Thursday, October 09, 2014

an actual pillow

A long, long time ago, Hugh and I made a map pillow case together. Remember?? Probably not, it was a while ago.

But we sewed it...together. Then we went straight out and bought a pillow to put inside it, and some buttons to fasten it closed. And then, a year and three months later, I attached the buttons!



When we were in Italy, Kasia gave me this super cute owl. He came with little scissors and a spool of twine which feeds through his beak. He helped inspire me to finally finish the map pillow!



I tried to think piratey thoughts as I attached the buttons. When it came to the fasteners, my piratey thought was that the twine wasn't rope-like enough. What would a pirate do? Why, he'd make one of those knotted hair wrap things that we used to make in middle school!

Okay, that sounds a bit absurd, but when I think about, Captain Jack Sparrow definitely had a couple in his hair.


So I got to knotting, and made some little loops to hook around the buttons. And that was it! I finished something! As much as I looove procrastinating, finishing projects feels pretty amazing.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

edinburgh 2014

So, wow, news, right? Hugh and I have been back from our trip for a week now. It was a lot of fun! We went to Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and northern Italy.

I'll always remember Edinburgh as being stunningly beautiful, but it still took my breath away all over again. Every turn you take in the city presents a view or vista like none anywhere else in the world. And the weather was just perfect.


We stayed at the Grassmarket Hotel, which is a new boutique hotel in, well, the Grassmarket. When we lived in Edinburgh, Hugh lived just up the other end of the Grassmarket, near all the strip clubs, so it felt like home being back in that area. The hotel was really nice as well (though super humid and very "cosy"). We enjoyed our stay there. It didn't take long to confirm, though, that I am definitely allergic to Edinburgh. Sad, hey?








At the end of our first full day there, when we were still battling jet lag, Hugh had a surprise for me. It was a little black box with a ring in it! He's such a romantic, and a sweetie, and doesn't he have good taste? It has cherry blossoms all the way around. He's definitely a keeper. The jet lag may have prevented us both from handling the proposal in the best possible way, though, and I'm sure our grandchildren will love hearing about how I shouted "What is this?!" at their grandfather when he gave me an engagement ring.


And here we are at the pub where we first met. It was first week back at university, and the pub was chock full of freshman being hazed, so we didn't linger. We had to make a pilgrimage back to where it all started, though.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

diy travel journal

We travel to the UK in less than a week! Then Italy a week after that! I'm so very excited!

I've been spending an inordinate amount of time on stationery websites lately. Blogs about stationery, websites selling stationery, photos of other peoples' artistic stationery. I stumbled on the Seaweed Kisses blog and her description of how she uses her Midori Travellers Notebook. "What's that?" I asked myself, and followed the link to a shop selling them. That website provided even more journaling inspiration, and before I knew it, I was obsessed with having a new travel journal for this trip! The website provided several options, but I knew Hugh would judge me for buying ANOTHER notebook/journal. I have several in current use, as well as multiple waiting to be used. I have one Kikki.K journal I bought months ago that still has the wrapping on.

Also, I've had travel journals in the past, and haven't used them, or have used them for the first two days, then not the rest of the trip. Do I really need another unfinished journal sitting around the house?

I also love the idea of "smash" journals, or commonplace books as they were known in the olden days. One notebook that I can put everything in. Clippings, to do lists, thoughts, etc.

So I decided to use one of the three journals that I am currently using (and is super cute to boot), and turn part of it into a travel journal. Here's what I did!



First of all, ya gotta have a map of the world, just in case you forget where you're going or where home is. I googled world map pics, and printed this one out. Then what? Why, washi tape treatment, of course! Also, every good travel journal provides an area for your packing list. Some even include suggestions of ten or so common items to pack. The Moleskin travel journal assumes very little, printing only "toothbrush" on its packing lists. Clean underwear be damned!



Then I wanted a monthly calendar spread.



And pages to devote to scheduling each day of our trip. Not that I plan to schedule every moment! Hugh and I are both definitely fly by the seats of our pants-ers.



I wanted an expenses spread. I have absolutely no idea how to budget for this trip, so I'll record how much I end up spending, and maybe that'll give me an idea for future trips.

Then planning pages for each city, which I get to fill out now! Yay!



I also did a page for addresses, and an envelope stuck in to hold stamps and other bits, and more envelopes throughout. I'm pretty proud of how these two turned out!



For a while, I've been wanting a way to print out little daily photos for my daily journal. I thought about getting a Fuji Instax camera, which is basically a modern-day Polaroid camera. Then I was looking at a new Polaroid camera that has a bit more functionality than the Instax. Then Hugh was like, "Why don't you just buy the Fuji Instax printer, then you can print photos off of your phone?" Uh, the what-what? Off my phone? Why yes, that is actually exactly what I wanted. So I bought one! It arrived yesterday and I love it! It's only little, so I can bring it on the trip. And it prints any photo off of your phone or Instagram or Facebook accounts. The photo printed below (which is still in the processing of developing there) is from Valentine's Day 2013.


Friday, August 29, 2014

big news

So yeah...I GOT MY VISA!!!!!!!!!!!! Woohooooooo!!!!




I got it on Tuesday, while I was at work. My boss and coworkers were all really happy for me. I emailed Hugh and then called him, and he was all "Yeah, whatever, I knew you'd get it." Honestly, my friends and coworkers were more excited than he was. Silly boy.

It took 14 months to the day. That's a long flippin' time. And they still took my money for the travel visa, which I now no longer need. But it's a small price to pay, eh?

I've thought a lot over the last several months about how excitedly I would blog about getting my visa. But it's been four days and I'm only just getting around to it. I guess I did feel a bit like Hugh, that it was bound to come soon and it's not that big a deal. But at the same time, I feel more secure. In a way, I feel more like a person. That sounds weird, doesn't it? I don't know how else to describe it. I feel validated. I mean, I had rights to stay while waiting for the visa, and full work rights, and I had a job with a two-year contract. I even had free access to the national health service. Nothing has actually changed now that the visa is approved, except that there's now no possibility of being given 28 days notice to leave the country. And that wasn't even a very likely scenario. But I feel different all the same. It's a sense of security.

Friday, August 15, 2014

I wished for stickers

I was a bit annoyed today. Okay, more than a bit. I might have shed a couple tears.

I was frustrated with immigration. It's been 13.5 months since I lodged my visa application. It cost $4000 to apply. To travel to the US last October, I had to pay another $125 for a travel visa (to allow me to reenter Australia). Well now we're about to travel to the UK, and because my partner visa is still pending, I had to apply for another travel visa, this time $140. I went into the immigration office on Monday to apply, and the woman told me that they wouldn't process my travel visa application until closer to our travel dates, and they wouldn't charge me the money until they did, so that could give my partner visa more time to be processed.

And that's where the trouble started: I started fantasising that my partner visa would be processed before we travel, perhaps even by the end of the week! I wouldn't have to worry any more, my long year and a bit of wondering would be over, and I'd be saved $140! (That's the most important bit ��)

So I was probably a little bit too disappointed today when I received an email saying that my travel visa was approved and thank you very much for the $140. Grr. Does that mean they have no intention of processing and deciding on my partner visa for at least three more weeks?

It's really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I have a well-paying job! I've got savings for this trip (finally). I can certainly afford $140. I'm just being impatient.

I had a cookie last night with a birthday candle, and I wished for stickers. So Hugh bought me stickers today because he knew I was upset. Mwaaaaahhhhhh!! He is the sweetest! He also bought me a little journal with a lions face on it! He is really too good to be true.


(I also bought myself stickers today, totally forgetting that I had wished for them last night.)

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

not moving to Sydney

About a month ago, Hugh had a job interview in Sydney, and they offered him the job on the spot! So we were expecting to move to Sydney around November. I told all my friends we were moving, but was waiting, for various reasons, to tell my boss. And I didn't want to blog about it before then.

Now, again for various reasons, Hugh has decided not to take the job. So yeah, the news is that there is no news! Nothing has changed, and we are maintaining status quo, for now.

Which is nice. Melbourne is a pretty nice place to be. Sydney has better weather, but Melbourne was voted best coffee in the world on TripAdvisor, so there you go.


Monday, July 28, 2014

flow

You guys, I found this awesome magazine this weekend! It was at our local newsagent, the one with the post office at the back. I always check the magazine rack for knitting mags whenever I go to the post office, and they have a sort of decent but mostly crappy selection. So I was really surprised the other day to find Pompom Mag, a knitting magazine from the UK which, the last time I checked, was only sold in one or two stores in the whole of Australia.

But there weren't any patterns in the most recent issue that I liked, so I didn't buy it. But this caught my eye:



At first, I thought it was another slightly wanky, self-important artsy magazine. But it came with a little 30-day journal and had an article on Pippi Longstocking, so I was intrigued. I decided to splurge the $15 for it, and I'm so glad I did! I love it! I'm considering buying a copy for everyone I know! It's from the Netherlands, and this is their international version. It's beautiful throughout, and intelligent and inspiring.

It's all about mindfulness. I think Becky and John have been trying to sell me on some version of mindfulness for years. A few weeks ago at the pub, my softball friend, Julia, was telling me about how she tries to live mindfully, and I very rudely rolled my eyes at her descriptions of what's involved. I taught her to knit a couple months ago, and she was describing how she tries to knit mindfully, and it just sounded...boring!

I've heard the phrase "mindfulness" a few times recently, but haven't really known what it was. I just thought it was trying to be a bit more thoughtful and aware. Apparently, it's a whole branch of psychology! Oxford offers a degree in it!

Anyhoo, this magazine has helped me to see the whole thing from a new perspective, and maybe I'll call Julia and beg her forgiveness and ask her to teach me more.







Monday, June 02, 2014

sick day

[Crap, I wrote this ages ago and meant to post it! It's from June.]

I'm taking a sick day today. I've got a bit of a sore throat, which I'm hoping doesn't become anything more than that! So I'm knitting, naturally. I currently have three projects going. That seems to be my average, and maybe explains why it takes me months to finish any one thing :-/

On Friday, I started a bralette using a 4-ply Fiberspates yarn that I bought in Hobart (Tasmania) last year. I'm still working on getting the sizing right, so I've just had to start over, but as I was doing so, our doorbell rang. I had a package!

A package from Izzi and Tim! A birthday package! (I checked the postage date, and Izzi and Tim had sent the parcel well in advance of my birthday. They're so thoughtful! Royal Mail and/or AusPost, however, decided to hold onto it for a little while, so today is almost three months to the day since Tisobel sent it. Lol!)

There was a cute little tea infuser inside, which I took as a hint that I should make myself a big pot of tea, and that has turned out to be a fantastic idea. I bought a tea infuser in Paris that had a little green Eiffel Tower at the end, but the Eiffel Tower came off during one of my many international moves, and we've just been using the infuser without a catcher-thingey, which does not work very well.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

negative nancy strikes again

We had a big meeting today with the organisation that commissioned the big project I've been working on. It was their opportunity to comment on our first draft and provide feedback. They didn't have too much to critique, and the things they mentioned should be relatively easy to fix. They did say that they'll give themselves two weeks to really go through it and make notes of all their concerns. So I came out of the meeting terrified. My boss's boss came out of the meeting really positive and upbeat about it. I had to take a coffee and muffin break this afternoon to clear my brain and figure out why I was being so negative!

I know it's no surprise to any of you that I'm a pessimist. Part of my negative feelings relating to this meeting have to do with my own insecurities about the quality and completeness of my work, and the worry that any minute now, someone is going to point out huge flaws in it. I realised that I was assuming this was an iceberg situation: the feedback they gave in the meeting today was just them scratching the surface of the tip of an iceberg. They were just being polite, surely! Two weeks from now, I'll receive pages and pages of comments and the whole bloody thing will need a complete overall!

My boss's boss, on the other hand, heard their few criticisms and assumed it was the worst they could possibly muster. As far as he's concerned, if that's the worse, then we're doing great! They failed to congratulate us on what an awesome job we did, but if they didn't come right out and say, "The document you have submitted is a massive disappointment and not what we were hoping for at all," then they must be relatively happy with it, right?

Yes. Yes, I think so. I need to go home, look at myself in the bathroom mirror, and remind myself that I'm awesome.