I often wish I had an ‘undo’ button in real life, not just on my computer. This feeling generally hits me after moving heavy furniture – when it looked better beforehand – or when I’ve been a bit too vicious… Read More ›
All I wanted for Christmas was some concrete & a few rocks
A pile of concrete greeted me on my return after a recent holiday. When I saw my neighbour a few days later, he asked, “Are you happy with the concrete?” What he really meant was, “Were you serious when you… Read More ›
Should the tampon tax be abolished?
Originally posted on Sustainability soapbox:
Apologies for an extended period of radio silence. I’ve been writing a novel and short stories that use storytelling to educate readers about environmental and social issues, such as homelessness and menstruation. (Does every blogger…
A different type of space that can change your life (Rites of Passage Part 1)
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few decades studying how we design, experience and use spaces. This includes completing a Planning & Design degree that covered everything from contemporary and ancient buildings and gardens to whole suburbs, cities,… Read More ›
Some of the best things in life are free (Be tempted by salinity & nuclear power art)
I never cease to be amazed by the range of high quality exhibitions, talks and other events on offer in Canberra. Not bad for a big country town (that just happens to also be a national capital). In particular, there are… Read More ›
Writers come out of the romance closet for Valentine’s Day
Last Saturday, I attended a screening of a film about romance writing called ‘Love between the covers’ at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. (You can watch the trailer and learn more about the film – here.) Beforehand, we had the opportunity to ask some published Canberra… Read More ›
Serendipity (Part 1) – Why are some people luckier than others?
Are you a lucky person? Do ideas and opportunities just seem to jump into your lap? Or do things like that only happen to other people? Sometimes it’s worth taking a chance When Carmel won a free trip for two… Read More ›
Celebrate, respect, remember & sing out loud
It’s Australia Day again (or Straya Day as we say in the local dialect), sparking the inevitable debates about whether this is a day of celebration or shame. We’re also being encouraged to participate in familiar discussions about our national anthem, our flag,… Read More ›
Not simply ‘community art’ – Glimpse the world through the eyes of artists with disabilities & experience of mental illness
I was lucky enough to see the 2015 Connected Art Exhibition in Melbourne last week. It’s finished now but I’ve prepared a short post so more people get to appreciate its creativity and the artists’ insightful comments about their images. (They were on display in the… Read More ›
Superficial – Don’t judge these Italian cakes by their looks
The sign in this food store near the Campo De’ Fiori in Rome reads ‘Ugly but good’. I regret not tasting one of these cakes while I was there. It’s great that some suppliers are now taking a similar approach with odd-shaped… Read More ›
Superstition – Eye spy something creepy in Noto, Sicily
Is this a talisman to ward off the ‘evil eye’ or is it the Freemason symbol that reminds us that God sees all? Is there a connection between the two? I can’t wait to read Veronica Di Grigoli’s latest book, How to Protect Yourself… Read More ›
Superlatives – Does this ‘Organum Maximum’ in Sicily live up to its name?
This photo/story challenge seemed like a good opportunity to find out the story behind the name of the organ in the Duomo di San Giorgio at Ragusa Ibla, Sicily. (Inspector Montalbano fans would probably recognise the Duomo as it regularly features in episodes… Read More ›
Super Pippo to the rescue – Make the most of your superpowers
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of Goofy sitting in a Palermo shop window. Italians call this adorable but frustrating Disney character ‘Pippo’. In addition to sharing similar names, I have a real soft spot for Pippo as he is perennially distracted and disaster-prone – but somehow everything… Read More ›
Supercibo – Superfood Italian-style
I have no idea if this cafe in Trastevere, Rome sells healthy ‘superfood’ or unhealthy ‘fastfood’ as it was closed. I suspect the latter given the speed at which Superman appears to be shovelling down this mountain of (lentil?) burgers. ************* This is… Read More ›
Rags to rhinestones – Dolly Parton’s anti-bullying coat & free books for children
Has anyone ever made fun of you? Or have you watched someone being bullied and did nothing to help? Perhaps you were the one laughing at a person who was ‘different’? If your answer is yes, then you’re not alone…. Read More ›
Will nature survive long enough to reach its full potential?
I recently visited the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne and was prompted to look beyond the impact of climate change on humans and to consider the plight of nature itself. On the top floor was the Nature/Revelation exhibition that forms part of the… Read More ›
Why we still need to stop & draw the roses
I recently discovered a fantastic new app called ‘Waterlogue’ that can turn photos into really good watercolour paintings. It’s a bargain for only a couple of dollars!* (Here’s a picture using Waterlogue that I prepared earlier of my neighbour’s dog and her favourite… Read More ›
Strine (Part 4) – Aussie racism, the economy & picking up wogs
I’ve been feeling quite ashamed of being an Australian lately – especially when I watch documentaries by Simon Reeves and other TV presenters that discuss our country’s past and present treatment of indigenous Australians and refugees. For a country that prides itself on… Read More ›
Using warm drinks to break the ice
Most of us are aware that drinking alcohol helps to encourage interaction between strangers, but did you know that any beverage that makes you feel ‘warm’ inside can have a similar effect? This is because we generally equate ‘warmth’ with emotions like affection, love and comfort. As… Read More ›
Explore the Elements: Thomas Cook Photography Competition
Thomas Cook is running a photography competition. The rules are simple: post four photographs, each one representing the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Click here for Competition Details. My blogger nominations are listed below – but hurry as the… Read More ›
The Great Aussie Dialect (Part 3) – Does it matter if we talk Strine?
Among other things, this series of posts aimed to back up the claim that our contemporary Australian dialect, Strine, is one of the world’s most advanced English dialects. (This is Part 3. Parts 1 and 2 are here & here.) It also set out to demonstrate… Read More ›
The Great Aussie Dialect – History & humour in action (Part 2)
Note: This is Part 2 of my post about the contemporary Australian dialect (‘Strine’) – one of the world’s most advanced English dialects! Make sure you read Part 1 first – here. The long & short of it To make up for adding extra… Read More ›
The Great Aussie Dialect – humour & history in action (Part 1)
I recently stumbled upon an interesting site (www.convictcreations.com) claiming that the contemporary Australian dialect (‘Strine’) is “one of the world’s most advanced English dialects.” The author went on to explain that speakers of Strine can understand kiwis (New Zealanders), poms (Brits), yanks (Americans – no matter which… Read More ›
New Year reflections on time, life & the universe
I’ve just been reading that the chances of the universe (and the planet that we call home) having been formed by a massive number of very specific random events are so slight that even die-hard atheists are questioning their (lack of) belief…. Read More ›
Did Santa just drive down my street on the back of a ute?
Originally posted on Sustainability soapbox:
A good friend of mine, Brendo, donates his time each December to spread Christmas cheer and glad tidings across the region. He bolts an armchair and two dining room chairs to the tray of a…
We supersize other things, so why not snow domes?
☆ If what goes up, must come down – does it then follow that what gets smaller, must become bigger again? (like mobile phones) And what grows large, must eventually shrink? (like this huge inflatable Christmas snow dome when it is unplugged)… Read More ›
Press here for coffee?
Same tram stop sign that played the Messiah a few weeks ago (here). I keep pressing the sign and hoping for a coffee…
How did you find people before phone books & social media?
In Victoria (Australia), you probably would have used a Sands & McDougall Directory to find people in the days before telephone directories & the Internet. These impressive publications were compiled annually between 1857 and 1974 and listed the occupants at every business and residence,… Read More ›
If you want to stand out or confuse insects, wear Gaultier stripes
A major theme running through the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition in Melbourne is horizontal blue and white stripes. They are everywhere – on the walls, on the clothes, and in the video clips of catwalks. And in this painted photograph by… Read More ›
Behold! Music at a tram stop!
The same tram stop that I wrote about a few weeks ago (here) is now home to a new installation – an interactive ad promoting performances of the Messiah next month. While you wait for your tram, you press the button in the centre… Read More ›
Don’t throw out your scrabble set! (Locative literature Part 2)
This is a special post dedicated to the author of ‘Hoarder Comes Clean‘ blog. Sandy (self-professed hoarder) is currently in the process of clearing out her cupboards and basement and will now blame me if she can’t bear to get rid of any scrabble board… Read More ›
Decadent desserts, chocolate treats & goal setting
While dining at a restaurant the other day, I was initially delighted when a large portion of tiramisù was placed before me. However, I soon realised that this rich dessert was likely to test my commitment to avoiding and minimising waste. Should I… Read More ›
Locative literature in a third place (Public art at a Melbourne tram stop)
I love to discover obscure, unexpected and ephemeral delights – such as temporary art installations. Hence my excitement when I chanced upon some ‘locative literature’ while waiting for a tram near Flinders Street Station in Melbourne last week! Sixteen very… Read More ›
Day of the Orchids – Fact really is stranger than fiction
I spent a lovely afternoon at the Canberra Spring Orchid Show last Sunday. What an incredible and diverse family of plants! It was great to see these magnificent plants in the flesh – including a spectacular Sydney Rock Orchid sporting large spikes… Read More ›
Competition for tree hollows in a suburban backyard
In case anyone is unconvinced about how serious the competition is for tree hollows in Australia, I have made a short film about something that really happened in my neighbour’s backyard in Canberra yesterday morning! It also acts as a warning for people thinking… Read More ›
Orchids – Sordid tales of lust, deception & unrequited love
Orchids go to great lengths to attract the insects that are vital to their survival. Like humans, they put on a pretty dress, slap on some lipstick and perfume, flirt and promise sexual favours and gifts (but do not always… Read More ›
A neighbourhood within a neighbourhood – Avian squatters at Eucalypt Hollow
Spring has arrived in Canberra! Gardens and parks are bursting with the glorious colours of wattle, blossom and bulbs – and are every so often topped with a rainbow halo after much-needed seasonal showers. The large eucalypt outside my living room… Read More ›
Post script re ladybirds, dung beetles & cane toads
I am very excited to report that my copies of ‘We go to the gallery’ have just arrived!! Some of you may remember my previous posts about Miriam Elia’s satirical look at contemporary art in the form of a 1960s ‘Ladybird Book’… Read More ›
Warm Trees 2014 – Dragons, scarves & spiderwebs
The highlight of the ‘Warm Trees’ exhibition (25 July – 31 Aug 2014) at Canberra’s National Arboretum was a single tree on Dairy Farmers’ Hill near the ‘Nest’ sculpture. Here, some inspired yarn bombers created beautiful silvery cobwebs that glistened in… Read More ›
Hidden talent – homeless art & poetry
This week I saw an exhibition of homeless art, stories and poetry that was displayed in shop windows along Carlisle Street, Balaclava and Fitzroy Street, St Kilda in Melbourne. It was both uplifting and heart-wrenching at the same time. The ‘No fixed address’ community… Read More ›
Do sculptures really need development approvals & building permits? At what cost?
A large outdoor sculpture in a small Australian country town has faced more than its fair share of debate over the past two decades. The sculpture, known as ‘Dreamer’s Gate’, provoked a series of complaints from members of the local community and… Read More ›
Charity begins at home – with a pair of knitting needles or crochet hook
Knitting and crocheting are no longer just for the blue rinse set. These crafts are enjoying a renaissance across all age groups and are being used to help others and to create cheerful and creative temporary art installations. The knitters and crocheters also receive benefits through… Read More ›
We can all be cheerleaders
Apparently competitive cheerleading is becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Some Melbourne schools even offer this sport as an elective subject. However, cheerleading is incredibly dangerous – with high levels of catastrophic and other serious injuries (as well as rivalry between contenders for the limited positions… Read More ›
Altered perspectives & foreshortening in the real world
Most people who have studied art or tried their hand at life drawing in the past 500 years or so will probably have learnt about perspective (the optical illusion that causes objects close to us to appear larger than those… Read More ›
Using art & social media to raise awareness about deforestation
It was great news that UNESCO unanimously rejected Australia’s bid to delist a large of area of old growth native forest in Tasmania earlier this week (especially as these areas were only awarded World Heritage status last year). However, the… Read More ›
Car faces & body language
Humans have a fascinating tendency to see faces in random things, such as clouds. This phenomenon is called ‘paleidolia’. We do the same with cars – and often ascribe personality traits to these inanimate objects based on their front end features. “Even if people don’t… Read More ›
Let’s do the blog hop!
Thank you to the fabulous (three) mothers at 4mothers1blog for inviting me to participate in a blog hop asking bloggers why they write. Carol, Beth-Anne and Nathalie have already shared the ins and outs of why and how they write (here, here and here)… Read More ›
Dandelions – weed or feed?
I was gardening the other day and pulled out a whole lot of dandelions (Taraxacum officinale), planning to give them to the neighbour’s chooks. Next I was going to re-establish the vege patch and start growing my own spinach and other greens again. Then it occurred… Read More ›
Using wombats to promote your blog and support good causes
I am a big believer in the power of ‘word of mouth’ marketing and ‘peer to peer’ referrals. These models rely on trust and are especially well suited to blogs – where a recommendation, link or other promotion via a blogger that you… Read More ›
Every cloud really does have a silver lining
What do you do after a bad day at work? Some people eat or drink to excess. My friend Peter draws. Those who choose to over-indulge end up with a hangover or overweight – while Pete ends up with great… Read More ›