Thursday, January 31, 2008

Magic Carpets

If you're into modern miniatures and are a stitcher there's one book you really should have in your library: (from 29 cents in Amazon Marketplace!) Although the patterns in this book are originally designed for full sized latch hooking I've discovered they work perfectly when translated into miniature using 27 count canvas.

And the choice! There's an Art Deco rug design, a 1930s rug design, a jazzy 1920s design, a Wassily Kandinsky based abstract design:
a Mondrain constructivism design, a Miro inspired surrealist design, Popeye and a 1950s collage design amongst many others...My favourite from the book remains the naked lady rug insipred by Picasso's Nude Woman in a Red Armchair (circa 1932):
(If you stich a rug from this book for your modern miniature scene please add it to my Modern Miniatures Flickr pool!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reconciliation and Eternity (plus op shopping!)

January seems to have been full of worthy things - great educational films and exhibitions, a constant diet of non-fiction books (I finished Architecture and Happiness from the Library this week and cracked open Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret & Extraordinary Lives this morning. Also from the Library. I'm feeling much love for ACT Library Service at the moment - they're saving me a bucket of money.)

But I'm starting to think I need something light. Perhaps Feburary will be chockablock full of swashbuckling adventure films and chick-lit...But it's still January. I'm still a hardened cultuvorian. So it was off to National Library at lunchtime today to see Eternity.

Oh. My. God. What a fabulous film! The cinematography was mind blowing. I'd actually gone along in my quest to become a more rooly trooly Aussie and learn more about our history but I spent most of the film breathless at the angles the film was shot from and wanting to run out of the theatre, leap into Miss Daisy and hot-foot it to Sydney to see if I could recreate some it. (It probably didn't help that I'd seen Max Dupain the day before)

I'd arrived half an hour early for the film so took some pictures of Reconciliation Place since I realised I hadn't been there yet: And then, to recover from an overload of culture I dropped a boot load of stuff off to Womens' Refuge for Taph and then headed out to the Queanbeyan op shops for the first time since I went away in November.

I shouldn't have bothered - there wasn't anything stunning but I did get some vintage curtains I think might be perfect for Mum's music room. I'll take them over in March and if she doesn't like them I'll cut them up and turn them into bags....

Swap goodness

I'm super impressed - the posting deadline for my January Black & White Swap hasn't even passed yet but when I went to the Post Office this morning to send my swap to France this was waiting for me! All the way from the USA!!

More lovely black and white stationery for my collection (I'm particularly loving those post it notes although it'll be a while 'til I get to them as I still have a pile of Smiggle skull and crossbones ones). Some magnets. A cup and saucer. And (a little perplexedly) dark chocolate (yum) in a brown wrapper (huh?) and some definitely not black and white teatowels. Which are telling me they want to move to Sydney and Princess B's tea towel drawer.

It was such a good parcel that now I want to set up a February swap. But I promised myself (and, more importantly, my budget) quarterly swaps and so I'll just have to be patient 'til April...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How to be a cul...cultu...cultuvorian. By Little E (aged 2)

First find something cool and free that is happening.Hopefully very big. And very loud!Invite Mummy and your grown up friends along. If you are lucky they will bring nice food.Go on big adventures to exploreand make sure you dance to the songs you really like(or just enjoy listening)And go home when it is dark.The End

(Extra for experts: befriend random strangers on picnic rugs around you)

Almost had me fooled...

I spotted a fabulous apartment (house?) on Design *Sponge today: Very cool.

It wasn't until I reached photo 8: and recognised the ubiquitous yellow canisters that I realised it was actually a modern miniature setting.

It takes a lot to fool me when it comes to miniatures. I'm most impressed...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cultuvorians unite!

This afternoon J, S and I decided to mark the Australia Day holiday with a cultural round up.

First stop was The National Museum of Australia (where we bumped into Nigel Sutton as we came in which was very weird - he was saying stuff and all I was hearing was "burble burble burble DORA burble" as I was in shock at the weirdness of entering the museum at the exact same moment he was leaving. I'm sure he thought I was a loon...).

Oh yeah - where was I? National Museum. Papunya Paintings. A fitting way to spend the Australia Day holiday I thought, and a nice way to follow up from this documentary. Then there was coffee (for S) and icecreams (for J and I) and more Australianisation as we checked out Behind the Lines 2007: The Year's Best Cartoons. Luckily I had J on had to translate some of them ("Who's the woman with the pointy nose and the orange hair? Who's the chap wrapped up? Why is there humble pie?")

Then we headed across the lake to The National Archives and the Max Dupain exhibition. Where there were some odd resonances. Like seeing the exact same design CSR sugar bag we'd seen used in a video back at the Pupanya exhibition rolling off the assembly line in a photo taken by Max Dupain. And seeing vintage pictures of skiing on Kosciuszko, just up the road from where I was last weekend...There were some odd sugar marketing pictures (sorry about the light reflections). Would you trust this man to sell you sugar (or any other white powdered substance)?How about this family shot with a table laden with sugary goodness? ("Here darling. Have a coronary and leave us in peace")Once all the serious stuff got all too much for us we played a giant sized vintage parlour game called Courtship and Marriage: a fascinating game for 2,3 or 4 players (yeah we found that last bit a bit odd too...)
(ahh... that's why I've never gotten married. I stopped playing croquet when I was a kid!)

After such a lot of excitement (and education) we ended the day at Tilleys with cider and ginger beer.Followed by a fine Thai meal. A good mix of cultures which is pretty typical of Australia.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I should know better by now...

Really, I should.

After 2006's Kittyville disaster I should understand that me and knitting hats (especially when learning a new technique during the knitting of) never works.

So did this stop me wading into the Koolhaas Hat pattern this morning full of misguided confidence that I'd manage not only a tricky pattern, but a tricky pattern on circs and one that is graphed to boot (I've never knitted from a graph before - well not for cabley-bits anyway...)? Hell no!

And here's the result, moments before it fell into the frog pond: Definitely not looking very Koolhaas-like...

I'd give up and knit socks (yep, I'm a sucker for punishment: "Hey! That really tricky hat pattern didn't work out. I know! I'll relax by trying to knit my first pair of socks. Using dpns for the first time. What a great idea!") except, luckily, it would appear that I do not posses the correct sized dpns.

Oh well, serves me right for trying to sneak a new project in while I still have UFOs waiting for attention...

Seven Things Spring/ Summer Week 21


* 1 Lundby diving board
* 2 packets marker pens, 2 packets of beads (gift from Cuzzy C)
* 1 Lundby rug
* 1 black leather satchel bag, 1 envirobag (gift from Duchess N of Mosmania)
* 1 new cat collar

Total In this week: 16.5


* 11 items of mine sold on eBay:
* 17 Trading Assistant items sold on eBay (I'm counting these because they've been in my house for 18 months and have pretty much taken root):
* 1 plastic mini dresser: donated to Janet
* 1 grungy old cat collar: bin

Total Out this week: 30


* 1 bag for my Black & White Swap partner.

Net items out so far during Seven Things Spring: 329.5

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Second Hand Saturday - scratching the itch

I haven't been op shopping for over a week and since I slept through yesterday rather than take eBay packages to the Post Office I decided this morning to head over to Belconnen Mall (where the Post Office is open Saturday morning) and post them. And check if Kmart had any decent cat collars in their 20% off sale. And pick up some cheap sushi.

And, you know, while I was in the area, it seemed silly not to check out a few op shops... Vinnies supplied me with a book to read ($2) and a CD to listen to ($4).
And found in the craft room of the new Y's Buys in Weedon Close: 2.5 sets of cream knitting needles ($1.50 - and for a change the odd needle matches one I have in my odds and sods jar!), Paytonyle sock pattern (50 cents), how to knit book for friend Tracy who wants me to teach her in March ($1.00), MIP dolls house bowl of knitting (how weird is that? $1.50), 2 vintage row counters (50 cents each)and, finally, this piece of cotton fabric ($4 for 120 cm x 240 cm).

Total (including a cat collar and sushi): $25.50. I'm happy.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A four letter day (don't worry, it's all good!)

Big A little a - what begins with A?

Flying to Sydney and back on an airplane!

A, A, A.

Big B little b - what begins with B?

The lovely leather satchel bag Duchess N of Mosmania gave today me as she no longer wants it!

B, B, B.

Big C little c - what begins with C?

Camels of the weeping variety with Taph and knitting at NLA - another Culturovian outing this evening!

C, C, C.

Big D little d - what begins with D?

Dosh. I got a pay rise today which is pretty exciting as it's the first one I've had in over 10 years!

D, D, D.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I just don't know what to do with my house...

I ended up taking more than a photo for you: try six! And still haven't made a final decision...

The first thing I knew I wanted to add was a rug. Something to give the place a bit of warmth, with a 50s or 60s feel that would tie the red and white and soft blue together. After rifling through my stash of vintage rugs and not finding what I was looking for I realised I had the perfect solution. In stock in my eBay store (handy that) so sold it to myself.

Actually, by using this rug I broke one of my cardinal rules of not using things in my vintage houses that were produced later than the house was built. But sometimes needs must so rules are broken...

Option 1

The second thing I felt was needed was to bring the yellow from the painting into the room. So I trialed a yellow plastic tea set I bought from Kristin Baybars in London on the table, moved the blue vase back onto the desk to replace the carafe set and added a very 50s looking cat ornament.

And then I took a photo of option one. Decided the yellow was too intrusive where it was and the room looked very "left heavy". So it was on to:
Option 2

The tea set was moved onto the tea trolley (which sort of makes sense and also toned it down rather a lot). While I was on the right hand side of the room I added a blue cushion to the divan .

The blue vase on the desk disappeared and the black cat moved over. And I trialed a multi coloured jug by Margaret Hunt on the table. It's actually 1/12th (and, once again "new" ie: made in the 80s but since I already broke that rule I figured it didn't matter)

Photo taken and studied and I decided much as I like the jug having it and the rug in the centre seems to "muddy" that area.

And so it was option 3 was created:

Option 3

The tea set on the tea trolley disappears and is replaced by the jug. I dig out a 1/12th scale bowl of lemons for the table. The jug looks lonely in the corner and the colour of the lemon bowl isn't quite right. The photo confirms this.

So lickety split we're onto Option 4:

Option 4

I try a yellow ceiling light I find in my box of lights. Leave the table empty for a change. And add a basket of wool (same basket as here, different coloured wool) Take a photo. The wool stays, the light goes (as I think it fights with the picture too much...)

Option 5

Involves a bowl of fruit and the return of the blue vase. I actually think this would have worked (without the vase) if the fruit bowl was blue. But the one I have is far too big (and in use elsewhere). I know before I take the photo that this isn't a winner.

Option 6

But neither is this. By now I'm almost cross eyed and dizzy with choices. I remove the blue pillow from the divan. Move the blue vase back to where it started and the jug to the desk. And the cat mysteriously disappears.

I decide better is OK and perfect is not achievable. Well not today, anyway. I'd be interested in hearing what your thoughts are on the various options and suggestions for future trial runs...

I take pictures, photographic pictures

I've been taking photos of my dolls house collection for a project I'm working on and realised I've never shown what is probably my favourite room out of all my 3/4" scale collection: my Lisa dining room.

Of course, now I've taken the photograph I can see what needs to be added to make the room "pop" even more (that's one of the things I like about photographing my miniatures: it's very clear what needs to be altered to make things look more "real")

Maybe I'll spend some time this afternoon going through my miniature stores and see if I can find what I need to complete the room. And maybe I'll take another photo for you.

(Desk, stool and divan: Hanse of Denmark. Table: Lundby. Chairs: Arne Jacobsen for Brio. Plastic trolley: unknown (possibly German?) Telephone: Barton. Metal carafe and cuos: Barton/ Lundby (?)Vase and greenery: Lundby. Cushions: Lundby (?) Pictures: Unknown (possibly German?))

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yeah we're going to be so neat, dancing to the Lundby beat

One of the Holy Grails for Lundby dolls house collectors is the pool, which was only available from 1972 to 1974.

I was incredibly lucky to be given one a couple of years ago by friend Miggs, who found it with a pile of Lundby furniture in an op shop in Wellington, New Zealand. I still have very clear memories of getting to the bottom of the box of Lundby stuff and squealing "YOU FOUND ME A POOL!" She just thought it was some sort of packing. I was a happy girl indeed.

Alas, my pool was without its ladder and diving board. Until now. In an international co-production a We Love Lundby Club member in the UK is selling replica diving boards made by a collector in the USA. With a feel good twist as all proceeds going to support cancer research. And my board arrived yesterday.

Now I just have to track down the correct metal ladder for it. And the other Lundby Holy Grails I don't yet have...

Monday, January 21, 2008

And there will be snow in Canberra, this Christmas time

My Christmas Kiwi care parcel from Cuzzie C arrived today. It was held up by the Customs guys (I wonder if they took anything for afternoon tea?) and is full of the usual chocolatey Grain Wavey Snow Toffee Poppy goodness. I'm not sure how long it'll all last but I'll have a very happy tummy while it does!

Thank you, Cuzzie C. I promise to play nice and share with my Canberra Kiwi buddies.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Do I love you my oh my, lake not deep at all mountain kinda high...

Last night when I was at J & M's they said they were going on a day trip to Thredbo today to get their mileage up. I asked if I could go too and so we set off bright and early this morning to The Snowy Mountains. Which, to Kiwi eyes, weren't really mountains at all.

I'd never been further than Cooma before so was pretty excited. I had some idea what the area was like after watching Somersault and Jindabyne and having seen pictures from the 1997 landslide.

In the middle of a pond in Thredbo I spotted this:So I got some miniatures into my day. And I saw Harry Seidler's Lodge so got some architectural history too...

We stopped for lunch at Jindabyne on the way back and It was confronting to see how low the lake was, especially as M said it was even lower the last time he saw it. And in Cooma I found the most divine ginger icecream and promptly forgot who had made it. Rats!

Seven Things Spring/ Summer Week 20: a record week


* 2 magazines
* 5 books and 1 piece of spotty stretch fabric
* 1 pair cream knitting needles, 5 pieces vintage fabric and 1 pair of sock's worth of Patonyle from Happy Spider
* 2 pieces of vintage fabric and a length of wood to edge my garden from J&K

Total In this week: 18


* 1 very very dead mobile phone keypad (after weeks of trying I finally managed to pull my phone apart): bin
* 1 purple
headhugger flower: given to Janet to attach to a purple Time Thief Watch Cap she was knitting when she visited.
* 63 records donated to Happy Spider

Total Out this week: 65


* Zero

Net items out so far during Seven Things Spring: 316

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fluffy Friday

I had plans to spend today working on my list of unfinished projects for a triumphant Finish it off Friday posting this afternoon. But then I ended up staying up most of the night reading and, once I surfaced this morning, decided I really would prefer escaping the teetering pile of dishes waiting to ambush me in the kitchen after last night.

So I delivered my box of spare records to Happy Spider (who *shock horror* has a turntable set up permanently!) and spent a very enjoyable time stroking her stash.I'm very proud that I drove within 3 blocks of Cassidy's $2 wool sale and didn't waver from my route home. Neither did I check out my favourite Friday op shop wool container to see what was new.

I did, however, have 2 balls of Patonyle 4310 follow me home from Happy Spider's. Between that and my declaration that this year I want to learn to knit on dpns, I strongly suspect there is a pair of handknitted socks in my future. Just as soon as I finish those 34 cupcakes, 1 cardigan, 1 hoodie...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ms Pollyanna says happiness is...

* Getting rid of Mr Grump
The laptop finally noticing it has a printer attached to it. And printing!
* Having coffee with two lovely people I've not met before.
* ... then randomly bumping into two lovely people I have met many times before.
* Finding a length of spotty sweatshirting fabric perfect for practicing stretch sewing (hopefully during the creation of a hoodie in March) for $5
* 4 books for $11
* ... another copy of Alison Holst's Meals without Meat for $2
* ... and an Emily Strange notebook for Cuzzy C (not sure I'm allowed to link to her blog...) for $2
* Not caring that the above just blew your entire weeks' spending money in one lunch hour.
* Going to a free concert (6 harps!) with friends in the evening.
* Having said friends agree that coming home to your place to eat was a much better idea than going to a restaurant.
* Feeding said friends out of the contents of a "day before grocery day" fridge plus lovely goodies they brought along to supplement.
* Having deliciously yummy tub of chocolate decadence ice cream in freezer after friends leave.
*Being asked for the recipe of what you made for dinner:

Oct 4th 1996* (aka Zucchini Pasta)
Serves 4-6

4 Tbspn olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
3 tsp sweet red paprika
1 kg zucchini - sliced lengthwise as thinly as possible
100g cheese, grated
1/4 - 1/3 cup wholemeal flour to thicken
60g pasta per serve (I used penne)

1. Heat the oil in a very large skillet or frypan and gently saute the garlic with the herbs and paprika for a couple of minutes.
2. Turn the heat up and stir through about 1/3 of the zucchini. When it is coated with the oil and herbs, stir another third through and then the final third. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer until the zucchini is soft.
3. Stir the grated cheese through the zucchini mixture. When the cheese is melted, thicken the mixture by removing a little of the juice, mixing it with the flour and stirring it into the skillet until the mixture thickens.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Drain and serve with the zucchini mixture on top.
Serve with a crisp tossed salad with tomatoes and kalamata olives.

(*I used to use old A2 diaries to write recipes in)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A stick(l)er for details

Since I pulled out my box of photos for this it's been sitting (purposefully*) in the middle of the office floor. I did a minor sort last weekend - culled some double ups, and sorted the loose photos into envelopes and some semblance of order.

But now it's time to bring out the big guns and do a major sort, cull and label (which is where the stickers come in). It's a job I've only been meaning to do for 10 years or so (which, unfortunately is going to make dating some of them a pain in the proverbial)

I was thinking of scanning the photos I wanted to keep and binning the originals (while keeping the negatives) but I know I've already had one round of data loss when I bought a laptop that didn't have a floppy drive and a pile of stuff I had was saved on floppies. So I think keeping the original photos is the way to go.

So now I need to decide how to sort the photos I want to keep.

* By when they were taken?
* By who's in them and what they're about?
* Or a mixture of both?

Is it more important, for instance, to have all my 30th birthday pictures together? Or all the photos of one particular friend together, no matter when they were taken? Maybe I should scan the photos after all, tag them with tags for both options and just keep the prints together in the top cupboard as backup?

So here's a question for you, my wise and thoughtful reader:

Assuming you don't keep your print photos stuffed higgledy-piggledy in a cardboard box, how do you deal with them?

And speaking of stuffed, look at the size of the courgette I was presented by a dinner guest last night!It's a good thing I like courgettes....

(*Using the theory that if I trip over it constantly I'll get pissed off enough to do something with it)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Playing around

Last night, after returning home from a fine picnic in the Botanic Gardens, I finally pulled my toy knitting machine out of the cupboard. It's not a new knitting project at all but part of this week's "use it or lose it" approach to The Seven Things Challenge.

There were a couple of tools missing, but nothing I could approximate with something else I had on hand. It was fun. And fast. And brought back childhood memories - especially the weights:which are baby versions of the ones Dad used to use.

It wasn't quite the same feeling as relaxing on the sofa with handknitting on bamboo needles and something good to read. At the moment I'm not sure if I'll use it in the long run (although I'd like to try an experiment making a sleeveless vest or something for 2 year old E and see how that goes - as long as it doesn't need more than 50 stiches, of course!)

For now it's safe. It can stay.