Thursday, August 28, 2008

The List of Thoughtful and/or Fascinating

I am unwell today, glued to the couch with a rug over my knees and a DVD of people with very wonderful Scottish accents playing in the background. So I have nothing remarkable of my own to say. But I've had time to skim at least a few of the over 400 posts clogging up my feed-reader. And it means I can share a little of the goods with you.

i. I didn't know that the ESV Bible had a Twitter! Each day, a fresh verse of Scripture is posted. This is a super idea.

ii. I love Batman. I've been a fan since I first heard Robin's cries of "Holy mashed banana, Batman!" on afternoon television when I was still in primary school. So when I heard there would be a sequel to Batman Begins, I was excited. But as news and reviews started to filter in nearing the film's release, I began to have my doubts. The movie sounded dark. Very dark. Did I really want to step into a theatre and soak myself in that darkness for more than two hours? Matt Kaufman talks about it better than I could.

iii. I am kind of in love with these journals and notebooks.

iv. And as if I don't already have enough, these Don't Waste Your Life journals at DesiringGod look very cool, too. Sort of Moleskine-like. And I like what DG says about journal-keeping:

"These field journals are a place to write out your thoughts as you journey toward that end. We designed them with Truth Content to be a reminder that every day of your life has great significance in Christ. Use these journals for everything, big or small, heavy or light. Meditate on the Scripture. Reflect on your day. Write a poem. Pen a song. Sketch an idea. Jot down an observation or experience that you don’t want to forget. Use these journals when you're traveling, in the office, at church, at school, in a coffee shop, at home...anywhere. Make much of Christ with your thoughts and dreams and plans, and they will not be wasted."



Caitlin -- amen to bringing on Spring and Summer! Well, maybe not a Queensland summer... but spring, for sure!

Suzanne -- It's a big country, that's for sure :).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The List of Great

i. I cannot tell you how good it is to have a camera again. Even though it is an interim little point-and-shoot that cost less than a hundred dollars, has very limited function, and frequently takes bad pictures, I feel like someone has found an amputated limb of mine and reattached it.

ii. Yesterday the postman not only brought me a parcel from Western Australia, but he also delivered a beautifully-written letter from Kansas. With pictures.

iii. On top of that, a very talented friend drew a picture of a character from a story I'm writing and she totally nailed him, right down to his mannerisms.

iv. On top of even that, the sunset last night was quite ethereal. No one can really do sunsets justice by describing them, so I won't try.

v. My littlest brother has decided to call me Dan or Dani and while in the past I resisted such attempts from other acquaintances, somehow it sounds perfectly alright coming from his little mouth.

vi. Some deadlines are beginning to be Quite Beaten, which makes me feel relieved.

vii. There are new books on my desk to read.

viii. Bible study is on tonight with a very awesome group of people and so that makes me eager.

ix. Spring is sniffing around the fringes of Winter. Hurrah!



Staish -- Moleskineaholics Anonymous.

Tegan -- did you find some secondhand books to use in cards and collages? It's such fun cutting into them!

Melody -- welcome to the Moleskine Appreciation Society!

Abbie -- you'll have to let me know if you try a Moleskine, and then tell me what you think of it :). I could talk about journals all day long and I get so inspired hearing what others do with theirs! xox

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ode to the Moleskine

This post is in honour of my most favourite brand of journals, and is dedicated to Abbie, who asked, "Moleskines -- what are they?"

Moleskine journals (whose history you can read at this site) have been around for a long time in various forms. I first saw them in Australia a few years back, and the product tagline -- 'The legendary notebook of Hemingway, Picasso, Chatwin' -- caught my eye. Hemingway scribbled in these things? Picasso sketched in them? This was my first tip that they were Something Good.

In the online journalling communities I visited, I started to see people using -- and raving about -- these notebooks. Finally I bit the bullet and forked over $32.00 for a basic ruled notebook. It took me almost two years to fill up, so I considered I got my money's worth from it, and from then on I was hooked.

Here's what I love about Moleskines:

>> They are all the same size. This appeals to my bulk-loving and originally tidy little heart.

>> They are hard-wearing. The cover is stiff and hardy (haven't bent or seriously dented mine yet, in spite of its being stuffed in many bags), and the corners are rounded so you don't get any crush happening.

>> An elastic keeps the notebook shut when you want it shut (especially useful if you stick lots of bits and pieces in).

>> The plain black means you can do anything you want with it. Leave it sleek and classy, or customise it with your own cool bits and pieces.

>> Ease of writing. The spine lays flat when you wrote so there's none of that akwardness you get if you're scrawling too near the centre of the notebook.

>> The paper. Always the most important aspect of a journal for me (along with hardiness) is the paper. I really like the paper in Moleskines. The regular notebook paper is smooth and creamy with less ink show-through than you'd expect for its lightness. The sketchbook paper (my current Moleskine) is thick and excellent, and strong enough even to handle paint.

I've used a few different Moleskines. The first was the regular ruled notebook. After that, I wanted some more but I couldn't afford a hardcover one at the time, so I bought myself a handful of Cahiers, thinner cardboard Moleskine notebooks with sewn spines. These aren't as hardy but are fun for short-term journals and note-taking. Plus, they're really customisable with cardboard covers.

Currently, I'm using the 2008 Daily Planner (see the second and third pictures, above) which is chunky and fat and just like the Ruled Notebook, only with dates and times and such. I use a planner every day, so for me, it's worth the investment.

For my regular journal, I'm using the Sketchbook. Because the paper is so much heavier, this one only has 100 pages. It won't last as long as the Ruled Notebook, with 240 pages, but I'm loving having the freedom to paint or sketch or stick stuff into my journal.

Always, the downside to Moleskines is their price. But I'm over the moon since a very awesome friend recommended Book Depository to us. It's a UK store (I'm imagining it like the UK equivalent of Amazon) and their prices are very, very good. Best of all: they have free shipping! I ordered my 2009 Daily Planner from them and it arrived in six days in good order, postage-free as they'd promised, and only $25. Last year I'd had to pay $40 for the same planner in a local Borders.
Thus ends my ode to my trust companion, the Moleskine journal. As you can tell, I'm pretty excited about these books. Abbie, I hope this answers your question. Other mildly delirious journal keepers, have you used a Moleskine? Did you like it? And everyone else who now thinks I'm certifiably batty for going on so long about a notebook, well, you'll just have to deal with it.



Tegan -- the little boy on the card was cut from a children's picture book I'd found at the library for twenty cents. It's a weird book, but some of the illustrations are cute, so I use them in artwork. I'd be happy to post card pictures occasionally if you're happy to read them!

Staish -- Oh, he's a grand little chef when it comes to appearances. It's the flavour -- and the hygiene -- that I tend to worry about.

Abbie -- it's always so cool to finish up another journal, isn't it?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weekend VIII: in pictures!

Playing with new paints! And making a card for a friend's bonfire birthday party on Saturday evening (happy birthday, Dan!).

Danielle Carey: Hearting Moleskine journals since 2005.

Testing out my camera on human skin. *eyebrows*
Travelling to the bonfire party. The moon was amazing this night.

Flames are amazing, too. What is so... enchanting about them?

On Sunday morning, my little brother "made" me some lunch, all on his own. Apart from the fact that the bowl is full of cold leftover soup from two days before, and the slice of tomato was scrounged from somewhere, this is a pretty good effort. Thankfully, he decided to eat it instead.

Flowers from my birthday last Monday, still shining beautifully.
Bethany -- it's so much fun "flashing back"; I'm glad you're doing it, too!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Flashback Friday

Since birthdays abound this week (my grandfather on Thursday, Ruth on Saturday, my uncle on Saturday, me on Monday, Lachlan and Vance on Wednesday, my awesome cousin Annie next Monday, and another uncle on Tuesday), what else could I post for this week's flashback but a birthday picture from a bygone era? Okay, maybe not that bygone. Twenty-one years ago, there was me, blowing out candles, with one of my sisters helping and another watching with fat little chubby cheeks. I remember the cake. It was a hickory dickory dock one.

In other news, I have a new little camera! It is cheap and small and not very powerful but it makes me happy because I have been without one for so long. I have never got used to not having my camera, though; I felt like an amputee. Now I can look at the world again on a 2" LCD screen and live vicariously through the images captured there. Hooray! And because I'm so excited, I took a photo of my photo, instead of scanning it in the usual fashion. What can I say? I am a dork.
Amanda -- thanks for the birthday wishes!
SimplyThis -- how did you scrape through without getting "detected"? The innocent face is all an act, I tell you! (and I hope the hand balm works for you!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Weekend VII: a hint of Spring

In the Augusts of my childhood*, the memories are all windy. Windy and bitterly cold. But this weekend past felt unlike an August weekend at all, full of sunshine and airy lightness that made me realise September is just a few weeks away. I even got a little sunburnt, I do believe. It was a weird contrast to my winter-dry hands, so chapped that I've been going through the handcream like there's no tomorrow**.

Saturday was a gorgeous day, Ruth's birthday, and the Doulos was berthed at Portside so we went to Hamilton to explore it together. After navigating the Scary Security Scanners (the people weren't scary; the scanning, however, was. What were they scanning for, precisely?), we climbed aboard for a Journey of Exploration and Discovery. The guided tours were booked out, but we got to see a lot of this amazing vessel just by navigating the public-allowed areas. I had no idea the ship was as old as it is (you must visit the website if you want to know precisely), so its timber trims and air of venerable age were a happy surprise.

The on-board bookshop was crowded with people and no wonder; everything was incredibly well priced. Obviously, this ship's ministry takes seriously its job to provide literature to the world. I found some great bargains and will tell you more about them when I've read and listened some more. We had coffees out on the open-air cafe deck, and watched in amusement as a skywriter wrote "Sorry R-" in white smoke trails. Had someone forgotten to buy Ruth a gift? The valiant little plane continued its mission and soon we all saw that the apologisee was not Ruth at all. Wonder how it felt to have all of Brisbane witness the apology? And what heinous sin could the apologiser actually have committed? This remains an enigma.

We bought lunch at a bustling fish and chip shop and took our meal (in very cool brown paper bags) across the road to a park buzzing with people and Saturday afternoon happiness. We sat and chatted while we ate. Quite the perfect way to spend such a beautiful Saturday.

Sunday we prepared a picnic lunch and drove the sometimes winding road down to Mt. Tamborine and into the exquisite national park area. Some friends from our Western Australia days were across for a holiday and so we arranged to meet up with them there. It was another blissful day, cool in the shade, but warm for walking, and ideal for enjoying the tranquility of the rocky path down to the falls. It was lovely to catch up with our friends; it's always a unique feeling to see people from one life seemingly transported into another. I found myself missing WA again and eager for any snippets of news.

Monday was a public holiday here in honour of the Ekka, Brisbane's annual show. I've never lived in a state where they put on a public holiday for my birthday, and I was most impressed. We spent it as public holiday birthdays ought to be spent: slowly, with nice food, phone calls, and nice people. After dinner we set up bamboo torches and two small braziers in the park across the road, and roasted marshmallows with twenty-seven special people. The night grew long--and cold--as we sat around the fires chatting and laughing and telling unclassy jokes. Perfect.

*That felt remarkably like the first line of a novel.
**I recommend Eulactol's Hand Balm for Very Dry Skin. (Yes, that's really what it's called.)



Suzanne -- Do come and visit indeed! Tasmania is way south from where we live (about five hours of connecting flights), but once you're in the country, anything is close!

Caitlin -- I think you're right; Mum really does look like Andrea in that picture! Or perhaps Andrea looks like her? :)

Caitlin & Tegan -- thank you for your lovely birthday wishes--and also for the beautiful gifts that arrived yesterday! You will be hearing more from me about those :).

Melody -- thank you! xox

Friday, August 8, 2008

Flashback Friday

1980 Just Mum and me. I am kind of harder to see.



Bethany -- that was indeed my parents in the second photo! I have no idea how Mum convinced Dad to get into that outfit.

Frank and Sue -- thanks so much for dropping by here at the blog! The wilderness was something we didn't get to see heaps of, as we were without a car for much of our trip. However, if anything, the holiday has only whetted out appetite for more Tasmanian goodness.

Caitlin -- very astute question! I am definitely still struggling to get out of holiday mode :).

Katie -- So glad you enjoyed it. There's so many good things I could say about that little state hanging off the bottom of the map.

Holly -- It doesn't feel like Winter now we're back up north. :(

Amanda -- Ooh, you are going to Tas next year? You'll love it! Feel free to email when you are planning your trip and we can give you some specifics on just the very few things we did in our time there. I'm sure you'll discover lots of other great stuff, especially if you are taking or hiring a car.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nine delicious things about Tasmania

Having contemplated it, I've come to the conclusion that fourteen days in a place as beautiful as Tasmania cannot be summed up even in hundreds of words, so I am not going to try. Instead, I'm simply going to present you with a list, a list of...

Nine delicious things about Tasmania:
1. History dripping off the walls. It's everywhere, and so easy to see that Tasmania was really one of Australia's first settlements. New buildings are a rarity, and, what's more, so are old buildings that haven't been cared for. Somehow Tasmanians have worked out that gorgeous old homes are the best homes, if they're loved and looked after. So much amazing architecture.

2. Super shopping. Even Launceston, centre of all things greatness, is still just a delightful overgrown country town. The stores are delightful and unique and often in old, old buildings. There are fewer chain stores and even those few are cooler because of the setting (Sportspower in a palatial stone structure with a painted pressed tin ceiling!).

3. The people are lovely. Apart from the fact that everyone looks lovely because of their warm and luscious winter clothing, the people are actually lovely, too. Strangers smile at you as you pass them in the street. At first I thought, "Am I holding a glowing neon sign that says 'tourist' in large letters?" Then I realised that no, Tasmanians haven't yet realised that strangers aren't supposed to notice each other. It's nice.

4. City Park. Every city should have a park like Launceston's City Park. It's a huge, lush green space with monuments and statues (which you can hug, if you are so inclined) and a kids' playground. But best of all are the monkeys. In the actual park is an enclosure (a nice enclosure, not fencey, with glass walls and no roof) that is filled with rocks and a stream and trees and ropes -- and monkeys. And the monkeys caper away and show off and play for everybody and everybody watching feels like they own the monkeys -- or perhaps just one of the monkeys. It's very cool.

5. Food is cheap. Good food is cheap. I think that says it all.

6. The Evandale Markets. These -- on a Saturday morning -- are the sort of markets you see on television shows or read about in magazines but never actually find yourself. They had a bit of everything, but lots of genuine vintage finds, old books, and homemade cakes and cookies. It was bitterly cold the day we were there, but still a good-sized crowd of stallholders turned out, making us wish we had more room in our luggage...

7. Invigorating temperatures. Everyone says Tasmania is cold, and it's true but, except for a few occasions (see #6, above), the cold was delicious and refreshing and lovely. It whips your cheeks into pinkness and gets you moving quicker, but it's not uncomfortable. Which brings me to point number eight...

8. You can wear a beanie in public and not feel like a noob. Because everyone else is wearing them, too. Not because they're a fashion statement but because it's actually sensible.

9. SNOW! All my little brother wanted to do in Tasmania was to have a "snow flight" and he got his list one Saturday morning when we made the (fate-tempting) journey up the series of hairpin turns known as Jacob's Ladder to reach Ben Lomond, thick with snow that was not too hard. Most of us had only seen teensy bits of snow, so this was as exciting as we could have imagined. We learnt that snow is not that cold when you are having fun, that ice is -- erm -- slippery and falling over embarrassing, and also that Dad packs snowballs far too hard. A most enjoyable education.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Let's goooo shopping!

I once promised that I wouldn't talk too much about shopping here at my blog, but I'm breaking my silence because greatness (my friend's greatness, not my own) compels me. A very smart and talented and generally amazing person I know opened an etsy shop this week and it's just so good that you will want to check it out yourself.

Even the title is cuteness in a bucket:

Ambitious Snail :: The Art and Handcrafts of Hannah C. Heyer

If you want to buy something, it looks like you're going to have to be quick. Things are moving fast.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Home again + Flashback Friday

I am home after a delicious two weeks, and my own bed is more comfy than ever. There will be pictures and memories when I get them all sorted, but for now, a new tradition: flashback Friday. I saw it somewhere else (and I can't for the life of me find where now) so this idea is, most blatantly, stolen.


I have always been something of a fashion icon. I can't help myself. It's a burdensome gift, but it's one my parents taught me to gladly bear. Their example is always before me.




Tegan -- thankyou for your lovely comment! You make me smile :). And wow, how true that it is hard to love without sticking ourselves into the picture somewhere.

Staish -- I attained my dreams and didn't even know it. Wow. That is some day, alright!

Celeste -- hurrah! So lovely to be back in touch. And you are tripping over to Australia? Yay!

Southeastcountrywife -- maybe, just maybe I'll get to do that someday.

Caitlin -- pictures coming soon! I did manage to steal Lauren's camera occasionally (with permission, of course!).

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