Friday, May 30, 2008

Bower bird

Collecting. Most people collect something, whether it's paper clips on their desk or extensive catalogued shelves of books. The casual or the fanatical - which one are you?

My obsessive collector tendencies are usually reigned in by practical considerations, such as space or money, but if neither were obstacles, I shudder to think of the 'collections' I would accumulate. One day earlier in the year, I decided I was all about Little Golden Books. Literally a few days later, ahem, about 70 arrived from a bulk impulse purchase on eBay. The majority of my collections revolve around paper, and so are books, stationery, stickers, papers, ribbons and the like. But I won't say no to small tins, robots, and buttons, and dream of the perfect piece of furniture which would display all of these at once.

I visited a great shop called Doug Up On Bourke, a self-described 'industrial antique warehouse' where I took this photo of teapots. Despite not really needing more than one teapot, and despite not even being passionate about any of these teapots and jugs in particular, I had to fight an impulse which said 'Start collecting teapots! Now!' Not healthy, I'm sure.

What do you collect? Or do you simply dream of starting a collection? Have a look here for some inspiration/collecting fanaticism.

Pillow Talk

I'm thrilled to have stumbled upon Lagom via Style Files - what a find! In my house-of-the-future which has a delightful couch-of-the-future, of course, I have a feeling that pillows like these will reside there. Or at least their pillow-cousins.

Alice Wears Gold

Time to profile another favourite etsy shop - this time it's home to the delightful Alice Wears Gold.

The ever innovatively-named 'A Leopard Can't Change Its Spots' and 'Return to Sender' are only some of the unusual pieces stocked in this whimsical shop. I love stopping by here and wandering through CJ's creations - they are always really elegant with a touch of fun.

Support Aussie etsy talent!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On My Morning Walk II

I promise not to make this a daily posting about a morning walk, but I had to share this...

To be brutally honest, I am not a big fan of the pelican. Despite cultivating an early and pure love for the Roald Dahl story, I have since been distracted by the sharp beak, gulpy mouth pouch and untrustworthy eyes. Adding to this is the highly creepy story of a pelican eating a seagull - a whole seagull in one bite! - which confirmed my suspicions about this awkward bird.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw a compact pelican (compelican?) all cradled up in a cosy bundle, seemingly oblivious to the waking beach.

I do admit to getting as close as I could to take the photo and then backing away slowly, lest I be seen/eaten by the gulpy-mouthed demon.

Narrow minded

I am always a bit overwhelmed by really beautifully designed homes that make use of space in an imaginative way. This narrow and innovative Paddington terrace in Sydney is no exception.

While it's not all to my taste, I am in awe of people who can give a space one complete 'style'. If I look around my student-y apartment, there are definitely parts of me on show, but in a "I'm-on-a-student-budget-and-most-things-clash" sort of way. Sometimes I have minimalist tendencies, and dream of black and white sleek lines, and other days I conjure up hundreds of mantelpieces, bookcases and writing desks to house collections of robots, books and stationery galore.

I like Art Deco, I like kitsch, I like minimalism, I like retro, I like modern, and I fear greatly that my one-day grown-up house will be, much like myself, unable to make up its mind.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Skull and Crossbones Embroidery

I never thought embroidery would be for me. Too many little stitches. Too impractical. And what would I make, anyway? No one I know is having a baby, and surely that's the limit of embroidery?


I am delighted to say that I am now all about stitching. I keep looking at everything I own, trying to determine if it is stitch-worthy or whether it would be better if covered in my amateur, desperately-trying to be neat stitches. And I can safely say the results aren't all bad.

I visited Sublime Stitching and they really know their patterns. I bought some packs including some by Julie West (that's her in the second picture - or rather her delightful space alien) and Kurt Halsey, a few big white hankies and set to work. The best thing is that you can re-use the iron-on patterns about eight times so there's less pressure to get it right the first time.

Happily, I've also started my own patterns, and am pretty smug about my punk pirate hanky. Those older ladies really know what they're talking about - I'm sold.

If anyone wants to organise a crafternoon soon, I will bring yummies!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Talented Friends Tuesday

I'm incredibly lucky to have lots of creative and talented people as my friends, and thought I'd showcase some of their work every Tuesday. (Any talented friends reading are more than welcome to nominate themselves or others!)

This week, some of my lovely and deeply hilarious friends have made a wonderful video about a beached whale from New Zealand. Eeeee! I love it so much.

Tonari no Totoro

For many years, I have been obsessed with the 1988 Hayao Miyazaki film 'Tonari no Totoro' or My Neighbour Totoro. Like lots of films from Studio Ghibli, there's no easy way to explain it, suffice to say it is about two little sisters, change and how to cope with it, and a mythical forest creature called Totoro.

I mentioned in passing to The Pal that I saw a huge Totoro soft toy in Chinatown. I know, a soft toy? Not really a prudent financial investment (these thing don't appreciate, do they?) nor a space saver, since I can barely fit my arms around it. Like a sensible person, I refrained, but didn't stop pining for it.

A few weeks later, The Pal came over to my house, and asked if I could help get the passenger out of the car. Passenger? I looked over and in the front seat, strapped in and everything, was my new best friend!

Thanks Pal! I love him, and while I've never been a big soft-toy person, I hope Totoro follows us to all our future houses.

On my morning walk

I've finally taken a camera with me to try and capture what I see on my morning walks. Today is a perfect day, and I can't get over how lucky I am to wake up to this.

As someone who has grown up in the suburbs all my life, it amazes me that nature changes day to day. One morning there are hundreds of big fish swimming, tails flipping the surface of the water with a gentle 'thwack', another my friendly kookaburra swoops across the park to say hi. This nature thing isn't too bad at all...

Monday, May 26, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about how I should commemorate the ending of my PhD. Which is sort of ironic, as I haven't actually finished it yet, but I figure it might be good to have something to run towards, apart from the enormous weight of 80,000 words off my chest, which admittedly, will be rather lovely.

So I've had a few ideas. One was that I refer to myself as The Doctor in the third-person, but I figured that may lose me all my friends much more quickly than doing a doctorate. And it actually sounds much more like a punishment than anything else. (It does have a certain touch of "I'm Toby Zeigler and I work at the White House", to it.) But then I thought about this chair, in all its modernist glory, and figured that would be a pretty cool prize. I could swivel around and feel doctory, and when friends came to visit, I might even let them have a spin...

Indy's back...


I went to see Indiana Jones and the Compass Quest for the Temple of the Philosopher's Doom Ring, or whatever it was called, and had a good time. I had no expectations - I am not the biggest Indy fan in the world - but loved the 1950s set styling and costuming. I concede that's probably not what most would have been looking at in a Spielberg/Lucas action film, but that black leather jacket was drool-worthy.

Our Cate, of whom I am a big fan, was spectacularly shlocky as Spalko, an Ukranian, Order-of -Lenin-winning, all-in-one-pantsuit-wearing, bob-sporting paranormal army gal. Her quest for knowledge is ultimately thwarted and she is either killed or sent to another dimension - the "spaces between space". Obviously, I was bedazzled by her glowing skin and was less narrative-focussed at this point of the film. Not quite sure of the moral of the Spalko story - it was either something to do with 'don't get friendly with aliens' or 'women shouldn't be on quests to know things, they should leave that to the lovely Harrison and Shia'. A feminist manifesto it ain't, but I still giggle at re-imagining her "I vant to know! I vant to know!" end-sequence in my head.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rainbows of colour

Isn't this the most dreamy and swoon-worthy set up ever? My little pod of a house is nowhere big enough to house all of my books right now. Most are languishing in storage at various kind relatives' homes until they can all be reunited happily one day.

As a fairly organised person, I tend to categorise books by author or category, and held to this pretty steadfastly over the years. But I suddenly realised - and it may be the aesthetic reverie brought on by chotda's house - that this is totally, ahem, unnecessary, and indeed could be a little bit too OCD even for me.* I'm not even sure what I thought the worst case scenario was going to be - a bookmergcy? Taking one minute to find a book instead of thirty seconds?

So now I dream of rows of coloured books smiling happily at me from their shelf. And at the risk of dangerous over-personification, they seem so thrilled to have found their little spot in the world.

*Although I should mention that this image did make me want check what colour the spine of a new book purchase would be before I bought it, so maybe OCD it is...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bam! Kapow!

Mmm secondhand bookstores. The thrill of wandering through them will never wear off for me - it is like an endless mounting of anticipation for the perfect find - whatever that may be.

Let's be honest, sometimes I have a low bar, and get pretty overexcited by the littlest things. But on this day, I stumbled upon some incredibly fabulous comics from the humble decade of my birth - les annees 80s.

They were so old that the advertisements were peppered with adjectives like 'ace' and 'radical' - I could almost feel my old fluoro scrunchies and felt a vague longing for my hologram slapband as I flipped through the pages.

But nothing says 'upcycle' like old comics, so I present to you the newest mini envelopes to appear in the shop! I know, I know, but I've gotten over tearing up books and atlases because I think that I'm giving them a new life. Or that they can then go and give other people little bits of happiness in the form of a letter. Fly, my pretties, fly!

Monsters and Robots

Seriously, these are the cutest lil' creatures I have seen in a long time. They are from the etsy shop MyLittleOogaBooga - a fabulous Aussie etsyer, to boot! - and are just so scrumptious I can't stop looking at the detail. The heart! The little glimmer in the eye! It's seeing things like this that make me want to spend my life saving on felt, buttons and a sewing machine, move to the country and make little creatures all day. In fact, that sounds like one satisfying career move.

I bought the grey one for a friend's son's first birthday - he's one lucky boy as I really didn't want to part with it... But now I am wondering who I can buy the olive green robot for. I love a good robot, and this one is simply no exception. And it's monster-y face only adds to its robotic charm. Swoon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sometimes it's the little things...

Occasionally I don't act my age. Instead, I embrace all the past iterations of myself and channel my four or five-year-old self in all her glory. Or at least, that's the only way I can explain the way I am drawn to objects such as this one.

I saw this when shopping with my sister Emma, who despite being six years younger than I am, is eminently more sensible. She was a bit embarrassed when I started squealing with delight and nudging her in the ribs. "It's wearing a beret!" "I could use it as a salt pig, but it could be a salt egg!" "It's the most practical and classic item I've ever seen!"

Indulging me, Emma actually bought it for me as a present (thanks Em!). So kind, but there was probably a part of her that hoped that buying it would ensure my Ode To The Salt Egg wouldn't continue for too much longer. But having had the Egg for about six months now, I can't explain how happy it makes me. All I have to do is pass it in the kitchen, and it lifts my spirits entirely. It also has an all-together pleasing 'heft' to it - a delightful roundness which for some reason makes me giggle with pleasure.

It amazes me that in the busy, full-on world of meetings, deadlines and pressure, that something as simple as this makes me smile.