Friday, May 30, 2008

The collywobbles

I often joke that I'm a gregarious recluse.

It's nicer than saying "sometimes I'm like Oscar the Grouch" (which may make people think I like singing "I love trash" rather than wanting to close the trash can lid over my head for a while and shut out the world.)

But the time has come (the walrus said) for a weekend off. A weekend to (maybe) stay in bed and do nothing . Or (possibly) do some cleaning and sorting. And accounts. Always accounts in this house, especially when the end of the month falls on a weekend. A weekend where I plan to ban myself from the computer. As they say "I'll be back..."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A little somefink...

... I wish: That I'd had time to go to this today:

1:00pm – 2:00pm F!NK Fostering Design, "curated by Merryn Gates, is an exhibition featuring products in the F!NK range designed by Robert Foster, maker designer and craftsman, and the many talented designers he has worked with under the F!NK brand. Robert will revisit his twenty one years of practice and the collaborations undertaken with F!NK.

The opening's tonight and I was planning to go to that at least but perhaps it's better if I stay home and start preparing for tomorrow night's dinner for 10 (gulp!)

... I'm working on is this new project:
It's a little hush hush as it's a present but I'm loving the Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed (a joy to knit.) And I'm also loving how it goes with the library book I'm speed reading before it's due back on Monday

... I discovered today: the dates for
Sydney Design this year. (They still have 2007's calendar up on this link...) August 8- 24th, in case you're interested. There's an excellent sounding Symposium on the 8th called Modern Times that I'm hoping to get to plus I'm assuming the fabulous Krispin K will be back

... I realised is that I now officially have a collection of this pyrex pattern:I bought the set of 6 ramekins for $3 at Camberwell Markets on Sunday. Not realising they matched
my bowl. It's a good thing I don't know the official name of the pattern - it stops me being tempted to go searching on eBay for some more.

... I'm looking forward to is a very quiet weekend after two weekends in a row of excitement.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The L word, or how an eight hour drive managed to stretch to almost twelve

Monday morning Miss Daisy and I left Melbourne bright and early for the trip home. There was counting on fingers (mine, as Miss Daisy has none): if I leave Kerry's house at 8am, I should be home by... mutter, mutter, count count... 4pm. With an hour for stops that would be 5pm.

Getting out of Melbourne was heaps easier than finding my way in (where it took over an hour to cross 5 pages of my 2003 Melways) and soon enough we'd left the city behind and were flying up the freeway.

We made it safely past the turn off to Bendigo, tempting as it was to make the diversion, visit
Bendigo Woollen Mills and simply stay overnight somewhere and drive home like the clappers before work Tuesday. But I had stern words to myself along the lines of "do you actually NEED any more wool?" and we continued up the Hume.

First stop was Wangaratta where we visited Uniting Church and RSPCA op shops and spent way longer than planned chatting to the lovely op shop ladies we discovered there before heading into town for lunch and to check the Salvos again. An hour and a half later, we were on the road again.

It was OK. I should be home by... mutter, mutter, count count... 5:30pm. Only half an hour later than planned.

Drive drive drive.

Quick stop in Albury. Didn't make it to Vinnies last week so will stop for 5 minutes to check it out (not really worth it). Back in the car and out onto the highway.

Then I saw the turnoff for Lavington. Remembered that there was a Vinnies there too (and quite a good one, according to Taph). Quick calculation in my head: if I stop I should be home by... mutter, mutter, count count... 6pm. Still a decent hour. And so we pulled off the highway.

My frugalling nose found Salvos first. It was a nice big old style Salvos and my only complaint was they had their knitting needles in the crafting corner but the patterns with the books. I bought a couple of things including my best find:
which cost a whopping 50 cents!

The lovely op shop lady at Salvos told me how to get to Vinnies round the corner but forgot to tell me about the other op shop 5 doors up the road. It was very small and not worth a visit unless you're in the area for Vinnies and Salvos but I did find a couple of vintage Patons patterns for Taph at 20 cents each so was happy.

Vinnies was huge. And good. I knew I'd be a while when I spotted this vision on the top shelf:

And I was. But once again, was perplexed by the way they had knitting needles in with tableware, the wool in the next room with craft stuff and the patterns once again in with the books. Maybe it's an Albury thing...

We finally made it back on the highway at 3:30pm. Not to worry. I should be home by... mutter, mutter, count count... 7:00pm. Getting late but still OK.

Holbrook. Lovely place. Somehow Miss Daisy stopped outside Lady Gail's Bookshop and Curios without me really noticing what she was up to. There were a number of boxes of books on chairs at the side of the road and as I approached I noticed the big FREE sign on them. So this pile was into the car lickety split and will, at some stage, turn into crafty projects:Inside was an Aladdin's cave of booky and vintage treasure. I had the oddest experience, though, as I pulled out a book from the shelf and Lady Gail (that may not be her name but for the sake of this story it's kind of irrelevant) told me that although it was marked $1 it was actually free as she wanted to give it to someone who was prepared to pay for it. Sort of like a test that you really wanted it and weren't just taking it because it was free.

I wasn't sure I followed her logic but didn't argue. I managed twice to pick up a freebie book and also found some knitting needles for my collection and a handful of thread on wooden spools for $1 each.

I finally pulled myself away just before 5pm, filled Miss Daisy up with petrol and we were on the road again. I should be home by... mutter, mutter, count count... Oh who cares when you're having so much fun?!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sewing and knitting and boys in blonde wigs (Eurovision 2008)

There was sewing in the postcard for Latvia's entry...

and knitting during Bosnia and Herzegovina's entry:

And that's about all I can say about this year's Eurovision, except that there were blonde wigs on boys in Melbourne...And all up I found it terribly terribly dull...

Even worse is the nasty rumour that Terry Wogan may be quitting commentary for Eurovision. What is the world coming to?!

Back (but buggered)

You know the deal - a 12 hour drive (yes, it should have been 8 but I kept hearing the siren call of various op shops and such from the highway), arrived home, unpacked the car (in the rain. Brilliant timing, thanks nature!), sorted out the (very smelly) dirt box and the (not smelly at all) pile of mail and collapsed into bed.

I'm working today so the pile of treasure in the middle of the lounge floor will have to stay there, the suitcase remain packed (and not washed) and the kazillion photos on my CF card will remain unloaded for a while longer.

In the meantime, for your entertainment, check out the brilliant op shop Taph discovered in Jindabyne this weekend!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eurovision semi final

Hurrah! Iceland's through to the final. I've finished knitting the Daisy Hoodie. One bottle of red bubbles is empty.I'm happy.

Kerry's rooting for Latvia (Adam Ant eat your heart out!):

We can't wait for tomorrow night. But to fill the time there's another bottle of red bubbles to drink and Abba: The Movie to watch...

Oh the places you'll go

Busy busy birthday day (although I did keep forgetting it was my birthday until another text arrived to remind me)

We spent the morning with my slightly out of date copy of
Treasure Hunter's Guide tromping round the local area checking out the op shop situation. We were discussing how much Footscray reminds us of the suburbs of London.

Then Kerry shouted me a very nice lunch at the
Footscray Arts Centre cafe.And we discussed how much it reminded us of New Zealand, World travel without leaving the postcode. Excellent!

Lunch finished at 3:30pm leaving us just enough time to make it into the
NGVto peruse the gift shop check out the Black in fashion exhibition:The birthday fairy was obviously in attendance as the soundtrack started playing Sisters of Mercy's Black Planet as we walked in. I wanted to stay til they got round to Depeche Mode's Black Celebration but instead I took a photo of the playlist so I can (hopefully) recreate it in future...)

We finally made it back to Footscray just before 6pm to discover, in this very civilised part of the world, op shops are open til 6pm on Saturdays!Tonight we have a date with a sofa, a bottle of red bubbles and the second Eurovision semi final...

A post in orange and brown

I'd didn't really plan to have a colour-themed post, honest but once I'd sorted out my pictures, there it was...

OK, so getting a bit behind in the story of my trip so I'll speedy things up to get up-to-date. Thursday I drove Albury to Melbourne with op shop stops at Albury (aforementioned Red Cross Shop), Wodonga Vinnies (where I got the angora and a pile of vintage Patons patterns for Taph), Wodonga Salvos (huge but the few things that I was interested in were marked with silly prices ( polycotton sheet for $15.75, anyone?) so I once again left empty handed.

I did better in Wangaratta. There's a Salvos right at the beginning of the main street, about three doors down from the Information Centre. They provided me with a slightly out of date Melways map book for $5.75, a pile of vintage girls annuals at an average price of $3 each and a bag of wool from their supermarket trolley full for $4.75 (I suspected a town with a woollen mill in it would provide good op shop wool resources. Oddly enough most of the wool in the bag I bought was made in New Zealand...)

Wangaratta Information Centre has a flyer listing all the op shops in town (bless their hearts) The Vinnies was great (there was a large collection of pyrex JAJ black snowflake plates and casseroles (like this) for $35 but the gold trim put me off and I left them there) I did, however buy this pyrex bowl for $2 to add to Kerry's kitchen while wishing the daisies were black so I could keep it myself: There was more op shopping yesterday with my first ever Savers experience. There's one about 5 minute's stroll up the road so it was the first place I headed yesterday morning. They have these nifty shopping baskets on wheels which are really deep and you can drag them round behind you on a long handle while you shop. Did I remember to take a photo? No, I was too busy excitedly ratting through the manchester rails!

I bought a vintage white candlewick bedspread ($6.99), a 4 metre length of brown and purple cotton fabric ($4.99), more black knitting needles to add to my collection ($3.97 for three pairs) and a couple of books ($6.98).

Speaking of books.... I met a colleague for a coffee meeting in Yarraville. In cafe next to the wonderful art deco Sun Theatre. Which happened to also be right next door to the also wonderful independently owned Sun Bookshop (and across the road from the cleverly named Younger Sun children's bookshop - no web presence for either, unfortunately.)
And somehow, when I wasn't paying attention, these jumped in my bag ready to follow me home:All firmly within the collection development policy (Handmade in Melbourne: beautiful things from 80 creative people, Inventory: on op shops, Pioneers of Modernism: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Australia, and 50/60/70 Iconic Australian Houses.) and with a 10% "birthday discount" added for good measure. I'm trying to feel guilty but failing miserably!
In the evening Kerry and I went for a random wander around the city and revisted these chaps on the corner of Swanston and Bourke Streets, who were up to no good:
And finally, here's the ubiquitous tourist picture of the shot tower in Melbourne Central:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Broke my heart now I'm aching for you...

7 x 25g balls of Patons L'Amour plus an amount skeined and balled in original box. Vinnies Wodonga: $4 for the lot.Alas I'm too nice so these will join the boxed Fuzzy Wuzzy in Taph's Museum of vintage yarn.
(There once was a time, Had you here by my side. You said I wasn't your kind. Only here for the ride....)
It kinda made up for the disappointment of the Wangaratta Woolen Mills factory shop. I called Taph and wailed "But I just feel like I'm standing in Penny's stash room!" I bought nothing and escaped just as a marauding crowd of elderly ladies descended on the place with hungry looks in their eyes...

Amazing Albury

I was sitting next to Karina from The Albury Library/ Museum at dinner on Wednesday night. The concept of a combined service intrigued me so I decided I should go visit before I left town yesterday. I had no idea what awaited me...What a great concept, but more importantly what a great building! I felt very chuffed to correctly guess the architect as the same one who designed The National Museum as I could see many similar touches across both buildings but nicely pared down for a smaller space and population in Albury.Karina gave me a behind the scenes tour including a peek at the space which will become a cafe which will spill into the park next door. It was almost enough to tempt me to move to Albury immediately.

But first I had to eat. A recommendation from a very groovily dressed staff member at the Library/ Museum had me heading to
Q Food where I had a salmon benny (especially made off menu - thanks guys!) and a skinny latte, I probably would have ended up there anyway without the recommendation as it was situated in the very fine T&G building: By now I was rooly trooly on holiday time and decided a trip across the street to the Art Gallery was a good way to round out my cultural morning.

Here I met Lynne Gasperov, the artist in residence, and had a good natter with her while admiring the contents of the display case housing some of her inspiration from her studio. Luckily the cabinet was locked as my fingers were twitching when I spied these beauties in there:They'd also obviously been expecting me as there was a still life in black and white in the corner which they were using as part of their Hands on Art programme:Alas, by this stage I'd run out of time and had to hit the road. So it was back to Miss Daisy (with a quick poke around the Red Cross op shop on the way, which yielded nothing of interest) and we we off!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

With a wolfish grin

We're back in business.After an exciting ride on (for Miss Daisy) and in (for me) a tow truck we're all fixed (for now). And in less time than it took me to drink the cup of tea lovely Amanda at Albury Auto Body made for me.

Seriously though...

Here I am in Albury. With a car which may not be wanting to leave Albury any time soon.

There are far worse places to be and I'm happily sitting in my hotel room having splashed out on $6 for a(nother) ethernet cable from the mini bar and $15 for a day's worth of broadband (because surprise surprise, iBurst just doesn't work here)

Not that I expect to be on the internet all day but when one hour costs $9 and 1 day costs $15 I can afford to be a pessimistic optimist and assume I could be here longer than my planned 11am checkout time.

Luckily I had no real plans today. My next appointment is in Melbourne tomorrow afternoon so instead of spending today rummaging through op shops in Albury, Wangaratta and Seymour I'll be ringing NRMA and maybe then spending the rest of the day admiring some of the beautiful architecture I spotted as I drove through town, visiting the fabulous sounding Library/ Museum and art gallery, And, if all else fails, I do happen to have a sewing machine, an overlocker and a carton of fabric in the car (plus 4 unread magazines and the ubiquitous Daisy Hoodie)

Finally, to put the icing on the cake, my hotel room has a bath! And Albury is only on Level 2 water restrictions so I can have one without feeling guilty!

A saga of storytime, submarines, sulking and celebraties

Once upon a time (yesterday, actually) there was A Very Exciting Day.

The Very Exciting Day started when The Shopping Sherpa packed up Miss Daisy, ready for their Big Adventure. They drove happily to work where it was National Simultaneous Storytime Day so TSS (unfortunately Miss Daisy wouldn't fit in the conference room) got paid to sit cross legged on the floor and listen to the story of Arthur, slither like a snake, swim like a fish, meow like a cat and then do some colouring in, cutting out and all those great things you get to do at your local library during storytime. (There was a moment when she almost ended up in The Naughty Corner but we won't go into that...)

Then it was lunchtime and TSS and Miss Daisy headed off toward Albury. But Oh No! there had been a whoopsie on The Barton Highway so it was closed! So TSS and Miss Daisy had to go the long way, making the trip to Yass over 1 and a half hours long instead of 40 minutes.

Luckily TSS is the sort of person who builds contingency time into her contingency time so all was good and they headed further south.

The next excitement happened when TSS and Miss Daisy drove past a flashing sign on the side of the road which said "Roadworks next 125 km". Yep, you read that right. 125 km doing the 110kmph/ 100 kmph/ 80 kmph/ 60 kmph/ 40 kmph dance. It was a slooooooow trip (but very interesting watching the big machines build a new road.)

But the delays were worth it when TSS and Miss Daisy arrived in Holbrook and saw the amazing earky evening light bouncing off the submarine in the park*. They decided it was time to Stop revive and survive and TSS spent a happy 10 minutes or so taking photos while Miss Daisy has a well earned rest(yes, TSS is wearing red. Since she was representing her work at a function and red is work's corporate colour it seemed the right thing to do...)And then in the How Weird is That category, it became clear why a trip that should have taken around 3 hours had taken 5. Just as TSS was thinking it might be time to head off, two chaps arrived and TSS discovered that one of them had actually served on the submarine!So she hung round a while longer for the expert guided tour.

On the road again, more roadworks, and then, finally the tired pair arrived in Albury.

Where Miss Daisy started to complain. Loudly. Poor Dear, obviously isn't used to long trips. What TSS thought was a minor scrape to the front of Miss Daisy when she got a little too cuddly with a pole in a car park had, over the course of 500 plus kilometres turned into something rather more... err... interesting.

Luckily the hotel was within sight so TSS left Miss Daisy to have a rest and checked in just in time to head off to dinner with Wendy Harmer. Well, OK, More precisely Wendy Harmer and 160 other people (but since TSS and Wendy Harmer were on the same table and they got to chat over dinner I think we can leave the definition as Dinner with Wendy Harmer, can't we?)

And that was the end of The Very Exciting Day.

(*Has TSS started a collection guns in parks photos?)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eurovision 2008: The countdown begins...

Just to get you in the mood for Sunday:

Euroband, This is my life (from Iceland)

Back online finally

Oh boy, what a saga that was!

I tried working on iBurst yesterday morning but gave up in frustration after 10 minutes when it became obvious it didn't have enough oomph to open our database even though email and internet were OK (having said that I did have to load yesterday's market photos with the laptop and iburst balanced on top of a dollshouse in the front room so the iburst aerial was in direct line of sight of Telstra Tower - not the most comfortable position to use a laptop in, let me tell you but it did speed up my connection rather nicely.)

So I was in the car and heading to Dick Smith Electronics by 9:30am to buy a new ethernet cable. The pain of the $20 cost was far outweighed by the delight in discovering they now make ethernet cables in black so I didn't have to live with the sight of a nasty blue one.

Back home I plugged it in and settled back smuggly, ready to download my weekend's email and get back to work. But it was not to be.

So I rang Ozemail support and talked to Alex. Who did not very much at all and then said I'd have to talk to Computer Support. Then did the whole "Is there anything else I can help you with today?" routine to which I replied "Yes, please put me through to Computer Support so they can fix my problem!". He told me I'd have to talk to my own computer support and that was the end of that.

I scratched my head. I looked at Nibbs. He ignored me (typical). I got grumpy at both him and Ozemail support and decided I'd just have to wait and call back when they were patched through to the Auckland Office who are actually useful.

The grumpiness continued for an hour or so or frustration until I called Ozemail support again and talked to Jason. Who told me I had to keep restarting the computer and modem "until they found each other" which sounded crazy but much more helpful than Alex's "Piss off and get someone else to fix it" routine.

So I tried a few times and realised that logically it wasn't going to work.

Luckily I still had my iburst connection working on the other laptop. I did some Googling. And reading. Not much understanding, I'm afraid, but it did seem that there was a known issue with Windows XP Service Pack 2 causing connectivity problems. Whatever it was I appeared to have it. With much trepidation at first I started tinkering under the bonnet, uninstalling things - my modem, some driver or other and reinstalling them in the hope that a) I hadn't mucked things up completely and b) it might possibly work.

I kept reading. Blah blah blah.... PPoe blah blah... corruption.... blah blah... static IP address... blah blah blah...

Hmmm..... I started to suspect I didn't need a whiz bang new black ethernet cable afterall (but I'll be keeping it for aesthetic reasons). I started to suspect maybe I knew more than I thought I did. I rang Ozemail support for the third time.

And got to talk to Leon. Now I don't know if it was just plain luck or that I muttered enough rambled computer geek speak (actually I think I said something like "I suspect this is an issue caused by Windows Service Pack 2. So far I've turned my firewall off and on again with no luck. I now suspect my PPoe something something is corrupted so I need a static IP address in order to be able to see my modem") obviously I made more sense than I thought I did as Leon knew what I thought I meant and licketty split had me pinging and propertying and typing in 10.1.1.thingies and http//10.1.1somethinging - all of which I sort of knew I needed to do but not quite how.

And then, suddenly, there was Google! Lovely lovely Google. Lovely lovely Leon. The sun came out, birds burst into song.... OK, not quite but that's what it felt like!

Alas, by this time it was almost 4:30pm so not much time left to actually do any work work. But this little Gemini Gemini rising was much relieved to be in contact with the outside world once more, without having to balance on top of a dolls house, and learnt that there are levels of Ozemail tech support person. And level 2 is much much better than level 1, no matter whether they are in Perth or Auckland or Sydney.

Monday, May 19, 2008

This is...

... What our stall at the markets looked like:... Some of our stock. My bags:Happy Spider's hand-dyed yarn:and Monica's: Olivia's pods:and Jejeune's knitting art cards:... Our "Knit Cafe" area:with Monica's spinning workshop:and proof that I'm still working on the Daisy Hoodie:... What we had to eat (cupcakes with balls of wool on top!):... Speaking of balls of wool, this is how to tell you've got the right house when visiting Taph to sort out the takings from the day. A wool marker in the gutter outside...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's a sign

When my home internet connection was kaput when I tried to log on yesterday morning and 40 minutes on the phone to a nice chap in the ozemail call centre in Auckland, New Zealand resulted in us deciding that maybe a new ethernet cable was the solution.

Did I have time to get to Dick Smith yesterday? Uh no. Today? Not really. Tomorrow? No way Jose!

So I'm on the wireless modem work provides me. Which is as slow as a wet weekend (one of the reasons I use my own connection to work). Even better*, it won't load Bloglines up at all.

So I guess I'll be having a computer-free weekend except for emergency email checks to see if there are any last minute changes for the markets tomorrow. And a flurry of printing off price lists and stuff.

If you need me I'll be sewing and painting and printing and listing and sorting. And hopefully not panicking!

Oh, and Olivia has a nice roundup of who's going to have stuff to sell on our stall. We'll also have a "Knit Cafe" area which you can use as a meeting point with your friends or a space to take a load off your feet and have a little knit while admiring what everyone else has bought - before racing off to buy some for yourself...

(*Better in the sense that I won't be tempted to "just" log in for a few minutes to read blogs and still be sitting here half an hour later)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The problem with Birthday season

Christmas 1971 (I don't have any childhood birthday photos)

So here I am, just over a week before my birthday, checking out my list of things I want to do today:

* Pay Newsagents. Easy enough. I thought I'd already paid but obviously I forgot.
* Rubbish and recycling out. I love recycling day. I only wish we had rubbish collection only once a fortnight and recycling every week...
* Arrange Nibbs feeding roster for next week. Oops, should have done that days ago!
* Sew bags. Oh, if I must.
* Wash kitchen floor. This has been on the list for almost a week. I suspect it will continue to be on the list tomorrow.
* Knit Daisy Hoodie. Of course.
* Make lunch for tomorrow. We have a Friday lunch club at work and it's my turn to bring it for the three of us
* Check paint on knitting needle knobs and match them into pairs. Yay! Almost done!
* Do accounts. Yawn.
*Subscribe to World Sweet World. Now this is the problem. No, not the actually subscribing but the fact that I always start second guessing when I buy myself anything in May. Maybe someone's bought me a subscription for my birthday. And if I subscribe then I'll have two copies. Which isn't good.

I'm having the same issue with the new Portishead and Moby CDs I want to buy. Maybe they'll be turning up next week wrapped in giftwrap. And yes, I know I could just wait until after the 24th to buy my subscription/ CD/ whatever but I'm not a particularly patient sort.

So I'll cross out Subscribe to World Sweet World and replace it with Tidy Room of Shame. Gulp!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I see red

Today had a red tinge to it.

* I took the red magazine files I bought over the weekend in to work to use in my newly renovated office cubicle. I would have chosen another colour but with the amount of red and different patterns that are used in the fit out there's a feel them of "beat 'em or join 'em". So red it was. Very cheap: 2 magazine files for $1.99 from The Warehouse (I still feel like crying when I visit as it's not a patch on the New Zealand version. Which happens to be red too) Now I just need to get over the feeling that I'm working inside a giant blood clot...

*There was a mid morning
delivery of red overlocker thread. Bugger! That means I'll feel compelled to cut out and sew another set of Groovy Green bags before Sunday's stall.

* Red wine. Just what the doctor ordered this evening.

(And no, there'll be no listening to Simply Red as I don't have any. Except for
this excellent remake of Thrill Me which really doesn't count...)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm half crazy...

I did well on the Daisy Hoodie at last night's Northside SnB, but forgot to keep count of how many rows I achieved.Shall we just say "eight rows to the armhole"?