Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Lots to be Thankful for at Thanksgiving.

I do have a lot to be thankful for, I am definitely a glass half full kind of girl, every cloud does have a silver lining and tomorrow is always a fresh day with no mistakes in it.

But for today, I am spending my first Thanksgiving here on Norfolk Island.

It began being celebrated here, when the American whalers brought their wives here and they brought their traditions with them, the locals here adapted them and it really suits the Norfolk community to celebrate Thanksgiving as they do rely on the land to provide fresh fruit and vegetables as they don't import any fresh ones other than potatoes and onions, plus it is a good Christian community who give to neighbours in need or to anyone if you have excess .I came home from dropping Ted to school with a beautiful pumpkin from my friend Lou's garden, (Thank you Louise, it was lovely) This is not unusual around here to see the generosity of people who live and work together on Norfolk.

But back to what I am really Thankful for, I could write on and on, because I really do see the good things that I am lucky to be part of,

But, Number One would be my family, I loved growing up in my family as the youngest of 5 children, Mum and Dad are very special and I was lucky to spend time with them both when Dad took early retirement when I was 10 years old, I love my 4 sisters and my brother and all of my in-laws and I am so lucky to be Auntie to so many nieces and nephews (even though I miss them all to pieces.)
And mostly to find such an interesting Husband in Brandt, I do get bored very easily, but life with Brandt is NEVER Dull!
And together we have 2 interesting, but beautiful and very cuddly children, even though we both said that we really didn't want children, Teddy and Sienna came along for a reason and we are very blessed that they did.

I am also very grateful that we can live here in Norfolk Island together as a family, everyday is a lucky one, with beautiful scenery, always bumping in to someone down the street that says hello and a lovely unrushed and safe feeling that often gets forgotten in Cities and large towns.

Now, let me share some of our Thanksgiving day on Norfolk.

We started the day with a special thanksgiving church service down at All Saints at Kingston, a magnificent restored Georgian building stunning on the outside and the inside, but even more special today, as it was filled with local produce brought in buy the community to display. Each pew was adorned with corn stalks(still with corn on them) which amazed Teddy and Sienna.
At the end of the service which Rev.Rod Oldfield listed the things that he was thankful for, including the whole Island being only 5 minutes from Emily bay, so no matter where you are or what time of day, you can go to one of the cleanest and most picturesque beaches for a swim,
The freshest produce was taken outside to sell and all money to be given back to the community. Only potatoes and onions are imported here, everything else is grown fresh.

despite the funny look on Sienna's face, she really enjoyed her very fresh corn on the cob.
After the service, we joined a large section of the community for thanksgiving lunch at Mary and Bernie's Devon House.
My hungry cousin Ed, starting the feast As with nearly every celebration here on Norfolk a bring a plate lunch or dinner(pot luck) is more like a gourmet feast, the locals here certainly know how to be resourceful with what is available seasonally.
It was great to have a day off to catch up with a lot of other locals also celebrating this special public holiday.
After Lunch while everyone was enjoying the amazing table full of desserts (including Teddy, who could find a spoon, but still managed to find a unique way to eat his dessert) Kim, organized some fantastic old time games like egg and spoon races and 3 legged races including the adults as well as a special treasure hunt following the clues to a booty of lollies. Sienna found one of the lolly bags without the clues and ate them while all the other kids were energetically racing around.
Teddy was boasting that he was going to win the sack race against all the other 4 year olds, despite his little legs being at a shorter disadvantage. (both Ashleigh and Ashley in pink on the right are in his class)
Ted put in a great effort for his first ever sack race, but was only succeeding in jumping up and down on the spot, Kim who foresaw the disappointment and tears that would come by being left behind, gave Ted a jump start and helping hand to finish the race.Thankyou so much Kim!

Time for a lolly scramble.

As usual at the end of a wonderful celebration day at Devon house, you can usually find Sienna completely worn out.
Thankyou again Mary and Bernie for your amazing hospitality.
Find out more about our day on Mary's blogspot

IT TAKES TWO part two

Well, it was semi final time and we knew that 4 of the 8 couples would be eliminated tonight, even though voting was closed, it may be the last chance to perform in this competition so we all had to do something pretty special.
Jimbo got his Mum to express post an Elvis costume over here for him to wear, he had to have the pants let out and was the only wardrobe malfunction of the night as his pants stretched to the max during his showy dance moves, and they split!
More props were brought out to use by the performers, I got do dress up a bit more 'girly' than last time and I made some gold cardboard saxaphones to fill up the 30 second sax solo(though I cant find a photo of our performance, I guess that happens when you are normally the one taking the photos)
Ruebz and I sang 'I've had the time of my life' from dirty dancing the movie.
Brandt and Leanne sang 'summer nights' from Grease the movie, with a twist...............
Leanne sang the Danny role and Brandt played and sang as Sandy(perfectly!)

I think that everyone was waiting for his voice to crack on the high notes, but not our Brandt, his falsetto was fantastic and soooo funny!
The green room where we watched everyone elses performances and was interviewed by Nikki after our own.
The whole night was a hoot, and then we all had to get back up stage at the very end to find out who stays and who goes.
Brandt and I both happily got eliminated, now we could just enjoy the final show without worrying about babysitters and rehearsing all week, but then they announced that there would be a wild card entry into next weeks show, again bound by how much money was raised(oh No).
We had a wild card entry sticker put on our money tins and put back at the supermarket, they are announcing the wild card entry next Friday.
Watch this space or TVNI on Monday nights(Norfolk Island only sorry), as they are replaying all of our performances.

My Stamps are Launched!

I have a list of things to do while on Norfolk list that I wrote over 2 years ago when we wanted to move over here, On the list I wanted to design a Norfolk Island stamp, write children's books and make beach glass mosaics(among other achievable items on the list). So far I can tick off 2 things,Stamps and mosaic but not the children's books yet..........

Well, the stamp launch day has arrived and I love them, they look so bright and colourful!

So how did I get to design the Norfolk Island stamp? Well............

Banyan park playcentre is Teddy's kindergarten and the only kindergarten on the island, It started out as the young wives and mothers club by some enterprising young mums on the island 40 years ago, but 30 years ago they fundraised to build a permanent building for themselves next to the Banyan tree and opposite the school in Middlegate.

So, Norfolk philatelic gave them an issue for their 30th anniversary and the money that would normally go to the artist would go to Banyan park. Now to find the artist and the design.

The offer was open to all families who use Banyan park and the community to design stamps or Christmas cards using images that were inspired by "Norfolk, children and a Banyan tree'.

It was about time I got my paints out after being on the Island for 6 months, so I felt some inspiration and the spirit of competition kick in(even though I am not hugely competitive in life.)

I love COLOUR!the brighter the better, So I went for the children in Norfolk theme and painted a series of about 8 different scenes depicting what I felt was relevant about the children in the community. There were some other really good entries too, some done by photographing the children and adding little phrases.

The final decision rested on another Mum,Alice from Banyan park who has Graphic design experience and she chose my 4 designs plus an extra banyan tree to be part of the first day cover. I was thrilled and felt so honoured to be able to support Banyan park and at the same time, have something that I designed posted around the world.

I painted all of these back in June(see blog a creative week) and have taken some photos along the way, to show you the journey of the stamp.

I painted these on heavy cardboard and then Alice Rogers, who chose the designs, scanned and played with the set up of the words and amounts and lastly, Rob from Photopress changed the design again slightly, cleverly adding the rainbow to each stamp and adding some extra colour and pizazz, before sending them to be printed in N.Z.

Finally, they could be launched today, we celebrated with a little party at banyan park with lots of Original young wives and mothers, who are now playing another important role with the island children as they mostly all have grandchildren.

Next, we got our Christmas cards printed as well and were overwhelmed with the amount of orders for cards that we received, my Christmas card designs with my stamp on them have been whizzing all around Australia, New Zealand and the world, Amazing.

I have loved every minute of the process,
And now my head is starting to fill up with designs for next year..........................

IT TAKES TWO part one

Tamson and Karen, Two fantastic mums on Norfolk had an idea to raise money for local charities based on the television show It takes two.

Locals were nominated whether they wanted to be or not and their names were published on a list in the local paper and on a sign in the local supermarket, that's where I found out that Brandt's and my name were both on the list, by someone pointing it out to me in the supermarket aisle.
I was flattered and thought that it would be nice to be on stage and have a night out!
Brandt removed his name from the list as he didn't think it was fair to be a novice as he sings as an entertainer at the R.S.L, but when the final list was drawn over the radio, I wasn't in it either(slight relief as I am pretty busy).

2 weeks before the 1st show and I got a call to replace someone who had dropped out and was partnered with Ruebz who is a local radio DJ, his first words of wisdom to me as my mentor were "being with me is like the kiss of death as no one likes me" Great start!

Anyway, we chose the song '500 miles' from a minimal song list, as it is a good, silly party song and rehearsed it every day for about a week.

At the group rehearsal at the R.S.L, Brandt arrived to pick up the kids after his own rehearsal for a play he is doing at the ferny lane theatre and was commandeered as a mentor to Leanne, after her mentor had to pull out only 2 days before the performance night.
Brandt, not impressed to be roped in.But happy to help out Leanne.
Tamson and Karen organized and compered the whole evening of the Inaugural It Takes Two(IT2) with amazing skill.

So Many locals turned up to this big community event, that the cars were lined up and down the street and the R.S.L club was buzzing.

The contestants were all kept downstairs in the'green room' and were well fed and watered throughout the night and kept up with the performances via big TV and Video link.

Our Judges for the competition were chosen for their personalities, Kim'Frenzy'Friend for his nasty judge attitude, Tanya for her sweet and positive kindergarten teacher comments and Brent Adams, a local radio personality for his fair and impartial view.

Leanne and Brandt were the first cab off the rank with Billy Joel's 'You may be right' and started the whole party feeling with their enthusiasm, after their performance, they headed to the green room to give a post song interview and to listen to the judges scores and comments via the video link.
Ruebz and I were the last of all 8 couples to perform, and even though we had practised all week and performed perfectly at the dress rehearsal, Somehow, Ruebz forgot the first line and the whole thing was like a game of catch up that never catches up and was probably only saved by the comedy element and daggy dancing, and the fact that everyone was very merry at the end of the night, We received the top scores of the night.
It was announced at the end, that the community had to vote for their favourite couple to keep them in the competition, the money tins were placed outside the local supermarket and each couple were designated a mystery Norfolk charity that would be announced with the amount raised at the grand final.
The whole show was replayed on local Norfolk Island television on the following 2 monday nights for the rest of the community to see.
It was great to be part of something the whole island was talking about and raising money for local community organizations was also a big plus.
Watch this space for the results of the next semi final in 2 weeks.