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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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Works in Progress

GeoMushroom I


Grannyland Blanket


Swedish Christmas Shawl


Lammily Tank Top


Mixtro Monster


Polkadot Coathangers
(Set 3)


Kimono Lady Needlepoint


Couch Armrest Cover





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May 28th, 2016

Divination

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I've always been interested in divination, as long as I can remember. I love reading about different types of divination from all over the world, and have tried several myself, though I wouldn't call myself an expert in any of them. I recently acquired a new treasure, so I thought I'd do an overview of the sets I have and methods I've tried.

AMETHYST RUNES
I've had this set of Norse runes since I was a teenager. I chose amethyst because it's said to be the crystal most associated with psychic and intuitive activities, but mostly because I love the colour purple. At some later stage, I embroidered the runic alphabet onto the bag. At one point about 6 years ago, I was using them fairly frequently and even did practice 'swap' readings for a couple of other people in online forums. This set was packed away for a long time after I moved house, and I only found them recently. I feel I would need to cleanse the crystals before using them again.




WOODEN RUNES
This runeset is made from Ash wood. I purchased it from Green Woman Crafts on Etsy about 6 months ago. They came in a hand-sewn pouch, which made them feel even more special. I daresay I like them even more than the crystal ones. They have a warmth to them, and on a practical level they also sit flat when I lay them out. I've been getting back into practice by drawing a rune most mornings for the past month or so, and I find that I often get insights from them.




GODDESS RUNES
These runes work on a system from a book of the same name by P. M. H. Atwater. I won't comment on the claims made in the book today. At the time I bought it (again, when I was a teenager) I didn't know any of that. It just looked like interesting to try, whether the method was an ancient one or not.
I made the runes from stones I found around my parents' garden. The method is to cast all of the runes plus a blank one which represents the querent. They are then interpreted on how close they are to the querent stone, moving outwards in a spiral. I haven't used these runes for a long time, but I can say the casting method appealed to me and seemed more intuitive than drawing them out of a bag.



I recently discovered that Norse runes can be cast as well, and I want to find out more about that and try it.

I CHING
I Ching (The Book of Changes) is a Chinese book of divination. As I learned it, three coins are tossed. The heads-or-tails outcome is either yin or yang. The coins are tossed again and the second outcome either stays yin/yang, or changes to the polar opposite. (Hence the Book of Changes). Together, the two results form a six-part hexagram which corresponds to one of 64 poems in the book.
It's been years since I've used this method, so forgive me if I remembered some of the details incorrectly! As you can see, I used some ordinary 10c coins, which I marked with texta for clarity. I do keep them in a nice box, though. Dice, sticks, marbles or various other tools can also be used.



I Ching is a little different to other methods, as instead of an individual interpreting the outcome, the book is consulted. The text is a Chinese classic and has remained unchanged for 2,500 years. The intuitive part is not so much in interpreting the results, but applying the advice in the poem to the querent's particular situation.

JIAOBEI
In English these are known as moon blocks or kidney blocks. The pair of wooden blocks are flat on one side and curved on the other. They're a quick way to determine the answer to a question. Often people will use them to determine whether it's an auspicious time to consult the I Ching as well. The blocks are held in the hand, then dropped to the floor, and the answer stems from whether they land both curved side up, flat side up, or one of each.
I bought the set from an Asian grocery more out of curiosity than anything else. I haven't used them very much so far. The method is so simple and the outcomes so few and clear, it almost seems like cheating!



LENORMAND CARDS
These are my newest treasure, and I haven't used them yet. Lenormand Cards are named after Madame Lenormand, a famous French fortune teller of the early 19th century. I only heard about this method a few months ago. There isn't a lot of information about them out there, and I haven't done a lot of research yet, but as I understand it, the method is this: the cards are shuffled and then all 36 cards are laid out in a grid. One card represents the querent, and the rest of the cards are interpreted depending on how close they are to the querent card.

The Lenormand Cards may seem similar to Tarot cards, but they have some important differences. I could never relate to Tarot, I don't know why. I was given a set as a teenager, but never used them very successfully, and ended up giving them away. The Lenormand method seems to use more intuition, almost like a card-based version of rune casting. As I don't know much about them so far, I'd love to hear opinions from anyone more knowledgeable than I am!

I wasn't thinking about purchasing a set, until I saw these Viking Lenormand cards, designed by BC Artworks. I couldn't resist. I also purchased the optional pouch to keep them in. I'm looking forward to giving them a try.




May 24th, 2016



Death In Brunswick is a classic Australian novel written by Boyd Oxlade and published in 1987. It is a dark comedy with shocking situations and odious characters which remind me of the stories of Chuck Palahniuk.



Carl is a deadbeat in his late 30s. He works as a cook at a pub; his brutish boss only tolerates him because the pub is required by law to serve food. After Carl's mother has a heart attack, Carl offers to have her stay with him for a couple of weeks, despite his better judgement. While there, Carl's mother badgers him on everything from changing his name, to getting back together with his ex-wife (who she doesn't realise is a lesbian). Carl only bears this because his mother has told him she has left him a large sum of money in her will.

The story alternates between Carl and his best friend, Dave, who has to wrangle his overbearing wife and three children, while putting up with his racist, lazy colleagues at his job as a gravedigger. Despite all of these burdens, Dave is happy, a fact of which Carl is envious.

Meanwhile, Carl has fallen in 'lust' with Sophie, a waitress at the pub, who, despite being only 17 years old, has a past of her own. Carl makes plans to get a better job and rent a nicer house for Sophie and himself, but everything falls apart when there's an incident one night in the pub's kitchen.

Death In Brunswick delves into the seedier side of inner-suburban Melbourne in the 1980s. It has a uniquely Australian voice, and a witty dark humour that appealed to me. Not only that, but I lived in Brunswick for five years, so I know well the street names mentioned in the book. I even went to the cinema that Carl and Sophie went to, before it closed down. Having worked in the public service, I can also picture well the old-school public servants working resentfully under a highly-regulated Government system.

The novel is quite short and ends with only a hint of more in the plot, which leaves the reader to flesh out the ending for themselves. Far from finding this frustrating, I liked it, as it prevented the story from becoming too long and tediously obvious. I would read more by the same author, and I'd also like to see the movie based on the book, which came out in 1990.

May 22nd, 2016

Mocoro Robotic Mop Ball

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After seeing it on an old episode of Eat Your Kimchi, I couldn't resist getting a Mocoro ball, which allegedly sweeps the lint from your floors. Our house has hardwood flooring throughout, so the Mocoro is perfect ... if it works!

It was almost obligatory for me to buy a pair of balls, so I could make the jokes that naturally stem from such a product. I purchased them from this ebay shop; the price was $25.20 for two, including postage. They came from Laos and arrived within 10 days. The parcel was a bit crushed on one side, but the products inside weren't affected.





The Mocoro balls come with a set of 4 different coloured microfibre covers. The covers zip off for easy cleaning.



Each needs 1 AA battery to work. Inserting the battery requires a screwdriver. According to the box, the battery should last for up to 5 hours. I hope this is true as replacing the battery is quite fiddly.



There is an on-off push button on the side of the ball. I was worried that this would get pressed accidentally while the balls are rolling, but this wasn't the case. The balls have a weight inside them, which causes them to jiggle and roll around in random directions. At first my balls didn't move around very much. I posted a short video here on my Instagram. (You can also hear the sound they make.) They seemed to serve more to distract the cat than anything else!



However, just as I was composing a lukewarm review in my head, one of the balls shot off down the hallway, all the way into the bedroom and collected a good amount of lint from under the bed!



Surprisingly, the Mocoro balls work!



However, you will still have to sweep your floor! Because they move around in such a random way, there's very little chance the whole floor will be covered. Plus, I haven't tried cleaning the covers yet. It may well be easier to just sweep. The Mocoro Robotic Mop Ball is more of a novelty than a useful cleaning product, but it's fun.

And, you know, balls. Teehee.

May 20th, 2016



This post is very behind the times, I apologise.
At this point, I'm mainly writing it for my future self as a reference.


Over the last few years our (that is, Husband's* and mine) celebrations for the Eurovision Song Contest have become increasingly elaborate. We both love cooking and trying new cuisines, plus the weather is just starting to cool down here in Australia, so it's the perfect time for cooking, eating and drinking.

This year, we decided to do something slightly different. Normally we cook several dishes from the host country, but for three out of the past five years, the contest has been held in Scandinavia. We both loved eating Scandinavian food, but felt we were familiar with it enough now, and wanted to try something else. I had the idea of trying dishes from one or more countries that have had the worst luck at Eurovision so far. After some research and a process of elimination, I ended up selecting Bulgaria, San Marino and Switzerland. (I was going to leave out San Marino as they haven't been in the competition very long, but Husband thought their cuisine sounded interesting.)

And of course, there was a lot of drink, both inspired by the selected countries, and just in general.



In Australia, the Contest is broadcast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights -- perfect for a three-day festival! (Though, as Australia is about 12 hours behind Europe, we have to have a complete media blackout all day Sunday if we don't want any spoilers on who won.)



On Friday night, we had Bulgarian Güveç, a meal cooked in a claypot. I got a little confused and thought the meal had to consist of pork and vegetables, but it turns out that it can have almost anything in it, as long as it's cooked in the claypot. Husband found a recipe with a tomato and mint sauce, and it was delicious. He also made blue cheese dumplings as we had some cheese that needed using up. They went very well with it. We drank mulled wine with almonds and raisins.



Saturday morning we had Swiss rösti with eggs for breakfast, and leftover stew for lunch.



We made rice-stuffed capsicums for dinner, accompanied with crumbed and fried feta cheese (called sirene pane). Both of these dishes are from Bulgaria. For dessert, we had a fruit crumble. We used stewed apricots, which came from our own tree and I froze last Summer. To accompany this, we had orange vodka which I made from this recipe from Kaninchenherz. I didn't take any photos of the procedure as I was too excited, and my hands were covered in juice! But it turned out looking exactly like the pictures in the recipe.





On Sunday, we slowed down a bit with the food and had some cold meats, dips and cheese for brunch, which lasted through until dinner. For dinner, we had Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, a Swiss dish, which consists of veal and mushrooms in a cream sauce. It was accompanied with gnocchi, which some sources say was invented in San Marino. It was our first time making it ourselves. It was a lot of fun and not as hard as I thought it would be. We had orange-infused vodka again with dinner, and leftover apricot crumble for dessert.



Here are some more photos which were taken by Husband:







* I asked Husband about a month ago if he'd like to me to refer to him by a nickname etc on the blog. He said 'Husband' was perfectly fine by him. So there you go.


May 14th, 2016



A little while back I posted about the olives that I picked from my little tree and packed in salt to cure. I left them for a few weeks longer than recommended, mostly because Husband and I were too busy and could never quite find a time to give them the proper opening ceremony they deserved. Eventually we just decided to wait until Mother's Day. Husband's parents came over for lunch. Seeing as they have a new olive tree and used a different method to cure their olives which didn't work very well, we thought they'd like to see the jar being opened.



The salt in the jar was quite damp -- a good sign as its purpose is to draw out the liquid in the olives.



I was excited to look inside and see what happened to the olives in the last 6 weeks.



We dumped out the contents onto a tray and I scooped the olives out.



They were very wrinkly! I think they must have been in the salt too long and dehydrated too much. I rinsed the salt off and we each tasted one.



They tasted pretty good! But Husband's parents said, wow, there's not much meat on them! We showed them the tree and they said, no, it's still too small! You're supposed to pinch the buds off the tree as soon as they appear, for the first 2 to 5 years. If you don't let the tree grow any olives, then it will put all of its energy into growing bigger, then when you finally do grow the olives, they'll be bigger and meatier.

To be honest, I probably would have just let them grow anyway, as I'm too much of a softie. And too impatient to taste them!



I found a teeny-tiny jam jar to put the rest of the olives in, covered them with olive oil and put in a few sprigs from our rosemary bush (that was Husband's idea). We are planning on making an antipasto platter for our Eurovision Song Contest party, so we'll probably eat them then.

I nearly forgot to mention -- we dried out the salt that the olives were cured in. It didn't take very long in a slow oven, and now we have olive salt as well! We've used it in soups and stews and it's not bad. With the amount we have, it will definitely last longer than the olives themselves. Irony?


May 3rd, 2016

My April

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I spent most of the month at home, except for a few trips into the city to go to exhibitions or see friends. My focus has been on the home -- unpacking, sorting and setting everything up.


What I've been making ...
I haven't done a huge amount of craft, but at least a little more than last month. I made this small mat on impluse. Sometimes I get a random urge to knit something in a basketweave pattern for some reason. I'm slowly developing a small collection of little basketweave mats, doll blankets, etc.



I've also worked a bit on my Grannyland blanket. I have about 15 finished squares now, and the unfinished ones you see here. My aim is at least 25 before I even start thinking about joining them together. I'm having too much fun pairing up colours to stop yet!




What I've been playing ...
I've been on the lookout for new casual games to play. I found out recently that the style of game I like to play most is called 'god games' -- the ones where you control the little people/animals/etc and do things that affect their environment. I especially love the ones where you can name them. When I think about it, it's quite rare in life that you get to name things. Plush toys, pets, perhaps your car. Then there's the ultimate -- getting to name another person. In some of these games, you get to name a whole civilisation!

My favourite new game (despite the characters' names not being customisable) is Godus. In this game, you literally play a god, directing your followers to build a civilisation and sculpting the land to make it easier for them to do so. If you keep your followers happy, they generate belief (the pink bubbles) which you can collect and use for powers like Finger of God and Meteor.



As you can see, the game looks gorgeous. I love the contoured layers of land in different colours. Godus was designed by a team headed by Peter Molyneux, one of the greats of game development -- so great, even I've heard of him! Just to scare the rival tribe a little, I set one tree on fire, and ended up destroying their whole civilisation. Oops.




What I've been sorting ...
I unpacked enough that I was able to give the KonMari treatment to a couple more categories of my stuff: underwear, plush toys and knick-knacks. Well, some of the knick-knacks, anyway. I'm sure I have a lot more to unpack....




Selections from my Instagram ...
A new section, obviously, as I've only been on Instagram for a couple of weeks, this section features some of my favourite pictures from my feed for the month of April:









April 24th, 2016

Potting Adventures

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I was invited to a friends' housewarming this weekend, and I had the idea of potting up one of my plants in a nice pot and giving it to them as a housewarming present. Luckily I already had a suitable pot of the right size in the shed. The bamboo plant is a cutting from another plant which I had been given by a co-worker.



I like to use coffee filter paper to line pots, to stop the soil from coming out the bottom. It's quite strong and very affordable from Daiso or the supermarket.



I probably should have potted this cutting some time ago, oops! The roots have become quite long and grown in a spiral following the shape of the jar it was in. Now it will be a bit more free to grow.



After potting, water in well. Using a cute watering can if you have one!



I added some decorative rocks to cover the soil. Hopefully this baby will grow well in its new home.



I was in the zone, as they say, following that, so I potted up some succulents I'm growing from dropped leaves. The cotton wool developed algae and started looking manky after I left them outside for a couple of days. Yuck! Time to do something about it!



All of the babies come from one plant which I named Doris. I did have Doris at work, and had to take all my plants home when I finished up my job. Doris is quite fragile so I was as careful as I could be, but about 12 leaves fell off. I put them on cotton wool in case they grew, but I wasn't expecting so many of them to catch on! I put the 3 largest ones into this cute pot from Daiso.



I planted the rest into this spare bonsai pot. I seem to have a lot of bonsai pots of different sizes lying around. There's a bonsai nursery not far from my house, and about once every six months I go there and admire all the beautiful old trees, and get some supplies.



Perhaps I should just give in and admit that I'm a pot hoarder collector. I've been using them in the bedroom as containers to store beauty products in as well.

When I went back inside, I took a new cutting from Lucky Bamboo which will hopefully grow into another plant I can give away.



A few weeks ago my friend and her 3-year-old daughter came to visit, and as they left, I let her choose a plant to take home with her. It was such a lovely experience seeing my little friend get excited about her plant. Doing things with plants is one of my favourite activities, and I've realised that I really enjoy giving them away to people as well.
It's not an excuse to collect more pots, really it's not!

April 22nd, 2016

I'm on Instagram

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I decided to join Instagram because I noticed that some of my favourite bloggers had either moved there, or were posting much more frequently there. Once I joined, I realised that it would also help further my aim (as I mentioned recently in this post) of becoming more comfortable in taking and posting photos of myself.

I've updated my sidebar buttons to include a link to my account. I think the new buttons look much cuter, too! So please do follow my Instagram if you like the following:

★ craft projects in progress
★ plants & flowers
★ pictures of my cat
★ outings around Melbourne
★ food
★ makeup of the day
★ derpy pictures of my face
★ occasional what I wore (I don't have a full-length mirror at home, so the frequency will depend on how often I can cajole Husband into taking full-length pictures of me!)

If you don't do the Instagram thing, that's fine too. I'll probably post a summary of my favourite photos here on the blog each month.



April 19th, 2016

My YesStyle Haul

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I've ordered from YesStyle many times before, but for some reason I decided to post about it this time. As always, I was pleased with my ordering experience, and the parcel arrived even faster than normal.



I ordered some makeup remover from Ladykin, and a TonyMoly bunny lip gloss as my old one has nearly run out and I quite liked it. I have been experimenting with makeup more recently, especially with foundations, BB Creams and powders, so I got the teardrop sponge to try out.



I also ordered some t-shirts with cute logos. I knew they wouldn't fit me when I ordered them, but now that my hobby room is nearly set up, it'll be easy to alter them. I don't need to be restricted in what styles I can buy just because they don't come in my size anymore!





Probably my favourite item is the plush bunny brooch, which would look lovely with various Mori co-ords.




April 11th, 2016

My Trip to the Beach

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A few weeks ago I went on a little outing to the beach. I remember writing about a year ago that I didn't like the beach, that I wasn't a 'beachy' person. For some reason, I felt bad writing that, as if I hadn't given the beach a fair go. Is that strange? Anyway, I decided to give going to the beach another try.

After looking up an article on the best beaches in metropolitan Melbourne, I chose Sandringham beach. It's very easy to get to on the Sandringham train line, about 25 minutes from the city centre. The beach is only one block from the train station. The article said that the most popular part of the beach is the Northern area, so of course I turned South for my walk.



It was very difficult walking along the sand and I had to stop quite a few times to rest my legs. The few other people I saw powered along at twice my pace, so perhaps it's something that gets easier with practice. It was when I stopped walking though, that I started to realise the magic of the beach.



Always when I come to the beach, I like to imagine the vastness of the ocean and the immense distance to any other land mass. Looking out into the distance is like a meditation, calming to the mind.



I also spent some time looking for shells and anything else I could find. I even found some precious sea glass!



Aside from that, I was impressed at how clean Sandringham Beach is. The cliffs are beautiful and have been the subject of many paintings over the years, as this display at the entrance to the beach shows.



I've changed my mind about the beach, and I think it's because I've realised that you don't have to do anything while you're there. Ever since I was a little girl, trips to the beach were always long journeys that meant hours in the car. Even now, takes me over an hour from where I live to get to the nearest beach. The mind tends to assume that you have to make the most of your time while you're there, cram in as many activities as you can. But when you let go of all that and just experience it -- that's when the beach is at its best.



I wish I'd taken a photo of my outfit that day. I wore my newly-finished blue shawl and crocheted necklace. I used to do "What I Wore" drawings to capture outfits I particularly liked. As well as good drawing practice, they enabled me to show outfits while avoiding showing photos of myself. At some point though, I stopped finishing them, or I would list the items I wore to draw later and never got around to it. The obvious solution is just to take a photo, but I'm too self-conscious. I want to start working on that aspect of myself.
And I do want to return to the beach again one day.

April 8th, 2016

Mushrooms For Lunch

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I had some sliced mushrooms that needed using up yesterday, so I made myself this dish, from a recipe I saw on My Subarashii Lolidays, a Portuguese language blog that I recently started reading. I haven't developed a sudden ability to read any other languages unfortunately -- if I see a blog I like but it isn't in English, I just use Google Translate to read it. It's a wonder of the modern world that we can read text in any language just with a few clicks. I'm getting off-topic though, here's the food:



For the interested, the bread is the gluten-free white bread from Aldi. I think it's just as good as the bread from the other two big supermarket chains, and about half the price.

April 6th, 2016

Movie Review: Footloose

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I saw Footloose for the first time a few days ago. It was on TV, and I said to Husband, "you know, I've never seen that," and he said, "What? You've never seen it??" So it was decided that we watch it. Afterwards I thought, why not write a review from a first-time watcher's point of view? In fact, there are so many movies that when I told people I'd never seen them, their response was, "What?? You've never seen that??". Perhaps I should start a series!



Footloose is a 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon (Ren) and Lori Singer (Ariel). The other most notable stars are John Lithgow as the preacher, Dianne Wiest as his wife and Sarah Jessica Parker as one of Ariel's friends. The plot is this: Ren and his mother and step-father move from Chicago to a small backwater town. Ren only has the normal issues of a teenager in his situation, yet most of the inhabitants of the town assume that he's no good, accusing him of everything from sleeping around to dealing drugs. To the girls of the town though, he's a novelty and he attracts the eye of the most popular girl, Ariel. A wildchild, she is also the daughter of the town's preacher. When it is revealed that her older brother died five years previously in a car accident, the reason for her wild behaviour and her father's overprotection becomes clear.

When Ren begins to enquire about the traditional senior dance, he finds out there is a ban in place on public dancing and playing of rock music. He is understandably horrified at this old-fashioned restriction. I would have thought this plot point improbable, however the movie is based on a true story, and apparently similar bans have been in place in several small towns in the U.S. Ren makes it his mission to overturn the ban, or at least allow the seniors of the town to hold a dance in another location. Meanwhile, some of the less co-ordinated senior boys start to practice their dancing skills. The montage showing this is a lot of fun to watch. The ending is very sweet and uplifting. I especially liked the scene between the preacher and his wife, where she reminds him that they were once young too.

Footloose is not only a fun party movie, but shows how difficult life was/is for teenagers in small-town America. The themes and issues of teenage life are treated typically of a 1980s movie, for example assuming that the teens have sex lives, instead of showing them agonising over whether or not to go ahead. I also think it would be a good fashion reference for 1980s country-inspired and formal wear.

Would I watch again?: Yes!



I made up a list of other movies that fall into the 'can't believe I haven't seen that' category, in various genres (including some Australian classics). I haven't included any horror movies as I don't like them, so no-one would probably be surprised if I haven't seen them! Here's the list:

* Terminator I
The Godfather series
* Pulp Fiction
* Inception
* Psycho
* The Big Lebowski
* The Silence of the Lambs
* The Lion King
* King Fu Panda
* Beauty and the Beast
* Toy Story 2 and 3
* Titanic
* My Big Fat Greek Wedding
* Mary and Max
* Picnic at Hanging Rock
* Bad Boy Bubby


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