Thursday, May 30, 2013

Road trip to Radelaide

We're off to Adelaide for the weekend! Yays! There is a distillers conference going on there, but things have been slightly chaotic at Hugh's work so we didn't know until Monday that we'd be going. Hugh will probably be busy most of the weekend, but I've got my bus pass so it'll be like old times. I'm excited. I have a few people to hit up for statements in support of my visa, and it'll just be nice to see the old gang. Plus, road trip! If only I had an A-Teens album to blast from the stereo...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Thank god it was polo season

I picked up Sibella Court's book Nomad from the library the other day. It has been giving me lots of LOLs. She has set out to inspire us to decorate our homes with items, colours, and ideas brought home from our travels. She points out, though, that you don't have to be able to physically travel to an exotic locale to be inspired by its local culture and aesthetic.

She encourages taking photos of things that catch your eye while traveling, of colours that stand out, etc. She encourages culling photographs before downloading or printing them, choosing your favourites. Then she recommends getting the prints developed as soon as you get home. I think that's great advice. Too often, I end up with a photo album full of prints that even I find boring, with some favourites mixed in, because I felt compelled to document each event and each site visited.

But it's her description of how she packs that gets me laughing.

She has a color palette for her clothing and calls it "Campaign." But my favourite bit is "thank god it was polo season." That's a keeper!

Later, in the Italy section, there is a picture of a bookshelf with some books and a clamshell light fixture. My eye overlooked the books and went straight for the light fixture. Awesome! A minute later, when Hugh happened to glance over my shoulder, he noticed it, too. It's just one clam, on a base, with a lightbulb between the top and bottom shells. It's small and rad.

I wanted more info about this clam light: is it homemade? Did she pick it up on her travels? The caption for the photo, however, only addresses the books. She painted the spines of the books with chalkboard paint, then wrote the titles in chalk. I'm sorry, what?!? You covered over the titles and rewrote them in a medium intended to be temporary? I just...sigh.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Getting organised (and crafty!)

There are lots of bits involved in the de facto partner visa application, and I've been feeling a bit disorganised. I've been keeping all my paperwork, photocopies, and photographs in one protective plastic case that I've had since university, but it's not helping me keep separate applications straight. There's the visa application (which includes 3 application booklets), two applications to register our relationship (state and city), the application for an FBI background check, and the application for a UK background check. Each of these has different bits that need to go with it, so today, I grabbed some file folders to keep it all separate. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to get a little creative, though!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Letter for Sara

I'm quite proud if this envelope I created for Sara! Most of my attempts at mail art are pretty pathetic.

On the edge of the photo is the new rocket ship pen holder Hugh bought me the other day. Love it!

Autumn is here!

Autumn has arrived in Melbourne, and it's time I stopped fighting it. The weather here is very changeable, and while I've lived in similar conditions for most of my life, I've been spoiled by 9 months in Adelaide. In the past couple weeks, I've had to re-learn how to dress. Just because it's balmy and sunny right now doesn't mean it won't be raining and freezing cold in ten minutes. Don't leave home without a coat and a hat! I had to quickly knit myself a pair of hand warmers the other day cuz I realised I didn't have any gloves!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I had an informal interview last week for the PhD. I met with the two lead investigators for the project (they would be two-thirds of my supervising team). I don't really know how it went from their point of view, but I felt comfortable and relaxed throughout. Que sera, sera.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ford's new car for young women

Ford has a new car that they are marketing specifically to young women. Is this going on in the US, too? I don't remember which car it is, because although the ads are directed at "my demographic,"* the car itself is boring and in no way more appealing than any other car (but girls won't notice, cuz they don't even like cars to begin with!) But Ford really wants young woman in Australia to buy this car.

One ad features the type of girl who likes to shop and party and go out for drinks on the town. She describes an incident where she was headed to a party in her animal-print, platform heels, and her dad stopped her and told her she couldn't drive in heels. So she grabs her pink sneakers, puts the right one on, and keeps her animal-print, platform heel on her left foot. Problem solved! Except, oh no! Where on earth can she store the other sneaker and the other heel? She couldn't possibly toss them on the passenger seat, or on the floor, or in the backseat, or in the trunk. No no, women need a special drawer under the passenger seat to store their extra pairs of shoes. A dedicated shoe drawer. Don't you dare try to use it for anything other than shoes.

She then goes on to say, "I had to get petrol; I had to quickly swap over." Because God Forbid you get caught pumping gas in sneakers. Oh, the horror!

Another ad features The Girl Next Door, who is so glad that she has her new Ford Whatever because she just got engaged and now she and her fiance can drive to the place that they got engaged (the ad doesn't say why they need to return to that place, but it's the sentiment that counts, cuz you know, women are sentimental.) She then goes on to describe the benefits of the car, ending with, "And there's lots of space, for babies and that."

Thank you, Ford Australia, for considering the needs of young women: shoes and babies.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like shoes. I even like babies! I'd like to have lots of shoes and babies at some point in the future. But I don't see how this particular car is any different from any other car, save tiny sports cars, in the storage-of-shoes-and-babies arena. As a youngish woman, I am not convinced that this car offers anything that I want and can't get elsewhere. I'm also not convinced that my car needs differ greatly from those of a youngish man!

Hey Ford, you want me to buy a car from you? Make one that's exactly like a Honda Civic. Or a Prius. Ooh, or a Lexus IS 200! Love that car.

*Actually, I suspect that I may now be too old for the target demographic of these ads. After all, I am over thirty these days. Also, I don't have more money than sense, which is obviously the type of woman these ads are targeting.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Monday was my first day of freedom (read: unemployment). The plan was to go to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). I left the house in a t-shirt and light sweater, but just as I got into town, it started chucking with rain. I ducked into Melbourne Central, a posh and trendy shopping centre on top of a train station. There was a belt I'd been thinking about buying for the past two months, and I decided to just go for it! My pretty rose print jeans are constantly sliding down and revealing a bit more of my behind than I'm comfortable with, so I did actually need the belt.

While at Melbourne Central, I also returned some books to the Little Library, a volunteer library where you can take books as you please. I love the idea, so I've been borrowing and returning, and also donating books I'm finished with. Sadly, most of the stuff on the three tall shelves is pretty crap, but I'm trying to do my part to add good books.

I ventured back outside and found that the rain had mostly abated, but had caused the temperature to drop significantly. I started walking towards ACMI, but fat raindrops started falling again just as I reached Bourke St. I took this as a sign that I should forget about ACMI, and instead pop into the nearby yarn store, Morris and Sons. They have beautiful, basic, soft wool. I usually buy strange and interesting wool, then struggle to figure out what to make with it. I need to learn to appreciate basics, because they are the foundation of most of the knitting projects I admire.

Anyway, as tempted as I was, the prices were a little steep for my cheapskate sensibilities, so I didn't purchase anything. Yet.

stars in the pavement

Monday, May 13, 2013

tea towels!

I made tea towels! When we moved from Adelaide, I only brought my one tea towel, the Cath Kidston commemorative Royal Wedding tea towel (it's cute, oh yes). But after two months, it was getting a bit, let's say "crusty." So I made some new ones!

Sewing tea towels should be easy, as long as you have fabric, thread, and a needle, right? Probably, for talented types, but for total manual idiots such as myself, a few tools help. Of course, as this was my second ever sewing project, and my first ever sewing project that didn't come out of a kit, I didn't know what tools I would need! The book I bought was all, "cut out your fabric, fold the hems, and sew!" As if it was that easy.

Here's how it happened for me:

August: Get sewing machine from Hugh's mum (it was his paternal grandmother's machine)
February: Get Hugh's grandma's odd assortment of notions (which end up being super helpful!)
March: Get first sewing book of patterns!
April: Buy fabric. Wash fabric. Realise that you don't have an iron.

At this point, my wonderful, wonderful boyfriend bought me a seamstress' iron. Yeah, that's right, he coulda bought me a normal iron, but he fully supports my craftsy ambitions.

April (later): Iron fabric. Cut fabric completely crooked because you don't have a rigid ruler and have never in your life been able to do anything in a straight line. Also, realise that your scissors are totally shit.
Even later in April: Buy new scissors and long metal ruler.
May: Nod, "yeah, yeah, I know" to your sewing book which has crossed its arms at you and is saying, "I told you so," regarding having the correct tools for the job. It turns out that having a rigid ruler and scissors that work and a little blue chalk pencil (thanks, Hugh's grandma!) makes your life a million times easier! A simple task that took ten months to prepare for is finished in a couple hours (it would have been finished sooner but my prowess with the sewing machine means that several mysterious knots of thread appeared on the "right" side of the towels.)

All done!

(P.S. The pictures are pretty awful. Sozzles!)

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Strategically-placed leg slit

Oh my gosh, I cannot stop laughing! I can't breathe!!

Hugh asked me to find a sewing pattern for him to learn to sew (isn't he awesome?) So I searched "men's sewing patterns" in Pinterest and this came up.

from Daddy Likey

I don't do the one-word sentence thing very often, but: Oh. My. Word. I am totally making Hugh a pair of those trousers as soon as I have any sewing skill whatsoever.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Exploring Prahran

It is Saturday, and I have the day off! Amazing! Hugh has the day off, too, but he needed to study for his upcoming distiller certification test (nerd alert!) so I left him alone to go explore this great city.

The poster is from the BEST PUBLIC SERVICE AD CAMPAIGN EVER! There's a video and a song that go with it, all to remind Melbournians to be careful around trains and trams. Go watch the video!!

I saw a thing on Twitter saying Australian American Apparel are giving away pairs of mesh leggings. I'm not one to pass up a freebie, so even though the closest AA is clear on the other side of town, requiring two train rides and about an hour to get there, I made the trek. But hey, it was an opportunity to explore. A coworker recommended I check out nearby Greville St for hipsterish-ness. I was not disappointed.

There was a great magazine store, Mag Nation, with lots of exciting stationery and gifty things. I was not impressed, however, that knitting magazines were $15-$20. Sure, they're imported from the US and UK, but really!

There's was also a trinkets boutique that had cute vases and ceramics. As my wonderful boyfriend recently bought me roses, we need a vase, but I think his antique cocktail mixer will work a bit longer.

In a clothing boutique, I bought a swingy, sparkly skirt for $29. What a steal! I've decided lately that I need more sparkle in my wardrobe.

Then on to American Apparel, where I picked out some navy blue leggings (it was that or hot pink and I had to chose under pressure!) I also bought a totally impractical but adorable strappy, knit crop top. (Hugh told me to buy anything cute that I saw.) Yay, fun times! But can you see how exploring the city is not cheap? This definitely does not qualify as a Free Melbourne adventure.

Friday, May 03, 2013

A new mission

I was just writing a letter RR, and expounding on something that has been worrying me a bit. I haven't been able to explore Melbourne much because I've been working so much, so I'm excited for lots of free time coming up. But...I won't have any money. Not having money can make it hard to explore a city. When you're out and about, you get hungry. And you have to pay to go into certain buildings. And you see pretty things that need to be bought! Okay, I'm not even convincing myself.

Anyway, I need to make it my mission to explore Free Melbourne. So, yeah. Monday, 13 May, check this space. I think I'll start by returning to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which we visited when we first visited Melbourne for Hugh's interview. While we were there, I spent ages in the gift shop (sidenote: I LOVE gift shops! Why do people always rush you past them and complain about museums emptying into them? They're the best bit after all that boring culture!) The gift shop had these journals from a company called Compendium which I quite liked, but couldn't quite afford. But I wrote down the name and eugoogled them when I got home, and did you know? They're only $12.50 and delivery was free! So I bought two, one for myself, and one for Hugh's sister.

When they arrived, the box was full of other little goodies with the Compendium brand: a mechanical pencil, some stickers, and little inspirational quote cards. One of them said, "Compendium, Seattle, WA." Can you believe that? I come all the way from Seattle to Australia to buy a journal that came all the way from Seattle to Australia. Just think of the carbon footprint involved in that! But I've been writing almost every day, so that's good, eh? It almost justifies me buying a brand new journal from work tomorrow...