Monday, 30 November 2009

National Music Month: Men At Work

Phew! Finished already? Where has this month gone...

I started off with a classic, so I feel like I should end with one as well.

What could be more Aussie then Men At Work? And although not my favourite, one of their most famous songs.

So there you have it! One month full of Australian bands; I hope you found something new you liked amongst them all.

Thirty Days

Or at least close enough; thanks to that little intermission from internets failure.
A whole month full of daily posts; the first time I've done -that- in a long time. Go me!


Something simple to round up this month, perhaps.
An update on those frangipani...

Entering in their final stage of glory and of course the best; the thick-petaled flowers are all uncurling...


Even the spectacular pink-lined variety...


And promptly falling off from the wind. Ah the perils of growing on the coast.

December is going to be a busy month, but in a good way. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

National Music Month: Kid Sam

Beautiful Bokeh

The photography sensation that's gripping the... well, Me!!

Botanical Gardens

Bokeh is essentially all that beautiful blurry bits in the background that transforms a photograph into something that looks quite impressionistic.

Botanical Gardens

Playing around with my macro setting on my workhorse point-n-shoot camera is bound to get some impressive bokeh going on in the background.

Botanical Gardens

Couple that with a beautiful sunny day in a spectacular garden, and the results are good.

Botanical Gardens

VERY good.

Botanical Gardens

Try it out yourselves!!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

National Music Month: Spiderbait

Spiderbait! Some of my favourite rockers, who (in my humble opinion) does one of the best covers of Black Betty EVER!

Coolest Art Experiment Ever

As soon as I saw this experiment blogged about by the fantastic Susie Can Stitch, I KNEW this was something the nieces and I needed to do.
Not just because it's really -really- cool, but also because I had all the materials necessary to do it just lying around the house.

Sharpie Science!!

It was SUCH a big success. They LOVED it!

You can find instructions online for the experiment at Steve Spangler Science's website. But it's very simple; all you need is fabric, permanent markers (I had a bunch of colourful Sharpie markers), rubbing alcohol (we used nailpolish remover), some kind of dropper for the alcohol (we used plastic straws, just putting our fingers over the top to pick up the liquid), and something to stabilize the fabric (old plastic containers, plastic cups, toilet paper rolls and old glass jars were what we experimented with)

Oh, and a good, ventilated area to do this in, as alcohol and marker fumes are VERY smelly!

Step one is to pick which fabric you're going to dye, I have a wide range of various white/off-white fabric in my stash I'd been using as backing fabric; I specifically chose a variety of different blends and textures. There was some patterned fabric too.

Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!

And then you draw in the centre of the fabric; roughly the size of a 20 cent piece Australian (American Quarter). All shapes and squiggles worked! Experiment with different colours; making dots or boxes or little portraits.

Sharpie Science!!

Then grab your straw-full of nail polish and start drop by drop, dropping it into the centre of the fabric and watch the magic bloom!! You can use as little or as much as you like. The goal was to experiment!

Hold onto your seats people!
Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!

WOOOOOOO!!! Magic!

Want to see it again? ME TOO!

Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!
Sharpie Science!!Sharpie Science!!

We all loved it! The girls especially, and it's addicting; watching those colours spread and blend and change right before your very eyes.

Sharpie Science!!

In no time the sizeable pile of squares I had made; sure that they would lose interest before we got anywhere NEAR through it disappeared into beautiful colourful dots.
And we still weren't done! I graciously ran and looted some more of my fabric stash and we kept on going all morning.

A particular moment of joy with my nieces came after encouraging them to give a particular piece of fabric a try; I'm not quite sure what it was made out of, but it was very thin and a little bit.. spongey. Is had dismissed it at first, so sure that it wouldn't work, but after my nudging to give it a try it turned out to not only "work" perfectly, but by far had the most saturated colours out of all the fabrics and had a really interesting absorption patterns; not quite perfect circles like some of the others.
I think that one opened the doors to experimenting and from there they really got into the spirit for the art; trying to make different patterns other then circles and experimenting with fabric that wasn't white and beyond.

Sharpie Science!!

I really recommend this project if you have kids; it's so easy to put together, cheap ingredients and immensely satisfying results, and it'll keep your kids occupied for hours!

These do need to be heat-set though if you plan to wear or do something else with these, and you should be VERY careful with your iron or dryer since alcohol is flammable. I left our finished squares out in the garage over night to let them dry completely then spent the next day ironing them all.
We had a lot of fun trying to come up with different ideas on what to do with them too, Isobelle thinks I should sew them into a quilt and give them to someone who needs a warm blanket. Angela thinks I should make them into barrettes.

Maybe we'll see if there's something we can't do together the next time we get to hang out.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Turn-a-Square Hat!

I've been busy, busy crafting, sadly.. I still can't share any of it with you, Doh!
Which is a shame, because I'm pretty excited to share some, just a few more weeks now what is it, 27 sleeps until Chrissy?

Anyways.. something that I CAN show you is a bit of birthday knitting I did a couple weeks ago, modeled by the happy recipient:

Birthday Hat!

Pattern: Turn A Square Hat by Jared Flood (Ravelry link!)
Yarn: The last of my dark brown Lion Brand 100% wool and Noro
Needles: US 5 and US 6 circulars

Aside from going down a needle size, I didn't change anything about the pattern; it's so quick to make (I threw this sucker together in an afternoon when I realized I was running out of time to send the package in time to reach the recipient in time!) and what a satisfying result! I do love myself some Noro.

Birthday Hat!

He loves it too and my fears that it would be too big seem to be for naught, fits him just fine!
Happy Birthday to my favourite guy in Kosovo!

National Music Month: Dappled Cities

Okay, okay. Back on track with music that I actually enjoy!

Thursday, 26 November 2009


Bed Linen

Current linen on my bed; I'll just let you guess how stoked I was to find that tiger pillowcase.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you Americans out there.
Today I took some time to be mindfully thankful, I think it's a good exercise to do;

* I am thankful for my incredible parents who are so supportive of me.
* I am thankful for my friends, especially those who go out of their way to check up on me.
* I am thankful for my clever hands which allow me to express my creativity in many ways, all of which bring me joy.
* I am thankful for the beautiful place that I am living; beauty beyond words to describe.

"As we express out gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
- John F. Kennedy

National Music Month: Ben Lee

How about some sugary campfire pop to make up for yesterday's angst?
All together now...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

National Music Month: Silverchair

Mmmm.. smell that? That's some teen angst right there.
Oh, Silverchair... there is a good percentage of music I keep around just because it reminds me of times past and events.
Oh highschool, you tried so hard to be gritty and hardcore, but really you're just plain silly.

Madam Redback

Not all of my various neighbors and house-guests play nicely.
I found this gorgeous redback spider while poking around in the garage, pulling the boogie boards out for the summer.
Looks like it's time for a good clean out!

Madam Redback

Gorgeous, ain't she? Pity she plays so mean otherwise I'd tolerate her hanging around a bit more.
Besides, it's far past time I got my first boogie-boarding in for the season and so she's got no choice but to give up the board (that big blue thing in the background)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Signs of Summer

Botanical Gardens

Tis the season, again. Or at least, it was SUPPOSED to have been the season.
The jacarandas, the definitive signal that summer is here around this place, are all in bloom.
I decided last year that I would take a trip up to Grafton; about an hour's drive north of me, this year because it's a town known for its beautiful jacaranda trees.
The town loves these trees so much that they hold a festival in the trees honour every year.
I was expecting there to be more noise about it in the paper; but to my dismay when it occurred to me to check I learned that I had just MISSED this years festival by two days. :P
Also we had been hit by another week of horrible heavy rain causing flooding all along the coast in my area. So I decided to take a trip up north anyway to see how it was looking, but wasn't expecting anything truly breath-taking.


As expected, by the time I got up there; most of the blossoms had been knocked off the trees and washed away.



There was a couple trees stubbornly hanging onto their purple decorations, despite it all, but it was clear I had missed the peak of the seasonal blooms.

365 035
Taken on November 10, 2009 in Grafton, NSW.


Oh well, I suppose there's always next year... at least the trip wasn't a TOTAL bust:
Grafton Yarn

I found a yarn shop! But it's only open on Thursdays and Saturdays... bummer! I'll have to visit again sometime.


Also, I'm endlessly amused by the seemingly inability for trees in Australia to grow in straight lines.

National Music Month: Wolfmother

Woooooolfmother! You can't really go wrong with rock 'n roll.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Surprise Muffins!

Caramel Surprise Muffins

The cooking part of my lovely Sunday mostly involved this: baking muffins!
But these aren't your average chocolate chips!

Caramel Surprise Muffins

These babies have a jersey caramel in the middle!

I'm lucky enough to have two nieces who are at least some-what interested in cooking. They weren't into the prepping and measuring, but they were more then happy to mix up the ingredients and divvy the mixture up into the muffin tins, and of course hiding the jersey caramel in the middle!

Caramel Surprise Muffins

Chocolate- Caramel Surprise! Muffins

2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
100g dark chocolate, grated (I only had about 50g to grate, so I threw in a handful of dark chocolate chips)
2/3 cup milk (I used vanilla flavoured soy milk)
125g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 jersey caramels, halved

To make!

1. Preheat oven to moderate (180 degrees, C). Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin pan.
2. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and chocolate.
3. In a jug, whisk together butter, milk and egg. Make a little well in the centre of flour mixture and at wet mixture in all at once. Mix lightly until just combined- don't over-mix!!
4. Spoon enough mixture into each recesss of muffin pan to half fill. Place half a jersey caramel in the centre of each one. Cover evenly with remaining muffin mixture so the caramels are now in the centre of the muffins!
5. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Caramel Surprise Muffins

These are definitely worth enjoying while they are still warm so the surprise inside is still melty and gooey; but don't eat them right away, especially if you are enjoying them with children as that caramel inside can get quite molten right out of the oven.

National Music Month: Philadelphia Grand Jury

Philly Jays! Another new-to-me band that I've really fallen in love with.

Oh, and I take back what I said about the Art vs Science music video, THIS is one of the best clips I've seen in a long time; just goes to show you don't need a big budget to make something awesome!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sunday's View

Sunday's View

Today has been a wonderful Sunday.
Full of everything I love.
Crafting, Cooking, Beach, Games and two lovely little girls to share it all with.
I'll be sure to tell you all about it over the coming week (also that trip to Grafton I hinted at the other day!)

National Music Month: Doug Anthony All Stars

Oh dear, now this might get a bit embarrassing. I remember once upon a time in my youth being so into these three fine, upstanding citizens. This was also around the time when I was getting into Good News Week as well.

I tried to find one of their more uh... polite songs. Anything else by them just gets more and more crude.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Good Old Aussie Ingenuity

Easy Care Lawn

Hehehe, I took this photo on a recent trip up to Grafton; a historic town known, amongst other things, for their homes with beautiful gardens.
I suppose this homeowner decided to rebel a bit and go for the easy-care option!
Who needs a lawn? Just pave it over and paint it green. Good as.

National Music Month: Art vs Science

Oh my goodness, these guys are hilarious. I'm easily swayed by electro rock/pop and these songs are so good at getting in my head and staying there all day.

This also has to be one of the best music videos I've seen in a long time.
Can mimes be the next big thing after vampires? Please?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Frangipani Update


Remember those freaky monster plant worm things I showed you a couple weeks ago? Here's an update on how they're doing!


Hooray! It's looking more like a normal tree again! It doesn't look like it might eat me in my sleep!
(also check out that sexy bush of bird of paradise around the trunk!)



And it's getting ready to flower too! I can't wait! Frangipani are not only my favourite blossoms but they have a really lovely scent
(although right now our star jasmine is also in bloom; the smell of it is SO ingrained as "summer" in my mind.. remind me to take some photos of them later!)

National Music Month: Little Birdy

Little Birdy. Beautiful singing voice, nice little song writer.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

National Music Month: Kylie Minogue

Just a link to the video today since embedding seems to have been disabled for most videos and I can take a hint or two..

Miss Minogue, Australia's sweetheart. I have to admit that I'm much more of a fan of Kylie as a person rather then her singing... but I AM, however, a MASSIVE Michel Gondry fan who directed this particular music video.

Tis the Season!

Christmas Knitting

I've been busy crafting up a storm! Knitting and sewing and other assorted exciting and creative things... unfortunately for all of you, they're Christmas presents, so I probably won't get to share them with you until much later.
At least I'm feeling good and on top of things this year!!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

National Music Month: The Catch-up

Drat! I should have been a little bit more prepared. The internets outtage means I'm a little bit behind, so I'm going to make a quick catch-up post to get us back up to date.

for the 14th: Hilltop Hoods

for the 15th: John Butler Trio

Absolutely everything about this song makes me happy!

for the 16th: Seth Sentry

for the 17th: Dead Can Dance

A bit of world fusion which I'm becoming more and more into of late.

And for today!: Tripod

Because who doesn't love a bit of musical comedy?!

In Praise of the Markets

Fresh Fruit

I'm currently reading "The Ethics of What We Eat" by Peter Singer and Jim Mason. It's a fantastic read on many levels and I hope, later, when I'm done, I'll put aside some time to really ponder on what I learn from this book. But for now I wanted to share one little sentence from the book that really jumped out at me; from the chapter discussing shopping locally:
"A study has shown that people have ten times as many conversations at farmers' markets as they do in supermarkets."

This rings true to me, and I think for anyone who has allowed themselves to embrace the farmers market experience will agree as well.
And for someone who is (very) shy (people phobic?) and (once again) living all on her ownsome, having an easy conversation starter can be a huge blessing.

I love my farmers market, it's every Thursday and I just feel a little bit incomplete if I have to miss it somehow (of late it's been because of accompanying grandparents to various appointments or meetings; I'm beginning to be convinced Thursdays are the only day their various doctors make appointments..)
I'm also slowly getting to learn what's available seasonally.
It's certainly hot, hot, hot enough for me to DEFINITELY understand that summer is not already on the way, but it might as well be here. But my stomach is having a hard time adjusting to the back-the-front seasons change even two years onwards.

I'll tell you what though; it's beginning to be stone fruit season and this makes me one of the happiest people in the world. All those delicious fruit above cost me about five bucks.. and let me tell you; those nectarines are pure ambrosia. It's making my poor, confused stomach feel much better about adjusting.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Back in Action!

Appologies for the break in music posts, I've been without internets for the past few days. Everything seems to be in working order now though and oh, the amount of stuff to catch up on(!)

Tree Frog

Lets start with the latest house guest, shall we?

I think it's safe to say I love this fellow.

Tree Frog

Every few months our paths will cross; usually after some heavy rainfall like we've been having (brings out all the bugs!)
I'm pretty sure it's the same guy; you might recall some photos I took of him two years ago one of which I entered into the Marnie Yeates Photo Competition.
(I'm also just assuming it's a male, I really don't know how you would begin to tell...)

Tree Frog

Anyways, I'm pretty sure it's the same frog, are they territorial? He's gotten a little bit bigger every time I see him too. As you can (kind of) see above, he's pretty much as big as my palm now. And each time it seems his personality grows just a little bit more.
I'm sure he doesn't appreciate me shining a flashlight in his eyes very much though, but I can't help myself.

Tree Frog

In fact, our paths cross with enough regularity now that I feel compelled to give him a name.. something suitably dapper maybe..

Monday, 16 November 2009

Things to Remember: Don't Carry the Weight of the World

Things to Remember 10

I loved the soft, subtle colours in the thread I used for this one, although Pa complained upon seeing it that it was too pale; it blended in too much with the cream fabric.
It doesn't bother me quite so much though, but I'm debating whether to add more with a darker colour in order to make it more legible.
I'm particularly pleased with the stitching on this one, the thread is a silky cotton sort and works really well, very few tangles.

Things to Remember 10

"Don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders."
Diameter: 19 cm (7.5”)
Upcycled doily with cotton hand-embroidered message.

The message is a bit of a "no-brainer", but one I find I have to repeat to myself often. I try and keep up with various news sources, the environment in particular is a big concern of mine of late.
It's very easy to sink into that feeling of being completely overwhelmed and I have to force myself to not think so globally. Focus on me, focus on the immediate. Change starts with me and how I act and how I interact with others, that's my biggest sphere of influence.