Friday, June 30, 2006

Movie Star Genes

Today my Grandma brought over an envelope full of these photos of her, taken between 1954 - 1956, when she was around the ages of 15/16 to 18/19. Her friend Val, who has been her best friend since then, was cleaning out her cupboards and was going to throw out a bunch of photos she found but her children wouldn't let her. So Val sent these to Grandma, and I had to take them down to be photocopied so I can keep them.

Grandma says this was her Elizabeth Taylor phase, when she dressed everyday to look like Liz. Val and Grandma were doing deportment classes together at one stage during this period of time and a lot of the photos here were ones they took of each other at Kings Beach. Grandma says they're the "pose-y" shots - the two at the very top and the third from the bottom right, were Grandma is sitting on rocks with the ocean behind her. The photocopies aren't as good as the photos, but I put one in a frame that will go in my room. In that one I put in the frame (second bottom row, first on the left) I think Grandma looks like Nicole Kidman, which she doesn't really at all, but she is just so fine featured and pale and the way her hair is falling in front of her face looks so much like Nicole. I'm jealous that my Grandma was so beautiful at this age - movie star glamorous.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Market Selling and The Italian Dive

I am contemplating setting up a stall at the flea market to sell my sewing. I still don't know if I can actually be bothered or if my stuff is good enough to sell, but it's on my mind. I got out a book about the subject of selling at markets from the library, as well as two more sewing books with some really easy but effective projects, so I am inspired. I'd have to spend some time making enough stock to fill a stall, but that shouldn't be too hard. As long as I don't get a job anytime soon (I know, the wrong way of thinking). Tracey, who my mum (who is also named Tracey) used to work with until friend Tracey (not mum Tracey) had a baby said she would like to get into the markets one day soon and we should do it together. I completely agree! I'm not sure exactly what she makes, she paints or something. But she has an art desk, which I remember from when we helped her move into her house, so she must do something. And now that she has Jackson, who's just over a year old, she is not working and that would give her something to do.

We're out of the football (as in soccer, football is league in my mind). No more World Cup, because Italy took a dive! I can't imagine what it must feel like to be an actual player, or even an actual fan, because I was gutted and heartbroked and I only jumped on the band wagon a week or two ago.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Strokes

The Strokes! l-r: Albert, Fab, Julian, Nikolai & Nick
I have just booked tickets for myself and my friends Steph and Jim to see The Strokes at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Thursday August 3 at 7.50pm. Section 13 Row H Seats 122-120. I'm such a screaming, giddy little girl when it comes to rock stars. I saw The Strokes with Steph at the Big Day Out in 2004, and Steph, Jim and I went to a concert together before when we saw Silverchair in 2003. It will be great!! Now after spending the morning booking tickets, burning The Strokes' CDs (because Jim hasn't heard any and Steph hasn't heard the latest) and rearranging the lounge room for Mum's tupperware party, I have to go get out of my pyjamas.

Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill celebrateUPDATE: In other news, which I forgot to mention earlier, Australia - The Socceroos - has made it to the second round of the World Cup for the first time ever, after qualifying for the first time in 32 years. We beat Japan, lost to Brazil, and tied with Croatia. Ranked number 42 in the world, we're now in the final 16. Suddenly, I'm soccer (sorry, "football") obsessed!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The last stitch!

I finally finished sewing the tablecloth I have been making. Actually, that should read measuring, drawing, cutting, sewing, ironing, repeat x40, trying for ages to get the stripes to line up, then sewing a lot more!! It has taken me three days (or is it four? I've completely lost track!) of doing just this endlessly to get it done, with only small breaks to eat lunch and chocolate. When I finished earlier this afternoon I was dancing around the house so excited because I was really happy with the result. It's made out of fabrics I had lying around, and a few of them had to go in the certain order where they are because they were small pieces. The stripes don't coordinate at all but somehow they work perfectly together. It's actually quite large, even though it's 150cmx150cm which doesn't sound very big. I wanted it finished by today so I could use it on the table tomorrow night when my mum is having a Tupperware party. Everyone will think I'm so clever (well, I'm hoping. Everyone who has seen it so far has). It also had to be finished today, on Mum's orders, so I could then put all my sewing stuff away and clean the house for tomorrow night. The house looks so tidy now. I don't think I'd seen the surface of the dining table or kitchen bench in months!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Checked roses

I've been spending the last two days, or at least different parts of the days, making a table cloth. This doesn't sound too involved, and I too was mislead into thinking it would be easy. Easy, ok maybe. But quick? No sir! It's a like a patchwork quilt, except the patches are actually long strips of different coloured fabric. I don't have 10 matching fabrics to make a well-coordinated cloth so it's rather a mish-mash of colours and patters. And that's not even the worst part. Try making four 10cm x 150cm strips with a 30cm ruler. None of them turned out even remotely the same size but that will add to that home made feel (yeah sure). Each strip decreases in length by 16cm as you go and I'll end up with four triangles that are sewed together to make a 150 x 150cm table cloth.

This photo is rather misleading also, as it makes it look as if the colours go check/roses/check/roses and so on. It's actually four separate pieces side by side. Next is navy then somewhere down the line there are red flowers, a turquoise swirly pattern, plain turquoise, and some others I don't remember. I've taken over the kitchen, as you can see, which adds to me having taken over the dining room with my sewing machine and the rest of the mess that goes with it, and the floor in the hall being covered in the rest of the fabrics I'm using for this. It makes the whole house messy because the kitchen, dining room and lounge are all actually the same room and there's nowhere to hide anything. As if our house isn't small and cramped enough.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hair cuts and Break ups

I got my hair cut yesterday. I've had a fringe for the last three years, as well as about the first eight years of my life, so as sick as I was of my hair I still can't bear to grow out the fringe. So instead I got a lot of layers cut into and some length off. Some! Having to have your head down while the back of your hair is being cut is a major ploy on behalf of the hair dresser to get you not to notice that she's doing whatever she wants. When I looked up and noticed she was cutting about 12 centimetres off in places I was shocked. But I find I'm always safe in Deana's hands and it turned out quite nice. Actually, I like it. It's much wavier now that I don't have the length pulling it down and my fringe is side swept instead of straight. It doesn't look as good today, and tomorrow when I wash it I will have no idea how to do whatever it was the Deana did to make it look so good, as is always the way. So this picture will at least act as some sort of reference.

Mum and I saw The Break-Up yesterday as well. It was really good - as Mum said, well acted. As a girl who grew up from the age of nine worshipping Friends and having Jennifer Aniston posters all over my walls I think I'll always like her movies. We also realised we hadn't seen a Vince Vaughn movie before so got out The Wedding Crashers and watched that last night. It was funny, and at least not stupid funny, which I hate. I also like Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams so it was never going to be a completely lost cause. I was also happily surprised today to read that Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling have been together in real life since The Notebook. So cute!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Chinese Food

Today is my mum's 45th birthday. That scared me, like she is old and I might lose her. My grandma was that age when I was born though and she is still around, and will be for a million more years to come. So last night Grandma and Poppy took Mum and I out for Chinese for her birthday. We do occasionally have Chinese, we don't however go out to eat it. Usually it's when we're at Grandma's after a win at the races (which is the only time we can afford it - we eat so much) and we share all the different meals. And after last night that seems like a much better idea than eating out. We went to Holiday Inn, which is across the road from Bamboo Gardens. See apparently Holiday Inn is far better for eating in due to the quality of their food when eaten in the restaurant. However, when taken home in plastic boxes the food becomes somehow inferior and which is why Bamboo Gardens is the place for takeaway. You work it out. I prefer Bamboo Gardens whichever way you look at it. Chinese food becomes very monotonous when you're eating only one sweet and sour pork. So my vote is for staying home next time and sharing everyone else's food, even though there was some sharing last night, much to Mary's delight. Mary is the Chinese owner of Holiday Inn, and very insistant that you don't have a moments rest between courses.

It's funny how you forgive a Chinese restaurant for tacky decorating. Actually, it was quite beautiful with it's shiny wallpaper and lanterns and huuuuge silk artworks. I was excited to see what over the top delights could be crammed into the bathroom, only to find painted green walls and a bowl of plastic flowers floating in water.

I'm taking Mum to the movies tomorrow or Sunday for her birthday, assuming we can agree on a movie to see. I told her it was the movie of her choice, but I'm not sure I should have done that given that I never want to see anything she suggests at the DVD store. I'm hoping for Over the Hedge. There's also Cars or The Break-Up, or X Men 3. So I suppose I'd settle for any of those. I haven't been to the cinema since Must Love Dogs, and that's been on DVD for ages. I must get out more.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fluffy Pancakes

Ingredients: Self raising flour, baking powder, castor sugar, eggs, milk, butter

1. Measure 1 3/4 cups of self raising flour

2. Sift self raising flour into a large mixing bowl

3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 tablespoon of castor sugar

4. Melt 30g butter in the microwave

5. Add 2 lightly beaten eggs and 1 1/2 cups of milk to the melted butter and mix together

6. Gradually add wet mixture to the flour mixture and whisk into a smooth batter

7. Heat a greased pan and pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan

8. Cook over medium heat until bubbles appear on the surface

9. Turn and cook the other side until lightly browned

10. Serve pancakes with a light dusting of white sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice

Makes about 12 pancakes
Pancake batter can be made several hours ahead
Cooked pancakes suitable to freeze
Not suitable to microwave
Recipe taken from The Australian Women's Weekly, January 1993

Apron made by me!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Songs For Your Life

Choose a band/artist and answer ONLY in titles of their songs. I've done this before and I think I used The Doors. And as tempted (soooo tempted) as I am to use them again, I'll try The Strokes.

1. Are you male or female? Modern Girls (And Old Fashion Men)
2. Describe yourself. I Can't Win
3. How do some people feel about you? You Talk Way Too Much
4. How do you feel about yourself? Heart In A Cage
5. Describe your ex: Razorblade
6. Describe your current significant other: Alone, Together
7. Describe where you want to be: On The Other Side
8. Describe how you live: Hard To Explain
9. Describe how you love: Take It Or Leave It
10. What would you ask for if you had just one wish? Last Nite
11. Share a few words of wisdom: The End Has No End
12. Now say goodbye: You Only Live Once

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blah Blah, Sob

I'm home alone as Mum has gone away to spend the long weekend (yes, another long weekend, this time for the Queen's birthday) with her two best friends from school. Debbie and Mum are still bestest best friends, even though they maybe only see eachother once or twice a year. Karen and Mum see eachother even less often. Yet they still get together almost 30 years after leaving school. I wonder how they do it when I find it hard to feel normal around the people I was friends with in school, and I only left 5 years ago.

I watched Anywhere But Here today where, upon returning to her home town for her cousin's funeral, Anne's best friend tells her she's different, but she doesn't know how. I feel that way about Stephanie and Jim. Thinking back, I was never really close, really close, with anyone in school but Steph and Jim were the closest. Now when I'm around Steph I feel like we're only friends out of habit, or obligation, or because my Mum considers her a second daughter, and not that I've been missing her so much in the months we've been apart. Is it because we've missed all the little things that have happened since high school? Since we went to universities an hour apart, stopped phoning eachother, no longer have the ability to pass notes across the room? Nothing feels like it has dramatically changed, but something must be different. Maybe by just not being around eachother four or five days a week, by not seeing eachother before school or at lunch times, by not sitting together in class, we've lost some familiarity. I no longer feel at ease around the person I still call my best friend. I feel like she's holding things back, and I probably am too. I feel as though she's moved on, and did the moment she left town and I stayed here.

Jim on the other hand has profoundly changed since high school but I at least get the same feeling when I talk to him. He still calls me Missy or his girl and I still want to gossip and cry over boys with him. I still feel left behind, but that we continue to have a bond that makes me miss him. I miss Steph too but in the sense that I'm missing out on having a best friend, not necessarily her. This is mean, and too honest for even me to feel comfortable about feeling. I love Stephanie enormously. She's the only one who comes in to my house and helps herself to something from the fridge, or that I kiss and hug goodbye. She's picked me up and put me back together many times, but I don't feel as though I want to run to her when something is wrong. We don't talk about anything. Most of the time we don't talk at all. I made it a goal to put more emphasis into valuing the friendships I have. I haven't done it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Nothing Lasts For Long

Inspired by Alicia, who commented on the below article by Alex Kuczynski from The New York Times, which talks about the new Anthropologie store in Rockerfeller Plaza, NYC.

On a philosophical level, there is something about Anthropologie that is well intentioned but makes me profoundly depressed. The old bicycles, the old-fashioned Marvis toothpaste, the etched-glass candleholders, the calico pajama sets, the teacups and saucers -- all are the trappings of a grandparent's or a parent's home.

But the 30-something generation that shops at Anthropologie, among the first to be widely defined as children of divorce, no longer has access to those homes, which have long since been dispersed. There is no longevity in their parents' houses. The romantically weathered chests of drawers and stacks of pristinely aged National Geographic magazines were all put into storage, sold or dispersed among the various interested parties.

This is where Anthropologie steps in: It helps the shopper create the illusion of household continuity by allowing her to reimagine a place where Grandma might leave out her pre-fluoride tooth powder, to simulate a life in which Mom and Dad still live together in a house with European teacups and flocked bedspreads. In a world of Anthropologie furnishings and clothing, the consumers can reclaim lost childhoods, lost marriages, lost virginities. The store's philosophy takes the colloquial and sad world of regrets and realities and wraps it up in a swath of vintage calico, tied with a satin bow.

I love this article. We don't have Anthropologie here in Australia (I believe) so I really have no frame of reference in determining the validity of this article or how accurately it paints of a picture of the Anthropologie customer (see Alicia's blog for that) but I miss reading articles that analyse such seemingly trivial things. The "philosophical tone for the store"? Drawing some sort of link between the longing for vintage things and the children of broken homes?

I'm a child of divorce, but I was also born in the 80s and even my grandparents are too young to have had the original versions of the vintage items I crave. I propose that my yearning comes from wanting to create a sense of nostalgia that never truely existed in my family, at least not in the sense of vintage furnishings. The "vintage" of my childhood isn't old bicycles (though I have one of those - a red one) or crystal chandeliers or etched-glass candle holders. It's bright yellow seersucker table cloths, Care Bears, a blue plastic tricycle and fast food. Even my mum's "vintage" is brightly coloured wall-papered rooms, platform shoes and the Bay City Rollers. My grandparents are still together, but all they have to tease me with is a plasma TV, DVD/VCR machine and cable. Hell, Poppy can navigate the internet and Grandma uses phone banking.

Perhaps this is why I do collect things from the 60s and 70s, and not earlier. I'm trying to replace the things they never kept. The things that in the early days of consumerism could easily be replaced without a thought to any nostaligic value. I like your florals and your laces, but I surround myself with an eclectic mess of miss-matched colours and over the top patterns.

Anthropologie sounds lovely, but I much prefer searching through piles of vinyl records in a dirty, overcrowded thrift store in excited hope of one day coming across Surrealistic Pillow.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

And everything seems to be, some kinda wonderful

I started making these last Thursday night while watching Lost. They are Chocolate-Butter Pecan Toffee. I got the chocolate book from the library and couldn't even wait until the next to start making something but the only ingrediants I had were sugar, butter and water to make the caramel that's inside. So it's basically caramel poured out onto a baking tray to make a thin layer, broken up, dipped in chocolate and covered in chopped nuts. They are called Chocolate-Butter Pecan Toffee, but pecans on their own were too dear ($20 a kilo and I need 1 and a half kilos!) so I used a bag of mixed nuts instead. They taste very, very yummy.

The marigolds I planted a little while ago have all flowered. I love how they've all come out different colours. I'm not very good at caring for flowering plants. I even kill impatients and most of the time marigolds, which are suppose to be the easy ones that take your neglect and turn it into colourful beauty.

Aunty Vicki's birthday was yesterday, and since we hadn't bought her anything I made this 'magazine bag'. That's what Real Living magazine called it, but I'd need about ten of them to carry home a month's worth of my magazines. The fabric is interesting too, as I got a heap of it for $1 from an op shop the other week. Then when I went to Spotlight they had a roll of it, and also the same but in blues, for $5.99 a metre. Here I was thinking it was vintage or something, but I still got it for a bargain. The blue bag is for my baby cousin Fergus, and Vicki can use it for a dirty clothes bag or for toys or something. I used the peg bag pattern but made it longer. I'm going to run out of these wooden hangers soon. The paper bag was decorated by a friend who used it to give a gift to either Mum or I in, but I'm going to re-use it for Vick. I've also made a library bag like my mum made for me in primary school, only mine's out of a flannellette pillow case and the one she made me was out of a tea towel. I just need to find something pink or blue to use as a drawstring.

On the weekend I got the Classic Dusty Springfield CD and a double CD of The Drifters and The Platters. The Drifters are on at the moment. I've loved them since a few of their songs were in the movie Last Days of Paradise, like "Dance With Me" and "There Goes My Baby" (which is the name of the movie in the States and elsewhere, FYI). But now that I've got the CD I also realise they sing a lot of other songs I like, such as "Saturday Night at the Movies" and "Some Kinda Wonderful". Music is full of surprises.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Dress Is Frayed

I just wrote a whole post then it disappeared when I tried to spell check at the end.

Anyway, it went somewhere along the lines of: I haven't written in a few days as I've been keeping away from the computer. I almost went over the limit of my download quota last month so left it a few days before coming back to blogging.

Me and GrandmaFriday was Caloundra Show Day, which means the whole town gets the day off to go to the show. Except the show is actually in Maleny and we've never ever been. But my Poppy (who is Chairman of the Turf Club) had the clever idea of having Ladies Oaks Day on the Show Day so that everyone who doesn't go to the show can go to the races. So we all got dressed up and went out. This is me and Grandma. Grandma always dresses really fancy and has hats made especially for her outfits. It's a tough deal being the Chairman's wife. I don't quite compare, but I got to buy a new skirt for the occassion and wear a fascinator.

A HorseThis is a horse (of course). It wasn't a winner but came in close to us after the race, ideal for picture taking. We were in the champagne garden which is in front of the saddling yard and place where the winners get their ribbons. It was such a lovely day, not that I'm one to appreciate the weather.

Disorganised MessSunday night I suddenly got the urge to clean my wardrobe. No, not go through and throw out all the old clothes I never wear, but organise all the magazines and newspapers I've collected over the years. Now I much prefer the word 'collected' over 'hoarded' but what it really comes down to is that I never throw anything out. Except as I went through it all I couldn't go past the chance to catalogue it all. So it took hours and hours (not to mention taking up my bed) and I finally finished it this morning.

Organised WebSo now I have a box of teddy bears, a box of baby clothes, a box of Princess Diana magazines, a box of random collected magazines, a box of uni books, a box of Kennedy magazines and a pile of newspapers all living along the top shelf of my wardrobe. Being on this top shelf is in case of flood, because it could happen, and that's also why the boxes are plastic. However, it is very hard to lift a box full uni books above one's head to reach a top shelf. And because, let's face it, I relish organising, all the boxes have lists on the front displaying what's inside them. I don't know that I'll ever get inside them again though as the boxes are too heavy to get down. I'll have to crawl up there somehow. Now my room is so tidy I might be able to fit in it again, which just means there's no excuse anymore not to buy more things.

Grandma and I went for a walk today from Bulcock Beach, past Happy Valley and Kings Beach and then up to the top of the headland and back again, then stopped and had an ice chocolate, completely defeating the purpose of walking in the first place. Oh well. The water was so pretty but the wind was very chilly. It's nice to get out in the sun and remember I don't live in Antarctica, despite this house being sooooo cold. We're going walking again tomorrow, then to Spotlight. I have to fit some sewing into the day too. I'm making my cousin Fergus a toy bag and am trying to think of something to sew for Aunty Vicki for her birthday, which is on Wednesday. I would have had to send her present today to get to Melbourne by then, so it will arrive late. Assuming I get around to making anything. Oh the hassle of being a sewer and having no time to sew.