Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A little bit potty

Further to yesterday's post on Craft Cubed 2014, I did want to mention that my friend local ceramicist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen is also taking part in this.  She will be at Fed Square on Tuesday 5 August and Friday 8 August taking part in the 'Clay Market' and on Friday she will be giving a making small porcelain shapes demonstration.  I have a couple of Lene's pieces at home and was thrilled to discover she was local some years ago when I went to the Ivanhoe Makers Market.  Lene also sells her beautiful ceramics at The Rose Street Artists Market in Fitzroy.

Handmade porcelain necklace by Lene Kuhl Jakobsen (for sale at Fed Square) 
Small porcelain shapes on mirror by Lene Kuhl Jakobsen
Speaking of ceramics, it's a little while away but the Australian Ceramics Open Studios 2014 is being held on the weekend of the 16 & 17 August and will also feature another local potter Kim Tarpey who is taking part in the event for the first time showing ceramic sculpture, paintings and printmaking.  Kim actually has two work spaces - one where she does ceramics and printmaking and another where she teaches and does water colour.  She's located opposite the Panton Hill CFA with views of the Kinglake ranges and Mt Macedon on the Main Road to St Andrews Market.  Kim has also just received The Walker Ceramic Award for 'Best Teapot' at the Sydney Teapot Show. Wow!

Kim Tapey in her studio - photo by Grace Leung
And in case I don't get a chance to post tomorrow which is fairly likely, I did want to mention that my friend Helen Webster is holding her annual Raffal Winter sale (if you're after a beautiful scarf or wrap plus handbags and jewellery) at Ivanhoe Uniting Church, 19 Seddon Street this Saturday from 3 - 5 pm (cash, cheque and credit card accepted) and the Olympic Village Makers Market is also on in West Heidelberg from 10 am - 2pm on Saturday.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Keep on truckin'

Well she's a windy old day and I must say, I'm looking forward to the end of winter.  Before that happens, there are still a number of events on to keep us all warm and entertained!  It's lucky I do boot camp as I think I've been eating my way through winter.  They say summer bodies are made in winter so I've been trying to keep that in mind as I brave the cold and grit my teeth outside when we're asked to do endless amounts of squats, push ups, sprints etc.
Image via Village Cinemas website
Speaking of food, the Coburg Drive In is holding the first of its monthly Food Truck Festival nights tomorrow night from 5.30pm with the latest releases being shown and food from Mr Burger and SeƱor BBQ on offer.  It sounds like a great way to spend a hump day (or night!).  Further afield, the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie starts its Hot Chocolate Festival on 1 August where you can try 31 different hot chocolate flavours (using Belgian couverture chocolate) over the course of the month with special tastings at 10am and 2 pm daily at a cost of $8 each.  Bookings are essential.
Image via Craft Victoria website
Also starting on 1 August is Craft Cubed 2014: The Art of Handmade by Craft Victoria.  There are a number of events at Fed Square as well as bigger and smaller venues across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finders Keepers

It's nice to see the sun out today and I'm glad July is slowly coming to a close.  While we may have had the warmest June on record, this past month has been really cold!  Hang in there as August will be warmer and Spring is on its way.  There's a lot on today and this weekend so I just wanted to do a quick round up if you're interested in going to any of the events.
Image via
The Finders Keepers Melbourne market is on today and tomorrow at The Royal Exhibition Building and while I've never made it to one, the designers involved sell beautiful things.  Reflections: Australian Landscape & Still Life also officially opens today - a collaboration between Bundoora Homestead Art Centre and the Castlemaine Art Gallery (a beautiful Art Deco building if you ever get to visit it).  The exhibition features some of Australia's best known artists, journeys from the Golden Period of Australian impressionism through the Edwardian era to modern and contemporary masters.
Image via
Other markets on this weekend include the Monty Farmers Market in Montmorency and Sisters Market (design) in Brunswick being held tomorrow with the Take 2 vintage clothing marketing being held at the Northcote Town Hall on Sunday.

It's also Open House Melbourne this weekend if you're out and about in the city or environs.  Have a good one!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Like factor

Is it important to be liked?  I think so and have said so from a business perspective in The Age small business online article which appeared yesterday - I was interviewed for this a while ago by Melbourne freelance writer Kate Jones.  You can't always be liked for the hard decisions you make, particularly as a leader, but I think overall you can be liked as a person both at work and at home and for me, it has become one of the most important decisions now when contemplating potential clients, work colleagues and friends.  If it feels too hard, then it generally is and you're better off seeking out people for whom you feel more of a natural affinity.  And long before the Like button appeared on Facebook, there was this actual book written by Dale Carnegie in the 1930s (and which I've actually read although it was a long time ago now!).
Image via Wikipedia
I feel extremely fortunate to have reached a point in my life where I am able to choose who I work with, and for, given the fairly extensive network I have developed over the years and I have to say, increasingly, it becomes about who you know not what you know.  Most of the work that comes my way is through my own network and people directly approaching me or me directly approaching them - what they call the hidden job market.

How I look and present has also got me in the front door for a number of jobs (and is where personal branding becomes really important) but the proof is always in the pudding - you must have the talent and skills to actually do the job that's on offer.  I also think being liked, being able to relate well to other team members, having a genuine interest in people outside of their jobs and socialising with people outside of work is just as important as the work you do inside the office.  Really, a no brainer!

Needless to say, there are many people from both my past and current work environments who I have become friends with beyond our jobs.  It hasn't always happened and I have worked in unhappy work environments with people I've chosen not to remain in touch with as well but by and large, the places I've worked the longest in, and felt the greatest happiness, have been with people I've liked as people including my current clients.  Do you agree?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Man of Peace

I've not found the world a very happy place to be at the moment with all that is happening outside our own country.  My heart goes out to the families of those who lost loved ones in the MH17 downed flight from Amsterdam - we had friends who flew out from there that very day over the same airspace and it brings things home in a very real way.

It does make me ponder man's inhumanity to man (woman and child) and the fact that I don't take the safe haven we have of our family, friends, neighbours and local community here for granted.  Bad things happen to good people but I also think a lot more good things happen to good people in life.  Buddhists talk about facing the world with equanimity but it can be a hard thing to practise when things like this happen, as goes for the concept of forgiveness.  It truly is a divine thing to witness in those people who are capable of forgiving.
Image via Amazon
On a brighter note, I did want to talk about three of my great loves - books, reading and writing - the things I seek refuge and comfort in which keep me sane.  I have finally tackled the epic novel Shantaram by Australian author Gregory David Roberts this year and while I'm still only half way through reading it (it's a book whose size has always put me off) - I'm pleased to say it's been a rollicking read so far and there are plans afoot to turn it into a movie.
Image via Eventbrite
The Melbourne Writers Festival is on next month and it's always been one of my great dreams to publish a book one day.  It is inspiring to read about bloggers who've turned their blogs into books such as local stay-at-home dad (to four boys!) Clint Greagen of the Reservoir Dad (heh heh!) blog and book of the same name.  He will be taking a workshop at the festival for anyone who is interested in turning their blog into a book.  I was also reading about Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post over the weekend who has written a book called Thrive, which talks about the third metric of success (after money and power) being wellbeing.

For me, health and happiness (which includes wellbeing and connectedness to other people) are the biggest measures of 'success' and while money definitely makes things more comfortable, I've known a lot of unhappy, rich people in my lifetime.  Money doesn't buy taste, style or class and sadly, I think too much importance is placed on the material things in life which we can't take with us when we go.  Now days, I always look at a person's quality of relationships with the other people in their life, which to me is the greatest measure of success -we were not put on this planet to be alone.  We can be our own greatest enemies but we can also be our own greatest friends - perhaps something more positive to think about if love replaces anger in the same world we all share as people.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lighting the dark

I can't say I'm finding the weather terribly inspiring today and have been holed up at Chez Rosanna trying to work with a sick child.  It is nice to have some design inspiration during the depths of winter and I just wanted to share some of my more recent discoveries with you.
My best friends know me well and for my recent birthday, I was given some handmade soaps, some Aurora Spa Rituals body products as well as a beautiful Cote Noire ecoluxe candle from my friend Mel (who picked it up locally from a shop in St Helena).  While I usually buy Ecoya candles as gifts for friends and family, it was a nice reminder of Bastille Day which was earlier this week and the packaging is quite beautiful.  My candle is now taking pride of place on my chest of drawers.
Image via Nicole Fendel website
I also discovered another local jewellery label Nicole Fendel over the break - in particular her Ally Petal earrings with the word 'love' etched into them.  Those of you in the know may have already heard about Nicole Fendel - her jewellery often features in the show 'Offspring' and I do love the whole boho vibe behind it.  Note to all the male readers of this blog - her jewellery would make a nice present for female partners!

Australian textile designer Nicola Cerini also launches her Interiors business of wallpapers, rugs and furnishing fabrics this week and while her bags and other textiles are well known here in Australia, it's nice to see her branching out.

And speaking of design, the Melbourne Design Market is being held underground at the Federation Square car park this Sunday while on Saturday Montsalvat launches its After Dark Supper Series - this one being Film Noir.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The heart of the centre

This is the name for painter Faye De Pasquale's exhibition which opened last Wednesday at The Light Factory Gallery in Eltham and runs until Sunday 3 August.  Faye has exhibited extensively over the past 40 years, having held solo and group exhibitions and is the recipient of many awards.  Her work features in several private and public collections.  Most of the works in The heart of the centre take inspiration from the vibrant colour and seductive patterns of the Australian outback.
Painting by Faye De Pasquale, The heart of the centre exhibition
Showing in tandem with Faye is Janette Thompson's exhibition Moving through time, no way back - a series depicting images of birds which have been reinvented and appropriated such as her Bluebird print which is based on the 'cassowary' series.  Colours are strong and imagined, built up on heavy Arches Aquarelle 356 gsm paper, using mostly Derwent coloured pencils and graphite.  The gallery is open Wed - Sun 11.30 am - 4.30 pm.
Bluebird print by Janette Thompson, Moving through time, no way back exhibition
Also opening tonight is Natalie Ryan's Mortem in Imagine exhibition at LUMA - one not for the faint hearted with some fairly confronting images looking at both the human and animal cadaver throughout western culture, ranging from museum displays to bereavement mementos.  The show runs until 5 September with the museum open Mon - Fri 10 am - 5 pm.

Entry for all exhibitions is free.  We're now into the second half of Winter, which means we're getting closer to Spring!  I'll be back with more later this week.

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

Monday, July 14, 2014

Warm and active

I'm back from my mini-break and while envious of some of my friends and family who seem to have gone to places like Europe, Hawaii, New Zealand, Kakadu, Port Douglas and Hobart over the school holidays, it wasn't too bad staying home in Melbourne especially as Mr Rosanna took the second week off work to have some family time with me and the boys.

I took my own advice regarding staying warm and active so the time passed pretty quickly.  One of the highlights included taking the boys to the snow for the first time.  We went to Lake Mountain which is less than two hours drive away from here and had a really fun day out tobogganing down the mountainside along with half of Melbourne.  It's a beautiful drive through Yarra Glen to Healesville and then onto Marysville through the trees and ferns as you wind along the road (be careful of carsickness!).  It was a more sobering experience travelling to Marysville itself (where you can hire all your clothes, toboggans and skis) as they are still re-building the town after the Black Saturday bushfires and all around there are skeleton trees still standing in the mountainside.  Trees that sadly died as they were burnt down to their roots and haven't regenerated.  It was somewhat eerie looking out onto all of them on the drive up to Lake Mountain and on Lake Mountain itself.  I can't even begin to imagine how big the fires must have been that day.
Skeleton trees - Lake Mountain
Other highlights included a day trip into the city sans kids where Mr R took me to Emporium Melbourne.  And while I'm not much of a mall person these days, it was the perfect antidote to the cold, wet weather outside.  I have long had a thing for Japanese department stores so had a great time going to both Uniqlo (which is more fast fashion) and Muji (which isn't).  They were both a real experience and opposite to each other in many respects.  Uniqlo's very bright and upbeat (I found myself dancing to the in-store music while waiting for a change room) with lots of sales assistants asking if I had found what I was looking for.  I will say, they are great for high quality, affordable cotton and knit basics as well as their performance fabrics.  I bought a couple of their long sleeved heattech tops as undergarments for warmth while Mr R is a fan of their airism range which keeps moisture away from the skin (good for exercising in).  Their range of compact down jackets and vests has also become fairly ubiquitous in Melbourne.  Meanwhile Muji was a completely different experience with its low key, zen-like feel and emphasis on design and sustainability.  I didn't buy anything from there but I do like their homewares and travel gear in particular as their clothing was a bit too 'normcore' for me.  Mr R and I also grabbed some late afternoon dumplings from New Shanghai (after seeing a tip in Joyce Watts' Mel:Hot or Not blog) in the very upmarket Emporium food court.

I also had a couple of dinners out with friends which again were very different.  I had a fantastic night out at Paladarr Thai in Alphington (where I've previously dined but not for a few years) scoring the table right in front of the fireplace (they also have an outdoor courtyard).  It's more of a special occasion place given how pricey it is (three of us each paid $70 per head for dinner that night) but is an incredibly lovely and sophisticated, intimate dining space as a former Art Deco bank turned restaurant - a good one to go to for a romantic night out with your partner.  I also had dinner at Haveli Indian Restaurant in Doncaster East which was considerably less opulent (dinner for three of us cost just over $70 in total!) but very traditional.  It's not a place you go to for the ambience (we were seated under a very bright light with an Indian birthday party going on in the adjoining dining area complete with loud music and horn blowing), however the food was excellent and they have a man out the front behind the window who makes naan bread so it all felt very quaint and very authentic in many ways - the waiters were lovely.
Up, up...
..and away!
My final highlights were actually free and included taking the boys to the Tullamarine Airport Aircraft Viewing Area on Operations Road (turn left for Sunbury as you exit the airport) after driving Granny Annie there (who'd been in Melbourne visiting me for my birthday) to catch her plane back up north.  We had a great time eating hot jam donuts in the car (there is a food van there) and watching the planes soar above us.  Another highlight for me was going for a couple of runs around Rosanna park and seeing some black cockatoos in the trees overhead just near the second playground off Thompson Drive.  While I often see white cockatoos around here, the black ones have become increasingly rare so I felt a bit special to have seen some close up.

Lots going on this week and I'll be back later this week with more.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Down time

It's cold outside but I don't mind winter when the sun is out and the sky is blue - the trick is to remember that the sun is still shining even when it is behind the clouds.
I've had a busy first six months for the year with things still going on in the background for which I am hoping there is some resolution soon.  It's been a good exercise for me in letting go and just being in the moment, which is the most important thing anyway!  It's how our children live their lives and something we lose touch with as we get older.

I'll be taking some time off for a break and to re-charge but will be back on deck after the school holidays.  For those of you who are not fans of the cold like me - stay warm and stay active and the heart of winter will pass in no time at all.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sun on The Moon

The first concert I ever went to was James Taylor at Festival Hall (which my dad took me to) so I will always have a soft spot for him and I'm not the only one.  The Thornbury Theatre is holding a dinner and show this Friday night (American Independence Day and also my birthday!) celebrating the music of James Taylor with 'Sun on The Moon'.  You can buy advance presale tickets now, get them at the door on the night or book for both the dinner and show.  I think it would be a great way to spend a wintry night indoors.
Image via The Thornbury Theatre Oztix
And while it hasn't been too bad the past day or so with the sun making an appearance, when it's really overcast, wet and windy, it can make you feel pretty miserable.  I've been bunkering down at my place cooking, eating, listening to music and reading in front of the fireplace and just enjoying the chance to sit still for a while and not have to be anywhere with the school holidays currently on.

Both Mr Rosanna and I have had gift vouchers to use up so in the past month, I have spent one morning having a massage and pedicure (a real treat!) at Endota Day Spa Eaglemont while Mr R went and had a shiatsu massage with Aliki Zouliou on another weekend morning.  As for the kids, some of the more interesting indoor activities for older children include trampolining, climbing and indoor rock climbing at places like Bounce Inc, Clip N Climb Melbourne and Hardrock.