Friday, August 28, 2015

A Spring in my step

It's been a cold winter from start to finish but given the amount of activity that's currently on - I think people are ready to start getting out there again.  I was at Heide Museum of Modern Art volunteering yesterday thinking the cold and pouring rain would keep people away but it was absolutely bustling right up until lunch time particularly in the central galleries where the very colourful Melinda Harper: Colour Sensation exhibition is still on.  Both Melinda Harper and her mum were at the gallery yesterday.
Image via Vinnies.org.au
It's actually been National Op Shop week this week (which is also a local volunteering initiative from the DoSomething charity) and there are a lot more events on this weekend.  The RMIT Design Market is on tomorrow at Melbourne Central where you can buy some of the best new work from emerging artists and designers from the RMIT community.  My friend ceramic artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen has also got together with two other Danish artist friends - Karen Glahn (jewellery) and Christina Jonsson (clothing) and will be holding a pop up shop Dan3K 10 am - 4 pm from tomorrow until Sunday 6 September at 135 Noone Street Clifton Hill (with cafe next door) as part of Craft Cubed.  Both events are great opportunities to buy the Dads in your life a handmade Father's Day present.
Image via Craft Cubed
Meanwhile my friend Estelle Michaelides is holding her annual Manicure & Mocktail Day tomorrow at The Estelle Store in Ivanhoe if you're wanting to indulge yourself as a Spring treat.  Speaking of Spring, the annual Hurstbridge Wattle Festival is being held on Sunday 30 August - I love hearing the big steam train whistling from where I live and knowing that the dreariest season of the year is finally coming to a close - it's been a long one but we are almost there.  Have a great weekend!
Image via Wattle Festival

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Oh what a night...

Mr Rosanna and I went to Avant Card's Postcard of the Year Awards event last Friday night held in Experimedia at The State Library - the first time it's been held in Melbourne.  We had a great time!  While the Awards have been held every year for the past 8 years, the gala night is only staged every second year and the past few have all been in Sydney.
Uncle Joey Gnarnayarrahe performs traditional smoke ceremony on steps of State Library 
We were treated to some fantastic entertainment by way of Uncle Joey, an Aboriginal elder and didgeridoo player who both played and sang for us as well as later conducted a smoke ceremony of gum leaves collected from all who attended (we were asked to make a wish) outside the front of the library.  I actually sourced Uncle Joey from my friend Matt Hills at Urban Cirque on behalf of Avant Card as it was a long held wish of Managing Director Pat Mackle to have an Aboriginal musician perform at one of her events.
MC: Hannah Gadsby
The MC for the night was Hannah Gadsby who was even more funny and erudite in person than on TV - I think because she was given free reign to talk off the cuff instead of being more scripted.  And the overall winner for Postcard of the Year?  It was the Victorian Opera for their card 'The Flying Dutchman' and the absolute highlight of the night was having singer Carlos E. Barcenas then come out and sing for all of us present accompanied only by a grand piano, which was a big surprise.  Both Mr R and I got quite emotional listening - I've never been to the opera but the singing was beautiful to hear - pure perfection.  I've previously heard and booked student opera singers myself through the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music when I used to organise Christmas events at David Jones but this was definitely something else again.
Postcard of the Year Awards 2014/2015: Grand winner trophy
From the Victorian Opera: Pianist - Phoebe Briggs, Head of Music & performing the aria: Carlos E. Barcenas
It was great to meet a lot of the gang from Sydney given we operate as a virtual team at Avant Card spread across the Eastern Seaboard and I am a consultant.  Boy, those kids can party!  We went on to drinks at The Red Hummingbird rooftop bar and cocktail lounge, where I wanted to take home the Moroccan lightshades, upstairs off Russell Street before Mr R and I called it a night.
Me and Mr Rosanna on the big red couch in Experimedia at The State Library 
Me and the Avant Card gang
Having had only finger food at the event, we ended up having a late night meal at an old Cantonese favourite Nam Loong, before heading home.  As much as I wanted to go and join some of the stayers for a dance elsewhere, Mr R and I had to get up in the morning for Auskick.  It wasn't pleasant getting up early on Saturday morning on the back of a big night.  Can't party like we used to...
Rooftop Bar image via The Red Hummingbird

Cocktail Lounge image via The Red Hummingbird

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A life worth living

Apparently, Melbourne is once again the world's most liveable city for the fourth year in a row.  It's not something I take for granted especially when contemplating other overseas countries - many of which are experiencing political, religious or economic strife or other turmoil like war, famine and disease.  And while I don't think we're perfect, especially when I think one of the measures of how successful we are as a country is how we treat the most vulnerable people in our society, I think we have much to be grateful for in this lucky country of ours.
Image via Mr. Hendricks Cafe
I was out today celebrating my best friend's birthday and while I've been pretty busy of late with work, it's always a good reminder to me that our friends and family really are the most important things in our life, and being able to spend time together is priceless.  Work will always be there, I'm not sure our relationships always will be if we don't nurture them.
Soft shelled crab burgers and Salmon breakfast dish at Mr Hendricks
We had brunch at the very groovy Mr. Hendricks in Whitehorse Road Balwyn - a hop, skip and jump away from my old high school where we did in fact have a teacher called Mr Hendricks, although the cafe is apparently named after the owner's dog and not my old teacher!  It was packed to the rafters inside and we had to wait out on the street for a few minutes and put our name on the waiting list for a table out the back in the long narrow courtyard which goes all the way up and back to the laneway.
Image via Welcome to Thornbury
It was glorious in the afternoon sunshine today and the coffee, food and service was excellent - I shall be back at some future stage.  Speaking of food, I did want to mention the lucky people of Northcote/Thornbury who have Melbourne's first permanent food truck park Welcome to Thornbury located at 520 High Street, Northcote in a former used car yard where a rotating selection of four to six food trucks will sell their food to hungry punters.  I was also reading somewhere that the next foodie hot spots were likely to be Brunswick, Preston (formerly known as DePreston) and, you guessed it, Thornbury.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie

It's one of my favourite books from when I was a child and with all the new blooming and blossoming that I've started seeing around the place (along with the copious amount of weeds in my back yard!), it has reminded me of May Gibbs' series of stories in the The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie where the illustrations were just as fantastic as the actual words.
Image via Booktopia
I've been hearing the owls hooting at night this week and I have to say that I find our flora and fauna here in Australia all the more alluring as I get older, and more sentimental.  For Australian nature lovers like myself, there are a few things which have caught my eye along this theme.
Leila Jeffreys Prey image via Olsen Irwin
If I ever have the money, I'd absolutely love one of Leila Jeffreys' beautiful photographs of Australian birds, which are spectacular and full of character.  I also think some of the printed bird tea towels from Bonnie and Neil look amazing framed on a wall, which is something my sister-in-law has done at home.
Cocky 2 Pink image via Bonnie and Neil
I also love these gumnut and gum leaf laser cut timber trivets made by Buttonworks -  a family run business on the Mornington Peninsula and I've picked one up locally from the Heide Store in Bulleen.  I've previously bought a Banksia Scent Pot made by Anthony Hansen at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria  shop in Cranbourne, which is well worth a visit (just watch out for snakes in summer) if you are ever heading to the peninsula or have overseas visitors.
Image via Blackbird & Fox
Finally, I have just discovered these absolutely beautiful 100% Silk Crepe de Chine headscarves which are illustrated, printed and made in Sydney by local artist Edith Rewa.  She's about to stock up on some of her sold out styles which are available both from her online shop and the very cool Guild of Objects in North Melbourne.
Cocky Lady (Peach) headscarf by Edith Rewa

Friday, August 14, 2015

Art for all

I had a Banyule Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee meeting last night with the Banyule Arts and Culture team from Banyule Council, including the newly appointed curator Steph Neoh.  There was no update regarding the future of Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe nor will there be until council meets in early September to make a decision following the outcry from the local community against selling off the building and land.  Nominations for the advisory committee itself are up for renewal and I will share more news about that in due course.  The current exhibition WE: A Space to Explore Art, Disability & Inclusion is looking fantastic and Hatch has really come into its own as a community access gallery that celebrates art for everyone - apparently something like 150 people attended the opening last week.
Image via Banyule Youth Services
It is an artistic weekend in that the annual Artists on Were Street in Montmorency is on tomorrow featuring live music from the Sisters and Misters vocal group at 11.15am.  I do love the village feel in Monty and many of the artists I've been lucky enough to meet since moving to the burbs all hail from Montmorency.
Image via www.craft.org.au
The Ivanhoe Makers Market is also on tomorrow at The Livingstone Centre in Ivanhoe - another great space for the community in Banyule and while I'm on the topic of all things handmade - Craft Cubed - Australia's biggest festival of all things handmade is currently on at the moment until 22 September.

Have a great weekend - not long now until Spring arrives!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The road less travelled

It might be wishful thinking but I am hoping that it's going to start getting warmer from tomorrow.  In the greyness of yesterday morning, I was out on the road heading to my client Avant Card's office in Brunswick.  Surprisingly, I don't take Bell Street there but prefer to cut through Northcote via Westgarth Street.  The best thing about driving down Westgarth Street was seeing the bright yellow blossoms on the boulevard of trees that line the street, against the backdrop of grey skies, which lifted my spirits no end in the drizzle.  If you are heading that way, make sure you keep an eye out as you drive - it's beautiful.
Gang Gang bird image via nillumbik.vic.gov.au
Speaking of Spring, there is actually an annual Spring Outdoors program coordinated by Manningham, Banyule and Nillumbik Councils which includes some fantastic events.  Some of the highlight events include the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary Spotlighting Walks, two Breakfast with the Birds events, a Pop Up Park and Outdoor Cinema Event at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen on Sunday 19 September, an Open Farm Day in Nillumbik, the Practically Green and Eltham Copper Butterfly festivals both being held at Edendale Farm in Etham, the Wurundjeri Stories Indigenous Trail Walk at Pound Pend in Warrandyte, and the Star Gazing Night presented by the Astronomical Society at Westerfolds Park in Templestowe on Friday 20 November.
Image via heide.com.au
There will also be a number of beekeeping workshops if you are interested in creating your own hive and honey.  I've read somewhere that local honey is good if you suffer from allergies and asthma as the bees use local pollens.  Heide Museum of Modern Art produces its own honey (from hives in Templestowe) which you can buy at the Heide Store and I know that Bundoora Homestead Art Centre has plans to also start producing its own as well.
Image via ABC Twitter page
Speaking of food, if you are a carnivore there is a new place called Dexter in Preston which specialises in meat and buns!  The name Dexter always reminds me of the robot from the matchmaking TV show of old Perfect Match (and not the serial killer TV series of the same name).  Being a sci fi geek I am really enjoying watching the BAFTA award winning show Humans on ABC2 at the moment on Monday nights - it's an English adaptation from the Swedish drama Real Humans and I reckon both the Swedish and the Danish produce great TV as well as being two of the most progressive countries in the world.  I'd love to visit one day...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Digital Age

The digital revolution has disrupted many industries including my own in the world of marketing, media and publishing.  Many years ago, I had the choice of studying to become either a journalist or a PR professional and in many ways, I am glad I went down the path of PR, particularly living in Melbourne.  That's not to say that my chosen field has remained immune to the the digital age but it's been interesting to see the birth of jobs which didn't even exist 5 years ago now being advertised.

And while I think marketing skills can be both innate as well as learnt, I'm not sure if that applies to writing.  Sure you can take classes to become a better writer and learn writing skills but I often think that writers are born not made - most writers possess a love of language and reading from a young age as well as an overwhelming need to express what they feel and think in the written form.  For me, it's also crossed over into the need to verbalise as well and getting over being a shy child to becoming a more mature and confident adult adept in the art of small talk and general conversation.
MWF (@MelbWritersFest) image via Twitter
While we're on the topic of writing, the Melbourne Writers Festival starts next week and I think the Digital DIY classes held by a number of well-known bloggers and online innovators including the likes of Pip Lincolne, Lucy Feagins, Leo Babauta, Sarah Wilson and Phoebe Montague would well be worth attending.  The best thing is that all 24 sessions are being held the weekend of the 22 and 23 August at the Northcote Town Hall and you can buy tickets here.
Image via True Local
If you are an aspiring writer, it's also great to know that we have our very own boutique micro publisher Busybird Publishing in Montmorency co-owned by the very lovely Blaise van Hecke, who also writes her own blog The Book Chick and who featured on my blog as a local profile earlier this year.  Speaking of which, I have met a number of really interesting, but equally as busy, people this year who I have asked to be local profiles - I'm hoping some of them come through for me at some stage soon given they tend to be the most highly read posts on this very blog.  People always love reading about other people - I think it is just human nature.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Waiting for Spring to be Sprung

It's been a long winter and I know many of you feel the same way - it was bleak last week and cabin fever had set in with a number of my friends and family, who were all feeling pretty miserable and over it!  Myself included in that basket given I came down with the same bug that my kids had last week.  They've since bounced back but not their poor mother...
Artwork at Bulleen Art & Garden
I'm really happy to say that I have seen blossoms appearing on trees so despite the cold, Spring is definitely on its way.  Seeing the sun out this morning has also lifted my spirits although I strive to remember that the sun is always out, even when it is behind the clouds, as the Buddhists say.
Image via weteachme.com
I didn't get a chance to post late last week but Bolin Bolin Gallery at Bulleen Art & Garden (BAAG) is celebrating its 20 year anniversary with a new gallery opening and exhibition showing from now until 20 September.  I've not yet had a chance to visit since they've finished their renovations but given Spring is around the corner, I will be in to buy new herbs and plants in the coming weeks.  The owner Meredith Plain is a practising artist who is very much inspired by nature, as many artists are.  I've always loved the bohemian feel of BAAG as I know it and we're lucky to have not one, but two great nurseries in the area with the more upmarket The Greenery across the road in Heidelberg.  I have been into The Greenery more recently and their visual merchandising and styling of garden-inspired interiors and homewares inside the main building is second to none including the new floral displays (yes, real flowers!) which are a lovely touch.
Hanami picnics in front of Himeji Castle  2005 image via Wikipedia
I love that the Japanese celebrate Spring every year with their cherry blossom festival known as Hanami - which also celebrates the impermanent and transient aspects of nature and encapsulates what the Japanese refer to as wabi-sabi - it's a good allegory for life itself.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rugging up

It feels a bit like the never ending winter at the moment - I can't believe Spring is less than 4 weeks away and yet it still feels like we're right in the depths of the cold season.  It's just as well there are some beautiful clothes and accessories around to keep you feeling warm.
It's sale time again for my friend Helen Webster - the Raffal Fine Australian Merino Wool Big Winter Sale of shawls, stoles, scarves and jewellery will be held from 3 - 5 pm this Saturday 8th August at the Ivanhoe Uniting Church at 19 Seddon Street in Ivanhoe.  You can pick up some unique pieces using cash, credit card or cheque with samples, one off items plus normal excess stock all on offer.  The church is located near Ivanhoe railway station with car parking available at the rear.  Besides selling her beautiful wares, Helen also takes overseas shopping tours - I met Helen many years ago when I was working in fashion PR and Helen was working for what is now The Woolmark Company.  She's been a fan of Australian wool for a long time!  Helen's lovely niece is modelling a couple of Helen's scarves above and below.
Independent Australian fashion brand Obus has also opened a new store in Brunswick East at 136 Lygon Street complementing its three other existing stores in Northcote, Fitzroy and the CBD.  They're well known for their quirky designs and short-runs of clothing ranges which are all made here in Australia.
Obus Winter '15 image via Pinterest

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

We

This is the name of the upcoming exhibition at Hatch Community Arts Space - We is a a space to explore art, disability and inclusion, which I think is a timely topic given the past week's furore over the treatment of indigenous Australian football player Adam Goodes.  I still have the words from Hugh McKay's book The Art of Belonging ringing in my ears where he states that 'social exclusion is a crime against humanity'. The opening event for We is tomorrow from 6 - 8 pm at 14 Ivanhoe Parade in Ivanhoe.  RSVP if attending: arts@banyule.vic.gov.au - We will feature artists from Arts Access, Araluen and Jets Studios.  It will be opened by Mayor of Banyule Council Craig Langdon and Director Esther Anatolitis from Regional Arts Victoria.
We Exhibition Poster image via  www.banyule.vic.gov.au
Hatch itself has been a bone of contention in the local community with a groundswell of support from art lovers, Friends of Banyule, residents and affected groups submitting almost 300 signatures against selling off the 105 year old building.  I've got a meeting next week with the Banyule Arts and Culture team so it will be interesting to hear what council have decided regarding the potential sale.
Image via Booktopia
Also opening this week at Montsalvat in Eltham is My Garden of Birds featuring a series of photogravure prints by the aptly named local artist Karena Goldfinch as well as The Northcote Hysterical Society exhibition by contemporary visual artist David Wadelton at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre - northside fans and those into interactive/social media will like this one.
Meet me in Wonthaggi Maggie by Karena Goldsmith via www.montsalvat.com.au

Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Banyule Arts and Culture Advisory Committee member

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Hotter than July

I've been so busy this week that I literally ran out of time to post yesterday so this is a little bit late but I'm hoping some of you might see this over the weekend.  It's been the coldest July in something like two decades so I am hoping August starts to get a bit warmer - the countdown to Spring is on!
Image via miff.com.au
I've talked a lot about food this week and I did want to mention that Broadsheet actually ran a Melbourne Film Festival (which opened on Thursday) Food and Film Guide - it's a great idea when you're seeing a movie and want to grab a bite to eat somewhere close or have something that gets you into the mood for what you're seeing - particularly as we are such a multicultural city in terms of cuisine.
Image via Banyule Youth
The Olympic Village Makers Market is on in West Heidelberg today until 2pm if you're in the area and the Round She Goes vintage clothing market is on in Box Hill tomorrow.  Speaking of design, I have been an admirer of Abby Seymour's work for a while now - I particularly love her fairly organic range of hand formed jewellery, although she does beautiful homewares as well.
Image via www.realestate.com.au
Finally, it's not quite yet Spring but this Robin Boyd house at 10 Gruyere Crescent in Ivanhoe East has caught my eye - it backs onto the river and I think if you're a lover of all things mid century, this would be a fantastic project.  I really hope it gets bought by a design lover and not knocked down and replaced with some soul-less McMansion.  It's been a bit heartbreaking to watch this happen to many period homes around Melbourne in recent years and all I can repeat is that money does not buy taste, style or class.  Speaking of projects, Mr Rosanna and I have almost finished our studio and I will post some picture of it at some later stage once it's done.