the post gets touched up

Remember the post that Wayne and I put in to stop people running into our retaining wall? Here it is after Wayne added his artist touch to it.

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Well… it wasn’t really visible, what with the grey post and the light blue paint… so I added a my own touch to it.

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What do you think? Is anyone going to hit it now?

z

still on the wagon

 

Coffee without sugar?

yuck

Yuck.

I’m told I’ll get used to it. In about 6 months or six years. Not sure which. But right now I’m wondering if I need caffeine that much… yuck.

I’m pretty proud of myself this week. I haven’t eaten any sweets, even though Wayne got into the chocolate biscuits and left an open packet with two mint slice bikkies on the kitchen table, just staring at me. I left them there for two days till they disappeared into someone else’s mouth.

hehehe.

Zefi 1 – Wayne 0

I haven’t had a single teaspoon of sugar in anything, not a single lolly has crossed my lips. I’ve eaten some plain crackers and sourdough wholemeal bread… I was really good till last night when we went to a quiz night and I ate 1.5 white bread sandwiches. Not too bad… I drank disgusting unsweetened coffee instead of coke and when Wayne won a box of chocolates I didn’t have a single ONE.

I look amazing. I’ve lost hundreds of kilos and millions of inches….

As if.

I look no different, though I may have felt what might be, possibly, the outline of my ribs when I lay down yesterday. But I could be mistaken. It has been a while…

I’m hanging out till the day before I leave for Greece to try on clothes (and swimsuits) I’ll be taking with me in the hopes that maybe I can fit into my thin person jeans.

As if 3 or 4 weeks of eating healthy will make up for 10 years of not. Ha.

But its good to have dreams.

And really, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Except the coffee. That IS hard. Its almost like something clicked over in my brain and I have the willpower to say no. But its not that even. It doesn’t feel like willpower…

To me willpower would be to look at sweets and really really want one but say no.

I’m not feeling that. I look at them, and I can look at them and even think they look nice and know they’d taste nice, but I just don’t want them. I turn away and its not a struggle…

I can’t describe this feeling, it really is like I finally found the off switch. Which is why I think I’m staying away from all sweet things (except fruit) in case the switch goes on again and I can’t turn it back off.

Maybe the doctor was right and she ‘scared me straight’… maybe it was just time. Whatever, I wish I’d found this switch years ago.

z

no sugar

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Hello. My name is Zefi and I’m a sugar addict.

I’m the poster child for sweet teeth, forget sweet tooth!

There have been days in my life where not only did I eat sweets, but I ate only sweets. In fact, there have been plenty of times I’ve disgusted myself.

I know that diabetes runs in my family, and yet I chose to live with my head in the sand. Like Tom Hanks (I love Tom Hanks!), I lived like life was a party and there was no tomorrow.

My last two few visits to the doctor went something like this: “You have high blood pressure. Not too high, but a bit of concern. You need to lose weight and exercise more. You’re healthy and all, but you need to lose weight and exercise more. You’re insulin levels are fine, at the moment, but you’re not exactly metabolising sugar really well, which is a precursor to diabetes… you need to lose weight and exercise more. Stop eating sweets and carbs. You need to lose weight and exercise more. ”

You get the picture.

The visit before last I began to walk. I’d take the boys for a 1 hour walk most mornings (a real walk, not an amble). But like most things, life got in the way. How do I make time to walk daily and still be able home on time groom? I need to work.

Last visit I thought ok, I really need to do something. Really.

So I decided to cut down on sugar.

Like, stop eating sweets. Like not stop sugar in my coffee, but not eat sweets. I can do that. Surely…

Then I realised that I actually have to be a bit more proactive than that. The problem is I’m so lazy when it comes to thinking about what I should and shouldn’t eat. I’ve always worked on the “I’m hungry, I’ll grab something to eat” principle. And if what I grab is a ‘healthy’ sugar-filled muesli bar, or a slab of chocolate cake, well, I ate something

I always disliked all those ‘my body is my temple’ people who bore everyone to death about their diets and that, somehow, always seem to be sick…

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I don’t want to be one of those boring people: a ‘born again’ healthy person.

And yet, here I am. Working my way towards a holier than thou position if I succeed.

Its been almost a week with minimal sugar. I’ve resisted the licorice bullets on the table and the chocolate biscuits in the cupboard. I let Wayne finish the chocolates. Today I had coffee without sugar for the first time. I’ve been having tea without sugar for 2 days. I’ve snacked on cheese and crisp bread, I ate one slice of toast with my eggs instead of two, I ate one jelly snake and I had ice cream three times. (Ice cream doesn’t count…)

Ok. I’m not perfect! Its a work in progress!

Thing is, I don’t know how long I can keep this up or if I can even. So far it hasn’t been that hard, no bad withdrawals… but when it comes to reading labels at the supermarket and putting things back “cause that has sugar in it” … hm… and how do I live without bread and pasta?

The theory is that if I can get myself under control now, I won’t actually get diabetes and won’t ever have to deny myself sweets forever more. Right? Please tell me that’s right. I can still have an ice cream now and then if I don’t have ice cream 5 nights a week, plus 6 chocolate bars, 3 bags of lollies, a slice or two of cheesecake and 2 packets of biscuits…

Right?

Surely.

I hope.

z

 

so, what have you done lately?

For the last few weeks I’ve been struggling to get anything done in the yard (I won’t call it a garden cause right now its far from pretty) and been feeling a real need to tidy it up and prepare it for winter. You know. Cut things back, pull up deal annuals, deadhead… etc etc.

And mow. We’ve had odd weather lately: cold, wet, windy. Then sunny and gorgeous. So the lawn (or the weeds I call lawn) has been growing like crazy, then its too wet to mow… Then Wayne lets the horses into the yard to eat the grass and they trim back things I don’t actually want trimmed and poop all over the place…

Well, we finally had a couple of sunny dry days in a row and I was able to get stuff done.

I know, you’re fascinated. My life is so exciting.

abit

I only managed to weed and mulch two tiny garden beds. The pretty daisy bush above was a nice round shape till one of the horses ate the middle out of it…

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Believe it or not, there’s a narrow garden bed in there, just below the wall. The alysum has spread out of it and totally covered the little footpath. Its pretty though so all I did there was cut back the dead lupins.

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I finally managed to cut down and remove the two banksia roses I had climbing the trellis above. Yes, I love pale yellow banksia roses, but only if they actually flower! Those bushes have been in that spot since pretty much the year we bought this place and they grew and grew and grew but never flowered. Ever. I’d get one sprig with a few tiny buds. What they did do, though, was get a powdery mildew-ey tpe of disease on the leaves every single year. I decided they needed to go. Well, to be moved. I’ve taken cuttings. Fingers crossed. The cut back plant/roots need to be dug up next. I don’t know how they’d take to being moved, but if they make it great. If not, hopefully a couple of the cuttings will take.

The trellis looks so naked without the banskias.

Meanwhile, one small area of the embankment is looking pretty with the two different shades of cosmos flowering.

cosmos

And I love the autumn colours of the ornamental grape vine I put in a couple of years ago.

grapevine

Unlike some parts of the world, we don’t have a lot of red autumn colours in Australia. Most native plants are evergreen, but here in Tasmania we have a lot of poplars that go golden in autumn like these on one of the walking tracks in New Norfolk.

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The story goes that these poplars were brought over from England and first planted at a farm in the Derwent Valley, then were used as windbreaks by most farms growing hops in the area.

Other than playing with plants, I spent a little time finding a home for the bird cages I bought at the tip shop last week. I normally put plants in these but for now I just wanted to put them somewhere till spring. I’ve hung them on the side of the grooming room.

cages

I managed to bash my middle finger with the hammer while doing it. The same poor finger I almost decapitated a couple of years ago. sigh…

The other thing we managed to do (we cause this was a two person job, not to mention a lot more people if they were available) was put this lovely big HEAVY post into the ground. Please note the little plant in the top of it. Theoretically that plant will grow and cover the post with flowers…

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So, what’s with the post? Well… See that retaining wall? It was hit TWICE by customers dropping off or picking up dogs. The first time someone hit it it knocked the end of it out of wack. The second time it was hit the sleepers were knocked off the small post entirely.

And neither time did anyone say “Hey, I’m so sorry, I just ruined your retaining wall”

post2

You know… I appreciate that people trust me to groom their dogs, but this is sort of beyond rude. I know a low retaining wall is hard to see over the back of a vehicle, but really? Why would you not say something?

Hence the huge post.

We might be going straight to hell for this, but the reasons are twofold:

  1. its harder to miss something that’s only a smidge shorter than me
  2. if someone hits this, they’ll know it… and it’ll give them something to remember it by!

Bwahaha!

(As I said, me, Wayne, hell…)

I have no idea what this thing was originally. We have two of them, both lying in our top paddock. They’re galvanised metal on the outside and filled with concrete except for the top area where I put the plant.

We’re talking SOLID. Not easily pushed over!

Ok. Now the plan is to paint it to make it stand out even more than it does so there’s no reason anyone would ever run into it. Red or red and white stripes comes to mind, but I’d like something more fun and imaginative. Ideas anyone?

z

we have turkeys

turkeys2

Yesterday we welcomed two more mouths to feed  critters to our menagerie of feathered friends. Two male turkeys.

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We got these boys from the RSPCA where they were being cared for after being seized from a neglectful place. I’m not sure of any details, but when a friend mentioned that there were turkeys looking for new homes, Wayne was first to jump at the chance.

He likes big birds that make noise.

Seriously. He wanted turkeys cause they gobble. He wanted geese cause they honk. We have a really loud farm. Forget the peace and quiet of the country! Around here you’re never able to sleep in.

turkeys1

There were girls to be had as well, but after our experience with the geese*, I didn’t want more eggs to steal.

*I bought Wayne 3 geese for Christmas a few years ago. Two boys and one girl: Jethro, Hank and Annabelle. We now have 14 geese, and the only reason we ONLY have 14 geese is that I crawl around and face off with angry female geese every summer when they lay eggs and steal them.

So we now have two male turkeys. I really hope they don’t start fighting like the roosters do. The ganders don’t fight… maybe we’ll get lucky with the turkeys…

For now only one of them has a name. The black boy is called Polanski. Roamin’ Polanski to be exact… cause he’s already figured out how to get out of the paddock we put them in to settle them in (and introduce them to the horses who’ve already stood at the fence wondering at the new family members). Polanski can get in and out of the paddock at will.

Luckily for us, the brown boy isn’t as nimble (or maybe as adventurous) so he hasn’t made a break for freedom yet. I say luckily cause we really were expecting to wake up this morning and find them both gone. I think the only reason Polanski hasn’t run off is cause his mate won’t follow him. Yet. Or hopefully ever.

We think they’re young boys as they’re not gobbling yet. We look forward to that soon.

Did I mention we have magpies? Yes! I’m so thrilled! We’ve never had magpies here before. To me their song is the sound of the australian countryside. Well, them and kookaburras! But we’ve had those, and enjoyed their laughter regularly. Its great to have magpies here now  too.

And just so you know, I got a new tablet and this is my first post on it! Its taking a bit of getting used to…

z

 

i found the floor!

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At least that’s what I tell Wayne.

But the truth of the matter is that even I can’t live with this:

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Yes. Disgraceful. I know. That is my office.

To be fair, that was about halfway through cleaning up, the goal being to find the floor. As everyone knows,  you have to make a bigger mess to clean up a mess.

I have so many hobbies and have so many THINGS that I plan to do creative things with, that the office is chock-a-block full of stuff. Its hard to keep it all contained, let alone organised.

Especially when in the middle of a project or five.

Part of the problem is that I don’t work on one thing from start to finish, then put all the bits away before starting something new. I’ve never got the hang of focusing…

That means I have 3 commission barbies on the go right now, necessitating hair, rooting tools, fabric for clothing, shoes, etc to accumulate on the desk. I also have some wire projects in various stages of un-finished-ness. Add wire cutters and pliers and wire to the mix… Then, just for the fun of it, I have a couple of small sewing projects – nothing too boring. Top it off with fabric, scissors, beads, buttons… oh and paper to draw up patterns.

You’ll notice the photos somehow avoid showing you the table…

office5

I ended up moving a few bits of furniture to make the office a bit more user friendly. This side of the room is dedicated to dolls. The cupboard holds glues and sprays, felting wools, as well as some boxed items for future projects. The boxes on top hold dolls and accessories. The little wooden cabinet holds old diaries, notebooks and folders and the drawers hold doll accessories. The shelf on top holds all the dolls that are finished or in progress.

office6

The opposite wall now holds all my fabrics and sewing machines. The fabric does need to be sorted and folded better, but for now the top shelf holds doll costume fabrics and the bottom shelves hold my crazy critter type cotton fabrics.

Much better.

I wonder how long it’ll take till I fill it up with crap again?

z

new year’s resolutions

NY3

It’s that time again. When we think about the new year, new beginnings, what we’ll do to be better, be healthier, be thinner, smarter, wealthier, more successful, more loving, more adventurous… just… MORE.

It’s just another day really, nothing has changed since yesterday, but the first of a new year brings new hope that somehow we’ll be able to make changes for the positive that we failed to do last year (and all the years before).

Things I’ve failed to do on a regular basis: Get fit, lose weight, schedule my time better, prioritize better, garden more, spend more time with the horses, not mess up the house (as much) with my craft projects, clean the kitchen often, vacuum before the dust bunnies demand to be fed, get rid of things I don’t need or use, not buy more things I don’t need or use…

NY6

Things I’ve succeeded in doing this last year include one big one: I gave up my ‘day job’ and finally began to groom full time. And I love it. Its the best thing I ever did.

Now if I could only learn to schedule my time better and keep my accounts better I’ll be on top of the world.

So this year my resolutions will be: schedule better, keep my accounts better, finish all my started projects, start more and finish those, empty out the shed of all the things I do not need or use, learn to say no occasionally, not volunteer for everything under the sun and go visit my family in Greece.

NY2

I began the year well. This last week I spent a ton of money on things I needed (wanted) for the garden, and things I did not need but just wanted. Among the things I bought is this beautiful platter. I’d seen it at the market and resisted, then went back the following week and it was still there.

It was meant to come home with me. Who am I to resist fate?

NY4

I also bought some cane baskets I definitely did not need and a couple of dolls I will use but did not technically need. But that’s all in 2017, when I spent my money carelessly. this year I will be better.

Cause I’ve made a resolution!

NY5

Another thing I did last week was share my garden with a lot of people. I’ve given away seeds from my gorgeous lupins, aquilegia, foxgloves and sweet peas. I’ve given away plants I’ve grown from cuttings. I believe in sharing these things cause when I started my garden I was lucky enough to be given a lot of plants by people who were generous enough to share with me. Pay it forward and make the world a prettier place.

In return I got some herbs, some plums and some chilis. Don’t they look nice on my new platter?

NY1

See? I knew I had to have it…

So. What are your new year’s resolutions?

z

the etsy market experience

Since Andi prompted me, here is a post about the Etsy Makers market we had here in Hobart at the end of November. It was the first time for it here in Tasmania.

I spent days getting stock ready for it – of course I had my dolls, which are currently listed in my Etsy Shop (its a work in progress), but I also wanted a lot of smaller items which would appeal to people wanting something small as a gift.

I made cute brooches from fabric scraps and felt. They were very popular.

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My crazy critters were popular too. They’re scrappy fabric creatures with a soft stuffing.

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I also had a few teapot suncatchers, critter heat packs, lavender filled houses and hearts. Basically, all kinds of things that I enjoy making.

And then, of course, there were the dolls…

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dolls4

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It was a great weekend. Successful too – I sold heaps of stuff, including 2 dolls which was a bonus. I know I love making them and people are impressed by them, but they’re not something which jumps off the shelf…

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People loved the dolls, saying they look so much better in person. I displayed them in groups, with boxes of scenery to suit behind them.

If you want to buy one of my dolls, or get one made for you, visit my Etsy Shop!

z

nothing new to share

I have no idea what happened there.

I wrote a long, very detailed, very informative, insightful and articulate blog post where I answered all sorts of questions, not least being the meaning of life itself… and I lost it.

I hit save twice. Then pressed preview and nothing came up. I repeated the process, put it down to a glitch, proofread it, tweaked it, and hit Publish instead.

That’s when it all disappeared.

I gave up in disgust.

You lose. Now you’ll never know about all the wonderful stuff I wrote about.

So here’s a consolation prize.

Weight-gain-vintage-era

z

my new grooming sign

When we moved to the farm I made a sign out of  MDF cut in the shape of a poodle and put it up on the stockyards down by our front gate. It was a pretty cool sign, I’d tell everyone to look for the poodle sign when coming to our place. But this year it broke in the wind. It was only thin MDF and even a couple of coats of paint could only protect it from the weather for so long.
It was time for a new sign.
This time I decided to go a bit more professional. I ordered vinyl lettering online. I recycled a piece of laminate I had in the shed, putting strong timber behind the sign to keep the wind from breaking it. I hand painted dog silhouettes in case I needed visual aids.
Then I decided it was too small and too far away to go on the stockyards. It needed to be closer to the road. (See the stockyards behind just above the sign? The old sign was on the ramp bit.)
GR1
Now all I have to say is “we have a sign at the gate”.
GR2
Mind you… it wasn’t all easy going. Not much is, come to think of it…
First I put it near the letter box. Nope, not easy to see till you were right on top of it. So I moved it out a bit. Nope. Still not good. Then I tried in front of the gate on the left … good. But it sat on the ground… not a good idea when the grass grows in summer.
Finally I fixed it to our gatepost.
It works.
I’m happy.
Enough messing around with signs.
z