Saturday, 26 November 2011

Project 365: Week 6

Day 36 (10/11/11)

I've never been the biggest fan of straight chocolate, but chocolate with stuff inside it is always very tasty and there seems to be a steady supply of it at work. For those who don't recognise them, the one the left is a Caramello Koala and on the right is a Strawberry Freddo Frog. They were almost too cute to eat. But only almost.

Day 37 (11/10/11)

My new hair accessory, and my first experiment in pattern making. You can read more about it if you're interested :) 

Day 38 (12/10/11)

Missed again! Bad Anna. 

Day 39 (13/10/11)

Given that I'm doing this Project 365 thing, it probably goes without saying that I like photos. I love having hard copies in albums and stuck up around my room, but over the last year I've been a bit lazy about sorting them and printing them out. One of the electronics stores was having a sale, though, so I went along and printed out a year's worth of photos. There were 362 and apparently that many photos makes quite a tall stack!

Day 40 (14/10/11)

Ever October, Sydney hosts the Crave Food Festival. Various restaurants put on specials, and lots of different food-related events happen around the city. The most popular event is the Night Noodle Markets, where every night for two weeks a lot of different Asian restaurants set up stalls in Hyde Park and it becomes one big open air food court. It gets very very crowded, but the park gets all decked out with paper lanterns and it's a lot of fun.

Day 41 (15/10/11)

For my friend's birthday we went out one night to a salsa club. I have two left feet (I've had a dance instructor give up on me before!) so it made for a somewhat interesting night.

Day 42 (16/10/11)

Steph's in the USA at the moment, and her boyfriend came home from visiting her with lots of presents for my parents and I. I have an obsession with ice cream, so this is my amazing cow-bowl from the Ben and Jerry's factory. I like its little udder-feet, and when you've eaten all your ice cream there's a little surprise - the bottom of the bowl reads 'Udderly Delicious'. It makes me smile every time.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Project 365: Week 5

Day 29 (03/10/11)

Nick and I went and visited the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace one Sunday afternoon and discovered that the movies there come with pre-show entertainment! I have no idea what instrument it was that this guy was playing, but he played it pretty awesomely.

Day 30 (04/10/11)

Uh oh, fail... :(

Day 31 (05/10/11)

I brought my camera to my netball game one night in the hopes of taking a picture, but didn't realise until after the game that I'd completely forgotten. In a panic I grabbed my friend to take a photo and she decided to hide behind her Coke bottle instead. I think she mainly wanted to show off her pretty gold nails.

Day 32 (06/10/11)

I went and visited MoMA when I was in New York earlier in the year, and discovered that their gift shop is actually what they call a 'design store' and it's amazing. So many different random pretty homewares and little personal items. I spent way too much money there, but one of the things I picked up was a packet of stick-on chalkboards for your wall. I picked up some chalk to go with it, and stuck that up on the wall too with blue tac, but then I came home one night and found this on my floor. I think I needed more blue tac!

Day 33 (07/10/11)

I know it's somewhat sad, but I'm a complete Harry Potter geek. I've lined up outside bookstores on the day that new books were released, I can tell you Harry's and Voldemort's birthdays, and there was a point in time that if you gave me any quote from any of the books I'd be able to tell you who said it and what the situation was. So I got madly jealous when one of my friends whipped this out when I was over at her house. Apparently one of the local newspapers ran a promotion to get them that I missed out on. The reason I missed it, though, was that I was in Europe at the time and was watching Deathly Hallows Part II in a London cinema with real English people, so I guess I can't complain.

Day 34 (08/10/11)

One of Nick's housemates has a lot of Canadian friends, and she decided to hold a Canadian Thanksgiving at her house, complete with homemade turkey. Apparently one of the stages in the cooking process involved using the turkey as a glove...

Day 35 (09/10/11)

Sydney has a lot of weekend markets that pop up. They're full of people selling clothes and shoes and handmade items. The Kirribilli Markets are my favourite. They have a market specifically for handmade goods, and they're all beautiful. One of my biggest goals is to make enough things to open a stall here one afternoon. In my opinion, aside from having the best goods, they also have the best view. Here's the Harbour Bridge casting a watchful eye over all the shopping going on.

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Fascinating Experiment

Australia has a country-wide obsession with horse racing. One of our national heroes is a horse, and he's enough of a legend that his preserved heart is displayed in a museum in the nation's capital. The Melbourne Cup, the biggest horse race in the country, is an event so large that it's a public holiday in the state where it's held. At my workplace it's effectively a holiday as well - our CEOs love the race so much that instead of a big boozy Christmas party, we have a big boozy Melbourne Cup lunch.

When fascinators first started being worn at the races a while ago, I found the idea of them odd. My teenage self couldn't understand why you would want to wear what was effectively half a hat. To be honest, I still don't quite understand it, but there's a prize for best fascinator at our Melbourne Cup lunch so they're pretty much required attire. I just try to think of them now as really elaborate headbands :)

Last year I bought mine and it worked well for me, but this year at my local craft store they were selling pieces for fascinators and hats cheaply. They also had a deal on - apparently if you bought all your pieces at the store they'd have a milliner make it up for you. It sounded like a good idea so I went off to the shop, only to find that none of the store assistants knew how the deal worked. This meant I ended up with lots of pieces for a fascinator, and very little idea of what to do with them.

Have you noticed that I like purple yet?
The basic idea I had in mind when I bought the bits was to have the bow stuck to the headband, then to have the other parts arranged around the side of it. The example hats in the store had the main parts sewn together, so I went ahead and did that with the bow. Given that the base was a bit of a lattice, it turned out to be surprisingly easy. The only tricky part was sewing around the actual band of the headband - I ended up having to sew blindly in and out between the base and the band and hope that I didn't prick my fingers.

My somewhat clumsy stitching
Gluing on the feathers was interesting. I borrowed my parents' glue gun, and I found that it's a deceitfully difficult piece of equipment to use when you're not used to it. A tip for working with glue guns if you haven't done it before - you have to be fast. Once the hot glue hits the air you have a very small window of time in which it's still hot. You have to be ready with the two pieces you're trying to stick together or you just end up with useless hardened lumps of glue on your item. It's also very easy to get long thin trailing bits of glue all over your work surface and yourself. Luckily, everything I was working with had pretty smooth surfaces, so it was easy enough to pick the glue off when it was dry.

Placement turned out to be harder than I thought it would be. As you can see in the photo at the top, the ends of the feathers were really thick and some were held together by black or white tape that stood out if you looked closely. (One of my friends later commented that you could see the tape.) The size of the pieces meant that it was hard to find room on the base for all of them to sit in. I ended up having to shove them into little folds of the bow that, for the sake for the sake of the fascinator's structural integrity,  I probably shouldn't have.

Once I was done, it felt a bit flimsy, but thankfully it looked okay and didn't feel like it was going to fall apart.

I think the angle of it was a bit off, and it would've been nicer if you could see more of the blue feathers when you looked at it from the front. But at the end of the day, it held itself together when I wore it and it didn't look half bad, so I was reasonably happy.

I'm not 100% convinced that making it was worth it. The price of the pieces was only marginally less than buying a one, even though they were on sale. It also didn't end up looking as good as I would've liked. Furthermore, I realised a couple of days later that one of the blue feathers had fallen off - I possibly should've used more glue.

It could just be that practice makes perfect, but seeing as these are only things I need once a year, I doubt I'll get much practice. I understand now why they're so expensive to buy, and I have a new found respect for milliners! It was definitely fun trying something new though.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Project 365: Week 4

Day 22 (26/09/11)

We have a bad track record with wine glasses in my house. This is the fourth broken glass out of the six or so that we originally bought from IKEA. We should definitely buy sturdier glasses next time.

Day 23 (27/09/11)

My family has always been somewhat nocturnal, partially due to the fact that dinner time when Steph and I still lived at home was somewhere between 8:30 and 9. I don't actually remember the last time before this that I had dinner before 7!

Day 24 (28/09/11)

Finally, the jacket's done! Getting it from the state it was in on Day 21 was interesting - the pattern simply said 'sew the sleeves on' with no directions on how to do that...

Day 25 (29/09/11)

Pasta with actual veggies in it - what a rare rare sight. Even rarer is that it was actually tasty! If anyone wants the recipe, it's TasteFood's Spaghetti with Shrimp, Broccolini and Basil. (Also, their photo is much nicer!) 

Day 26 (30/09/11)

Nick got me a pot plant instead of flowers for our 6 month anniversary. I decided to name her Sally and she lives on my desk at work, but the weekends aren't kind to her - whenever I come back to work on a Monday her soil's all dry. Having a Labour Day long weekend was an ever scarier prospect, so my friend devised a slow-drip watering device for her made out of a drink bottle with some little holes in it. I just happened to have a sewing needle in my bag that day (I was so impatient to sew the buttons onto my jacket that I brought it in to work!) so we rigged up the bottle and hoped for the best.

Day 27 (01/10/11)

One of my friends had her Hen's night, so we got dressed up and did our nails all prettily for a lovely High Tea and cocktails night. One of the random games was a pass the parcel and we ended up with some nice, new, bouncy bling!

Day 28 (02/10/11)

Stage two in my attempts to redecorate my bedroom involved moving my bookcase out into the living area, leaving a gap in the wall and a serious lack of shelving. I built this strange looking contraption up out of some spare material, boxes and basket shelving - not the prettiest thing in the world, but it gets the job done :)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Project 365 - Week 3

Day 15 (19/09/11)

I live close enough to work that I can walk in and part of the (rather lengthy!) trip involves crossing the Harbour Bridge. I've lived in Sydney my whole life, so I've become somewhat desensitised to how beautiful the city actually is, and hardly ever look up anymore when I'm walking across the Bridge. It was nice to stop and appreciate the harbour for a little while even if it was just for a minute or two to take a photo.

Day 16 (20/09/11)

My team at work has been working towards one major goal for almost two years now, and we finally released the product. Apparently when you manage something like that 3pm champagne is just to be expected :)

Day 17 (21/09/11)

I love my apartment - it's located in a nice area, it's quite large, and my room fits a queen sized bed. But all the walls are stark white and Steph and I haven't done a good job of fixing that. This was the start of an overhaul of my room - Nick found all the maps we used on our big Europe trip in the middle of the year and thought they'd make nice wall posters, so I started blutac-ing them up to the wall.

Day 18 (22/09/11)

Ever since I got my Toad and Koopa Troopa soft toys and brought them in to work, everyone's assumed I just like toys. Some of my work friends got me Bert and Ernie toys for my birthday at the start of the year, and we got bored and decided to teach Bert how to type one lazy afternoon.

Day 19 (23/09/11)

As well as the 3pm champagne on Day 16, we got to celebrate our success with a team building pizza making class. There was a competition to see who could make the best pizza so we got creative with our inner geeks and made Pac Man pizzas :) The Pac Man was mine, and basically comprised a layer of mushrooms, anchovies and pepperoni covered in enough cheese to give you a heart attack. Eating it was almost as fun as making it!

Day 20 (24/09/11)

It took me a couple of days, but I finally finished what I started on Day 17. This is my holiday wall, complete with maps, some nice prints from Montmatre, and various tickets and postcards I picked up around Europe and the USA. It makes for a nice change from the big white wall that it used to be.

Day 21 (25/09/11)

For my birthday, I got one of the most thoughtful presents I've received in a while in the form of a couple of books of knitting patterns. In about March I decided to make one of the jackets that was in the book figuring I'd have it ready for Winter. How wrong I was! I finally finished making the pieces after knitting on planes, trains and automobiles, in 3 different continents, over the course of about 6 months :)