Saturday, January 07, 2006

Make Riversleigh

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Velida sent me these wonderful images. You can print this out and make Riversleigh using this template or come up with one of your own. If you do create one of your own please share it with us all.

A Game of Pretending

When I was young my favourite game was to daydream about being somebody else. Mostly, I would pretend that I was someone pretty and famous. About that time the movie 'Grease' was released and one of my favourite guises was the character Sandy Olsson played by Olivia Newton John. In my childish fantasies, I imagined that she had discovered a pure love in Danny Zuko (John Travolta). I enjoyed the thought that a popular, good-looking man was in love with me and that we would live happily ever afer. In my daydream, I would act out love scenes. They usually began with my feminine character being in some sort of distress and would end with me being rescued (emotionally or physically) by a strong but gentle man.

This wasn't a game that I shared with any of my sisters because I wanted to protect my inner most thoughts.

You Never Know What You'll Find

Today I looked out one of the treehouse windows and I found the most interesting nest of eggs. Looks like the forest will be having quite a birthing! In your tree climbing, be careful of this bountiful nest. We wouldn't want the eggs to crack before their time.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Mail Art

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Some people think that you should keep the scrap cupboard for a rainy day but I think that working in the scrap cupboard, with a friend, is a lovely artist date.

When I come to the Treehouse I will make crumpets and hot chocolate and we can sit around writing snail mail, covered with delicious art work, to each other.

I love snail mail and always 'intend' to write more letters that tell the recipient absolutely nothing of any real importance. I remember spending idyllic hours making covered notebooks for a couple of friends as I lounged around our tent at Narooma.

If anyone is interested in sharing some snail art mail with me just let me know. It could be fun to send mail where we wear our nationality on our sleeve.

Magpie Leanings - Collecting and Creating

I have been out collecting pine cones. Ever since
childhood I have collected this and that, and used to
record things in diaries, on pages, etc. What fun it was.
I come from a big family and there was always
someone to play with. We played make believe until
it was dark in summer and never, ever, wanted to come
back inside. Never enough time for creativity and
collecting, exploring and make believe. It was so
much fun. I've loved reading other's posts here too.
Fond childhood memories all round.
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ghosts in the Graveyard

My favorite game was Ghosts in the Graveyard--I recall playing it very late on a summer's night, under a blanket of stars in a dark sky. We lived in the country, and neighbors weren't close by, so it was a rare occasion that there was a group of kids large enough to play. Everyone would hide but the "Gravekeeper" who would wander the yard. At a crucial moment, ghosts would leap from their hiding places, screaming in a frightful fashion--"Ghooooosts in the Graaaveyard.......Ghoooosts in the Graaaveyard!" and try to run to "home base." If the Gravekeeper tagged you, you were It for the next round. It was deliciously spooky and especially fun to hide with someone, so you could both leap out, split the Gravekeeper's attention, and make it safely home.

I Had Books, Too.

We lived in the country and I didn't have playmates so I made my own fun. I had books, too, which I read voraciously. And then, I'd go out into the fields and woods and re-enact the adventures I had read about. I was always alone, but I was never lonely. The trees, and the animals kept me company and to this day I'm able to enjoy my own company though I like being with people, too.


Giggles and Awe

Welcome, Guests! I'm glad you found your way to the treehouse. Nina has been enjoying your stories. She alternates between having eyes as big as saucers followed by fits of giggles. You've given her so many ideas she doesn't know where to start! Her list of things to do include:

• Collect pine cones to paint and decorate the treehouse
• Climb to the platform at the top of the tree on the next cloudless night and get lost in the stars
• Search magazines for people and clothing to cut out for paper dolls

She also promised that if she should ever get a doll's pram, she would use it to bring more fun things to the treehouse.

Today is bright and sunny and Nina has taken a break from her pine cone search to swing on the tire swing. She imagines her feet touching the highest branches as she swings forward and her back caressed by leaves as she swings back.

Books of the past

When I was a child my favorite thing was not a toy, but books , I loved to read .
On a warm summers day I would grab a book , and head outside there was an old tree in our yard. It had lots of wide low branches and one of them curved prefectly to form a seat of sorts.
I would take my book and climb into the seat of the tree. Here I was protected from the world. and was safe to travel where ever the book wanted to take me.
Usually I was solving a mystrey with Trixie Beldon, or The Hardy Boys, or maybe on some dangerous Space mission with Tom Swift.
I still love to curl up with a good mystrey.

What fun

GREAT...I have wanted to come visit you and now I have an invitation. Childhood game ! Mine was not a game but an old suitcase I use to drag out every day to a huge lilac bush. Once settled there I would open the suitcase which also opened an entrance into pretend world. The suitcase was filed to the brim with movie star paper dolls. Rita Hayworth, Heady Lamour, Doris Day, Dwebbie Renolds, and many more. I spent hours, alone, under the lilac tree changing costumes and prancing them through a world of my imagination. Must have been preparation for Lemuria. . When I entered 7th grade my suitcase disappeared. I felt like I had suffered a great loss and still wish I had those original paper dolls.

The Doll's Pram

I hope Nina likes this story. Like her, I loved building treehouses and hideaways when I was young.

Day after day I hungered for it. My footsteps slowed as we passed the shop window, my arm stretching as I dragged my mother to a halt.
It stood right in the middle of the shop window, gleaming blue and silver, shaped like a small boat, with a silky hood and lining.
``She really wants that doll’s pram,” I heard my mother whisper after she had put me to bed.
``We’ll see,” my father replied, and that was as good as a promise.
As my birthday approached, my excitement grew. The pram had disappeared from the shop window, and I was certain it was already mine.
While my mother hung out the washing in the yard we were camping in at Dalkey, she watched me working on my house. I had been building it for ages, laying out bricks for the walls, and making little rooms for my dolls and teddy bears. I already had the kitchen and one bedroom finished. I got the bricks from a shed that had been demolished on the farm, and the house was furnished with things I had scrounged, old chairs, a rickety table, a rug my mother had been planning to throw out. I intended to cover the house with branches, like a bower or a thatched cottage.
My mother worried about me. She would have preferred me to enjoy more sedate and ladylike pastimes than mucking about with bricks and home made mud mortar.
My birthday dawned, and I scrambled out of bed, eager to unwrap my presents. My mother had made a knitted suit for my favorite bear, and of course, there were books. My parents were great believers in books for children.
After breakfast, my father took me outside and there was the pram, gleaming in the sunshine. I wheeled it up and down, reveling in the smooth gliding motion. It was so light and easy to push.
My mother produced a pram quilt and pillow she had made and set one of my dolls in the pram with them. She was beaming, plainly happy that at last I was behaving like a proper little girl.
She was sitting on the back step shelling peas when I next sailed past with the pram. She glanced up and smiled at me, then went back to her work.
Ten minutes later, I passed her again, and she was shelling peas in a big cream coloured pottery bowl.
Ten minutes later, when I again went past with the pram, she said, ``My, your dolly is getting a lot of exercise.”
As evening fell, my father came home and stopped to see how my house was progressing.
``Where did all these bricks come from?” he said. ``You must have been working hard today.”
My mother came out and shook her head at me. ``Look at you, covered in mud again. I hope your new pram is still clean.”
Then they both looked at my new pram, standing proudly outside my house.
And they both saw that it was full of bricks.

More than a game

In pre-TV youth my siblings and I
made games of many simple things --
blocks and cards and role-play,
but the 'most fun' of all was lying on the grass
making things of the stars --
which at 6,000 ft on the desert were/are
more than this world will ever see again.

Sadly a game that I cannot give to my grandchildren,
except in story and gasp in my heart.

back then ...

Treble Tremble

Three may not be a magic number, but is somehow infused into the pulse of life and spirit and dreams in ways both simple and profound. Without caressing any ancient blend of religion or occult or kiss of Mother Earth, one only has to count. The first beat sets the power and intensity of the message. The second stroke defines the pace and meter of the plan, perhaps in heady climb or somber drop, or heartbeat sure. The third comes in anticipation, and signals the launch of a dream, or death to pain and sorrow, or just dawning of my soul. "a one, ana' two, ana' three!" The song has begun. Birth -- death -- infinity. Everything can be defined in threes.

We stretched out in the meadow, my brother, sister and I. Our arms outreached to feather touch fluttering fingers of delight. Legs akimbo, we might have resembled a De Vinci sketch, but more likely snow angels defined in long gone virgin drift. Two forms would not have formed a circle, and four would have broken the symmetry of our sibling bond. The grass was still sunset warm beneath our T-shirt backs, and the evening breeze had not yet drawn away the clover scent of deep summer. The occasional shiver came from anticipation rather than a drop in temperature measure in growing cricket chirps. They came!

To a child of today, even on the highest desert peak, one cannot describe the sweep of heaven pressing down on tender, budding youth. The thunder of stars was not a sprinkling of a love song, nor a few chance remembered constellations of mythology. Above our misty eyes swept a symphony of God's smile and splendor; an undulating, glistening milky gleam of pure delight. An extended thumb could not find a space without a twinkling sigh. A single pair of wandering eyes could not encompass or endure the panorama of shock and wonder -- it took all three to absorb and transmit in primordial humanity's gift what is ours by right. The message was simple -- "even as I made thee, I made these!"

That night my blinking vision became confused as the star spread seemed to ripple in a most silent pulse. None of us dare breathe. A drifting shadow pressed down to hold us transfixed beneath the gifted display. A demon to posses us? A witch's curse or some occult born attempt to draw our human clay away from the divine glimpse of His passion? Again, and again the passing form sucked up the hidden chirps, and chatter and kiss of wind in the trees. Absolute absorbing silence. Then the giant owl, with only the slightest flutter of fairie wings decided we were unworthy, and drifted to a better ground not protected by our yearnings.

Two wonders viewed in one night -- was it not meant to be three? Ah yes! You see, even now, a half century passed, I cannot look into my sibling's eyes and hearts without being pulled back to a stroke of innocence, and the smile we share through our tears.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006


When I was but a tiny tot
Toys were scarce,not ever new
Recycled,repainted,pre owned by friends or family.
Dad hid them in the shed
Where he repaired them lovingly
A tricycle ,a dolls pram, a scooter, a fire truck
We loved them all
I laugh when I look back
As a boilermaker, he was wont
to use steel for brackets and re-enforcing
So the pushing,peddling, was always a hard task
It did not take away from their enjoyment
as most children in MY street had the same
If one had a new toy then all would gather
in a large circle to ooh and ahh

The 30's and the 40's were very different times
As were the 60's and 70's when my children were born
As I look at the 2000's I am in awe and wonder
The selection,the amount,the variety,the abundance
startles me as children dart from one to the other
No puzzles to work out,no meccano sets to ponder over
The world moves in mysterious ways
I don't even try to understand.

At Christmas time we went by train and diesel carriage
to an old house in a country town at the bottom
of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria ...
My Paternal G/Father had bought it...
A very old timber house..falling down
He called it Necton after the village of his birth
down Norfolk Way.....
We travelled lightly a small bag each
No toys,
too heavy to carry
Perhaps just a favourite teddy bear or small metal toy
for my Brother
We made Christmas gifts for Mothers,Fathers,Cousins,Aunts and Uncles
Grandfather Sydney Craske was always given a bottle of beer
We covered matchboxes with coloured paper,filling them with sweets
We painted pine cones,we decorated wooden dolly pegs
We walked into the town to buy
Combs,handkerchiefs,loose boiled sweets,and loose chunks of(Cooking) chocolate for melting
We washed small jars for gifts of lollies,shortbread,rocky road marshmellow

The old farmhouse had a huge big timber table
in the room we cooked in,ate in bathed in, ironed in etc etc.
We spread out brown paper and went to work under supervision.
My Aunty Jean had once worked at Darrell Lea chocolate factory in her youth
So she and Jessie(Mum), Hilda(Aunt) taught us the tricks of the trade.
The little ones licked the bowls and spoons
The big room had only a wood fire stove for cooking, and it
became hotter and hotter as we toiled away....
All must be completed by the 24th
Dad (Bert) Gran and Cliff (Uncle)Siddy (Uncle)
All stayed well away.
Sometimes sitting under the huge pine tree that dwarfed the old farm house
Beers in hand ,broken pieces of shortbread ,cheese and bread
Or often they went rabbiting
to see what they had caught in the traps set the night before.

We children were not allowed to go as we became too upset at the
death of a rabbit ...although many a roast, and pie ,and stew was eaten by us all...the meat of the bunny was sweet

I see the cousins I spent those wonderful Christmas's with now and again...some 2 or 3 times a year
Often at weddings, but mostly at funerals as we all age
We embrace as we did in those times,glad to see each other,
although our lives have gone in different directions.
We do reminis ..and eventually comparing the lives of their children and their grandchildren
at Necton in Whittlesea.....

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 5.1.06

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Nina's Treehouse

Would you like to visit Nina's Treehouse? It's very easy to get here. The journey isn't too long and there are no steep hills to climb. Just step off the back porch of Riversleigh Manor and you'll see a path off to your right that leads into the woods. Follow it a little ways.

Once you notice the forest becoming a bit more dense, you are almost there. At this fork in the road, take the path to the right.

Keep walking until you see a bend in the path that opens up to a lush clearing. This clearing is Nina's front yard. See how beautiful it is!?
Call up to Nina as you approach the treehouse. She'll be happy to show you the many ways to get up into the house.
You can go through the big red door in the tree and be magically transported up.

Or you can climb a rope ladder or a spiral staircase.

Either way, you'll be delighted when you reach the treehouse in the redwoods. Magic and fun await. Come on! What are you waiting for?

The photos in this entry were provided by photographers on Flickr who share their photos when given attribution. The treehouse image is a combination of two photos and Nina's own drawings. You can see more of these photographer's images at Jantik, Pikaluk, Dnorman, Katemina, Dailydog, and Evdaimon.