Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Birth Story: Gemma Bird

I haven't read any birth stories since I was pregnant and so when I found this tale, by Gemma Bird of Bleubird Vintage, I didn't realise how much it would make me remember my own recent birth experience, and how touching it is to read another womans experience and recognise your own in it. Having a child really is the most amazing thing I have ever done, and it seems the Gemma Bird feels the same way about her beautiful children. You can read the full story on her blog, but here is a snippet.  

Please note this story and the photographs are directly reblogged from Bleubird Vintage, and remain the property of Bleubird Vintage.

GEMMA BIRD - A BIRTH STORY.

C1
C2
C3

it was time. i was petrified. i remember this cold, shivering feeling take over me. i wasn't ready. i didn't want to do this. in my head i just couldn't do this. but i had to push... i still could not believe that this was all happening. with the next contraction i pushed. i pushed hard and in the middle of the contraction carol got a worried look on her face and told me, quite sternly, that i was not pushing hard enough and that the baby's heartbeat had dropped, a lot, and that i had to get her out on this next push to make sure she would be okay. i panicked, snapped out of my fearful funky haze and with the next contraction pushed as hard as i could. but i couldn't get her out. i could feel her. she was so close. i was scared that something could be wrong with my baby. on the next contraction i pushed with everything i had. it was the longest push ever...

los nacimientos (births)

los nacimientos (births)

we will never have any memory of dying.
we were so patient
about our being,
noting down
numbers, days,
years and months,
hair, and the mouths we kiss,
and that moment of dying
we let pass without a note -
we leave it to others as memory,
or we leave it simply to water,
to water, to air, to time.
nor do we even keep
the memory of being born,
although to come into being was tumultuous and new;
and now you don’t remember a single detail
and haven’t kept even a trace
of your first light.
it’s well known that we are born.
it’s well known that in the room
or in the wood
or in the shelter in the fishermen’s quarter
or in the rustling canefields
there is a quite unusual silence,
a grave and wooden moment as
a woman prepares to give birth.
it’s well known that we were all born.
but if that abrupt translation
from not being to existing, to having hands,
to seeing, to having eyes,
to eating and weeping and overflowing
and loving and loving and suffering and suffering,
of that transition, that quivering
of an electric presence, raising up
one body more, like a living cup,
and of that woman left empty,
the mother who is left there in her blood
and her lacerated fullness,
and its end and its beginning, and disorder
tumbling the pulse, the floor, the covers
till everything comes together and adds
one knot more to the thread of life,
nothing, nothing remains in your memory
of the savage sea which summoned up a wave
and plucked a shrouded apple from the tree.
the only thing you remember is your life.

-pablo neruda

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Cute Baby Sneezing Animated Gif



I made a little gif of my son Hunter smiling on QuadCamera - but he totally photobombed the shoot as mid way through he starts to sneeze! Hilarious face, and then he laughs which melts my heart. Click on the picture to see the animated gif in all its glory. Too cute.

Sniffles and Smiles,
Sandi D


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Cool Art For Kids Bedrooms: Animals

Fox Confessor

by Lindsey Carr


Parenting Quotes: John Waters

“No matter how hard you rebel against your parents, you always end up being exactly like them. There can be millions of surface differences on how you live your life, but underneath it all, you will always share their basic beliefs. You can become a drug addict, a necrophiliac, or president of the United States, but if your parents taught you it was slothful not to make your bed, you’d end up making it faithfully every day or neurotically sleeping in a bunch of rags just to prove how wrong they really were.”-John Waters

Friday, 25 November 2011

Indie Game: The Movie


Indie Game: The Movie is a feature documentary made by a friend-of-a-friend of mine (word up T-Bone!!) about the creative people and the creative process they undertake to develop and release independent video games.



The film's premise is that of following a couple of quirky indie game developers as they create and release their games to the world, but its more than that: it’s about the emotional journey these characters go on over the years as they nurture their creations from sketch to playability- and then wait with baited breath as they release their creation into the world.

The website www.indiegamethemovie.com has this to say about the film:

The film tells the emotional story of a two-man team, Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, as they craft and release their first major game for XBLA, "Super Meat Boy". It follows Phil Fish, the creator of the highly- anticipated game, "FEZ", as he shows it for the first time in 4 years at PAX East. And, the film tells behind-the-scenes story an independent designer, Jonathan Blow, who made one of highest-rated video games of all-time, "Braid".
Join me in asking your local independent theatre to screen this doco here- and ask your friends to shout about it too.

Threadless $10 Baby and Kids T-Shirts



Threadless is a not just a place to buy cute t-shirts for mums, dads and babies. It's a virtual community, made of artists who submit t-shirt designs online; and members who vote for the t-shirts designs. Based on outcomes of the vote designs are selected for printing and sold through the Threadless online store. The artist gets paid for their work, the parents save a bit of cash, the kids get dressed in something creative and unique: it's a win-win-win situation.



Although the t-shirts and onesies are usually pretty affordable (about $18), every now and then they host a sale where all the designs are $10 each- and that time is now- from 24th of November untill the 28th, 2011. They also have $6 shipping if you spend $75 or more, so if you're looking for a place to get cute t-shirts for your little man or lady (or if you have kids to buy for) now is the time to stock up.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Cool Art For Kids Rooms

The search for 'cool pictures' to put on Hunter's bedroom wall got infinitely easier when I stopped looking in kids stores and poster shops for that perfect image. However it also got infinitely harder too- there are so many talented artists and illustrators out there. 

Here are just a few of the pictures that caught my eye- a selection of Hero and Villian themed images. You better be believing me when I say there are many more posts on the topic of cool art for kids rooms to come...

Heroes and Villains

by Jack Teagle


Starwars with unicorns (black)

by Jonah Block


Doctor Hoo - Vector Version

by Pupukachoo


B is for Batman

by Jack Teagle


Voltron Dans Les Coquelicots

by Hillary White


Star Wars alphabet

by Fabian Gonzalez


ABC Superheroes

by Fabian Gonzalez




Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Cats and Babies

Cats and babies- as perfect a mix as peanuts and chewing gum. 

One does hear horror stories. "Cat hates the baby, clawed its face right off. Cat is jealous, decided to spray the cot. Cat just wanted to get warm so slept on babies head" etc...

I was lucky in that my two cats have been pretty much trained since the day we got them- they came housebroken, and have since learnt to obey simple commands such as sit, stay, outside and up- just like a dog. I'm not joking. I'm serious. I've trained my two cats. However, this post isn't about training kitties, but rather on how I got my two 'trainer babies' to accept the real baby. First, let me introduce you to two of the sweetest little fur-burgers.


Turpentine is a ginger tabby girl cat.


Omen is a chocolate and black boy cat.

They are our Love Cats.

Want to know more?


Inspirational People Hide In Plain View









I'm Feeling: Emo

Sometimes silly little sentimental things leave me sobbing like a baby. This video, entitled 'To a child, love is spelled T-I-M-E' had me mopping up tears with Hunters bib (YouTube won't let me embed the video on my site, so you'll have to follow the link).

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Five Ways Gen-X Ruined The World For Gen-Y

This is a very interesting article from cracked.com by a Gen-Xer who wishes to apologise to Gen-Y's for his sins, which also happens to have "parenting" related cross overs.

At this moment, a whole lot of people, most of them 15 to 20 years younger than me, are protesting in every major city. What are they angry about? A lot of things, some of which are partially my fault.
See, I'm a part of Generation X, the post-Baby Boom era kids who grew up on a mental diet of Beavis and Butthead and Alice in Chains. We wrote poems about how angry we were at our fathers, wore goatees like weapons and made panties burst into flames by playing Pearl Jam's Black on our acoustic guitars. We were a bridge from the Baby Boomers to all you guys who are in high school and college now. And I'm pretty sure we fucked up that handoff pretty badly.
This is not a sarcastic apology, I'm not a big enough dick to write all of this as a backhanded insult about how lazy and entitled you are. Because you're not.
I'm honestly apologizing for ...




Monday, 21 November 2011

Childhood Quotes: Liv Tyler



Liv Tyler as a child
"Sure, my childhood was unusual. All these eccentric, wild people frequented our home: rock stars, drag queens, models, bikers, freaks. But I was not this little rich girl. My mom and I lived in an apartment."
-Liv Tyler 

Parenting Quotes: Patti Smith


“For life is the best thing we have in this existence. And if we should desire to believe in something, it should be a beacon within. This beacon being the sun, sea, and sky, our children, our work, our companions and, most simply put, the embodiment of love.”
― Patti Smith

Punk Parents


True story: last summer, dozens of Houston's punk rock and post-punk cognoscenti gathered in a single room to eat pizza, drink Diet Coke and listen to animated forest animals crank out Happy Birthday tunes from a mechanized stage. Skeeballs dropped into concentric circles and fluff hammers pounded on fluff gophers over the buzzing backdrop of screeching kids, a P.A. rattling off food orders and flashing red lights. Persons who at other times might be seen sporting green hair and ripped shirts iconic of their end-of-the-cultural-line punk status accorded just enough thought to the future to trade diapering tips and discuss the relative merits of breast feeding, or the advantages of natural childbirth, or the best bets for finding a baby sitter on gig nights.
This was never supposed to happen.
Punk -- at least in the eyes of its progenitors -- was the ugly, lost generation, signaling the evolutionary train's last stop.

Punks were supposed to die, young and wasted. Johnny Rotten sang "no future for you," and
a generation punched a safety-pin through its
collective nose, thumbing it all the while. Punks were not supposed to breed.
But there they were, all the punks, dropping cash at Chuck E. Cheese, escorting their young offspring as they celebrated the birthday of a peer. There they were: authority figures with "Question Authority" bumper stickers; role-playing role models; slacker disciplinarians. Tattoos, nose rings, strollers and pacifiers. The punks were having babies.
Punk rock parents. It's a hell of a phrase -- the alliteration, the inherent ideological conflict. You can see the picture in your head: the leather-clad, walking pincushion of a mom or dad, sneering into the lens with apocalyptic bravado, cradling the innocent infant who little knows it has been born to adults perpetuating an attitude of teen defiance.
Still -- with sex being what it is -- is it so surprising that punks, like everyone else, should find themselves approaching middle age with babes perched and mewling on their knees? Maybe it's one of those cultural phenomena -- like Urkel or Kate Moss -- that doesn't mean anything at all. It just looks weird.

There are, of course, celebrity punk parent models -- from Hole's Courtney Love and her oft-questioned mothering skills to the cutie-pie incongruity of fortysomething Sonic Youth couple Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon and their two-year-old daughter Coco. But as examples, they tell you more about the public's self-held prerogative to judge private lives from a safe distance than about anything of real substance.

Go instead and talk to the parents who paraded through Chuck E. Cheese for the next generation's birthday party, mopping up the sugary spills of their offspring, and you'll find out quickly enough that unlike their celebrity contemporaries, marginalized by fame, street-level punk rock parents aren't -- horror of horrors -- really all that different from the garden-variety mom and pop.

Some are married. Some are divorced. Some are single. They work, like everyone, for varying rewards, and like everyone else, they do their best to make ends meet with what they've got. Like everyone, the manner in which they make their living spills over into their private lives as parents. They make what they dutifully call mistakes, they sometimes cling to bad habits. Like a perfect little cross-section of the populace at large, they hold diverse opinions on issues from welfare reform to drug use, and they worry about street crime and television violence and educational decline, just like their buttoned-down counterparts in the non-punk world.

Punk rock parents juggle a daytime of domestic science with an after-hours world of smoky clubs and beer-soaked stages and rock and roll all night long. They live two lives, offering sober guidance by day, venting adolescent kicks by night. Some try to keep the two worlds more or less segregated: they don't go around piercing their kids' tongues or blowing pot smoke into their sons' and daughters' fresh little faces. Others revel in the child-rearing options of the "alternative lifestyle."

Of course, there have always been show-biz kids, and they've always faced lives a little different from those of their peers, whether that difference came from being born in the trunk of vaudeville performers or hitting the cafe circuit with jazz elders. But punk rock parents stand out even in this company. Punks, almost by definition, maintain a tenuous relationship with traditional norms of responsibility, and for punk parents, it's likely to be a relationship in the throes of dramatic change. The theory behind punk has never suggested a particularly clear ideological path toward maturity. If punk has taught them anything, it's to always stay true to themselves, warts and all. Now, parenting is teaching them that "No Future" is just a phrase.

Punk rock parents, like the Cosmo girl, want it all, and what follows are slices of four lives cobbled together, like punk fashion, out of bits and scraps, connected with safety pins and electrical tape. Four tales of parents weaned on punk rock's demanding selfishness -- Look at me! Look at me! Look at me! -- adapting, in whatever way they know best, to responsibility for a young'un with a better claim to the available attention. Combined, they tell one story about how having a child changes you, and also about how it gives you a reason to fight to stay the same...
-Brad Tyer

Reblogged from Houston Press. Read the rest of the article here.


Grow Your Own Vegies

Growing your own vegie garden is one way to save money on your weekly grocery shop. It's a really great feeling of satisfaction to eat something you have grown with your own hands. You can buy your seedlings at extreme prices from Bunnings- but why bother when starting your own vegie garden for free is a simple task of collecting seeds as this seasons crops die, and waiting for the right time of the year to plant them again.


Thanks to Gardenate I finally got a corriander plant to thrive. I had been buying seedlings again and again but they always seemed to die as soon as I put them in the ground. Gardenate showed me that in sub-tropical areas like Brisbane, Coriander needs to be planted in cooler temperatures.

Coriander is dying in the Brisbane heat right now- but it's the perfect time collect the seeds. If you want to start your own garden, now is the time to raid the herb gardens of your friends and family for the lovely seed clusters that form a few weeks after the white/pink flowers start blooming. 

Coriander seeds from my garden- so pretty it makes me want to get my watercolours out and paint them....

Pop the dried seeds and stems in a brown paper bag and forget about them until they dry out- the drying out should only take about 3-4 weeks. If you live in Brisbane, planting time for your hand picked seeds is next year, in April/May as Coriander grows best during the cooler weather of autumn, winter and early spring- mark that shit up on your calendar for real.

Another great reason to harvest the seed is for cooking- freshly harvested coriander seeds are an instant party in your mouth. Check out this post by Thyme For Food on the flavour experience of eating your own home grown coriander seeds. If you intend to eat your own seeds, the process of shaking the seeds off the stems is a bit laborious but well worth it.

"The seeds I harvested compared to the seeds I bought were worlds apart.  The harvested seeds are complex... After you taste the cilantro, then the coriander, your nose and mouth are finally filled with a pleasant aroma of fresh lemon peel without the bitterness.  The results amazed me, the taste being so different."
-Thyme For Food
Last night I used my own coriander seeds to make Chicken with Grilled Capsicum and Mango Salsa. It was possibly the most orgasmic meal I have ever had the pleasure of eating- better even than eating at the International House of Pancakes (but I do like that the IHOP website has a fun 101 Ways To Have A Good Day feature).


I used this recipe from Taste.com.au, but tailored it to suit what ingredients I had on hand. The chicken was baked with a Tandoori Rub, the grilled Yellow Capsicum was served with just a grinding of Maldon Salt, and the Mango Cucumber and Lime Juice Salsa was sensational with the last of the coriander leaves, some fresh mint and a light grinding of my own Coriander Seeds. I don't care if you were floating on moon clouds with Iggy Pop while Tom Waits serenaded you with all his food themed songs (Night Hawks At The Dinner, Eggs and Sausage, Ice Cream Man, Coffee and Cigarettes, Chocolate Jesus etc) last night, you better believe me when I say you missed out by not eating dinner at my place.

Nothing beats vegies and herbs fresh from the garden!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Muppets + OPI = Winning!


Brightly coloured nails are so much fun! As you can see, I adore OPI nail lacquer, they have so many adorably named colours to chose from and seem to last longer than most normal polishes. I also feel that there is something uplifting about having cheerful nails which goes beyond the fifteen minutes of not being able to do anything while you paint and dry the polish. I mean, a quarter of an hour to just sit and daydream is pretty special, but coming away from that time with the added benefit of fun nails is really #WINNING.



I especially love how OPI does movie mash ups. I loved 'Mermaid Tears' (lightest sea green) and 'Planks Alot' (Lilac) from the Pirates of the Caribbean mash up, and now OPI have teamed up with Disney to bring us The Muppets range I can't stop dreaming about trying on 'The Rainbow Connection' (Multi-coloured glitter).




For those of you that want to surround yourself in Muppet love, check out these sweet Muppet renditions of classic fairytales by David Peterson.







Kermit the Frog and Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie performing Life's A Happy Song - the opening song from The Muppets!

Still can't get enough? Try making your own Muppet- FAO Schwarz has a WhatNot Workshop!!,



Words of Wisdom From Comic Books

There is a type of mythological prowess that I associate with characters in comic books. Fiddlers Green/Gilbert in the Kindly Ones, the Siamese in A Dream Of A Thousand Cats, Nny in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Harley Quinn in Batman, Wallace in Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, Jet in Tank Girl. At some point in time words these illustrated friends whispered to me have stuck. A line, a phrase, a comment- from the perils of their printed lives I bring you Words of Wisdom From Comic Books.
As a teen I loved the film of The Crow, it was by way of this film that I discovered graphic novels and a whole lotta great bands. The tale of Eric and Shelley Draven, as told by James O'Barr was so personal and intimate that it won me over to the comic book in a way that Archie and Jughead never seemed able to.


The format of the stories with intricate drawn images, handwritten text, insightful prose and wild ideas was so delicious it felt like magic. That sparkly sensory immersion got deeper when I played the movie soundtrack- through which I fell in love with bands like the Cure, and Nine Inch Nails. It was via movie soundtracks that I started listening to the music behind films and seeking out great bands that way. I started going to concerts and in the 13 years since then I have seen many of the bands on those soundtracks. I've been known to sell belongings and go without groceries in order to afford tickets to certain shows. This magic music hunt has been a really important part of my life- an enduring want to see every one of my favourite bands live. 
 
Like a really great drum beat draws the listener into a song, the ideas behind the stories - big concepts dealt with in black ink- are what elevates great graphic novels above lesser literary fare. One of the 'big themes' dealt with in The Crow was the punishment or reward that actions bring and how sometimes the initial act doesn’t match up to the result- a wedding day ending in a murder, a little girls wish for a normal childhood being granted by way of a resurrected crow-man et-al. You don’t always get what you want, but so long as you beleive in magic there is always a chance you'll get to make the wrong things right. Bad things happen to good people, but it can’t rain all the time.
"People once believed, that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens, that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes the crow could bring that soul back to put the wrong things right." 
For my first quote in my Words of Wisdom From Comic Books series I've picked a line said by Eric Draven* in the film- in the comic characters have different names and the story is slightly different. Eric, brought back from the dead to avenge his murder and that of his love, takes a moment to heal Darla (a mother) of her morphine addiction and remind her of her parental responsibilities. He states "Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children".  
It’s a great scene, but the real reason it stuck with me is because a family friend overheard the quote, and proceeded to lecture me about the profane content of the film. He advised me that I was committing blasphemy to allow such words to be said, and much debate about the quote, the film, and my ability to be a decent human being in spite of my sinful ways ensued. At the time I defended the quote on the basis that:
  • I was really into the film and didn’t want to hear anyone badmouth it- especially a scene where the main character uses his powers for good (as in curing an addict), 
  • I might have done some mildly naughty things in my life but I didn’t believe I deserved to go to hell for them,
  • I might be the only one, but I really want to beleive in magic and eternal love,  and
  • I felt that the intention of the quote was not to imply that there is no God, or that humans can be as powerful as God. Rather I interpreted the quote as being used like a homily- drawing parallels between the concept of God as the ultimate role model, and the power parents have over their child's lives as immediate and constant role models.


In other words, children learn many social skills through emulation and imitation, and accordingly parents should act in the best way to help guide their child into a positive future. As far as I can see, a child is born without any knowledge of the concept of God, that this understanding is gained through study, song, stories and debate. As such, even children who never read a bible learn about how to get along in the world. In this instance Darla's addiction was standing in the way of her ability to be that good role model and Eric acted to make Darla re-prioritise .

Now that I'm a mum I'm starting to think about this quote more and more. Hunter relies on me to sustain his life. He knows no religion, no rules- not yet at least. What he knows is hunger and satiation, tiredness and rest, learning and play: all of these needs are catered to with the nurture and protection my parenting, and that of my husband, provides.

But what about those times when my needs and wants clash with the needs of my baby? When money I'm saving for his future is at odds with the money I want to spend on myself? When he needs care but part of me would prefer to see a band? After all that’s why Darla was hanging out with the drug pushers in the first place, right? In the pull between what she'd like and what her daughter needed, her addiction had been coming first. For Darla's daughter, God was very much absent. For me, the push and pull of music and parenthood was always going to be a spot for worry. I mean, I really love music and have gone to extremes in the past to experience it- how can I reconcile this with the responsibilities of parenthood? How will I cope constantly missing out on the real fun?

"A building gets torched. All that is left is ashes. I used to think that it is true about everything - family, friends, feelings - but now I know that sometimes if love proves real, and two people are meant to be together, nothing can keep them apart."

What I didn’t realise as a teenager first watching this film was that the drug-free Darla left that seedy hotel room a winner in many ways- clean of addiction she can now focus on how amazingly uplifting it is to care for a child. But it isn't as flat and boring as that, because babies are actually heaps of fun. I thought seeing bands create music was modern magic, and yet it's just smoke and mirrors compared to the real magic that happens when your own child stares into your eyes, smiling. It turns out parenting isn't so much about "constant boring responsibility and missing out on cool stuff" as it is about discovering real magic- from a growing belly in which you can feel a tumble of arms and legs, to the power and majesty of birth, to the feeling of infinite love upon meeting your little one for the first time, to the constant awe and joy of seeing your little one grow and develop. The awe that Darla sought in her morphine haze, and the spine chilling moments I found in music: These things are nought compared to the real magic of being God a mother.


I want to be a good role model more than I want to get out and party. When I do party, I don't feel it like I used to. The fun I had at clubs and pubs is nothing compared to the delight of chillin' with my little man. The bitterness I tasted about missing out on bands I want to see (like The Flaming Lips, Death In Vegas and Portishead at this weekends Harvest Festival) has turned sweet as I've discovered a magic trick, a way to have everything I want. I will spend my night dancing with my son to the CD's that made me love the bands in the first place. My Harvest Festival will be undertaken in air conditioned comfort, the music mixed perfectly, no queues, no drunken louts, no smoke machines. Just real magic and eternal love- love of the tunes as I dance in the living room, love for my baby as he giggles at being spun around in a dance twirl, love for my husband burning in my chest as he joins my son and I and moshes on the rug. Modern magic.


Here he is dancing like no one is watching...


Maybe when Hunter grows up he'll turn to God or drugs for reassurance that world ain't so bad a place, but I think he'll have learnt by then that you can also find magic and solace in music and comic books.



*This is actually a famous quote by William Makepeace Thackeray. Thackeray was an Indian born English novelist- perhaps you have read Vanity Fair? It's number 19 on the Guardian's Top 100 Works of Fiction Of All Time if you're into classics.  At one stage Thackeray was considered as fine a writer as Dickens and Wordsworth- both of whom town planners payed homage to in this section of the map of Norman Park, my old neighbourhood.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I Am The 4,584,276,804th Person On This Planet


Dear Danica Camancho,

Welcome newest member of our race. You might have heard that you have been declared by the UN to be the 7 billionth member of our esteemed gang- that is a pretty big number for such a little person! I remember when the UN declared me the 4,584,276,804th member of our population- sure it's not a nice round figure, but it was a pretty special day for my folks at least. Sometimes I find it hard to remember what number I was, so I keep referring back to this handy tool which calculates what number member of the population you are- but you'll probably never have difficulty remembering what number you are...



That's a pretty epic cake they made you- looks like more than enough slices to go round. Speaking of enough to go around, have you heard all the debate about our rapid population growth? Hope you're not claustrophobic as it appears that we are going to get more and more cramped as the days wear on- in fact, another 600 kids have been born in the time it has taken you to read this. But never fear, we're all in this together, so we'll figure out how to make room for us- it'll be just like Christmas time when we somehow manage to sit 14 people around a table made for six.

Anyways, welcome to the madhouse.

Yours sincerely,
Sandi D

Arthur Recreates Scenes From Classic Films


Have you ever felt like your life was someone else's feature film? Did watching The Truman Show make you check all air-conditioning vents and recessed lighting for hidden cameras? As a child did you think your cat was a robot who's eyes filmed you for the viewing pleasure of millions, thus rendering your protests that you honestly-seriously didn't pick your nose a complete joke to your peers, who knew you honestly-seriously did by way of watching you do it every night on their TV sets?



Arthur Cleaver is probably definitely going to feel that way when he grows up. You see, his mamma sets him up in these adorable recreations of famous films- you can see them all over at Arthur Recreates Scenes From Famous Movies.

Paranoia and Delusions,
Sandi D

Monday, 14 November 2011

How to use Instagram and Ink361 to find other cool parents

In my welcome post I wrote about how I turned to the web to find other mothers like me- a little bit left of centre, a little bit alternative, a little bit crazy. I should have just browsed the News and Popular sections of Instagram until I found them. Never mind, I've done it now, and as a result every time I check my feed I get to admire new photographic uploads by cool mums from all over this amazing planet! I've also discovered some great blogs and Tumblr accounts by the same people, which is further proof that images say what a million words can only ever hope.


Have you noticed that more and more of your iPhone friends are using Instagram too? You know, those extraordinary photos popping up all over your Twitter or Facebook stream with the caption (your friends name)'s photo on instagr.am? And I do mean photos- they couldn't possibly have been taken with a mobile phone camera, right?


It really is a tops app. You take a photo with your iPhone (yep, with your iPhone, not a real camera!)- or chose one from your library, apply a filter (or don't- its up to you) and share it with the Instagram community. You can also choose to share your pics on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and Foursquare. It is an iPhone/iPad only app at the moment, but the Instagram team assure us that they are working on a droid version. Here is just a taste of what some of the filters can do:




If you want to really immerse yourself in the Instagram experience, you can follow your friends posts from within the app itself. Go to "Profile" then "Find friends" or "Invite friends." From there you can find or invite friends from your iPhone contacts, Facebook friends or Twitter friends. 

You also can find friends by searching for their name or username; or if you are really tricky you can find strangers with cool pictures by opening the "Popular" tab; or by opening the "News" tab and changing the view from "you" to 'Following' to see who your friends are diggin'. Simply tap a user name to go to their profile and click "Follow" to add them to your stream. Another way is to search hashtags (a hashtag is a word or phrase written in the caption section of the photos. Phrases are written with no spaces between each word, and all hashtags are preceded by a #, i.e.: #ilovehim #milkeyesbabyblogisthebest #cheekylittlemonkey etc). I have found heaps and schneaps of cool mums and dads from all over the world just by clicking through images and hashtags- the same way I hop from cool image to cool image on Tumblr.

You can also comment on pictures, 'like' pictures, add multiple hashtags or tag people in comments by using the @ symbol in front of their user name. It works both ways too- you can have conversations with people, or direct them to your pictures by tagging them, and follow up on the activity by opening the "News" tab and changing the view to "You". If you use Emoji emoticons as part of your text you can add them to your comments and profile too. But my favorite things to do on Instagram are participate in photo challenges and competitions. Basically, by labeling your photo with the hashtag of a competition (for example #curiouscuties) you are in the running to be selected by the competition host. The winner is chosen by popular vote. And you win, well, nothing, but it is fun and can often gain you new followers or be a great way to 'meet' other cool people.

While Instagram is currently only available on the iPhone or iPad, you can view your pics and those of your friends online through Ink361 (formerly Inkstagram). And as if that isn't enough Instagram tips for you, the friendly people over at Photojojo have rounded up ten useful, fun, and amazing new ways to use Instagram.

I know you are thinking "great, another must have iAccessory to keep up with" but Instagram is really special. It takes mere seconds to scroll through a stream of pictures that tell you what your mates are up to, and the pictures all look so good its always a delight. And better yet, you can use the app to connect with inspirational people from all over the world. My user name is consumeconformobey if you want to follow me- I'll add you right back.

Following the white rabbit to Instagram wonderland,
Sandi D

Harajuku Mini- Gwen Stefani for Target


An open letter to Target.

Dear Target,

Please bring the Gwen Stefani designed Harajuku Mini range to Australia as soon as possible. Us Aussies miss out on all the cool swag- sure you keep giving us Stella McCartney, but as you have probably begun to realise by how much of that stock is relegated to the discount table, we don't care about Stella McCartney and her anally retentive style. If we wanted to look bland we would shop at KMart or BigW.

We want smart, funky street fashion for ourselves, and we definitely want it for our kids too. With the low price tags of $3.99- $29.99 I'm sure they would fly off the racks- our dollar is so strong here you probably wouldn't even need to print new price tags, you could just send over the American stock you already have set aside for the Christmas top up.

I doubt I need to point out to you that America is in a massive recession with huge unemployment rates and people occupying town centres across the nation in protest over the unfair distribution of wealth. These things point to what is potentially a dismal year for retail profits, and yet the Harajuku Mini range looks set to sell out in many Target USA stores on its first day, which surely means that people are going without power or food or selling body parts to get the cashola needed to dress their kids in the adorable majesty of this range.

The Australian Government has managed to salvage the Australian economy so we aren't in quite as bad shape as the US, which I also guess means that we Aussies have more money to spend decking ourselves in feel good garb- Global Financial Crisis be damned. Please allow us the opportunity to throw our cash in your direction by stocking this range here- perhaps the ultra creative Ms Stefani would relish the opportunity to design a summer range for us Southern Hemispherians?

Anyways, I look forward to you receiving this letter, and sending me a response that affirms your position as Australia's top low-to-middle-price-range-but-pretty-decent-and-in-fact-often-cool retailer.

Kind regards,
Sandi D

"I’ve always wanted to do a cool children’s fashion line inspired by the super cute and playful kids’ clothing you find in Japan. The whole idea is about being creative, expressing your own individuality, and having fun getting dressed.”
- Gwen Stefani on her Mini Harajuku range for Target

Because I think that gorgeous girls clothes are found simply by opening ones eyes (Seriously! There is a myriad of adorable options for little girls, but basically nothing but basics - and ugly basics at that - for boys #firstworldproblems) and boys need some attention too, here are my top three picks of the boys swag from Ms Stefani's first (but hopefully not last) range for Target.

Toddler Boys Plaid Pant - Red

Infant Boys Mini Biker Jacket

Boys Long Sleeve Tee - Grey

My super rad Instagram friends from the USA assure me that in addition to what is shown on the web there are little accessories too- to cutest socks and belts, bags and hats etc... EBay please dont fail me now...
UPDATE:



Sunday, 13 November 2011

My thoughts exactly...








Movies set in December, but not about Christmas


So you may have noticed that Festivus is upon us…


And to get you in the mood for said Silly Season, here is a list of good (and not-so-good) films set in, but not necessarily about, Christmas:

A Nightmare Before Christmas,
Home Alone,
Gremlins,

Lethal Weapon,
Dumb and Dumber,
The Ice Storm,
Long Kiss Goodnight,
Batman Returns, 

Less Than Zero,
A Muppet Family Christmas,
National Lampoons Christmas Vacation,
Hogfather, 
Ghostbusters 2, 

Futurama: Benders Big Score,
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,
Bad Santa,
Trading Places
Tales From The Crypt, 

The Ref,
I Am Legend,
Mr and Mrs Smith,
Toys, and
Die Hard. 


Coincidentally, if you also have mad love for John McClane, read this post about why Die Hard is the ultimate Christmas story...

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