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I'm A Table








Katie ❀ Melbourne, Australia

dreamer ✧ crafter ✧ artist ✧ cook ✧ reader ✧ gardener ✧ collector ✧ list-maker ✧ Forest Girl
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GeoMushroom I


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Swedish Christmas Shawl


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Mixtro Monster


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August 3rd, 2016

My July

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July has been a month of both continuity and change. As I wrote in my Winter Garden Update a few days ago, the weather has continued cold, though alternating between rainy and sunny days. Having finished the bulk of unpacking and tidying the house, I was starting to feel a little daunted at the many bits and pieces left over, until two new obsessions came along to distract me, which I'll explain below.

I started working full-time again this week. Of course that means I will have a lot less free time, but I'd still like to post in my blog 1-2 times a week and once a day on my Instagram. In reality though, it might take me a while to settle in to a routine again. So if you don't hear from me quite so frequently, that's why.

In truth, for the last couple of years I've had a second job (my only job for the last 6 months) in my friend's shop, so I'll actually be working 5-1/2 to 6 days a week again. Of course, I have mixed feelings about it -- it'll be nice to be earning money and being able to buy things again, but I'll miss all the free time I had and the things I got to do in that time. My priorities have changed in the last year, in regards to the relationship I'd like to have with work, money and free time. I'd like to touch on this in more detail one day soon.

What I've been playing ...
Two new games appeared on my radar this month, and I have to admit that both have impacted my life quite a bit in different ways. The first was Stardew Valley. This adorable farming simulator has been out on Steam since February, but Husband bought it for me on his account in the 20% off sale. I was hooked from Day 1. The 8-bit look and music are enchanting. The plethora of plants, trees, fruits, vegetables and animals are depicted right down to their accurate and visible growth rates. They're exciting to plant and watch grow. The seasons are also represented accurately with the trees and grass changing colour with each season, and snow in Winter. As you walk through the forest, you can hear the rustling of animals, and sometimes see birds, squirrels and more as you would in real life. I really do think this game would appeal to Mori Girls.



The game is not a casual one that turns into a tap-fest before long like other games I've played lately, but a full game with many facets. I've already racked up nearly 60 hours of gameplay, and haven't done even a quarter of the activities on offer. I can see myself being enchanted by it for a long time yet.

The second game I mentioned is ... you may be able to guess ... Pokémon Go. I won't write about it as I'm sure anyone who's interested has heard of it, and anyone who isn't interested is sick of hearing about it!

What I've been drawing ...
I'm please to report that I've been faithfully journalling in my Hobonichi Techo art diary nearly every night. On the couple of occasions that I did miss a night, I made up for it by doing a double page spread the next night. It's the best thing yet for motivating me to be creative every day.



What I've been dreaming of ...
I've been feeling very motivated to start turning my yard into a proper garden. Parts of it are wonderful, but other parts are quite embarrassing under-developed. Thankfully there are lots of ideas in my gardening magazines, and I've been writing down the ones that appeal to me most. I've also been spending time outside, just standing and trying to 'feel' the garden. I want to be in a space that's harmonious to be in, not one that's just had changes imposed on it. By the time the weather warms up and it's time for planting, I'll hopefully have a good idea of what I want to do.



Selections from Instagram












July 29th, 2016

Mid-Winter Garden Update

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This Winter seems colder than it has been in the last few years, and with more rain and storms. I've noticed many of the plants in the garden have grown more this year, probably because of the rain. And yet there's still been a fair share of sunny winter days.

Where to begin?
It seems I didn't kill the roses when I pruned them last month. They lurked for a while, but the buds are finally starting to grow into tiny scarlet leaves:



The daisies are still flowering and show no sign of letting up. It seems like they're blooming for even longer this year than last year.



These plants next to the driveway are doing very well, too. They've finally recovered completely after I ran over them with the car ahem, something obstructed their growth for a while.



The orange tree is merrily growing Winter oranges. Almost all of them are ripe now; Husband and I have been juicing them for drinks.



Speaking of fruit, the stone fruits all have tiny brown buds waiting for warmer weather to burst into life. I like to linger among them, imagining the beautiful fruits that will appear in a few months.



The Rosemary has grown to nearly twice its size in the last year. Unfortunately Husband doesn't really like rosemary in cooking, but I read yesterday that the flowers can be eaten. They have the same flavour as the leaves, just a little milder. It will definitely be something to try -- how beautiful would the lavender-coloured blooms look garnishing a roast? I might try drying the leaves and powdering them as well.



Also in the backyard, I've heavily pruned the fuchsia. It's been looking very straggly in the last year, and after waiting what seemed like an inordinate amount of time for the shrub to stop flowering, I was finally able to prune it. I do hope it does well, as I recently found out that the berries are edible and can be made into jam. I'd love to try that in future.



The Red Hot Poker has put on a stunning show, but the stems are finally dying down. So many times I've thought of digging them out, as Husband and I want to put in a veggie patch in this area. But at the same time: if something is growing so well, it's difficult to reason.



The fernery is my joy as it's always been. The little fern survived last Summer better than previously, although it started to lean so I had to prop it up with a stake.



Finally, the Schlumbergera Winter Cactus has burst forth with these incredible neon pink flowers. I can put up with it looking a little yellow in Summer when it boosts my Winter with this reward.



I'm starting to develop some concrete plans for my garden as a whole. It will be a lot of work to set up initially (not to mention the financials), but I really want to get it to a point where I can enjoy spending time outside at all times of year. I'll write more about that in a future post.

July 21st, 2016

Daiso Haul: Stickers, etc.

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I performed some high-level adulting earlier in the week, and as a treat for myself I went to Daiso afterwards. I used to go at least once a fortnight when I worked in the city, but I haven't been for about 6 months. It felt like a special experience again. Oh, and sorry for the bad lighting -- it was night-time by the time I got home, and I wanted to start using the stickers straight away.

I mainly went for the stickers to use in my Hobonichi diary, but also came away with some hair accessories, and gifts for all the family. I bought a hotdog decorator kit for Husband, and a cat-sized blanket for Sharick.



Cute, mori-style hairclips. I also re-stocked on these tiny hair ties. I find them indispensible, but they don't last very long.



My sticker and washi tapes haul:



These stickers are particularly beautiful. They have a soft, fabric-y feel to them.



If you're playing Pokémon Go, stay safe!


July 18th, 2016


A few days ago, I tried the Daiso Puff & Sponge Detergent for the first time. This stuff was all the rage in the beauty community a few years ago, and it was even sold out for a while. Recently I found a stash of make-up brushes while I was KonMari-ing my house, plus my regular brushes were overdue for a wash, so I decided to test it out. In the past I've used handwash.

It wasn't until just before opening the bottle that I realised it says 'Puff & Sponge Detergent' -- it doesn't mention that it can be used on brushes. But I don't see why it can't.





The Detergent is unscented and has no added colouring. The instructions say to rub an 'appropriate amount' into the sponge, then rinse thoroughly in water. I did as instructed with my teardrop sponge, and gently rubbed the bristles of the brushes into the detergent. I then rinsed them in warm water. I haven't had my teardrop sponge for very long (I bought it from YesStyle in this haul), and haven't used it very much since I've had it, but the water went beige with BB Cream! I use the brushes for eyeshadow mainly, so when I washed them, the water went some lovely shades of bronze and purple.





The Detergent seemed to wash the brushes completely, and got most of the BB Cream out of the sponge with just a tiny stain visible at the tip. (To be honest I probably could have removed this too if I'd spent more time on it!)





The Daiso Puff & Sponge Detergent is probably no better and no worse than using handwash or a similar mild detergent. However, it's unscented and uncoloured, and is therefore probably better for the skin. In Australia Daiso retails at $2.80, which is much more affordable than any other specialised make-up brush cleaning product I've seen.

Would I buy it again? Yes!



July 14th, 2016



No. 42 on my 101 Things in 1,001 Days list is to do 1 eco-friendly thing and/or make 1 change per month. I have to admit I've been a bit behind on this one, so I decided to write a blog post each month to make myself more accountable. It seems appropriate to begin now, with Plastic Free July increasing in awareness.

I made the change I'll be talking about today about 6 months ago, and it has a bit of a backstory: my first project was to change my relationship with plastic bags, and it was spurred on by an experience I had at that time. Husband and I were driving through the countryside on the way to visit a friend. Looking out the window, I saw some strange animals in the paddocks. In the distance, I couldn't quite tell what they were. Were they white birds, perched in the trees? Some were lower though, sitting on the ground. Were they lambs? They were moving in a strange way though, sort of waving up and down. More and more began appearing as we drove further, until the paddocks were full of them. I suddenly realised they weren't animals at all. They were plastic bags, caught on the trees and grass, billowing in the wind. Just as I was wondering where on earth they could have all come from, we drove past the entrance to the local landfill. It made me very sad to see the huge number of plastic bags littering the countryside. I decided to make reducing their use my first focus.

The easiest way to use less plastic bags is to bring re-usable bags every time we go shopping. However, we have a big stash of plastic bags from the time before we starting being more conscientious. I didn't want to throw them in the bin, but I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. When we first moved into our house 2 1/2 years ago, we received brochures from the Council on how the bin collection and recycling work. The brochures said not to put any plastic supermarket bags in the bins as they can't be recycled. For a long time I thought this meant they can't be recycled at all. However, in my research I found out they can be recycled, it's just that our council doesn't have the type of facility to handle them.

The two major supermarket chains here in Australia, Coles and Woolworths (the 'Big Two' or 'the Duopoly' as they're often called), give out plastic bags as a matter of course unless the customer brings their own re-usable bag. I wrote to the Managing Directors of both companies, urging them to stop providing customers with plastic bags, or to at least charge a fee for them. (I've never written a letter like that before, so I was a little nervous!) I tried to see the situation from their point of view, and wrote about the benefits to their profits, public image, etc, not just the benefits to the environment. Both wrote back with very similar stock letters explaining why they will not change, which is, sadly, pretty much what I expected. However it's interesting to note that Coles only took a week to reply, whereas Woolworths took a whole month. The reason for this is possibly because I pointed out that (unlike Coles) I could not find any information on their website about their environmental policies. I guess it took the extra time for someone to check their website? It still seems to be the case 6 months later.



I actually found out from the Coles website about the REDcycle programme. This programme runs in both Coles and Woolworths stores. At the front of every store, there is a bin in which to drop off soft plastics, including plastic bags. The bins also accept any kind of flexible plastic packaging (e.g. pasta packets), as well as damaged re-usable bags. They are then collected and turned into things like park benches and children's play equipment. It took me a little while to find the bin in my local Woolworths supermarket at first, as it was down the far end behind a large advertising sign. Weirdly, it moves around a little bit, but it's always there somewhere.



We now use our stash of plastic bags to collect all our soft plastics in. I hang a bag above the bin on this convenient tea-towel drier one of the previous owners installed. As you can see, I use it for drying my rubber gloves! When the bag is full, I put it in the boot of the car. Next time we're at the supermarket, it's easy to grab it along with the re-usable bags and put it in the collection bin.







Of course, the ultimate aim is to reduce or stop using plastic altogether, but at least this is a start. And voting with your wallet makes a big impact as well. Even though it's further away, we have been going to Aldi much more in the last 6 months, especially since I became gluten-free. Most items there are cheaper, but the gluten-free bread in particular is about half the price. Plus I'm supporting a company that is more environmentally aware.

This post was a little longer than normal, but hopefully not too boring! I've been doing some more research, and topics I'd like to look at in the future include:

❖ DIY bath products
❖ alternatives to microparticles
❖ researching who makes my clothes

July 4th, 2016

My June

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This June has been very cold, and I didn't feel like leaving the house much. In the last week of June especially, I felt a bit down and didn't do anything much creative or productive. However, there were several events I went to: movies with friends, an exhibition with my Mum, and a concert.
For some reason, this month I lost all motivation to play the games that I'd been obsessed with recently (except for Neko Atsume) and spent much more time on Instagram, and on YouTube watching videos on history, linguistics, craft tutorials et .

What I've been cooking ...
One of the many advantages of Winter is all the cooking and baking that can comfortably be done. I'm fairly confident now that I can make biscuits without a recipe, but it's savoury meals that I've been experimenting with more. I started using the casserole dish that Husband gave me a few years ago, and I love it! I've made goulash, chicken and meatballs so far.



What I've been drawing ...
Since my Hobonichi half-year planner / art-journal arrived, I've been patiently waiting until the start of July when I can start using it properly. In the meantime, I did some drawings and paintings on some of the extra pages to give myself some practice. I really do need practice -- I keep smudging the watercolour and wetter pens before they're dry...





What I've been sorting ...
As I mentioned in this post, I've been working hard on Kon-Mari'ing my house. Most of the major categories are done, and I'm mainly down to the bits and bobs, the miscellaneous items called komono in Japanese. Also left to do are the things I need to do in tandem with Husband, such as garden tools and food.



What I've been reading ...
I've been suddenly motivated to spend time reading again, which is nice. I read Sense and Sensibility, and a catalogue from an exhibition I went to: Jan Senbergs: Imagination & Observation. I also finished some previously started books: The Autobiography of Jesse Harding Pomeroy and the Diggers' Club Garden Guide. Next I am looking at some of the 'chick lit' that my mother-in-law gave me. It's not within my normal reading habits, but I'm in the mood to try something different.



Selections from Instagram ...

Yes, I went to the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu concert in Melbourne! At Festival Hall, more popularly known as 'Festering Sore'. Photos weren't allowed, so I didn't take any, which was quite naive as about 90% of the patrons were recording the concert anyway. I did get several copies of the promo poster though, which I'll use in my art journals. The concert was incredible!



This photo is from the 200 Years of Australian Fashion exhibition which I saw with my
Mum. She doesn't visit the city very often, so it was a big occasion and thankfully the exhibition was lived up to the hype. I could only get a couple of sneaky photos in the first room when no-one was around.



Foot shot outside my friend's house....



July 1st, 2016



For the first time since having my garden, I've noticed aphids lurking about. This is what they look like, and I'm sorry it's not the typical beautiful garden picture. But nature is not always pretty, as we know.



As soon as I realised I have aphids, of course I did some research on how to get rid of them. Some of the sources went into great detail on how the different methods kill the aphids. I started to feel sorry for them! But then I started reading about the effects the aphids have on plants, and was determined to get rid of them all over again! Aphids pierce holes in the new, soft parts of plants and suck the sap out. This inhibits the plant from growing, it becomes stunted and it can eventually die. So sorry aphids, but you have to go!

Thankfully, there are many natural ways to get rid of them that don't involve any chemicals. As far as I could tell, my infestation only covered a small area, and the simplest thing to do in this case is to just cut off and discard the infested parts of the plants. By a happy coincidence it was time to prune the roses anyway, so I chose that option.

Here are the tools I used. On looking at them, they seem to be a bit rusty, but I had no time to buy replacements. Sources say to disinfect them every time before use, but I'd run out of disinfectant. So I rubbed them with hand sanitiser and washed them. Hopefully that will do!





This year I was much more confident in my pruning. I didn't kill them last year and in fact they grew back so large that I was less worried I would harm them.



I also replaced the stakes to support them, which I'd never had a chance to do properly before. I'm not sure I've done enough to support them, but I'm still learning and I guess I'll find out in a few months.



In addition, I pruned the two bushes along the front of the house, but I forgot to take 'before' photos, so I won't show any pictorial evidence of those.

As for the rose hips that I talked about a few posts ago: the reports are not good. Most were under-ripe still, a few had gone wrinkly and several woody. Yet, if I had left them growing for much longer, it would have been too late to give the bushes the proper Winter pruning that they need to produce good flowers next Summer. It seems that you can't have everything in the gardening world. Thankfully there are even more crafts and recipes to be made with rose petals than rose hips!



The sources I found most useful for pruning the roses were this video from Gardening Australia (scroll down a bit to 'Rose Pruning'), and this page from Heritage Rose for its diagrams on where to cut.


June 29th, 2016



Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the latest film by New Zealand director Taika Waititi. The screenplay is based on the novel Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump. I thoroughly enjoyed Waititi's last film, What We Do in the Shadows, and in fact it was my favourite movie of the year last year, so I was looking forward to seeing his latest one.



Ricky Baker is a 13-year-old with a reputation for being a juvenile delinquent. He has never known his parents and has only lived in a series of foster homes. As he is dropped off at a remote farm in the bush, he is warned that if this latest foster placement doesn't work out, he will be sent to a juvenile prison. The farm belongs to Bella, a kind-hearted Maori woman, and Hector, a gruff bushman with a shady past. After a few false starts, Ricky settles in happily at the farm.

After a tragic series of events, Ricky and Hector find themselves forced to camp out in the bush for 6 weeks. When they try to return to civilisation, they discover that Hector has been accused of kidnapping Ricky, and a reward has been offered for his capture. The two go on the run with their dogs, chased by the police, a crazed child welfare officer and a group of hunters. Ricky becomes somewhat of a folk hero, and finds just as many people willing to help him as catch him.

Moments of poignancy and sadness are interspersed with a series of increasingly over-the-top chase scenes. The eventual ending sees all of the characters (the ones we like, anyway) finding happiness in a quiet, not sickly-sweet kind of way.



Hunt for the Wilderpeople has the same offbeat comedic sense as Waititi's previous films. I found it dragged a little as the action became more farcical, but the strong characters more than made up for this. Julian Dennison's portrayal of Ricky is brilliant -- the cliched rebellious teen just looking for somewhere to belong is made individual by his quirky character traits. Sam Neill as the other half of this odd couple plays subtle comedy as well as he always does. The only criticism I have is that the comedic and tragic scenes seemed to alternate with a predictable regularity. Several scenes which have not much to do with the overall plot expose the movies' being based on a novel, though I found they helped me to empathise with the characters.

I noticed references to several other New Zealand films, and I'm sure there are plenty more that I missed. The stunning New Zealand scenery contrasting with the slightly cheesy 80s-inspired soundtrack provided another level of comic absurdity. The 'Ricky Baker' birthday song was adorable and I found myself singing it for days afterwards. I was relieved that the cinematography avoided the stereotypical mountainous scenery we saw in Lord of the Rings and focused instead on New Zealand's forest and desert landscapes. Another lovely touch was the division of scenes into chapters with the titles appearing in a quirky font on the screen.

The film is not suitable for younger children as it depicts survival situations, scenes with guns and some violence involving animals. It is not a pure comedy as the television advertisements make out, but is much deeper and I think would be enjoyed by both adults and teens.

Would I watch again? Yes!




June 21st, 2016



All photos today are of my own house and belongings.
Perhaps you might think I have a lot of stuff?
But it was much worse before, trust me!


The KonMari method of de-cluttering has taken the world by storm in the last year or so, but in case you haven't heard of it, I wrote about it here and here. I'm more than halfway through KonMari-ing my house now, and I'm very pleased with how well the method works for me. Here are 8 reasons why I think that is:

1. IT ACKNOWLEDGES THE EMOTIONS
Many de-cluttering books and shows take a 'hard love' stance on the subject. They envision a frenzy of throwing things out, with garbage bags full of unwanted clutter lined up on the footpath. To me, it seems quite cold and heartless. Anyone who has seen TV shows like Hoarders can clearly see what an emotional toll the process has on the homeowner. In these shows, having an emotional reaction is usually depicted as a weakness to be overcome. Even when a psychologist is brought in to help the subject, his or her struggles to deal with the process are swept aside when a group of hard-nosed de-cluttering experts turn up armed with rubber gloves and a huge skip. In contrast, the KonMari method is gentle. Marie Kondo says it's important to acknowledge (she uses the word 'relish') the emotions that come up during tidying; this actually makes the decision easier, not harder. The decision to keep or discard is made by asking yourself whether the item makes you happy. KonMari asks: does holding the item make your heart leap and put a smile on your face? If so, then keep it!


I arranged my shawls in a box from Ikea so I can see them
every time I open my wardrobe door. Happy.


2. IT DOESN'T USE THE 'C' WORD
I found it interesting that in the title of her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, Kondo uses the word 'tidying' instead of 'de-cluttering'. This is the case throughout the book as well. Konmari never uses the word 'clutter' or 'rubbish' to refer to possessions, and she is careful to use terms such as 'discard' or 'retire' instead of 'throw away' or 'get rid of'. The book has been translated from Japanese, but I think this careful use of terms is very deliberate. As I learned from the Fluent Self method of self-care, the words we choose are very important. Words like 'de-cluttering' and 'getting rid of' tend to create an automatic resistance in people's minds. Gentler, more respectful and positive words make people more amenable to following the method.


Body wash and face mask samples are all grouped together in the bathroom.


3. IT'S NOT MINIMALIST
It seems that many people have misunderstood the KonMari method, thinking it promotes a lifestyle of minimalism. It doesn't. The method merely says to keep all of the items that make you happy. KonMari says not to feel bad if you want to keep something. This means the item sparks joy and you should keep it. Recently on NHK TV there was a special called Tidying in New York with KonMari (I believe it's on YouTube now). KonMari was helping a young woman with her apartment. The girl became visibly upset at the thought of having to throw a box of things away. I think they were drawings that she had created. KonMari then said to her, "but if you don't want to throw them away, you don't have to!" Her face cleared and she beamed. The drawings made her happy, so why get rid of them? The aim is not to have as little as possible, but to live in a space where everything in it makes you happy.


All of my books are unpacked now! And Husband's too!


4. THERE ARE NO NUMBERS
Many other decluttering methods focus on numbers: you should have no more than so many of each item. Articles on clothes are particularly big on this -- to build a 'capsule' wardrobe, you should have 2 shirts, 2 pants, 2 skirts, etc. The KonMari method doesn't put any limits or absolutes on anything. If you had 43 handbags and 38 of them spark joy, keep those 38. (Not that that's a specific example from my own life or anything, ahem.) If, for example, you don't keep any skirts at all because you don't like wearing skirts anymore, that's fine, too.


Makeup has been sorted, duplicate colours weeded out,
and arranged in trays and a basket from Daiso.


5. IT ACKNOWLEDGES THAT EVERYONE'S DIFFERENT
The 'does it spark joy?' method of deciding what to keep acknowledges that everyone is an individual. As Marie Kondo says, everyone has a different understanding on what the appropriate amount to keep is, so there's no point in specifying numbers. The important factor is whether or not you feel comfortable being in that room. Some people prefer a minimalist room, others love being surrounded by their treasured items. The KonMari method allows people to express their personality. If you have 50 kitten figurines and 48 of them spark joy, then it's perfectly fine to keep all 48. Keeping 48 kitten figurines might seem completely bonkers-crazy to one person, but totally normal to another. It's up to you to decide what's right for you.

6. IT WORKS FOR COLLECTORS
Speaking of kitten figurines ...
Many people who collect things for a hobby can't put their finger exactly on why they do it. There's no rhyme or reason behind it, only emotion. Other methods of decluttering often don't acknowledge this urge. Nobody needs 20 teapots, or 3,500 troll dolls. Sources that tell you to discard excess items or throw away things you haven't used in a year aren't helpful for someone who has a valuable and treasured collection of original boxed Star Wars figures. Asking yourself if this item really makes you happy is a much more appropriate way of going about discarding when it comes to collections.


Now my stud earrings are arranged in a lovely vintage dish instead of the
ugly fishing tackle box I packed them in to move house.


7. IT'S RESPECTFUL
For those who lean towards an animist view on life, the respect with which Marie Kondo treats her possessions will be familiar. Before she begins tidying a client's house, she greets the house and asks it to show her where it would like everything stored. She advises that when discarding an item, to thank it for its service. This allows you to discard it with a clear conscience instead of guilt. Finding a permanent spot in the house for the remaining items is also very important. She says: when an item has its own place, it's happier, and this vibe spreads to the whole room and its occupants.


I finally found all of my dangly earrings and the stand to display them on! So happy!
The stand is on an open bookshelf opposite my bed so I can see it all the time.


8. IT'S NOT FANCY
Marie Kondo doesn't give advice regarding particular types of storage systems. In fact, she advises against purchasing elaborate storage 'solutions' for the home. This, she says, only leads to acquiring more because excess items are out of sight and you may forget you have them. She herself uses old shoeboxes and other re-purposed things to store many of her items. What's important is that when you open a cupboard door, you can see everything you own, and it makes you happy. Your storage can be as elaborate or simple, expensive or cheap as you want it to be.



I have some more posts in the pipeline on the KonMari method, such as tips, how I deviated from the method (gasp!!), and how it has changed my life. Has it? I'm not sure yet. Stay tuned to find out!

June 10th, 2016

Hobonichi Planner Unboxing

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I'm now the proud owner of a Hobonichi Techo. Hobonichi is a range of diary planners from Japan. They are coveted because of their sleek minimalist design, and more importantly, their high-quality River Tomoe paper. The paper accepts watercolour well and doesn't bleed through with most pens. This makes them perfect as a daily art journal.

I first heard about the Hobonichi Techo last month when I subscribed to Rainbow Holic YouTube channel. Kaila had a series of videos called 'Hobonichi with Me'. I was instantly struck by, not only the cute art, but the design of the planner that combines a daily planner with an artistic practice.

I really, really wanted one! But it was halfway through the year, and the thought of having to wait 6 months to start one of my own was, well, I have to admit, a little heartbreaking. Imagine my pleasant surprise on learning that Hobonichi also sell a 6-month version of the planner, called the Abeku. Not only that, but the July-December 2016 version was going on sale in just a couple of days!

I hesitated for a while, but by the time the Abeku went on sale, I'd managed to convince myself to purchase it. It was relatively expensive for a half-year planner, but on the other hand, I thought, the daily format and beautiful paper would encourage me in my goal of drawing more often. The coincidence that Hobonichi offer a 6-month version, and I heard about it just before it went on sale ... I was convinced it was a sign! I made the purchase and waited anxiously for it to arrive. The wait wasn't long though -- it only took 4 days from Japan to Australia.

My Hobonichi came in an excitingly large, yellow package styled like an old-fashioned gift bag.



Inside was a sleek sky-blue coloured box, and the planner was inside that. The Japanese version comes with several free gifts -- a tri-colour pen, a tissue holder and a poster. Everything was packed in clear plastic bags.



There was no packing material inside the box and everything rattled around a little bit. I don't think this mattered too much as everything was made of durable materials and was wrapped in plastic.



The Hobonichi Techo comes in two sizes (A5 and A6). I decided to purchase the smaller size for my first. I didn't purchase a cover or any other accessories, as I wasn't sure if I'd want to settle on the smaller size in the long run. Plus, it might be fun to make a cover myself.





The planner has month-at-a-glance and week-at-a-glance pages at the front, but the main body has one page per day. At the end are sections to list addresses, favourites books, movies, etc. as well as recipes, and other information. Much of it is in Japanese so I can't read it, which is a bit of a shame, but I like that the main pages of the diary are in Japanese. I love looking at texts in different languages and it gives me a chance to do that every day.






I couldn't wait until the end of the month to use it, so I wrote in the dates for birthdays and events for the rest of the year, and did this painting in the front:




I'm quite happy with the painting. It's been a long time and I'm very out of practice. I'm very happy with the Hobonichi as well so far; hopefully that will continue.

June 4th, 2016

Can I Grow Rosehips?

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About 6 months ago (the timing being not at all coincidental, when you switch hemispheres) I read a post on The Woman Who Married a Bear about gathering rosehips, and making syrup and other beautiful things from them. I wondered, can I do that? I have 7 rose bushes, and I don't even know if they grow rosehips. All the sources I've read on caring for roses focuses on the flowers. They say to prune off the rose as soon as it finishes flowering. (If you haven't already cut it for displaying or giving away, that is. Or bathed in it.) This doesn't allow the rose plant to grow its fruit, the rosehip.


The Flamingo just won't stop growing.


I looked up some information about rosehips. I can't remember where I read it now, but it said that all rose varieties grow fruit, however some grow larger and sweeter than others. It went into a long list of varieties with botanical names and, I have to admit, it made my head swim a little bit. I decided to just let my roses grow this year and see what happens.


The Hot Chocolate is the most vigorous. The Circus Gold in the background is still flowering.


The results were very interesting. All of the bushes grew visible rosehips, but some were larger than others. The largest and plumpest rosehips were on the bush that I watered the most over Summer, the Flamingo. The smallest and saddest looking ones were on the bush I only watered a couple of times (variety unknown). It's the one furthest from the tap, and it always looked to be doing fine when I checked it, so I didn't bother to water it.


Another nice rosehip on the Hot Chocolate.


It makes sense, when I think about it, that roses would grow better fruit when watered more, just like my fruit trees. I'll be more conscientious with that next year. I'm not sure yet at what point the rosehips should be harvested; I'll have to do some more research on that.

The only drawback of growing rosehips of course, is that the gardener has to put up with an ugly-looking bush for a few months. But it's just a reminder that nature isn't always pretty.


The rose furthest from the tap (variety unknown).


June 2nd, 2016

My May

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The weather really turned cold by the end of the month. We've broken out the extra blankets, and there are frost warnings already. There's been a lot more rain. I heard about the 30x30 Challenge, which is to spend 30 minutes outside every day for 30 days, starting on 1st May. I wanted to do it, but then it rained for 3 days straight, with barely a 30-minute letup, so I decided to wait until Winter is over before trying it. Of course, I want to spend as much time outside as I can, but at this time of year it would be quite difficult to do it every day.

What I've been sorting ...
My KonMari adventure has been continuing. I've almost finished my clothes, and most of my accessories. I've unpacked a lot of boxes in the last few months, but there are still quite a few things packed (or lost??!) which mean I can't gather everything in some categories together to KonMari them.

I'm also pleased to say that I've unpacked all my books now, which was No. 96 on my 101 Things in 1,001 Days list.


My hair decos. Not too many?


What I've been making ...
I finally finished this crocheted mushroom. I wanted to make one as part of the Mori Girl Challenge, and, I have to admit, this project did double-service. I had two Geocaching Travel Tags to send off. The Travel Tags can be attached to any small item you like, and the tracking code turns it into a trackable item. It's then placed into a geocache for other players to pick up and move to another cache. There's more information here for the interested.
One of the fun things about creating a trackable is to attach something to it that will be fun for other players. And that was the problem! I didn't know what to attach them to. Being me, something handmade was preferable, but I'd been procrastinating for months because I couldn't think of anything. Then an idea struck me: make amigurumi mushrooms!
I (quite cleverly if I do say so myself) embroidered the tracking code under the cap of the mushroom but unfortunately I can't show it to you. It's against the rules. Otherwise anyone could log the trackable when they aren't actually in possession of it.

At this stage, I've almost finished the second one. I used a different pattern so I might write a separate post with my thoughts comparing them.



I also started a new design for a knitted monster plushie. I've made crocheted ones before, but I wanted to see if I could design a knitted one. I ran out of steam though, when I couldn't decide how to do the arms.




What I've been dreaming of ...
Not so much dreaming, but meaning to get around to it. With the rainier weather, the garden is greener than ever. I've started to notice dandelions popping up all over. They're one of the few wild plants I can recognise and know to be useful. There's a wonderfully informative post on The Woman Who Married a Bear on the very topic, so it just remains for me to give it a try.




Selections from Instagram

Mulled wine and drinking games for the Eurovision Song Contest:



I planted a tree! Well, more of a small shrub, really.



I also decorated the fernery a bit more with this gnome from Daiso:




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