Category Archives: Rivoli Palace

A hand made christmas

Crafty ideas for christmas gift giving

First of all, make yourself comfortable with your craft items around you.

Pick out suitable papers, last year’s cards, printables off the www.

Raspberry champers optional!

Handmade cards turned into handmade christmas frames.

Framed frames – top row are purchased local handmade christmas cards. Bottom row include a few more plus my favourite Merry and Bright frame. Middle row are a selection of the framed christmas prints.

These were given to co-workers as christmas gifts.

Frame your christmas sentiments


61 Hours by Lee Child review on goodreads

Check out my profile at goodreads – an online social networking for bookworms.

The latest review is for 61 Hours by Lee Child.

61 Hours (Jack Reacher, #14)61 Hours by Lee Child

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

61 Hours was my introduction to Reacher. And what an introduction.

Reacher is a loner, a former military police officer highly trained in offence, defense and weaponry. He travels throughout the States as he has spent his former life travelling the world but does not know his own country. It seems that each town he walks into has trouble afoot. And who best – with his tortured moral code – to tackle the trouble head on?

Lee Child has honed his tight thriller writing and character development that is sadly lacking in the 2nd and 3rd Reacher novels I’m trying to get past halfway through. The first in the series Killing Floor has the best first paragraph / first chapter I have come across in a thriller. He put a lot of work into it – certainly wanted the manuscript bought and published. Give me a later novel from the series and I’m hooked. Cancel all social engagements – I’m with Reacher til the last page is turned.

A memorable illustration of Reacher’s fast reflexes – He tells of an Army psychological study of reactions to fear in children when Reacher was six years old. This has stuck in my mind – possibly because of a fascination with the studies that were conducted back in the 50s, 60s and 70s before they were banned (think Pavlov’s studies done on children, the jail study, the electric shock experiment).

A friend tracks how many times Reacher showers / changes his tshirt through the novels. It’s a compelling occupation, only I get too caught up in the story to properly remember the (rather low) numbers. But I shall leave this with you in case you don’t get so caught up.

Cheers and happy reading.

View all my reviews

Repurposed vintage grass catchers as plant containers

Not sure how well the photo will show up these gorgeous vintage metal push mower grass catchers. These belong to an age when things were built to last. So much so, my budget (read second-hand) brand name drill found it difficult to punch holes for water drainage. Hence only one is planted up so far with Popcorn Petunias (a plant name that lives up to its hype).

Repurposed plant containers from grass catchers

The set of three (above) I picked up along the roadside when the hard rubbish collection was on. The below Super 12! grass catcher came from the rubbish tip shop and had to be purchased with its push mower. But I love both items and use the mower as a garden deco item. Some people restore these but I’m happy with my more modern mower.

Super 12! Grass catcher repurposed as a plant container!

Lone nasturtium flower amongst the petunias

Stand is from the rubbish tip shop, container is an old plastic bucket, v cheap watering can from big name hardware store, and a few garden deco items!

DIY laundry table – a learning experience for a newbie!

My recent DIY project got me motivated to try more daring things. I should have known but I went ahead anyway.

My new front loader washing machine was delivered and, as I expected, there wasn’t room to sit the machines side by side, like I had with the last washer. Yet the dryer sitting on top of the washer looked completely out of proportion.

I also had a bigger problem. Henry the cat always eats his dinner on top of the dryer. If I put his food somewhere else he just sits on top of the dryer looking at me askance.

Something had to be done.

After triple checking the measurements (the first two checks resulted in different outcomes) I headed to the local hardware store. I love this store and I prefer to shop locally, but I don’t think many females walk into the timber section. The first guy I spoke to had the typical Australian male response – he looked around to see if there was somewhere else he could be. When I asked if they would cut the wood to size he said the cutter didn’t cut very straight. Whether he meant the machine or the person using it, I’m not sure. He then put me onto another person who had better communication (and sales) skills.

I reckon the new guy worked me out pretty quick as a DIY enthusiast – lots of enthusiasm, not much knowledge or skill.  Anyway, he was great. He cut the table legs to size (yes, they are straight) and gave me a piece of MDF for free (it was used as packing material – a bit like reusing pallets, I guess). The table items including brackets came to less than $30. My hardware store bill though was over $100. How does this happen? You add in a can of paint, this and that, and next minute you are wishing you have shares in the hardware store business.

I painted the items first. As I said, lots of enthusiasm. MDF takes a lot of paint. I used a primer, followed by two coats.

Yes this is on a lean. Or at least the concrete is on a lean. The sawhorses were freebies - picked up when the hard rubbish collection was recently held here.

I predrilled screw holes and drilled the brackets attaching the legs and table top.

Table was wonky.

Lady at work gave me a few ideas how to fix it. Thank you Eva.

Back to the hardware store Saturday after hair appointment. Still lots of enthusiasm.

I also had a brainwave. How about adding a silver trim to the table top edge to match the silver trim of the whitegoods and stainless steel of the laundry wash basin? Ooh. Style!

A final coat of white semi-gloss (it looks spiffy white and clean) was followed by masking the table top ledge and painting the edge using a sponge roller. So easy. I just wish I added a few more coats of the silver to deepen the shade but I still have that opportunity if I so wish.

How it turned out …

Okay. Not the best, but it does its job. And I couldn’t have bought something to suit for any $.

Yes, it holds the dryer, a full dryer load in action, and the cat’s dish (slightly smaller than the pictured laundry basket) and the 6.6kg cat.

I learnt heaps and know what I would do different next time so a worthwhile experience.
Close up of the exceedingly complicated washer electronics. Still haven’t worked out what some of the symbols mean. Yes I have read the booklet.

I’ll try to add a photo of the table in use as was intended – a shelf for the cat’s meals. Henry the cat eats for the Antarctic so shouldn’t be too difficult to catch that on digital film.

Being neighbourly

The neighbours are moving. What bliss.

They are lovely neighbours, friendly, don’t have late parties with loud music and gatecrashers. Yeah, their dogs bark but then my dogs bark at their dogs and we acknowledge this and we are working on it. So are the dogs. Frequently.

So if they are such great neighbours, why the joy?

I was able to open the bedroom blinds and windows.

You can’t see directly into my bedroom from the front of the house, nor from the neighbour’s house. From their driveway and garage, you can look sideways (I’m turning my head as I type so scratch that), you can see, from an angle, my built in wardrobe which covers one whole wall. No worries, you are thinking. Except for the floor to ceiling full width mirror coverage of said wardrobe doors. Which reflects back everything in the room. 

Normally I make do with a lack of natural light and having the aircon on all night. Which is quite considerate of me really. It would give me a dreadful fright first thing of a morning, except I’m short sighted.


Another neighbourly matter is that someone in the close vicinity has an unsecured wireless network with excellent signal strength.

 I did think of … I did think of leaving a friendly neighbourly note in their letterbox to warn them of the dangers of such, but then came across a much better idea.

As have some others …

Thank you Passive Aggressive Notes for these gems and a few wasted hours I should have been doing the housework.

Is that passive aggressive enough for you? Or should I tone it down a tad?


Your neighbour on the internet.

It’s official. I’m a geek.

Australians are early adopters of new technology with market research revealing that three-quarters of Australian online adults now use social technologies, and one-quarter create their own content. Social technologies include weblogs (blogs), podcasts, forums, and social networking sites.

The use of social technologies is now mainstream with Australians spending more hours per week using the internet than watching television. And there is a higher percentage of Australians creating their own web content (26%), compared to Americans (21%).

All of this dinky-di data comes from the Forrestor Research 2008 study Australian Adult Social Technographics® Revealed which was put together to help marketers better target their customers.

While reading the report I was working out where I fit in the categories market researchers like to put us into, so I can be savvy to new or emerging marketing trends and, well, avoid them.

I am, apparently, officially a geek, despite these facts:

  • I started this blog late December 2009 – a late bloomer I would think given a quarter of the population are already doing it
  • I only discovered digital television, the joy of ABC2 and the short-lived fun of watching  the shows from my childhood on GO, over and over again, this year
  • I delayed entering the digital camera age until November 2008
  • I don’t own a Smartphone or proper MP3 player (the iPod Shuffle I bought to take to the gym doesn’t count. Also doesn’t count if I don’t go to the gym)
  • I don’t play computer games, online or otherwise
  • I refuse to facebook or tweet.

 However, I do:

  • Listen to podcasts and watch vodcasts (including ABC iView)
  • Use RSS to organise web material – you can try this by clicking on the orange symbol under TELEGRAMS FROM THE PALACE. Or just click on the link and subscribe
  • Own a HD television
  • Research and/or buy products, travel and financial services online
  • Use internet auctions (I am a top 1,000 reviewer on eBay. I’m so proud. 13 out of 13 people who read my review liked it!)
  • and, well, I am pretty well wedded to the computer / internet.

Given you are reading this – either at the blog or via RSS or via email (all methods to keep up to date with the goings on at Rivoli Palace) – you are one of the 75%.

Now, let’s see if you are one of the 25%. Leave a comment.

Urgent EVOKE – must play game online …

EVOKE – a crash course in changing the world.

This is not a simulation.

You are about to tackle real problems.

Welcome to the EVOKE Network.

There’s an old saying here: “If you have a problem, and you can’t solve it alone, evoke it.”

An evoke is an urgent call to innovation.

When we evoke, we look for creative solutions.
We use whatever resources we have.
We get as many people involved as possible.
We take risks.
We come up with ideas that have never been tried before.

Every Wednesday at midnight, the network will send out a new evoke.
Here’s how to respond.

Read the story.
Investigate the story.
Accept your mission.


EVOKE was developed by the World Bank Institute, the learning and knowledge arm of the World Bank Group, and directed by alternate reality game master Jane McGonigal

Join in the game with Rivoli Palace at

Thanks to eGov AU for putting me onto this one.