Thursday, August 31, 2006

Is it just me...

...or does that metal bit at the top of Te Papa look like the rail you get in cafeterias to slide your tray along? I always imagine a giant using it and plucking humans out to add to his lunch tray....

Monday, August 28, 2006

How to spend a rainy Saturday in Wellington, NZ.

1. Have breakfast on the beach at The Maranui Life Saving Club cafe. Don't forget to join if you're not already a member!
2. Admire the view out the windows while sipping your Havana coffee.
3. Continue on to a couple of op shops, stopping to check out the artwork in the window...
...and the wonders inside.
4. Decide you need to escape the weather so head to The Paramount Theatre to see 50 Ways of Saying Fabulous while sipping a glass of wine. (Gotta support the local movie industry. They don't call it Wellywood for nothing, you know...)
5. Walk back to the car via Schoc chocolataire and espresso bar...
... where you spend a happy half hour testing the samples and trying to decide if you'd prefer to buy the 100% cocoa chocolate, the lemon white chocolate or the toasted sesame seed chocolate.
Go home, eat pasta, drink wine and pack while surfing the three (or is it four?) music channels on the TV.

Empty suitcase...

I've been home less than 16 hours and am heading to the airport in around 12 hours to fly to Sydney to start 4 days training for my new job. So it's been a busy day with unpacking, washing stuff I need to pack again this evening, picking up the mountain of mail from the Post Office (boy, were they glad to see me!) and sorting out the few things that can't wait til Saturday for my attention.

And speaking of attention, a certain furry creature has been wanting a lot of it. I don't think he's going to be very happy with me when I disappear again in the morning...

("Yeah, yeah" I hear you screaming at me "What about that 40 kilos of luggage?") Well, it's unpacked (see $3 suitcase above) The house looks like a hurricane has struck it and will stay looking like that until the weekend.

Here's a sneak peek at my frugalled treasures. Total cost, including the suitcase: around $90. (Listening to: Off the cuff: a compilation of New Zealand artists)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Gained a bit of weight on this trup...

No not me (although that is a distinct possibility with the amount of wonderfully delicious food and drink I've been scarfing down - including one final banana smoothie at the airport (thanks K for the idea)).

My baggage. It kept growing like topsy. Luckily I stumbled across a beautiful vintage suitcase at the Strathmore op shop for a whopping $3. It's now very very full. As is my original suitcase. And my emergency bag I always bring just in case. I'm starting to think I might have to join Apron Thrift Girl's
$99 Thrift Challenge after all.

But what do you expect when you manage to squeeze in 30 second hand, op and junque shops in 6 days? The Shopping Sherpa has been a busy wee bee and has hatched some wild and crazy plans which may be shared if and when they come to fruition.

Meanwhile, if you happen to be at Sydney airport international arrivals baggage carousel area late this afternoon and spot a passing parade of buzz bars, milk bottle lollies, chocolate fish and mysterious parcels wrapped in bubblewrap on the conveyor belt - don't panic, you've not stumbled into some modern day version of
Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game, it's just the catches and luggage straps on my vintage suitcase didn't hold up.

Pictures soon, I promise (assuming my 40 kilos of luggage doesn't ground the Sydney - Canberra leg of my journey!)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Whiskey, wontons and weather

Och aye, t'was a wee Glenfiddich tasting. With bagpipes. And haggis on toast (not that I tried that), crayfish in filo (didn't try that either) and little pikelets with smoked salmon and caviar. And a jazz band (not at the same time as the bagpipes, you'll be pleased to hear)

And just when I thought it was all over and it was time to go home the doors to the room next door were opened and we were piped in to our tables where we found six glasses at each place containing different ages of Glenfiddich from 12 years to 40 years. There was a presentation from some cute chap from the factory who had the most delicious French/ Scottish accent(bugger the whiskey, I could just drink that in all night),a wee film and then we were guided through the drinking of the various glasses.

Then when it was finally and really over (we knew it was cause we'd had coffee and shortbread) Nick, Tracy and I decided the only fitting end to the evening was a little bite to eat at Chow Wellington. Where we got as table right down the front by the band (Wellington Heads) and I had another round of blue cheese wontons. Bliss!
Some time over night it started raining. And raining. And raining. I dreamt of arks and waterfalls and was sure the house was going to float off down the hill, through the Karori tunnel and out to sea. But it appears we're still here (and it's still raining). Tracy wants to go out. I'm scared I'll melt. I'm not used to rain.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Frugalled my little heart out...

I've been so frugal this week I'm now broke.

Not really, but I've lost count of the number of op shops and junque shops I've visited and the goodies I have found. And I believe there are more to come on Saturday. Ah, the joys of staying with a friend who loves op shopping as much as I do...

I'd share photos but a) most of my "treasures" are wrapped in bubble wrap and safely stowed in the cardboard box which became necessary when I ran out room in my (rather small) suitcase and b) although my new holiday accommodation in Karori has provided me with an computer upgrade from the dial up connection at Chateau Fiasco (the parental palace in Petone) to broadband and one of those sexy all in one Macs, I don't know how to upload photos here.

Today is a rest day on The Shopping Sherpa tour of Wellington. I have the house to myself (apart from one dog and two cats) and the only thing I need to do is get myself down into town for a Whisky Tasting at 5:30pm. I think I'll take a gentle wander down to the local op shop to see if they have a very cheap and very large suitcase I can buy then across to the supermarket for supplies of Snifters, Buzz Bars, chocolate fush and BEE cleaning products to take home.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A fulfilling experience

My parents may think I come to New Zealand to see them. My friends believe I come to see them. The owners of The Shish Mahal may be under the deluded impression they're the reason. But this is the real reason - my dentist who I've had since I was 17.

I'm grumpy with him this year. He says I have to have a filling. But I suppose one small filling every 10 years is acceptable, right?

(No, I didn't load the photo upside down, this is a real life view from the chair)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Yes we have some bananas...

I do love New Zealand...*

(* For those of you outside Australasia, there was a hurricane in Queensland earlier this year which pretty much wiped out the banana crop. This meant the only bananas in the shops were not only grey looking but to add insult to injury, priced at fifteen dollar a kilo. This morning I ate the first banana I've had in over 4 months - and Mum bought them for $1.87 a kilo!)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Corners of my home: Week 11

Some new office corners, the result of some serious putzing on Sunday morning. Loving the flowers which remind me that spring isn't too far away.

The frugalled bird from Saturday has found a home on top of the restained wooden canister I bought on eBay as part of a set of two. The small box frame is from Go-Lo ($7.99 for three - you can see the other two in the next photo) and contains a magnet Princess B gave me for my 40th ("she could see no good reason to act her age").

And finally two birthday presents from last year - a tea light holder and a smoky bottle, both of which have been looking a bit lost up til now.And here's what's at the other end of the cupboard. Yay Trudy!

There's also a magnolia flower which arrived last birthday attached to a present, a toy cast iron stove which was given to me as part of a batch of dolls house furniture by a client a few years ago - identical to a stove I left behind when I moved to Australia, a vintage German basket with an emergency stash of dark chocolate Lindt balls, the two other frames I was telling you about which are framing images I cut out of a magazine advertising Tord Boontje's Heaven Scent fabric for Kvadrat (insert one minute's drooling time here), and finally a Steiff hog which was sent to me from Germany many years ago.

Hmm... maybe I should have named this post "Frugal corners of my home" as the total cost for both corners was $32 (excluding the chocolate).

(Listening to: Nordic Lounge compilation)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cheating wildly

I'm doing very well with my second Use What You Have Month. Mainly because I've not had time to actually make anything except the kittyville hat (last month) and, now, this:...a birthday card for my mother. The green paper is leftover IKEA christmas wrapping paper, the pink ribbon is recycled from here and the picture of the peonies is cut out of a Vogue Living I was deaccessioning from my collection (can you tell I'm a Librarian?). And the card and envelope are from a bulk lot I bought last year off eBay and tucked away.

I do plan to get back to crafting once things settle down again and I have more time. Honest!

(Listening to:
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Rattlesnakes)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Flat out at work

I forgot to mention that in my new job I'll be working from home. Bit scary, really - do I have the personal strength and dedication to ensure the above scenario doesn't happen?

Then again, if I get the best results by sitting in bed in my Pirate nightshirt, who's to say that's wrong? Obviously going out to a client visit is said Pirate nightshirt might cause a bit of a problem (mainly because I'd die of hypothermia in winter).

But maybe it (the working from bed not the dying of hypothermia) could become my selling point. You've heard of the Supper Clubs, right? And you remember the Sex and the City post-it note episode club? And who could forget Paula Yates and that interview with Michael Hutchence?! And going back in history it was quite quite normal for royalty to receive guests in their bedrooms (not that I'm suggesting I'm royalty by any stretch of the imagination!)

So maybe I should embrace my inner sloth, burn all my work clothes and take to my bed.

(Listening to: Ronny Jordan, The quiet revolution)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Unexpected pleasures

I thought I had another typical Sunday ahead of me today - washing, housework, working on TSS, more housework. Then I got a phone call from Mondo saying she and JC were heading past and did I fancy joining them for brunch at Tilleys?

"Nice idea" said I "but my wallet's empty. So why don't you both come here for brunch instead?" And so it came to pass that I was suddenly magicing brunch for three out of the contents of my cupboards and fridge.

Magic Trick One: No matter what you're serving up, it always seems more impressive when presented well. So before I did anything else, I set the table.Magic Trick Two: Luckily I always have a supply of basics on hand which can be turned into any number of things in very little time. Today I grabbed some yoghurt and a sample pack of toasted muesli which arrived with a recent magazine. First course sorted. Then I remembered some frozen Italian bread left over from the last Craft Catch Up. I had some almost past-it mushrooms, and a bowl of pesto from the same Craft Catch Up meal. And suddenly we were having french toast with smoked salmon and pesto mushrooms for a second course.During brunch I mentioned I'd received a text from Taph letting me know Vinnies in Mitchell was selling all clothes for $2 today which led to the next unexpected pleasure - a bonus frugalling trip (and my bill being picked up by Mondo to make up for the fact she hadn't had to shell out for brunch. She was still happy to pay when I pointed out that only the bag was actually for me - what a star!)
I have to share a close up of the middle fabric (I'm particularly tickled by the pink legs on the duck who's just left the pond):And, to cap off today's unexpected pleasures, after a very foggy and ordinary start to the day the sun finally came through and the temperature is perfect to have the windows and back door open for the first airing of the house since winter started. The smell of jonquills wafting through the house really does make me believe that spring is just around the corner.

(Listening to: Holy Cole Trio, Blame it on my youth)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Second Hand Saturday

I had frugalling company today. Y joined me on my jaunt to Queanbeyan and she did very well too - picked up an amazing pair of Nine West boots for $18, a pair of heels with their original price tags ($795!) on the bottom for $20 plus three white plates with gold rims for 40 cents each and a lettuce crisper for $2.

My haul was slightly less spectacular but satisfying none the less.
Clockwise from bottom left::

White ceramic bird ornament: $1. I think the black bird Pink Trees sent me is probably lonely and I have a sudden need to collect some china birds, brought on by a picture I spied in a recent Wallpaper* magazine. And at this price if I decide it was a silly idea after all I can just redonate it!

Two M People CDs: $2.50 each. I grabbed these in case Sis didn't have them, and it turns out she doesn't so they're heading to Auckland soon.

Grey plastic tape holder for the car: $1.50. I have too many these days to fit in the space between the seats so this is perfect.

Thompson Twins tape: 50 cents

Four small white lidded plastic containers just the right size for keeping individual serves of pasta sauce or beans in the freezer: 30 cents each

Dollar signs: an astrological guide to personal finance by Yvonne Morabito. $1 - at that price it doesn't matter if it's all bollocks, does it?

And in the background, pink and white rose patterned skirt that I found on the half price rack just as we were heading to the register and running late. We both liked it. It was marked down to $2.50 so I bought it. If it doesn't fit me, Y will try it. If it doesn't fit her it might head off into the wild blue yonder as part of a swap package to be turned into a bag.

So far, so good: $12.70 in total.

But then behind the counter at salvos I spotted this for $15.It's just what I need I have to plug and unplug my scanner and printer from the computer depending on what I want to do - and it always seems to be the wrong thing plugged in so this will simplify things.

Pity it's so goddamn ugly though - although it looks like the cover screws off so I might be able to improve things a bit... So I ended the morning over budget yet again but with the justification that the plug box could just possibly morph into a business expense.

(Listening to: Roddy Frame, North Star)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Nothing to say really...

Went to work, went to lunch, went back to work, stopped off in Target (and found some early bargains to add to my Christmas present cupboard), came home and ate the leftovers from last night.

So to keep you entertained here are some random photos of Canberran op (thrift) shops I haven't got round to posting yet:Kingston YMCA. Small but very well organised (and friendly). A good stop for me if I've been to Kingston for a haircut. I can't remember any outstanding purchases, though.
Curtin Vinnies, tucked away downstairs but still bright and clean. Had a solid place on medium rotation with me (if I don't visit once a month I start getting twitchy.) V found Sylvia Plath's children's book here but their cassettes are the most expensive I've found, even at half price. Oh well, at least they're the only op shop with live music - the sounds of the busker in the shopping centre above often waft down the stairs and make browsing so much more enjoyable...

(Listening to: Everything but the girl, Worldwide)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

642.4: The Dewey number for social dining

An apt title for a dinner party for Librarians. After fine food and drink (and much gossip), being good little Librarians, my guests wouldn't go home until they had put everything back where it came from:
Thanks girls - 'twas a great night and I look forward to the next one!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Up, down, turn around. Please don't let me hit the ground!

I often find if I pay attention to the songs that stick in my head I can discover how the ol' subconscious is feeling.

I first noticed this many years ago when I found myself incessantly humming Yazoo's
Bad Connection in the shower. It took a while before I realised I really had to break up with my boyfriend of the time.

I've been humming The Front Lawn's Tomorrow Night this week which is a fairly easy one to understand and usually lodges in my head just after I've bought tickets for a trip back to Wellington. Other trip related songs that pop up like clockwork include
The Final Countdown by Europe (which is particularly annoying because I hate it but it covers the situation very well - not that I know more than the chorus - duh de DAA daaa, duh de da da daaah....) And Back to Life by Soul 2 Soul always edges in during the last few days of any trip. I'm growing to have a Pavlovian hatred of that song.

(Let's not even mention the days where I find myself humming Where's your head at shall we?)

So anyway, there I am at work today beavering away and I start to hum. At first I can’t work out what I'm humming but soon I realise it's New Order's
Temptation. It would seem my subconscious is a little concerned about this upcoming change of job. I think that I need to lull it (the subconscious, not the song) with a couple of glasses of red wine and have a good talk to it.

Or maybe the issue is my new employer is talking about having a launch for me and I need to take the song more literally...

(Listening to: Depeche Mode, Songs of Faith and Devotion (except for the first 7 seconds))

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

She loves Wellington, she was(n't) born there, she grew up out in the Hutt Valley...*

In the gap between old contract and new job I'm heading back to Wellington for a week.

Not that I can afford it but it's been 18 months since I've been to the dentist or seen my parents or eaten a Chow blue cheese wonton or a Shish Mahal curry (let alone seen the Shish Mahal's new premises in Courtenay Place). And I think I need some serious blobbing time.

So this trip there'll be no visiting The Vault or Askew or Real Groovy Records or Staxs as I've spent all my money on my airfare. Instead I'll be doing some gentle exploring of op shops, visiting of galleries and museums, catching up on my reading and taking advantage of Chow's two for one specials (food on Monday night and cocktails on Wednesday). And lots and lots of just hanging out and recharging at Chateau Fiasco, the parental palace in Petone.

(*with apologies to The Front Lawn)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Goodies goodies - yum yum!

Found this happy crowd in my post box this morning. (Obviously that was where the party was at over the weekend and no one thought to invite me... )

They were attached to a care package from my Sis in Auckland, New Zealand who heard my desperate ex pat cries for a taste of home and sent these:Four packets of white toffee pops (promise I won't eat them all at once!) plus a very very cool postcard of Elizabeth Thomson's The Black and Whites (which may end up framed) from the Winter Season of Wellington Art and a Saint Etienne CD that wasn't her taste and she thought I'd enjoy more.

Ah, bliss... Big trans-Tasman hugs to you, best Sis in the world!

(Listening to: Under the Covers at The Hotel California)

Little things make me happy

I popped into Kmart yesterday afternoon to check out a dress I'd seen in their catalogue (yes, it ended up making me look like a sack of potatoes as some Kmart things are wont to do so I was happy to have mentally saved $35.99). But I walked out with a black ribbed hooded knit jacket for $8.80.

Which is only around 50% off the original price of $15.98. But what I love is it's a children's size 14. I'm in the lucky position to be the largest sized kids shoe and clothes size as well as normal adult size. So I get to look in twice as many places for clothes and, more excellently, often find that the largest kids' size is cheaper than buying the adult version.

Once, many years ago, I got size 5 kids' Converse One Stars (in the days when you could still just wander in off the street and buy a pair... *sniffle*) for $30 cheaper than the exact same pair marked adults size 5. Go figure...

And I still remember the brilliant children's size 14 black and white op art leggings I picked up at Deka in New Zealand circa 1988 for $16 which a colleague at Radio Active swore he'd seen at Camden Market. I wore them with a large baggy black fishermens rib jumper (and, I seem to recall, fluro pink socks and black canvas chinese slippers) and an air of "of course they came from London" until they fell apart.

Do you have a favorite bargain clothing memory?

(Listening to: Cafe del Mar Volumen Once)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Busy busy day...

Was that a Saturday that just whizzed past? I think it was as I appear to have landed squarely on Sunday morning....

The day started later than planned as Nibbs had (of course) stopped sneezing on Friday night so the 8am appointment at the vet was cancelled (hurrah! says my wallet). But there was still my 9:30am appointment at the hairdressers so no lazing round in bed reading magazines and drinking tea for me.

Had a noon lunch and blog photo taking tutorial date with Mondo but on the way down south I managed to spend my weekly $20 frugalling budget and fill my basket: From the front:

Braces for Dad: $5

Almost new work shoes (identical to a pair I had that fell apart recently): $6

Jean Greenhowe book on making toys (I used to adore Jean Greenhowe's patterns when I was younger - this is going into an upcoming swap package): $1

Small black wooden shelf which is just perfect for some of my chairs (and yes, the price sticker will be coming off - I just popped the chairs in their quickly so you get the general idea!): $1Frida DVD: $5

White plastic tray and snack plate set (still in original packaging): $3 Lunch at Mondo's was delicious and she took photos of it for practice. Much gossip ensued, the Library world in Canberra was put to rights then we had some fun cropping her trip photos before I was pushed firmly towards the door by her daughter who was getting impatient to ride her bike to the shops with Mum.

Just as well really as I realised that Quantum Leap started at 7pm, not 7:30pm as I had thought and I'd planned to swing past and take some photos of my favorite pear sculpture at the entrance to The National Gallery on the way home.(And one of the haircut too!)Quantum Leap was, as usual, brilliant. I've been attending for more years that I can remember and am blown away every year by the professionalism of the performance by dancers so young (the youngest is 13). Well worth the $22 ticket price, especially as you're supporting the dancers of tomorrow...

(Listening to: Blue Nile: Hats)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

If I can't have the real thing...

Did you know that if you donate US$6,500 to the Eames Foundation they'll GIVE you a special edition, medallion-marked, hand-numbered 50th Anniversary Palisander Rosewood Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman?

I only wish my holiday budget could have stretched to that sort of souvenir purchase as it's an utter bargain, a good deed and a tax deductible donation all rolled into one (sort of like a designer Kindersuprise, really)

Alas it wasn't possible, but I can now say I own my own Eames Lounge chair 670 and ottoman 671 although on a slightly smaller scale.

Plus a parade of other delicious design classics:So if you've been lusting after the Vitra miniature chairs, can't cope with the prices but could cope with having chairs half the size you might like to check out the Design Interior Collections (also available on eBay, of course!)

(Listening to: The Beat, b.p.m. ... the very best of)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Why can't life be simple?

It's been one of those days...

I'm the person that Help Desks hate. I must have been a Mystery Shopper in a past life or something as whatever problem I have is usually unlike anything anyone has seen before and causes much flumoxed reaction, putting on hold and talking to supervisors and general frustration all round.

Having said that I ended today with separate work and personal emails (and the ability to swap at will between them), an actual working phone jack in my home office (which may end up costing me a whopping $10 as when I was showing my friendly girl Electrician/ Phone Tech something on eBay we stumbled across an item which I expect to be able to get for $10 that she has been looking at paying $70 for. So the deal is if I can get it for her she'll waive my bill...), 18 dolls house sized designer chairs and, last but certainly not least, a new job.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Odd coincidence

My first Under the Covers CD arrived yesterday morning, from a fellow knitting Librarian.

But that's not the coincidence. My It's in the Numbers CD swap is going out tomorrow. To exactly the same person. How weird is that? (In fact I'm recycling the padded envelope she sent straight back to her)

(Listening to Thirteen lucky covers: a compendium)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sneezy & Dopey

I went to bed early last night planning to have a lovely restful night's sleep. But it was not to be.

Nibbs, as usual, had joined me. Just as I drifted into the Land of Nod he let out a humungous sneeze. The first of many over the course of the night as it turned out.

I've told him he has 24 hours to stop it otherwise we're off to the V.E.T. Something both he and my wallet would prefer not to do, so I hope the threat works...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Short and sweet

No, not me you fools, this post! (*Sound of maniacal laughter*)

Yep, tis the first of August which means end of month accounts time. And I'm using all these new-found Excel skills I have to set up beautiful automated spreadsheets for this year to show me how much I've spent (oops...) and how much I owe (eek!).

Normal transmission will no doubt resume tomorrow.

(Listening to Jimmy Somerville, Home again)