Saturday, 2 September 2006

YouTube - guitar

This is quite amazing! This guy plays a classical piece in a wonderful way. First saw a snippet of it on the Today show and had to find it. YouTube was my best option


Sunday, 23 July 2006

Howes Valley Ideas

I'm thinking about housing and been researching kit homes, solar power and sewerage systems.

For sewerage (sewage?) I'm thinking Worm Farm (
For solar power, Will reckons he can size and fix it... so that's all good. Otherwise Rainbow Power Company sounds good (
We then need raintanks (huge!) :)
A house... which I can't decide if we should build it ourselves (using a Peter Lee's plan or go a kit home (and still build ourselves)...
In the meantime we'll investigate fixing the shed for temporary rain water collection and shelter.

Lavender or Hazelnuts? We need to check with Auntie Lee to see what sort of lavender may be income generating (commercially) or possibly some other crop. Hazelnuts is something we're also thinking longer term.

Saturday, 22 July 2006


ok just a couple more before I forget about them! This one seems to be around $89 upwards


Momento - the Photo Album of the Digital Age

Last one for today... from $30+per page pricing for a small portrait spiral bound book


My Reflections Photo Books

And another one... this one from $29.95 for a A5 landscape book up to 20 leaves or 40 pages. Not too bad really.


Albumprinter - Make your own album with your most beautiful digital photos.

An Australian Album printer. Looks like a few options from around A$70 + P/H. Still not as cheap as Vio Vio! (


Thursday, 20 July 2006

Should we build or kit it?

With settlement of Howes Valley scheduled for 2nd August, of course I am poring over house plan designs and kit home brochures and website.

We have Peter Lee's book ( and I have spoken to him about building one of the smaller houses. He recommends building using mudbrick! Sounds all good etc but I just don't know. And I wonder really how much it will save... (and all the blood sweat and tears we have to go through). But then looking at the kit prices, I wonder how much the "walls" and "frames" make up of their total cost? As that's all we'd be saving on (upfront), as the rest of it still needs to be done. This is of course assuming the labour is the same for both... ie free... in that we'd be doing it... plumbers and electricians etc would be the same regardless....

I have a whole list of Australian Kit Home providers I have book marked and will post them here soon.

Friday, 23 June 2006

Kilmory to go?

The thoughts are to move house... The chocolate business has moved to Hamley Road (the industrial area of Mt Kuring-gai) and now the two of us and Bobo are rattling around in a 5 bedroom house. A bit big... so maybe we should move to a smaller easier to maintain house which may also leave us some time to develop Howes Valley.

We've sent our loan documents back, we've sent our contract back and we're now waiting... and waiting. Just on the phone to the solictors to check if they have done anything! (They just moved offices so goodness knows if they have it!)

We had been looking around the Parramatta area but after taking into consideration petrol prices and that we both have to travel back to the Hornsby area, we're probably better off finding something closer to here and maybe somewhere a little closer to Windsor?

But now we're in a dilemma... we really should sell before we buy so we're not under any pressure. We can rent in the meantime and try and pounce on those special cheapies that pop up once in a while!

In any case there is usually a lot more stock on the market in Spring which will mean that we'll have a lot more to look at as well. The market is down at the moment but in this area the "discounting" is still quite low... around $20k for the $500k+ market, so I think we're still in a decent market... and hopefully when we buy it'll be really discounted! Hmm...

Thursday, 20 April 2006


Can you believe another venture has begun? I've now started up as I've had an interest in soy candles for a while was searching for it and decided to go with starting up making and marketing candles from home. The great thing is that this opportunity has a trail of income from associates and affiliates signed up who also buy from the same supplier. So it works out to be a win win win situation! Anyway it's exciting and now I'm doing candles for Belle Fleur Lavender as well as will be doing them for Chocolate Koala!

I also received the final samples from my supplier for chocolate packaging, so now I feel I can go out to the market and start selling my chocolates! So hopefully May I'll get our first sales of the Chocolate Koala brand. Also made it to be a finalist in the Reed Gift Awards! But didn't have the final packaging design so was a bit disappointed they didn't make it in time for final judging but hopefully the products will do well anyway. It would have been great exposure if the product won best product!

Monday, 13 March 2006

A new hobby

I think I've found a new hobby! Painting ceramics. Jackie Devine has been wonderful. She's based in Hornsby which means its a short trip for me and is a wonderful teacher letting me do my own thing. She pours ceramics and cleans it up so that it's ready for me to paint... not that I'm really designing anything as I'm pretty handy with the tracing paper and carbon paper now!
The results of my first two pieces of work:

The two pieces above were painted on bisque, which is pre fired so it's not as delicate as greenware. I also did another piece which is for Suzy and Scott to commemorate their wedding... (date to be determined). Here I thought it'd take ages to paint so thought I'd get in early... but lo and behold I managed to paint in one sitting! So now I've painted it and it's been glazed (thanks Jackie!) and fired and sitting here waiting for them to set a date at least. I was going to put the date on it... but being impatient, it's been painted without a date... and I forgot to put my name on it as well! Ah well. Hopefully Suzy and/or Scott don't stumble on this site anytime soon!

Long time no post

So it's been a while since I've posted... not for any other reason other than I've been busy.
We've continued looking for property going out to Oberon last weekend... The climate is definitely a lot better than other places and they even have a couple of snowfalls per year... which would be nice. But Oberon is a bit further than Howes Valley and it seems to take a fair while to get back via the M4 as the Great Western Highway has all sorts of slow(ish) speed zones and traffic lights! It's ok once you get onto the M4 on the way home... But we've decided we didn't like the town enough, and Oberon itself is still around 30 to 40 mins to Lithgow or Bathurst (the next major towns). We believe it's a growing area so in that way it would have been good, but I think Will and I just like the obscure... so we're still mulling on the Howes Valley property.
This Sunday we met up with an Excavator out of Putty who knows the area and was able to advise us a little on what we can and can't do with the earth moving side of the equation. They advised on building a new dam rather than trying to "improve" or enlarge the supposed "spring fed" dam and also build a new road than try and use the existing track. In any case we're still awaiting a quote from them. Not sure if it'll come though via a fax or via post. I hope it's not post as my card only had the GPO box ... and I just checked it today!
To clear the land they think 2 days may get a fair amount done to both sides of the property... and their costs are $400 floatage each way plus $130 per hour... which I would think is quite reasonable...
I couldn't believe how much sheds cost though! Here I thought they were simple structures, and they cost around $10000 for a decent sized shed... and that I assume is the bottom of the market. We'd probably want to go for something a bit more substantial (with guttering to catch rain water into a rainwater tank) and partially lockable (so we can leave some of our camping gear there)... and prob colourbond... just because it's pretty!
I do hope this doesn't become a money pit. The petrol costs in travelling there every couple of weekends will add up too! Although we then have an excuse to have no social life? ;)

Monday, 20 February 2006

Nikki's Mystery Man

After months of speculation, finally we have photo evidence that Nikki really *is* going out with a real person and not a figment of her imagination. Unfortunately at the time of snapping the photo, someone managed to get a book in the way!
Anyway we're sure that it's just a matter of time before someone gets a decent look at "Dan the man"!

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Howes Valley?

We've been looking for acreage with the intention of purchasing early so we can eventually build a smallish house with all the bits we want in the house rather than taking what we can get... We've looked down in Braidwood, up in Wollombi and in Putty. Braidwood was a bit far from where we live now, so although well located probably not quite what we are after...
Wollombi is great as it's only over an hour from our place, is the gateway to the Hunter Valley and if we want to build holiday cabins with the chocolate business on the side the tourist thing may work... We just need to keep an eye on it in case something good pops up as the properties we have seen are way too unsuitable.
Putty is gorgeous. Only an hour from Windsor (but makes it two hours from us) lush etc, again just need to find something suitable.
We've now gone a bit further than Putty and are looking at a particular property in Howes Valley. No power, possible phone line, no ADSL (the exchange hasn't been upgraded), no mobile reception... but a nice bit of land not far off Putty Road. So we'll be investigating that particular property further. About 2 hours 15 mins from our place. But in our goal price range. (el cheapo!)
I'm currently seeing if there are any sites that guide people in purchasing rural land... I couldn't even get a contract for this property as "it's not like residential property, you don't get a contract" !!! so what do I get? There has to be a contract, right? What about a survey map or something like that?

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Storybook Home Designs

oooh! these houses are CUTE. How do they get that weathered look? Too bad that I don't think it'll work in the Australian climate...


Sunday, 5 February 2006

Cute Koala

Just had to post these photos, that were forwarded to me... sooooo cute!
Apparently photos were taken in Adelaide end of January sometime (2006) during a heatwave.

Thursday, 2 February 2006

Chocolate Koala Site

New Website for the new business. Eventually we'll have the packages displayed but it will mainly be for people who want to find out where to purchase Chocolate Koala's merchandise. Aren't the logos pretty?


Friday, 27 January 2006

Car Swap

We sold the Toyota Surf (pictured) last week... we had advertised the car on a few online sites but decided to take it off the market as were planning to go on one more camping trip before we sold it... and then out of the blue we got a call as someone wanted to buy it. We had forgotten we had an ad with!
Anyway after a week of toing and froing the car was sold and I was left carless for a week.
We ended up finding a Mazda Astina SP 1990 for a runabout and we're picking it up this Sunday.

Wednesday, 18 January 2006

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company | Houses

Wouldn't a few of these be great for holiday cabins? Tiny but with all the bits necessary!


PreFab House

Ooh these look great. Andrew Maynard has created these wonderful small "box" like modules to build into homes and complexes. Very cute!


Also another prefab house company's details can be found at I like the simplicity of these ones although they don't seem to have the style of the andrew maynard houses

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

Breakaway 1

We went to Little Wobby on the weekend. Gosh I love it there! Waterviews, relaxing, no pressure to do anything... I managed to read two books which I had taken with me: Life of Pi and Golden Fool... flicked through some magazines they had there and listened to CDs.

The weather wasn't great, but it was good enough for some great R&R. Didn't manage to go to the beach (40 minute walk away) but sat on the deck and the jetty enjoying the water breeze and the view out to the water and to Dangar Island.

Is there anything more peaceful than the sounds of lapping water? :)


Sunday, 1 January 2006

Trip to Kenta

Had lunch with Nikki at Kenta on Thursday 29 Dec 2005. Food was OK, but definitely cheap! Good value. I had the sashimi lunch set which included sashimi, salmon salad, rice and miso soup. Was very full! Meal was approx $10 - $11... here's a pic of what I ate.

Nikki had the teriaki chicken and calamari rings meal. That looked good too. And someone at a table next to us had a soft shell crab tempura set. Oooh if only I spotted that :)

My Cobb Salad

Had to take a photo of the Cobb Salad I made for Xmas Eve Lunch. Here it is!

This cobb salad was made with:

  • Boiled Egg
  • Avocado
  • Blue Cheese
  • Tomato (de seeded)
  • Bacon
  • Chicken (cold BBQ chicken)
  • Lettuce (Iceberg - chopped up into thin slices)
  • A dressing made from a mix of mayo, blue cheese, lemon, herbs

Happy New Year -- 2006

Had a lovely time at our friends' Suzy and Scott's place last night to celebrate the incoming new year.

We had a BBQ dinner of chicken, sausages and vegetables and a luscious mango, walnut, bacon salad (it had lettuce too!)

Played Articulate a game like pictionary... but with words and not drawings... it's pretty easy unless you get the Pompodom Centre! (There is a Place question which we've had twice now that I still don't know the name of but sounds like the Pompodom Centre... the clue I keep getting is "sounds like a crispy indian bread"...
We also watched part of Se7en, but Suzy and Scott were both falling asleep so we thought we'd call it a night (morning) by then.

Nice midnight fireworks (saw it on TV) but I think I'm getting a bit over it all.

Today it's boiling outside... something like 41 degrees Celcius! We're hiding inside with the air conditioner on and sitting in the lounge room with our laptops. Bobo is hiding in the box (maybe it's too cold for him????) killer resources for entrepreneurs

This is great for budding entrepreneurs... or people like me who want motivation and advice... and for some reason just like reading about business related information and blogs