Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Brand New Friend

Meet the Knitting Devil, my souvenir of The Big Day Out (how typical that I go to a music festival and still manage to find something knitting related? At least I didn't actually take any knitting with me, although in retrospect that would have been a mighty fine idea.)
The Knitting Devil agreed with me that Hot Chip were pretty damned fine and worth investigating further.Here's The Knitting Devil deciding where we're heading next - which turned out to be into the Boiler Room for a bit of a boogie.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

One step closer to becoming a rooly trooly Aussie...

Princess B has taken me under her wing and each year introduces me to something to help me become more Aussie.

Last year I arrived at her place to find a packet of Iced Vovos waiting for me.

This afternoon I get to go to my first Big Day Out.* I shall try to ignore the fact I'll be old enough to be most attendees' mother.

I wonder what Princess B has in store for me next year? Not a XXXX or a B & S Ball, I hope...

(*Woohoo - I get to see Lily Allen (THE soundtrack to summer 2006/07. Lily Allen ROCKS!), The Killers, Evermore, Eskimo Joe and The Violent Femmes (bloody finally - I've been waiting to see them for 20 years!). Plus a pile of other bands, a lot of whom I've never heard of)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's in the Bag (with apologies to Selwyn Toogood)

Black shopping tote with a lining made of colourful fabric printed in a leaf design.Finished (finally!): The IKEA bag to go with the pouch I made for Duchess N of Mosmania. (Yes, I know it's not Friday but I'm away in Sydney this (long) weekend so let's pretend and call it Wow! It's done Wednesday or something.)

And the pile is looking rather a lot smaller, I'm pleased to say.

I'm seriously considering making some bags to sell but I need your input. eBay, Etsy or a good old fashioned market stall (preferably somewhere like Mosman where they're rolling in dosh)? Opinions, please!

(Listening to: Evermore, Real Life)
Featured on IKEA Hackers in February 2007.

See my other IKEA hacks:
Colouring in fabric (December 2006)
Zippered pouch (December 2006)
Rationelle coasters (February 2007)
Peg frame (May 2007)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's all good!

This has to be the buy of the month and you can feel virtuous at the same time you feel frugal:

1. Banrock Station (remember, the wine I stated here should have the motto Kill a braincell, save a duck because of the work they are doing on their wetlands and with Landcare Australia?)

2. It's on special this week at Macs Liquor (or whatever the Woolworth's grog shop is called these days)

3. And if you buy 6 bottles at once you get another 20% off. So that makes 6 bottles $32.93 in total.

4. When you buy 6 bottles you get a free cooler bag. It's black. That logo is so going to be part of The Shopping Sherpa's experiment where we discover if transfer paper works on things other than cotton cloth....

5. And IF YOU BUY IT TODAY (along with your non perishable grocery suppliers for the next decade) all the profits go to to the Country Women's Association to help farming families with household bills and for research into sustainable farming practices.

How totally cool is that? Buy wine. Help ducks. Help mud. Help farmers. Get cool bag. And very cheap vino to boot.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tagged (but flummoxed)

Twitchy Fingers tagged me for a 5 Things Meme.

Which is great. The only problem is I can't think of 5 things that I didn't already mention in my
100 things post last year.

Well, OK, nothing I really want to share. Like do you really care if I'm
a scruncher or a folder? Or that my dominant tribes are Cuba St and Raglan? Nah, didn't think so....

(Listening to: Hunters & Collectors,
Human Frailty)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Having a brand old time

The stinking heat of the last week seems to have let up somewhat today meaning I actually had some brainspace to do some stuff rather than using it all to wander round looking grumpy and muttering "I'm hot" to random inanimate objects.

I had piles (and I mean piles) of things that needed my attention but decided I really had to spend some time doing some 1 year anniversary tweaking on The Shopping Sherpa (the business, as opposed to the blog, which you may notice got a few cobwebs cleaned away at the same time).

So, after much frustration and swearing gently under my breath as I realised my self-taught Word and Photoshop skills gave me just enough confidence to get myself into lots of trouble (but not back out again very easily) I have new whiz bang business cards, a tarted up eBay store and listings and, to cap it off, very spunky labels to sew into my bags:
Thanks to Pink Trees for sending the cotton twill tape (does anyone know if I can get it in Australia or do I have to add it to the list of odd items I need to bribe PT to send me regularly?) and to Soule Mama for providing the tutorial.

(Listening to: David Gray, White Ladder)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Second Hand Saturday - Catch up

The Great Maxwell Williams Dinner Set Challenge of 2006 has been renamed and continues into 2007. I now have one single dinner plate (woo hoo) and am up to date with cups and saucers after the discovery of this set of four for a whopping $2 for the lot at Vinnies Dickson.

I'm still needing 7 dinner plates and 3 cereal bowls and then I'm done...I also have a new salad bowl with a story behind it. I first saw this design in the window at Vinnies Chatswood. Loved the 1960s/70s flowery vibe but talked myself out of it as I'd just bought a pile of wool and was completely over the concept of carrying fragile items home with me from Sydney.

Obviously The Universe decided I had to have it as this week I found another one at Vinnies Belconnen - a lot closer to home. I'm vaguely suspicious that it is, indeed, the exact same bowl but I really don't think Vinnies moves stock interstate...Another story is attached to this next find: 12 balls of green wool which I plan to use to (finally) make this jumper. And 5 balls of blue which I have no idea what I'll do with at this stage.

They're both Crucci, a New Zealand company which appears to be now (sadly) defunct. Their factory shop was just up the road from our house (and my school) in Upper Hutt and I remember going there with my Mum as a teenager.

And (if that wasn't enough), I also bought a skein of teally blue wool, a colour I seem to have had a crush on since my last trip to NZ. Colleen (The Wool Ladies at Vinnies) sold it to me for a dollar, after we both agreed it must be wool as no one makes that nasty acrylic stuff in skeins. Damn shame I don't have a wool winder, huh?Fabric. Went a bit overboard there since I fell off the Use What you Have wagon. (Note to self: Must actually use some of my fabric stash very very soon.)Ahem. Moving right along, we have a pair of $6 Jane Debster shoes. For work. When it's cool enough to start wearing shoes at work again... ;-)And, finally, a towering pile of books. I couldn't not buy them. Vinnies was having a half price sale on books! I was supporting a good cause while (unfortunately) increasing my "too be read" list to cover not only this year but the next five (or six, or seven...)

(Listening to: Elvis Costello And The Attractions, The Very Best Of Elvis Costello And The Attractions)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Feeling very lucky...

What a day of goodies and excitement!

This teetering pile was waiting for me when I went to the Post Office this morning:It was almost like Christmas all over again! First up was a large box of beautifully wrapped goodies from Cuzzie C in Kiwi Land. Now, as you know, I'm not usually into stuff that's not black and white but this paper was pretty damned cool:Cuzzie C is well trained. A box to TSS must always start with a packet of Sour Cream and Chive Grain waves. Guaranteed to provoke blissful thoughts in the receiver.

She also included dark chocolate scorched almonds (yum yum yum) and dark Lindt (double yum yum). A ball of black yarn and some pens and stationery to inspire the imagination,and this absolutely stunning candle which caused much leaping up and down and trying not to be so uncool as to squeal with excitement!Thank you and big hugs, Cuzzie C! I love love love it all!

No sooner had I recovered from the excitement of package one, I opened package two, which was from Pink Trees who always sends A grade, brilliantly considered swap parcels. (And crikey, I hadn't even got this one and she announced there was another on the way! Eek!)

This parcel was no exception, full of wonderfulness:It contained excellent black and white stationery, some cotton twill tape (so I can try printing TSS labels for my bags), some black felt to play with and four black and white fat quarters (I almost died when I saw how cheap there are in the USA! Ours work out about $4.75 US each). She'd also included a very very cute black and white "Shopping Girls" tin full of mints.

And in the wrapped presents? This divine platter (insert another round of trying not to do the squeally thing):And these deco-esque black and white cups and saucers:(The gift boxes were pretty snazzy too and kept me well entertained admiring the brilliance of a design which looks like two pieces but is actually all one piece!)

And to top it all off my IKEA hack hit Craftzine today. I'm famous (in my own lunchtime) and really really have to finish that matching bag this weekend!

(Listening to: Cowboy Junkies, The caution horses)

Finish it off Friday: Week 3

Done and dusted: One blue and grey striped hoodie for a certain small person. This project has been hanging round since November so I'm very happy to see the back end of it.
Added bonus: One pirate jumper, also for small person. Finished off yesterday evening as we sat round J & M's dining table eating homemade coconut ice cream (very very yummy). This jumper is guaranteed not to do nasty things in the wash as I used the wool that refuses to felt no matter what to knit it.

Damn - now I want to knit a matching jumper for myself...

(Listening to: Hotel Costes, Etage 3)

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Lookie here, I'm featured on IKEA Hacker!

I think this gives me the kick in the bum to finish the matching handbag in time to take it up to Duchess N of Mosmania next weekend.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Two random pictures taken this morning when it was overcast and cool and I somehow deluded myself into believing it would stay that way all day and I'd get a lot done.

Ha! I'm now sitting here with a moustache of sweat (gotta love summer, right?). At least the washing dries super-quick in this heat...

Still crazy with listing on eBay (running behind schedule, as usual) and packing the sold items up and sending off invoices. Wishing the bubble wrap fairy would visit with supplies (and maybe she'll bring the toe-polishing fairy with her? - super embarrassed by the state of my toes in that second picture! When did I let my feet revert to their natural Hobbit-like state?)

At least I'm at home tonight - was out last night and won't have an evening at home alone after tonight until Sunday. Did I mention I'm dying to go see Marie Antoinette?

(Listening to: Various,
Blue Note Trip)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Things we learnt this weekend

1. A Club Retro keyring bought 5 years ago does not get you free entry forever. And it takes a lot of fast talking, grovelling (on bended knee if necessary) and promises that if they return said wonderful keyring, which they've confiscated, they will not see it again because it will never leave Canberra.

2.. Dahl and champagne (OK, OK, sparkling wine) do not make a good meal choice before you go out to dance the night away to the small hours. No matter if you think "lining your stomach" is a fine and mature idea, you will end up feeling like you swallowed a medicine ball which is now gently fermenting, thus causing you to either find yourself sprawled on the sofa in the chillout room hoping you'll feel better soon (Kerry) or bouncing up and down on the dance floor to one of your fave songs hoping you don't toss your cookies in the middle of the dance floor while mentally judging the distance to the toilets just in case. (Me)

Friday night was an unexpectedly early one for us. Which worked out well because it meant we had am unplanned Saturday to spend out and about instead of in bed recovering.

3. Which leads nicely to: Sometimes Use What You Have Month just isn't meant to happen. I found this roll of large denim pieces for $10 at the
ALSO Op Shop and promptly fell off the wagon with a resounding thud Here's a picture of the guy in the shop who kindly tied my bundle up with string so I could stagger round Melbourne with it over my shoulder/ under my arm/ across my front/ carried caber style for the rest of the day. Bugger Round Ireland with a fridge, I want to write Round Melbourne with a bloody heavy roll of fabric... Serves me right, doesn't it?
4. Smiggle no longer stock the 50 cent filofax pad refills. (Boo hoo) I used to buy them in bulk when I visited Melbourne and they'd keep me going for ever.
5. But they do have a very cute range of black and white skull and crossbones notebooks and gluesticks.
6. The beginning of the year back to school stationery stock up habit never leaves you no matter how old you are:7. And, finally, both Kerry and I finally learnt how to use predictive text after the boys discovered we were texting the old fashioned way and were scandalised. "So why, when I try to type "happy" does it say "Gibspyy"?
Kerry did much better with some dutch courage along the way...

Well the bag was definitely a success!

And, strangely enough, went with every outfit that Kerry had brought into town with her for her "Mini Holiday" in her own city (she stayed in the hotel with me Friday and Saturday nights.)

On Saturday, while sightseeing, we see that it picks up the colours in Kerry's dress.
That night it tones with everything (except the Veuve Clicquot bottle!)And this morning it looks bright and breezy, picking up both the teal of her sun dress and the blue of her sneakers (not seen)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Finish it off Friday: Week 2

"Ohhh! What's this?!

A birthday present for Kerry, you say? It's very black and white but isn't Kerry more of a colour girl?

Ah! You mean we can peek inside if we promise not to tell?Now that's more like a Kerry sort of look. And you made it yourself? Without a pattern?! And out of a frugalled cot quilt you picked up at Vinnies? How clever! She should like that.

What's that? There's more?So there is. Don't I recognise those legwarmers?

I see - you wanted them done for Finish it off Friday - and in the nick of time as you fly to Melbourne this evening for the birthday weekend.

And you made a hot water bottle cover out of the cot quilt as well! I can't quite see what's in the bottle. Aha! Natio Lavender Wash to guarantee a good night's sleep. So this is the Winter Sleepytime Comfort Kit, then?Very cozy - I'm sure she'll get a lot of use out of it all.

But not tonight because aren't you planning to have pizza and bubbles at Blue Train in Southgate then head over to Club Retro where you'll boogie down in The Dark Room until the wee small hours before staggering back to the hotel and collapsing?

Thought so - just another typical Friday night in Melbourne then.

Request The Sisters of Mercy This Corrosion and Depeche Mode's Just Can't Get Enough for me will you?"

A bit of a conundrum

While I was in town yesterday I dropped into the car stereo shop in Braddon (which is, handily, just next to the op shop) to see what my options were for poor Miss Daisy's stereo (which, as you might remember went kaput back here)

As I suspected, these are my options:

1. Pay $223 for a new (bottom end basic) stereo including installation. I have a choice of tape or CD model. It can be done today and I if I use my creative accounting skills I can decide the money will come out of the Christmas money from my very generous Parental Units. A new stereo comes with a warranty. (Making this a guaranteed solution, if on the expensive side.)

2. Pay $120 for them to take my existing stereo out of Miss Daisy and see if they can unjam the tape. If they're successful I have a fix for about half the price of a new stereo. With no guarantee it won't go kaput again in the very near future. (If they're unsuccessful I've spent $120 and have nothing to show for it and will they have to consider options 1,3 or 4.)

2. Keep my fingers crossed that a used car stereo will find it's way to me either through word of mouth, an op shop or Jameson Markets. Pay the car stereo place $77 to install it. Keep my fingers crossed that it won't go kaput. (Otherwise I'm back to options 1,2,or 4.)

3. Give up on the concept of having music in the car and sing. Cost: free.

What to do, what to do?

(Listening to Wally Badarou, Echoes)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Corners of my World - What's new, Pussycat?

I know I have a number of readers who are ex Canberrans who pop by to keep up with what's happening in this odd little city I call home.

Before Christmas I mentioned to one of them in an email that the old Griffith Centre had gone and been replaced by a snazzy new version, and, in fact, she'd find that area of the city almost unrecognisable these days.

So today I took a stroll round town (in the 30 plus degree heat) to show you what's new...This is the office block that's going up where the old skate park and Griffith Centre were. I think the ATO are going in there (but don't quote me on that!)Across the road is the spunky new Griffith Centre which is where the Brain Injury Foundation op shop is.

Down to the end of the street (did this street go right through to Braddon when you were last here, ex-Canberrans?) and across Bunda Street to Gus's and this is what you see these days. No more Bunda Street carpark. Instead we have a whopping huge new mall extension with a Dendy and a Big W.
We're not done with our walk yet. Let's continue down the road and around the corner to Civic Squareand the new library/ link building.(Will I get run out of town if I say I don't like the new Civic Library at all?)

Oh - and that picture at the top is the new sculpture at the library. Which I do like. A lot.

(Listening to: Joan Armatrading, Whatever's for us)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Things I discovered today

1. Car batteries die. Replacing them cost a bit more than replacing other types of batteries.

2. Taph is onto something having knitting in her bag at all times. I realised this as I sat on a park bench in the middle of the Canberra Centre carpark with up to 90 minutes to wait for the NRMA man to arrive.

2. You can have knitting conversations in the oddest circumstances. Today I talked knitting with the NRMA battery delivery and installation girl who said everyone in her school learnt to knit and was quite surprised when I therefore knew she went to a Steiner school.

3. I was right to not buy a new clothes airer last week. This week it was reduced from $20 to $12. Excellent!

4. Old clothes airer bits are very handy in the vegetable garden holding up plants:5. And, according to my mother, the reason I didn't see any pea seedlings at the garden centre wasn't because it's the wrong time of the year to plant them but because you have to grow them from seed.

(Listening to: Air, Talkie Walkie)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shameless plug

I'm going to be quite busy over the next couple of days as I'm listing a shipment of vintage miniatures from a collector in New Zealand. She purchased good quality pieces through the early to mid 1980s and is now liquidating her collection.

So if you have (or would like to get) a dolls house head over to my eBay store between now and the weekend and see if there's anything you'd like to add to your collection.

I have a number of vintage Hantel pewter pieces (including the quite rare Noah's Ark), a large stock of crockery, many vases, blue and white china and other yummy goodies from around the world (including these guys pictured above)

I also have the full range of Lundby Gothenburg 1/18th houses and furniture including limited stock of pieces now discontinued.

(Normal blog programming will resume tomorrow)

Monday, January 08, 2007

So there I was...

trying to get my head around how to attach the lining of a hot water bottle pattern I'd made for friend Kerry's birthday this weekend and idly wondering what I was going to blog about today when the doorbell rang.

It was the lovely Taph with a truly ginormous, hand delivered, blog swap!Including a massive (and I mean MASSIVE!) pile of records and 45s from the 80s.

I haven't had a chance to look through them all properly yet but I noticed lots of yummy things to plug holes in my collection. I wanted to prance round the the hallway doing the happy dance!But wait! There's more!

Vintage cream knitting needles, some black and white fabric for my stash (the two on the right are stretch - suppose it's finally time to learn how to sew stretch)And books - Jo Sharp's Knitting Bohemia (yay! more patterns!), a little book on Sydney architecture and one on Italian design.As if this wasn't enough, there was a lovely pair of pillowcases with black and white fabric edging.

I feel very very (very) spoilt. Thanks a million, Taph!

(Listening to: Ultravox, The collection - rather apt, really...)