Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lovisa vs Independant Australian Design

So whilst perusing facebook, as I often do when I'm supposed to be doing something else, I found a statement posted by Lovisa, a relatively new costume jewellery chain here in the land of oz, that stated they were glad to see people passionate about young Australian designers, and that they were all for the power of the creative mind.
Hooray! thought I. They're moving on from the offshore mass production of the inexpensive costume jewellery industry and teaming up with some talented Australian designers to create some unique, high quality product!
And then I kept reading.
The statement had been released in relation to some accusations that the company had been making cheap knock offs of a ring designed by a fledgling Australian jewellery label, My Mother Mabel. Intrigued and slightly appalled, I did a little googleing/ facebook stalking and found out that Lovisa was not only being accused of creating knock offs of small, homegrown labels, but other, more famous international designers, with the most notable one being the Art Enamel Ring by Yves Saint Laurent.

Not really my taste (or price range at $195), but apparently it's caused quite a stir.

Knock offs are not an uncommon thing; you go to places like Bali or Thailand, or even the Caribbean Gardens and Market, and you can find fake versions of big name brands that even your grandmother has probably heard of. It's illegal, yes, but no one really seems to bat an eyelid, maybe because the original product costs two months rent and they believe these companies are making enough money off the Kardashians or whoever anyway. I've never really been a fan of buying something because it has Gucci or Prada plastered all over it, so I don't quite understand the whole idea of buying something that's poorly made just because it sort of looks expensive, over buying something that's nice and well made and genuinely pretty, yet was designed by an anonymous woman who workshops in her garage and wears a lot of hemp.

The thing that really bothers me about this though is when big companies rip off the local little guy, designers who have worked so hard to create orginal ideas (which is really hard these days because it feels like everything has been done before), good quality product and to build their buisness in an already overcrowded marketplace. Lovisa mentioned in their statement on facebook that it was the fault of their "supp...lier" (bless), and that it was an innocent design cross over. This could be true about My Mother Mabel, the unknown up and comers who have not shown up on Lovisa's radar until now.
However, I find it rather difficult to believe that a company that always claimed to be at the forefront of fashion, are claiming ignorance to the fact that they've been selling knock offs of one of Yves Saint Laurent's most famous designs.

Just a little familiar? (Image from Elisha Casagrande)

I used to be a salesgirl for Lovisa, back when they first opened and I was saving furiously to go overseas. Now before you rush for your pitchforks and flaming torches, I'm not about to throw around wild accusations; this is not an expose on the seedy underbelly of the production floor, nor am I about to reveal that they fuel their smelting fires with puppies and children's stolen dreams. As far as retail goes, they treated me pretty ok; at the time, I liked a lot of their jewellery (this was before I discovered etsy), and there are a couple of pieces that I bought there that are functioning and I will still wear now. However, I was never under any illusions that they were something more than a cheap, costume jewellery distributor, unlike a few of our customers, who used to come back scandalized and demanding refunds when their $5 rings became tarnished or fell apart because they wore them while washing the dishes. It's simple; you get what you pay for. I just hope that now Lovisa will pay a little more attention to what else is out there, and what their suppliers are sending them. And that they stop selling local rip offs, intentional or no.That would be nice too.

The bottom line is, if you only have $20 dollars to spend and need something to go with a dress you bought for your cousins wedding this weekend, you will probably find what you're looking for at Lovisa. But if you are looking for something original, well made, and want to support local design over Made in China mass production, may I suggest saving your pennies and checking out labels like My Mother Mabel, A Skull of Foxes, Limedrop, or just log into etsy and have a browse! I guarantee you will find something you like, you will be helping your creative collective, and it will last you a hell of a lot longer!

This is the original My Mother Mabel design. I dunno bout you, but I like this ring much better.
Here end of the rant.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sirin Thada

So I've fallen a little bit in love with the artwork of Sirin Thada, a very clever artist who makes funny yet emotional artworks, and in some cases very acurate social observations. I could trawl this tumblr for hours looking through them, so here are a few of my favourites, and you can see the rest here, or purchase some prints at society6

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Women of Letters

So, I know I already went on a bit about how much I love Marieke Hardy, but the lovely Pip Lincoln of Meet Me at Mikes pointed me in the direction of yet another brilliant new project via her own inspired blog.

Women of Letters is a collaboration between Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire, and is homage to the hand written letter for a world that's all about instant communication. I always love receiving letters (except bills), but send them not nearly as often as I should (or at all these days), but I would most definitely like to start again; maybe this will get me inspired. I'd also like to go along to one of their afternoon seminars, but I don't trust myself not to be a gawking moron or say something ridiculously humiliating in my excitement.

And how wonderful is this! All royalties from the book sales go towards Edgar's Mission animal rescue shelter!

Click here for more info and stockists.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Times They Are A Changin'

I read this at Angela Meyer's blog "Literary Minded". They are both excerpts from a book written by John Harvey Kellogg (as in Kelloggs Cornflakes and so on!), entitled Ladies Guide to Health and Disease.

"The reading of works of fiction is one of the most pernicious habits to which a young lady can become devoted. When the habit is once thoroughly fixed, it becomes as inveterate as the use of liquor or opium. The novel-devotee is as much a slave as the opium-eater or the inebriate. The reading of fictitious literature destroys the taste for sober, wholesome reading and imparts an unhealthy stimulus to the mind, the effect of which is in the highest degree damaging."

‘We wish… to put ourself upon record as believing firmly that the practice of novel reading is one of the greatest causes of uterine disease in young women. There is no doubt that the influence of the mind upon the sexual organs and functions is such that disease may be produced in this way… Reading of a character to stimulate the emotions and rouse the passions may produce or increase a tendency to uterine congestion, which may in turn give rise to a great variety of maladies…’

Someone help me to remove my corsets immediately! I think I may faint! The knowledge that I shall never be with child as a result of my 'pernicious habit' of recklessly indulging in fiction is too much for my poor enfeebled womanly soul to bear.

I'm sorry, I can't do it. It's too hilarious. If I were married to you Mr Kelloggs, I would have scoured as many works of fiction as I could get my hands on, rather than run the risk of dying of  boredom or consumption and never having my passions roused.

Your conflakes, however, do make excellent Honey Joys.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Wombats - Festival Hall

Last night Lovely, his friend Michael from work and I went to see the Wombats. I was originally not going to this gig, as we believed they were general admission tickets, and Festival Hall GA is the worst for me; I cannot see any of the musicians or their shenanigans up on stage because of my ridiculous height *grumbles*
Yet, as fate would have it, the tickets turned out to be seated ones and as neither were able to find someone to take the third ticket, I ended up getting to go anyway. And I'm so glad I did, because it was so much more that I expected it to be (I think I should just go in to gigs with lowered expectations from now on, because I'm always so pleasantly surprised).

I should mention the supports briefly; Owl Eyes was lovely as always, she seems to be getting more confidant every time I see her, and I love that her dance moves are evolving accordingly. Faker was....well, I will say this, I did quite enjoy 'Hurricane', if only for nostalgic purposes, but that was about it. Sorry dude, but laying on the ground and kicking your legs in the air like a flipped cockroach does not make you hardcore, but I admire your bravery.

The Wombats however, knew exactly how to put on a good show. Not only was their intensity and live enthusiasm infectious, they had tons of super cool visual and lighting effects throughout, including smoke screens and green laser beams that fanned out like neon palm fronds across the audience. I also rather enjoyed their jet-lagged banter, which came across as adorable when spoken with a Liverpool accent.
Instead of detracting from the music, all of this managed to accompany it perfectly; there was an erratic yet also kind of desperate sense of youthful indulgence that I often get when listening to their lyrics. That and they're just really good fun; at the end of the encore, Murphy came out wearing a Panda suit head and proceeded to rock out on his famous decoupage guitar (which is my favourite looking instrument of any musician ever) for a couple of minutes.

Seriously, how cool is that guitar?

Favourites included: Moving to New York, Techno Fan, Kill the Director, Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves), Jump into the Fog, Girls/Fast Cars and of course Lets Dance to Joy Divison, which was a perfect song to end on.

Love Magick

I've got some news!!

I have been incredibly lucky enough to have a story I wrote included in this amazing anthology put together by none other than my ultimate literary idol, Francesca Lia Block. It wasn't until she release the cover for it on her Facebook page, that the knowledge that I was going to be published in something created by the author of Weeztie Bat really sunk in. Without running off too many cliche's this is a dream come true for me, and when I saw this pop up in my news feed, I felt so happy and excited I could have exploded. Life Mission Accomplished (well one of them, at least).

She's created a blog for anthology and all the contributors, and I can't wait to read all of the stories that will appear alongside mine as of Valentines Day 2012.

This Is What Happens When Girls Go Camping

So Ruby and I went on a lovely lazy camping trip that involved a lot more shopping than camping! Usually this would be the part where I tell the story of our hapless shenanigans, but she has beat me to the punch and described it so well that I'm going to direct you to her blog
and instead do what she would usually do and post a lot of pictures of our adventure. Sadly they will not be as good as hers, as they were taken on my iPhone.

My favourite parts that Ruby did not mention, however, were
-Pulling over to try and look up the location of the Mill Vintage Market, only to find that we had parked RIGHT OUTSIDE it.
-find a copy of Return of the Native and Picnic at Hanging Rock for $15 collectively, at said Mill Vintage Market (as well as dresses, shoes, and a pair of vintage roller skates)
-Drinking beer and eating mixed nuts in the passenger seat and chatting about nothing and everything in particular
- Spying on people exercising down by the beach whilst trying to cook canned spagetti on an electric barbeque
-Sweet Phish

We later found out there are two Mill Vintage Markets, one in the heart of Geelong city centre, and another on the Bellerine just as you come in to Geelong. I highly recommend going to both of them, the collections are vast both in size, style and quality.

I'd also like to reiterate the fact that we got a shout out on Thursday night from Dom on Home and Hosed, even though we forgot to mention the fact that we were sleeping in the car by the beach and he probably thinks we're two sad homeless people with one mobile between us, and have nothing better to do than text in to triple j, whilst waiting for our canned goods to heat up on a public barbeque. This is only half true.

I kind of fell off the wagon ever so slightly with my Buy Nothing New Pledge; I bought Marieke Hardy's new book "You'll Be Sorry When I'm Dead". I've been such a huge fan of her writing since picking up my first Frankie magazine a couple of years ago, and couldn't wait to read her book ever since I found out she was writing one, so when I saw a whole stack of them in a bookshop in Lorne, I just couldn't help myself. But I don't feel toooo bad, because by buying this book I am supporting an author I really love and the small yet incredibly well stocked independent Lorne bookshop!

I'm about halfway through it, and I've already learned so much (sometimes more than I was prepared for) about this amazing woman, and am a few chapters away from becoming a full blown fangirl (see the Gotye post for an example of my full fangirl repertoire)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Green Roses

I got really lucky at the RSPCA op shop today. An exercise in killing time and trying to abate my shopping urges whilst sticking to my pledge, turned out to be a great success, for I managed to pick up not one...

...but two lovely nanna knits!

AND some cowboy boots :) I've been looking for some nice, small, inexpensive ones for a while now, but I couldn't seem to find any under $100. I picked these babies up for $6.

There's nothing quite as satisfying as that perfect, almost serendipitous op shop find. Now I can have awesome shoes AND eat for the week. Hooray!

On another irellavent but equally important topic, I started making my own tea bags the other day, thanks to this snazzy tutorial from Elsie at A Beautiful Mess.

I have so many boxes of loose leaf tea floating around, but I often find it sort of wasteful and annoying making a whole pot of tea just for little old me, so this was right up my alley.

I used Green Rose Tea from Tea 2, Harris brand coffee filter papers, wool and just regular coloured paper for the tags. I don't have access to a sewing machine (dangit) so I sewed mine by hand, which takes a lot longer. But it gave my opportunity to catch up on more episodes of Chuck. They go hand in hand with all my craft projects these days.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Past Lives

Danielle was fired from  the magazine
because it was discovered that she had listed qualifications
from her past lives on her resume
She was afraid she would be forced to wile away her days
sitting in cafes drinking milky latte
while pale made up strangers gaped at her
fishmouthed, for using a pen on paper
instead of a MacBook Pro*

She didn’t think it exaggerating
to profess exceptional leadership skills
with the life of famous Australian democrat
under her belt; she weathered a scandal
greater than the Pacific Ocean
that she had to travel over to seek social asylum
as the wagging tongues that lapped at photographs
abandoned policy
she lived out her days without
her annexed manhood

Her charisma, she confessed,  was distilled
 in the seventies
a time when truth was given birth to blurred
by the cigarette smoke, the propaganda
and guitar distortion
Iggy Pop once serenaded her in the parking lot
of Pandora’s Box on the Sunset Strip
 in a voice like a storm brewing
in a teacup
“Danielle, my belle, you have a butt that wont quit
and your sex is hypnotic”
He asked her home with him, but instead
she stole his cigarettes and ran to the ocean
and dropped them in, one by one
by one
twenty little tobacco boats
floating out to sea

And they could not say that she 
was without style
for she was once a great favourite of Marie Antoinette
She knew more about that Queen of France 
than anyone, that cake was out of the question
Danielle  didn’t tell people this; she was afraid they wouldn’t trust her
with their money
she did have a weakness for silk lace and pastry
which she thought might have given her away

As she cleared her desk out
Danielle wished that she had once been a dictator
Russian Invasion, Spanish Armada,
German Genocide
then perhaps she could have survived
the fashion industry
no, more than that
she could have commanded it
with her own army of spider legged women
all sporting perpetual scowls
and the power to cut a women’s self esteem in half
with the slice of her fingernail across
a bolt of lightning coloured fabric

She took comfort in the thought
of a thousand cowering editors
clutching mugs of latte underneath their desks,
as she left her badge at the reception 

*I wrote while sitting in a cafe, where I could count at least ten Mac Books just at a glance. As I pulled out my pen and paper from my backpack and started scribbling away, a girl looked at me as though I had pulled out a stone tablet and started making cave paintings!! It was rather amusing.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gotye - The Forum

So many things spring to mind when I hear the word Gotye, other than trying to figure out the correct pronunciation, which I think is gore-tee-yeah. But don't quote me on that.
From the ages of about seventeen to nineteen his music was such a huge part of my life; I would obsessively listen to his record "Like Drawing Blood," I used Heart's a Mess in one of my literature assignments, and discovered that he drummed and sang for a band called the Basics. By chance I became friends with one of the other members on, wait for it, MySpace *cringe* (who says being a red head doesn't pay off), and thus I proceeded to stalk the band with Ruby and a couple of other friends of ours. But before you call us lame pathetic fangirls, we did actually really enjoy their music; CD's were bought, not downloaded, lyrics were learned and so on.
I own a Gotye tshirt, I, along with Ruby and aforementioned friends, attended his first national tour (which was sadly ruined by a row of old loud drunk people with no manners and serious bad karma), and two Laneway festivals just to see him play.

We did not hear a lot from Wally in the years that followed (we love to pretend we know him well enough to be able to call him by his real first name); the Basics released their second album, and I was holding on to the hope that a third Gotye record was in the works. With the release of 'Eyes Wide Open' in 2010 my passion was re ignited, but the album on which it features was not released until the middle of this year, along with the single "Somebody That I Used to Know", a gorgeous duet with Kimbra that saw his massive talent finally recognized by the masses.
I will admit that I felt a little threatened when I started to hear the object of my musical affection for so many years being blasted from commercial radio stations every hour or so, and found myself fighting the urge to scream "HE'S MINE" in the face of anyone who mentioned the song to me. But I'm slowly learning to not be so precious, and not listen to the radio because I really don't want another "Sex on Fire" on my hands. I miss you Kings of Leon, but my feelings for you will never be the same.
Anyway, I'm getting totally sidetracked by nostalgia here; the gig. The Forum is one of my favourite venues because 1) the ceiling is painted to look like the night sky, and 2) no matter where I stand I can always see the stage. Being the multi instrumentalist that he is on the album, Wally had invited at least 10 musicians to play on this tour. He also had a guy who was in charge of the visual effects, so that every song had its own little cartoon or short film. This was not just a gig, this was full on visual and musical performance, but as he walked on the stage to the title track of his third album, Making Mirrors, I was still filled with that sense of heart rendering glee I felt when we were dancing to the Basics all those years ago.
With each song he switched from percussion to drumkit to keyboards and computers like it was no big deal, and if his incredible talent wasn't enough to make you sick, he's also SUCH A NICE GUY! He looked like he was having so much fun up on stage, especially during State of the Art, where he got to use his special voice changing microphone and everything.
Honestly, this was one of the most fun shows I've been to since Darwin Deez (they still win because they had coreographed dance moves), but I was also incredibly moved by his live rendition of Bronte, which he closed with before encore (apparently it's about his friend's dog that died).
My favourites: Save Me, In Your Light, Better, Heart's a Mess, Eyes Wide Open, Learnalilgivinanlovin, which is the best closer cos of that massive instrumental at the end, Bronte *sob* and Somebody that I Used to Know, cos it sounds brilliant live, even with the crowd singing instead of Kimbra.

I'm so glad I got to see him, he gets more confident and more brilliant with every tour, and I have no doubt that he will take all of his well deserved success in his humble stride.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Buy Nothing New

It's been a while since I did my Hand(may)de challenge (I'm still so proud of that name, if you can't tell) that I thought I would give it another go.
This month, however, its not just me pledging to only buy second hand things (I'm not allowed to buy crafty things either this time *sigh*), but people all over the country, thanks to the Buy Nothing New initiative.

"Buy Nothing New is not about going without, nor is it Buy Nothing New Never.

It’s about taking October to reassess what we really need, think about where the stuff we buy comes from (finite resources), where it goes (landfill), and what our alternatives are.

It is about conscientious consumption and by not spending on stuff we don’t need, increasing our savings for the things we do need.

Pledge to Buy Nothing New during October and challenge over consumption.

You’ll have more time on your hands and money in your pockets."

They challenge people, with the exception of essentials like food, meds, toilet paper etc etc, to beg, borrow, swap or only buy secondhand from places like Salvos Stores, Brotherhood of St Lawrence, Gumtree and so on,  for the whole month of October.
Now I, like anyone, enjoy a good shopping spree, but I could always do with less things and more money. So I have decided to take the pledge, and if you're looking for ways to save some coin and feel good about doing it, then visit the Buy Nothing New website to get the info. You could also win 5,000! Yes please.

If you looking for some ways find second hand clothes without having to sift through vinyl bomber jackets or smelly old lady underwear (although that;s half the fun of it, isn't it really?) may I suggest:

Oh Deer Vintage 
This one comes first because it has a pun for a name :)

Or for those of you who live in Melbourne

Lost And Found Market
511 Lygon Street, Brunswick East or
12 Smith Street Collingwood

 Hunter Gatherer by the Brotherhood of St Lawrence, which now apparently has a new store in the Royal Arcade! Hooray.

Now I'm off to peruse ebay for my own penguin shaped waffle maker, because clearly that goes in the need basket :)

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