Monday, April 30, 2012

Photo A Day #68 Sew-A-Long Success

This is the first time I have sewed properly in a few years, but my mom used to sew all my clothes when I was growing up and now she quilts. So hopefully the skill is inherited. I joined in on See Kate Sew's Ruffles 2012 Sew-A-Long and made this lovely clutch purse.. I was a little worried I'd fail miserably, and I have to admit, I did have to unpick it once after I made 2 pouches rather than a pouch with a flap. But it was a re-learning experience and I really enjoyed making it! I'm a little scared everything I make from now on might have a ruffle attached, but I'll do my best to restrain myself. Less is more, as they say.

I decided to add a little flower with my leftover ruffles, adorned with one of my vintage buttons. Finally I'm dipping into my button collection! There's plenty more where that one came from, so I guess I'd better keep sewing :)

Thanks for the tutorial and Sew-A-Long motivation Kate, I really enjoyed making your Sunshine Clutch!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Photo A Day #67 Just the Two of Us...

This morning when I woke up, I had on of those migraines that cause the room to spin if you even dare move an eyeball. So I had a bit of a lie-in and then took some painkillers. I managed to start my new blog segment (like it's a TV show or something) Kitty's Book Nook finally! I hope you guys enjoy it. I also finished sewing my clutch purse I was working on yesterday.

Once the headache pills kicked in C and I just went wandering, had some coffee and spent some time together out and about, which was nice. There is definitely a chill in the air, winter is close I think. These pics were just taken on C's phone, I love how there is a little heart next to his head :)

I hope you guys had a lovely weekend,

The Singing Creek Where The Willow Grows: The Rediscovered Diary of Opal Whiteley

Welcome to Kitty's Book Nook! Grab a cup of tea, a nanna rug for your knees and sit in your favorite easy chair, because we're talking books. For my first Book Nook post, I decided to go with one of my favorite books that hopefully most of you have never heard of. It's a real treat. But first let me tell you how I found it.

C and I went on a day trip up into the mountains, to a town called Katoomba. It's really beautiful up there, with lots of artists living amongst the gorgeous trees and mountains. I always take tourists up there when they come to Sydney. There are a lot of antique and curiosity shops and on this particular day, we visited Mr Pickwick's which is always top of the list. It's a huge 3 level store, with probably half dedicated to books, but also lots of knick-knacks, beautiful homewares and clothing as well. My collection of ceramic critters started in Mr Pickwick's, but that's a story for another time.

While I was browsing, C came across this book, all about Opal Whiteley, including her journal that she had written as a child living in an Oregon logging settlement around the turn of the 20th century. I didn't need convincing, and became the new owner of "The Singing Creek Where The Willow Grows"

Once I started reading, I was hooked. The first paragraph reads:
"Today the folks are gone away from the house we do live in. They are gone a little way away, to the ranch house where the grandpa does live. I sit on our steps, and I do print. I like it, this house we do live in, being at the edge of the near woods. So many little people do live in the near woods. I do have conversations with them. I found the near woods the first day I did go explores. That was the next day after we did come here.

At first the writing style might be a little jarring, but it is really easy to get around once you start reading. Opal wrote these diaries at the age of 6 or 7. It was first published in 1920 as "Opal Whiteley: Journal of an Understanding Heart", to critical acclaim. Almost immediately though, people started to discredit her authenticity, not believing a child could have written the journal. Opal believed that she was French royalty who had been adopted in Oregon after her 'real' father, Prince Henri D'Orléans died in 1901.

Opal claims she was adopted by a poor logging family, who changed her name from Françoise Marie de Bourbon-Orléans to Opal Whiteley. "The Mamma" was physically abusive toward Opal and did not understand her fascination with the creatures and nature around her. Despite the controversy, Opal maintained her journal was authentic, unfortunately she never gained the success that would be expected of a 'child prodigy' and 'genius' and died alone in an asylum in London at the age of 94.

The particular edition of this book is the best one in my opinion, as it contains a foreword by Benjamin Hoff (and if you get the reprint, and afterward) detailing Opal's life after the diary was written, and explores the claims of fraud in some detail. There are several adaptations of the original work, as it had lapsed in copyright, some people thought it might be a good idea to re-write it with their own spin. I'd stay away from those, they lose the original charm and innocence of Opal's writing. If you are so inclined, you can read it online at the University of Oregon's website here. I prefer a real book myself. When I was in Portland, Oregon, there were several copies in Powell's books in the local history section. Otherwise it's probably best found online.

Things I love about this book: Opal is a real character, and her childlike insights into nature and the way the world around her functions are both touching and insightful. The way she goes on 'explores' through the woods and has a name for every little critter and special tree is incredible (I think my favorite names might be "'Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus' - A most dear velvety wood-rat" whom Opal carries about in her apron and "'Michael Angelo Sanzio Raphael' - A grand fir tree with an understanding soul") This book let me into the world of a child who was fascinated by nature and had a gentle and caring heart for all the little critters on the farms and in the woods. It is a truly special book and I hope you will read it one day and enjoy it as much as I have.

If you have any questions or comments, please write below and I'll respond as soon as I can. I hope you all enjoyed the first edition of Kittys Book Nook. Next time I'll graduate to an adult writer :)


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Photo A Day #66 Flaming Sunset

Today was an easy day, I caught up on some sleep, got some shopping done for Mother's Day and had some good coffee. It is unheard of that I am so organised for gift-giving, so I feel pretty proud about getting that done. Tonight I've been giving my new sewing machine a test run. Just so you all know, it works great! I've been working on a little clutch purse that I will show you once I have finished. It's looking pretty cool! I feel all domestic goddess-like :)

There was a stunning sunset today but I didn't have time to get into a good viewing location, if only I could get on top of my neighbour's roof! I hope you enjoy the picture anyway, it was beautiful. I hope you guys are having a lovely weekend, whatever you are up to. Oh, and hello to all my new followers! In the next few weeks, I'm going to have a little giveaway, just for you guys :) Shh, it's a secret for now!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo A Day #65 Week End

This week I feel quite tired, despite having a day off in the middle of the week. It could have something to do with the fact that I had only 3 hours of sleep last night. I had to get up at 5.30am to get to my dentist early (it's ok, my teeth are happy and clean, no cavities!) I am NOT a morning person. I never have been. 5.30am is disgusting for me. I wish I liked getting up early, I can see the benefit when I do it, the day seems much longer and you can get all of your chores done before lunch and enjoy the rest of the day. Unfortunately I'm not built that way, I really prefer working at night, staying up until 3am and sleeping until 10 or so.

So I look tired on the outside, but it's a party on the inside, I assure you. It's the weekend and I'm going to get some serious sewing done on my brand new sewing machine! Hopefully I will have some success stories to share with you next week.

What are you up to this weekend? Any projects? Special events? Or just relaxing? (the best way to be) Whatever you do, I hope you have a good one!


Found #9 Tangerine Treats

Because Pantone has declared 2012 the year of "Tangerine Tango" (how do they decide on such important things? Do people vote? Because I'd like some input! I thought 2012 was the year of teal, but who am I?) I've decided to dedicate this week's Found to all things flammeous.

First, lets have a proper look at the official shade:

text and image via Pantone:
Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.

Alrighty. Moving right along... Here's my selection of Tangerine and Tonal friends:

via: Modcloth
via: Modcloth

 via: Asos

 via: Asos

via: Asos

via: Topshop

 via: pardes

CHOCOLATE BUTTONS! via: The Frosted Petticoat

via: FlossyBobbsey

 via: rhan vintage

What would a tangerine theme be without some trusty orange-hued kitchen bits? Hope you enjoyed and feel 'energetic and recharged'. I feel all nostalgic for the 70's after all that orange! (I mean, tangerine tango)


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Photo A Day #64 Ballet Class: Level Up!

Tonight I really wanted to show you some nice pictures inside the dance studio, but unfortunately, my 20 minute bus ride took around 45 minutes and I was no longer early to class to snap some pictures, I was panic attack-late in the change-room, throwing clothes and shoes around like a madwoman. (it wasn't just me, my friend Frankie was in on the panic-action too) - Thanks Sydney traffic. We have to leave class a few minutes early as well in order to catch the bus in time, so we're not hanging out down by the wharf in the dark in out ballet shoes. So... that is why you see the below pictures. One of the outside of Sydney Dance Company, and one of me on the bus, making a futile attempt to use my elbows as a tripod.

We've been doing the absolute beginners ballet class for a few lessons now, and both of us were ready to move on. We've both danced before (I used to run a dance school a few years back) but we're both a bit rusty. You'd think the beginners class would be an easy step up, especially for a couple of gals with several years of experience. Boy was I wrong. I coped. Just. Trying to remember what my body is supposed to do when someone is yelling out Glissade! Assemble! Grande Jete En tournant! Gallop, Pas De Chas, Attitude and BALANCE!! is a little too much for my poor brain after a full days work. I might've even just made some of those up, and I definitely spelled some wrong. It's all too much! I'm happy to report that my feet thoroughly remember how to execute a pirouette, even though my arms are confused. It used to be so easy! Time to practice some more I think. I doubt I'll be able to walk properly tomorrow. But it cleared my head and I feel pretty good. I hope you all had a great day :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photo A Day #63 Childhood Memories

Today was really windy, so I decided to take advantage of the wild weather and do an outfit shoot by the beach. Needless to say, you'll finally see me in pants! (oh gosh, I just realised my English readers with think I mean in my underwear!! - TROUSERS, you'll see me in my jeans!) I'll share those images with you soon. I took a snap of the location though, and thought I'd share.

This particular beach is where I have my first ever memory of seeing the ocean as a child, perhaps when I was 2 years old? My dad was driving through the national park with me along a winding road, and I remember catching a glimpse through the window of this enormous body of water and yelling out "It's a giant bath!!" I was oh so excited! I must have seen the ocean many times before that as my father worked on the water, but I distinctly remember that moment, it must have been seeing it from an elevated unique angle that gave me that insight. Anyway, enjoy the giant bath, I've coloured it a bit retro to match my aged memories.

Do you guys have any weird memories from childhood? I love remembering how things are from a child's perspective, it gives you a whole fresh outlook.


What I Wore - Blue and White

C took these photos while we were waiting for my phone to be repaired. It was a bit of an impromptu location, but how amazing is that fence? I have always admired it whenever I pass by, but for some reason never thought to take photos. This is why I keep the boy around. He's a thinker :)

I'm still trying to get used to the idea of being photographed at all, let alone in a public place with random people gawking at me. I feel like I'm conquering a fear though, and each time it gets a little easier. I learned a long time ago not to care what other people think, as long as you feel like you're being the best person to yourself and those around you, it's not worth worrying what others perceive.

I use photoshop a LOT for my work, but I don't retouch my photos, except for some colour correction and an odd bit of trickery (layering etc) here and there. I'm quite enjoying the old reflect technique! When I was at school I was really into the idea of doing retouching as a career. Then it occurred to me that all I would probably end up doing is smoothing out people's skin, making them skinnier in parts and rounder in other parts, and in general telling a lie. I think it has it's place, but only to enhance an image, not to change it from the original capture.

I got these tights in the Urban Outfitters store in Savannah, GA. The girl at the counter gave me a little smile and then charged me 10c for them. I'm not sure why she did that, but they qualify as the cheapest clothing item that I have ever bought! Thanks random UO girl in Savannah :)

Somehow I've managed to wear everything from Urban Outfitters (except accessories). I got all of the clothes at least 6 months ago, so they probably aren't for sale anymore. The website for UO is down, so I'll just link to their main page, if you want more details on anything, just let me know.

Blouse // Pins and needles @ Urban Outfitters
Skirt // Kimchi Blue @ Urban Outfitters
Tights // Urban Outfitters
Wedge Oxfords // Deena and Ozzy @ Urban Outfitters
Turquoise Ring // Gift
Octopus Ring // OctopusMe
Six Shooter Earring // Really old, inexplicably from a random hippy store
Diamond Studs // Gift from C.
Bambi Necklace // Gift
 Cat Brooch // The DAN300 Group 
 (I purchased mine in Berkelouw Books, Paddington)

Thanks for reading, as always, I love to hear your thoughts, so comment below if you feel the need :)
Kitty xo

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photo A Day #62 Hair Update and My Day

Today was one of those days. It started out alright, and I felt pretty chipper in the morning, flouncing down the street with my freshly dyed hair. When I sat down, I realised that I had made a run in one of my favourite pairs of stockings (these ones) that is irreparable (unless anyone has good ideas on how to do something with a stocking laddered from under the foot up the back of the knee?) Then at lunchtime, I was making myself some soup, and the soup company has changed their packaging. It seems like a minor thing, but changing from a ring pull top to a foil top makes a BIG difference. The soup was under pressure and as I pulled the lip of the foil lid, the soup exploded out all over the sink, my dress, my laddered stockings, my shoes and the floor. It was bright green spinach soup as well. After cleaning up, I went to sit outside in the sunshine and a huge black cloud rolled over within minutes, opening up to a torrential thunderstorm. I went inside and ate at my desk.

I was pretty resigned to having one of those days, but when I got home, C was waiting for me with a big smile on his face as he'd just gotten a new Nikon camera (and he was happy to see me). I got a package with some cute clothes from Modcloth, and C took a photo of my new hair draped on top of Nico. I'm going to eat my veggie omelette for dinner and watch Super 8. I can stay up late because it's a public holiday tomorrow and I'm going to sleep in. Things are looking up!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Photo A Day #61 On the way to Maine

First let me start by saying, I've wanted to see a covered bridge ever since I saw Beetlejuice when I was little. I watched the film over and over again, and didn't think it would be such a bad thing to be inside that lovely New England house forever. I actually didn't get to drive through a covered bridge, which sounds silly now, but we had to drive from Vermont to the top of Maine and we were in a hurry. I always try to leave some things undone when I travel so I have an excuse to come back!

Another Drive-By State line marker... Live Free or Die.

I love this Motel sign: "Down Home Motel - C'mon and stay a spell"

This was one of my favourite roads to drive, RT 16 NTH New Hampshire. Breathtaking.

Next stop, Maine.

Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice.

What I Wore - A Spot of Color Blocking

This is what I wore when C and I went out to dinner. We left it a little late, so there's some low light "Kitty can't stand still for more than half a second" issues, but overall they came out pretty good! The purple cardigan isn't mine, so it's a little large, but the colour was too good to refuse!
 Inside Kitty's Mind: Stand up straight. Ignore the family SUV that has just pulled up alongside you and are now staring without getting out of their car. Be strong. Stand. Up. Straight.
 I love this necklace. It's an original 1920's Art Deco piece and was bought for me as a gift from Spitalfields Markets in London when I used to live across the road. Art Deco is one of my favourite periods of art, and I love anything to do with the 1920's. I really related to Owen Wilson's character in Midnight In Paris (except C is right with me, not like Owen's gal in the film!)

I really couldn't decide whether these shoes took the colour block a tad too far. They make a great contrast with the tights, but maybe they clash too much? Anyway... after taking them off and putting them back on again about 5 times, I went there.

 As C was shooting I was watching this beautiful sunset developing behind him. We managed one last shot before we hit the town :)
Dress // Modcloth
Tights // Dangerfield
Cardigan // Borrowed (Target)
Apple Wallet // Gift
Necklace // Art Deco Antique - Spitalfields Markets, London UK
Juicy Strawberry Brooch // Vintage - Sydney Australia
Thanks for looking! Feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing your thoughts Kitty xo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Photo A Day #60 The Underneath of a Cat

I know what you're thinking... you are about to see a cat's bottom. Nope! I wouldn't do that to you (or my kitties, they have SOME dignity). Since we cleaned up the house yesterday, the coffee table is now no longer a workstation and the cats are loving it. If you have cats you will know, as soon as something is 'new' they MUST sit on it. Hobbes took advantage of the clean coffee table by having a nice snooze on top. The best thing is, the table is glass. And my head fits under it. This is a favourite thing of mine to do, which is probably weird, but it always sends me into fits of giggles and cheers up my day. You can scooch under the table and peek at what a cat looks like from underneath. It's hilarious. Here's some pictures...

 How cute are his little curly hairs? And his white patch on his belly, we call it the smiley face.

 Front paws tucked in nice and neat!

Nico is a lady and sat on our nice N.C. Wyeth book so I couldn't see her lady belly. I'm in the process of setting up the music room (and sewing-room) and the table down there also has a glass top, and is higher off the ground, so you can get a wider (and less reflective) view. I might get some wider shots of the whole effect for you to see soon! It is so funny when they crouch, it's amazing how small of a space all four paws take up, with an enormous mass of fur all around.

If you have a glass table and a cat, try it at home! Put cat on table. Lay underneath. Giggle. It's easy!

I hope that's not too weird for you all, and sorry for the cat overload, but sometimes they need attention and hopefully I educated you a little about what underneath a cat looks like.

Note: If you are in Pennsylvania, specifically Chadd's Ford, you must pay a visit to the Brandywine River Museum which shows a large collection of work from N.C Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth among others. I went there on my recent trip and it was such a beautiful place, full of inspiring work! The guided tours were also great! If Nico likes N.C. enough to sit on him, it must be good!