Taking Stock : December 2015

So I lost track of the day. This post probably should have gone up on Sunday but what with it being holidays, house and cat sitting for my sister, and just general wanting to let me brain relax-ness, it slipped my mind. But I’m not going to whine about how little there is left of 2015; I’ll save that for another post. For now, here is the last Taking Stock post for the year 2015 – and it’s the full list!

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Chain of Hearts

Indoor plants aren’t cool“, I told myself. “Indoor plants are weird. What do they even do?“, I wondered.

Oh, past Jacquie. What a fool you were, an absolute FOOL. Don’t worry though, I now know that indoor plants are the bomb dot com. You can get so many different types – small, big, drooping, contained, you name it. As you may recall from numerous posts in the past, I have a few indoor plants. There’s Mary the maiden hair fern, Cynthia the never never plant, and Phil the aluminium plant. All three had a very close brush with death after I left them outdoors in the sun for a good week or two without any water. But I am pleased to report that all three have made a strong recovery.

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Some Birthday Gratitude

It was my birthday this past Tuesday. I turned 25, which feels a bit odd. I don’t think I’ve felt like my age since I was maybe 19 or 20, maybe even younger than that. I don’t know what it is, there just seems to be this discord between how I feel and think about myself and my biological age. But it doesn’t really bother me; there’s much more important things to think about in the grand scheme of things.

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Too Many Things To Do

I have too many things to do. And I’m not talking about the boring, annoying, dull, menial tasks of work or uni, no, I’m talking about creative and fun and crafty things. GOOD things. I have too many GOOD things to do and I am completely paralysed by it all*. So, instead of starting one of the many things I could be doing, I decided to sit down and write about how I’ve got so many things I could be doing.

Genius.

But I figure if I write about it, I can vent my feelings and get all my thoughts out of my brain and written down. By creating a list of things I need to do, I can also be held accountable (at least a little bit, to the People of the Internet). See, I think it is actually a pretty smart idea.

The Many Things I Would Like To Do

  • Repot Stanley, my succulent who lives at uni. I’ve brought him home over the holidays and he desperately needs a good repotting.
  • Take photos, just for funsies.
  • Read at least some of the eleven books I need to finish to meet my reading challenge. Yes, ELEVEN. Shut up.
  • Get sewing! I’ve got a ridiculous amount of ideas for things to sew and they’re all so exciting! This in and of itself is a good example of how I’m paralysed by too many options. (I was going to make a bad joke about choice-paralysis inception but I feel those jokes have been overdone so I just explained the joke instead. Good.)
  • Start sketching again. And maybe painting.
  • Write about my PhD, creativity, life – all those good things – on this here blog.
  • Decide what I want for my blog next year.
  • Start art journalling.

Blargh. I’m tired just from typing up that list. But I can see that I just need to cool my jets and focus on one thing at a time. I think I might try and focus on the sewing side of things for a little while at first, and see if I can at least make a small dint in my “to read” pile by going to bed early and reading.

Do you ever feel like there’s just too much shit to get done? Good or bad shit? I also have a bad shit version of the above list but that’s far less interesting and infinitely more stressful so I chose not to think about it. I know this experience I’ve just outlined is not a novel one, so don’t tell me I’m alone in this! Don’t leave me hanging guys! Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by choice right now? Let me know!

Jacquie

*It is actually a thing that happens. There are journal articles explaining research about it but there’s also a really interesting TEDtalk if you’re keen to know more. Fun fact: this is actually one of the assignment topics I run in the psychology unit I teach at uni.

A Snapshot of Two Cities : A Summary

I’m gonna go ahead and try not to get emotional (or totes emosh, as I believe the kids say these days) but today’s post is a summary of everything A Snapshot of Two Cities. In case you weren’t aware, Isabel from Nanjing Nian and I posted a photo each week. Simple concept and it was really fascinating because Isabel has been in China for the last year or so and I’m here in Australia.

It all started when I got an email from a lovely lady named Isabel, who had been a regular commenter on my blog. She was always so lovely and cheery and when I saw that she liked the photos I took and wanted to run a collaborative project with me, I was so chuffed! What a huge compliment that was. After a few emails back and forth cementing the details of how it was going to work, we decided to post our photos every Wednesday with a time stamp and a little blurb about where it was taken. Some weeks there were some really surprising similarities, other weeks there were some interesting differences.

Here’s the wrap up…

Nanjing, China (and a bit of Japan) by Isabel:

Melbourne, Australia by Jacquie:

 

One thing I noticed when I was compiling these galleries was that there is a cross-over of the seasons smack bang in the middle of our photos, round about the time when we both took a photo at a picnic within a week of each other (weeks 11 & 12). You were leaving the summer behind and heading into autumn and I was saying goodbye to the chilly evenings and welcoming the warmer weather. Pretty cool timing, hey?

I have loved every single one of Isabel’s photos – I think she has a real knack for capturing the essence, or vibe, of a moment. You’ve definitely inspired me a great deal with your photography skillz, Isabel. I have absolutely adored seeing snapshots of China – and right from the comfort of my own home, too! With each of your photos I really feel like I’m being transported straight into Nanjing.

This project has honestly been one of the best things I’ve done – ever! I’ve had so much fun, scoping out a good shot each week. When I look back over the photos, I can see a huge improvement in the way I’ve taken photos. I feel like I’ve learnt how to frame a shot, what angles can be interesting, and also how to step out of my comfort zone a little and take more street photos with actual real-life people in them – all through getting out and taking a photo each week. I’ve realised how much I love photography and actually miss not grabbing a snap or two on a weekly basis. It felt very odd when we stopped last week!

I think I’ve said thank you about seventeen different times in our emails back and forth, Isabel, but I really can’t thank you enough. I was (and still am!) so flattered that you wanted to share your wonderful idea with me and I’ve learnt so much over the past five and a bit months. So thank you. I can’t WAIT to meet you and reminisce about all the fun we had creating this little pocket of memories together.

Jacquie

Op Shop Haul : Aztec Cardigan, Mug, Books and More

Hi-ho! How are you doing? Hopefully you are well and cheery and all other good things. If not, I strongly recommend you watch a kitten/puppy/turtle/monkey/goat video. Apply liberally. Stat! Okay, enough with the medical references now.

I went op shopping today. Yes, on a Sunday! Not a lot of op shops are open on Sundays, the day of rest (or the day of reading and tea-ing as I like to call it), but good old Savers sure is. If you haven’t been to a Savers before, it’s basically an op shop on crack – it’s gigantic and I love taking my time and walking through the many different aisles. I also love sending Laura photos and making her super jelly like the op shop tease I am. Don’t worry pal, when you’re over here I will have a Day of Op Shopping planned and it will be glorious.

Anyhow. Bless Savers for a) being open on a Sunday and b) for having a special student discount! Here’s what I found and fell in love with:

Op shop mug & jarSTRAWBERRY MUG. I did have some reservation about buying this actually, purely because it was part of a set and I didn’t want the set. On top of that, the set was in the “Collectables” section, so I felt uber bad about taking part of it. An internal debate ensued about whether or not I was the kind of person to break up a set. I decided I was. The mug was $3.99 (presumably because it’s “collectable”, though probs not worth much now without the set!). The glass jar was $2.99 and I liked it because the colours have a tutti-fruiti, 80s kinda vibe to them.

Op shop thread and fabricSpeaking of colours, look how bright and happy these embroidery threads are! They came in a bag for $5.99. The fabric was an instant mental purchase. Any ditsy floral pattern melts my heart and for $3.99, I was okay by that. These will all help to make items for my Etsy shop – exciting!

Op shop basketI spied this basket sitting all the way down on the bottom shelf and may have made a small squeaking noise. It was completely involuntary. But I love these types of wire baskets and I’d been looking for one to store my (very small) wool collection so was pretty chuffed to find this one. It cost $4.99.

Op shop booksThere are four or so massive shelves of books at my local Savers and they are my favourite section (as always) to browse. I found these two beauties for $3.99 and $2.99 each. Fun fact: inside the back cover of Noah Barleywater Runs Away was a Christmas card. It was addressed to Caitlin from Nana and Geoff. I’ve found a few interesting things in second-hand books over the years – bookmarks, newspaper clippings, that sort of thing – but never a Christmas card.

Op shop cardiganStrolling through the many clothing aisles, I saw this cardigan out of the corner of my eye – how could I not? The bright aztec pattern was calling out to me. I hesitated, a little unsure if it was a little too “loud” but when I tried it on it made me think about curling up on a couch with a cup of tea and some craft so it wound up in my cart. For $3.99, I feel that’s pretty good.

Another extremely successful op shop adventure. As usual, I really didn’t mean to purchase any of these items but when you see a bargain, you’ve gotta grab it, you know? Plus, I haven’t been op shopping in a while – my last haul was in August! – so I feel I deserved a pat on the back…in the form of more op shopping…

Have you found any goodies in a local op shop lately?

Jacquie

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A Snapshot of Two Cities #21

14:37, 8/12/2015, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Check out that wintery scene! It looks quite chilly or “brisk”, as I like to say, as winter settles in on China. And so still and quiet. I wonder if it was actually a quiet spot or whether there was the usual hustle and bustle of traffic and machinery and people? All I can say is, good on that person for going for a run! It’s hard at the best of times, but especially when the colder weather strikes! On a more arty-farty note, what I love most about your photo this week Isabel, is the structure of it. The red-brown track with the lines that lead the eye down to the buildings at the back. The trees around the perimeter of the track, all in those gorgeous wintery tones as they start to drop some leaves. The runner, who looks like they might have heard something and turned their head, or maybe looked to check how far they had left to go (probs what I’d be doing). The way you’ve framed the shot is perfect, Isabel. I love it.

Power lines & cows resized

20:05, 8/12/2015, Vermont South, Melbourne, Australia

Heading home from yoga last night, I pulled over on the busy highway and started lining up some shots. I probably looked pretty odd, the chick in her yoga gear, just randomly parked off the road, taking photos of grass and cows. I think it was worth it though. Look how cute the cows are, all dotted throughout the grass there. The sun was starting to set (at 8pm!) and they were getting settled for a nice long snooze after a balmy and blustery day. It’s funny because just across the highway, on the other side, is all this industrial stuff. A truck yard, a place that sells pergolas, hardcore pots for your garden, that kinda thing. Then you’ve got this massive, beautiful field on the other side and it’s full of cows! They came right down close to the highway when they were feeding earlier, as I was on my way to my class. I desperately wanted to turn around and try to photograph them up close but I was running late. I might try and take that shot some other time.

🙁 x 1000. Massive sad face over here because today’s post is the last of this wonderful A Snapshot of Two Cities series with Isabel! I’ve had such an incredible time working on this project with you – it’s been great fun and I’ve absolutely loved seeing your photos from the other side of the world. But I shan’t get too mushy just now. I’ll save that for next week’s wrap up post 😛

Jacquie

A Snapshot of Two Cities is a collaborative project between myself and Isabel from Nanjing Nian. We take a photo of something that catches our eye each week and post the photos on our blogs. We hope you enjoy looking at the differences and similarities between the two cities and cultures, and also just some pretty pictures. You can read more about it in the first posting.