Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday "Frugal and Free" File

1. Finished! And fabulous! (Did I mention the other F word - frugal?)
Here's what I made out of about half the eyelash yarn
Pink Rocket sent me in my swap. A cushion for the new Land of Spare Oom armchair: Total cost in this photo:
Chair: $15
Stain: (already had)
Fabric to cover chair: $4.20
Staple gun: borrowed off J & M
Cushion cover: front yarn, free. Back yarn $1.00 at Op shop
Buttons: $1.80
Cushion inner: $4.00 (I looked at getting one from an op shop but they were pretty disgusting)
Total spent: $26 (and if you're in The USA that's $US18.29) Wee hee! And here's the back. Pity that the two balls of wool that were sold together weren't actually the same. But it's the back of the cushion - who's going to notice?

2. In other frugalling news, my
lip conditioner ran out this week. I thought about holding off getting a new one till I headed off but then thought even more frugally than buying duty free and decided to see if I could find something just as good for rather a lot less. And I found this which included a free tube of lip balm. At a saving of around, oh, let's not even go there. And if I discover in the next 6 weeks it's utter crap then I can just buy some more of the Mac stuff.

3. I blew out this year's clothing budget by buying this on Wednesday for a whopping $3. My total spend on clothes since January now stands at $5.50.

4. I got good mail (I'm not mentioning Kristin's package cause it got a rave all to itself)
Thursday's mail bought the latest Inside Out with free notebook (not my taste so if you want it leave a comment and it's yours) and (finally) the cheque for my free chocolate.

I'm rich! I'm rich! Oh OK, I can buy maybe four cups of coffee or two bottles of wine...

5. Free but WTF?! These came free with my bag of baby spinach but I'm still trying to work out why exactly you'd want to buy them. Aren't apples designed to be beautifully portable already? And if all else fails you can just knit an apple cover like this...

6. Frugal (for me) and free (for you). I'd planned yet another trip to Lincraft at lunchtime yesterday to buy all the stuff I need to finish projects in April (whose dumb idea was it for me to join Use what you have month anyway?) But somehow I ended up at Cash em in CDs instead and bought 5 CDs for $10. Total.

These three I already own and like a lot so I thought I could buy them and give them away.

So- first person to bags each title in comments gets it sent to them. Easy as that! Please don't bags all three. (Straight away anyway!)

First up is Erasure, Pop 20. (I love the Amazon quote: "the hits on Pop make the duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke of Erasure sound like the Rodgers & Hammerstein of synth-pop disco") This is a wonderful intro to the band if you've not heard them before.

Second is Llorca, New Comer an excellent down tempo jazz CD. If you liked St Germain then this is well worth checking out.

Third is Sola Rosa, Solarized which is one of my favorite New Zealand CDs of recent years.

(In case you're wondering I got Black, Wonderful life and China Crisis, Working with fire and steel (Possible pop songs volume 2) both of which I have on vinyl but not CD. Buying the Black brings my versions of the track Wonderful Life up to three)

7. Frugal freaking. With only 9 hours left to buy craft supplies (but who's counting?) to tide me through the next month I did a final visit to Lincraft at lunchtime today and picked up the following:Rather restrained, really. Two metres of black fabric - one metre plain cotton to use with the various black and white bits I have to make... errr... something. One metre of black cotton drill in case I get the hankering to make a bag. One of those cool $2.99 mixed bags of buttons (cause you always need buttons). And a PJ pattern to use with this fabric which I've had since the beginning of the year: And look, four of my favorite things in one fabric (black & white, polka dots, daisies and paisley).

8. Free. I figured it was about time for another cute cat picture:Or, if you prefer, a nice action shot:9. Very very naughty (*blushes and shuffles feet*).

This is supposed to be tofu, parmesan cheese, cucumber, carrots and chickpeas:As you can see it is not tofu, parmesan cheese, cucumber, carrots and chickpeas. But it is beautiful and it is worth the sacrifice of eating rather more tuna and rice than I had planned in the next week to own such a lovely cake rack which I will have forever (as opposed to tofu, parmesan cheese, cucumber, carrots and chickpeas). Right?

(So do you think the "baking tray as magnetic memo board" idea might work? As long as I don't get the urge to make ginger crunch anytime soon... )(Soundtrack: Nice n'Urlich, Everything I do)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Corners of my Home: Week 8 (mini version)

1/12th Bachelor pad

I find it constantly surprising how miniaturists in the late 20th and early 21st century seem to have suddenly reverted to creating Victorian country dolls houses. I'm not sure if it is because those pieces are easier to obtain commercially (and here's where I start asking chicken and egg questions) or if it a "dumbing down" of a hobby (can I be so arrogant as to use the phrase "art form"?) that has been round since the 16th century at least.

If you are interested in some of the famous dolls houses through history you might want to look at
Mon Plaisir (1704-1751), the Dutch cabinet houses of the 17th century and, more recently The Thorne Rooms in Chicago and (of course) Queen Mary's Dolls House at Windsor Castle.

Each of these collections gives us a very clear idea of how people actually lived in the times they were constructed and are a very useful social history tool.

So why oh why aren't we doing this any more? Are future generations going to have to look to TV to see how people lived in our times? And will that mean they'll get some completely unrealistic idea (eg: how do the people in Friends actually afford to live in a flat like they have?!)

As a child I remember being blown away by a picture in the Venus and Martin Dodge book The dolls house do-it-yourself book which showed a modern kitchen complete with (I now know) Caroline's Home cupboards, swing bin, vacuum cleaner and coffee maker. I had been reading a book on Queen Mary's Dolls House at the time (I was never a child to do things by halves) and I was entranced by the concept that a dolls house could look like a real house. (Perhaps that's where my ongoing interest in social history started?)

Since then I've made a point to do modern minis. Sometimes it has been hard to find suitable items and depressing when they are discontinued very quickly after hitting the market.

Anyway, lecture over. Here are some pictures of the sort of miniatures I create:

1/12th white bedroom

3/4 inch scale 1970s Lundby lounge
Original 3/4 inch scale 1947 Lundby house and furniture
3/4 inch scale 1970s Lundby house dining room with Jean West Germany furniture

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I got mail!

Isn't amazing how quickly your day can improve once you see what's in your post box?

This is what I found this morning (along with the latest issue of Cruise Passenger magazine but that's a different story): Kristin over at thrift shop project showed this book on her blog with the fateful words "Cute book, great concept, but I could have happily lived without it." So I took her at her word (cheeky tart that I am) and before I knew what was happening a swap was arranged. Aero Mint bars for the book. Done!

But when I opened the package there was more than just the book. Wonderful Kristin had included a map of New York City and one of Philadelphia which will both get a lot of use while I'm away. Plus some funky black and white "telephone dial" magnets which make me want to leap into the car, drive 3 and a half hours to IKEA and buy a metal notice board to use them on.

Except I'm saving for my trip, right? So no trips to Sydney. *sniffle* No visits to IKEA. *sob*. Maybe I could get clever and use a baking tray instead and go for the Pure Style look?

Anyway. I digress. The reason I was after the book is because of the furniture Sloane uses: Petite Princess 3/4 inch scale sofa, arm chair and footstool. (Hey, Thrifty - reckon this is what we'd look like if we got together?)

Concord Miniatures 1/12th inch scale diner counter and stools (I have the same ones in the scooter shop/ cafe that I've had half made for years)
And this is the very same model Brio house as the one I'll be picking up in Philadelphia from Nancy who has been kind enough to store it for me for far too long. Hopefully mine won't have squatters in it...

(Soundtrack: New York: The city in song)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bugger this for a joke....

OK, I've finally snapped after 28 days of having a camera in my face twice a day. Based on the fact I'm taking maybe 30 photos per session that's.... errr... umm.... a LOT of pictures.

So, with the finish line firmly in sight I've wimped out, sat at the side of the road, taken my shoes off and declared that I've had enough.

And today you get a double dose of SPT because here, well in advance, is what I hope will be my final SPT entry for March:
A phone call (at 7pm, luckily!) with a fellow Librarian about the state of the Library job market in Canberra (a tip for all you Librarians looking for work: move to Canberra. Pronto!) And you get to see what I have to wade through twice a day to get that one shot that works.

Of course there's a possibility I'll feel somewhat naked without a camera in my face twice a day so you may get the limited edition B side of this week's SPT entry. For now, though, I go to bed feeling very happy that I don't have to look interesting in 9.5 hours.

(Soundtrack: The Killers, Hot Fuss)

Self Portrait Tuesday - Seven @ 7

Week 4 (from left to right, top to bottom):
1. 7am Tuesday 21 March 06: Ironing. Again.
2. 7pm Tuesday 21 March 06: Mowing the back lawn.

3. 7pm Wednesday 22 March 06: Stocking up on specials at Coles.
4. 7am Thursday 23 March 06: Trying to decide what to see on my unexpected day in LA.
5. 7pm Thursday 23 March 06: Wondering where my dinner guests have got to.
6. 7pm Saturday 25 March 06: Getting ready to head out to the theatre.
7. 7pm Monday 27 March 06: Unexpected dinner at A & L’s with self portrait silliness..

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Unfinished Objects are multiplying...

Here's a little sneak peek at something I so should not be working on right now. I'm supposed to be finishing UFOs, not creating them. But when inspiration struck while I was in the middle of my chest track at the gym yesterday morning I couldn't wait to get home and see if it would work...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lovely "leftover" cakes, little people and linen

Big L, little L, what begins with L?

Lovely "leftover" cakes produced to use up the cream and strawberries in the fridge (how terribly frugal of me, eh what? Fancy swinging past for afternoon tea?)

Followed by an afternoon visit to see V & M and Little (who is one contented two week old baby.)

Then home to do domestics including making the bed with my favorite vintage cotton pillowcases. I love white cotton, the thicker or older the better. (None of this 400 count stuff for me, give me Actil First Line or vintage any day!)And here's one of the reasons I love living alone: I get to lick BOTH beaters. And the bowl...

(Soundtrack: Jazzmatazz 2)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

And then the sun came out...

Here's my Saturday in pictures:
10 am: At the hairdressers.
11 am: Coffee and catching up with Rosemary and Chris Ann who I bumped into at the mini show. Rosemary is showing us a pincushion idea.

11:30 am: What I saw at the show :

Cute 1/10th scale German table and chairs.

Modern Canberra apartment lounge.

Cool miniature jumper. Beautiful hand embroidered cushions for sale on the AMEA stall.

12 noon: What I bought at the show (how restrained!). A turned bowl from Brindabella Miniatures, local Canberra artisans.

1:30 pm: Gosh what's that over there?

(Yes, I succumbed. But it was for a worthy cause, right?)

(Soundtrack: Macy Gray, The Id)

I love a rainy day

I woke up early this morning to the oddest sound. When I came finally awake I realised what it was - rain! So I lay in bed in the dark a bit longer listening to the swish of the cars driving past outside and the drip drip drip of the rain on the tree outside my bedroom window.

Although I have to be out and about today the rain will give the day a lazier and more relaxed edge and is just crying out for a little baking this afternoon. And reading. Bliss...

But before I can crank the oven up I'm off to see my hairdresser. And I plan to pop into the ACT Miniature Enthusiasts Show later in the morning to see what's happening in the rest of the Canberra dolls house world. The Lifeline Book Fair is on this weekend and I'm embarrassed to say in the 7 years I've been in Canberra I've not actualy gone so depending on how strong my resolve to not buy any more books til I've read some of mine stays I may end up just randomly finding myself there on the way home.

Tonight we're off to see Page 8 at Canberra Theatre.

(Can I go back to bed now? I feel tired just typing all of this!)

And here's a random Library link to keep you amused. After finding myself at Super Eggplant's blog checking out her totebag making tutorial I noticed her Peeps post. Which reminded me of this site I'd forgotten completely about.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday "Frugal and Free" File

How has this week been a frugal one? Let me count the ways:

1. J arrived for Monday night craft night with a large pumpkin under one arm (the pumpkin patch is no more - she decided she wanted her back yard back). And these under the other arm: Yay! Grainwaves especially and personally imported from New Zealand. Twenty little packets of the darlings. I shall have a happy Kiwi puku* for at least the next month.

And speaking of happy pukus, after Julie made up a batch of pumpkin soup with some of the pumpkin (leaving 1/3 for K to take home and 1/3 for me to pop in the fridge) and I whipped up a batch of cheese and parsley scones we all had very happy pukus!
2. There are certain things I basically refuse to pay full price for in the grocery department: tuna, crumpets, cat food and washing power. Coles had Drive on sale at less than half price this week. Last time they did this was back in September and I panicked that it was going off the market and bought ten 2 kilo boxes.

This time round I just figured they do the major discount about every 6 months so just topped the pile up. Saved over $30 which was pretty good. I also stocked up on discounted cat food for The Fluffmeister.3. A, JC and I had planned to get together for Librarian gossip and wine this week. They suggested Zefferelli's (a local very cheap pizza/ pasta place with appalling service and so-so food). I suggested my place.

A is off to Italy with her family just after I head to The USA so I made an Italian themed dinner with stuffed canneloni, Mediterranean salad, crusty Italian bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping and a very large bottle of Italian plonk.

JC brought a bunch of beautiful roses with her as well and a bag full of strawberries and melting chocolate to have for dessert.

A brought more strawberries (with cream and a flake bar to crumble over the top) plus pre dinner snacks and a bottle of bubbles. There was way too much food for three of us.

Which meant my fridge looked like this this morning:Salad on the right to take to work for lunch along with the rest of the bread and a tin of tuna. Yummy leftover dip. Some blue brie. A punnet of strawberries and cream to go with them (if I don't feel like remelting the slab of chocolate in the jug you can't see). And the unopened bottle of bubbles.

4. So for breakfast this morning I had pancakes I'd bought half price ages ago and frozen (needed to make room in the freezer for the canneloni, didn't I?) with yoghurt and some of the strawberries...After breakfast I went to check the post box and there was good and unexpected stuff in there. 5. First up an interesting looking parcel from Sis which contained a beautiful scarf she'd bought me when she was in Asia. If you look at the picture very closely you can just see that it actually has daisy patterns woven into the main part of it! I just have to get the cheap cruise now as this would be perfect to wear on formal night with a plain long black skirt and black top. Thank you thank you thank you oh Sister With Wonderful Taste!

But wait! There's more wonderfulness: a black and white hugging salt and pepper shaker set which is very very cute but a little weird as it would appear the salt and pepper come out their noses and eyes... I'm wondering if it would be too anal to have a shaker of sugar and cinnamon for winter cinnamon toast eating frenzies because these would be perfect.

6. Also in the mail a subscription renewal notice from Madison. Saying as I was a founding subscriber they'll renew my subscription for around half the price it would cost to buy it from the newsagents. (This is where I need to explain for my American readers how subscribing works in the rest of the world. Unlike The USA where you get a magazine almost free when you subscribe here you're lucky to save 10% on the cover price when you subscribe. And if you order subscriptions to UK magazines it works out more expensive than buying the magazine at the newsagents because they expect you to pay for the cost of posting it to you...)7. Lovely T at work is being very very generous in so many ways. I mentioned I wanted to look for a second hand toaster over because I wanted to try making daisy Shrinky Dink pins. And she said she had one in her garage I could have. I bought some black and white stripy interlock fabric from the op shop round the corner for $2 and she offered to sew it into a shirt for me when it became obvious it would be my first trial at sewing stretch fabric.

And when my wool flannel finally arrived to make the inner of the needle book I want to make and I decided I needed pinking shears to do the edges, who happened to have a spare pair I could borrow so I didn't have to buy any?

T, you're a star!8. Speaking of borrowing, J has a staple gun she's going to lend me this weekend to recover the garage sale armchair. I popped into Lincraft at lunchtime and they were having a 30% off sale so I got a piece of fabric to cover the seat for a whole $4.20. Excellent - this means the whole armchair will have cost me under $20.9. After worrying that I wouldn't have enough mohair to finish The Jumper Based on a True Pattern, I discovered I had enough left over to make a scarf. Which I'm doing as a procrastination exercise so I don't have to sew TJBOATP up and knit the neckline.

The only problem is that it's looking a little too much like a Collingwood scarf. So I'm thinking I could be super clever and list it on eBay. If it sells it would cover the cost of the wool and therefore TJBOATP would be FREE. And if it doesn't sell I'll just have to banish footy thoughts from my mind as I wear it.

10. I've just joined "Use what you "month for April. Check out the button on the right.

(Soundtrack: Dub combinations)

(*Maori for stomach in case you hadn't guessed by now)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Corners of my Home: Week 7

Next to my bed I have a towering pile of books waiting to be read. See that Bauhaus one 4th from the bottom? It's been sitting there since December 2003. I read some of it over the 2003 Christmas break then read some more over the 2004 Christmas break and it might surprise you to discover I attacked it again during the 2005 Christmas break. I know I could read it at other times but it's sort of become a Christmas tradition now...

On the top of the pile are a couple of books on Frank Lloyd Wright and his architecture - I think they've been in the pile almost as long. Obviously Frank Lloyd Wright isn't that exciting to me but I really should get through them before I get to Chicago.

And really truly on top of the pile is a silver coloured piggy bank B & her sister gave me as a bit of a joke after I put a large $75 version on layby in Kingston after seeing something similar in a Real Simple magazine.

It stayed on layby for all of 24 hours - long enough for me to discover the very same pig at 1/3 of the price at Unit Concepts and decide I really didn't need it at all. Then they found the small version at Freedom and I had a pig after all. For a lot less than $75 at that.

My favorite thing in this photo is my wonderful IKEA Slabang alarm clock which records anything you like (as long as it's not longer than 8 seconds!) and plays it instead of an alarm. I just had to use Matt Bianco's intro to Get out your lazy bed which means I wake up each morning laughing.

(Soundtrack: Fatboy Slim, You've come a long way baby)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Was that a twinge of excitement I felt?!

I got this odd fluttery feeling in my tummy last night as I chose and booked our hotel for the last night in Chicago.
It stayed as I emailed Nancy to discuss the odds of us getting the cruise we want to do at the discounted price we want to pay. Still there as I updated my itinerary and emailed
Architectural Tours in LA to see if they had space for me to do a tour of places like The Eames House and the other Case Study Houses, Saved the link Sew Thrifty had published for The Thorne Rooms, And pondered what goodies I would find at Target.

(Then again maybe it was the beans I had for dinner...)

(Soundtrack: Erasure, Other People's Songs)