Friday, January 20, 2012

Let's go shopping ... in Japan

These week's BrisStyle 'let's go shopping' is brought to us by the Land of the Rising Sun. Last year my cousin married a gorgeous Japanese lass and they'll be having a traditional Japanese wedding later this year which we'll (hopefully) be attending (counting the pennies at the momo). This in itself will be very special, but my toes are tingling at the thought of all of the fabric I'll be able to get my mitts on when I'm over there. I had an amazing three week holiday in Japan in 2008 and have wonderful memories of all of the places I visited. This time I'm not sure whether to re-visit some of these sites or to keep the memories intact and go visiting elsewhere. We'll be there for the cherry blossom festival and the thought of that has inspired my choices this morning.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The (in)constant gardener

I managed to get out into the garden in the last few days of my holiday. My poor little courtyard is well and truly drought-proof. When I first moved in, there was regular watering and even one of those light green squishy tape hoses with little holes all the way along that I'd put on quite regularly. Over the years, with water restrictions and various other distractions, I tend to only get out and mulch, replant and smile proudly at my (our) handiwork twice a year. Despite the neglect, the garden seems to be doing very well, especially my corner of bromeliads, in all their spike-y prettiness.

Further benefits of my neglect can be seen on my balcony. I knew I had a knack with anthuriums (perhaps a photo to my own handiwork would be more convincing?). I've a few that look striking and seem to look better the more I forget they're there. My pièce de résistance, much to my surprise, is my not-so-delicate and frail orchid. I bought it a little while ago and after a brief flower (inside) it was done. I was disappointed - it wasn't cheap and I thought it'd done its dash. I followed the instructions, chopped it off at a node and put it somewhere cool to wait until next year. After ignoring it (outside) for a month or so, *hey presto*!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Belated happy new year.

(taken by my lovely friend, Megan)

Hello one and all and a happy new year to you,

I've 'gone dark' of late. All it takes is one mega-anti-virus software update at the end of the month to wipe out a download quota. Well, it's re-set now and I'm posting, liking and perving on blogs of Ryan Gosling paired with some very funny crafty quips. heart squared. ok, here's one of my *many* favourites (oh, so hard to choose).

How was everyone's Christmas/New Year's break? I had a veeery low key couple of weeks off. Lots of healing - of skin and of resolve. 

My fuel gauge was on empty at the end of 2011. Talk about sleep debt; I enjoyed a run of days waking up at morning tea! Seems to be back firing - I'm bounding out of bed at 5.45am most days now and even managing to go for a walk before work. Tick, there's a new year's resolution I'm having some luck with. I'm also leaving work on time (tick) and not bringing it home with me (tick) ... although the first week of work's not quite over.... 

I took my Bernette in for a service over the break too. Seems you *can* do a little tweaking yourself on the new electric machines. I'd been happily pottering with my mum's Bernina; familiar with where the lint accumulated and where the oil drops were required. When I bought my new one I was reassured that none of this was required, and you 'couldn't get into the body of the machine if you tried'. Well, I got a scolding from Mr Bernina yesterday when the build up of lint was 'out of this world' and one of the checks that should have been done every 8 hours hadn't been done for, ahem, almost 2 years. Yes, I had noticed it running at variable speeds and yes, I would like to know where  to put oil on the poor little machine.

Other new year's resolutions? I don't need to make one about sewing - I have no trouble finding time for that lovely endeavour. I went to a 'early career researcher's workshop' at a conference I attended recently. A panel of 6 or 7 very clever and successful boffins were telling the story of how they got to where they were. Most told the familiar story of a slog of study, grant writing, midnight oil and passion for their work. Whilst this is no doubt true and required, one of the erudite and widely respected speakers reflected on the need for multiple pursuits in life, rather than just focusing on your life's one passion. When the bottom falls out of it (or less dramatically) it just fails to float your boat at that particular time, there's somewhere else to get your thrills, invest your energies, and reason to get out of bed. Not all guns have to be blazing at once, but work, hobbies (plural), family and friends should all be valued equally. It certainly can become a balancing act, but sometimes what keeps us happy.

Here's to a happy, successful, and exciting 2012 to one and all.x
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