creative spirit…

After all that’s happened this year… and hasn’t happened –thank you Coronavirus pandemic– the new Covid-normal grants us a semblance of reprieve for the festive season. However, it makes little difference to me: our festive season is routinely low-key regardless, moreso this year surrounded as it is by the distractions of medical and life-as-usual busy-ness.

I can barely think about the upcoming festive season until I’ve had my end of November birthday… which often coincides with extremes in weather. This year we planned around the forecast of a record breaking “bloody hot” day and did an early morning beach walk and picnic brunch before returning home to the coolth of our air-conditioning.

Last week the G.O. got the long-awaited good news call giving him a 4 January 2021 date for his knee replacement, its proximity to the end of the festive season meaning his blood-urine-xray-surgery-ecg-anaesthetic-physio pre-op consultations needed to be done and dusted prior to Christmas, and despite a follow-up call shifting the surgery date to 21 January, still do. [Edit note: subsequent call changing it back to 4 January] Additionally, annoyingly… among other routine medical stuff, audiologist appointments troubleshooting his hearing aids which continue to give him grief.

Longer than the G.O. has been on a waitlist for knee surgery my 87 year-old MiL has been dithering about a hip replacement but this week it’s deteriorated to the no-option-it-should-have-been-done-2-years-ago point and a 18 month waitlist through the public hospital system… so we’re looking for ways and means via public system queue jumping or private system funding.

On a brighter note… festive even… with the lifting of travel restrictions my Melburnian sister is now allowed to travel across the border into my home state of NSW. This is the best news ever, as the weight of being segregated from her was the worst aspect of Covid-19 for me. Followed by the next best news ever that she is coming for a pre-Christmas visit and found dog-friendly Little Monkerai – Cottage – Farm stays for Rent in Main Creek, New South Wales, Australia ( for us to share for a couple of nights while we catch up with the rest of the family.

Amid it all, working around the unseasonably hot weather we’ve been having, in the mornings I’ve been doing a winter-spring garden clean up and getting the summer garden settled ‘cos quite soon it’s going to be too hot to do anything much except water it.

And during the too-hot-to-be-outdoors afternoons I’ve enjoyed the luxury of reading for pleasure, a much-loved pastime I shelved while preoccupied reading for study over the past few years. I’ve managed the 18 books below so far for 2020. You can find my book lists and reviews on Goodreads.

Books read 2020

Yesterday, though, I cast my book aside in search of a suitable photo to put in a frame I found for my Dad. I prefer random and opportunistic gift giving rather than on-demand occasions. Fortunately, he and most of my family and friends do too… now… the others are slowly coming around. It was there the creative spirit -even more elusive than reading for pleasure or the blog writing muses- found me, providing an entertaining but productive afternoon and a unique, fun gift for my Dad.

Whether you need festive season or other gifts… or simply distraction, I thought I’d share what I discovered, and maybe you’ll have a use for it too… a free Microsoft app called Paint 3D. After selecting a photo you want to edit, open it in the app, and use the app’s editing tools and sticker & image libraries to embellish the photo.

To explain briefly, I superimposed stickers and 3D images onto my selected photo to obscure an inauspicious background. The images below explain it better than I can…

My photo went from this:

Original photo_Dale, Dad and the G.O.

To this:

Photo after 3D Paint stickers and 3D images applied

Looking at it with the free Microsoft 3D Viewer app:

Photo after 3D Paint stickers and 3D images applied viewed in 3D

Finished product with photo printed on my standard 2D home printer:

Finished product_photo in frame

Oh Christmas TreeI love Christmastime… but it doesn’t mean I’m not ambivalent about its accoutrements. One part of me thinks like Nora Roberts… “Nothing ever seems too bad, too hard, or too sad when you’ve got a Christmas tree in the living room” and the other is of the David Grayson school-of-thought… “As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.”

Whatever you think of it, as well as some festive spirit I hope the creative spirit finds you also. Do it your way. With joy ♥


21 thoughts on “creative spirit…

  1. Ha! I now have a note of your birthday for next year, sneakily cribbed from the screen shot of your phone – and by the way, WHAT about that ridiculous temperature. The beach and picnic looked wonderful, the garden ditto, and thank you for embellishing that photo, which has turned out magnificently. I had trouble initially recognising you with a fringe. We are considerably cooler up here than you are down there, and despite a couple of passing thunderstorms which are making Mouse quake, I think you’ve had more rain than us too. Roll on the rest of the festivities, and in just a few weeks I shall enter countdown mode for our mid-February trip south.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’re apparently in for quite a bit of rain this weekend… I think I might spend much of it adding to my books read count and zzzzzz. My birthday is not a secret, just quiet … my birthday twin said she spent hers lunching with 18 close girl friends… not something I’d do!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How utterly marvellous… I love working with apps and this one looks a hoot.
    Your birthday festivities were just up my street. The one thing I seem to have taken from this pandemic is the face that as much as I loved entertaining I seem to like the just me and J a lot more. I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or age but whatever the reason I’ve turned a corner for sure.
    Christmas is definitely my favourite time of year … but the adage of a little bit of Christmas throughout the year is blissful in my book. Any sort of Christmas tree definitely lifts the mood & I love yours ..
    Counting down till we see each other in feb 💝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I spent far more time playing with the photo and app than I’d planned… learning curve plus fun factor. So many otherwise good photos suffer from poor settings. This is a fix! I enjoy mixing right time right place right people but then I need my space. My favourite Christmas tree ever… homemade and 3D 😁

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The other unwelcome, and distressing, aspect of Christmas is all the stuff it generates. I know you are acutely aware of this too. So we enjoy celebrating in a low key way with loved ones. I am so glad you are able to be with your sister.The farm stay was an inspired idea! I know I will enjoy my Early Christmas day with Mum, brothers and sister, nieces and nephews and great-nephews, as we haven’t been together for such a long time. Then a simple time with Mum and the Fella over Christmas itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, I forgot to say that there are some great reads on your list. I found ‘Dark Emu’ to be really inspiring. Do you have a favourite for the year so far?


      1. Not easy to choose a favourite, they were all quite different. I was constantly laughing out loud while reading Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman and More Than a Woman. Richard Glover’s Flesh Wounds is well written and insightful, and Sarah Krasnostein’s The Trauma Cleaner is beautifully written and changed how I view the world. The Maverick Soul is simply a beautiful book, both inspired and inspiring if maximalism is your thing, as it is mine. And yes, imo, everyone should read Dark Emu.


    2. I got over being a slave to all things must bow to 25 December a long time ago. It just creates angst. Any time is a good time for a get together with people you like… and small doses, imo, is better than an overdose of festivity. I’m really looking forward to our farm stay and catch up. I hope you spend wonderful days together, you Melburnians/Victorians certainly have earned it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Birthday, Dale! There’s so much in this post…best of luck to the GO for his op and to your MiL for hers. And I do like the gift you made for you Dad. 🙂 Stay well, stay safe and if we don’t chat before then – have a wonderful Covid Christmas. -hugs-


      1. -grin- I bought a duck for xmas, but it’ll only be the two of us eating it. Still, however long our personal lockdown lasts, it feels wonderful just knowing that we are virtually virus free. Joyful festivities to you and the GO and extended family. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can’t remember where I learned this technique, but I boil the duck for maybe 5 minutes first. Then pat dry, put in the fridge and roast the next day. The duck always seems to turn out tender and not super fatty. I assume some of the fat leaches out into the boiling water?

          Liked by 1 person

  5. “Random and opportunistic gift giving” has served us well for more than a couple of decades. I do partake in writing a holiday letter and baking homemade, decorated sugar cookies for family and friends during the Christmas holiday, but the cookie baking won’t happen on a grand scale this year, thanks to Covid.

    I always love your tasteful photos. The garden shed and birthday beach stroll are my favorites. I keep saying one day I will have time to read books again. I’ll be referring to your list to make choices when I do! Thank you for sharing the discovery of Paint 3D. How long did it take you to create that masterpiece?? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Pretty much every birthday there’s a beach photo! And the shed seems to go through cycles of messy-work-in-progress and tidy. I love when people and families hang on to traditions that are meaningful to them, not always easy as time, distance and now Covid happens… When life was more than busy enough I so missed my books… my eyes would close rather than read. I find Goodreads a useful tool to read and share reviews. I spent about 2 hours on the “masterpiece” once I discovered the app including figuring out what it could do and how, with a few misstarts and redos, but it was a fun exercise.


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