Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Regina Spektor: Laughing With

This Regina Spektor video clip is breathtaking! I love the allusions to Escher and Dali and so many more. And her voice is just incredible.

(I've pre-posted this: Happy New Year's from Oman and I hope to be checking in soon!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Exciting News: Man, Oman!

In a pretty last-minute trip, I am off today to Oman! In spectacular luck, I have been invited there for work, and I can't WAIT!

Although there's been some wonderful parts to this year, I have also felt as though I've been treading water, so this comes as a deeply welcome time away.

I'll try to post while I'm away, but I don't know how good the internet connection will be. So in the meantime, I hope you all have a peaceful and relaxing New Year and see you in mid-January!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating! Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Furniture

For Christmas, the Pal and I bought each other this bench seat for under the window in our lounge room. Our apartment is not big, but we think this makes for a much more functional space. With some new pillows (and an old one!) we think it looks pretty great. Yay for being able to entertain more friends!
This chair was a late birthday present from my Mum and Dad, which now happily sits underneath another lovely present. I have so enjoyed rocking away with a book (or let's be honest, my thesis and pen in hand), looking out to the harbour. Which of course didn't come out in any of these photos. But it's there. And the cool breeze beckons now...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sarah Blasko: No Turning Back

This song (and the beautiful animation) has been a bit of personal anthem at the moment, as things on thesis front heat up. Again (!)

Last week I was offered a pretty dream job, with the understanding that it would have an immediate start. I ended up turning it down, as I really need to finish my PhD, but I've wondered ever since whether I made a big mistake.  

Monday, December 21, 2009

Time Out Posters

I don't know about you, but I am feeling quite overwhelmed in the lead-up to Christmas. So many things to do: so little time. Thesis + family obligations + planning + parties + keeping a level head = a very hard equation. These images made me cool out and breathe again. Enjoy!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Stockings

This Christmas is the first that the Pal and I have lived together. We have spent previous Christmases in together in Australia and all over the world (two in France and one in Vietnam), but never have we woken up in the same apartment THAT WE LIVE IN on Christmas morning.

Which I think is pretty exciting.

Taking Naomi's Green Christmas to heart once more, I made Christmas stockings for us both from remnants and scraps I had already, and the result is a pair of muted, felted stockings which I think are kind of fun.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Study Love

Yes, yes, I'm still fantasising about the perfect study. And I get it: this is both procrastination and longing brought from my thesis, but gosh darn if this isn't beautiful.

My penchant for little drawers full of trinkets, non-ugly filing cabinets and long white bench desks is made pretty clear. (And surely the KA on the wall is a direct cry out to me?)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recording Devices

Phenomenal mini notebooks in the shape of cassette tapes: they even come in plastic cases!
All images via here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Decorations

Inspired by this image and Naomi's most excellent Christmas Manifesto, I raided my button jar and made a Christmas tree above our new little table. It is green (I used buttons and blu-tack; both of which are eminently re-useable post-Christmas), pretty and just a little bit different. The Pal joked that I have "attention surplus disorder" and he's probably right. Ahem, I also did it at 6am one morning, after having a semi-dream (those half-awake, half-asleep ones) about buttons.

I love it. And The Pal loves it, too.

There are lots of alternative Christmas trees around this year: have a look here for some more ideas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sneak Peek: Japanese Inspired Quilt

This is a sneak peek of the new quilt I have made. Recently, a number of very close friends have become engaged, and I chose the fabric for this quilt with one of my affianced friends in mind. I was feeling quite good about the whole enterprise, when The Pal mentioned we should probably supplement the gift with a more boyish present for the groom. And then I realised: will I look like a crazy, Tonia Todman-esque* "I made you a present" kind of freak?! Is this quilt far too girly to give as a wedding present?
*For my lovely international readers, Tonia is Australia's 1990s answer to Martha Stewart. Our Tonia is decoupage queen, and, as I discovered with a cheeky google, a very busy entrepreneur these days. I really use her name with love: if I was a little older, I would absolutely be her, sans decoupage.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Singer Sewing Table Restoration: Part VI

Well I'm finally done!

I'm pretty thrilled with how it all turned out. There are faint twinges of green in parts, but I'm hoping that adds to its history. I'm really happy with how new and shiny the base looks - my dear Mum painted it so beautifully (thanks Mum!)

All that's left to do is to polish it with some beeswax: it positively drunk up all the orange oil I rubbed in yesterday, so I think it's time for a new approach.

My Dad rang me last night to say he's spotted a wrought iron bench that needs some repair and thinks it should be "our" next project. We'll see!

For a reminder on how it looked before, have a look here. Yikes!

Thanks for your lovely, encouraging comments along the way - it's been so much fun to share this on the blog!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Charley Harper Books: ABCs and 123s.

Continuing my obsession with Charley Harper, I recently bought these two books for the Pal's young niece for Christmas. (She's only 3 months old, so I'm pretty sure she doesn't read this blog yet.) While I know her Mum's amazing at finding clothes, I thought it time for bookish Aunty Kate to step up to the plate with these lovelies. Hope they teach her with lots of colour and love - I look forward to snuggles and reading aloud.
All images

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Foxy Goodness

Oh. My. Goodness. I can't really say more: go here for more amazing lovelies.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Story of Heartbreaking Sadness and Sudden, Seemingly Inexplicable Joy.

Last night our external hard drive died.

Months ago, the Pal had very proudly hooked up a whole terabyte of movies and TV shows to a screen in our lounge room, and we relished in our (ahem, mainly his) cleverness. It’s like a TV! We cried. Only better and with nothing we don’t want to watch! It was a golden age of 30 Rock, The Wire, The West Wing (it will never be old to us) and so many more shows and films. I'm talking a TERABYTE of them.

But as I said, last night it died. For the last few months, it had been uttering strangled, gurgling sounds, which, as it turns out, is what the death rattles of a hard drive sound like. The Pal and I chose to ignore these sounds. Fearing a meltdown or a pricey replacement, we chose to tell ourselves that it had “always sounded like that” and that “it still works” so there was nothing to worry about. But there was something to worry about, as suddenly the drive said “corrupt” and that’s just how the Pal and I felt. In a moral sense, you understand.

Late last night, I came to terms with this loss. It is a first world problem, I thought. I can buy the DVDs again and rip them again. Worse things (but obviously not by much) have happened in the world.

Flash forward to this morning, when an over-eager electrician who was fixing our washing machine turned off the mains power. I wasn’t quick enough to turn off my computer in time, and sat, a little twitchy, waiting to turn my mac back on to see what I had lost.

In what can only be described in religious resurrection terms, I found all of my shit. All of it. The hard drive came whirring back and minutes later, in a Holy Grail kind of moment, I sat scrolling through all my long lost (ok, short lost) favourites. As I write, I am transferring all my precious files to another safe place, with a renewed sense of optimism and amazement at technology and its foibles.

We’ll probably need another hard drive, and we’ll probably lose some data, but isn’t it nice when you have little moments which burst through cloudy days with beams of sunny, sunny light?

The End.

Feist: 1, 2, 3, 4

via Lily and The Muse
I can't stop watching this. Makes me want to jump up and dance every time I watch!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Singer Sewing Table Restoration: Part V

With the help of my dear Mum and Dad, we dismantled the little table - here it is upside down and sans base: perfect to get access to those bits I couldn't reach last week.
Still so much green!!! Happily, I'm finding more and more details by being this up close and personal: above you can see some initials stamped in the wood while the paint bubbles off. (The orange stuff is the gel-like paint stripper).And here's the same piece, after scraping and washing off the paint. (The hinges are a bit green still, but you won't be able to see them at all when it's all finished and put back together.)
Here's another little hidden detail I found on the bottom of the wrought iron base: Simanco, which I suppose stands for Singer Manufacturing Company.
Mum and I had a great time chatting away while she painted and I sanded and stripped paint. I'm actually allergic to paint (and fumes) so I couldn't do the paint job myself, but Mum had a wonderful time. I think she's wondering what else she can paint, now...which could be a worry!

Next week? The final installment!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Perfect Mailbox

Need I say more? Made in Canada with "real and honest hours of hard work and elbow grease in a local workshop". Swoon.
All images via here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Katharina Trudzinski

Colour, shape and organised chaos: these are perfect. And perhaps the perfect antidote to the crazy onslaught of December?
All images via here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Vintage Dutch Picture Book Covers

BibliOdyssey has done it again! The colours, typography and design of these Dutch book covers are frighteningly contemporary.

All images

Monday, November 30, 2009

Papercuts Short Film

Via Swissmiss

A lovely friend of a friend sent me this link, and I thought it far too beautiful to keep to myself. What's with New Zealand having outrageous amounts of talent these days? (Thanks Lorna!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Singer Sewing Table Restoration: Part IV

I am both really excited and really frustrated by my progress with this project at the moment. Excited because so much of the green has disappeared (hooray!) but frustrated, as I now realise I am going to have to detach the small drawer units to get the green paint off the insides. (You can see some paint on the right which I've stripped, but can't access to wipe off.) It's tricky work, and I've still got a lot of rust to scrub off the base before painting it glossy black.What has pleasantly surprised me though, is the lovely grain of the wood coming through. This back part has a perfectly centred, feather-like design in the wood, which is a real treat.

Now, a question for all of you playing at home: would you varnish this or polish it with an oil instead? I don't really want it too dark, and am leaning towards an oil at this stage. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Darien's Birthday Quilt

My friend Darien turns 30 tomorrow, and came out from the UK to celebrate with her identical twin! I knew that Darien's lounge room has lots of blues and reds in it, and that she loves all things handmade, so I made this quilt for her to snuggle with in Manchester.

I had some hesitations about making a gift: what if she hated it? And what if all my other friends who read this think, 'I hope she doesn't make one for me one day!' So tell me, dear readers, what are your thoughts on handmade gifts? (For the record, I love them...)
This new little label is made from one of my handmade stamps, and might be a recurring feature on my quilts. Now, to get to the huge quilt backlog!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Cutest French Storyteller You Have Ever Seen

I need to stop what I'm doing RIGHT NOW, go to France, conceive a child, wait about three years, cut her hair into a cute bob and then record her telling stories like this one.

In a non-creepy way, you understand.

Edited to say: I think one of the cutest bits is the face she makes at 1:51. Ok, and the rest of it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Autumn Swap Package

Yesterday I received my gorgeous Autumn Swap parcel from the lovely Danielle. I'm so lucky - this year and last I have received such generous and thoughtful gifts. I've used her photography here, too, as it's just too lovely (and I couldn't take the photos nearly as well!)

So I am now the proud owner of so many lovely goodies. Thanks Danielle - so very kind of you!
I'd encourage everyone to participate in swaps: it's such a lovely way to get to make new friends and to think up creative gifts. Wheee!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Singer Sewing Table Restoration: Part III

I'm sure you've been hanging out to see these, dear readers?! Well after a few more hours of backbreaking work over the past few weekends, I have got rid of more green in favour of some lovely looking wood.
In the photo above you can see how much rust is on the treadle. I have been scrubbing it off with a wire brush, but it is stubborn. Think at this stage I'll definitely have to paint it glossy black to get it back to its former glory.
Basically this is all I have left to do: the back and the insides, and a bit of detailing all over. At this stage, my thoughts are this: paint stripping needs a lot of effort and time. For me, it's been worth it, as I'll have a piece of heirloom furniture that I love. But I can see how this could never be a viable business model - it just takes too much time.
And this is what it looked like before remember?! Why green, Dad, why green?!

*Again, please excuse the photo quality. These were taken in a garage, and the light is really bad.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Charley Harper Prints

I have long been obsessed with Charley Harper's illustrations, and especially these birds. I keep thinking how wonderful they'd look on our walls. Sigh. For now I can look at them here in my virtual blog-house.

All images