Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grumpy Me

For whatever reason, it has escaped my notice that  I am no longer a morning person. I'm pretty sure I was, once upon a time, but it's a dim memory.

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And then I wonder why my kid and I struggle each morning to get along, why she loses her temper so quickly and I look forward to dropping her off at school so much. Um, yep. That would be because she is JUST. LIKE. ME. Somewhere along the way, I became so task-focused that I forgot to make it fun. I envy my Husband because he always gets to be the 'fun' parent. Like that's his doing and nothing to do with me. D'uh! I'm always telling Poppet she is the one who can turn her mood around. About time I showed her how it's done. I am determined to spend the next month smiling in the mornings and enjoying the time I have with my girl.

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One of the tricky things is that she is a super-early riser. Usually around 6am, but sometimes earlier. That means TV is a necessity in the mornings, but we've learnt to switch it off at 8am so we have time to get ready. This is usually followed with a rather military attempt at getting ready in silence. Why it hadn't occurred to me before today to play some music, I just don't know. This morning we switched on ABBA when we switched the TV off. It was a lot of fun, and we were ready in record time with lots of smiles and dancing. We even had time to youtube some ABBA clips and gawk at their crazy outfits.

What a revelation. Here's to fun and frivolity, whilst getting things done. Do you have a special song which peps you up? We're going to play some 70s and 80s classics in the mornings and learn all about pop music and crazy fashion. I definitely see some Jackson 5 in our future...

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Combined with lots of coffee and some cooler weather (yay!) this should be a doddle. Fingers crossed.
Oh, and if you're after some light relief, you should check out our latest Pinterest board. Warning, some of it is a little on the naughty side....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Cosby Show

So, we have a weekend to ourselves. And we all have a cold. What to do.
Well, we have decided to spend the day with the Huxtables. It's funny, when we were kids we thought the kids were so hard-done by and sympathised with them. But now we love the parenting!

Fabulous show, fabulous fashions and lots of laughs (canned or otherwise).
Have you shown this to your kids? You should totally re-visit it with them.
And here are some Denise Huxtable fashions for your perusal in the interim...

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Of course, no one could out-do the Cosby sweater. It's funny to see them back in fashion these days, I even purchased a black and white version yesterday. But it pales to the real deal.

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In fact, the Cosby sweater is so iconic it gets a mention in High Fidelity...

As it should. Hope you all have a good weekend, I'm off to find our Autumn clothes. It's getting chilly at last!
I can wear my new Cosby sweater.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Anniversary Of Sorts

Goodness me, it's been a year since we arrived in Toronto!

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We're certainly happy we bothered. In a year, we've been to London and New York, seen the movies at TIFF and been to countless concerts. We've (they've) been ice skating and skiing, picked apples and carved pumpkins. Giggled at squirrels and grumped over raccoons.
I think it's fairly obvious that I really love this city. I rarely feel unhappy (except for hormone-related issues but more on that later) and the imminent change of season brings with it the promise of more adventure. Possibly the seasonal changes are one of my favourite parts of living in North America. In Perth, there is a looooong summer and a rare glimpse of autumn/winter/spring all rolled into one. I just find it monotonous.
I can't appreciate the blue skies and sunshine without the clouds and rain. It's raining today, and I feel as happy as a pig in mud. Walking to school in boots and splashing in puddles, drinking hot coffee on the way home and contemplating which craft to get on with. I even feel like cooking again.
It's fairly obvious that I'm just not a summer girl at heart. Give me scarves and boots over bikinis and sunblock any day!
We have signed on for another year in this fabulous place and will continue to cross our fingers that Husband's employer will offer further employment after that. Research is beginning regarding residency and all the unimaginable paperwork which will relate to that. Considering it took over 11 weeks to get our work permit, who knows how long the other process will take if we decide to go down that path.
If you want to read more about the stress of moving from Oz to TO, you can do that here and here. It's funny re-reading my posts from a year ago. I was certainly very stressed, but even then I knew it would be worth it. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

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For now, we'll continue to lap this place up, and enjoy the way in which the monotony of daily life is interrupted by weather, activities, awesome people and holidays. Though I'm quite happy for a quiet night in tonight with some crochet. We only have Thursday and Friday night out this week, which is more restful compared to the last one.
And I even did some work yesterday. Big happy dance!

I'm off to the hairdresser now, and will hit the sewing machine when I return. Cheers!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

TIFF Roundup

-ok, before I start I want to thank Tamara from La Petite Studio for fixing my font. I have been feeling cranky all day about my complete ineptitude where html is concerned and my lovely friend in Perth just fixed it. She is also responsible for the design and layout of my blog and I wouldn't appear half so professional and fabulous (ahem) without her. Thanks Tam!

And now, back to regular programming...

It's been a hectic week. We've had some grandparents visiting us and have been doing touristy things by day and going to movie screenings by night. But the film festival is one of the reasons we love this city so much, so sleep be damned!
Here's how TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) works.
A few months ago we bought a ticket package which included half a dozen red carpet 'events'. At this stage, we didn't know which movies would be screening but we love the buzz of premieres so opted for the best package ($$$!!!!).  Not long after this purchase, the list of films coming to TIFF were announced. A week later we were sent an email giving us the exact date and time when we would be able to buy our tickets online. In one week we had to read up on a huge list of films and pull together a shortlist of viewing options. Husband jumped online and managed to grab tickets to all of our first preferences and we sighed with relief. It's pretty intense achieving this much, TIFF doesn't make it easy to understand how to buy the best tickets and life also manages to get in the way. Having met people in the line for screenings who take the week off to view films (sometimes three a day) I can't imagine how they manage it all. Possibly they don't have children?? We are exhausted!
To attain a reasonable seat at said screenings, you need to arrive about two hours beforehand. It's best to bring your 'dinner' (usually Subway) along to eat whilst standing in the queue as you'll be exiting the cinema around 9pm and trying to make your way home with all the other commuters. No time for some late nosh, you've got babysitters to relieve and some sleep to snatch before another night on your feet! Once inside the theatre there's a stampede to find the 'best' seats based upon your best guess as to where Ryan Gosling/Zac Efron/Penelope Cruz will be sitting. Usually, your guess is wrong as they tend to change things up from screening to screening to avoid nutbags hounding the stars. Fair enough. Once seated, the director and whichever cast members turned up will usually take to the stage to introduce the film and smile. Then the movie will crack on and you can forget that you're sitting in a cinema with the rich and famous. Well, we are good at forgetting but there always a couple of nutbags who spend the whole session staring at the back of Brad Pitt's head in the hopes that he'll turn around and ask them to dinner. Hmmm. These are the same 'girls' who call out "I love you Zac" in the middle of the director's speech. Nice. I would love to say that they are teenagers but alas, they tend to be grownups. Still, they are very entertaining in their mini skirts and fake tans. Oh dear, I'm sounding a tad nasty. I don't mean to be harsh towards other females but I've never understood the whole groupy thing. The other 'irritant' at screenings are the financial backers and corporate sponsors. They swan over to their special seats seconds before the film is about to begin (making everyone wait) and give each other multiple smooches whilst making damn sure the whole theatre has seen their sequins. Yawn. At this stage we begin to feel very sorry for the actors/directors/producers for having to spend any time with these people just to get the money to make their project. It's a dirty world, the entertainment industry! But enough of that, back to the reason we bother with it all.
What movies did we see?
We started the week off with the best film by far. It was a very tough call for the other films to impress after seeing "The Master". Paul Thomas Anderson ("There Will Be Blood", "Punch Drunk Love") wrote and directed this incredible film which explores the notions of cult in a post-war America. Joaquin Phoenix gives one of the finest performances I've ever seen, closely followed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. Frankly, I'm struggling to find a single negative thing to say about this film. Joaquin and Amy were in the audience with the director (and us!) but the screening started soooo late that we didn't hear from any of them. Hey ho, it was enough to be amongst the first to see this incredible film.
And that Amy, she is just so fabulous...

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On the following day, we took our visitors to see "Cloud Atlas". Brought to us from the makers of "The Matrix" and based on the famous book, of which I had never heard. I live under a rock so that's to be expected. An incredibly ambitious film, and I applaud the Wachowskis for having a crack at such a difficult story. The decision to give the actors multiple roles was a great one, but none of the directors seem to be of the calibre to make that work. Instead of pushing their cast into new territory, they relied upon awful makeup and prosthetics to do the work for them. A shame, as I'm sure this incredible cast is capable of so much more. The standout performance for me was from Jim Broadbent, who is always capable of delivering character performances with more depth and nuance. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry left me a littled flat, they were just doing what they always do. Susan Sarandon (whom I love) was forgettable and Hugh Grant was funny (even when he wasn't meant to be). Many people love this film, and whilst it was entertaining and gave glimpses of a great movie, I find that it is becoming more and more forgettable as days go by.
Still, look how cool Susan looked at the screening...

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Our next flick was "A Late Quartet". Frankly, the only reason I wanted to see this is for my love all things Phillip Seymour Hoffman (remember we went to the states to see him onstage). The story of a string quartet reaching the end of their union. This could have been a lot more interesting, but it was too didactic (director Yaron Zilberman has a history in documentary) and the characters trod a predictable path with little true exploration of their emotions. The exception was Christopher Walken, who gave a fabulous performance as an aging cellist. Both Phillip and Catherine Keener did what they could with the script they had. Hmmm.
But I still love her to bits...

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Film four was Billy Bob Thornton's "Jayne Mansfield's Car". I love Billy Bob. He's the right kind of quirky (often truly odd) and his writing reflects that. What could have been a fairly simple family drama was packed with interesting character traits and beautiful performances. Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, John Hurt and Billy Bob were all incredible. I really loved this funny little film, it's so great that people still strive to bring simple stories to the screen. Possibly if Billy Bob had written "A Late Quartet" I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
He is one of the few actors around who can write, direct and star with such grace.
Katherine LaNasa was a very pleasant surprise, straddling her character role and giving it so much more depth than many actresses could manage...

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Last night we saw "The Paperboy". Once you get past the hilarity of the girly Zac Efron attention from the crowd, it's a very good film. The director, Lee Daniels, brought us "Precious" a few years back and he didn't let us down with this one. Nicole Kidman was actually very good (I haven't thought that for a while) and all of the cast took huge risks. It definitely paid off. John Cusack and Matthew McConaughey were twisted and fabulous, and little Zac was very good indeed. But there weren't any girly stars at the screening so I haven't linked any shots for you. If you want to google Zac Efron and drool, be my guest.
So, after spending multiple hours in lines to get the best seat, eating too much Subway in said lines and getting nowhere near enough sleep, it's time to bid farewell to TIFF for another year. I'm off for a much-needed pedicure today, and am planning an early night. We have more shows this week (of the comedy and music variety) as this city just keeps on delivering.
Thanks Toronto, even if you keep me awake as much as my newborn ever did...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MIA Much?

Firstly, I'll apologise for the colour of this font. Blogger isn't letting me change it today and I would rather post it and correct later than give up altogether. Sorry!
It would appear that I have completely fallen off the blogging wagon and landed in a ditch somewhere.
I've also fallen off some other wagons; exercise, healthy eating, contact with friends and family, working and parenting - to name but a few more. 
I put that down to the following; summer holidays, visitors from Down Under, a change in my hormone medication (yippee!), some very hot weather, the Toronto International Film Festival, the commencement of a new school year and general laziness and exhaustion.
'Nuff said.
Whilst we are still in the midst of many of the above whirlwinds, I have found a quiet pocket (waiting for the electrician) to re-aquaint myself with the blog. Hello blog. Miss me?
Today is just a little post in the hopes that starting small will lead me back to the path. And I've wanted to share our latest group Pinterest board from the Pin-Ups gang.
We picked "crafting with kids" to focus on for September and the girls have come up with some really cool stuff. There are over 120 ideas to keep your kiddies occupied, from varying age groups and for varying weather conditions. Awesome, yes?! 
My next challenge is to attempt to actually do some of them with poor, neglected Poppet. The Totoro we made together is possibly the last crafty thing we've done. At least I read with/to her every single day.
One of my favourite ideas from the new board is this one from Shona at Funky Fabrix. Very simple and endless possibilities. I like that.

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Shona sells some incredible fabric, including gorgeous vintage stuff. You can check out her wares over here and here. We've become great friends via Facebook and have bonded over our love of fabric and craft, and all things snow and ice. There are some exciting things in the works for Shona too, particularly for Brisbanites. Check out her fabric, you won't regret it!
As for me? That's about all the computer/techy time my PMS is allowing this morning. I can feel my hackles rising after pulling together so many links. But at least I made the effort! We're off to the CN Tower tonight for a meal and a gorgeous revolving view of our favourite city. I'll do my best to post some shots soon. And I really want to tell you about our week of movies and celeb spotting too. I will, I really will!
Pinky swear.


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