow

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter Wonderland

I'm in the snow covered ski fields of Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan. The deep powder skiing here is amazing and I've had a fair crack at tackling some tricky slopes. Skiing in the tress is eerily beautiful but those pesky trees sure do jump out in front of you.
I have many aches and pains and for a time I wondered if the its "game over" for me with skiing. That was until I met a lady on the bus well into her sixties who is still skiing a few hours a day. She keeps herself fit with a varied set of exercises and eats an organic diet. She also limits the amount of medications she takes and finds natural methods where possible to treat her ailments. She acknowledged that she has good genetics and is lucky in that aspect but she looks after the rest. I was quite inspired by our brief encounter. It has given me something to think about and it came at a time when I was pondering the next step.
So... I'll be back on the slopes next year with a modified plan and maybe some knee braces!

 I have totally negated any waist trimming effects of skiing by consuming too many rich hot chocolates and the decadent Hokkaido truffles.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Arty little soft creations

Ever since I was young I have made soft little creatures to cheer me up. I have been through many phases of partiality to different styles – calico teddy bears, American folk dolls, Easter rabbits and now I’m into quirky characters that are a bit bizarre. I also like the Japanese style of crochet or knitted little fellows called Amigurumi.
I usually make my own softies but I also love collecting the work of others. It is on my “TO DO” list to make one of the Amigarumi fellows but as I am in Japan at the moment I have been scouring the unusual little art and gift shops for some little friends.            
Here are my latest additions.
Madu and Red Belle
 Some of my own creations are inspired by my son's art work.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I love the vintage fashion drawings available on Gilt Groupe. I yearn to own this one and about six others.
The designers of the 60's are a particular favourite of mine. Cardin, Givenchy, YSL, Lanvin, Balenciaga and Molyneux are all icons of their eras.
I would love to be able to visit their fashion houses and see how these amazing creations went from sketch to garment.
Now all I have to do is decide whether to make the purchase.

My Alice

The name of my Blog has a little bit of history for me.  My mother used to sing this song quite pleasantly and I always loved it. I must admit that sometimes after several renditions the three of us children would beg her to stop.  As she has been gone many years now I remember the song fondly and often catch myself singing it. It is still a comforting reminder of my childhood. Mum’s eyes were a beautiful shade of blue and this song reminds me of her.
Here are the words of the first verse.....
1920's Print of the Alice Blue Gown
In my sweet little Alice blue gown
When I first wandered down into town
I was both proud and shy, as I felt every eye
And in every shop window I primped passing by
Then in manner of fashion, I'd frown
And the world seemed to smile all around
'Til it wilted, I wore it, I'll always adore it

My sweet little Alice blue gown.
Edith Day’s recording is an oldie but a goodie

The song also appeals to me because of the Roosevelt connection.
Alice Roosevelt was a bit of a rebel and fashion icon. It is said that the song was written as an ode to her and her signature colour of azure blue. President Roosevelt was quoted once as saying “I can run the country, or I can control my daughter, but I can’t do both” Something about her fiery nature is intriguing. Just like my mum.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My favourite artist - Ghostpatrol

On my gallery wanderings I found an exhibition featuring Ghostpatrol and my softie favourite Catrabbit.
Their work has the curio factor that I love. In Ghostpatrol's exquisite pen and watercolour work there is always a sinister little surprise. Catrabbit's owls have won my heart and I own several.