Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Victoria

Hello everybody!
After 15 months away I am back in Canada. It took me forever to get here but I am home, safe and sound, for Christmas. This will be my last OzzyOzBeth post for a while.
Cheers!
Beth
I had a 10 hour layover in Beijing so I went to see the great wall!

"This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9



Thursday, 22 November 2012

Art Projects


Wow! There are only 24 days until I leave this beautiful Country. I will be coming home for Christmas this year; the flight is booked an everything. Goodbye Aus! I have begun to pack up my room and will be trying to sell a lot of my stuff before I leave. Next week is my last week at college and I will still be working until the week I leave so life is still spectacularly busy, especially now that I'm tying up loose ends in preparation to leave.
My last painting in Victoria!
 I thought it might be fun to make a little blog post about some of the artistic endeavours I have ventured across the year I've been away. Sometimes I forget that you can't see me and the things I do. For instance, my hair has grown. When I first arrived it didn't even fit in a pony-tail, then it became a little stubby tail and now it's just regular, but that's all normal for me and I forget that some of you don't know what I look like now. I'm also tanned. :P Although I'm losing it. I got tanned on my holiday, but Sydney has been a bit disappointing weather-wise. It's been rainy and cold, but I'm trusting that my last couple of weeks will be warm and summery.

Most recently I've been  enjoying creating food that looks good. Last Christmas I made a manger scene from rice crispies ("Rice Bubbles" in Australia) and fondant icing. This year I made reindeer molasses cookies, melting snowman shortbread and candy cane fudge. In between I've made a variety of strange-looking things, including a green lion made of nanaimo bars and just this afternoon I made a little dragon from marzipan.
Edible nativity scene, Christmas 2011
This is the contents of one of the gift bags I gave to my college trainers as a goodbye gift this year
A green lion made of mint-chocolate nanaimo bars

I'm really proud of this one. I just finished making him; he's tiny.

As for painting I've worked on bits and pieces. Last year after Christmas I decorated a little guitalele that I found in the treasure room. The first painting I made in 2012 was a rather strange painting of someone at the beach, inspired by an incident at Palm Beach. I also made a mixed media painting for mothers day at beautiful Gordon's Bay, the only protected marine reserve in Sydney city and a while back I made use of the rainy weather to paint a little canvas that I received as a gift for my birthday with an image of a face that I dreamed. A couple weeks ago I was invited to paint at the church for the evening service. It is called "live painting" because people can watch you. I love bright colours and I found that many children liked my painting, but the adults were interested in the art of the girl next to me. At first it bothered me, but then after a while I decided that I liked that.
I got completely absorbed in painting this guitalele right after Uncle Rick died last year
This is the odd painting I made after going to Palm Beach, inspired by a comment that Niamh made
This painting was sent home to my mom as a gift. It incorporated bits of an old Famous Five book I found.
"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" on the canvas I got for my birthday
"Live painting" at the Church, inspired by the song "You Shine Like A Million Suns Ablaze"
 For a while I was really dedicated to working on a Jesus comic book, although it has taken a back seat in the last few months. I also doodle here and there in my sketchbooks and notebooks.
A page from my Jesus comic book

Another page from my Jesus comic book
A study on camels from my sketchbook
Random drawings from my notebook


I've also been keeping up the crocheting. I've made a few hats (even more than what's photographed here) and other random stuff. At Sisterhood, a service here for women, we've had a few "Be the Change" days where I've helped teach crochet and made headbands and hats for babies in hospitals.


I decorated one of my throw pillows with yarn.
This was one of the first hats I made here in Sydney when it began to get cold. It's reversible!
I made this on the bus coming home from the Blue Mountains last semester.
A green alpaca hat I made on my trip to Canberra.

Last semester I picked up the new skill of stained glass (technically "copper foiling"). I made the acorn box for my mother and then used the same techniques to incorporate a stained glass panel on the prayer box I made for class. The box for class is pretty cool: it's made of plywood I found lying around the house and it was hand carved and sawed without the use of a ruler (because I didn't have one). It has a shelf for the blank prayer request forms on top and then slots on either side to put the filled out forms in the partitioned box. The design is inspired by an incense box because of Psalm 141:2, "Let my prayer be incense before you".

Glass box for mom
Prayer Box for College

In addition to all this I've also done a bit more jewellery. Last year I was commissioned to make some wire-wrapped key necklaces. Unfortunately, after I made them the girl decided that she did not have enough money to pay for them and I had to sell them to her for less than the materials even cost. That sucked, because I worked hard on them and the materials were not cheap. They are antique keys (some are nearly 200 years old) and the stones are real semi-precious gems. I know now to take half the payment in advance for commissions and to really stay solid with my prices, but at the time I really needed the cash. You live; you learn.

My signature wire-wrapped keys

 I also decorated one of my volunteer t-shirts with nail polish because I thought it was boring. The "V" used to be plain white on a grey shirt. If you look closely you can see that it is a dragon and that the "horns" on the dragon are actually the Sydney Opera House.

Colour Conference 2012 volunteer shirt, decorated with nail polish.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I will see you all very soon.
Much love,
xx
Bethea











Tuesday, 23 October 2012

AU's AU Coast

 I just got back from an amazing 2-week holiday up the Gold Coast. Two of my housemates and I backpacked up the East Coast from Sydney to Cairns, then we flew back on Saturday. Now I am back in school for intensives courses. Life is so busy! I know you probably don't believe me because I only really blog about my holidays, but Hillsong is keeping me happily occupied and now I'm also working at a bakery three days a week, so it's a juggling game for a few hours rest.
On Sunday, after serving at church, we began our journey on a 14hr. overnight greyhound bus to Byron Bay. 
We arrived at “the Shire of Byron” in the morning and spent nearly the entire afternoon on the hostel beds catching up on lost sleep from the harrowing journey the night before. 
Before I came to Australia I had this perception that it would be full of tanned, good-looking Aussie surfers and was a little disappointed by how normal people actually are in Sydney. Byron Bay is the “unrealistic” Australia I had imagined. All the attractive Aussies are hiding out there doing cool things by the beach. 
Byron Bay is a beautiful little town on the beach, rich in arts, hippies and surfers (and hippie surfers who do art.: “It’s like being in a candy shop, bru”). 
On our second day in Byron Bay we went kayaking in the afternoon. We saw a huge loghead turtle, a dolphin, tonnes of jellyfish and humback whales, less than 20m away, migrating South with their babies.
 I was in one of the kayaks with a guide and we were sent, unbeknownst to me, to check out a shark sighted nearby. We didn’t run into him, but we did get to surf an awesome wave in the kayak. It was freedom. Poor Stefanie and Carla ended up getting dumped in the ocean twice when trying to brave the wave break to get back to land.
In the evening I walked past a group of stoned hippies making trance-y type music in the park with a microphone, random instruments and one of those boards that can be used to make loops. I sat and listened for a while, then the one of them asked if anyone wanted to join and I thought, what the heck, why not? So I sang for a while and he looped my voice back onto itself with trippy echoey effects. When I began to sing I noticed people walking by stop and sit down and listen and eat their take-out fish and chips. It was pretty cool. I was so proud of my audience. One girl even had a hula hoop. I asked if I could play the flute too and we made music together for a while then I headed back to hostel and told the other girls about my impromptu concert. I love Byron Bay.
The next day we were all day on the bus again.

We had about an hour and a half stop in Brisbane, where we made our way through the sticky heat to a convenience store to purchase some postcards and rested in the park outside the courthouse, trying to snap a sneaky picture of the judges with ridiculous white wigs on before heading back to the bus terminal.
In the evening we arrived in Hervey Bay where we were debriefed on the next leg of our trip: Fraser Island.
There were seven of us in one 4WD and a 5 more people in the other car with a guide.
The next day we got up bright and early to go on a “roving tag-along tour” of Fraser Island. The first part of the trip was the scariest: the ferry. 
 
First off, we were greeted at the ferry dock by a crocodile warning sign for people camping on the beach. Our guide assured us there were no crocodiles in the area, except for one that’s never been caught. That made no sense to me. He had a massive scar on his leg from where a crocodile had bitten him, but it was not the croc who did the main damage, it was a flesh-eating virus in the mud that had been pushed into the wound while he was escaping the crocodile. Everything in this country wants to kill you.
By the time the ferry came in the wind had picked up so strong that it was unable to stay in one spot to dock and it actually scraped a huge boulder onto the ramp. The ferry then tried to dock again, with the cars strategically placed at the front of the little boat so that the weight would keep it as still as possible. The first car jumped a small gap to get onto the land and the following cars rushed off the ferry just in time as it swung past the ramp again. The ferry went out, then came back and we had to drive onto it as quick as possible as it was moving laterally along the ramp. I was so scared, but we made it on and the other cars followed quickly. I was so relieved to discover that a cat lives on the ferry and I chased it around the passenger deck until I could give it a crazed pet, calming down my nerves and singing, “soft kitty…” Cat therapy. It should be a thing. If it were not for allergies I bet it would be a hit for people with anxiety on airplanes or dentists’ offices.
 Fraser Island is a magical place. It’s an island made of sand so all the ecosystems are so completely unique because there is no dirt. 
On our first night on Fraser Island a tropical storm had built up and we spent the night in a hostel, cooking pasta on a camping stove in the rooms and singing karaoke in an otherwise empty bar. The next night we spent at a campsite with spiders and goannas and we sat around the campfire roasting weird Australian “marshmallows”.
Our guide’s name was Adrian, but we called him Santa because he had a white beard and a belly like a bowlful of jelly. Santa had sun-browned skin and never wore shoes except for when he was not allowed to go into a bar, in which case he would wear flip-flops/thongs. He also cussed like a mother and told it like he saw it.
 
 
After Fraser Island we headed off to another overnight bus up to Airlie Beach.
Our first day in Airlie Beach was spent recuperating.  We napped at the beach, napped at the hostel and napped in hammocks.
The next day we began our trip on the Pride of Airlie, a luxury catamaran that took us through the beautiful Whitsundays to South Molle Island where we spent two nights. 
The first day was basically just transportation to the island where we stayed an unreal hostel resort. We had the entire island to ourselves as there were only two boats who stopped there, totaling about 60 people.
At breakfast there were these two “angry birds” who stood by the table, hissing at us as we threw them scraps of bread. These creatures were the most awkward, self-consious birds I have ever seen. They looked so lanky and weird and they were all too aware of when we were talking about them or looking at them. We ran into the same kind of bird while walking in the forest on the island and they were frozen stiff in such weird poses. One looked dead, as he was lying amongst the leaves with his eyes open, and the other was stuck mid-stride, eyes open but perfectly still. It was a tactic of defense. They are such weird birds.
We cruised the Whitsundays in the catamaran and the water was quite choppy as we crossed through patches of open ocean.  I stayed the entire time at the front of the boat, riding the waves like at an amusement part. I saw turtles, a shark, and even a huge dead snake.
 
  
We stopped at Whitehaven beach, hiked with goannas and swam with stingrays. 
Whitehaven beach is an amazing strip of pure white sand so fine it felt like walking on pillows or clouds or marshmallows. It’s some of the finest sand in the world and is really good for exfoliating the skin. 
Carla and I were walking in the turquoise waters along the spit and a guy told us that we were being followed by a shark. At first we laughed, but when we realized he was serious we freaked out and ran for the shore. I went back and had a look at the shark, as the water was quite shallow and the shark was only about a meter long. He was so cute: a black-tipped reef shark, and I followed him until he disappeared. I also followed two huge stingrays, trying to get a better look at them because the water was not as clear as it seems, not realizing that I had put myself right in the middle of a group. Someone shouted at me, pointing out a stingray right behind me and I freaked out and had one of those awkward moments with the poor stingray where we both went the same direction to avoid each other and I ended up flopping onto my belly and floating over the ray in about 3 feet of water.
After the boat tour in the Whitsundays we took our last night bus up to Cairns where we spent the first morning trying to book ourselves into a different hostel because the one we were supposed to be in was just disgusting. In the afternoon we relaxed; the other girls napped while I went to the Art Gallery and saw a beautiful Goya exhibition as well as a really neat “street art/graffiti” exhibition. 
On our second day in Cairns we took a catamaran out to the Great Barrier Reef and snorkled at two different sites. 

It was very windy and a bit rainy, but it was still warm. In fact, it was warmer in the water than out. On the way back we hit some really big waves and I was out on the front deck on one side, with two guy on the other side of the boat and I just saw this huge wave come crashing over the boat and for a split second half of the whole ship disappeared in white foam. When the water subsided one of the guys had been knocked over and his shoe was gone, the other was clinging to the rail, but still standing. It was very dramatic.
Waltzing Matilda, Gagnam-style
On our last day in Cairns we relaxed in the park, listening to live music, got 30-cent ice-cream from Maccas and visited the market. Then we caught a plane back to Sydney and got home just before midnight. It was an unforgettable holiday. I am so in love with Australia. I hope I have not made you too jealous with these pictures; you're just going to have to come experience the Gold Coast yourself. It's an amazing corner of the Earth.
Much love, 
xx
Beth