Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Just when you think it's safe........

This was the view that greeted us as we drove home after work on Monday night. Our house is somewhere in all of that smoke.

The mass exodus of cars leaving the mountain. We must have seemed crazy to them driving up the mountain.

We made it home, this is the smoke from the top of our street. We put our fire plan into action again, it's become a routine now. Hosed down the house and garden and waited, it was a very long night. During the daylight hours you're comforted by the sounds of the helicopter water bombers over head, while they're working you know lots of water's quelling the fire, but once nightfall approaches they have to stop as they can't work in the dark and the pressure is on. It's hard to see the burning embers in the dark until they actually catch a hold.

We were very lucky the wind kept the fire to the west of us and with 300 fire fighters working through the night they had it contained by morning. It's still burning at present but is well under control, the test returns on Friday when the temperature is set to rise to 38c and the winds are from the north, I'm not sure yet if we'll hang around to fight it, depends on the day.

Luckily no lives were lost in this fire, three fire officers were burnt but not badly, buildings were lost and the photo above from our local newspaper shows what's left of one of the fire trucks. Luckily no one was injured when it caught on fire.

There's a new slogan going around at the moment 'you have to have nerves of steel to live in Victoria' and I think it's starting to take it's toll on all of us. Hurry up winter.

I still managed to get a commission finished. The necklace was for Jo to wear for the opening of her exhibition with Janette, Carolyn, Trish and Cathy. We went to the opening tonight, it was fabulous, such a wonderful variety of work from five very talented ladies. It was great to see lots of red dots on the works too in the current economic situation. It's not hard to see why, the standard of the work was brilliant. The ladies all looked resplendent in their opening finery. A great turn out of people too.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Jewellery and journals

I've started working in yet another journal. This one has brown paper pages and was on special in a book shop, which meant it was too good to pass up, so another one for the collection.
This is good to use for keeping samples of my stamps. I never repeat the same design exactly when I carve them, so once they've gone off into the world, this book is my reference.

I've been busy over the weekend carving more stamps and making more earrings, they are all on my etsy store. I also have two necklaces which can't be shown at this point in time, but hopefully down the track I can show you.

I must also apologize to Julia from Verdigris Rose. Julia awarded me the Marie Antionette award some time ago and I've just realized I haven't acknowledged her generosity. Thank your Julia for this award, these are the rules as seen on Julia's blog

1. Put the picture of Marie Antoinette on your blog. 2. Link to the person from whom you received the award. 3. Nominate at least 7 or more blogs. 4. Link to those blogs from your blog. 5. Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know you've shared the award with them.

I find it hard to award individuals as everyone who visits my blog is so appreciated. Therefore you are all awarded and feel free to add it to your blog.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Thank you

Thank you so much to everyone for your concerns and kind comments re my past two bushfire posts. I haven't had time to respond to you all individually, but please know I really appreciate your words and thoughts. Thanks to all the people too here and overseas who have given to the Red Cross and other charities. The response has been amazing, the victims of the fires have been overwhelmed by peoples generosity and concern.

To date 189 people have died and they are still expecting that to rise as they search deeper into the burnt out areas. Most of the fires are contained but they expect it will be weeks before they are extinguished completely.

We had a scare last night, a fire started only a few kilometres from here, fortunately, for us, the wind was blowing it away from our property. I had filled the bath with water the previous week incase we had fires and had the mops at the ready. Sunday night I decided to bucket the water out of the bath and spread it around our very parched garden, half an hour later, after the bath was empty, our fire siren went and the helicopters started flying over, we were told to put our emergency fire plan into action, so guess what, I now have the bath full again. I think I might leave the water in there this time until winter.

This was the sunset a couple of nights ago from all of the fires that were around, the colours were amazing.

This is our front garden on the same evening, it was such an eerie glow, everything was pink.

We had a working bee at the weekend and we now have our view back (this is the view from our back fence). My daughters and their partners came over and cleaned up the back garden, it's like a park now, no grass or dead trees. I didn't realize how big the garden was, we haven't seen it in such a long time.

These are a few more pages from my junk journal. I'm really enjoying working in this journal. I've been using it to experiment and to loosen up. Everything is done quickly without thinking. Very enlightening.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The photo says it all

I didn't want to show any more photos of the total devastation of parts of our beautiful state, I'm sure you've all seen so much in the media since Saturday. But I couldn't resist this image that's been shown around. I'm not sure where it originated from but this really is two 'true blue' Aussies.

Thank you so much to everyone here and world wide for your concerns and support. The state of Victoria is in shock, it's surreal, and it's not over yet. Driving home tonight I could see smoke not all that far away from home, not threatening at this stage and the weather is cooler, we just have to hope the wind doesn't change direction. I was talking to my sister and she had to go, she lives not far from where the main fires at Kinglake went through. They had seen smoke again near Kangaroo Ground which is close to them, again the threat is there.

I've had many people ask if they could help. The authorities are saying they have been inundated with clothes, food, bedding etc.,they have so much they don't have storage space. They are now asking if people would like to help could they please donate money.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are holding appeals, the links are to their web sites if any one is able to help.
The money goes directly to the victims to buy clothes etc.

I think the whole of Victoria wishes to thank the wonderful work of the CFA (country fire authority), like the guy in the photo. These people are all volunteers, men and women, young and old, who go out to fight these fires, risking their lives to save others. The co-ordination between them, the police, the state emergency service and the paramedics has been amazing. They learnt so much after Ash Wednesday.

They are now having to re think the strategies and plans for fighting fires, realizing that these could become more common events as the world heats up, no amount of planning can compete with such high temperatures, and ferocious winds, as they said, nothing could have beaten Saturday's fires.

I'm also amazed at the resilience of the human race. I don't know if it's just the Aussie spirit or if it's a global thing. There have been almost 200 people killed now with the toll expected to rise to possibly 300, and still people who have lost everything are anxious to get back to their properties and re build. I think you would call it 'true grit'.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

A State on Fire

This was the day we've dreaded every year, finally it happened. The temperature reached 46 deg, 47 in some areas, that's 115 - 116 deg F. We had three days in a row the previous week over 43 deg but there was no wind. Yesterday was very different. We have been going through a very severe drought, every thing is tinder dry. From early in the morning the temperature climbed, by 11.30 in the morning it was 42 deg under our front verandah. Then the wind started, we'd been warned across the state that this was going to be the worst day for fire conditions since ash Wednesday in 1983. That was an understatement. We were told there would be a cool change later that evening.

The first report came in that a fire that had been burning all week in Gippsland, in the east had broken the containment lines, shortly after another fire in the region was blazing out of control. Winds were raging between 60 and 90 kph. Next a fire at Horsham in the west of the state. Within a couple of hours there were so many fires blazing across the state, it was impossible to control any of them. We live in one of the worst bush fire areas in Australia so you can imagine our apprehension. It was a very, very long day. We had a fire near us (last photo) where four houses were lost, normally this would be headline news. It hardly got a mention as there was so much devastation everywhere. The photo shows one of two helicopters that kept picking up water from a nearby lake and dropping it on the fire. They did a tireless job. The fire went right through the night. The top photo shows one of two towns that were totally destroyed, the whole town was gone in such a short time.

We finally had a cool change dropping the temperature to the high 20's, some areas including ours had a shower of rain. Today Sunday the temperature is much more pleasant, but unfortunately the fires are still burning out of control with no sign of abating. The very sad thing is at least 36 people have lost their lives, they expect that figure to rise and hundreds of homes have been lost, 500 alone in one area. The animal and bird population has suffered badly too.

It takes an event like this to make everyone realize what a great country we live in, the number of volunteers who go out and risk their own lives to save others. People volunteering all over the state, offering help to those who've lost homes, to look after animals, to donate anything and everything. Despite everything mother nature throws at us, we really are the lucky country.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Journal pages

I have so many journals on the go at present, I never know which one to work in. Every time I hold a decorated papers/journal workshop, I end up with another one. I've decided to join them together, I use my fabric strips to join them and it's working quite well.

The page above was drawn with markers then I used a brush and gave some of it a wash with water, the markers run giving the effect of water colour. The elephant stamp is an Indian wooden printing block.

The faces on this page were fun to do, influenced by Picasso. The journal houses quite a few of my experiments.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

We've survived for now

What a week, our hottest on record. The temperature reached 45 deg C, 113 F on Friday. This created chaos everywhere, power black outs across the suburbs and in the city. Melbourne came to a stand still at one stage, no traffic lights, people stuck in lifts, no trains, air conditioners off, the city almost melted, in parts the bitumen did. As promised we received our cool change and only had to put up with 37 deg on Saturday. Today has been lovely, I think it reached 30 but haven't checked. The rest of the week is low thirties, which is much more pleasant. I hope they are right. There have been major fires to the east of our state, so far 29 homes have been lost, fortunately no loss of human life.

Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes and thoughts, it's nice to know there are people out there who care.

I hope that was the worst we get for summer, but February is usually our hottest month, so we're still a little apprehensive.
Global warming is certainly here.

We have lots of candles around the house that look like this now, just as well our power didn't go out.
They are certainly a talking point.

I managed to sit quietly over the weekend and work on my junk mail journal. I'm not sure what this page is about. It probaly reflects my jumbled state of mind at the time.

This is a background for something, I'm not sure what yet.

These two pages are from my decorated papers journal, I like to use these journals for my experiments, I'll probably add text later.

I also added some more fabric/button kits and two more stamps to my Etsy.

Thanks once again for your concerns, I'll try to reply by email or visiting your blogs. The blogging community is definitely a wonderful place.