28 February 2012

Five happy days in Melbourne!

Well, I was hoping to get a bit of warmth in Australia and Melbourne certainly turned on the sunshine and the heat (and then the humidity and the rain).  It's been a fabulous five days hanging out with family and friends (including meeting some on-line friends for the first time - the lovely lady behind Bess Georgette en route in Hong Kong, and the gorgeous Dannielle on a rainy Melbourne afternoon).

There's been tree climbing (the nephews, not me...), swimming and sliding, and perhaps a little bit too much shopping (I'm currently putting off the tricky task of trying to fit everything in my suitcase, I'm not entirely convinced it can be done).

As always, my Melbourne visit has been about food, food, food!  I've eaten as much cheese, crumpets and Summer fruits as is humanly possible in five short days; had the most delicious Thai meal at Longrain (so very tasty!); enjoyed tacos in the park on a very sunny Sunday; and shared some delicious dishes at The Aylesbury with my sister and mum.  Yum.

Next stop Sydney and Port Stephens - crossing my fingers for not too much rain...

19 February 2012

Everyday Objects : Vintage Cactus Glasses

I'm not a hoarder, but I'm by no means a minimalist either.  I do like having things, but they need to be carefully selected things.  Over the years my husband and I have built up a nice collection of everyday objects, things that we use day in day out but that speak to us in some way.  

Be they tacky or beautiful, simply styled or elaborately decorated, each of these things that we own have something delightful about them - a link to a fond travel memory, a handmade touch, thoughts of family or friends, classic design, vintage quirk or maybe just being perfectly designed to match a specific purpose.  

And I think we should all celebrate and enjoy the elements of design in our day to day lives.  Maybe you have a special cup for your tea each morning?  Or perhaps a crochet blanket made by your Nana that you snuggle under each night?  Yes, these are just 'things', but I think these small objects bring a little bit of happiness in to our lives when we use them each day.  

So, with that rather long winded and somewhat high reaching introduction, welcome to the first 'everyday objects' post on Good Things*!  Some of the objects I'm going to share with you have a story, some don't.  These vintage cactus glasses don't, but they are possibly my most favourite glasses ever, and I feel quite privileged to have them in my cupboard.

I first spied them in Mahleewan's fabulous Etsy shop Retro Rubbish whilst I was on a rather obsessive hunt for some vintage yellow napkins.  It was love at first sight, international shipping and all.

I've since learned that these glasses were given away by a chain of Arizona based gas stations in the 1950s and 1960s (read more here).  And (oh dear!) that apparently there is a matching pitcher, and a juice set, and dinnerware all with a cactus theme.  All of which I think I might need to track down...

13 February 2012

Organising 2012 : Cleaning up and clearing out

With so much happening this year (and so much I want to make happen) I've been determined to kick 2012 off with a clean, organised, focussed start.  From my blog reading it seems I'm not the only one - there's a lot of de-cluttering going on out there!  

Here's what I've been up to:

First up, I spent an entire day cleaning up my appallingly over stuffed inbox.  I deleted thousands of old emails and switched my interface from Yahoo to Mac Mail (everyone said I wouldn't be able to do it with a free Yahoo account, but it's working fine).  I've set up a bunch of 'rules' so that all those pesky not-so-important emails are automatically filed, so I can deal with them when I have a bit of spare time.  My Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter notifications automatically go into a 'Social Media' folder, and my blog subscriptions automatically go into a 'Blogs to Read' folder.  All of which means I've been able to get my inbox under double figures for the first time in years, and I've kept it that way since the clean up too. Such a good feeling.

Next, after some not so gentle persuasion from my horrified husband, I finally tackled the mess that is my craft storage area.  There's a tiny space tacked on to my office which is meant to be a drying room, but I've filled it with shelving and have been dumping all manner of things in there for the past two years. 
Scary, huh?

It took two solid days of sorting and throwing out, but here's what it looks like now:
Ferdi helped clean up...

Lastly, I've set myself two simple rules to help de-clutter (and to avoid future clutter).  If I purchase any new item of clothing I have to clear something out of my wardrobe and bin it, sell it, or give it away.  And if I buy a new magazine, I have to get rid of two magazines from the giant Tower of Publications.  Manageable goals which make the whole thing less overwhelming, and they'll make a big difference over time.

Are you getting organised in 2012?  I'd love to hear how you're tackling it if you are!

12 February 2012

Collecting Colour : February is Coral [UPDATED!]

Ahhh, coral!  You're not quite pink and not quite orange.  You're happy and bright but kind of gauche and a little bit trashy too.  I love you on my nails and my wrists.  You make me think of flashy gold baubles, early 90s excess, Kath and Kim and the Gold Coast.  I'm not sure why I'm mildly obsessed with you, perhaps it's the way you so successfully walk the fine line between lady and vamp (or maybe tramp?).

This is my second attempt at collecting some coral (hence the updated post) and I'm much happier with it this time around.  If you're interested, here's the original collection I did:

ps. I know 'coral' was / will be a bit of a challenge for some of you (it was even tricky for me, and it's one of my favourite colours).  Sorry.  It will get easier from here, I mean next month is green - should be seriously easy, right?

* * * * * * *

Every month through 2012 I'll be 'collecting colour', and you can join in too!  Link up below, and/or add your photo to the Flickr group here.  And go here to get all the information you need.

10 February 2012

Death by Doxie : Spot the Elfi!

It's finally been a bit chilly here in Seoul of late, and Elfi is not quite as equipped to cope with it as the fluffy Ferdi is.  There's an Elfi hiding from the cold in there somewhere - can you spot her?

07 February 2012

Holiday Slideshow : San Francisco

The last stop on out US adventure was San Francisco.  San Fran has a special place in my travel memories - it was the first American city I ever visited, and what a wonderful introduction to America it was!  I have fond memories of warm days spent wandering up and down hills, lazily admiring the gorgeous 'Painted Ladies', eating delicious chewy crust pizza, smelling the sea salt in the air and just generally picturing myself becoming a local.  

And this visit was really more of the same.  We ate great food, held our noses while laughing at the antics of the Pier 39 sea lions, caught a cable car up a ridiculously steep hill, admired the city from the top of Coit Tower and watched the mist roll over the city.  

We also visited Alcatraz where I took roughly half a million photos, which was actually quite restrained considering...

06 February 2012

Holiday Slideshow : Vegas baby!*

I adore Vegas.  It's one of those only-in-America places.  These days you might find similarily ridiculous over-the-top, just-because-we-can, ostentatiousness in places like Macau and Dubai, but they don't come with the history, heart and sense of pure fun that you find in Vegas.

If you google 'kids in Vegas' you'll find all kinds of sites telling you that Vegas is not a family holiday destination.  But both the step-sons loved Vegas - in the post trip review that we always do, Vegas was the bit that everyone agreed was completely ace. (FYI, the step-sons are 11 and 13 years old.  Also FYI, we don't gamble.)

They were intrigued by the stories of how Vegas was developed, they loved the idea that all this crazy stuff was built just for fun, and they never got tired of making jokes about France being right next door to Egypt which was right next door to New York... They loved all the great meals (especially one at Switch - a super tasty steakhouse in the Wynn where the decor changes every 20 minutes or so), and the view from our amazing room at the Bellagio (see photo above).  Vegas was a hit - and that's even though we didn't have time to visit the sharks at Mandalay Bay, ride the roller coaster at New York, New York, or even go for a swim!

Probably the most amazing thing we did in Vegas was a helicopter ride out to the Grand Canyon, via the Hoover Dam and all kinds of amazing desert landscapes.  The weather wasn't great - there was a lot of rain and mist about - which meant we couldn't land in the Canyon, but it was still pretty amazing.

Seeing as I have inherited my Mum's dislike of flying, small spaces and heights this part of the trip was somewhat challenging for me.  Especially as the pilot decided the front seat was the best place to put me.  I was basically in a perspex bubble, vibrating high above the earth.  For the first 45 minutes I was completely kind of freaking out, much to the amusement of my fellow passengers.  

If you haven't experienced that kind of panic before, it's like your brain just constantly screams at you 'get out NOW', but you can't, so you're trapped, and it's not very fun, at all.  And also clearly not very logical.  And a bit embarrassing, especially once the swearing kicks in.  I've found ways to calm myself down (counting is good, as is photography - they give me something else to focus on).  And once my body/brain got used to the way the chopper moved it was all okay.  So for the last 45 minutes I was actually able to stop freaking out and enjoy the views.

*As we helpfully taught the step sons on this trip, you can never ever just say 'Vegas'.  It's always always 'Vegas, baby!'.

03 February 2012

Holiday Slideshow : Hoover Dam!*

Before we hit the bright lights of Vegas (baby) we headed to Hoover Dam.  I had pretty low expectations here because when it comes to giant feats of engineering and historical milestones I've really only got about five minutes of 'wow, that's cool' or 'hmmm, interesting' in me before I start getting bored, bored, bored.  So it was a pleasant surprise to find that the Hoover Dam was in fact amazing.  A prefect combination of stunning natural scenery and grand human design, with just enough interesting factual tidbits scattered about the place.  

It was built in the early-mid 1930s, and the public areas were purposefully designed to be beautiful, so there are all kinds of gorgeous Art Deco touches everywhere.  Whilst everyone else on our tour was agog at how much cement was needed to build the thing (over 5,000,000,000 barrels if you're curious), I was obsessing over light fittings and tiles and mosaics and fonts and the way the tunnels curved just so. It was wonderful!
*Said in Penguins of Madagascar style, aka this.

01 February 2012

Collecting Colour : Information for you!

Well, it turns out that some of you are excited about the Collecting Colour challenge, which is pretty ace but it's also made me realise I have no idea what I'm doing.  No, really.  No idea.  It's fairly obvious I'm just making this up as I go along.  But, thanks to some key questions from more seasoned bloggers/challenge participants (I'm looking at you Saylor Made and Brandi!) I've finally got myself kind of sort of maybe organised.

What is the Collecting Colour challenge? Each month you curate a collection of objects based around the colour for that month, photograph it and post it somewhere (your blog, Flickr, Instagram).    

Where can I post my links? In the first week of each month I'll be doing a Collecting Colour blog post which will include a place to put your links (like this one). 

Does it matter if I miss a month? No, of course not!  Join in whenever and however you can.

So, I think that's it.  Let me know if I missed anything (which I probably have).  Have fun!

Holiday Slideshow : Death Valley

These pics were taken at Zabriskie Point, in Death Valley.  Pretty amazing huh?  Death Valley is pretty amazing actually - apparently it's one of the hottest, driest, lowest places on earth (I was pretty glad we were there in the cool season, I imagine it would be almost unbearable in Summer).  There's peaks and troughs and giant salt plains; there's sand and stone of all colours and mighty, ferocious winds.  And apparently some scenes from the original Star Wars were filmed there.  Awesome.

With all these wonderful natural patterns around me, I couldn't resist taking a few black and white shots. I think Death Valley looks pretty great sans colour, don't you?