Friday, October 24, 2008

Playing with colour

This is cool. Using the Multicolr Search Lab you can create a mosaic of photos from Flickr containing up to 10 colours. I did some Christmas colours.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just a weekend sew and sew

Been trying to get some sewing done.

Some time ago, Nichol Magouirk posted a card to demonstrate dry embossing which I loved. I'm "in to" trees right now. I had this idea that they would be cool on a skirt. I made some for a couple of eco-bags and then decided to add some to a skirt.

I had some material I'd been given that was quite old but seemed fine and I sewed it up, wore it once and the material ripped on me. Obviously it was rotten! To say I was gutted is putting it mildly. So last weekend I finally got the enthusiasm to remake it with some new fabric!

I went into Spotlight looking for something (a zip I think) and naturally gravitated to the fabric section (as you do) to discover they had their summer cottons out to tempt me. So this one lept into my arms along with a pattern.

Not sure now about the length... might be too short for a 30-something-on-the-downward-slide-to-40 to wear to work ya think? Or am I too self-conscious?

Then I couldn't let my daughter miss out so she got a skirt from this cupcake fabric using this free pattern, and I have plans for one like the green polka dots from the apple fabric.

I would have made up the apple fabric this weekend but I discovered a few things:
a) I'd cut the wrong size out (too big)
b) I ran out of interfacing and Spotlight (who have the worst customer service) didn't have the right type so I had to go to the Fabric Barn
c) Fabric Barn in Henderson are closing down (and all fabric is half price so another 2 metres of fabric lept into my arms there)
d) so frustrating to reduce the size having already done the over-locking that I only managed to do one skirt instead of two!
e) being grateful for small mercies that I cut it too big and not too small
f) I need blinkers when I visit fabric stores otherwise I end up seeing things that want to come home with me
g) I {heart} fruit prints

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A tag

My friend Jenny tagged me to tell you 10 of my husband's favorite things. After censoring the less family-friendly answers, this is what I got out of him. *snort* I asked why his family wasn't on the list and he said, "Well you said favourite things."

  1. Photography - well this one was obvious. He's a landscape/wildlife person. Doesn't do people or street photography type stuff. Tends to the more traditional end of the spectrum in terms of style and doesn't think too much of overworked Photoshopped-to-the-nth-degree type stuff. Which makes it interesting because it seems like the PSNZ is tending towards that sort of stuff when it gives out awards these days. He would love to have more time to explore this hobby. *aside* It amuses me that the 3 guys I had relationships with (and married one of them), all were into photography. In fact one of them now owns a glamour photography business.
  2. Big white lens - a lust after item! He does have one BWL, but he'd like a bigger one to get up close and personal to birds with.
  3. Computers/ gadgets - he's really good at electronics stuff (it's his job) so luckily for me he can do some useful things when the computer dies.
  4. Music - he plays the piano, the piano accordion and is teaching himself the guitar. He listens to music regularly.
  5. Food - his tastes have expanded as he has got older and upon leaving home.
  6. Birds (the feathered kind) - particularly natives.
  7. The bush - this is his happy place. Whereas I'm a beach/water person, he prefers the bush.
  8. Trains - where do you think DS got his obsession from!? He's planning to build a model train one day.
  9. Chocolate - dark of course, like me ;)
  10. Coffee - he makes a really good flat white, as good as any barista. He scorns these machines that do all the work for you and has one that requires his input. It really spoils me for anything else! LOL!


I mentioned in my reading round up post that I wanted to write more about this book:

Mindset: the psychology of success / Carol S Dweck

This writer believes people have a tendency to a particular mindset, and this affects how successful they are.

A person with the Fixed Mindset thinks that:

  • Your intelligence/artistic talent/sports ability/business skill is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.
  • You can learn new things but you can’t really change how intelligent etc you are.
  • You are a certain kind of person and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
  • You can do things differently but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.

This person is:

  • supersensitive about making mistakes and being wrong
  • always trying to prove themselves
  • trying to confirm their superiority
  • concerned how you will be judged

A person with the Growth Mindset thinks that:

  • No matter how much intelligence/artistic talent/sports ability/business skill you have you can always change quite a bit.
  • You can always change substantially how intelligent etc you are.
  • No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially
  • You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.
This person:
  • is concerned with improving
  • thinks important qualities can be cultivated
  • will confront obstacles and stretch themselves
It is possible for people to have a mix of mindsets for particular areas of their lives.

I found this book interesting on several levels. Firstly, as a teacher/learner I'm always interested in learning about how to be a better teacher/learner. Secondly, as a parent I'd like to be someone who is able to encourage certain traits in my kids, and learn how I can be a better parent. Thirdly, I'd like to understand better the whole artistic/creative thing for myself - how to get the best out of it.

I recognise myself in both mindsets. When it comes to thinking about intelligence and learning, I'm more in the growth mindset point of view. But when it comes to my artistic creative side I tend towards the fixed mindset. When I think about my interest in creative writing I definitely am a fixed mindset person!

Artistic ability - is it a gift? Many people would agree with these statements.

“…some people seem to naturally draw well or poorly.”

“... view drawing as a magical ability that only a select few will possess, and that only a select few will ever possess.”

I found the author's response to these statements interesting. She writes that some of the famous artists e.g. Jackson Pollack early work was hardly inspiring. She says,

“... people don’t understand the components - the learning components - of drawing. Actually… they are not drawing skills at all but seeing skills. They are the ability to perceive edges, spaces. Relationships, lights and shadows and the whole. .. Some people simply pick up these skills in the natural course of their lives, whereas others have to work to learn them and put them together.”

She refers to the book Drawing on the right side of the brain by Betty Edwards. This author has shown that people who take her drawing class will dramatically improve their drawing skills through their learning of how to see. My Dad worked through this book, and I have to say I agree.

Edwards states,

“Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training.”

I was also interested in her chapter on teachers and parents, particularly this section.

Praising children’s intelligence or talent … sends a fixed mindset message. It makes their confidence and motivation more fragile. Instead, try to focus on the processes they used - their strategies, efforts or choices.

I had read somewhere that it is good to praise a child's efforts, and had been attempting to do that but this reaffirmed why I want to continue doing so.

From a teaching standpoint, I found this paragraph food for thought.

Lowering standards doesn’t raise student’s self-esteem. But neither does raising standards without giving students ways of reaching them. The growth mindset gives you a way to set high standards and have students reach them. Try presenting topics in a growth framework and giving students process feedback.

It's so easy to spoon feed our students. Many of them come with so little patience for and knowledge of good, efficient information seeking habits. I'd like to learn how to inculcate a little "growth mindset" into them!

On a personal level, I was interested in the section on relationships. Some of this stuff I've had to learn the hard way. I sure wish I'd known it earlier.

The fixed mindset thinks if you have to work at it, it wasn’t meant to be. A fixed mindset person expects everything good to happen automatically, to magically occur through their love like in a fairy tale. John Gottman [relationship researcher] says, that one of the most destructive beliefs for a relationship is
“If we need to work at it, there’s something seriously wrong with our relationship.”
He says
“Every marriage demands an effort to keep it on the right track; there is a constant tension… between the forces that hold you together and those that can tear you apart.”

A no-effort relationship is a doomed relationship. It takes work to communicate accurately and it takes work to expose and resolve conflicting hopes and beliefs. It doesn’t mean there is no “they lived happily ever after”, but it’s more like “they worked happily ever after.”

The book is US-centric and got annoying in places with the focus on story telling, but there is a chapter about how to change your mindset. I found it thought provoking.

How is this for a personal library?

This. Is. So. Cool.

Jay Walkers Geek Library

Take me there now.

Video of a TED presentation about the library.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Can hardly believe the evidence!

But I actually did some scrapbooking. And card making on International Card Making Day (Sat 4th Oct).

Tried to do some tricky modge podging + stencilly dots + glitter on this one but it didn't turn out exactly as I planned.

Used some funky stickers that Sandra kindly RAKed me with and some rub ons that Mel kindly RAKed me with too. :-)

Forgot to add the title before I took this photo. The blank space is for a larger photo I've got of him sitting at the front of the class with his special crown on. It's on the computer but I've run out of matte paper to print on. (DH has the matte black cartridge in the printer at present. Our next printer will have both matte and gloss because it's so annoying for both of us!).

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Whitcoulls Top 100 List

CW blogged about Angus & Robertson's top 100 list, I thought I'd do Whitcoulls...
The ones in bold I have read.

  1. Lord of the rings / JRR Tolkien
  2. My sister's keeper / Jodi Picoult
  3. Pride and prejudice / Jane Austen (a favourite)
  4. Cross stitch / Diana Gabaldon
  5. Harry Potter & the dealthy hallows / JK Rowling
  6. The bronze horseman / Paullina Simons
  7. The Da Vinci code / Dan Brown
  8. The power of one / Bryce Courtenay
  9. The pillars of the earth / Ken Follet
  10. The other Boleyn girl / Phillipa Gregory
  11. The lovely bones: a novel / Alice Sebold
  12. To kill a mocking bird / Harper Lee (ages ago, should read it again)
  13. The kite runner / Khaled Hosseini
  14. The time traveler's wife / Audrey Niffenegger
  15. Holy Bible (try to read something everyday)
  16. The hobbit / J R R Tolkien
  17. Magician / Raymond Feist
  18. The clan of the cave bear / Jean M Auel
  19. Nineteen minutes / Jodi Piccoult
  20. Gone with the wind / Margaret Mitchell (think Scarlett is a whinging female dog)
  21. Angels and Demons / Dan Brown
  22. Harry Potter and the half-blood prince / J K Rowling
  23. The Poisonwood bible / Barbara Kingsolver
  24. Into the wilderness / Sara Donati
  25. A thousand splendid suns / Khaled Hosseini
  26. Life of Pi / Yann Martel
  27. Memoirs of a geisha / Arthur Golden
  28. Jessica / Bryce Courtenay
  29. Birdsong / Sebastian Faulks
  30. Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone / J K Rowling
  31. Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix / J K Rowling
  32. A fine balance / Rohinton Mistry
  33. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe / C S Lewis
  34. Jane Eyre / Charlotte Bronte
  35. Rachel's holiday / Marian Keyes
  36. The memory keeper's daughter / Kim Edwards
  37. Shantaram: a novel / Gregory Roberts
  38. Pact: a love story / Jodi Picoult
  39. Tea Rose / Jennifer Donnelly
  40. Change of heart / Jodi Picoult
  41. Angela's ashes / Frank McCourt
  42. Mister Pip / Lloyd Jones
  43. The girl in Times Square / Paullina Simons
  44. Twilight / Stephanie Meyer
  45. This charming man / Marian Keyes
  46. Wuthering heights / Emily Bronte (I tried, I really did)
  47. River God / Wilbur Smith
  48. The Persimmon Tree / Bryce Courtenay
  49. World without end / Ken Follet
  50. Dune / Frank Herbert
  51. Wild Swans: three daughters of China / Jung Chang
  52. April Fools Day / Bryce Courtenay
  53. Atonement / Ian McEwan
  54. The bone garden / Tess Gerritsen
  55. The alchemist / Paulo Coelho
  56. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / J K Rowling
  57. Harry Potter and the prisoner of Askaban / J K Rowling
  58. Sushi for beginners / Marian Keyes
  59. The curious incident of the don in the night-time / Mark Haddon
  60. Catcher in the rye / J D Salinger
  61. I know this much is true / Wally Lamb
  62. Eragon / Christopher Paolini
  63. Tomorrow with the war began / John Marsden
  64. Northern lights / Philip Pullman
  65. Captain Corelli's mandolin / Louis De Bernieres
  66. Kane and Abel / Jeffrey Archer
  67. Tully / Paullina Simons
  68. Catch -22 / Joseph Heller
  69. No. 1 ladies detective agency / Alexander McCall Smith
  70. Watermelon / Marian Keyes
  71. We need to talk about Kevin / Lionel Shriver
  72. Anybody out there / Marian Keyes
  73. Chocolat / Joanne Harris
  74. Winter Rose / Jennifer Donnelly
  75. Denniston Rose / Jenny Pattrick
  76. Killing Floor / Lee Child
  77. A really short history of nearly everything / Bill Bryson
  78. Anne of Green Gables / L M Montgomery
  79. Nothing to lose / Lee Child
  80. The secret / Rhonda Byrne
  81. The book thief/ Markus Zusak
  82. Galaxy / Douglas Adams
  83. The stand / Stephen King
  84. Edmonds Cookery Book / Edmonds (this woman has made it her mission to cook everything in a 40 year old Edmond's Cookbook during a year)
  85. The potato factory / Bryce Courtenay
  86. Lucy Sullivan is getting married / Marian Keyes
  87. The vinter's luck / Elizabeth Knox
  88. The red tent / Anita Diamant
  89. Bridget Jone's diary: a novel / Helen Fielding
  90. The Penguin history of New Zealand / Michael King
  91. London / Edward Rutherford
  92. The god of small things / Arundhati Roy
  93. The shipping news / Annie E Proulx
  94. Four fires / Bryce Courtenay
  95. Mao's last dancer / Li Gunxin
  96. Last chance saloon / Marian Keyes
  97. Plain truth / Jodi Picoult
  98. Perfume: the story of a murderer / Patrick Suskind
  99. The Thorn birds / Colleen McCullough
  100. The notebook / Nicholas Sparks
Hmmm... just under half of them I've read. Some I'd like to read some time. Others I am unlikely to even attempt! Like the horror ones. I'm not into that genre.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Future Book of Me content

Me at work. Amazing what you can do with the self timer.

Level 2 Reference Desk - this is the floor where the public library patrons and our students are served by either library's staff. I dislike the way this desk is set up. It's really hard to share anything on the screen while you're helping people. Also you can't adjust the screen to a different height so it's always there in your face.

View out the end of the building on the floor my office is on. More of our buildings are to the right of this picture out of view, as well as the local court house. To the left and out of view is the main street of this suburb, shops and the mall.

Me in my office on the floor that is a dedicated space for our staff and students. I share this office with a colleague. My desk is remarkably clear of stuff!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Flickr Goodness

While playing with MPOWs Flickr photostream I noticed that the National Library of New Zealand had added us as a contact.  This surprised me because I confess I see the National Library as a rather "staid" old bird.  So I went looking and I am so delighted to find that they are putting some of their photos on to Flickr!  Check out their photostream

I see that on some of their photos they write:

You are welcome to reproduce this photograph on your blog or another website. Please:

1. Maintain the integrity of the photograph (i.e. don't crop, recolour or overprint it)
2. Reproduce the photograph's caption information & link back to it here on Flickr.

We would like to know how you're using these images - send us an email with a link to your site.

If you would like to use this photograph in a different way (e.g. in a print publication) please contact us.

Isn't that way cool?

And one set they have intrigues my crafty side so I'm picking it out since it was International Card Making day on Saturday.  Christmas Cards.

4 cards and other ephemera items from the Turnbull Library's collections, including cards sent from the front during WWI and WWII.

The last 10 images in this set are e-card versions: either attach them to an email as they are, or use a image editor to put in your own message.

Last week and the weekend has flown by:
  • I made a few cards and a layout on Saturday but most of the day was busy with other things.  Sunday is never a "free" day for me being involved with church and suchlike but I did visit my grandma for about 10 minutes until she fell asleep on me and I decided to leave! LOL! 
  • My Dad had bowel surgery on Thursday but all is well and he is at home recovering.  He had a benign growth that needed removing as it always turns into cancer.  A good reason to have a regular colonoscopy once you reach a certain age group.
  • This morning we woke up and found there was no water coming out of the tap.  Actually, "we" means me stumbling into the shower and wrestling with the tap thinking I was going nuts when nothing came out.  We checked the meter and as we were shining the torch on it (in our dressing gowns) our neighbour drove by and said they didn't have any water either and they'd rung "the man".  So we had brekkie and went up to my mum's for our morning ablutions much to the kid's delight!  As I dropped some stuff off at home on the way back to work I noticed "the man" and a digger dealing with a great pool/gush of water outside a house down the street so must have been a main burst I guess.
Here's to a non-stinky day ahead!

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, October 03, 2008

Free handbag?

Anyone want a free handbag? 
Handbag Planet is giving away bags as part of their website launch.  Check it out :-)
Blogged with the Flock Browser