Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Winter reflection

Painting by James Haramis, Contemplation exhibition
Contemplation by local artist James Haramis opens tomorrow at The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham.  This is his debut exhibition and what beautiful artwork it is.  What's amazing to me is that he paints entirely in his studio using no visual references - it's all created in his head and then translated onto canvas.  He is also a former gifted child who has returned to art as an adult - it is an inspiring story.  You'll be hearing more about him.
Artwork by Christine Wrest Smith, Habitat exhibition
Accompanying James is Christine Wrest Smith (another local artist) and her ethereal birds nest oil paintings and charcoal works which form her exhibition called Habitat.  Apparently, her work is quite popular as a wedding present given the symbolism of a new life together.

The Kenneth Jack Memorial Award and Watercolour Festival also opens tonight at Monsalvat in Eltham. A major feature of this exhibition will be demonstrations by leading watercolour artists.  Entry to all exhibitions is free.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Green is good

It's World Environment Day this Sunday.  I've never taken for granted how green it is around here especially after living almost half my life in the inner city.  The boys and I spent a glorious afternoon in the sun at Warringal Park today.  I actually take Vitamin D over the winter as a lot of people have low levels of it once the sun disappears.  I've also discovered the Healthy Parks Healthy People Central website - it makes for interesting reading on the health benefits of human contact with the natural world.

I'm often surprised by how much wildlife exists in the 'burbs.  I've been woken by noisy cockatoos feeding on our nature strip in the mornings and kept awake at night by the possums who use our roof and elm tree as their local playground over the past few weeks.  The other night, Mr Rosanna and I actually spotted two owls in the moonlight sitting on the power pole in front of our house.

We've also got a resident blue tongue lizard who lives on our property - I nearly stepped on him one afternoon while he was sun baking on our front porch.  We had friends over for lunch yesterday who live in Eltham and they had an echidna in their back yard not so long ago.  I can deal with an echidna - I'm not so sure how I'd feel about a snake.  Nan and Papa live near the river and had a tiger snake in their front yard a couple of years ago at the height of the drought.  Speaking of which, there is a fantastic reptile shop called Totally Reptiles on St James Road in Rosanna if you have children like mine who are obsessed with snakes at the moment.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Local profile - Margot Tasca

Margot is another career changer - a former English teacher who has pursued her passion for art and created the wonderful Light Factory Gallery in Eltham.  A former inner city dweller like me, she moved to Eltham with her family over 10 years ago and hasn't looked back.  Besides running the gallery, she has also returned to a part-time Masters degree (currently on hold) and is writing a biography.  Wow - what a busy woman!
Name: Margot Tasca       
Occupation: Gallery Director     
Lives/works: Eltham
How long have you lived/worked here?
We moved (somewhat anxiously) from Fitzroy thirteen years ago. We were nervous because it was such a lifestyle change but happy to say, we've never looked back.

Last year we opened The Light Factory Gallery with the aim of supporting and revitalising the arts identity in this region. The gallery is in an old light factory designed by environmental architect Alistair Knox. It's a gorgeous building with soaring Oregon beams and excellent natural light from the clerestory windows –it is possibly the largest commercial gallery space in Melbourne.

Describe yourself/what you do:
Exhibitions change every three to four weeks, with solo and group shows exhibiting. A sculpture garden also rotates new sculptures every two to three months. The garden links the gallery to the Tea House which is tucked away behind the gallery and is an intimate space for meeting friends. Weekly classes and workshops, conducted by established Melbourne artists, are run in the studio behind the gallery.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
This area is unique for its retention of natural bushland and its heritage of artists and free thinkers. Artists have been frequenting the area since the Heidelberg school in the late 1800s and from the 1950s you had people who thought differently to the mainstream coming out and building mud brick houses, using recycled materials and planting native gardens when most Australian cities were celebrating brick veneer and laminate and 'nice lawns and flowerbeds'.  It's changed a bit, roads have been sealed, subdivisions have taken place but essentially, the spirit of thinking outside the box and valuing the natural environment remains.

For more information:
21 Brougham Street Eltham VIC 3095
Wednesdays to Sundays 11.00 am - 4.30 pm.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Books and trains

Two of my favourite things mixed together!  Yes, the Bookcrossing at Rosanna Railway Station event is on again tomorrow morning from 7.00 - 9.00 am.

You can pick up a free (used) book at Rosanna train station to celebrate Library Week.  The books have been labelled so they can be left anywhere for some other lucky person to read.  You can also follow the book's journey online at www.bookcrossing.com

Also a reminder that the Monty Farmer's Market is on this Saturday (and has changed to the fourth Saturday of every month). Stalls include confectionery, breads, cakes, bakery items, fruit and veg, olive oil, dressings, pasta, preserves,  honey, cheeses, meats and body products.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boys will be boys

I am the eldest of three girls so in many ways it's been a bit of a revelation having two boys.  They are so different to girls and I've had to come to terms with the fact that I won't be going to fairy parties and dance classes but instead kicking the footy at Auskick and spending most of my time outside where my boys run around like crazy people.

I've read 'Raising Boys' by Steve Biddulph and it's a good thing to know he tours these parts fairly regularly.  Next month, he'll be in the area on 16 June talking about Raising Boys while on 21 June there'll be a Secrets of Happy Children talk - both events are being held at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar.  You can book online for Raising Boys here and Secrets of Happy Children here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Feeling good

Dancer Tony Yap - image via multiculturalarts.com.au
Metanoia Illuminations is on tomorrow night from 7.30 - 9.00 pm at the Banyule Arts Space in Ivanhoe.  Metanoia means 'making the decision to turn away from the shadow and face the light'.  I love that whole sentiment - it is very Buddhist.  This cross-cultural dance theatre performance will feature three very accomplished Australian artists - light installation and music artist Domenico de Clario on piano, Butoh performance artist Tony Yap & contemporary dancer Brendan O'Connor.  Entry is a $10 donation.  No bookings are required.

There's been a couple of interesting articles I've read lately on the joy of art and the link between culture and feeling good.  A study by the University College London has found that works of art can give as much joy as being in love while another study by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has found that people who go to museums and concerts or create art or play an instrument are more satisfied with their lives, regardless of how educated or rich they are.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Seven years lucky...

Must admit, still not feeling flash - Will's bug has been a real doozy.  Despite this, Mr Rosanna and I managed to celebrate our wedding anniversary yesterday at Heide's Cafe Vue.
It was great to go somewhere local and indulge ourselves with the Menu du Jour - two courses at $45 or three courses for $55.  We went two courses each and shared a dessert.  I had the soft shell crab for entree which was superb, followed by the Spanish mackerel rolled in bacon (pictured below) as my main.  The service is excellent - extremely professional and running a lot more smoothly than when they first opened.
We went for a brisk walk afterwards around the gardens and popped into the Heide store where Mr Rosanna spotted this plate and took a photo of it for me.  It's bit blurry so I've written it out again below.  Who said romance was dead?
Moons circle planets 
and planet circle stars
Stars and entire galaxies rotate eternally
And you and I circle each other
For you are my universe 
And I will be yours

Friday, May 20, 2011

Local profile - Zanni Waldstein

There's less than six degrees of separation between most people in Melbourne.  Zanni and I are no exception - we've never met yet both of us know my good friend Mel - me through school and Zanni through family.  Weird huh?  I love a values driven person and I think mental health is one of the burning issues of our time.  Read on for more about Zanni.
Zanni and her little boy Jasper
Name: Zanni Waldstein
Occupation: Market Coordinator - Sprout Community Market
How long you have worked there: Two and a half years (including 8 months off after having a baby!).

Describe what you do:
Sprout Community Gardens exist to support people recovering from mental health issues and at risk of homelessness through programs we run on site.  These include gardening, harvesting and cooking (and the all important sitting down and eating together!), creative workshops and activities and being part of the market.

I organise the monthly Sprout Market which is a general community market which gives participants (as well as volunteers and many general community stallholders) a chance to be involved in the market either as a stall holder selling their own products or as part of the Sprout team running food, plant and produce stalls and assisting with the general running of the market.  I love the market and the beautiful community atmosphere at it.  Everyone enjoys coming along, having some tasty food, a cup of chai, a natter with friends and listening to some great local music.

Best thing about working in Melbourne's north-east:
The community, diversity and vibrancy as well as people's appreciation and support of local produce and initiatives.

For more information:
Zanni Waldstein
Ph/Fax: 03) 9484 5565
Mobile: 0424 029 180
Email: zwaldstein@mindaustralia.org.au
Website: http://mindaustralia.org.au/sproutmarket
or find Sprout Community Gardens on Facebook

Thursday, May 19, 2011


pARTnerships is a networking event for Banyule's arts, community and business sectors being held next Thursday night at the Banyule Arts Space in Ivanhoe.  I would love to go if I didn't have the kids to mind.  The event will officially launch the Heidelberg Sings project - a community choir inclusion program offered by Creativity Australia - followed by drinks, canapes and networking opportunities.

Tania de Jong and the Sofitel team (image via Creativity Australia)
Tania de Jong, AM, Founder and Chair of Creativity Australia will be there as well as Banyule City Council CEO Simon McMillan.  If you're interested in going, please RSVP to Cathy Mazzeo by 24 May (and advise of any dietary requirements/special needs).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wipe out

The only thing worse than having a sick child is getting sick yourself.  The past week is all a bit of a blur...three delirious days spent in bed.  Mr Rosanna again saved the day by morphing into Mr Mum.  I'm well enough to actually sit up today but the mornings are still not my friend...we'll try again tomorrow.

Winter inspiration

Lordy lordy...it's still freakin' cold here in Melbourne.  Taking refuge in front of the fire here today at chez Rosanna with sick children and hubby.  The best thing is that Mr Rosanna and I have a long awaited trip to Hong Kong next month sans children (thanks Nan & Papa!) which makes winter more bearable this year. 

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
I've been buying some presents for my girlfriend who lives there and thought you might be interested in some of my fave online sites for gifts, fashion and beauty.  I mentioned newcomer Young Republic the other day.  I also love Made it and Blue Caravan where you can find quirky Australian made and designed gifts - many are handmade and ethically produced.

I don't buy a lot of new clothes these days but do love my friend Alex's store Ecofashionista - she stocks some great local and international labels.  Gorman has also long been a favourite and I've picked up some great Australian designer fashion at discounted prices on My Clotheshorse.  While I still love Aveda products for hair care (which you can buy at a discounted price from StrawberryNet), my fave skincare product is an Australian brand called Li'tya.  There's also a more affordable Australian line called Pure and Green Organics.  Finally there's an Australian cosmetic company called Inika - you can buy a 5 or 6 piece EcoTools makeup brush set for under $30 from Biome (or Priceline) and you'll be set.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

Man oh man it's freezing at the moment!  Winter has definitely come early - so not my favourite season.  The best thing you can do is stay inside and stay as active as you can.  I've enrolled Will in gym classes over Winter to keep him occupied and I will be trying to get to as many regular yoga classes as I can.

A reminder that it's Kinder Open Day in Banyule this Saturday morning.  It is well worth visiting the kinders in your area if you have a child under three to work out where you'd actually like to send them. 

And if you can bear the cold, there's a free family bike ride on Sunday morning along the Darebin Creek trail (as well as free bike maintenance checks).  Thomas has actually started riding without training wheels so Mr Rosanna is threatening a family bike ride before the year is out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

All in the community

Lots on this week in the north-east.  Two exhibitions by local landscape artists open at The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham tomorrow - Beyond the Blue by Joseph Attard and Ancestral Lands by Denise Walker.  How beautiful is her painting of the Kimberley region?
Sacred Earth by Denise Walker
Rosanna Fire Station Community House is holding an afternoon tea fundraiser from 1 - 3pm tomorrow as part of Neighbourhood House week.  You're invited to bring along a tea towel to decorate earlier in the day.  All decorated tea towels will be sold for $3 each at the afternoon tea with funds donated to cancer research.

There's also a free workshop on sustainable food being held at 7pm on Thursday at the Preston Shire Hall  as part of the Sustainable Homes & Communities Program run by Banyule and Darebin city councils.  Click on the links to find out more.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A weekend to remember

There's the Mother's Day you'd like and then there's the Mother's Day you get.  My weekend started off well - a fun morning with the whole family at Auskick on Saturday followed by a quick work brunch at Miss Marie.

I was looking forward to maybe going for a run and our planned yum cha on Mother's Day itself.  Unfortunately, Will came down with gastro so my Mother's Day started at 4.30am on Sunday dealing with...well...I'd rather not go there.. suffice to say thank god for gastrolyte, pine o clean and a working washing machine.

The good news is that only Will seems to have got it this time (as opposed to the whole family last time).  Mr Rosanna saved the day with fresh oysters by an open fire and a seafood dinner cooked from scratch.  We'll try again next weekend.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Local profile - Katarina Behan

I think it takes a special kind of person to work with either children or animals (and believe me there are similarities!).  I was always more of a cat person growing up but as I've got older, I've grown to appreciate dogs as well.  In fact, many of our neighbours and friends have a dog and guess what?  They all seem to have been trained by Katarina Behan.  She is somewhat of a star in the local community and has even been training a pig, that's right you heard me - a pig.
Katarina with her beloved dog Ben
Name: Katarina Behan
Occupation: Dog Trainer
Works: Heidelberg
How long have you worked here? Around seven years

Describe yourself/what you do:
Through running the Gentle Modern School of Dog Training I work one-on-one with dogs and their humans to help both have a happier life together. Many people see me when they get a new puppy or are having difficulty managing their dog.

I volunteer at the Kintala Dog Training Club as an instructor and committee member.  I also write a dog training blog so that I can reach more people who may be having problems with their dog/s.

Best thing(s) about working in Melbourne's north-east:
It is definitely the parks in the area. Warringal parklands are a great off lead space for dogs to run around and socialise. The trails that follow the Yarra will provide dog walkers with hours of off lead exploring, rabbits to chase, and swimming opportunities. Dog walkers can follow the trail from Heidelberg all the way to Templestowe. The only time of year I do not recommend using it is from October to April when the snakes are up and about.

Other areas are the Koonung Freeway walk, another great off lead space, at the end of Balwyn Rd in Balwyn, Ruffey Lake Park in Doncaster, and Yarra Flats Parkland, starting from Heidelberg (across the road from the Greenery Garden Centre) all the way to Abbotsford. Another park for dog lovers is Hays Paddock in Kew, off Kilby Rd, and Yarra Bend Park in Fairfield.  For dogs and owners who need an enclosed space, Eltham Lower Park has an oval that is fully fenced where dogs can run off lead in safety.  So, we really are spoilt for choice in the north-east.

For more information:
Ph. 9439 8546

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I'm antique

I went to my son Thomas's Mother's Day kinder function today and was given a bookmark from him where he had to nominate my age which was 'old'.  Hmmm...it was better than another mum who got '100' from her daughter.  I had a little chuckle.
We've got a busy Mother's Day weekend, Thomas is starting Auskick (which actually began last month) for all 5 year old boys and girls - I reckon it's a bargain at $60 compared to swimming and gym classes.  We're also off to yum cha on Mother's Day at Golden Dragon Palace in Doncaster.

When I now think of old things, I think of antiques - beautiful, handcrafted pieces that have transcended time to still be relevant in the modern day.  If I didn't have kids in tow, I'd love to go to the inaugural Australian Antique & Art Dealers Association Melbourne Show at the Exhibition Buildings in Carlton this weekend.  So maybe it's not so bad being old.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Art + Soul

There's a couple of contemporary art exhibitions on at the moment.  One is 'After' which has just opened at LUMA (La Trobe University Museum of Art).  Part of the University's 2011 Festival of Ideas, this exhibition features artists whose work incorporates expressions of indigenous and/or locally specific popular cultures.

Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen is also currently showing 'Colour Bazaar: Nine Contemporary Works' until 19 June.  This exhibition brings together nine paintings and sculptures by contemporary artists.  A related Heide Art Bubs kids event for parents and children from 0 - 6 is also being held this Friday 6 May.  Call 9850 1500 to book as places are limited.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So I think I can dance

I've done a few dance classes or two in my life ranging from Latin American to swing to funk, jazz, tap and even belly dancing.  Friends and family are also into more exotic forms of dance like Ceroc (a mixture of jive and salsa) and African dancing.  Needless to say I need little encouragement to hit the dance floor when the mood strikes me.
Ooh yeah - Miss Rosanna working it
I must be one of the few people in the world who have yet to try Zumba which now seems to be offered at every gym and leisure centre including locally at the Ivanhoe Aquatic & Fitness Centre, Banyule NETS stadium and Olympic Leisure Centre as of this week.  Get your groove on people!

Also a reminder that edgy online Australian design store Young Republic launches today - just in time for Mother's Day for all those funky mamas out there.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Old fashioned glamour

Well I reckon this weekend was all about THE dress and a certain young English lass called Kate who married her prince.  I love an occasion and the opportunity to frock up and my conversations with friends and family all weekend were about what Kate wore (followed by the Logies last night).  I thought Kate looked beautiful in the Alexander McQueen gown that was very her - stylish, classic and understated - and I think she does 'conservative chic' extremely well (fitting for someone who has married into the Royal family!). 
Image via Wardrobe Wonderland
My other favourite outfit at the Logies was Zoe Tuckwell-Smith from the Channel 7 show 'Winners & Losers'.  It was also a more understated yet elegant dress (made of upcycled fabric) and I love that she is an ambassador for eco-fashion.  The dress by Georgia McCorkhill is part of the Red Carpet Project.