Saturday, April 29, 2006

642.4 and other social events (new & improved with photos!)

Greetings from Woy Woy public library, which is my sort of place. Staid and solid looking on the outside:But with a wicked sense of humour. They have a Spike Milligan room! And a fairy garden with a gnome crossing: It's been a busy and social couple of days - Thursday night saw the inaugural 642.4 - a gathering of Librarians (642.4 is the Dewey number for social dining, in case you're wondering.)

Good food was eaten, wine was drunk, gossip ensued and a good time was had by all.

Friday morning I was on the bus to Sydney. I was hoping to be able to give you reports of op shopping in the big smoke but alas by the time the business part of the day was over the shops were closed. Hopefully I'll have better luck today and can bore entertain you with tales of my discoveries.

Princess B of Libraria and I stayed with the King and Queen of Maryville last night and were taken on a state visit of the local RSL.

Good food was eaten, wine was drunk, gossip ensued and a good time was had by all!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday "Frugal and Free" File

1. Frugal. Remember that video we rented on Saturday? I forgot to mention I had a coupon which brought the hire down from $6 TO $2.95. Or under $1.50 per person watching. Excellent!

2. Free. Lovely goodies from Canada including rooly trooly maple syrup. I've always been fascinated by Canada since I was at primary school where we seemed to do a project on the place every year. Mainly, I suspect, because the Canadian embassy in NZ gave out such great free stuff if you wrote to them and asked for information for your project...
3. Free. I finally used up my coffee card at Loui after 6 months of working close enough to make the trek to get my occasional coffee treat from him. Here's my free cup of coffee and a (rather bad) picture of my favorite barista:

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Final Countdown

This time in two weeks I'll be all checked in at Sydney airport (and, knowing me, posting to my blog from the free internet machine outside of the asian cafe in order to stop myself buying all those Mac products I no longer need now I have discovered the cheap versions work just as well)

And this time in four weeks I'll be in Chicago with Princess B of Libraria stuffing myself with archiectural wonders of the full and miniature sizes.

Other things we need to do in Chicago include riding on a ferris wheel, playing pinball and eating cracker jacks and Twinkies. Hopefully not all at the same time!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ingredients for a pretty perfect night

I finally finished the Frank Lloyd Wright biography I've had since July 2003 (cue jubilation and applause) so am onto a book of his buildings.

I've never really been "into" Frank Lloyd Wright but figured I never liked Gaudi til I read up on him and started to understand what he was trying to do, so the same approach might work in the lead up to my time in Chicago. If all else fails finding out more about Frank Lloyd Wright might give me more subtext to what I know about Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin.

I picked up the latest Franz Ferdinand that I've had on request at the library for ages (how frugal is that?!)

I bought a bottle of wine for $7 with $3.49 off it.

I've started work on my sophie bag which will be my first attempt at felting.

And I believe there are KitKats in the cupboard somewhere...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

C is for Cookie

So the deal was if I got through my (very long) Anzac Day "to do" list I could do something fun.

But it turned out the list was a little excessive so I figured having been to the gym, found the study floor under a layer of dumped stuff, done three loads of washing, a good solid hour's ironing and swept the front porch and path enough was enough. The lawns could wait.

And instead I rediscovered my favorite childhood biscuit recipe (in fact this may have been one of the first recipes I made all by myself) and made me a batch of caramel cookies for afternoon tea:

4 oz butter
1 dspn golden syrup
2 Tbspn milk (careful, a Tbspn here is 20 ml not the standard USA 15 ml - maybe I should say 4 tspn milk?)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 oz sugar
8 oz flour
1/2 cup sultanas
pinch of salt

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter. sugar. syrup, milk & soda. DO NOT BOIL, but allow mixture to fizz. Let cool.
2. In a bowl, place the flour, fruit, salt & vanilla (although I stick the vanilla into the liquid instead when it is cooling) Add the cooled mixture.
3. Place in small teaspoon lots on cold tray. Press lightly with fork (or hand). Bake at 325 F (170 C) for 10 - 15 minutes. (10 gives you a chewy cookie with a soft inside, 15 a more crunchy version)

Art of Noise, The Ambient Collection)

Frugaller's Log (supplemental)

You know what I love about frugalling sometimes? It throws open the great mysteries of the Universe.Why (and how), for instance, was this mug (which is almost identical to one I bought at the Te Papa gift shop in Wellington New Zealand last Easter for $27) sitting in my local Vinnies? (for $1 - I just had to get it to put in the top cupboard as a spare)

In the same flying visit to Vinnies I stumbled across a cache of bamboo knitting needles, MIP for $1 a pair.Which I bought, of course! Not that it's cheating because they are a gift for my Mum who hasn't used bamboo needles before.

But while we're on the subject of cheating during
Use What You Have Month - I hereby declare my April will be finishing one day early as I'll be in Sydney and Princess B of Libraria is taking me to Reverse Garbage on Sunday for my first visit.

(Soundtrack: Zero 7, When it falls)

Monday, April 24, 2006

New York City (birthday) girl

(Don't you love the one off Michael Roberts wallpaper?)

This time next month: The Big Apple and my 40th!

Here's the room we're staying in (as opposed to a generic "this is where you may be in our hotel if we like you. A lot" photo) Not that we expect to be spending very much time in here at all with the most exciting city in the world to explore and not very much time at all to do it in.We have a few "must dos" including visiting The Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes, the Guggenheim (and a long list of other buildings, hopefully not all shrouded in scaffolding like I've just discovered the Guggeheim is...) for architecture and Central Park for a picnic. I believe there will be cocktail drinking (probably not in Central Park), and, hopefully, Spamalot viewing depending on supplies of cheapy tickets.

Princess B of Libraria was hoping to go see X-Men 3 in New York (she won't explain why and has arranged for me to see X-Men 1 and 2 when I'm in Sydney next weekend which she says will make things clear.

(All I want explained is how come it's taken me so long to see two movies with Patrick Stewart in them?!)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sunday lovely Sunday

The day in pictures... 1. Autumnal creeper at Kingston Markets2. Loving graffiti, also at Kingston Markets
3, 4 & 5. Uh oh - today was Second Hand Sunday there.... (Don't worry, I was strong) 6. Princess B looking at jewelry at the markets.7. In a reflective mood... (Lunch at A Bite to Eat cafe)8. Followed by a visit to yet another library and an afternoon shopping for not very exciting and quite cheap things (new champagne stopper, anyone?)

Rare species spotted and caught!

Princess B and I dropped into Video Ezy last night while waiting for our Thai takeaway to be made and decided that had to be one of the most missleading business names that exists.

They really should rebrand as "DVD Ezy". Having said that we did actually manage to find not one but two new release videos available for hire! Since Princess B has already seem Madagascar The Island was our choice for the evening. I'd actually been wanting to see it but it turned out to be not quite what I was expecting with way more violence and explosions (and much need for suspending belief). Somehow I was expecting a more thoughtful slant on the story. Silly me.

Afterwards I discovered something amazing. That black box in the corner that I use to watch videos on also provides other stuff which is free! We watched Iron Chef (somewhat of a Saturday night tradition when we're visiting each other) followed by Rockwiz which I'd never heard of but which was brilliant entertainment.

So there you have it - how two raging Librarians spend their Saturday night in Australia's capital...

(Soundtrack: Jennifer Warnes, Famous Blue Raincoat (The songs of Leonard Cohen))

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Frogger! (UWYHM disaster #1)

OK, maybe it was a mistake to make the hat on bigger needles than recommended. But on the bright side I learnt to knit with circular needles and get to use one of the new words I've learnt this month!

The hat is no more. I frogged it.

Sort of Second Hand Saturday

Why "Sort of"? Because I did go to two new op shops (Hand to Hand and Salvos at Kippax) but didn't buy anything. Both were fairly small (Hand to Hand rates up there with the Brain Injury Foundation as smallest op shop I've seen) and since I had Princess B of Libraria in town I wasn't really doing the usual Saturday morning op shop crawl.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We bounced out of bed this morning in remarkably good form for people that had three cocktails and a glass of wine each last night and headed off for breakfast at
Podfood in Pialligo. Which was lovely (and so was breakfast - but of course I forgot to take my camera so was cursing myself).

And since we were just up the road we popped into have a look round
Bison for a present for Princess B's sister (Princess M of Pharmacopia). Much drooling went on but unfortunately no buying.

Next stop in the royal visit to the ACT was Kippax where I checked out the two op shops. I also made my first purchase of the day, and very frugal it was too. A new compost bucket for $2:My existing one is 6 years old and the lid is starting to fall apart so I can justify a replacement. Besides, it's black and will hide the dirt so much better than my old white one.

Now what do two off-duty Librarians do on their days off? Visit a library, of course! Kippax has a new branch which I've not managed to visit yet. And boy, was it worth it. They had a plethora of lovely books which begged to come with me:And in the spirit of visiting new places we also went out to the new Gunghalin Mall extension to visit Big W where presents were finally bought for Princes M (and I got to use my first self service checkout which was very weird) and I found another bargain:A three CD set for under $15. Although I'm thinking they left of a "C" and a question mark as it really should be titled "Call that punk?" Princess B and I were looking at each other with raised eyebrows and quizzical looks on a number of occasions during the playing of it when we got home.

The Pogues: punk?! The Smiths: punk?! We don't think so but we like the tracks so ignored the dodgy definitions. We wonder, though, if we wanted to buy a collection of Ska music would it be titled "All that country"?

(Soundtrack: All that punk)

Friday night savings.

Friday night Princess B of Libraria and I decided that we needed to practice for New York - by going out to a couple of bars and drinking cocktails. My first for this year.

First stop was Knightsbridge Penthouse where the cocktails were full price so we decided in our frugality that this just wasn't good enough so had a glass of wine each.

But at Candybar they were having a happy hour! Cocktails were less than half price (at $5 each), so being good little frugal gals we had three each in order to extract the biggest savings possible.

Then we went home for dinner before our credit cards led us to The Canberra Centre for a spot of unexpected tipsy late-night shopping...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday "Frugal and Free" File

Food glorious food...

Excellent grocery bargains this past week (in fact I hit the trifecta*) which is great timing as I plan to eat what I have the next few weeks before I head off and spend my grocery money on much more interesting things (like spurges at Michael's and Hobby Lobby)

1. Not really a bargain but good value non the less. Ready meals from the Indian shop in Oatley Court. These cost $2.55 each and I split them, freeze them with basmati rice and volia! lunch for around $1.50 a pop. 2. Tuna was 1/3 off. Just in time as I'd used up my last can of sweet chilli .(Brainless lunch recipe: Nuke some rice and either use it immediately or freeze for later. Stir in some frozen corn and some frozen peas. Add 1 small can sweet chilli tuna. Nuke until hot. Eat.) Unfortunately I seem to have over catered on the plain tuna side of things so am digging out lots of tuna recipes from the old brain to use it up. 3. A bit of crumpet. Why on earth anyone buys crumpets full price is beyond me. They pop up on two-for-one very very regularly (or, as happened this week, two-for-less-than-one. Full price $2.09 a packet, special price: $2 for two packets). So I bought up big and now have a teetering pile of ziplock bags in the freezer each containing 2 crumpets ready to be pulled out and chucked in the toaster at a moments notice. 4. A stockpile for the Fluffmeister to tide him over while I'm away - and hallelujah the 88 cent special returns! Usually Whiskas goes on special at two price points and this is the cheaper of the two. But the only specials I've seen so far this year have been the 98 cent ones and I was starting to think the super cheap special had gone forever.

5. Free donuts! (Sorry, no picture as I ate them). I popped into the cafe next door from work Thursday afternoon to get a little something to cope with the late afternoon slump and the lovely lady gave me the last two donuts for free. After I had already bought a packet of sweets. So the sweets were popped untouched in my desk drawer for next time and the donuts found my happy tummy. 6. Lovely goodies from Princess B of Libraria. She borrowed two of the books I'm currently obsessing about from the library for me to drool over. How totally thoughtful is that?!

But wait! There's more! Three pairs of funky black and white socks (the Bonds ones include "leg and arm tube"). Does this girl know me well or what? Those daisy socks rock.

And the whole lot was tied up in a black and white Canteen scarf.

This time next month: Atlantic City! I'm having a birthday party on the other side of the world with Princess B, Joe and Nancy and Kelly and Andy (who we met on our Mediterranean cruise in 2004 and who are lovely people) How lucky am I?

Travel Trivia: I updated and printed out my postcard labels. "My what?!" I hear you ask. Postcard labels. Rather than having to have my address book with me or remember to leave space for the address on the card and have to write it all by hand I set up an Avery template with names and addresses of the people I want to send postcards to. I print off as many sets as I think I'll be sending postcards (usually two) and take them with me. When I come to write a postcard I simply peel off the sticker, attach it to the postcard and Bob's your Aunty. This also means I can very simply keep track of who I haven't sent a postcard to yet.

(* There are three things I refuse to buy full price: cat food, tuna and crumpets and all were on special over the Easter weekend)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

3 weeks to go

And I will get excited. I will. I will! (Imagine Dorothy heels clicking together)

At least I know definately where I'll be this time next month. Philadelphia. With Princess B of Libraria. No doubt she'll be eating a cheese steak sandwich with Joe.

Between May 14th and the 18th is still a little up in the air. I might be cruising to Bermuda. I might be checking out the thrift shops of Philadelphia (and attending a Depeche Mode concert). Who knows?!

And speaking of Princess B of Libraria, she has arrived this evening for her regular state visit to Canberra. With goodies which I'll share with you tomorrow.

Princess B and her beau on the last Royal Tour (of New Zealand)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

This is a magazine...

I bought it at the newsagents.
With other magazines.

It has an ISSN.

So, therefore, it is NOT cheating. (*Insert big toothy grin here*)

Besides it feels wonderful (lovely thick glossy matt paper).

It has lovely pictures in it:Some cool patterns including a jumper (which I imagine being done in shades of grey. Oddly enough. But only after May has started)And a cool cushion pattern which I could have fun with...Hell, it even SMELLS good (oops, there's the Librarian in me surfacing again. DOWN GIRL! )

Who is this Jo Sharp girl and can I marry her?

(Soundtrack: Spook, The Dusk Sessions - buy this if you like Portishead)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Going round in circles.

So after a streak (no, not that kind!) of crafty inspiration over the weekend you'd think I'd be taking a break, right?

Hell no - I decided since luck was on my side I pulled out the circular needles and tutorial Pink Rocket sent me. And in two seconds flat I worked out where I was going wrong last time (ahem) round and we're off laughing. Apart from the fact the only circular needles I have are bigger than those needed for the Kittyville hat I'm knitting.

But I'll keep going - at the worst I'll have to frog it but it'll be good practice. At the best I'll have another new goody for free.

Did I mention I like this crafting malarky? It's like shopping except you don't have to pull out your wallet. (In fact you could make your own if you felt so inspired). In the last 2 weeks I've got new PJs, a jumper, a scarf, a knitting needle holder and a bag and it was all FREE! Can't complain about that now can you?

(Soundtrack: Jimmy Somerville, Manage the Damage)

On a side note Holy Guacamole! As of this evening there have been over 1000 people come check out my black and white spot in cyberspace. And to think when I started just over 2 months ago I thought I'd be happy with about 20 readers. Thank you for visiting and reading and (sometimes) commenting!

Good morning!

I just had to share the view that I saw when I opened my bedroom blind this morning. I love a good sunrise, it makes me feel the day is full of promise...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Getting carried away... (UWYHM project #6 completed)

OK I think it's time to find a large glass of wine and collapse. Which means, in true Sod's Law fashion that everyone I know will decide tonight is the perfect night to come over for Craft Catch-Up.

This is one of those pieces I keep staring at and thinking "I made that? Without a pattern?!" I might just have to take it to work tomorrow and look ever so smug.

You can just see in the picture above that the lining is black and white striped to match the handles (which were the very last thing I bought before the April lockdown began). Here's a closer look:"So how did it all happen?" I hear you ask (well I don't but I'm going to tell you anyway) I had the handles downstairs on the dining room table from when I unpacked them and also had the two lots of black fabric I bought
here which I had washed and ironed and hadn't quite made it upstairs.

So I brought them both upstairs and was idly staring at them thinking "bag.... bag.... what kind of bag can I make with these?" and I suddenly remembered a cool skirt someone at work had worn a while back with contrast stitching on it and large circles. And a gingham dress and petticoat set my Mum had made me when I was about 6 which had white bias binding stems with guprie daisies.

I cracked open the button collection and had a play. And a ponder. I remembered some black and white stripy fabric I've had for almost 10 years (I think it was going to become PJ pants once upon a time) and that was that. The only change I made was that the original red button was too small so I had to go and dig for another to replace it:The size of the bag is based on how big the piece of drill was when it was folded. Easy peasy. The red in this picture is felt - I wanted a red inside pocket to pick up the red of the flower on the front but remembered I'd pre washed the other fabrics which brought on mental images of washing the bag, the felt running everywhere and ruining it. Since I had no other red fabric the pocket idea went out the window.

(Soundtrack: Sisters of Mercy, Floodland)

UWYHM project #5 completed

I'm buzzing with ideas this weekend - here's this morning's creation (and with some last minute replanning I decided I could live without the bias binding after all. Whew!) It's a knitting needle case for those times when I want to take them with me somewhere (carrying a glass container just doesn't do it somehow). I used the same fabric that I used for the pincushion/ needlebook I made earlier in the month and reused the daisy idea in a smaller scale as a fastener on the front. (Which was my first ever covered button. How addictively easy to make....)
Inside it looks like your standard knitting needle case. I did have all sorts of plans for pockets and pouches and what have you but in the end decided simplicity was the way to go.

I'm still thinking of using some Shrinky Dinks to make little sew-on tags for the front of each section with the needle sizes on. (OK, I'm a Librarian) We'll see how it goes...

(Soundtrack: Ralph Myerz, A Special Album)

The Universe is taunting me...

OK this is starting to get a bit weird (cue the creepy music).

Not only is Erasure playing in New York while I'm just up the road in Philadelphia (and I'd already decided getting to see them was just going to be too difficult) but in my random Sunday evening wandering of the net I discover that Depeche Bloody Mode are playing Atlantic City the day before I get there. Sheesh!

And while I'm having a moan-fest (just a little one, promise!) here's a list of stuff I wish I could run out and buy:

* Tailor's chalk (you know, the sort that looks like a pencil)
* Black pom pom edging (don't know why, I just feel my life would be more complete if I had some)
* Non iron-on interfacing (it would seem iron-on just doesn't cut it when making bags. Or so I believe from what I'm reading...)
* Black bias binding. (Who knew bias binding isn't all the same? I bought a packet months ago from
Hot Dollar and have only just opened it and it doesn't work quite like bias binding I know. I think I need to have a chat to the Craft Guru T at work tomorrow and get elucidation. Or give up on the pre packaged stuff and try to eke out some floral stuff from the fabric I'm using for my project. Or completely replan what I wanted to do... Sigh)

OneTwo, Item)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Hoppy Easter (UWYHM project #4 completed)

Meet Trudy. Trudy is based on the Mr Bunny pattern from Craftster but somewhere along the line things went a little odd.

For instance I misread how many stitches to increase at the bottom of the bunny body (say that three times fast) so Trudy is a very rotund rabbit.

Then I got completely confused with the head instructions. It probably didn't help that I was knitting her on single pointed needles as that's all I had. But somewhere along the line in amongst the confusion a rabbit head popped out so I stopped knitting and thanked my lucky stars.

By this time Trudy had definitely taken on a personality of her own. She demanded biiiig rabbit feet instead of the stubbly little legs in the pattern. And white fluffy ear linings. And who was I to say anything?

Gourd, what on earth is that?

Don't worry - it's armless!

Have I got a tail to tell...

Does my bum look big in these?

An eggcelent discovery!

Tuckered out bunny...

(Soundtrack: Nordic Lounge Vol 1)