Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shop talk

I've been in a bit of a creative hole the past few weeks. That's not to say I havent been able to find my creativity, I'm just finding that it's all a bit all over the shop. Great ideas coming from all around, but no real way to pin anything down and be sure it's going to stick. I started wondering how to break this chain, and how to come up with something magically wonderful - where do those instantateously magic, all-together perfect Great Ideas come from, and how can I nab me one? Then, late one night while screwing around on food blogs doing research for an event proposal, I came across this TED video about creativity.

Now, just so you know, I LOVE TED. Kind of a bit too much. But this video, well I love it more than most TED stuff. Why? Well, apart from giving us an excuse to sit around in coffee shops chatting (because there's always room for another one of those), I think Stephen Johnson aptly and accurately sums up what creativity is all about. It's not really anthing new - in fact you've probably heard all of the 'there's no new ideas, only new ways at looking at things' rants before - but this amalgamation of all those ideas on creativity that we know to be true, that we want to be true, is a new take on an old idea that I happen to really like.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Wednesday night, after two weeks of hell, culminating in The Day of Misery and Deafeat I cut my losses, packed my things and headed back to Toowoomba. Turning out of my street, tears and rain blurring my vision, I fumbled with my ipod, trying to find the song to sum up what I was feeling. This was it.
Home. More than anywhere, it's the place I long to be most often lately. More than travelling, I dream of home. To me, it's more than the place - familiar surroundings, space, clear starry sky - it's the people. My people - people who understand me, support me, and let me be me in all my crazy glory. This song was for them, about them - an anthem for what they represent.
So to Wabi, Miss Vodka, Ma and Pa Darling, Chica, and Bonnie Dog, thank you for being Home for me this weekend, and always.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Drowning out the noise

This is where I go when the world is caving in around me.
When everything is too hard...too heavy...too much.
Here there is nothing. Just me, my breath and the water.
This is where I go to find calm.

Where do you go?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sweet treats and chicken feet

This little fella is sitting on my sewing table at the moment, looking every bit the happy shiny friend his brother in the picture looks. My Zoku (which I yearned for months ago) was a belated birthday gift from the loveliest of them all - Wabi and Miss Vodka. They also presented me with this pair of Victoria Mason earings:

Are they not the cutest things ever! And that's not all - Little G (known by other names, but none quite so Gangsta) presented me with facewash from The Body Shop - the exact one I had planned on purchasing sometime this week! My gal pals are the best gifters ever!
I was presented with the wonders while Yum Cha-ing it up in Old Brisbane Town - I even tried chicken feet (delicious once you get past the foot-like appearance)! Then we wandered a while and chatted some. A lovely afternoon after what seemed for all of us to be a pretty miserable week.
Thank you as always ladies, I am a very lucky, very happy girl becuase of youse guys ;0)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Got spoons?

My friend Wabi is amazing. Not just kind of amazing, or a little bit amazing, but absoulutely and incredibly amazing. She has, among other things, Crohn's Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis - that TWO autoimmune diseases.
Havign watched her suffer for a while now, I thought I had at least some idea of how hard it must be for her. And I did, but so very, very little. I was doing some research tonight and came across The Spoon Theory. As I read the theory I thought of her, going through each day, living with such a small amount of spoons, and I cried for her.
Wabi, you are so strong and so brave. If only I could, I'd share my spoons with you in a second.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Giving up

Yesterday I did something rediculous, something I haven't done since I was about fifteen - I decided to give up something for Lent. I haven't participated in Lent since I was a teen, because every single time I ever tried giving something up I lasted about a week, usually less. Also because by fifteen I was pretty disillusioned by the whole concept of giving something up for something I wasn't sure I believed in...and then I just kinda forgot the whole Lent thing existed.
Not this year. This year I'm doing Lent. Or at lease attempting to. Why? Because, aside from the fact that it's one of the few Christian traditions I honestly am compelled to acknowledge, it's also an excellent way of breaking bad habits - of which I have many. And so, after very little consideration and thought, I decided last night to give up one physical and one non-physical item for Lent.
My physical item is chocolate. Chocolate is the perfect thing for a lot of people to give up for Lent, but espcially for me because my love for it is so extreme. Chocolate sustains me. In a way it has become like a religion to me - when I'm happy I rejoice with it, when I'm sad I turn to in for solace, when I'm unsure I use it as a measure of my uncertainty (one block - mildly confused, two blocks - disheartened and weary, three blocks - serious depression and anxiety). chocolate is too much a part of my life, and too often consumed without thinking and without enjoying - something food should never become.
My non-physical item is excuses. I make far too many excuses on a daily basis - to myself, my family and my friends. Mostly they are little excuses like "sorry I was late, there was traffic", or "I can have chocolate, I'm sad". But little things are the kind that niggle and twinge, and grow ever-slowly into bigger and bigger things. So even the ever-so-little excuse - "I don't feel like swimming today, I have a headache" - become big problems - "I haven't been swimming in two weeks AND I ate way too much chocolate - no wonder I'm packing it on!". And there's nothing stupider than feeling bad about something you could have prevented purely by being a little less willing to make poor excuses for your own laziness.
So that's me for Lent. Now I've just got to figure out how to stick to it. Day one almost over and I'm already having chocolate withdrawels, but so far no excuses that weren't completely valid. Yay me!
Oh, and because I missed FebFast, all dollars normally spent on chocolate will be donated to a worthy charity at the end of Lent - with my chocolate habit they are going to be thanking the Lord all the way to Christmas that I did Lent!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brogue my heart

It's no secret that I have a small pretty big exceptionally large shoe addiction. I don't hide it - it's pretty much impossible to hide 80 pairs of shoes for very long - but I have tried in recent times to curb my addiction and concentrate on buying just the ones I really love. The problem with this is it means that when my favourite shoes start to fall apart it becomes a catastrophe on two levels. Firstly (and you have to understand I'm not crazy, just in love) a small part of my heart breaks, and I spend days/weeks/months promising myself they'll definitely go in the bin after one last wear - even though by this stage there's usually copious holes, great big scuffs, or they're tearing my feet apart because the lining is in numerous sharp, pointy pieces. Secondly, I then have the gigantic task of finding a new pair that could adequately measure up to the last ones.
And so it is with the the two pairs of brogues I bought at the start of last year. You see, not only do I have an unntaural love for the brogue, these brogues were not simply shoes - they kind of became a part of me. Wherever I went this past year on my feet would be gold or black brogue beauty. I've worn them to the point that the bottoms are thinner than the finest of cottons. They are no longer wearable by a sensible person. Key word - sensible.
Which is why I've spent the last month searching desperately for the perfect pair of brogue-replacement brogues. The black ones are kind of covered - my new work shoes are somewhat brogue-like. But they're also a shade on the boring side, unlike these pretties, which I think even Wabi could warm to:
Top Shop MIOLA Brogues found here
To be honest, I've always wanted a pair like this:
Jeffrey Campbell Brogue-pump, courtesy of Vintage Mint
Perfect heel-height, and such a pretty colour-combination.
But then tonight I found these:

MIKA Ladies Brogues from Mr Shoes
 And I'm seriously thinking about them - even if the shipping costs more than the shoes - because the colour is just so damn wonderful!
Am I crazy, or does everyone has an obsession like my shoe-insanity?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crazy Love

The photo above, my friends, is one taken by the ever-awesome The Other Renae, while standing mere metres (two at the most!) from Mr Michael Buble. I was standing right next to her uttering something along the lines of 'Oh my GOD! he's like right there! He's so close I can see the wrinkles in his pants! These are the best seats EVER!' Of course, it was less of an utter and more of an ever-rising scream of delight and excitement.
I'm still excited. See, two weekends ago now, we had front row tickets to Buble's Brisbane concert. Ok, so not just front row, front row....centre. It was, without doubt, the best concert I've ever been to - it even overshadows John Mayer...but only just. And purely because every second of the show was exactly that - a show, an event for the pure entertainment of the audience.
From the moment he stepped on the stage, Michael Buble had every person in the audience either wanting him, or wanting to be him - even the guys shuffling in, clearly dragged there by gaga girlfriends, were pretty quick to start tapping their feet and grooving along.
He took photos with the audience, introduced every member of his band (including the 16-strong brass section), and walked through the audience, performing a number of songs from as stage closer to the back so everone got to see him up-close-ish.
And then the finale. Oh my! During the last song - Song for You - the lights fell and a trumpet solo in the crowd cut back to a dark stage with a single spotlight. Buble stepped forward, hushing the crowd, and then...acapella into the 10,000 strong crowd. WOW! Seriously, WOW!
His band as well was amazing, especially the sax section - although I must admit a soft spot for a good sax solo. Oh, and did I mention the sloped stage which allowed him to walk all smoothly back to the drummer and then turn and slide - rock-star style - down towards the audience? So sexy...
So, enough gushing - pictures (all snapped by The Other Renae)!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So that date I was supposed to go on tonight, I didn't go. I cancelled it. Well...actually I had a panic attack, then threw up, then cancelled it. Then I cried until my eyes were red raw and burning.
I didn't used to be like this. I used it be what I would consider a very confident person. I mean, I wasn't about to win any Ego of the Year awards, but in the same situation a year ago I would have thrown on a cute dress, slapped on some make-up and got there early enough to throw down some dutch courage before I needed to be all cool and calm...
Now I have panic attacks. I don't know where my confidence has gone...I think I lost it somewhere.

Lost on the Midway by The Black Apple

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Unfamiliar terror-tory

I have a date tomorrow night. To say it's been a long time since I went on a date (or even a pseudo-date) would be an understatement. Even just in the realm of male attention we're talking nigh on four years. That's a little embarrassing to admit. Ok, a lot embarrassing. Were that the end of it, I probably wouldn't be overcome with such a immense feeling of trepidation and desire to run in the exact opposite direction.
But it's not.
After spending eight months of last year recovering from a knee injury, unable to exercise much and living with my mother's need to constantly feed me, I've put on quite a substantial amount of weight. Coupled with countless hundreds of job rejections - yes, that's how unemployable I apparantly am - I'm feeling very much unlike a person anyone could ever get to like, let alone find attractive.
Nothing fits, nothing looks good, and nothing makes me want to cry more than trying to find an outfit to make me seem attractive in the eyes of the opposite sex. And I hate myself for being so damn reliant on the opinion of a complete stranger to make me feel ok about myself. But I'm so damn scared of that rejection I honestly feel like throwing up every time I think of 7pm tomorrow night.
So I'm begging for some advice. What do you do to pep yourself up when you're not feeling grand? How do you overcome the nerves before a date/interview/big-deal event? What's your sure-fire trick for impressing the pants off someone?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweetest sixteen

"Birthday cake" by Hitana via Deviant Art

Today was my cousin's birthday. Chica was sweet sixteen and, despite all evidence to the contrary, has already been kissed. I found her a beautiful amethyst ring and Princess Mononoke DVD, because she loves Anime.
Chica being sixteen is...well, kinda crazy for me. See, I was there when my aunt went into the marathon 18hours of labour. I sat on the floor in the hospital waiting room for so long, and got such bad pins and needles that when I got up I sprained my ankle because my whole foot and leg were dead. And I got first nurse becuase I was injured.
I was there when Chica took her first steps, said her first words, and got her first tooth. I was there for the trips to the emergency room when she ate a poisonous plant, missed the trampoline when jumping off the roof, and skittled herself (not once, but five times) on her scooter. And I was there last year when a boy asked her out and she needed advice - she said no because it was in the middle of exams and she didn't feel that way about him (so proud!).
We've grown up together more as sisters than cousins, and if I ever need reminding of that I only need to look in her wardrobe, where half my shoes and clothes have taken up residence. I've taught her about theatre and music, boys and fashion, history and art. She's taught me about humility, strength and generosity.
Over the last few years she's reached an age where she no longer seems light years away from me in maturity, and we've started to chat about cute boys, shoes and clothes, and other more grown-up things. It's great, but every now and then - like tonight- my heart stops because I realise that the sweet little kid who put MY stocking out so I wouldn't miss Santa, is now completely over Santa herself.
Chica is almost all grown up - which I think also scares me becuase it means I'm getting older too fast. But no matter how old she gets, she'll always be my little cuz. So tonight I'm sending a shoutout to her and wishing her a very happy Sweet Sixteen - or half-thirty-two as she's dubbed it. May the next half be as sweet as your ever-increasing sweet tooth, and full of all the best things you can imagine!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Flood Relief Appeal Auctions

The water has gone down, the sun is shining again, and things are slowly getting cleaner here in Queensland. But the photographs, the video footage, and the memories for those who witnessed it first-hand will ensure that the devestation from the past few weeks lives on for much longer. The floods too, have not completely gone, simply moved state to wreak more havoc in New South Wales.
As people rebuild their lives in the wake of all that has happened they need money - money for furniture, clothing, kids school books, even essentials like food and a new roof...or door...or whole house.
Having seen some of the other auctions mine seem pretty sad and sorry, but even if they only bring in a few bucks, it's a few bucks more that someone can use to buy something so sorely needed. So here's the items:


 Item B
Item A: This is a skirt upcyled from a vintage dress. The skirt is a medium, measuring 47.5cm (lying flat) at the band and 52cm long. The material is an off-white with blue-black faded lines and buggies all over it - sorry, the wording under the buggies is unclear. Being vintage material there is a couple slight tea-coloured stains on the back of this skirt, however they are very light - I didn't notice them myself until I measured the finished product. I think, given a good soak, these would come out - and the material was too sweet not to use! The skirt has been soaked and is now stain-free!

Item B: This sweet little bow-shaped bag came about almost by accident, but turned out so perfectly cute you can't help but love it. Made from 70% Acrylic/30% Milk, the yarn is beaultiful and soft but still very sturdy. the inner lining is a vintage yellow floral fabric, and (I believe) is 100% cotton. The colour-matched zipper has been machine-sewn to the lining and then hand-sewn to the outer to give added firmness.I'd envisioned this as a clutch but discovered it fits knitting needles perfectly as well, making it a stylish knitting caddy, or even a fun pencil case.
Length: approx. 29cm (11.4 inches) x 11cm (4.3 inches)

How the Auction Works:
1. Bidding on each items will start at $10.
2. You can place a bid by leaving a comment on this blog stating you are bidding for either ITEM A or ITEM B, your bid amount and email address ( if you're not keen on having your email available to the world, post your bid amount and then drop me a line via my etsy store with your email address and the name you posted under.)
3. Please make sure your bid is higher than the previous bid amount and is in whole dollar increments.
4. Postage is free for all Australian residents. Bidding is also open to all international addresses but will incur postage fees (sorry).
5. The auction begins NOW and ends midnight on Monday 24th January 2011.
6. At close of auction, I will contact the winners and. At this point the winner of each auction will deopis the winning amount directly into the Premiers Relief Appeal and send me proof of payment (in the form of a recepit number) via return email, along with a postal address. Once I've received that, I will post your goods to you.
7. Ckeck out all the other auctions here. HAPPY BIDDING!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hell from the Heavens

That right there is what my backyard looked like earlier today (and still pretty much does because the rain just won't stop!). And this is my brother's poor dog, Zari, who can't understand where all the wet stuff is coming from - and why it's about to eat her nice dry bed:

It's wet. Really, really wet. It's been raining here almost continually since Christmas, and isn't supposed to let up for at least another twenty-four hours. This morning, because of the amount of water flowing from our neighbours overflowing pool, I spent a good half hour digging trenches in ankle-ankle deep septic and pouring rain, to relieve the build-up that was causing our grey water to back-up into out kitchen sink.
Today I got covered in poo-water, and have still had a far better day than residents in towns like Dalby, Condamine, Chinchilla, St George, and Gympie. Today my own town joined the ranks of the disaster zone, with Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley being pummelled by a torrrent of water that has left businesses and houses in ruin, at least 6 confirmed dead, and many more people unaccounted for.
The water rose within minutes, causing waves of water to sweep down the main streets of Toowoomba, washing away cars and furniture, and shattering store windows in the process. In the Lockyer Valley, a number of small towns - towns I grew up in and around - are fully submerged, with over thirty people unaccounted for in Grantham alone.
And there's more on the way with another downpour expected tonight.
There has been an outpouring of help for the affected areas, with almost $AU30,000,000 raised already, which is amazing! But that's not nearly enough - in fact it would barely cover the costs to help out the least affected areas of the state. Thousands have lost their homes or businesses, many have nothing left but the clothes on their back. Farmers have lost not only their crops, but their livestock, pets, and machinery. And after fifteen years of drought, it's too far back for many rurals.
So if you can - even if you're on the other side of the world - give a little, please. Many of these people are not only having the worst possible start to the year, but they missed Christmas as well.

Donate to the Queensland Flood Appeal here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Breakfast spread

Breakfast. Supposedly the most important meal of the day, but also possibly the most contentious. Among my friends there’s a broad selection of breakfast eaters: the never-skip-it, the eat-it-because-it’s-good-for-you, the coffee-only, and the never-eat-it (also known as the don’t-have-timer). I myself used to be a staunch supporter of the don’t-have-timer club, frankly because I much preferred the extra twenty minutes sleep I could get if I skipped breakfast. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised how much better I feel (and function) with the help of a morning kick-start.

My problem has always been finding something to eat that is both quick (still like that extra few minutes), yummy, and healthy to start the day with. When I’m feeling energentic I’ll get in and cook up some poached eggs, or practice my less-than-spectacular omelette skills, but for the most part I’ll stick to cereal or toast, usually with vegemite or homemade jam slathered thick.

Since I like homemade jam so much I figured it was time to try (again) to make my own. I had a pile of peaches that had to be used, so it was the perfect time to try Tartelette’s Confiture de Peche. SO GOOD! So, so, so, so, SO good—and so incredibly simply it’s impossible to screw up. The only problem is stopping myself eating it straight from the jar.

While I was making jam, I figured I’d keep the breakfast train rolling and make another batch of my absolute favourite breakfast cereal. To be honest, I’m usually pretty anti-cereal. For the most part it’s either sugary or flavourless, and always gets so soggy so quickly.

Enter the super-cereal: granola! It’s filling, flavoursome, stays super crispy, and is pretty healthy if it’s made right. So how do you make it right? You make it yourself! I’ve spent the holiday season perfecting a granola recipe that was super delicious but also not too sugary, and finally came up with the one below last night. It’s a bastardisation of this one from Nigella Lawson, via Not Quite Nigella, which is also yummy but just a bit boring, and probably a wee bit too sweet, for me. Best thing about this granola—it tastes awesome straight from the packet as a late night snack.

Cranberry-Hazelnut Granola

2 ½ cups oats

½ cup sunflower seeds

175ml apple puree

2tsp cinnamon

½ cup golden syrup, or maple syrup

4tbsp honey

¼ cup brown or raw sugar

250g hazelnuts

250g macadamias (or any other nut you like)

250g dried cranberries

250g coconut flakes

1. Combine all ingredients, excluding cranberries and coconut, in a large bowl, mixing until everything is covered with sticky goodness.

2. Spread mixture over two baking trays (or if you’re lazy like me just use one and turn the mixture more often).

3. Bake at 160-170C for about an hour, turning halfway through baking, until everything is golden.

4. Once cooled crumble any large chucks, and stir through cranberries and coconut, and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Birthday boy

My Dad and I don't always get along. Hmm...maybe I should say we are sometimes friends - it's probably more truthful. You see, my dad and I both have quick tempers - mine inherited from him - and are very stubborn - also from him - but that's about where the similarities end. In every way, we see things from the exact opposite angle which, more often than not, leads to a debate, which ultimately ends in a fight. We've yet to officially declare war, but it has been on the table once or twice.
It wasn't always like this though. As a kid, I remember seeing him as my hero, he could never put a foot wrong. In fact, most of my childhood memories throw him in a shining light. As a child he was amazing, and I was definitely a daddy's girl.
When highschool hit  I began to develop my own opinions about the world, and our relationship started to crumble. Bit by shining bit my dad's rockstar aura faded until I found myself disagreeing with pretty much everything he said. He drives me mad with his small-mindedness, and I think I scare the pants off him by being so liberal and open-minded. Often my mother has to step in and tear us apart before we rip each other to shreds.
Even with all the fighting, and the general frustration he often stirs in me - and I'm sure I in him - I love and respect my father very much. After his dad died when he was a kid, he helped run the family farm. He left school at 16 to get a mechanic apprenticeship, and eventually worked himself into machinery sales, working as the top sales manager for firms like Case, Hardy, and John Deer. He has never been paid overly well - earning less than the average teaching salary while often working 60-hour weeks, and on the road 80% of the time.
The photo above is of us the day I graduated from university. As crazy as I've made him with my seemingly endless studies, I knew he was proud of me that day, and I know he's still proud of me - even if I am once again in studentville. I'm thankful for that and appreciate that he supports me when he quite clearly thinks I'm nuts.
Along with mum, he's helped instill in me a sense of responsiblity and pride in myself, and a belief in my actions and opinions - even if he doesn't often agree with them. He's also helped me out a hell of a lot when I've been short on cash, had to move house, or needed a lift around the corner, or interstate. He doens't understand me too well - I'm pretty much another species as far as he's concerned - but he tries to help, and I know he means well.
Today (or yesterday, as it's now past midnight) was his birthday. He's now seventy-one, and looking mighty good for his age, I think. He reckons he's got another twenty in him at least.
So here's to my dad - Seventy-one and every bit the rockstar he's always been - personality and all.