Sunday, July 28, 2013

nice surprises

I have the sweetest boyfriend in the world. He had to go to Canberra this weekend, and he had to leave at 5am on Saturday. But he left me a surprise.

He filled the electric kettle with water and set out my teacup with a tea bag ready to go.

He set out some butter and put a muffin in the toaster.

And he put some oil in the frying pan.

Ready for bacon! (He knows me so well.) He also left an "I love you!" note, of course. I realised it's the first night we've spent apart since I arrived in Australia, but it's good practice for next weekend, when I'll be ditching him for two nights!

I did sort of ruin the surprise by getting up to find out why he was making so much noise at half past 4 in the morning! Haha! It still put a huge smile on my face, though, and that's all that really matters, right?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pi(e) Day 2013!

I woke up Monday morning and for some odd reason, my brain thought, "It's the 22nd of July." I'm not normally one to mark the date as I wake up, so I'm not sure what triggered this, but my next thought was, "It's Pi(e) Day!"

Outside of America, dates are written with the day first, and then the month, so March 14th is 14.3, not 3.14. Non-American nerds were sad to miss out on Pi(e) Day, so they designated 22/7 as Pi(e) Day, because 22 / 7 = 3.142857, which is close enough to Pi.

Anyhoo, I made a chicken and mushroom pie for dinner! Yay!

There was a bit of pastry left over, and I had some frozen berries, so I chucked those in to a pie plate, added some double cream, and put the pastry lid on. Now, I knew that I should cook the frozen berries first. I knew they were full of frozen water that would make my "pie" watery. But I couldn't be bothered. So I made some berry soup, with a soggy pastry topping! I'm so talented.

Monday, July 22, 2013

crafty weekend

Hugh and I got super crafty this weekend! On Saturday, I was planning to go to an introductory sewing course (for free!) at the Wood Street Arts Space. At the last minute, Hugh decided to come along, too. The Arts Space had sewing machines for us to use, and I took all my bits of fabric I've been collecting for the last few months. The problem was, some bits weren't washed, and others were washed but not ironed. Oops! We decided to make a cushion cover out of the world map fabric I got from Spotlight. The woman leading the class gave us lots of helpful tips about stitches to use and how to make a button closure. We switched spots so we both got to work on the machine. This pillow was a team effort! Couples sewing is fun!

After sewing, we went to Spotlight, because they were having a 40% off sale on all their yarn! I bought 12 balls of yarn, and Hugh grabbed some supplies to work on his own sewing project. Then we came home and got to work!


I made napkins! I used my 1-2-3 Sew! book--napkins are the second pattern in the book. In this project, you learn mitered corners. Trying to figure out what the instructions were telling me to do took a while, and there was a point where I wanted to shoot the author, the napkin, and myself. But once I figured it out, I was so impressed! Mitered corners are fun! I was really pleased with the result, even if it wasn't exactly square.

It rained heavily on Saturday, and I was really hoping my softball game on Sunday would be cancelled so I could stay home and craft some more. Joy of joys, it was cancelled and I got to stay home and craft! Result!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Money and happiness

Sometimes, being lazy can really pay off.

Remember several months ago when I posted a picture of my UK tax return? I went to the bank in March to ask about depositing it, but I never actually got around to doing so. I was going to check exchange rates, but forgot to do so for four months. When I finally remembered to a few weeks ago, I found that the Australian dollar had dropped lower than it's been for a year. It was at its highest for the year in April. I kicked myself for not depositing the check back in April.

Well, the chunk of savings that I had after I quit my job in May have finally run out, so I decided to check the rates again today. No change, really. The dollar is still weak. And then I realised I was looking at the exchange rate backwards. I was going from AUD to GBP, and $1 is about 0.59 pence. But my check is in GBP, and will be converted to AUD, at a current rate of about $1.65 per £1! In April, that was only $1.45 per £1. It's not a massive difference, really, but I would have made $100 less, and every dollar helps. Which means that actually, now is the best time for me to deposit my check. I rushed straight to the bank after realising this. Yay for money! It maybe can't buy you happiness, but as kikki.K like to point out, it can buy you stationery, and that's almost the same thing. Also, better vision. I need new glasses and contact lenses, and this money will really help. I have a totally unrealistic expectation that new contact lenses will improve my softball skillz significantly. We'll see.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sunday, July 07, 2013

My new favourite possession

I saw this phone case the other day and totally fell in love. I showed it to Hugh and without a word, he pulled out his wallet and handed me cash. It makes me smile every time I pull out my phone.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Lovely memories

I just found this photo and I had to share it, though Hugh might not be happy about it.  It's from before we were officially dating, and I have very happy memories of this night.

Hugh hosted a dinner party for his coworkers and made a delicious Beef Wellington. Obviously, there was also wine involved. Then a few of us went for cocktails at Dragonfly. At one point, Hugh was coming back from getting drinks at the bar, and he was squeezing behind my chair to get to his. He put his hands on my shoulders and gave me a mini-massage, and I almost melted into a puddle.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Applying for jobs still sucks

Since my work and holiday visa has expired, and I'm on a bridging visa with no work restrictions, it's time to get back into the workforce! Or to try, at any rate. But I've been avoiding applying for jobs all week, a) because there aren't many, and b) because the ones being advertised require more than I have to offer. I know I should apply anyway, but it's hard to work up the motivation, and the courage, when you have submit a resume, cover letter, and a separate document addressing how you meet each of the selection criteria. Especially when I don't meet the selection criteria. It's all about bull-shitting and talking myself up, and I hate that. I know my worth, and I don't think that I under-value myself, I just don't see why I should have to try to over-value myself. They should hire me just because I'm hard-working and have lots of research experience and my previous employers think I'm awesome! Who cares if I have a high-level knowledge of mental disorders affecting young people?? Oh, that's what the job is all about? Well, I guess I can see how I'd need that...

Anyway, I'm reading Women and Money by Suze Orman instead of doing my job application (I am, of course, also taking a break to blog...) And I started thinking. When I see a job advertisement, even one that sounds like EXACTLY what I want to do, one that Hugh has sent me saying "You have to apply for this!" I immediately scroll down to the "essential criteria" section so that I can rule the job out right off the bat. I want to know the worst from the beginning. But perhaps that's not the right attitude? Perhaps that is thinking negatively, rather than thinking positively, which is what I'm trying to be better at.

When we were in school, my sisters and I used to worry constantly about our grades. If we had a test coming up, we would massively stress out the night before. Sometimes, our mom would try to convince us we were fine, that we would pass the test with a decent score (we always did, after all.) Other times, she would ask, "What's the worst thing that could possibly happen if you fail this test?" My sisters usually got the point of the game, and would say things like, "I suppose it's just one score out of the whole year, and I can make up for a low score by studying harder for the next test." My answers, generally squeezed in between hyperventilated breaths, were more like, "I'llflunkthetestI'llflunktheclassI'llbeheldbackayearNocollegeswillacceptmeI'llbeforcedtoworkatMcDonald'sbuttheshameofflippingburgerswilldrivememadandI'llbecomehomelessandhavetoliveonthestreetswhereI'lldieof tuberculosis!" So the game didn't really work for me. I might have a small issue with perspective...

So I was thinking about this job application, and obviously the worst thing that could happen, which in reality is probably what will happen, is that I'll spend some time and energy filling out the application and talking myself up, they'll see I don't have enough experience, and they'll throw my application away. That's not very motivating. But what about the best thing that could possibly happen?

The best thing that could happen would be I'd spend some time and energy filling out the application, they'll realise they haven't had an applicant with the experience they're looking for, but that I have some really strong experience and I learn quickly, they'll hire me, I'll be working full time and earning $62,000 a year, Hugh and I won't have to worry about cash for visiting the US in October or Italy next year, and we can move into a nicer place where we can have a kitten and I can buy yarn, lots and lots of yarn!!! So this will be my new mantra, because what better motivation could there be in the world than yarn and kittens?

Monday, July 01, 2013

From the library

More lovely books from the library! I probably would have bypassed A Life in Frocks if I hadn't noticed the name Kelly Doust under the title. I would have assumed it was some silly, superfluous book written by a woman who cares about nothing that exists outside the world of fashion. But Kelly Doust is a crafter, and crafters aren't dull or superficial! The author of The Crafty Minx, The Crafty Kid, and The Crafty Minx at Home, her craft projects are modern and bright and fun. And the illustrations in A Life in Frocks swayed me, as well. Cowboy boots in the inside cover? Yes, please!

I am not disappointed. Kelly's writing voice is super approachable and relatable, as well as self-deprecating. She loves fashion and describes some of her most memorable ensembles over the course of her life, but she's not a one-trick pony. It's far from being her only love. She just loves the opportunity that fashion offers to change one's look (and outlook) from day to day. I enjoyed the book, as someone who has always felt like a fashion-failure, but who has always wished she could understand that world a little better. Kelly doesn't advocate certain looks, or learning how to accessorise. She simply advocates wearing what you love, what makes you feel like you can take on the world.

Everything Oz is super cute. It's a bunch of Wizard of Oz-themed crafting projects. I saw it months ago in a shop and wished I could afford to buy it. But the chances of me actually making any of the items in the book, which aren't particularly practical, are slim. And more for kids, really.

Most ridiculous shoes ever

John, your comment about being bikini-ready made me laugh out loud.

Guys, I bought the most ridiculous pair of shoes yesterday. I can't remember who noticed them first, but I think I picked them up as a joke to show Hugh, and he was like, "You should try them on."

When we visited Melbourne in January for his interview, he bought me a "going out" outfit. It was a shiny black tank top and a gold sequin mini skirt, because life is better with sparkles. But I don't have any shoes that look good with the outfit. I thought some leather booties would look good, so I've been keeping my eye out for a cute pair. Instead, we bought a pair of gold, wedge-heeled, hi-top sneakers. That's right, Kusems L. Poppington now owns wedge-heeled hi-top sneakers. What has gotten into me??

We both agree that they are beyond ridiculous, but we both kind of love them, too! I just need to find a non-heeled version for Hugh ;-)