Friday, October 30, 2009

Strange days indeed

We are having some very weird weather here at present. 28 degrees celsius and pouring with rain. Very tropical for this part of the world. The summer roses are in bloom and speckled with rain...but perhaps this mismatched picture and the peculiar conditions in general suit my own slightly discordant mood this week!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Although the Buddha says that we should not look for solutions in distant lands, but within our own hearts, regular readers here will know that I have a tendency to look to distant lands quite often! Not for solutions necessarily, but to feed my imagination - feed my heart, if you like - so perhaps it works out as amounting to the same thing?

At present, I am feeling that tingle in my wandering feet again and as well as my favourite locales - Japan, Europe - I am thinking too of India. I have been watching "The Jewel in the Crown" on one of the new digital channels here late every Sunday night and although I watched it with my parents when it was first released in the early 80s, I didn't really understand it then. Critics I'm sure could (and probably did) call it 'Brideshead in a Hot Cilmate' (with apologies to Nancy Mitford) since they were made at about the same time, but I am really enjoying it. I studied Indian history for a year as an undergrad at uni and so I am slowly recalling bits and pieces of long-forgotten facts as it goes along. As well as that, I have also just started reading E.M. Forster's A Passage to India which, although I have loved the film for some time, I dismissed the book as boring. I am now finding it to be really engaging and so vividly depicted. Has anyone else read it? I would have loved to put a clip of either "The Jewel in the Crown" or "A Passage to India" up here but there were no clips of the former to be found on You Tube and the latter's clips had been disabled. Huh. However, last but by no means least, I can bring you a gorgeous clip from "Monsoon Wedding", a lovely, lovely, lovely movie which you have to seek out if you haven't seen it already. And, needless to say, it presents a more modern view of India than the titles mentioned above! This song is one of my favourites from the soundtrack (the sound is a little subdued, so crank it up a little if you can). I defy you to not be cheered by it.

Has anyone been to India? What's it like?

And one last thing while on the topic of India (sort of), I have lately discovered a very nice little side dish which I have now had two nights running. It sort of reminds me of the cucumber dish which is generally served with pappadums at Indian restaurants. Combine sliced or diced cucumber with natural yoghurt and a little finely chopped or minced garlic. The proportions of each are to your own taste. Mmmm.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Simple, Simple, Simple...

Sorry to be absent for a couple of days, but my headache--tummyache combo got the better of me! I am beginning to feel a little better now though. Being ill, though, has given me some time to think and what I've been thinking about is the need for simplicity. This has been a particular realisation for me when it became apparent that my headaches were 1 part to what I was eating to about 3 parts stress.

I know that a lot of what stresses me is about how I process stress, how I respond to it. But I think part of it is also about what is around me. I work largely from home and loving thrifting as I do, I now find myself with a large amount of stuff in a small house--trying to get some work done. So, what to do? Well, part of my answer which I am gradually putting in place this week is to follow (what I believe to be) a Japanese aesthetic. Minimise. Put things away. Don't have everything out on surfaces. Give space. Have the room to just be. I realise that I will never have a totally minimalist house. It would in fact just be an additional stress to aim for something which is impractical for someone who does still like stuff! But I think a little bit of streamlining is in order. Just little things to start. So, my tea chest which was gathering dust (the tea is in jars instead), is now housing my cardmaking stuff instead. That way, my crafty goods are off the study desktop and into draws. The design of the tea-chest is even a little Japanese, though it is from Ikea. Anyway, it's a start. If you're of a similar mindset, try to get hold of Japan Style by Taschen Books. So. Very. Beautiful.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me

A lighter note to end the week - perhaps. The Muppet Movie, from which this song is taken, was the first movie I saw at the cinema. And Kermit the Frog was my first love. I didn't realise he wasn't a real frog until I was 5. Seriously. It seemed completely plausible to me that a frog could talk. I think this says a few things: that I was very gullible, very naive or very imaginative. Or all three. And perhaps these descriptors still fit, which would explain all sorts of other things too!

Also, I've always rather liked the lyrics to "The Rainbow Connection". I know they're a bit syrupy, and certainly that angle has been played up over the years, but I also think the song talks about keeping your hope alive in the face of disappointment. Or at least that's what it says to me. Either way, enjoy and have a lovely weekend :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Are hamburgers Kapha, Pitta or Vata?

You may have realised by now that I am a fairly introspective person. And by 'fairly' I mean 'very' :) But of late, I have been even more introspective than usual, just thinking about things. How things in life work, how I go about doing things. And as such, my reading list is wide and a little deep, as you can see from my book stack above.

What has prompted this is really one idea: I could be doing things a little better. I could feel a little better health-wise. I could approach what comes up in life's great cycle a little more calmly. There's room for improvement.

Health-wise, I have been dogged over the last couple of months by chronic sinusitis and a very delicate stomach, prone at the slightest provocation to upsets. But I keep going. Sniff my nasal spray, keep eating the same stuff I've been eating since I grew teeth. And the complaints are still there. Huh. Funny that. Maybe time to re-assess!

So, I've been reading about the Ayurvedic principle of well-being, with special reference to food. Don't ask me to explain it all to you just yet, but what I can tell you is that I am a Pitta-Vata type. Do you know anything about it? I'd love to discuss it with someone. But having said all that, I'm not going to get crazy about it. I'm still going to eat chocolate. Maybe even the odd hamburger if the mood strikes me. But I am going to try and put some of the principles in place - for now, I'm going to try the ideas that work for me, and see how I go. For some it might sound like half-measures, but I've found that the best approach for me is to take things one step at a time, not come over too ascetic or I'll give up. So tonight, I'm going to put together my own version of a Pitta-Vata dish. Rice, sweet potato, carrot, cumin and fennel seeds.

And I'll keep you posted on my journey of 1000 steps.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

'Tis the season...

How did that happen? It seems only a month or two ago that Christmas was here and now here it almost is again. "Only 9 shopping weeks to go!" the advertisements on the radio told me this morning. But I am having a bit more fun with it this year, now that I have got in touch with my crafty side (or, at least, I now have a map which has my crafty side clearly marked on it...!)

So, this week I have started to make Christmas cards. I have come up with these fairly simple, classic designs so far - 'Pax' and 'Peace' - but I am planning to put some others together before the week is out. If you like them, I'm open to taking orders. We can talk via the comments page, or we can swap email addresses and I'll be in touch.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Coming up like a flower

Summer is on its way...our first truly warm day today and the signs of summer are starting to appear. I must admit I brace myself a little. An Australian summer can be a challenging thing! But I am also trying to remind myself that there is still more of spring to come, and that summer has its own rewards...nature's buzz of expectation and activity on a summer's morning...long, cool nights eating dinner in the backyard...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Down by the sea

My Fellow Traveller and I enjoyed a beautiful change of scenery yesterday, down by the sea. About an hour south of where we live, there's a lovely back beach perfect for walking, beachcombing and just sitting and listening to the eternal roar of the ocean. We had a delicious parcel of fish and chips for lunch too, but some of the locals got wind of it and decided they'd just wait on the bonnet of our car until we decided to share...

Friday, October 16, 2009


Of late, I have taken to watching the birds which land in our garden. There are pidgeons, parrots, magpies, sparrows, mynas, wattlejacks and ravens, all mingling in the grass and staking out their spot either on the ground (if there's food to be had) or in the nearby trees. There are turf wars, of course. The wattlejacks tend to move in swiftly and aggressively, taking what food they like the look of and moving off again. The mynas, all in a line, watch the action from the side fence and then move in for their bit of bread/oatmeal/birdseed. The pidgeons quietly plot their course, weaving in and out amongst the other birds, circling the perimeter, avoiding the fights. The parrots sit in the soon-to-be-flowering gum tree, chirping out a commentary and delighting in the knowledge that they have the brightest plummage around. The ravens and the magpies? They do just as they please. No one challenges them. I know I shouldn't put human food out for them, but I figure at least I am not throwing the food out - something is eating it - and at least too these urban birds aren't getting their fill out of the bins at the nearby hamburger place. Of course, when I ventured out to photograph my feathered friends for you, there was a mass evacuation and I managed to snap only a lone, hungry magpie who similarly took flight to a nearby tree once he'd finished off his morning snack.

Since developing this new awareness of the microcosmos around me, I have found two lovely books to stoke my interest (a few images from which there are above). First, the Butterflies and Feathers Painting Book, published in about 1917, with lovely illustrations originally designed for children to copy but just so pretty, and also Frances Pitt's Meet us in the Garden from 1946, with beautiful black-and-white illustrations by Stanley Herbert. Meet us in the Garden? I can think of no better place to meet!

Before I go for the week, I'd like to nominate my next candidate for Kreativ Blogger (see Monday and Tuesday's blogs)...the wonderful Wurst Semmel at Recycled Rex ( The detail with which WS approaches each episode of Kommissar Rex makes this site the only one on the Web worth looking at for all things about our favourite Austrian police hund.

Enjoy your weekend :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Miss Feronia's Feeling for Snow

A musical post today. This is a beautiful piece called "Forgiveness" and it's the theme tune to a Danish crime tv show called Ornen (this is not quite how it's spelt but I'm afraid I can't quite seem to put in the Danish 'O' with a line through it). Here it's called The Eagle. I would love to go to Scandinavia and I must say that the cold, vast landscapes that this song conjures up in my mind appeal to the slightly melancholic aspects of my character! The show itself is a little too bleak for my taste, though - if last night's episode is anything to go by - but the music is sublime. Makes me want to have another go at reading Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow which I bought many years ago while travelling through Vietnam and didn't make much headway with. There are no pictures to distract you with this clip - just sit back and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Crafting - the Good, the Bad and the...

I had a lovely day on Saturday craft shopping with a friend. We started off at a shop specialising in Japanese material, then onto a shop which sells nothing but buttons and then, finally, to a craft fair. I came home with bags of goodies which I emptied out onto the living room floor and gloated over much like I used to many years ago upon returning from the Show with chocolate-filled showbags (In Australia we have 'Royal Agricultural Shows'. They are pretty much the same as a fair in other countries, whereby farm animals are brought to the City for urban folk to look at, you go on rides, you eat junk food and you buy showbags.)

So, I display before you some of the loot of my haul. Gorgeous 'fat quarters' of Japanese material and also some vintage-style material that I bought at the craft fair; lovely little 'things' (for want of a more technical term) to make jewellery with and some art deco-style buttons and two little hearts which I have since made with the material for my parents' wedding anniversary on Thursday (40 years!)

Then, of course, there is a gorgeous project I just had to share with you. I found a Jackie annual from 1979 while thrifting yesterday and this just leapt out at me. The egg-and-bacon hat and matching bag. Just let me know if you'd like to make them, and I'll send you the pattern...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When a picture paints a thousand words...

(Photo courtesy of

Tickled pink as I was with my award yesterday, I got a bit overwhelmed and didn't quite manage to fulfill my duties as a Kreativ Blogger! So, part of the game is to tell you 7 things you didn't know about me. Here goes:

1. When I was at primary school, I was seriously obsessed with the British royal family, especially Lady Diana. I even wanted to have my hair cut like her's. My mother wisely blocked this move.

2. When I was at high school, I was seriously obsessed with the band Bros. The first concert I went to was their's. I joined their fanclub. That year, as a part of our P.E. class, I did a dance routine to "When Will I be Famous?".

3. I believe in ghosts. When I worked at a National Trust building a couple years ago, I heard one.

4. I have a large collection of teddy bears.

5. I am about to start collecting Smurf figurines.

6. I am very sentimental and cry buckets during any even remotely touching movie/tv show/ news report.

7. I don't exercise anywhere near enough, even though I know it's bad for me not to.

There it is. Hope we can still be friends :) So, here are the rules of the Kreativ Blogger award in full:

1. Thank the blogger who awarded you (done - thanks again Bodecea :) )

2. Copy the logo into your blog (done)

3. Link with the blogger who awarded you (done)

4. List 7 things which we do not know about you (done - for better or worse!)

5. Nominate 7 other 'Kreativ Bloggers' (started - I'll keep going with this over the coming week)

6. Link with these bloggers.

7. Inform these bloggers with a comment.
As such, today I would like to nominate Stardust at What's in store for a God-Blessed Box ( This is a beautiful blog with exquisite photography which reminds me so much of why I loved visiting Japan.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thank you!

I have received an award and I am really delighted! My good friend Bodecea over at Bodecea's Palaver ( has awarded me the KreativBlogger award and has also had some very nice things to say about me and In a Yellow Wood! Thank you Bodecea!! What a lovely start to the blogging week :)

I would now like to put forward Pina at Another Beautiful Day ( for the award. Her great blog is full of gorgeous photos of both the lovely cities and beautiful rural areas of Slovenia as well as her thoughtful and interesting posts.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My thumb instead of an onion...

I have long been a fan of the writer Sylvia Plath. At school, we had to learn "The Applicant" for our English Lit exam and in first year uni, I read "The Bell Jar" for the first time (my copy is now well thumbed). While I realise many people are perhaps ambivalent about Plath due to the tendency for her poetry to appeal to angsty university undergrads (!) or for the choices she made in her own life - I continue to just love the way she uses language. If I could manage even a part of what she did with my own writing, I'd be very happy! This poem, "Cut", is a delight for me. Such richly envisaged, cleverly employed words - and crafting such a piece about something so commonplace as cutting your finger while cooking. Brilliant. I was especially thrilled to find clips on You Tube with Plath herself reading her poems. That voice!

Her more sombre and complex poems are on You Tube too and are equally wonderful, but I leave you to listen to those of your own choosing. They are heavy going and not for the heavy-of-heart.

Have a beautiful weekend :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

All roads lead to Rome

Lovely days of thrifting have been had of late! Found this gorgeous amber-coloured glass vase this morning. With its ornate handles, it made me think instantly of Ancient Rome and of one of my favourite films of all time, Gladiator. It's not that I am a big fan of Russell Crowe, rather that the story is told on such a vast scale and is so well told that it draws me in every time I watch it. I could just imagine this sitting in Lucilla's (the female protagonist) bedroom (should that be bed chamber? I'm not sure of the more accurate term), its amber tones warmly caught by the flickering candlelit. Unfortunately there are not many good clips of Gladiator on You Tube which are not 1. fight scenes or 2. syrupy love-song clips. So, if you haven't seen the film, this tiny snip might give you an inkling of what I loved about the Roman interiors we did get to see and of what I love about my new vase!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Warm and Fuzzy

Testing out some of the lovely ideas in Amanda Soule's beautiful new book Handmade Home over the weekend, I had a lot of fun making this felt garland. It's sort of serving more the purpose of a mobile than a garland at the moment, hanging from my study ceiling, so I can stare up at its fuzzy, colourful goodness every now and again. But I do plan to make a longer one to string across the mantlepiece in the living room (more details of Amanda's book can be found at

Monday, October 5, 2009




Out amongst the flowers with the buzzin' bees

Does it get any better?

Friday, October 2, 2009


Last week I mentioned that I had been turning up all sorts of treasures in my sleep-out. Well, I decided I would do something with the two small, incomplete pieces of crochet I found, which, I'm presuming, my grandma made long ago. I tied them onto wooden embroidery hoops and I'm quite happy with the result. I think even the very small one which I've had to tie fairly extensively and obviously to the hoop is sweet - the strands of crochet cotton look like spider webs.
Have a peaceful weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two for the Road

I am addicted to pop culture. There, I admit it. But not just any old pop culture. Nothing against them, but I am a little non-plussed by the romantic problems of Britney Spears or Posh Spice. What I'm talking about is my very own little version of popular culture. The Feronia-brand special. What interests me. Because pop culture - movies, books, music, tv shows - have really had a big impact over the years on how I see myself and the world. I suppose this is true for many people, really. But as a teenager and a young adult especially, films were far more for me than just films. I entered right into the world they presented to me.

I had "Two for the Road" on VHS video cassette tape (!) and I watched it over and over and over again. I wanted to be Audrey Hepburn (and hey, I know I'm not alone there), even though a rake-thin, finely-boned, straight-haired woman was a long way from where I was at! Everything is so neat in many of these older movies, so precise, so succinct. Even bitter arguments are confined to a scene or two and then left behind. It took me a while to realise that life doesn't often imitate art in that regard! So the world of movies has been at least partially responsible for building up a lot of unattainable expectations about how my own scenes would be played out, but they've also had a significant part in refining (what I think is) my fairly quirky and individualistic kalidescope view of life.

What movies did you grow up with?