Illusions and Puzzles

The biggest puzzle of my life at the moment is where does time go? I struggle to fit in all those things we are supposed to do and all the things you must do and all the things that you want to do. I do believe that technology has made this worse for us and in 2 ways. Firstly because things are so much quicker and easier than they used to be we are expected to do more – I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be an accountant 40 years ago, I bet they had a lot less clients to look after for a start! And secondly, you see so much more than in the past that you are exposed to what more people are doing (not just your family, friends and local community) – sometimes this is a good thing, as you get lots of wonderful ideas, but other times you just wonder if you are doing it right.

I follow this Facebook page called The Organised Housewife – it gives you great ideas about how to keep your house cleanNeverending Story Laundry and organised. She also gives you a weekly declutter challenge that I like to do. Every now and then she also posts a ‘Reader Question’ and someone asked how often people wash the linen. The common answer was weekly, some twice a week, others were honest like me and said less often especially in winter. Some people said they washed their towels daily! Seriously? I cannot keep up with washing the clothes (for 2 people!), let alone washing sheets weekly and towels daily? And when I am on top of the washing of clothes, that doesn’t mean they get folded – it just means they are clean. Depending on what we are doing (work-wise and socially), if we are particularly busy we are rummaging through the clean clothes piles for undies! So if is wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t think I am doing something wrong! (Although I would know rummaging for undies isn’t the norm!)

Now I know I said time seems to disappear, so you’ll think I am a bit crazy about what I say next… but last week I made it my mission to solve the Rubik’s Cube. On the 19th of May 2014 it was Rubik’s Cube 40th anniversary. Beside the fact that it makes me feel old, seeing it mentioned on the news (or firstly as Google’s homepage picture) I wondered if there would be YouTube videos on how to solve it. Well everything is on YouTube nowadays! So I made it my project to finally solve my Rubik’s Cube (that I have had since I was 10!) – and I just want to add here that I had a pretty bad chest cold so being rugged up with a Rubik’s Cube seemed like the best thing to do :)Michelle's Labyrinth - The Labyrinth 13th hour

I found this YouTube video that is pretty good by Techtopia Tutorials. I watched the beginning (up to 1:50 mins) a couple of times while he explained the basics of the cube. Now he mentions that there are algorithms that solve the Rubik’s Cube and don’t get scared by that word and nor what an algorithm may look like (example: F F U L R’ F F L’ R U F F ) because he breaks it down and explains it all. He also explains that an algorithm is a “Sequence of moves used to solve a specific portion of the Rubik’s Cube.” I had my Rubik’s Cube and I followed along with him until around the 8:50 minute mark and that’s where I got stuck. I couldn’t believe it, I was cheating at solving the Rubik’s Cube and I still couldn’t get it. It made me think of 2 people I know that can solve the Rubik’s Cube. I met both of them during University years. One mentioned that he got the Rubik’s Cube for Christmas one year (when he was around 12) and took it off to his bedroom and mathematically solved it… This guy did have a pretty high IQ, but at 12 years old he solved it? How inadequate did that thought make me feel when I couldn’t solve it with help!

So I started thinking – I have had this Rubik’s Cube since I was 10, what if I did swap a square sticker or two when I was young, or if one of my sisters did. The cube was also getting hard to turn certain ways so I Googled how to clean it (click here for instructions on how to clean it). I figured if I put it back together the correct way, then I would know if I had changed some stickers! So I took it apart and it was DISGUSTING inside!

Michelle's Labyrinth That's Disgusting Michelle's Labyrinth Rubik's in piecesMichelle's Labyrinth Rubik's middle

27 years of filth! I sprayed some CRC and put it back together and it worked fine. So I was a failure at cheating! (I thought you would like to see what the inside of the Rubik’s Cube looks like. I read a little bit about Ernő Rubik and he is chuffed that the mechanism he invented is still what is used today).

But I wasn’t about the give up. I found thisMichelle's Labyrinth Rubik's Cube Solved other website that showed a picture tutorial of You CAN Do The Rubik’s Cube! It was extremely helpful and I worked out I was at Stage 5 and guess what? I SOLVED THE RUBIK’S CUBE!  I know I did it with help, but it has been on my radar to work it out for 27 years, so I am quite pleased with myself. And I couldn’t just stop there, I had Rubik’s Octagon Barrel which hadn’t been in the right shaped for about 14 years – this is where my other friend from University years comes in. I learnt at a party at his place that he could do the Rubik’s Cube, so when he came over my place for grape picking (that is a whole other blog post!) I handed him my Octagon Barrel and you know what, he solved it! How did he do that?!

Michelle's Labyrinth Octagon Barrel - UnsolvedI found yet another YouTube by IntellivisionDude that showed a guy solving the barrel. It wasn’t a step by step tutorial though, he pretty much says that it has the same principles as the Rubik’s Cube – with a couple of exceptions which he does go into detail about. So I went back to my first YouTube and started solving the Octagon Barrel and you’ll never guess what? It worked!

I now have my own written instructions that I have used a few times to solve the Rubik’s Cube and Octagon Barrel – so I am pretty happy that I have got this crossed off the bucket list! If anyone wants me to show them how to do it, I would be more than happy to show you and give you my instructions! :) Just for the record, I can not solve it quickly nor remember all the steps – there 7 stages and about 12 different algorithms to use, and my memory is just not what it used to be! And I am not sure I believe that “The current world record for single time on a 3×3×3 Rubik’s Cube was set by Mats Valk of the Netherlands in March 2013 with a time of 5.55 seconds” – per Wikipedia. It takes me well over 5 minutes to do it now!Michelle's Labyrinth Octagon Barrel Solved

I thought I would pop a cake in at the end of this post – and there are three reasons why this cake fits this post – first off I saw this cake and read the tutorial and just wanted to do it (like I wanted to do the Rubik’s Cube); secondly it is made up of pieces and cubes (just like the… you get it? Okay!); and thirdly it ended up being very time sensitive… never enough time…

The cake I saw was this Optical Illusion Cake by Wicked Goodies Optical Illusion Cakeand I just wanted to make it. It seemed quite simple, yet so effective. I ended up making a version for my father-in-law for his 70th birthday. We held a 12 person dinner party for him and we cooked all of his favourite foods – oysters, mushrooms, bread rolls & butter, lamb and apple pie! Since I was cooking for 12 people and we wanted to do 4 courses, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make a cake – that was until I saw this Optical Illusion cake! Then I thought I would give it a go.

Of course I didn’t give myself enough time and when the guests started arriving my bench was covered in blue diamonds! But while we were waiting for everyone to arrive, and the guests that were there were having their first drink, I quickly put all the diamonds on the cake! I was quite chuffed when they saw the cubes appearing in the design and made excited comments :) One thing I did learn when making this cake was I should have covered the diamonds while they were waiting for me to put them on the cake, by the time I got half way through the diamonds were starting to dry out, so they where hard to mould into the design and also cracked a little bit. You live and learn right?

Michelle's Labyrinth 70th Party 1Michelle's Labyrinth 70th Party 2

I hope you can see the optical illusion effect on the cake – it does look better from a distance. Until next time – I hope you all have a wonderful weekend (and it is yet another long weekend in Western Australia, but it is our second last :( until Christmas – which is 30 weeks away!!! :) )

Michelle's Labyrinth Cutting Illusion Cake Michelle's Labyrinth Illusion Cake





A Selection of Me

Michelle's LabyrinthI have had this idea in my head, since I first started my blog and Michelle’s Labyrinth, about creating a cover page with the words “Michelle’s Labyrinth” surrounded by my favourite things. I am not sure where the idea came from, maybe the last scene of the movie The Labyrinth where Sarah is back in her “real” bedroom and surrounded by all the creatures of The Labyrinth.Michelle's Labyrinth Or possibly the idea came from the print by Brian Froud where Toby (the baby in The Labyrinth) is surrounded by goblins. Well this idea has been brewing for a while, and although what I have created isn’t exactly what is in my head yet – I am happy with my first go!

I thought I better introduce you to some of the OOAK (One Of A Kind) collectibles I have and the artists behind them. I won’t expand too much on some of the artists as one day I would like to dedicate a blog post to each of them.Michelle's Labyrinth

First guy off the ranks is a gnome by by artist Girardi Mariano. I bought him in Las Vegas at the Venetian (Grand Canal Shoppe’s Venetian Resort Hotel) in a shop called Il Prato's Labyrinth This guy is quite special because I actually bought him on my wedding day – 25th March 2008! I also bought he Venetian mask at the same place. Doesn’t it look like one of the masks out of The Labyrinth!

There are a few creatures on my cover page by Conny Deylen ( . These snippets were written by Conny Deylen:

Michelle's Labyrinth Gauri the Female Mud Troll is not considered the most beautiful creature in Carmella’s realm. The male Mud Trolls know beauty when they see it. Whenever they see a female they are particularly attracted too they just naturally throw mud at her to get her attention. They more mud the more they are attracted. Gauri is in fact continually covered in real mud and just knows that she’s just a “Gorgeous Gal”. [March 2006]

Michelle's Labyrinth Ligeia The Mermaid is head mistress to a school of mermaids living near Wilsons Promontory. Their main job is to look after all the sea creatures in the area and to check on water pollution on behalf of FEPA (Fairy Environment Protection Authority). [March 2006]

Also by Conny Deylen is Fang the Dragon [July 2007], another mermaid and LadyHawk the fairy born the 25th Day of April 2005 in The Fairy Dell [Register of Magical Births]. I named LadyHawke after the movie Lady Hawke starring Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth Michelle's Labyrinth

Michelle's Labyrinth I bought this Steampunk doll from Supanova a couple of years ago. I believe a local Western Australia girl made her. Here is a website I found that shows how to make them!

Mad Hatter is by NatashaMichelle's Labyrinth Morgan – I think I have shown a picture of him before taken by Natasha Morgan. I took this photo :) I absolutely love Natasha’s work – please check out her Facebook page ( or her Etsy shop (

Michelle's LabyrinthSap Dancer is by the famous Wendy Froud – wife of Brian Froud. Did I say famous? Well you ALL know someone she created – Yoda for the 1980 film Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back! So yes – I am a VERY lucky girl to have Sap Dancer in my collection :)  (Photo is from AFA gallery ( – my photo edited was quite terrible on my cover page version!)

Michelle's Labyrinth The Fairy Godmother is by Tony Rice. This is a 12 inch mixed media sculpture that was inspired by a painting by Brian Froud ( I’ve also included Brian Froud’s print The Faery Godmother so you can see what inspired Tony Rice – how lucky was I to find this sculpture! Michelle's Labyrinth



Michelle's Labyrinth I do not want to forget Hoggle from The Labyrinth. He is a magnet made by Bronwyn Frazier – “Oh don’t act so smart. You don’t even know what an oubliette is.”  (

Of course cakes are a part of my labyrinth, so I wanted to include them in the cover page too. I hope you like the ones I selected. I also snuck in a Brian Froud book – Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book. And unfortunately I cannot remember where I got the red mask from…

The rest of the characters are not OOAKs – are you able to name them? And are you able to guess who else I have in my collection?

Michelle's Labyrinth Coverpage












Goonies Never Say Die!

One of my favourite movies growing up was The Goonies. We had a video of it taped from the TV and we watched it every school holidays! My sisters and I knew the movie inside out, and when every advert was so we were ready to fast forward! We knew Michelle's Labyrinthwhat the truffle shuffle was (poor Chunk); loved Data’s inventions; laughed at Mouth’s loose translation of Mikey’s Mum’s instructions to Rosa; wanted an attic like Mikey’s, and also wanted an older brother just like Brandon… okay, maybe that was just me wanting Josh Brolin!
Michelle's Labyrinth





The Easter Bunny visited me in the U.S. so I could give some Reece’s Pieces to my niece and nephew and also my friend’s kids. When my friend’s kids heard the Easter Bunny had given me some treats, a request was put in that they come to my house for a treasure hunt in my media room and also to watch a movie. My friend and I decided on The Goonies this time, we are trying to introduce some of our old faves to them. Last holidays it was Bedknobs and Broomsticks!

So what do The GooniesMichelle's Labyrinth and a Easter Egg hunt have in common? A treasure map!





So here is the map I made the kids! My friend had to read it out to them, and I was very impressed she got the rhythm that was in my head!

Michelle's Labyrinth
Hear ye, hear ye!
The U.S. Easter bunny is very tricky.
Follow some clues
To find some treats of goo!
Take four paces as if ones tall,
To find four red golden balls.

Marshmallow eggs the Easter bunny has hidden,
Is there something long black and wooden?
Open the doors to find what is there,
There may be boobie traps so beware!

Fancy some Easter jelly beans?
Hope you’ve been good and your bedroom is clean?
Turn over the treasure map,
For clues on your next step.

Now for Reece’s Pieces and a pirate movie called The Goonies.
Be good and not act like loonies!
Carefully use the buttons to raise the middle chairs,
Now look under to find the last Easter treasures!!

The first section of theMichelle's Labyrinth map was stuck to the media room door, and the next quarter was with the first lot of goodies and the next section was with the next lot of goodies and so on. The red golden balls were Lindt Milk Chocolate balls. The boobie traps were DVDs leaning against the doors of the TV cabinet so when the doors were opened they fell out. My friend asked the kids what in the room goes “Grrr!” and Scott pointed to my Chewbacca! Sure enough the jelly beans were under him! The kids seemed to enjoyed the treasure hunt, and even more so enjoyed the goodies while watching The Goonies.


I do love the movie very much and I love how the musical score just sucks you into the adventure and how it expresses the emotions so well. Starting with the Fratelli Chase filled with excitement to get you revved up. The sparking romantic section when they are taking a pee break (and sneaking a kiss in the tunnel), which is followed by “They’re here!” and the Skull Cave Race when the tempo has increased, heart is racing, danger looming! I just love it! Dave Grusin did an amazing job composing this score.

But I cannot leave out Cyndi Lauper’s song “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough“… brilliant in the movie.Michelle's Labyrinth

And lastly, just to prove I am such a Goonie, here is the T-shirt I wore today (courtesy of my lovely hubbie who bought it for me when he was in the U.S.) “Goonies Never Say DIE!”  :)

Michelle's Labyrinth




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