Thursday, November 30, 2006

Corners of my world

OK, that's it. We've definitely turned into a real city this year.

Factory outlet? Tick. Borders? Tick. Gold Class cinema? Dendy is opening next month. Wagamama? (Not sure when yet but I know we're getting one). Which means Max Brenner can't be too far away...

And to really prove the point we have Christmas windows! Except they're not really. You see, Canberra is all a little inside out and upside down so we don't really have outside windows like there are at DJs in Sydney (and probably somewhere in Melbourne but I'm not sure because I've never been there in December) and so we have displays set up along the top of the Canberra Mall extension (the old new bit, if you're a local)

This is my favorite. I keep wanting to call them "Knitting Gnomes" except that they're elves. Bother. I particularly like the Christmas stocking race in the left hand corner - it's just a pity I don't have the technology to video the action for you.(Listening to: Julie Fordham, Julia Fordham)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A random late night post with far too much colour for my liking

If I say I got my mail before 9 am this morning and am only just getting to open it now would that explain the sort of day I've had? And I think it's only going to get worse between now and when I leave for New Zealand as (oddly enough) eBay sales are hotting up pre-Christmas, I have a ton of (self-inflicted) deadlines to get stuff in the post to distant friends for Christmas (and some pre-Christmas birthdays) over the next week or so plus have to arrange rather important stuff like a cat feeder.

Anyway, let's not talk about that. My head appears to remain above water for another day and I'm happy with that!

Here's what I've been up to craft-wise recently:

1. A mystery knitting project destined to become a Christmas present. Made out of some more of this stash, which I seem to have made rather a lot out of recently.
Multi-coloured garter stitch knitting, with a knitted flower made from the same wool with a button in the centre, pinned to it.2. Remember this IKEA fabric I bought? I got the urge to embellish it:
A piece of black and white IKEA fabric, with some parts coloured in, and fabric markers on top.and, in true TSS style, have decided the test run is probably good enough to be made into something (probably another Christmas present).Close up of a length of black and white IKEA fabric, with parts coloured in and beads added.Finally, I remembered why Christmas and chocolate don't mix too well in this country. I raided a box of Lindor balls I had set aside for gift giving and discovered this...very very runny balls.

I can't give them away like this can I? So both boxes are now in the fridge awaiting consumption and chocolates are now officially off the gift giving list for this year (like hello! what was I thinking? They would have been in a car for 3 days before they arrived at Christmas Day, let alone two plane trips prior)
(Listening to: Fabric 2)
Featured on IKEA Hackers in June 2007.

See my other IKEA hacks:
Zippered pouch (December 2006)
Shopping tote (January 2007)
Rationelle coasters (February 2007)
Peg frame (May 2007)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, blowing you up makes me quite dizzy...

Sew Thrifty asked for more information on my Christmas tree. And when a reader asks, I try to answer, even if a lot of the information seems to be lost in the haze of history.

What I can tell you is that the tree is from Room Interior Products, who seem to have mysteriously disappeared off the face of the web. They used to make all sorts of funky stuff which you never really needed but always brought a little extra something to your life.

I bought it maybe four (five?) years ago at David Jones. There were three sizes (Small (50 cm), Medium (110 cm - the one I got) and Large (180 cm) and two colours ways (bright green with very loudly coloured decorations or grey with decorations in grey and teal)). My tree cost $29.95 and it was a bit scary as it was the first Christmas decoration I'd bought for many many years. But I had to get it as just looking at it made me laugh hysterically.

The tree blows up in three sections and each of the decorations (a star for the top and round baubles for the sides) can be inflated before they are domed on. At the end of the season you just let the air out and pop it back in the bag. Which contains the extra set of decorations plus a puncture repair kit (a very thoughtful addition) and is about the size of a hot water bottle so easy peasy to store til next year.

About 18 months ago I spotted the small size in the sales for $9.95 and bought it for work as the teal baubles matched our corporate colours. Having it stopped all those "but aren't you going to decorate the office for Christmas?" comments I was getting as I was able to go "I have!" and point at the tree which usually shut people up.

Finally, here's a full-length shot of my "ghost tree" in situ:

(Listening to: Holiday remixed (cool electronic lounge versions of Christmas songs))

Monday, November 27, 2006

Weekend treats

1. A card I bought for $3 at Kingston Markets. There was a young chap manning the stall and it turns out he actually designed the cards he was selling. So I declared that art wasn't art unless it was signed, pulled the card out of the bag it came in and got him to sign it for me. The frame came from the stash of cheap black frames I have tucked away for just such occasions.

3. A monochromatic Dr Seuss style felted Christmas tree which was $8 at the Oxfam Fair on Saturday (same stall as the cats and the balls from that day's post). They tried to tell me it was really an egg cosy but I don't believe them one little bit. Egg cosy indeed - what a silly idea!

4. My first cherries of the season, $5 for a half kilo bag at the Kingston Markets. This is not a half kilo in the photo - it's what's left of the half kilo after almost 24 hours of (restrained) cherry eating. I particularly loved that they came in a brown paper bag. I felt terribly rustic dropping them into my shopping bag.

(Listening to: Depeche Mode: Ultra)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Second Hand Sunday (better late than never, right?)

I'm pretty stoked with my finds this week:In particular the "toy" knitting machine for $10 (which looks basically complete and according to the box knits pieces up to 39 cm wide. Can't wait to give it a whirl!)I also picked up this piece of fabric (is it Barkcloth? I haven't actually worked out how to identify barkcloth yet) for 50 cents and the wool for $5 total which I plan to use to try knitting cupcakes like these. Also in the haul for $3 is a copy of The Canberra Game which may end up as a craft project as I doubt there'll be much interest in actually playing it unless I provide large amounts of alcohol first):And another china bird (I definitely have a collection now) and seashell (only the second so I'm safe there) for $1.50 each:I also got a copy of Rain on video for $3 and some spare video cases for 50 cents each.

Let's not mention the books, shall we?

(Listening to: Hotel Costes Vol 6)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Three in one blow!

No, I'm not talking about this lot (cute though they are) I mean I managed to combine history, architecture and shopping all at once today!

Princess B and Princess M are down for the weekend and we visited the Oxfam Fair at
Albert Hall (which is where I shot the mischievous trio above, felted in Nepal.)And since we were on somewhat of a historical roll we went to Cafe in the House at Old Parliament House for lunch (since the budget wouldn't stretch todinner at The Ginger Room this trip) and stopped off at the shop on the way out making it a two in a row.
And since we seemed to have struck a theme for the day we finished up in the Garden Bar at Olims Hotel (originally opened as the Hotel Ainslie in 1927, and designed by architect CFA Voysey) where you can see Princess B admiring the architecture over a glass of wine.Actually, I made that up as from where we were sitting the hotel had been seriously remuddled so there wasn't much to admire.

Balls to that!(And in case you're wondering: Yes, there was frugalling this week but reporting has been slightly delayed. Tomorrow hopefully, Royal Visits allowing)

(Listening to:
Hotel Costes Vol 1)

Friday, November 24, 2006

... and again


Architecture:Go to see the Sydney Pollock film Sketches of Frank Gehry. Realise I've gone past two of his works (in New York and Barcelona) without realising they were Frank Gehry. Chastise self. But not too much.

Shopping: Buy groceries for the first time in 2 weeks. (Does that count?) Discover new Lindt Lindor ball flavour (Raspberry) which comes in a box with dark, 60% dark and mint. Buy two boxes.

Also shopping, but not in the evening: find a wool winder and thingy in a box (a swift maybe?) for Taphophile at Salvos Belconnen. The lovely Ken gives me both for $5.

All in all Thursday was a good day.

No pictures. Sorry. Very tiiiiiiiiiired. (I wonder why?) And now I must away - there's a picnic rug by the lake calling my name...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Feeling a bit like Groudhog Day

The whole history/ architecture and shopping evening mix worked so well on Tuesday night that I thought I'd try it again last night.

For the history/ architecture component of the evening I went to a talk on
The ACT Heritage Library (a place I could never work as I'd never get anything done!) and drank free wine - thus breaking my frugal alcohol standard record from the night before.

Afterwards, for the shopping part of the experience I headed to the David Jones Christmas preview at Woden where I drank free champagne and wrestled with the tough decision: would I buy David Jones Home Brand towels at 30% discount with nothing to pay til February or would I buy Conran towels at 30% off and nothing to pay till February?

After getting one of the Assistants to check which of the Conrans designed the towels (a very important piece of information, I assure you) I decided I could justify the extra $5 or so it would cost me (and cope with the slightly smaller towel) in order to be able to gaze adoringly at the Bath by Conran (of the Terence variety) label every time I used them.

My beautiful new towels weren't the only reason I was feeling spoiled yesterday, though.

Taphophile gave me this:(here's a gratuitous close up of the vespa jumper pattern - I think I'll use the scooter design on the back of a hoodie. Not sure yet if it'll be a big person or a tiny person hoodie yet...) That Taphophile sure has me well and truly pegged! And I gave me this t shirt from Magpie Store:
Which arrived very quickly and I've been dying to wear it but fear it's not quite appropriate for work. Roll on the weekend!

(Listening to: Cafe del Mar Vol 5)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Seidler, shopping, and stinking heat

Last night after work I trundled off to a talk at Canberra Museum and Gallery on "an insight into the masterpieces in the ACT designed by the late, great Harry Seidler" There were drinks in the courtyard first and The Voice of Frugal Reason popped up in time to endorse $2 drinks as being very very reasonable indeed. The talk was fantastically interesting and included some architecture from Vienna which got me all excited about my planned trip in 2008. Harry Seidler's secretary was sitting directly in front of me which made it all much more immediate. I only wished the talk was for 2 hours not one as I found it so engrossing.

Afterwards I cornered the organiser from CMAG and shared my tale of woe about not being able to complete my exhibition proposal for the Cabinets of Curiosities series and asked if they had a consultant who could help. She's taken my details and perhaps 2007 will see me actually finishing the *&#! thing and getting it submitted!

Next stop in the evening was the Myer pre Christmas evening where I thought I'd try again to spend the
gift card Princess B had given me. I love the Myer and David Jones pre Christmas shopping nights as they have great specials and (usually) nothing like the crowds at the post Christmas sales. And the discounts are usually about the same (something I've never really understood - why have sales before Christmas when people are going to be buying anyway?)

So I wandered and pondered. Looked at the towels at 30% off but knew that DJs were offering 40% off plus the Christmas option which means if I buy them there they'd be cheaper plus I wouldn't have to pay for them til February. Finally, in the bedding department, after a quick false start with a poly cotton (urgh! what was I thinking?!) doona (duvet) cover set I discovered what I was looking for (but didn't know it): A Country Road white cotton summer blanket to replace the ex-hospital one I obtained 10 years ago which looks rattier and rattier with each passing summer that I have a cat sleeping on it who catches the threads in his claws. Full price: $129. Less 30% shopping night discount: $90.30. Less Princess B's contribution: $65.30. I'm happy. The Voice of Frugal Reason is happy. Life's good.

And it would seem I made the purchase in the nick of time as last night was a stinker. Tried sleeping upstairs under the usual summer doona. After an hour I realised it wasn't going to happen. Tried sleeping downstairs on the mattress I pull out of the cupboard under the stairs for just such occasions. Another hour later it became clear that wasn't going to happen either. Back upstairs I'm rummaging in the linen cupboard for summer sheets and bedspread and remaking the bed at midnight. (The cat is not impressed). Still wide awake.

Finally, at 1am, after spending time on eBay tracking down replacement summer pillowcases for a set that were ripped on the line during a hailstorm thus leaving the sheet sadly orphaned (The Shopping Sherpa reigns supreme!):
I finally made it to sleep. Of a sort.

And because this post seems to have turned into a parade of gratuitous shots of my wonderful summer bedlinen collection here's a picture of the summer bedspread I bought in Venice which (unfortunately) is now covering up my beautiful new cotton blanket. This is definitely on the list of things I'd save in a fire I love it that much...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Time to blow up the ol' Christmas tree

Eek! Just realised this morning that I have exactly one calendar month before I bugger off to Nuw Zuld for the Sisterly Christmas Road Trip.

Which means it's time to blow up the Christmas tree (don't panic, it's inflatable), pull out the cheesy Christmas music and make some serious plans about where we're going, where we're staying and how I'm going to get everything I need to do done in time (including finding feeders for The Fluffmeister).

At least it's perfect Christmas season weather with a high today of 34 °C (90 °F) and glorious sunshine.

(Listening to: Ultra-Lounge
Christmas Cocktails Part 1)

Monday, November 20, 2006

More colour. More knitting

I discovered a two-for-less-than-one deal ($9.95 for both!) on Jo Sharp's Contemporary Knitting books 1 and 2 at the newsagents over the weekend. Which,of course, I bought quick smart.

Flicking through them with Kerry, who was up from Melbourne for the weekend, I was explaining that they were really knitting pornography when she got rather excited by the picture of the arm and leg warmers and explained that her current pair of legwarmers had a hole in them and how lovely they were to lounge round in during winter (and wear to bed on particularly cold nights)

And before we knew what was going on we were in the craft room turning the stash box upside down and pulling out wool. I decided this pink wool and these remnants would work perfectly even though they're not really Jo Sharpish at all....

Just don't ask why I'm knitting legwarmers in late November, OK? Especially as I have a pile more things that I need to finish for Christmas...

(Listening to: Bjork, Debut)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Second Hand Saturday - stuff from Sydney

I managed to fit three op shops into my two days in Sydney - Vinnies Crows Nest and both of the Vinnies in Chatswood (how's that for dedication?) I've also slipped a couple of lots of ribbon into the picture which I actually bought at a discount store, not Vinnies.

So here's the haul:
- Two perspex cases: $3.00 each (in the never ending quest to gain control over the hobby room)
- Eleven books: $30.00 total. Sigh. Do I have some delusion that I'll somehow manage to read all the books I keep buying? Or is it more the though that the possibility is there at some unknown point in the future and, at $2.00 to $4.00 a title it's too good to pass up? At least the two on the far right are being given away...
- 1 knitting pattern: 50 cents. For a cotton knit (adult sized) hoodie. Which just might work with some major yarn substitution.
- 2 rolls of black and white Happy Birthday ribbon: $2.00 each. It pays to be prepared, you know...
- Small spotty espresso cup: 50 cents. I better watch out, one more of
these and I'll have an official collection. Which would be no good at all...
- Round metal sugar bowl/ container thingy: $3.00
- 2 silver serving spoons: $3.00 each.

A close up of the books if you're feeling nosey:(Listening to: This Mortal Coil, It'll end in tears)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lovely discoveries

The Gifting Gods have been smiling on me lately. I got to work yesterday and was rummaging in my bag for my hanky when I discovered a $25 Myer gift card in there. Had complete kittens as I remembered looking at Princess B's gift cards when I was at her place Wednesday night but had no recollection at all of putting one in my bag, and was rather shocked as that's not the sort of thing I'd do at all. So I sent her an extremely grovelly text explaining that I'd just found it sorry sorry sorry etc and it turned out she'd actually slipped it in there for me because she's such a lovely person.

Phew! I wasn't losing my mind after all. (Now I just have to hope I get an invite to their Christmas preview evening. But that's not loking too likely as my taxi driver last night said his Mum's one had just arrived and there's none for me in either on my mail boxes. Poo!)

Then I was presented with the following haul by a Sydney colleague who has recently returned from New Zealand:What's particulary amazing (apart from the sheer size of the booty) is that she managed to keep them out of the clutches of Duchess N of Mosmania (another rabid NZ lolly scoffing ex-Kiwi who sits not more than 4 desks away from her) for weeks.

Duchess N and I split the pile on a one for you, one for me, one to share basis and thus the whole office had a happy and chocolate filled morning.

And as I was wandering off with a full and happy puku for a spot of late night shopping before I headed for the airport I stumbled across a vision of wonderfulness:New Zealand Snack Food, who had a stall selling (almost) everything a little Kiwi heart could desire (I need to talk to them about White Toffee Pops, Harvest Cider and Feijoa Wine (no link, aparently). If you're Sydney based they have a pile of stockists listed on their website and inform me that their web shop should be up and running in a month or so.

But that's not all! In the mail this morning was a mysteriously large flat parcel from garagesailor which turned out to contain the following:Looks like the turntable will be coming out to play again next weekend!

So I end the week feeling all very spoilt. Thank you thank you thank you!

(Listening to: The Killers, Sam's Town)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Corners of my World - an outsider's view

My friend Tracy left this in my visitor's book when she came to stay a couple of years ago.

I think she's got it in a nutshell (apart from some confusion about what's north and what's south)

PS: This is the first blog entry I've ever posted from a moving train. And I'm crossing Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sorry, I find that quite exciting!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oh what a perfect day...

Had a day's annual leave in Sydney today and it was all quite exciting. Got searched for explosives as I left Canberra, then met a woman on the bus to Cremorne who was telling me about how she remembers walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge when it first opened in the 1930s.

Went to a luncheon screening of Mrs Palfry at the Claremont, complete with Wurlitzer performance beforeand sandwiches after. It was a lovely way to spend a morning, especially as The Hayden Orpheum is such a stunning old picture theatre.Then had a bit of time to squeeze in a visit to Vinnies in Crows Nest and Chatswood before meeting Princess B at 4pm to go check out
Sculpture by The Sea and, most importantly, the melting Mr Whippy van (find a Real Player interview with the artist here, which includes a soundtrack of the wonderful melty Greensleeves tune)The weather has been most odd today, which made for great photos but it was a little disconcerting to hear about a bushfire raging that was somewhat doused by snow and hail... In NOVEMBER!

(I'll be loading the rest of the Sculpture by the Sea photos up to Flickr this weekend)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Without you my life's going to be forever Tuesday morning...*

I dropped Miss Daisy off at the car doctor this morning. My driveway looks so odd without her in it. Unfortunately the lack of car gives me a clearer view of the fact I really have to clean up the garden! In other news (because a post with a picture of an empty driveway would be just too boring) I've got a pile of knitting needles waiting to head off to Plastic Girl as soon as she gives me her address. If you've not seen her stuff yet head over to her shop for a gander. And in the background is a remnant of fabric JC gave to me last week. As you can see I've not quite got to ironing it yet and probably won't before next week as life is about to get majorly busy.

*with thanks to
The Mockers

(Listening to Ultrasound Vol 1)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Happy feet, I've got those happy feet...

Smarties have released Black and White Happy Feet Smarties. I'm the most excited about lollies that I've been since the short lived black and white M&M phenomenon in 2004 and am trying desperately not to run out and buy them in bulk.

Since it's been raining most of the day (hurrah!), and I'm sulking because something I'd been working on all day got eaten when Word hung on me 2 minutes before the end of the day (Boo! Hiss!), and I have a library copy of Vivienne Westwood's biography which is due back tomorrow (and a bottle of wine in the fridge) I think I'll spend the rest of the evening curled up on the sofa with a box of Smarties, a glass of wine and aforementioned book...

(Listening to: Tosca, j.a.c.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-a-Dee-Day. My oh my, I've had a crafty day!

While flicking through my $2 copy of Good Housekeeping's Complete Book of Needlecraft last night I spotted some rather yummy graphics. Which (of course) I scanned into my computer and turned into transfers quick smart as the ol' creative juices were flowing.

Above you can see plan number one, a knitting tool pouch which I'll sew using some more frugalled cot sheet, a frugalled 20 cent zip and some of a spotty bandana which has been kicking round in my stash since 1989 or thereabouts when I bought it to make this miniature bedding:I don't actually need a knitting tools pouch as I've discovered the black Tupperware sandwich keeper Princess B gave me does a brilliant job: So I guess the knitting tools pouch will end up a Christmas gifty for someone. Or maybe I could do a swap for it?
Speaking of gifts, I finished the bands and the sewing up on E's hoodie today and pressed it. Still no zip - I'm in a snit with both Lyncraft and Spotlight for not having the double fold bias binding I want OR the black fabric paint I'm after so thought I'd try a place I'd just heard of called Hobbysew. Which (of course) turned out to be closed on Sundays.

Anyone know of a decent craft shop in Sydney (either Chatswood/ Cremorne or Bondi-ish) I could try when I'm up there later this week? And, finally, here's another transfer I created which I have no idea what I'm going to do with.

(Listening to: OMD, Universal)

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I'm happy to report that the tin experiment worked.

I measured the size of the picture of the dog on the lid, worked out the curved corners were the exact size of a 5 cent piece (excellent), opened Word, inserted the photo I wanted to print, enlarged it until it covered the page and printed it out onto photo paper.

Then I decided which bit of the photo I liked the most, cut it out to the correct size then pasted it to the top of the tin using spray adhesive (making sure I masked off the white edges so they wouldn't get sticky.) finally, I pulled off the masking tape, covered the photo with waxed paper and used a roller to make sure it was flat.

Simple as that. Now I want to go find more old tins to play with!Since I was on a crafting roll this afternoon I finally tackled the Christmas stockings I've been wanting to make for Mum and Dad using the piece of blanket you can see on the top of the pile of frugalled goodies here. Ironic, really, that I bought it for $NZ3 at Salvos on Taranaki Street Wellington, lugged it all the way home to Australia, made it into stockings which I will be taking back to a spot not 10 kilometres from where I got the blanket bit from!

I wanted to use the blanket fringe for the top, so folded the piece in half (one half for each stocking) then in half again with the fringe at the top. I then cut a piece of paper to that size and drew a stocking shape on it, making sure to leave space round the outside for the seam allowance. When I was happy with the shape of the pattern I cut it out and pinned it to the blanket, leaving the fold over fringed bit sticking out the top.

Without cutting anything out I sewed round the stocking around the outside of the pattern then cut round it with my
birthday pinking shears. I then sewed the fold down on the opposite side so when it was folded over at the top it was pinked side out to match the stocking (confused yet?)

I top stitched a length of single fold bias binding for the hanger, making sure it was long enough to fit over a door handle, then folded it in half, right side out and attached it to the inside of the stocking on the back seam.And finally I made initials out of shrinky dinks and tied them on. So Santa won't get mixed up!

I'm feeling pretty chuffed all round and wondering if I should quit while I'm ahead or leap into the next project....

(*I was tossing up between this title and Rin Tin Tin)