Santos Museum of Economic Botany: Adelaide, Australia

If you’ve ever had an interest in the history of food, clothing, and textiles,

and how they became a part of a region’s economy, you’ll want to visit the Santos Museum of Economic Botany when you’re in Adelaide, Australia.

The museum has educated the public on the sources of food, drugs, and clothing that entered the economy of Australia during the 19th century.

Unearthing the Past

When you visit, you’ll learn about the historical uses of food, seeds, and other plants that were used in Australia during the Industrial Revolution. Believe it or not, at that time it became a priority for emerging industries to hide where their products came from. In addition, for more than a century, the Santos Museum of Economic Botany was instrumental in revealing contributions made by populations of Aboriginal peoples which would have otherwise remain hidden from public consciousness.

The Pomological Collection

Many consider this feature the highlight of the collections which you can see at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany. The Pomological Collection includes models of 129 pears and 192 apples, and serves as an intriguing look into the history of economic botany as it contains varieties which no longer exist today. The models were acquired for the museum in the late 1800s and are made out of papier-mâché. 

Santos Museum of Economic Botany: Permanent Exhibits

If you visit the Santos Museum today, you’ll be able to see permanent exhibits like the Fungi Model Showcase, which features over 200 models depicting fungi in different stages of growth. You’ll also see authentic fruit models from Germany that were used in the 1880s to educate farmers in setting up their crops.  

Although interest in the Santos Museum waned during the 20th century, the museum was renovated in 2009 and is capturing the interest of the public once again. The museum is now part of the Adelaide Botanical Garden, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore over 3000 items, many of which are presented with their original labels;

If you’re visiting Adelaide, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to explore this intriguing aspect of Australia’s past. For more information about the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, please contact us.

The Charles Dickens Statue in Australia

Did you know that there are a few statues of Charles Dickens in the entire world?

That’s because Charles Dickens had very specific wishes for how he wanted to be remembered in his will. 

Charles Dickens’ Will

Charles Dickens is one of the world’s most loved and well-known authors. His will stated that there were to be no public memorials built in his memory. He wanted to be remembered through his many works instead. 

For the most part, his wishes have been respected. However, there have been a few statues crafted to honor him throughout the world. You can find one of these statues in Sydney, Australia.

History of Sydney’s Statue

The Charles Dickens Statue in Sydney is in the Centennial Parklands. It’s believed to have been built and placed in the park around 1891, about 21 years after his death.

In 1971, most of the statues in the park were removed. The Charles Dickens statue was placed into storage and moved from one location to another for about 40 years, and no one knew its exact whereabouts during that time.

Throughout these years, there were quite a few inquiries as to its location, but in 2007, a letter was published asking about the Charles Dickens statue’s location, and it was finally located.

Restoring the Statue

When the statue of Charles Dickens was located, it needed some restoration. The head had been lost due to vandals and was also missing a baby finger, a scroll, and a quill. It took a year and a few tries to find the marble that matched the original. Photos of the original statue were used to recreate the missing pieces.

The Charles Dickens Statue Today

The Charles Dickens statue was placed at the junction of Dickens Drive and Loch Avenue, its location from 1897-1971. The statue was unveiled on Dicken’s 199th birthday in 2011. You can visit the statue at any time, but if you happen to visit on his birthday, you’ll find a celebration, including cake!

Balls Head Reserve: A Rare Aboriginal Carving of a Whale

One of the most interesting points of interest you’ll see while visiting Balls Head Reserve is the aboriginal carving of a whale. 

You’ll find the carving at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability. The first thing you’ll notice is the size.

The figure of the whale is approximately 20 feet long, making it one of the largest aboriginal carvings you’ll ever encounter. 

The Discovery

Workers who were responsible for helping renovate the Coal Loader were stunned when they discovered the carving. No one knew of it’s existence up until that point. Today, it is a one of the sites most people say they must view while they’re visiting the area. While everyone was surprised by the whale carving, there is a history of aboriginal carvings in that area. There is historic data that many carvings were mapped that dates back to 1899. Sadly, most of the carvings no longer exist, which makes the whale carving even more special.

Considering that it’s very old and that the area sustained significant damage the Coal Loader Centre was originally constructed, the whale carving is in surprisingly good condition. Although some of the original, shallow carvings have been eroded by time, the bulk of the carving is highly visible.

Activities at Balls Head Reserve

The Aboriginal Carving of the Whale is just one of the things you’ll enjoy when you visit Balls Head Reserve. Additional activities include touring the community nursery, shopping at the artisan market, and taking in one of the many environmental events that are frequently taking place near the whale carving. The site is open to public tours.

Take Me There!

The easiest way to view the Aboriginal Carving of the Whale is going to the Waverton Train Station. From there, it’s an easy 10 minute walk to the carving. The walk provides you with an excellent opportunity to take in the area’s natural beauty and catch sight of the remaining pieces of the original Coal Loader Centre.

Cockatoo Island: An Overview


Cockatoo Island, which is located in Sydney Harbour, has a rich and varied history.

From 1839-69 the island served as a penal colony for convicts.

Most of the prisoners who were shipped to the island were second time offenders. One of the two boatyards currently located on the island was constructed by the prisoners. While there are no longer prisoners on the island, Cockatoo Island is one of the 11 Australian Convict Sites listed with World Heritage.

The history of iron being taken from Cockatoo Island dates all the way back to the 1880s when Pearl Luggers loaded heavy iron rocks onto ships. The rocks were then used for various projects. In the 1920s exploration of the island was officially started, only to draw to close during WWII when Cockatoo Island served as both a refueling center for Catalina flying boats and as a radar station. Shortly after the end of WWII, BHP started mining the island’s rich iron deposits. At the peak of the mining operation, miners collected 2 million tons of 67% Fe Iron Ore annually. At that point, Cockatoo Island was home to 350 people.

The most recent feather in the island’s history is that in 2008 it served as the backdrop for a few scenes in the highly successful, 2008 movie, Wolverine.


While the island no longer has any full-time inhabitants, it is a major tourist attraction. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust manages Cockatoo Island and has dedicated a great deal of time and other resources to preserving the structures that were created by both the convicts and mining families who once called the island home. 

Today tourists are invited to explore Cockatoo Island. You can reach the island via Sydney Ferries. You have the option of either spending a day on the island, exploring the old buildings, or you can take advantage of the opportunity to go glamping on Cockatoo Island. No special equipment is needed for your overnight glamping stay. You are able to stay in the pre-pitched army tents or in one of the designated buildings.

Cockatoo Island is often used for festivals and concerts that take place throughout the year.

A Brief Knit and Crochet History With Free Pattern Platforms For Babies

The Knit and Crochet Guild summarized the history behind hand knitting versus crocheting

when sharing examples of knitted pieces dating back to specific pieces found in Spanish and Egyptian cultures dating back to the 13th century.

Crochet creations came along later and knitting has often been confused with other techniques including sprang, netting and nalbinding but these medieval processes are different. 

However, nalbinding is older than knitting and both were used in the Tunisian region to make footwear. It’s possible knitting developed from nalbinding most likely during the days of the Roman Empire in ancient Egypt. In any case, those who knit and crochet still hold these practices near and dear to their hearts often crafting pieces for newborn infants, older babies, toddlers and other family members. 

Patterns Passed On

Since both practices date back many centuries, patterns for knitting and crocheting were often passed down from generation to generation. This helped keep this crafty tradition alive and thanks to today’s modern technology, yarn mongers are finding and sharing patterns online.

Here are three platforms offering free patterns available on the internet for both knitters and those who love to crochet. You’ll find booties, bibs and blankets galore along with clothing, hats, outfits, even tiny washcloths and toys on many of these sites. So get clicking so you can start knitting and crocheting some of these adorable pieces. 

Knitting Niches 

1. All Crafts touts over 100 free baby knitting patterns available on their website.

2. Twenty-one easy knitting patterns are showcased on In The Loop Knitting.

3. At Knitting on the Net, those seeking free patterns choose between different categories including blankets, booties, hats, sweaters and other miscellaneous items.

Crochet Creations

1. Their name says it all at All Free Crochet with tons of options available for “happy hooking.”

2. The Spruce Crafts has at least a half-dozen patterns waiting for you on their website. Scroll to the bottom of the page and check out some “Quick Crochet Baby Gifts” you can make when time is of the essence.

3. You won’t miss a stitch with the many baby crochet patterns available at Yarnspirations

BONUS: Producers of yarn for decades, at Red Heart, where their “sheep are on the move,” they have patterns for both genres. So in conclusion, have a blast creating your crafts whether you’re knitting, crocheting or both and your creations will become a part of posterity for many generations to come.

Visit The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation

Located in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation is a beautifully designed pyramid.

The Purpose

“The four sides of our Palace are oriented to the four sides of the world. In some sense this construction embodies independent Kazakhstan that friendly embraces all people of all nations and practicing different religions.”

~Nursultan Nazarbayev, the first President of Kazakhstan

The Palace was designed and created for the express purpose of providing a permanent venue for the triennial Congress of World and Traditional Religions. This congress brings together religious leaders for open dialogue to promote mutual peace and understanding. 

The Architecture

Designed by British architectural firm Foster and Partners, the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation took just under two years to build and was completed in 2006. The pyramid stands 62 meters (203 feet) tall with a symmetrical base that measures 62 meters by 62 meters. 

The top of the structure features beautiful stained glass work designed by artist Brian Clark depicting doves, a universal symbol of peace. The best view of the glass work can be seen from the inside in the apex conference room. The building also houses a 1350-seat opera hall and an atrium full of living trees and foliage. 

For a brilliant photograph of the full structure, wait until dark to capture it lit from within by glowing colors.

Planning a Visit

The city of Astana is very welcoming to tourists and has accommodations available to suit any price range. The city is home to not only the palace, but many other modern architectural structures that are sure to make the trip worthwhile for any architectural buff. While there you can also check out local music performances, museums, and restaurants with traditional local cuisine.

The Palace of Peace and Reconciliation is open 10-6 daily and offers 30-minute guided tours which are available in English.

Starting a Blog

A blog can be the best way to make a personal connection with people having a specific interest.

Starting a blog can secure you as an expert in that field. 

How Did Blogs Begin?

Web Designer Depot says that the first blog was actually the personal homepage of college student Justin Hall that he began in 1994. He updated the site in the style of a personal journal that periodically updated people about his life. But it wasn’t until 1997 that the term “weblog” was used to describe the process of logging information on the web. Eventually, this was shortened to just the word “blog” which became Merriam-Webster’s 2004 word of the year. Platforms like Blogger and WordPress were developed to make blogging accessible to everyone, and the rest is history. 

What Has Blogging Become Today? 

Today you can’t go online without finding a blog very quickly. The blog has become a fusion of journalism, education, opinion sharing, and selling. Anyone looking to share anything with the world online can do so through blogging. With the ease and accessibility of video on the internet, the concept of “vlogging” has become highly popular. YouTube vlogger Casey Neistat has developed a following of over 11 million subscribers just through his vlog videos. This is a way to take the blogging concept to video instead of through the written word. 

Becoming an Expert

When you begin to write and people begin to read your blog, it creates a following of readers and/or watchers. They begin to share your blog with their friends that have similar interests, and your followers grow. Whatever you choose to blog about, you begin to establish yourself as an expert in that topic. Some people have been able to make big money with their blogs. Their income doesn’t just come from selling, but also from advertising. R.L. Adams writes for Forbes about several blogs that generate huge incomes! 

What’s Your Niche?

The most inspiring part about blogging is that you can have a lot of success in virtually any niche. Professional blogs like Smashing Magazine offer a lot of content in the web development industry. They provide a great deal of content at no cost for those in the industry and have grown a huge following. Other popular blogs like Perez Hilton are focused on pop culture and celebrity gossip. Whatever your niche, you can begin providing a great deal of content and grow your audience. 

Looking for a Relaxing Night In? Take a Bubble Bath!

There’s nothing like the calm and clean feeling you get after a long soak in the tub.

Though it is not known just when the tradition of bubble baths began, Mr. Bubble can claim the honor of making bubble baths affordable to a wider range of customers.

Invented in 1961, Mr. Bubble marketed itself as a way to help you avoid troublesome bathtub rings. These days, we are all a little more concerned with the calming effects of a bubble bath than the practicality of a clean tub, though that is still, of course, an added bonus. 

Bubbles baths are great because they can be taken at home or on vacation. Let’s take a look at how to make the most of yours. 

Bubble Bath Essentials

Every good bubble bath begins with a bubble bath solution and some candles. Scents are an important part of getting into a state of relaxation, so  pairing your bubble bath with a similarly scented candle can have a positive impact on your overall experience. Studies show that scents like vanilla and cinnamon are have a calming effect, whereas citrus and peppermint scents can be energizing. Seasonal scents, like pumpkin or pine, can bring back fond memories which are often relaxing for many people as well.

Complete comfort is the goal, so you will definitely want to have a bath pillow to rest your head, and a soft scrubber to pamper your skin. If you have some achy muscles, you can add some scented or plain epsom salts to into your bathwater. 

What Do You Do in a Bubble Bath?

Some people like to just rest and relax with their thoughts, while others prefer reading a book, or using a tablet for games a movies. A tub caddy can provide the perfect platform for any of these activities so you can keep your books and electronics safe and dry. They usually have enough room for holding a drink as well as a scrubber and soap. You can also get a waterproof speaker for playing calming music or a guided meditation.

Whatever your bubble bath style, just fill up the tub, add in the bubble bath, then relax and enjoy.

Expand Your Palate With New Cuisines

Burgers and fries anyone? As for me and most Americans, this is what we love to eat most.

Our favorite dishes map out who we are and where we come from. Cuisine is a term that refers to particular dishes depending on the region and culture they originate from. 

Cuisines developed as human civilizations evolved. Climate and availability of edible plants and animals are the factors that played a critical role in the development of early cuisines.

How Are Cuisines Classified?

Cuisines are classified on the basis of regions, cultures, religions, and cooking styles. Some examples of this classification include:

  • Regional: Italian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese and Spanish
  • Religious: Jewish, Muslim, Jain, and Buddhist
  • Ethnicity: Native American, African American, American, African, and Arab.
  • Style: Traditional, gourmet, and fusion.

A Brief History of International Cuisine

Have you ever wondered where Taco’s, Pasta, Noodles or even Curry originated from? You may think that you really understand the history of some cuisines, but you would be surprised to know that even what you consider your traditional cuisine has its roots in other parts of the world. For instance, pasta is considered a traditional Italian dish; however, the noodle is considered a Chinese creation.

American cuisine is also a blend of culinary contributions from the diverse groups that immigrated to the United States. This includes; Europeans, Asians, American Indians, Africans, South Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Culture dictates a region’s style of cooking. Religion also determines what foods can be consumed, and how they are prepared. For instance, Hindus don’t consume beef since the cow is sacred in their religion. Muslims don’t eat pork because pigs are considered unclean.

Why You Should Experience New Cuisines

  • You discover foods you’ve never tried before.
  • You experience foods in a new way.
  • You learn about different cultures through food.
  • You experience new flavors and dishes that you can try at home.
  • You meet new people.

If you love cooking and are competitive an excellent way of experimenting with new cuisines is by enrolling for cooking competitions such as MasterChef and Top Chef.

Popular Penitentiaries: A Guide to Prison Tours

Popularized on the big screen and in novels throughout the ages, Alcatraz prison in the San Francisco Bay Area is still a popular tourist attraction.

Known as The Rock, even though Clint Eastwood and his gang were able to Escape From Alcatraz on film, the characters they are based on in real life are MIA and presumed drowned in the chilly, sometimes shark-infested waters surrounding the penitentiary. 

Visiting a prison–whether it’s no longer housing inmates or still locking up criminals–provides a fascinating look at “life on the inside.” There are a number of these venues available to curious tourists. Here are four penitentiaries worthy of a tour and trip down felony lane.

1. Devil’s Island

Another isolated institution, Devil’s Island was immortalized in books and films as home to Henri “Papillon” Charriere. Convicted of murder in 1913, the alleged safe-cracker, pimp, and petty thief escaped the penitentiary after 13 years of captivity.  Located six nautical miles of the coast of French Guiana, the tropical environment was considered torture for inmates trapped on the island.

2. Folsom Prison

Another jailhouse immortalized for posterity, Johnny Cash put this penitentiary on the map when he released Folsom Prison Blues and later performed the song live for inmates in 1968. While tourists aren’t allowed behind bars, visitors to this famous penitentiary will uncover the bloody history of this facility at the Folsom Prison Museum. Opened in 2011 on the outskirts of Sacramento, attendees will view a hangman’s noose, Gatling gun, and the old obligatory ball-and-chain.

3. Hoa Lo Prison aka The Hanoi Hilton

The Hoa Lo Prison was given the ironic nickname of The Hanoi Hilton when it was “home” to hundreds of inmates during the Vietnam War. Often housing up to 2,000 prisoners in a space meant for 600 people, the shackles used to lock up residents are still on display. Although horror stories include torturous interrogations and horrific, well-documented accounts by POWs, the museum mostly concentrates on Vietnamese revolutionaries, some of whom were executed at the prison.

4. The Tower of London

Few venues offer visitors views of a royal palace, historic fortress and home of an infamous prison all in one location. The Tower of London was originally built by William the Conquer to assert his power and protect the city from attack. Later used as a prison primarily in the 16th and 17th centuries, it later inspired the chilling phrase of being “sent to the Tower.”