Jan 17, 2014

13} Art of splashing with water.

The grass appeared to be browning before my eyes as I sat out on the porch in the blistering heat. Today I would be working on Art 13, the art of splashing with water. Armed with my kindle and a bucket, these lily white legs got into enjoying one of the simpler things of life. I can't say I was dramatic in my splashing, but there was small joy taken. As the change slowly rolls in I'm left wondering why I don't do this more often. I do not like forty five degree days, but I can meet them with a little more water.

 Hoorah for playing in water!  

Image via Flickr Commons

Dec 4, 2013


 Things haven't been going the way I want. This is not how I'd planned things. But I discovered something the other day that made me think more optimistically about the future. It's the notion that I can make choices that honor the me I'd like to be. This promotes well-thinking and healthy choices. So I'm trying to make decisions based on nurturing my best self. Make sense?

Image credit: Film star Helen Twelvetrees, Rutland Gates, Bellevue Hill, Sydney, early 1936 / photograph by Sam Hood via Flickr using Creative Commons licensing.

Oct 29, 2013

Just Fair Coffee

I received a tin of coffee to review. I really couldn't knock that one back, now, could I? Being that I am an advocate for the Fair Trade movement, I wanted to give this liquid gold a taste, and see what it was like.

Firstly, here's what Griffiths have to say:

"Griffiths, one of Australia’s first coffee roasters has just launched Just Fair, their new premium fair trade and certified organic coffee. Just Fair coffee supports environmental sustainability and social equity through exclusively sourcing, roasting and distributing high-quality fair trade and certified organic grown coffee products.

...Just Fair ensures that farmers in the developing world receive a fair price, and their communities and the environment benefit too.

...The Just Fair range includes Organic Espresso Blend Coffee Beans, Organic Espresso Blend Ground Coffee, and Organic Decaffeinated, all in 250g tins. Conscious of creating a fair-trade coffee that does not compromise on quality, Just Fair roasts the coffee in small batches to ensure it is at its freshest, using 100% Arabica beans.

...Just Fair’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility doesn’t end at sourcing. Just Fair is the only Fairtrade Organic product on the market that comes in a reusable tin that allows for easy storage of your coffee. The tin is made using recyclable material and soy-based inks."

My thoughts: 
Coffee is lovely. I'm a coffee fan.

On opening the tin a satisfying aroma wafts forth, if not a slightly darker? bolder? smell than I had expected.

On tasting the coffee, not bad. I used a Sunbeam coffee machine to pull the bean juice, and I think it tastes pretty good.

 The point of difference with this coffee has is great. I love the idea that you can track your coffee back to the source, and read about the community surrounding the coffee plantation. Unfortunate starter hiccups mean that I couldn't track my tin, but hopefully you can track yours.

Image Credit: Astor Market, Demonstrating Coffee
I was not paid for my review, but I did receive a tin of coffee to try.

Sep 25, 2013

Steps toward my carpentry badge.

34} Carpentry.

Always going to be an interesting one, that is for sure. But I'm steps closer to the tools, having now sketched up a full sized template of the paper moon we'll be making for the wedding. This wont be a solo journey, art 34. I figure the fact that I'll be wanting our wedding guests to feel comfortable sitting on it requires reinforcements. Of course I'm mostly excited about the painting portion of production, but that is still a while off yet. 

Any suggestions what we can do with our paper moon after the wedding? 

Image credits
Hammer, hand The Graphics Fairy
Paper Moon sketch, mine.

Sep 14, 2013

21} Art of juggling.

Ms. Coordination is getting her clown on. Well, attempting to. Having made one surprisingly hard-to-construct fabric juggling ball, I've decided maybe I'd do better working with yarn.

Looks cute, too confusing to duplicate!

So I'm looking at patterns on Ravelry for hacky sacks, and I think this is the way to go, stepping toward mastering Art 21, The Art of Juggling.  I found a great how to video on YouTube, and figure I can crochet one, start practice with one and take it from there. Hopefully I will feel more dedicated to the cause than with my uke practice, which has been poor, to say the least.

Image credit: The Graphics Fairy

Sep 13, 2013

32} The art of practicing with a sword.

What might seem like one of the more difficult arts to learn is actually made slightly easier by the fact that I am marrying a man who happens to know how to use a sword, and has, in fact, taught others how to do so too.

I may be his biggest challenge yet.

I am under no illusion I can 'Arya it' (Game of Thrones reference inserted there) but I didn't realise just how much of a bumbling oaf I would seem, trying to be delicate and ladylike, faux sword in hand. I am reminded of ballet lessons I took as a little girl, the time I never really grasped the concept of grace and poise.

But carry on, we must, as I am dedicated to learning the 64 Arts to the best of my ability.

Thrust! Parry! Trip!

Image credits: The Graphics Fairy (Editing mine.)

Crafting for good

As festivus draws nearer, we often do little things for those less fortunate than ourselves. Here are two great craft-based initiatives to get on board.

Knit one Give one is a Victorian based initiative. Through the winter months, warm, handmade woolies are distributed to those in need. Over the festive season, KOGO distributes handmade (not just knitted) toys. KOGO have drop off points, making it easy for Victorians to get their crafted goodies out to those in need. 

Softies for Mirabel is an initiative founded by Pip Lincolne of Meet Me at Mike's. Said best in Pip's words:

I'm hoping to craft at least one toy for each organisation. Here goes!

Sep 8, 2013

Four letters. Seven point score.

...Running on it. I feel like I've tapped out all other resources, but I know that there is love.

Creative commons image by lovefromginger.com

On fashion bloggers.

 I have friends who have brilliant fashion sense. They wear clothes that pontificate their style, exuding an awesomeness that only they can truly pull off. Whether it be opped and thrifted vintage dresses, or mostly black with touches of purple, I have some friends who really know how to dress.

When we get together for lady-dates, my friends are always looking good. If the world sees them, the world sees them for who they want to be seen. At times this makes me reflect inwardly. See, I spend a lot of my time in sleepwear, and don't blink an eye at wearing my crocs out to the shopping centre. I have very mummy-centric attitudes, without the lack of time. All of my choices are justified with practicalities. "I have a terribly small budget, I can only afford the things I find at Kmart// I need to find clothes that cover my bingo wings/faux-preggers-belly/back boobs// If I wear makeup, I'll just rub it off// my hair turns into a frizz ball if I attempt anything."

Then I click through to the fashion, etc. blogs I follow. I follow women of all shapes and sizes, and women who embrace their own individual style. Just a few:

Frocks & Frou Frou | Queenie and the Dew | Lady Melbourne | Esme and the Laneway |  | The Militant Baker | Falala Mele | Super Kawaii Mama

On personal style- seeing this made me smile:

So I'm on my journey to finding my style. I'm hoping I didn't hide it under the couch cushions. And I'll definitely wear it on my arm.

Image credits:  B&W images via the National Archives of Norway, here &; here
Images used under Creative Commons licencing. 

Coloured images on the B&W images via The Graphics Fairy, my favourite vintage image resource on the WHOLE ENTIRE INTERNET. Terms.

Facebook screencap via my Facebook feed.

Sep 7, 2013

How to tie the perfect fluffy bow: Deux.

  For PART ONE, click here

1) Gather materials. In this case, awesome dinosaur themed presents, wrapped in kraft paper; 5 lengths of assorted 'rainbow' ribbon, the main colour 3 metres long, the rest 1.5-2m long; Dino accessory optional. Don't forget your scissors, too.

As per step one last time, 

2)    Take the main ribbon, (Yellow in this case, a wider ribbon for a fuller effect.) and find the centre by folding it in half. Place the fold in the middle of your parcel, on the top. Open the sides out along the longest length, and carefully wrap them under the present. I like to do this without turning over the parcel, it seems to offer a better result. My technique is to set the parcel onto my thumbs and forefingers. Then twist the ends of the ribbon together, and bring them back up to the top. Ensure that each section at the top now sits flat to the parcel. (You might need to turn the ribbon over to fix this.) 
3)    Slide each of the ribbon ends under the first section of ribbon you worked on Loop the two lengths together and tie into a loose knot. Adjust until it is sitting in the manner you would like, and tie it firmer.
3)    Tie a shoelace/rabbit-ear bow, ensuring each side is similar in length. Gently tighten the bow. If you have remaining ribbon, repeat the process, so that you have two bows nestled  together. Gently tighten this one, it can be a little more delicate.
This main bow forms the framework for the rest of the bow. At the base of each of the four sides, you will attach your additional ribbons.
4)    Take your contrasting colour #1(In this case, blue), folding in half to find the centre, then cut. Decide where you want to place each two pieces (Opposite each other, on the long or short side of the parcel?)

Tie a loose knot of the new ribbon onto the one completed. Push to the very centre of the main bow, and tighten at the base of the bow. Repeat opposite with the same colour, and adjacent with your other contrasting or coordinating ribbon (In this case, four times two). Tie off shoelace bows the same length as your first bows.
If you have an accessory, add it on to the last bow you tie. 

Once you have completed this process, you will likely be left with long tentacles of ribbon that need to be trimmed. I think the bow looks best with the ends trimmed to a length just a tiny bit longer than the bows. If you choose, you could opt to keep them longer, too.) 
5)   To trim the perfect 'V' into your ribbon tails, fold the ribbon in half lengthwise, with the centre of the fold being the place you start the base of your 'V', cutting out on an angle. Alternatively, you could cut the ribbon on the 45. It is important to remember to neaten these edges, as they can fray and look quite messy. 
If your bow is sitting a little flat, you can scoop it up from the bottom and let it drop or you can tease it gently, as you might tease a child's hair. This usually helps the bow spring back into place. I always tease my bow before I give a present. In this case, the dinosaur theme was a major hit.

Inspiring women: books

I discovered Amazing Babes as s Pozible project, and felt quite inspired by the author, Eliza Sarlos and artist, Grace Lee's vision. My inner feminist was saddened by the fact that I actually did not know all of the women featured in this little book.

I'm glad, though, that this little book sits on my shelf, just waiting to shape young minds! 
The other inspiring woman, who has had her life turned into a children's  book is Audrey Hepburn. A woman who is so often remembered for her looks and not her works and life. Just Being Audrey, Written by Margaret Cardillo and illustrated by Julia Denos, this book covers the life of a woman who truly lived. It's no secret I bought this book for myself, though I'm sure one day there will be a little person who'll enjoy the book as much as I do.

Creative Commons credit: Audrey Hepburn by Dennis Stock 1955

Sep 5, 2013

Too many bad days.

I really do try and put my days into perspective. There is always going to be someone having a shittier day, in epic proportions. I live in a safe country, in a happy home. But I can't use this as a tool of denial, I've been having bad days. And I'm really, really looking forward to the time when I start having good days again.

Today I smiled as I chatted with the postie, who, I'm starting to get the impression, does not like so-very-much all of my online shopping. I felt like I'd really over done it today, when my haul arrived. I'm pretty sure I'll have to keep things in check. "It's for the wedding" is becoming an easy excuse. I've not been tapping into our tiny wedding budget, though, instead spending what little money I do have planning out two very big days. (Above, embroidery initials [via,Also, I'd love one of these!] one for H and one for me, the H will go in the lining of my dress, the C will go inside his flat cap. Because we can.)

Fabric for my trial dress (aka: standby dress) arrived today. I've already washed, pressed and am airing it. And I love it! Those colours are perfect to brighten ones day, and yet.

I've been thinking lately about the afters. After the wedding, after all my planning comes to fruition. I realised that I'll need to have a project (or a few!) on the go to fill the gap which will surely be there once we've said 'I do'.

So focused on the future, on what has not happened, so focused on the past, so not in the now.
Now I am drinking hot black tea with a touch of milk. Made lovingly by my fiance.
Now I am thinking about what vegetables should go with the meat pie I've made the menfolk for dinner.
Now I am aware of the smell of washing powder and jasmine.
Now I am aware of the cat, exploring.

These are the things that are real, right now. My bad days are all in my mind.

Sep 3, 2013


 Today I'm feeling organised. I've just finished up binding activity books for the younger people at our wedding. It's a job I was really looking forward to, creating these little books, and I'm pretty happy with the results.

Light weight kraft cover and copy paper interior, these babies boast 20 pages of scavenger hunt, drawing, puzzle and colouring goodness. The images I used all came from The Graphics Fairy, with exception of the cover, which was made using Cathe Holden images

I was a bit sneaky making the word find, using an online template to place the words for me, then changing it up to make it look just how I liked. Such a rebel.

Sep 2, 2013

On learning

Self directed learning turns out to be much like my uni days. Unless truly motivated, I find myself waxing and waning, half-heartedly devoting myself to the things I think I want to learn. 

Why is it that, when confronted with the 64 Arts, I shy away from the challenge? The journey has been a slow one thus far. My poor beautiful blue uke has had little to no attention, and I can still proffer the fact that when it comes to the uke, I have no idea what I'm doing. So that's arts 1-through-4 on the progress back-burner. Am I a little intimidated? I think I am! 

Beauty based Arts have had a better look in, which might surprise those who know me well. I've You Tubed my way through wet setting 101, and almost had an even, passible curl the next morning. I've explored the idea of using a setting lotion (It sounds so permanent, like a perm, so I'm a little shy of that too!) 

I treated myself to a book (the bestest of luxuries) Style Me Vintage by Naomi Thompson, Belinda Hay & Katie Reynolds. Essentially it's the basics of fashion, hair and beauty from 1920's through to the 1980's. My attentions are focused mostly between the 20's and the 50's, and an amalgamation of all that is in between. Even though I have this fabulous book, I'm still finding myself preferring You Tube for tutorials on vintage hair, namely: Super Kawaii Mama, A Vintage Vanity, The Cherry Dollface  Vintagious & Hollywood Noir Makeup. I'm about to step boldly into the world of red lipstick (I think I was about eight the last time I wore red lipstick, for a ballet recital.) I've always stuck to safe colours, but dang it, I can't wait 'til my Velvetines Red Velvet arrives!

Art 27, the Art of playing with thread has seen a look in, when I made a snood to cover my vintage hair. (Turns out I need a much bigger snood with a wet set!) I found a pattern on Ravelry, and  it was super easy to follow. Now to alter it to fit some rollers, and I'll be set!

Art 19, of practical application of aromatics, and more importantly 45, the Art of healing or cleaning a person with perfumes has been slightly more vague in application. As I type, I am inhaling the scent of freshly blooming jasmine. Aromatics have been, for me, a large part of tapping into mindfulness. Being aware, in the moment, present and in control. 
Mindfulness is an interesting journey. Do you practice mindfulness?