Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's strange that I don't really 'do' Christmas in a big way these days .... as a child I was always so excited at this time of year. Growing up in a very large Russian-German family, my sister and I were lucky to experience a mix of cultural celebrations when the family came together at my Omi's groovy little 1960s bungalow, just a couple of hundred metres from the beach.

In typical Australian fashion, we often relaxed outside in the garden as the temperature soared. A conifer in the front yard was adorned with the ubiquitous tinsely decorations, beach chairs were set out around the lawn and there was much singing and drinking of vodka (by the adults, of course!) - Nasdrovie! здоровью!

We also had a tradition of the children putting on a performance of some kind before opening the presents. My cousins, sister and I would prepare well in advance, making costumes, 'stage' sets and props. One of my earliest memories of these performances is of a poem that went something like this:

Lieber, guter Weihnachtsmann,
guck mich nicht so böse an.
Stecke deine Rute ein,
Ich will lieb und artig sein!

(translation: Dear, good Father Christmas,
don't look at me so agrily.
Put your rod/cane away,
For I wish to be good and obedient!)

The German Weihnachtsmann is a little more stern than his jolly British counterpart. As well as a book detailing the behavioural record of the world's children, he carries a tall staff or a bundle of twigs tied into a switch for punishing the naughty kids, which always worried me somewhat!

I really hope to live in Germany again some day, where Christmas decorations brighten the winter landscape, we can drink Glühwein at one of the kitschy Christmas markets, and later munch on spicy gingerbreads as we snuggle up in a candle-lit room, watching the snow fall gently outside.... ah, yes!

That said, it's also fun to celebrate Christmas in the hot summer sun. I love indulging in wonderful fresh salads, stone fruits, champagne and seafood, with bright decorations set against a backdrop of fragrant eucalypt trees. The dozy drone of bees and cicadas seems to mirror our post-prandial mood as we relax into the warmth of the summer evening and everything seems to have switched down a gear.

Bring on the sunshine!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas is a-comin' ....


- beautiful covers from Vogue and Beauty Culture

(via Finsbry on Flickr)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bad juju

Don't you hate it when you're trying to do the right thing but somehow the day just seems to turn all upside-down and inside-out?

Yesterday there was some bad karma at my house.

To set the scene: I'm hobbling on crutches due to an injured hip and fractured foot. The dogs and I are navigating a couple of rooms in the front of the house (as the main living areas remain only partly demolished), and the cat is winding her way between my legs at every opportunity.

Suddenly Bracken jumps up against a bookshelf in our entrance hall/makeshift kitchenette, sending a  mixing bowl crashing to the floor. The glass splinters everywhere, I grab both dogs, hustle them outside and reach for the largest pieces of glass, immediately slicing my finger. Blood starts dripping all over the floor as I try to find some paper towel and hop around in a clumsy attempt to gather up the remaining glass, find a rubbish bin and wrangle the vacuum cleaner, all the while leaving a trail of (rather pretty) red splashes amongst the glittering splinters. The dogs start to bark and leap excitedly at the screen door just as the phone starts ringing, while our cat makes a mad dash through the chaos, spreading the mess further and knocking one of my crutches clattering onto the floorboards....

I stand still for a moment and take some deep breaths.

.... *one* ....

.... *two*.....

.... *three* ....


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No, Oprah, no!

Are any other Aussie readers dreading the hooplah surrounding Oprah Winfrey's visit?

For some great commentary, check out RRR broadcaster Jess Maguire's thoughts, followed by this satirical little folk story*.

* Notes:

- for Aussies: the story should be read after reading Jess' article.

- for non-Aussies:  my apologies if this tale seems rather obscure  ....  it is written with the highest degree of sarcasm, for the amusement of Australians who don't identify with stupid commercialised stereotypes.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Leaf-it

Tired of the common Post-It note? I am.

Let's go ginkgo!

- beautiful Leaf-it sticky notes in gold and green, by Korean designer Apree .

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Today I looked up to see an escaped balloon dancing its way across the sky. It was a lovely, quiet moment.


Argh!! *warning - tired, grumpy rant alert*

Ugh. It's 1:35 am and I've just arrived home from the animal emergency hospital/24-hour clinic, having only had three hours' sleep last night due to poor little Bracken's fretting. When I took him to the vet this morning (yesterday morning?), we found that he had a serious infection in both ears, with so much damage that the vet said she was surprised that he wasn't deaf. No wonder he couldn't settle down to sleep last night - there are few things worse than intense earache.

Bracken was sedated and stayed at the vet for a few hours before being sent home with a bundle of medications. He seemed fine until about 10 o'clock this evening when he started frantically shaking his head, scratching his ears and crying out in pain. I tried to calm him and put more drops in his ears but he became more and more distressed, panting heavily and yelping each time he moved or scratched his head.

After a while it became clear that the pain was getting worse, so I drove out to the animal hospital at Essendon Airport where we had to wait, with Bracken becoming more and more distraught with each passing minute. The vet was lovely though, and finally (at around 12:30), I was able to leave with a slightly less stressed pup. Apparently the methadone sedation only lasts for about 4 hours, so I hope I can get two or three hours of sleep before Bracken wakes and cries again. It's like bringing home a newborn!

What makes me really angry is the thought of him being by himself with this level of pain for weeks or months; according to the vet, the infection's intensity indicates that it isn't a recent ailment. Animals are so vulnerable in our world, and I hate the idea of them suffering alone. I'm just saddened by the ignorance and selfishness of Bracken's previous owners ...

It's nearly 2 o'clock now and I'd better try and sleep in case the pup wakes up in a couple of hours. *sigh!* My husband is overseas and I'm feeling sad. What a crappy evening!

Hang on ... enough of this blathering. Stiff upper lip and all that ... !

I'm sure that the new day will bring happiness and some relief for the pup. Let's catch up then.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Neglected pup update

This morning we finally got to meet the poor little pup whose sorry plight we'd heard about through an acquaintance. We found out that he had been left alone in a suburban back yard for six months (!!), eating decidedly non-canine food like potato chips and noodles, dropped over the fence by a neighbour.

The dog is suffering from ear infections and the ill effects of a poor diet, and when we met him he was very dirty with matted hair. But he's surprisingly chipper, extremely friendly and seems very eager to please! I gave him a bath this afternoon; he's booked in for a haircut on Tuesday and I'll take him to the vet tomorrow for a full checkup.

His name was Ralph .... we didn't think he looked like a Ralph though (and he didn't seem to know his name) so we've renamed him Bracken. G calls him Brachyosaurus.

Thank you to those of you who offered to try and find a place for him to stay over Christmas while we travel interstate - your efforts to help, and kind wishes, are much appreciated. As we didn't meet Bracken till today I wasn't quite sure how to finalise our Christmas plans, but I'll probably be in touch soon if you've offered to help!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Potager peeping

I love my little garden, and the ability to harvest fresh veggies, herbs and flowers never fails to delight me.

These potager patches from around the interwebs inspire me to plant more and make use of every available space:

What's growing in your garden at the moment?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Linky Friday

Hello friends!
I have many lovely things to share with you today, so I think I'll compile a little link list and encourage you explore at your leisure ...

* Love this beautiful sled by Wolfgang Sirch.

* Portland is definitely on my list of dream destinations .... and it seems that many people there know how to rock a certain street style too. Urban Weeds captures the goodness (via SFGirlByBay).

* This globe from ImagineNations sets my heart a-flutter

* These balloons hint at a joyful story

* Ellen Urselmann plays tricks with glass and light

* These artists seem to know exactly which colour combinations will catch my eye

* Love the cheerful styling of this fiesta by You Are My Fave.

* Although I'm not a doll person, I was impressed by the dollhouse featured in last month's Frankie magazine. The Jealous Curator has scanned a few pages for you here.

* I also found my way to Flickr's Modern Miniatures group ... I had no idea that there were so many hipster homes out there, perfectly recreated in miniature. Bizarre! Several of them remind me of the beautiful (full-sized!) designs featured here.

.... and to finish off, I'll leave you with this pretty sailor girl corset from Battie Clothing, to inspire your summer wardrobe. It's hot here at the moment - perfect weather for messing about in boats.

What lovely things have you found lately?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Jessica Harrison

I love these gruesome artworks by Jessica Harrison - they're morbid, but a wonderful alternative to 'classic' (read: ugly and expensive) Lladro products!

More slightly unsettling works can be found at Jessica's website.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Well, it's the first of December - the first day of Summer and not long until Christmas. I've been trying to steer our Christmas celebrations and gift-giving away from the crazy consumerist railroad for a long time now ...

My hubby and I have agreed to only exchange gifts that are home-grown, home-made or second-hand. I like this idea too, but some of my loved ones don't.

So perhaps I can compromise - if presents are to be bought and exchanged, let's celebrate beauty and creativity on a small, local scale!

Paper play

Walking in the Degraves St subway near Flinders St Station the other day, I was drawn to Kyoko Imazu's art installation, titled 'Autumn Moon' ...

The paper dioramas were very softly lit, giving them an ethereal quality that seemed to settle quietly amongst the hubbub and movement of the underground passageway.

It fills me with joy to discover fabulous local artists, and Kyoko is seriously talented - how I would love to fill my home with her work! Check out her blog to see some beautiful prints and to learn more about her creative process ....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cecil Beaton

For our anniversary my beloved gave me some books, the main theme of which was nostalgia. Flipping through one of them last night I was prompted to revisit the incomparable work of Cecil Beaton, and boy, was it a delight to do so!

The man was a genius.

... also ...

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