Thursday, July 31, 2008


We had a difficult day today, and it looks as though the next couple of weeks might be a bit tough tonight I'm losing myself in the exquisite beauty of dewdrops.

1. Dew-spangled Dandelion, 2. Dew Drop Lens, 3. delicate dew, 4. Grass with dew diamonds, 5. Autumn Dew...., 6. Dandelion,dew and dawn, 7. Dew on spiderweb, 8. Dew, Richmond Park, 9. Dragonfly jewels, 10. dew drop at dawn, 11. Dandelion and dew, 12. Grass Dew

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Food for thought

My dad Skyped me today and told me about a recent public meeting held on the little island on which he lives (Rarotonga in the Cook Islands), to discuss alternative energy production options, including the establishment of a wind farm. Apparently there was a large turnout and people were very enthusiastic, which is really encouraging. Dad describes his community as "...the mine canary for the rest of the world because of our huge reliance on carbon fuels and high cost. We could be a model of tackling the problem if we do it right."

For his home my father has a solar energy system that feeds back into the local grid and he actively lobbies to bring in island-wide solar- and wind-based energy sources and electric cars: "With petrol here now over $2.80 /ltr i've compared fuel cost as 16c/km for small car on petrol, cf 3c/km for equivalent (same) car electric model as produced by a chinese manufacturer and powered by solar panel electric such as my setup. I figure savings of $900 pa on fuel cost alone."
And of course there are the environmental benefits ...

Inspiring conversations with my dad tie in well with my studies and general interests. I regularly visit the following sites 'cause I enjoy learning about important issues from grass-roots organisations rather than the maintream media/advertising juggernauts. There are some wonderful, positive things going on out there!





Please let me know of any similar sites that inspire you and get you thinking about the possibilities...

(Pics from here, here, and here.)

Monday, July 28, 2008


We spent the weekend in a cottage a few kilometres out of Lorne. I loved the open fire, the dripping eucalypt forest, the native birds and the cold wintry seascapes! It was great walking and playing with Gus on the beach, then curling up on a cosy couch with a cuppa and a book (and my beloved!), while the fire crackled.

In town, flocks of cockatoos filled the trees and dug tubers out of the lawns after the rain.

Some 'recyclers' pedalled up the hill next to our cottage

and Gus tried to dig to China.

Wish we could have stayed longer!

This is .... why some people shouldn't sell things online

You may have seen this photo before.... if not, it may take a moment for you to work out why the seller should have perhaps thought twice before using it to advertise his ugly furniture on eBay (and yes, this picture does confirm that the seller was male).
Click on the picture to enlarge it if you need to.

Thanks to Angela as always for hosting 'This is ...' and for setting a free-choice topic! I know my choice was a little odd this week ...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Craft and quilt fair in Melbourne

I decided to drop by the craft and quilt show at Jeff's Shed today.
My my, what a lot of craft-lovin' people there were in that big ol' exhibition space! The fair had a strange combination of crafts and products, many of which were completely contrary to my tastes - I got the shakes walking down aisle after aisle of teddy bears, porcelain dolls, scrap-booking supplies, metallic threaded embroidery on vivid purple, green, pink and royal blue hand-dyed fabrics... I quickened my step as I passed the very creepy 'Baby Born' stand ("Beeans Reborn Nursery"), and I just couldn't relate to the Victorian egg-decorating or fantasy-decoupage exhibits...

But there were also many beautiful quilts and other works of art and design that lifted my spirits and made my heart sing, including these gorgeous quilts hand-stitched in the mid-1800s:

... and displays by two lovely Melbourne fabric stores with their delicious fabric ranges and products - Amitie and Patchwork on Central Park. Both of these were selling products from Melly and Me - their designs are fab and they always make me smile.

I'll upload more pictures here and on my Flickr site soon...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This is .... my best op-shop find

- and a catch-up on a 'This is ...' topic for which I was unable to upload photos a few weeks ago.

I've been lucky to find a few op shop gems over the years, including some vibrant vintage fabric (for about $2.50) and this wooden filing cabinet ($10):

Another much-loved item was bought from a second-hand store (rather than an op shop), but I'll sneak it in here anyway. It's a beautiful Federation-era* cabinet and wrtiting desk, which apparently still contained a collection of 1930s payslips and personal documents when it was found at an estate sale by the second-hand-shop's owner. Unfortunately this photo doesn't really do it justice; I'll replace it with a better one some day when I've cleared the space around it!

* oops - for overseas readers, this refers to the period around the first decade of the 1900s - perhaps similar to the British Edwardian era. The states of Australia became a federation in 1901, and particular architectural and design styles are associated with the period.

I think my all-time best op-shop find would have to be my Newnes Home Management Manual (Volume 1). It has no publication date but it's British and I think it's from the very early 50s, providing young women with all they need to know about fulfilling their biological imperative (as G's grandmother would say). At 752 pages long it packs a punch, is jam-packed with all kinds of advice, and I'm intrigued to know what was included in the second (and subsequent?) volumes. I can't cover all of its wonderful contents in this post but I've decided to include quotes and ideas from this book in future blog entries, which I'll tag 'Home Management'.

Here are just a few of the many treasures held within the pages of this delightful manual:

- a recipe for Prune Mould

- care of the food safe: "Once a week scrub out with a good soap; if bothered by flies, spray the inside of the larder or safe with a D.D.T. atomiser ..."

- illustrated guides to "making a beauty treatment out of domestic chores - housework for the figure"

- two pages of information about keeping a domestic goat

- an entire chapter titled 'Grow your own smokes', to encourage domestic tobacco production, including a little illustrative story which concludes: "His wife left him to get on with his pipe tobacco while she was busy making cigarettes for herself, and excellent in quality they were. The pair seemed very happy in the knowledge that they could not afford to smoke at all except by growing their own tobacco."

- a recipe for Beef Tea, the ingredients of which are:
1 lb. lean shin of beef
1 pint lukewarm water
pinch of salt


- suggestions for using a self-timing oven .... place the meat or fish for your evening meal in the oven in the morning. The timer will automatically switch the oven on in the evening so you don't have to think about it until it's ready. (Hello salmonella!)

- recipes for "drinks grown in your own garden", including parsnip wine ("like champagne"), nettle beer, potato wine, and celery wine.

- instructions to help you "learn to relax and vanquish worry"

While many of the articles are amusing and sometimes confusing, the book is also full of very practical advice on how to create a comfortable home - a wonderful insight into a lifestyle that contrasts dramatically with today's over-consuming, endlessly disposable culture.

The book also makes me think about how daunting it must have been for young women who lived with their parents until they married at around 17 or 18 years of age, then were expected to manage competently every aspect of their household and family. They would certainly have needed the help of books like this!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This is .... what makes me happy

Sunshine! Sunshine! Sunshine!

1. Golden glowing shell - sunlight sparkles!, 2. The Kelp Forest in Sunlight, 3. Sparkles, 4. forest_sun4, 5. Sparkle, 6. Sparkles, 7. On Golden Pond, 8. Sparkling Morning, 9. Forest-15th Jan 2008

Thank you to Angela for hosting 'This is...', and to Jacinta for this week's happy theme!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Deco delights!

Astonishingly for a chatterbox like me, I couldn't find the words to express my delight today when G and I joined some other Fedora Lounge contributors at the NGV's Art Deco exhibition (much of which is on loan from London's Victoria & Albert Museum).

I cannot pick a favourite exhibit, as the gowns were magnificent, the restored hotel foyer magical, the sculptures striking and deliciously tactile (well, they had a tactile quality .... oh, how I wanted to touch them!), the Cartier jewels breathtaking, the cars superbly elegant, the illustrations inspired, and the furnishings and architectural pieces the epitome of timeless beauty (particularly the green bakelite radios, the white-gold gilded writing desk and the design for Melbourne's Napier Waller mosaic freize: ‘I’ll put a girdle round about the earth’). They even had a beautiful meat-slicer (!) designed by the creator of the Kitchenaid mixer.

Do I sound a little over-enthusiastic?

Perhaps. But I do recommend this exhibition to anyone with an interest in fabulous deco design.

Pics on this post from the NGC and V&A Museum sites. This blog has lots more lovely deco stuff.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lust Girls

One of the latest pictures uploaded to Shorpy's collection:

Washington, D.C., 1919. "Sidney Lust girls." Chorus girls at Sidney Lust's Leader Theatre.


Super-duper quilt giveaway

Wow - now that's what I call an eager response to a giveaway post. When I looked this morning, more than 1250 people had entered Dana's quilt giveaway competition (and there are still 10 days to go!).

It is a lovely quilt.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Car Moebel - home delights

Today was grey and chilly, and G is away at a conference.

These bright and airy pictures of rooms decorated by German company Car Moebel (found via Decor8) lifted my spirits:

the style I would love to create for my home. Haus Maus' new place in Germany seems as though it might be similar ...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Let's count some more

Before I shut down my laptop for the night, I just had to share this little clip, which I found via Paper Cut Heart. Who knew that after all these years Sesame Street is still producing such gems?

Have a safe and happy evening!

Six things

Six things that made me happy today... (Tanja from Pretty Gingham tagged me):

1. Brilliantly clear skies and glinting sunlight on a cold winter morning;

2. The exuberance of dogs running and playing in the park (which is finally green again although we've not had proper rain for a long time);

3. Talking with my new friend Khalida and admiring her beautifully embroidered hijaab. She has one of the warmest smiles of anyone I know!

4. The lusciousness of winter vegies, herbs and flowers that seem to be practically leaping out of the ground at the Flemington Community Garden. I feel hungry as I work around the plots in the sparkling sunlight;

5. The promise of Spring offered by magnolias in full bloom;

6. A simple, cosy dinner for two as we forget the stresses of a long day, with a little bit of dark chocolate for dessert. Contentment!

1. Winter sky, blue-toned, 2. I am back!, 3. Grey Embroidered, 4. Ruby Chard, 5. Magnolia soulangeana, 6. Candlelit dinner at Navratna

(I've had to resort to a Flickr mosaic again as I still can't download the pictures that are filling my camera).

And now I need to tag two others .... Nikki and Yasu, I think you're it!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This is .... what gives me goosebumps

I love the way stories of significant events have been passed down throughout history in poetry and song.

Twenty years ago, Australian musicians Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody wrote a song to celebrate the story of Vincent Lingiari, whose demands for wages, land, and respect for his people evolved into a much larger battle for Aboriginal land rights.

No matter how many times I listen to the original version of 'From Little Things, Big Things Grow', with Tiddas providing back-up vocals, it always gives me goosebumps. Paul Kelly's rendition of the song is compelling, triumphant, hopeful and, for me, very moving.

I haven't been able to find a free online recording of the beautiful original version, but the lyrics and guitar chords can be found here. I do recommend that you try and find the original if you haven't heard it yet ...

Here is a famous photo of then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pouring soil into Vincent Lingiari's hand, in a symbolic gesture to acknowledge his people's traditional ownership of the land:

At that point in the song I always get goosebumps and a lump in my throat!

photo source and details: nga

A very big thank you to Three Buttons for letting me choose the theme/s for this week! I'm looking forward to reading everyone's posts .... (you can see who else is playing on the Three Buttons blogroll).

Post script - After reading many of the comments on this post, I was browsing through various live versions of the song on Youtube, feeling a little disappointed that I couldn't find the original. Because I love that recording so much I didn't think the live versions would give me the same goosebumps, but sure enough ... as soon as Paul Kelly started singing on this recording from the Live Earth concert, there they were, all up the back of my neck, down my arms and all the way to my toes! Yipes!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Vinni Puh

Today I found this little Russian version of Winnie the Pooh from 1969 - it's very cutsie but oddly appealing:

(found via Grain Edit)

Vinni Puh! I think you're krasivaya!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sometimes the world is flat

Although I hadn't yet seen the Japanese monorail fitted out by Ikea, I did spend a bit of time in the Swedish store the other day and was pleasantly surprised by some of their new designs. I think I might buy some lamps this week, and I'll definitely post pictures once I get my hands on a camera cable.

If you're in the market for extra-special flat-packed goods, pop over to Studio lo (found via A A A), where you can find little items like this:

I have my eye on those slippers, and I've seen them in red somewhere too ...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cycle bug

OK, here's the thing. I refuse to accept any excuses for cycling in the city dressed in skin-tight lycra (see above), unless you are a professional cyclist for whom the mini-seconds gained from the aero-dynamic properties of such clothing will determine your racing success on this ride.

For everyone else, it is perfectly possible to choose cycling gear that leaves a little more to the imagination. Simple shy-shorts or skirts over leggings would do the trick if you need a bit of support and comfort. My hubby looks smart as he goes from bike to cafe in classic hemp and woollen breeks from Bicyle Fixation:

If you're not particularly fiscally challenged, why not deck yourself out in fabulous items from Dashing Tweeds in London? They manage to combine classic style with reflective thread in their tweed products, so you can look snappy and be safely illuminated in dim and dark conditions. Of course, camera flash bulbs also highlight reflective material, so these tweeds provide unexpected but impressive bling when you're being hounded by the paparazzi - So wonderful!

Check out further pics on the Dashing Tweeds blog.

London Cycle Chic is a great place to find all kinds of lovely cycling stuff in general, and explores various options for removing cars from our roads. Great stuff!

... also ...

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