Monday, July 24, 2006

I'm a Book Person

This picture was inspired by Bowie Style at Print & Pattern, a place I spent most of my Saturday afternoon. She uses hers as a banner to her posts about books and as much as I'd like to have a lengthy discussion on books with you, I'm afraid you'd instead get something like a history lesson, given most of my books are non-fiction and I'm known to passionately enthuse on their subject rather than the content or quality of the actual book. Either that or I'd be explaining to you where I got each book, why I bought it and why it's categorised the way it is - things I do in my head an awful lot.

I have very little broadband quota left so I can't post any more pictures today. I'm also trying my hardest to keep away from reading blogs until next month but it isn't working at all. I think I'm going to have to pay extra on my internet bill this month.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Look through my window, to the streets below

Or, alternatively, straight into the neighbour's front door. This is the rather unattractive outlook from my bedroom window. About a metre to the left of those trees is the neighbour's front door, which looks into their lounge room. Or more alarmingly, their lounge looks right into my bedroom. Usually, this isn't such a big problem - the ugly outlook or the prying eyes. Normally there is a sheer white curtain also hanging behind the green ones. Somehow, for some reason, the other day I was standing at a height that was looking down on the curtains in my mum's room. From this angle I saw that the window was falling out of the wall. Perhaps you might actually say that the part of the window frame that the curtain rod is attached to it coming away from where it should be. So this meant today I've pulled down all the curtains, washed them, taken apart the curtain rods, cleaned the mildew off them, nailed the frame back to the wall (taking a whack at my pointer finger with the hammer - ouch! but I didn't cry) and disguised the nail heads with white paint, then put it all back together. Then I realised this problem might also exist in the lounge room and my room. And it did. So they had to be done too.

The nails aren't disguised as well as this bad photo might suggest. You can actually still see them, but now that the curtains are hanging they're covered anyway. Except now the sheer curtains, that were hanging from a wire strung between the two ends of the curtain rods and is what we figure pulled down the rod and in turn the frame, can't go back up. Hence my awful bedroom window.

In the lounge however, only the sheer curtains are up, pegged to the curtain rod. This room can't be all closed up and dark but still needs privacy, so this is the alternative I came up with. It can't all stay this way (to ugly to live with) so I have to find some other way to safely hang the sheer curtains. Another day. I've had enough home handy woman for one day.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fours and Fives, for fun.

I have been reading backwards through the new blogs I've come across, and found these questions answered by Curious Bird, in posts indexed "For Fun". They're two different surveys, and I wasn't tagged by anyone. I just have nothing else to do. I'll try to think of things that no one reading this would already know about me, which means things that Sharyn wouldn't already know. And that is hard.

Four Jobs You Have Had in Your Life
- fish and chip shop kitchenhand
- office supplies shop stocktaker

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
- You've Got Mail
- Suddenly 30
- Independence Day
- Terminator 2

Four Places You've Lived
- Caloundra, Queensland, Australia
- Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch
- Law & Order: SVU
- Lost
- News Hour with Jim Lehrer

Four Places You've Been on Vacation
- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- Cairns, Queensland, Australia
- Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia
- Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia

Four Websites You Visit Daily/Almost Daily
- Plump Pudding
- Hotmail
- Sydney Morning Herald TV page
- Internet Bumper Stickers (especially the politics page)

Four of Your Favorite Foods
- Grandma's roast dinner
- Strawberries
- Salt and vinegar chips
- Home made enchiladas

Four Albums You Cannot Live Without
- Classic Dusty Springfield (these days anyway)
- The Doors Legacy
- Fleetwood Mac Rumours
- The Essential Simon & Garfunkel

Four Vehicles You've Owned
- I haven't

Five minutes to yourself, how would you spend them, ideally
Ideally, laying in the sun in Hyde Park in Sydney with Sharyn, reading an imported magazine I've bought from Borders. :)

Five bucks to spend right now, how would you spend it?
If only that would pay for a magazine. Maybe a really yummy flavoured tub of ice cream.

Five items in your house you could part with, right now, that you hadn't thought of already
I can't think of anything. I'm a hoarder, so I don't part with anything.

Five items you absolutely, positively could never part with in your house
- Family photo albums
- my CDs
- my books
- uni notebooks
- TV (Can I have one more? The computer, with the internet).

Five words you love
- Simba
- onomatopeia
- no
- actually
- probably

Retro Polka Dots

This is an old work shirt of my mum's that she has given me to use in my sewing. It has since been cut up and used to make a headband that didn't end up fitting. It looks really cute and retro too but the fabric has absolutely no give and also is slippery so it just falls out of my hair. Oh well. I'll make another with the green fabric, and I'm also going to try to copy this purse that is my absolute favourite purse ever, only I don't use it because I have too much stuff to fit in it. I broke about the fifth needle on my sewing machine since I've had it this morning. I've only had it three months.

I bought this necklace the other week for $2 on sale. I should have bought a heap of them just so I could use the beads and trinkets for other things. I could not get a focused photo of it no matter what I did. I think my camera is more temperamental than I am. I have an idea to make a necklace that is made out of fabric and beads, or ribbon and beads, and would therefore not require the use of pliars. In Just Jeans yesterday all the clothes were styled so cutely, layers of polka dots on top of layers of checks. And they had these necklaces, which I think I can make and not have to pay $20 for. Let's see how I go.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Trivia Critic

On Friday we went to a Trivia Night, a fundraiser for one of the local kindergatens. We came in at about middle of the bunch. It was fun, but I couldn't help but judge the questions and categories. For instance one of the categories, which we actually chose as one of our double point rounds, was 'Politics, Royalty and Celebrities'. Surely all three of these should be able to stand on their own, especially since I did a Politics minor at uni and am known to base my obsessions around royalty and celebrities. At least I knew the answer within 0.2 seconds to "How old was Marilyn Monroe when she died?" (The answer of course is 36). Now I want to host a trivia night for my birthday, all questions written by me. Start studying your history books now.

Speaking of history books, the content they cover and my obsessions, the best part of my weekend was coming across a stall at the shopping centre that sold videos of old movies and rare titles you can never find. I could have taken them all home - Chinatown, Bonnie and Clyde, Raging Bull, basically every movie you'd cover if studying American filmmaking in the 1970s, or watching one of my favourite documentaries, A Decade Under the Influence: American Filmmaking in the 1970s (duh). However, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I came across Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will, and the (1976) tv movie version of Vincent Bugliosi's book Helter Skelter. It would take me days to describe what these two films mean to me and why and how. In short, I studied Triumph of the Will briefly at uni in my War and Propaganda course. Plus I'm a collector and a history/war buff so it will take pride of place in my collection.

Now on to something creative. These are my newest fabrics, purchased Saturday. I let my mum line up to get them cut while I was looking for felts, and she mistakenly bought 2 metres of the blue and one of the green, when it should be the other way around given that green is my favourite colour. I have no plans for any of it, except maybe something for Fergus again with the blue dinosaur material - a bargain at 50c. I also got some craft wadding, and I am thinking of using it to do a fancy cushion cover. That will have to wait though until I'm feeling that ambitious.

I now have this project to complete too - re-covering my grandma's bar stools. Now that she and my poppy will be moving into a newly built house on a canal, with it's own boat jetty, the bright orange is no longer suitable. So this fabric matches the dining chairs I already did, and will make it all pretty.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hooray for Headbands™ and Bitty Booties™

In looking for new blogs to spend my time browsing yesterday, I found Heather Bailey's blog (HELLOmynameisHeather) and was completely bowled over, not only by the blog's design but also by it's cute photos and content. As if that wasn't enough, she also offers two free patterns for sewing baby booties and headbands. So since the moment I finished at her blog, I have been sewing both. The above red booties, sans decoration so far, are for my baby cousin who arrives in October. As we don't know the babies sex (but apparently Vicki is carrying low, as opposed to how she was carrying Fergus, and Grandma and Poppy think therefore it's a girl) I chose the only unisex colour felt I had. I want to make lemon ones, or orange, and put them with a striped matching Bonds jumpsuit (I love Baby Bonds).

And this is the headband that resulted from Heather's headband pattern. I love the tie at the back and how it disguises the elastic. They're so easy and quick to make that I also made a pink stripey one, though I'm not the biggest pink person when it comes to dressing. The pink one was actually easier to make because the black and orange fabric doesn't iron! I couldn't iron it flat, but eventually, after applying much pressure, it worked. Guess what all the girls in my family will be getting for their birthdays (except Kate, whose birthday is today and only got some ex-rental videos). Plus now I can make headbands to match outfits, and they fit my head! For some reason headbands never fit me, the plastic ones and the fabric ones. But this is fantastic. I strongly encourage you to visit Heather.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sleepless Nights

This little monster kept me up all night last night. He has a habit of hogging the bed, but last night was rediculous! He crept into bed just after me and, as he usually does, took up residence right behind my knees. Only somehow this time he was postioned that no matter how much I moved, no matter which side of the bed I climbed over him to, I couldn't find enough room to let me sleep. I didn't want to kick him out, because I always complain that he never sleeps in my bed. (Speak of the devil, he just climbed in the window with a jingle of his bell.) I think there was a stage during the night where I exclaimed "Move over Simba!" but he still wouldn't budge. Somehow we both eventually learned to co-exist in the same double bed and drifted off to sleep. Let's not mention that this morning he attacked me, without provocation (which I can usually be blamed of), while I was hanging out the washing and took a gash out of my ankle.

My activities this morning consisted of reupholstering the seats of the kitchen stools, to match the dining chairs I did a few years ago. Mum's friend that she works with, Jenny, had bought the same fabric to make curtains and gave me the leftovers the other day to do something with. There's not enough to recover the backs but I may have some of the fabric somewhere myself. It's not a fabric I think I would pick anymore, in fact it wasn't my favourite when I bought it but my Grandma convinced me, but I really really like it as part of the dining set. It goes so well with the wood. And once I finish the stools properly the house will be a little further on it's way to co-ordination. Let's hope we never move to a house that doesn't go with red, orange and green.

I gave this letter holder new life last week, by painting it's dark wood with Whisper White paint and covering the backs with the fabric of a flanellette pillow case. The letter holder and the pillow case were picked up from op shops. I'd like to keep it for myself but I have nowhere to hang it. I have a letter holder (an old metal one that I also picked up secondhand and covered completely in fabric) hanging from the wall unit in the hall, but I can't get the nail out of it to swap it with this one. Plus this one doesn't match the house (though I do wish the house matched it).

EDIT: Look at all the new red dots on my world map over there (to the right). There's new ones along the west coast and in central USA and I think more over Europe/the UK's way. Eek.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Vanilla Cupcakes, in various shades

These are the cupcakes I made today. I was a little hesitant about baking them, because I really didn't see a need for 24 cupcakes. That's how many the recipe said the amount of ingredients would yeild. Turns out, it made 42!! I surely can't eat all of those, so they will be sent off in batches to Mum's work, my uncle and various other places until I'm left with a small enough number that won't be wasted. It seems I've been hit by the baking bug, but without the appetite to match. I still have scones and banana walnut bread left from last week's cooking, and once my current craving for Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate has passed I'm sure I won't want anything sweet for at least another year.

The icing didn't turn out as in the recipe, but then I didn't really follow the instructions (I couldn't bear the thought of any more butter in one little cupcake). So it was a bit runny but set beautifully glossy, like a glazed donuts. And the colours are so pretty - inspired by my new love affair with pastels, and the purple and lemon were especially for Sharyn (if only they would mail alright, then I could send another batch to you). You can't see the blue ones in this picture, but they are the most perfect blue ever. Sadly though I ran out of patty cake pans and they cooked in rather an awkard shape (like the lemon one in the middle of this picture - the one that looks like a fried egg).

I really think that is enough baking, at least for this week. I don't have enough plain flour, self-raising flour, white sugar or vanilla essense left anyway.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Coloured Smidgets

Yesterday Mum and I eventually made it to the craft show - the Suncoast Stitches, Craft and Hobby Expo. It wasn't as big as going to the ones in Brisbane, but then I always get bored at those ones and whine constantly until it's time to come home. This one only took about an hour to look through, and though everything was cute or well made it was also very expensive. Lots of the stalls were selling the same things - quilts and quilting materials mostly - but a few were stand outs. One was all doll house furniture and I wanted to take everything home. Another was where I got these brads - what before yesterday were known to me as those pins you push through paper and split the back open to fasten the pages together. But apparently they are in fact brads. The little yellow hearts have tiny white hearts printed on them and the pink stars have white stars printed on them. I also got 35 metres of 6mm wide mauve ribbon for $2.50 and a little bit of white lace to add to my felt pictures.

The little Tupperware containers (called Smidgets), above, arrived on Friday - my order from Mum's party. They're so cute and such adorable colours. As a free gift for hosting the party Mum got a pastry set, which I claimed before she had even had the party. It was a mat for rolling out your dough or pastry on, a rolling pin, and a plastic piping bag with about 5 different nozzles. I used the rolling pin and mat today to make scones, and next I'll have to make make something with fancy icing.

I put the Friends Scene It game on layby yesterday at KMart, after on Thursday night going to do the same thing only to have a lady tell us that she had bought it that day for $48 from Big W, when KMart was selling it, on sale, for $55. So yesterday morning we went all the way to Kawana to go to Big W, only to find it was $68 there! I hope the woman paid that much extra for making us go all that way for nothing. I don't know how long it'll stay on layby because I really want to play it now. I want to see how many answers I know. Surely those years of collecting Friends magazine articles, posters, calendars, pencil cases, videos and now the DVDs will be good for something.

My grandparents are away in Melbourne staying with my aunt and uncle and baby Fergus. So we have been going over there and collecting the mail and checking on Charlie (the bird). Thursday night we ended up staying and watching Gilmore Girls on cable, then last night there was nothing on TV at home so we took our chicken over and cooked dinner there while hoping there would be something to watch on their TV. We watched National Treasure with Nicolas Cage which was very good and then had to stay till 7.30 to watch One Tree Hill. They're past the episodes that were on Channel 10, so I was confused because I didn't know what was happening and angry because Channel 10 won't show more than 2 episodes before cutting it off complaining of low ratings. At least I have Veronica Mars and The OC to get my teenage drama fix.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sugar bowls and mugs

Sharyn and I were talking the other night about our growing collection of kitchen inhabitants, namely mugs. It seems we both both take delight in collecting these things, but don't use them. So we've made a date to one day have a dinner party or fancy breakfast (with pancakes by me) and use all the plates, glasses, mugs and sugarbowls that sit idly in the cupboards. I recently bought a milk jug while op shopping only to come home and realise I already had a much prettier one (see picture) that also matches my sugar bowl. I mentioned to Sharyn about how the fates tried their hardest to take away my gorgeous sugar bowl the second after I bought it by forcing a gust of wind to tip over a stand of clothes that landed on my arm/hand and broke the sugar bowl and cut my hand. Luckily it glued back together well enough.

When I went to the cupboard where my mugs etc live to take these photos I found that two cockroaches had taken up residence inside (but since died) and left cockroach dirt through my plates and cups. So they and the inside of the cupboard had to be washed. I must also learn to be more careful with piles of mugs, as they're inclined to tip over. I must have knocked over or kicked these two piles of my great grandmother's mugs from a tea set about 5 times, and each time shreaked in fear that they would shatter into a million pieces. But they didn't. Evidently being dropped on linoleum covered cement floors isn't such a bad thing for crockery when it's not from too great a height, but I won't try it again.

I tried my hand at baking today. I can mostly cook meals, dinner and such, but I rarely have luck at baking. I made banana walnut bread and it turned out pretty okay, it even tastes alright. I also picked up a box of scone making stuff that you just add milk to. Hopefully that'll work out alright because I love scones with jam and cream.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Owls Hoot

This is my newest craft imagining and what I've been doing since the end of last week. This owl picture came about today after I copied the birds off a bag in the new Frankie magazine. Last week I did a dress design and have started a baby themed design in a frame with five different compartments. They've all got painted white op shop frames - that will be their trademark. This owl one turned out a little too country with the plaid background but it's the only fabric that co-ordinated. They don't take long at all to make once you have to design, it's just a bit of cutting (with fantastic new $2.49 dressmaker scissors!!) and some messy glueing. All very easy to duplicate a few times over if I decide to do the market things. The picture didn't turn out well because it's night and the flash was a bit overpowering, getting caught in the laminating plastic (not glass, as it was an op shop find that didn't come with anything).