Tuesday, August 04, 2015

'It'll make a good story for the blog'

That's what I tell myself if I'm being a fraidy-cat and worrying that I'll mess something up so badly I ruin it.

In fact, 'Look I tried this and it was a disaster' is probably a much more interesting read than 'Look, I followed the instructions and the end result was perfect!'.
Bowl of porridge, with instructions for a 1/12 scale retro caravan kit underneath it.
And so, after a breakfast spent rereading the instructions, I ventured upstairs to begin work on the retro caravan kit.

I've spent the last couple of days dithering about how to finish the front hitch, and decided over breakfast that it looked like it could be glued on later (or possibly left off all together) so I could leave that decision for now.

Which meant the first step was gluing the sides to the base. The instructions confidently stated that 'Painting can be done after assembling' but I wasn't so sure, especially as once the roof pieces were on there wasn't much gap in the top to get to the inside.
Modern dolls' house miniature retro caravan kit bottom and sides laid out on a work table, with instructions.
 So I decided to be brave, ignore the instructions, and give the pieces a bit of an undercoat.

Which lead me to the next conundrum. The instructions on the spray-paint can said not to paint in temperatures under 15 degrees celsius. And this is what the current temperature (and forecast) is:
Infographic showing that the temperature in Canberra at midday on August 4 was 6 degrees celsius.
 (For my fahrenheit-using readers:)
Infographic showing that the temperature in Canberra at midday on August 4 was 43 degrees fahrenheit.
If I took any notice of this, I'd never paint anything through the middle of the year (or would spend a lot more on heating, when I'm not feeling cold).

 So I took a deep breath, pulled out the spray paint and the baking paper and gave it a go.
Spray-painted pieces of a 1/12 scale retro caravan kit, laid out to dry on top of a washing machine.
(Fingers crossed)

Monday, August 03, 2015

...and in case you were wondering

There's not been much progress on the caravan. (Although I did read the instructions while waiting for the kettle to boil for my hottie on Saturday night).
A set of kit instructions in front of a kettle and hot water bottle on a kitchen bench.
 Sunday, which I thought I might spend getting started on it, ended up looking like this,
Cat and person in bed. There is an open magazine on the lap oif the person, and they are scratching the cat's chin.
 this,
Cat, on a bed, yawning.
this
Cat curled up asleep on a bed next to a magazine and a tray holding a plate of french toast, yoghurt and berries.
 and this...
Cat on its back, cradling the arm of a person who is scratching its chin.

#Frugal15 Week eight

Mosaic of images showing a selection of groceries and four meals. The meals include corn fritters and salad, french toast with yoghurt and berries, baked potatos with mexican beans, sour cream and avocado and tomato soup with a muffin.
The week's grocery budget was rather high: but justifiably so. Aldi had the dish cloths I like available for the first time in a few years, so I took the opportunity to stock up while I could. And a trip to Costco with friends resulted in a five-litre container of white vinegar coming home with me. If you don't factor those two cleaning expenses in, the total grocery bill drops to under $50.

I hadn't made a menu plan for the week, thinking I'd be mainly eating leftovers and finishing up items half-used in other dishes and waiting in the fridge to be finished. By Sunday I realised that this was an error, as the constant parade of things I'd eaten recently meant I hit Sunday feeling bored and grumpy food-wise: and it took quite some deviousness to stop myself from trotting off to pick up fish and chips or noodles from across the road.

The diversion that finally worked was trying to use the leftover risotto in the freezer to make arancini patties (balls were out of the question as I don't deep fry things).

I've learnt my lesson: this morning before I went grocery shopping I made a menu plan that included three dishes I've not made in ages, and which include ingredients I've not bought since this challenge started (almost three months ago! Can you believe it?!)

It was another busy week. I spent Tuesday helping prepare for the first Pop Up Small Business Fair, and in return was bought lunch
Toasted panini with salmon, brie and spinach.
and dinner. (It was a long day...)
Dining table with pizzas and wine glasses on it.
On Wednesday a friend and I went on a day trip to Goulburn to see the Rosalie Gascoigne exhibition on at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery and I budgeted to treat myself to lunch at a local cafe. As I explained to my friend, being frugal doesn't mean being a complete tightwad and having no fun: it means being mindful about how and where you choose to spend your money while keeping within your budget.
Plate of grilled fish, salad and chips.
Friday was Cooking for Copyright day, and I'd arranged to guest post on a friend's blog with a $5 Friday meal. But I had other pressing appointments, so the post might just have involved a set-up photo and then some corn fritters out of the freezer for the final photo. Yep, a definite 'here's one I prepared earlier'bait and switch situation!
Handwritten recipe for corn fritters, surrounded by the ingredients needed to cook the recipe
I suspected Friday was going to be another long day without a chance for a break and no easy access to any food except chocolates from vendors' stalls and cupcakes from the caravan cafe which was going to be in attendance. So, in a last-minute panic I grabbed various frozen packages out of the freezer and a couple of things from the fridge while making breakfast,
Cheese on toast on a chopping board. Behind it on the kitchen bench are various tinfoil packages and plastic containers, an apple, and a bottle of water.
 which I turned into this several hours later:
A vegeburger on a napkin next to a flier for The Pop Up Office.
Saturday morning a friend dropped in on her way home from the farmers' markets with some 'little extras' she'd picked up for me. Which were much appreciated, even though it's rather premature for food parcels around here.
A container of fresh pasta, half a loaf of bread, two potatoes and a leek arranged on a kitchen bench.
And for lunch with another friend, we played a game of Freezer Roulette. She brought bread rolls from her freezer (a day-old bargain from one of Canberra's top bakers, she tells me) and I offered her a choice of soups from mine. She chose tomato. I went for pea and zucchini.
Two bowls od soup (both different), two rolls, and two glasses of sparking shiraz on a dining table.
It was a good week.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Setting it up Saturday

Step one. Lay all the pieces of your caravan kit out on your worktable to get an idea of what needs to be done.
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 Step two: Gather all your relevant reading material together. For research purposes.
Selection of books (and a magazine) on caravans.
Step three: Decide you need to make a miniature version of them in case you want to make a scene with them in.

Step four: Make and photograph a scene using a newly-made book..
Modern dolls' house miniature scene of a retro table and chair. On the table is a model caravan, a mug of coffee and a book on retro caravans.
Step five: Create a Pinterest board and spend an hour looking at options for what your end result might look like.

Step six. Get overwhelmed and decide to leave the decision making for another day...

Friday, July 31, 2015

Finish it of Friday: this week's challenge might stretch to more than one Friday...

It's been a crazy-busy week. I've been sorting out my tax, guest blogging, and helping with the first Pop Up Office Small Business Fair

My Sweet Alice was providing coffee at today's fair, out of a vintage caravan.
A vintage caravan cafe.
A vintage caravan cafe.
 Which made me think of the retro caravan kit I had in stash from Seaside Miniatures.
Modern dolls' house miniature retro caravan kit, in packaging.
Close up of a modern dolls' house miniature retro caravan kit instructions, with pieces.
 And made me decide that I really needed to start building it, based on my love of caravans.

There were other minis on display today: one of the stall holders had this fairy garden on their stall:
Miniature fairy house in a bowl on a small business stall.
 And the venue had a lovely pottery building on display (thankfully, for my budget, sold...)
Clay house on display in a gallery. In front of it is a clay kangaroo and sheep.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gascoigne at Goulburn Gallery was great!

In the Canberra Times art magazine a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that there was a Rosalie Gascoigne exhibition on at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, which is a mere hour up the road.

I love me some Rosalie Gascoigne about as much as I love me some Alex Asch, so of course I had to go. And since I have no job, I could go any time I wanted :-D

Today was the day, and friend Tina joined me for the trip. And, being such mature grown-up people, our first stop in town was a selfie in front of the bum of The Big Merino
Two women posing in front of the bottom of the Giant Merino in Goulburn.
(which I shared on Facebook with the title 'Yum yum, sheep's bum, road trips are great fun!'). Yep: completely adult.

Seriously though, I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition
Entry sign for The Daylight Moon: an exhibition of Rosalie Gascoigne's  work, showing at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery.
 (especially as we'd drive past Lake George to get there. And had the place to ourselves...)
A woman standing in front of work at The Daylight Moon: an exhibition of Rosalie Gascoigne's  work, showing at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery.
Two works at The Daylight Moon: an exhibition of Rosalie Gascoigne's  work, showing at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery.
The day got better when I discovered the children's room at the end of the gallery, which invited us to 'create your own Rosalie Gascoigne inspired [sic] collage and add it to our group work'.
The children's room at The Daylight Moon, with a sign inviting people to 'create their own Rosalie Gascoigne inspired works.
As we read, our plans to visit the local op shops before we had to return home faded away.
A woman selecting paper for her collage in the children's room at The Daylight Moon exhibition.
A woman cutting paper for her collage in the children's room at The Daylight Moon exhibition.
 I decided to photograph my pieces with the works that inspired them...
A woman holding up her collage in front of a work by Rosalie Gascoigne in The Daylight Moon exhibition.
A woman holding up her collage in front of a work by Rosalie Gascoigne in The Daylight Moon exhibition.
 And, finally, I just had to make a miniature-sized work
A selection of pieces of paper, scissors and a glue stick arranged on a table top.
which I had to play with once I got home.

The first thing I spotted in the stash when I started looking for inspiration for the scene (because one more 'desk and stuff' or 'sofa and stuff' scene would probably put me to sleep) was this chair from Minisx2:
Modern dolls' house miniature collage art work hanging on a black wall. In front of it is an art chair.
And, as sometimes happens, the whole story for the scene fell into place. It was a gallery shop, of course! (And what a long time since I've done a gallery...)
Modern dolls' house miniature collage art work hanging on a black wall. In front of it is an art chair. On the left is a cabinet  with a wooden pear on top of it.
And, as happens, things seemed to just jump out of various storage spaces, demanding to join in the fun:
Modern dolls' house miniature display wall in a gallery. A collage art work is hanging on a black wall. In front of it is an art chair. On the left is a cabinet  with a wooden pear, fish and chair on top of it, and a table and wooden art work next to it. In the cabinet are a selection of items including a wooden ampersand tile, a modern tray, wooden bowls and a book safe.
new things. Old things. And things that have been waiting in stash for a while for the perfect setting.
Modern dolls' house miniature display wall in a gallery. On display are a wooden pear, fish and chair, and wall plaque.
Modern dolls' house miniature glass-fronted display cupboard containing a modern wooden tray, an ampersand tile, two pieces of wood turning, and a book safe.
 They all suddenly working. Perfectly.
Modern dolls' house miniature plinth in a gallery, showing three pieces of turned woodwork.
Modern dolls' house miniature plinth in a gallery, showing a wooden case with removable lid and drawer.
 If I had money, I'd shop here.
Modern dolls' house miniature gallery, showing various wooden furniture and homeware pieces displayed on plinths, in a glass-fronted  cupboard, and on the wall.
 Wouldn't you?

Monday, July 27, 2015

#Frugal15 Week seven

Mosaic of images showing a selection of groceries and three meals. The meals are smoked salmon, brocolli , red pepper and blue brie pasta; a salad plate with felafel, hummus and pita bread and oat cakes with caramelised banana, yoghurt and berries.
 It was a busy week, and my focus wasn't really on food. But I still made and ate a variety of healthy, colourful, frugal meals.
Mosaic of images showing a mug of tea, a takeaway coffee at a cafe, morning tea with scones and jam and cream and takeaway pizza and wine.
And, as usual, made time to catch up with friends. I took muffins from the freezer on a visit to see a friend's new flat, bought myself coffee when I arrived early for a meeting (and appreciated it so much more than I used to when it was a daily habit), had a Friday-night dinner and movie night with friends (they decided to order in pizza), and visited the National Gallery of Australia's Members' Lounge and was bought coffee and noms for the second week running.

Oh, and just to prove that leftovers can be fun...
Two roasted potatoes, cut in half with melted cheese in the middle and peppercorns inserted to look like eyes.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday scene

Last week a friend and I took her kids to Canberra Museum and Gallery to see INK REMIX: Contemporary art from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. As we were admiring one of the pieces I mentioned that the opening invite I'd received had an image of it on the front, and that I'd tossed the invite into my pile of things to use in a mini scene.
Modern dolls' house miniature scene showing a blue and gold modern chinese panel on the wall. Underneath is a sideboard with a variety of blue and gold items on it, and beside it, two french cafe chairs in black and gold.
Since it was on the top of the pile, it was what I grabbed to start today's scene with... 
Modern dolls' house miniature scene showing a blue and gold modern chinese panel on the wall. Underneath is a sideboard with a variety of blue and gold items on it.