Tuesday, October 31, 2006
At lunchtime I went to The National Library to hear a talk on Old Parliament House’s collecting interests and how they use eBay to buy stuff for their collection. Which was pretty cool.
Since I was already on that side of the lake I thought I'd continue south and check out the Yarralumla YMCA op shop I've had on my list for a while but it turns out they're just a collection centre which has a huge garage sale every so often. The next one's due for November 25th, if anyone's interested.
Southwards again, I was heading for Mawson where I'd been told I'd find the bamboo circular needle needed to complete my current knitting project. But alas, as I was heading into Mawson Miss Daisy had a bit of a whoopsie and a bingle ensued. Which meant instead of checking out the wool shop in Mawson I got to check out the new Police Station at Woden (very nice it is too).
When I rang NRMA they tried to tell me I had a $900 excess (err... I don't THINK so thank you very much!) but we got that sorted out, thankfully.
And in a stroke of luck the accountant called just after we'd limped home to say my tax return is done and the amount I'm getting back will nicely cover the cost of the excess on the repairs. Phew! Tonight I think I need a bucket of wine, a Super Sebzeli Turkish pizza and a trashy movie.
Monday, October 30, 2006
The Icicle Works. Sideways Look. World Party. Classix Nouveau. The Mission. Trasch (whatever happened to them? Any Wellingtonians know?). Ultravox's Lament. The Mockers (*blush*).
Sunday, October 29, 2006
After a few drinks I mentioned I still had my turntable tucked away in the top cupboard in the study and so last night she came over with a bag of records under one arm, we opened some wine (and I, sad to say, dragged out my knitting - oh so rock and roll) and rediscovered some gems (and clunkers) from our past. While dressed appropriately, of course!
We stayed up far too late (not helped by the start of daylight saving) and had a ball. I think this will be the start of many such evenings as we barely scratched (hardy har) the surface of what we wanted to hear.
Now I have that lovely 80s feeling of I didn't get enough sleep and the house is in chaos because we rearranged the furniture to fit in the record crates and the mattress for her to sleep on plus there's a pile of dishes to be done so can I go back to bed now?
Luckily maturity has meant I don't have the And oooh my head hurts and the place stinks and who exactly is that passed out on the sofa? part of the experience. Instead I have the Wasn't that a lovely breakfast of fruit toast, yoghurt and fresh mango and strawberries outside under the tree? feeling (which is much better).It was a good night.
(Listening to: Julian Cope, Saint Julian)
Saturday, October 28, 2006
it'll be worth it, though, in order to have all my general craft supplies (as opposed to my mini craft supplies which have a cupboard all of their own) organised and accessible and waiting for inspiration to hit.
A full tour (with notes) of each section can be found here if you're interested.
(Listening to: Rogue Traders, We know what you're up to)
Friday, October 27, 2006
But at least the table is set. With the $1 table cloth I found at Salvos Mitchell the other day. Perfect for the occasion, I thought.
(Listening to: Pop will Eat Itself, This is the day...this is the hour... this is this)
Thursday, October 26, 2006
What do you think? I thought I could get super-carried-away and try and make a skirt out of this to go with it:I originally thought tulip but I suspect by the time I get to it they'll be back into their 20 year cycle of so daggy you wouldn't want to wear them. So maybe a pencil skirt.
I'm sure the whole endeavour will end in certain disaster (I've always been very good at over-extending myself) but it'll be fun while the dream lasts, and I if all else fails I can be proudly frugal that both items cost a mere $35.
(And yes, I'm well aware there's colour in there. Thank you!)
*Just in case you thought I forgot it's Thursday, here's a picture of the Newsagents for my Corners of my World series...
(LIstening to: Hotel Costes Vol 9)
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I can tell you now, if you ever plan to invite me to a Neutrimetics, Avon, or any other sort of girly smelly selling party, don't bother. I'll simply show up, drink your wine, eat your food, make smart comments (even though I try so hard not to) and not buy a thing.
The problem, you see, is packaging.
This is how I chose my beauty products:
1. They've got to be packaged in black and white. Or black. Or white. Or sometimes even silver. Light cream or fawn sometimes can slip through... but only if I'm really desperate.
This somewhat limits my options but luckily I rather like those options: Mac, Aesop, Natio, Philosophy and Olay all fit the bill. Oh - and I noticed last time I was in New Zealand that Living Nature have repackaged and now are not only black and white but very very droolworthy...
2. I'd prefer it if they didn't smell. I spend a large amount on a bottle of perfume each year (L'eau d'Issey if you must know) so don't want to complicate things. If they must smell sea is nice. I miss the sea (not that I was ever much of a swimmer...) I love Simple soap (once it's out of the package!) It's plain white and it doesn't smell.
3. My moisturiser has to have SPF 15 at least in it. And, if all this wasn't difficult enough, I'd prefer if it was in a pump pack. David Jones' repackaging of their home brand moisturiser a few years ago into a blue bottle threw me into a total tizzy which was only sorted when I discovered Olay Total Effects. At about quadruple the price (of course!)
Luckily my friend hosting the party last night knew me well enough to say to the consultant "Oh, she won't buy anything - your packaging has colour in it."
I just sat in the corner and continued to much on the carrot sticks and dip while breathing a small sigh of relief...
(Listening to: Loop Select 007: We are here)
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Had another famous (and delicious) Staff Cafeteria 10 minute meal for lunch: Zucchini, sun dried tomato and olive pasta (serves 1)
60g shell pasta (or penne, or fettucine depending on what you've got in the cupboard)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped (plus 1 Tbspn of the oil)
1/4 cup chopped black olives
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Put the pasta on to cook.
2. Meanwhile, slice the ends off the zucchini. Cut in quarters lengthwise, then in half crosswise. Take each section and thinly slice lengthwise into ribbons.
3. Spray a non stick fry pan with oil. Fry zucchini (with lid on) until tender and slightly browned. Add chopped sun dried tomatoes, olives and the tomato oil. Stir to combine and cook till heated through.
4. Drain pasta and combine with the zucchini mixture. Season with black pepper and serve with curls of parmesan cheese.
And, finally, here's a mid afternoon picture of my office mascot who doesn't quite understand why I can be at home but ignoring him completely...So how was your day?
(Listening to: Madonna, Confessions on a dance floor)
Monday, October 23, 2006
Instead I finally got round to playing with the bleach pen I brought home from The States with me (I did warn you I buy odd souvenirs, didn't I?) It had been sitting in my craft cupboard waiting for the right time to come out and play and after I saw knit-o-rama's bleached dishcloth I had to finally do some experimenting.
The last of the black denim I used for Taph's knitting bag seemed perfect for the job. First try I left the bleach on for about 10 minutes then rinsed. That resulted in the brown designs. So then I reapplied the pen to the two smallest, added the spots and left it overnight. Et voila!Feeling an arty wank coming on, I can say this piece was created on the approach to the celebration of my 6th anniversary of becoming an Australian citizen so was majorly influenced by this event. You can see the duality of citizenship in this piece with the koru motif representing my New Zealand heritage and the influence of the native Aboriginal dot painting coming through as well. (Do you think I'd get a job as an art critic?)
Or I can just say what was originally just going to be a sample piece may well now become a placemat. Or a cushion.
Oh God, another decision to make.
And a warning if you plan to play with bleach pens. They're strong little suckers. Probably best to wear a white shirt when dealing with them. Definitely not a good idea to wear your favorite old Esprit cotton knitted hoodie...
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Using old towel for the lining and frugalled cot sheet (see here or here) for the front bit. And the image is care of Word clip art. Bless!
(Listening to: Nik Kershaw, Human Racing)
Saturday, October 21, 2006
And it's sort of cool to know my purchases a) give money to charity and b) save stuff from going to the dump (ever so ecologically virtuous you know) as opposed to a) support the multinationals and b) cause more stuff to be manufactured. And on top of all that I really like the thrill of not knowing quite what treasures I'm about to unearth...
Speaking of treasure, here's what I discovered this week:
- Cow print fabric: $2.50 (I can't decide if this will become PJ pants for me or something Christmassy for my cow loving friend Nancy)
- Skinny black and white tie: $3.00 (the test will be if I ever wear it. No worries if I don't as I think it'll make pretty fine upholstery fabric for a miniature sofa)
- White teddy bear:20 cents. (I may be selling off the last of my big bear collection but I still have a little bear collection tucked away)
- Black and white spotty cup: 30 cents
- Maxwell Williams cup: 20 cents (alas no saucer)
- Small black cake stand: $1.50
- Two Maxwell Williams side plates: 50 cents each
- Two thick white cotton pillowcases: 50 cents each (these are probably the most exciting purchases of the week)
- The Magic of Dance by Margot Fonteyn: $10.00 (Expensive, I know, but very lovely.)
- Five miscellaneous black and white zips: 20 cents each
- Two balls of Cleckheaton Nostalgia (84% mohair): $3.00
- Three small plastic trays: 70 cents total (these will work well to help keep my craft room drawers under control)
- Shell shaped vase: $1.00
Friday, October 20, 2006
Since this post seems to be all about yesterday rather than today, here's a gratuitous shot of the goodies I took along last night to 642.4 (The Librarians' Dinner):What's particularly special about them is they're all gluten free! We cut them in half so we could try more things and I'm sad to say both halves of that eclair disappeared before I had a chance to stretch my hand across the table and claim one.
(Clockwise from top left: Ricotta cheesecake slice, carrot cake (duh!), hazelnut torte, pecan tart (with pear and almond tart hiding underneath) and chocolate eclair.)
In other news the $1.99 a bottle wine is fine and dandy and hangover-free. Must buy another box. (Or two. Or three....)(Listening to: Endorphin, AM:PM)
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Being a curious wee baggage when it comes to the differences in how people live I thought this was a bandwagon worth jumping on. So, without further ramblings, welcome to my morning:This is the view from my kitchen sink. To the left you can see the bamboo wind chimes left behind by the previous tenant. I know when one of my local possums are in the tree because they set the chimes clanking. If they're not alerting me to their presence with their hissing!
Centre stage is the ubiquitous Hills Hoist. Good Aussie icon, that and very handy since *gasp* I don't own a clothes dryer.
The garden bench may look nice but it's not a great place to sit as the view from it is of my box of a two story house.Heading over to Dickson shops to check my post box, I pass my old bus stop (these are 1970s Canberra icons which always remind me of small bomb shelters for some weird reason). And, luckily for you there happened to be a bus there (dying of excitement yet?)Past the local public library, also quite bunkerish. Historically significant because it was the first district library constructed in Canberra, apparently and designed by a chap called Taglietti. Sort of reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in a strange sort of way...Just next to the library (on the other side of the white car, in fact) is the local Woolies. Can't think of anything exciting to say about this so will turn left and walk past the front of the libraryand on to the post office and my favorite bit of Dickson, the sheep dog and sheep (no New Zealand jokes, please!) The smaller of the blue sheep (on the left) is where I sit while waiting for the post office to open so I can collect my parcels......like I did this morning.
As I was taking this photo, lovely Kate who works there asked why I was taking it. I started to explain "Well, in the blog world Thursday is Corners of my Home day..." and before I could get any further she interrupted and said "And you think you live here because you're always here picking up parcels?!". Needless to say I put her straight and wandered off home with the parcel tucked under my arm whistling Who are the people in your neighbourhood?(Listening to: Duran Duran, Rio)
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I hoped that they might have slipped into the Post Office's airmail pile (as things sometimes do. For example three parcels I sent myself from London surface mail - the first one arrived 5 days later. Yes, you read that correctly - 5 days for surface mail from London to pretty much the other side of the world. Unfortunately the other two weren't so lucky but they still only took a few weeks) but, as time passed and my PO box remained resolutely empty of exciting red and white cards, I sort of lost hope.
Until this morning. And what a morning to pick to arrive. It was grey and, as I stood there peering into my post box with a look of joy on my face and the excitement building as I spied those all important words ("LARGE"), scrawled across the card, the heavens opened and it poured with rain.
For about 5 minutes. Until Mother Nature realised we'd been delivered the precipitation ordered by some other non-drought stricken area and replaced it with howling wind instead. Which, of course, dried up the rain quick smart.
(Oh dear, I seem to have digressed yet again)
So what was in my lovely large (slightly damp) box?
Lots of black and white! Yay Sew Thrifty! She sent me a black and white mixing bowl, a black and white gumball machine and, best of all, a very odd pot thing with exactly the same Johnson Brothers Daisy design I have been ever so slowly collecting. Plus, if that wasn't enough, two more scooters for my scooter toy collection.Also in the box was more of the Irwin stuff I'd requested. Which reminded me I've not written about it as I'd promised. Soon, patient readers. Soon!
Lastly was a black and white knitting pattern book I forgot I'd won off eBay ca and had posted to her house to save the (rather expensive) postage quote to Australia. The other interesting discovery of the day was when I wandered past Macs Liquor and discovered they had a special on cleanskin chardonnay for $11.93. For a box of 6 bottles. That would be $1.99 per bottle. So I had to buy a box and see how awful it was. (All in the name of frugal research, you understand...)
(Listening to: Depeche Mode, Ultra)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Which was fine except no one seemed to make them in miniature. Undaunted I reviewed the many many many options and styles, settled on a year of production for "my" house (this is an important piece of information because off this date hangs many decisions like bay under the roofline or outside it and what colour the stained glass in the front door is), pulled out paper and pen and started drawing.
Along the was there were some engineering decisions to be made. I decided to hide the wiring in the roof and under the floor and run the wires up the (hollow) chimneys. I realised the house had to be able to come apart as it wouldn't fit through the door otherwise, so came up with a clever solution which split it dog leg style so the join wasn't noticeable.
And speaking of noticeable, I didn't want nasty full sized hinges on the sides and bits of house flapping in the breeze when I displayed it so came up with a plan involving pegging the sides of the house in place and holding it all together when I put the roof on.
My final plans went off to a local dolls house builder (who, I think, rather enjoyed the challenge of a scratch built commission) and the carcass was completed as funds allowed (I remember buying the roof for my birthday that year).
I'd been collecting the furnishings and accessories for quite a while and had fun arranging things on the full sized plan to make sure they fitted while I waited for the real thing to arrive. I had decided early on that this is the house "I" lived in at the present time. The house had been remuddled slightly in the 50s when the lounge and hall had been knocked together to make a bigger space and again in the 80s when the dining room and kitchen had been merged and french doors added to an outside patio.
This meant that the front of the house (hall, bedroom and study) would be fairly original and things would get more modern the further through the house you traveled. And by making up the history of the house I could make sensible decorating choices.
I shan't bore you with the in progress photos (unless you beg!) but will share with you some of my favourite pictures as it neared something close to presentable. Here's the front hall, with kitset doors I imported from Borcraft Miniatures in England (as the panels on American doors you could buy in the local dolls house shop were so not correct). The hall stand is a kit from (I think) Ann Eustace in New Zealand which I finished using Coopers Oak coloured coating wax (which I also used for the floorboards. I used the teak for the doors to try and make them look like rimu or kauri).
I love coating wax, not only does it smell damned fine but it covers glue marks, polishes up wonderfully and gives your pieces instant patina when the wax builds up in the corners where you can't reach.
Through the door you can see on the right of the hall is my favourite room, the study:I loved showing this photo to people after I told them I did miniatures. I could see pictures of Sylvanian Family plastic houses dancing in their heads and then I would hand this over. They would never believe it wasn't full sized.
If you look closely you'll see I cut strips of wallpaper to the correct size, attached it to the walls then painted over it to give it a "real" look. I made the plaid sofa and was very proud that, on my first attempt at sofa building, I managed to match the plaid across all the pieces. I also stitched the rug, sewed the pillows, framed the pictures and built the distressed country kauri table from a kit from Hamilton mini convention (don't ask what year that was!). Oh, and I made the Oxford dictionary you can just see peeking out from the left of the picture.Speaking of peeking out from the corner of the picture, this photo ran in the local paper in 1994 as part of an article about our club's upcoming show. Lots of people asked why I had a blow up picture of myself on my lounge wall which I took as a sign that things were coming together well, since they obviously didn't realise it was a dolls house! (In this photo you can see the new fireplace that was installed during the 50s renovation...) Here's a slightly later shot of the same room. Loving the whole early 90s yellow and blue, sunflowers stars and moon vibe going on here. So, so dated now, as is the record player in the corner (look Ma!, no CD player let alone MP3!)
I made the blue checked sofa and recovered a nicely shaped but ugly pink couch I'd picked up at a show in much nicer cream. The pictures on the wall were magazine cutouts I framed and I made the cane chair in a course taught by someone from Nelson.
You can't see too well in this picture (sorry, all these are photos of photos, hence the slightly dodgy quality) but there's a design woven into the back of the chair (as there should be) which wasn't in the original pattern. But me being me decided I had to weave one in even though this was my first basket weaving experience. I still laugh when I recall my friend who was doing the same workshop taking one look and doing one better than me, by weaving a pattern of holes into the back of her chair. Tart!
So what happened to this house? Did I ever finish it?
The answer to the second question is no, but it was getting pretty close (if you closed one eye and squinted). The answer to the first is when I decided to move to Australia I realised dragging a very large house with me was probably going to cause a few problems so I sold it to a mini buddy for about what it cost to build which covered the cost of shipping all the rest of my
(Listening to: Cocteau Twins, Heaven or Las Vegas - track 6 has to be one of the most beautiful tracks in my collection)
Monday, October 16, 2006
I managed to make it to two Vinnies at lunch time (to make up for the withdrawal symptoms of the weekend) and spent my last $7.90 on the little pile above. Cassettes: 50 cents each (as always), wool: $5 for 5 balls, book: $1 and three zips: 30 cents each. I think my next bag creation may have a zippered inside pocket...
I didn't manage to make it to the gym (unfortunately the story of my life these days) but instead have decided I'd be much happier collapsing on the couch in an exhausted heap and watching something mindless. Perhaps Absolute Beginners, which my flatmate made me leave halfway through when we went to see it at the movies when it was first released. This makes it the only movie I've ever walked out on.(Listening to: Charlie Hunter Trio, Bing, Bing, Bing!)
Sunday, October 15, 2006
225g unsalted butter, cubed
150g (3/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
1 cup golden syrup
335g (2 1/4 cups) plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
Butter and line a 20cm square cake tin (see above)Combine butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool.Sift flour, spices, soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre.Beat the eggs and milk together. Add to the dry ingredients with butter mixture.Quickly and lightly mix together. Pour into the prepared tin and bake at 180 degrees c for 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer.(Meanwhile, ensure you give the bowls a good licking!)Stand cake in the tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve as a tea cake, or serve warm with whipped cream and strawberries. Or custard. With dried fruit soaked in Stone's Green Ginger Wine. Or Cottage Wine's Kiwifruit and Ginger wine (if you're lucky enough to have a supply)
(Listening to: C + C Music Factory, Gonna make you sweat (sort of apt for the weather we're having here))
Saturday, October 14, 2006
So if you happen to be a hardened arctophile, head over here and give one (or all!) of them a new home.
(End of shameless plug. Normal transmission will resume shortly)
(Listening to: Back to Mine, Everything but the Girl)
$1 seems pretty innocuous, right? But when you add this $12 metre of fabric that happened to follow me home from IKEA last weekend: and these two fabrics:
which are bound for Christmas craftiness, you really can't ignore the fact that you I'm buying craft supplies (no matter how odd it feels after being on Use What you Have Month for so long.)
What a pity don't have a huge stash of money tucked away - I could go nuts this month and then quite happily climb back on the wagon for another 6 months.
(Listening to: Anthems of Trance Disc 1)