Clean theme – Wednesday Website Wack

Do you know this man? Read on regardless.

If you thought I had gone missing forever you were completely mistaken.  I was just off thinking and it was one week.  Thinking that I don’t always need a theme for this, it doesn’t always need to be heavy on the words with myriad links, it usually turns out that way once I start typing anyway. The great thing about WWW is I don’t need to follow suit but I can and this week is no different.
Last weekend a friend told me about her silent protest with her domestic cleaner over ‘green’ friendly cleaning products.  She bought all the ‘safe’ items for the cleaner to use and then comes home to the smell of bleach and a bottle of Domestos under the sink, clean house though.  She knows a confrontation is inevitable.  It comes as popular theory that the good shit is also the worst for the environment.  Is that really true and do I care so little about the environment that a little extra elbow grease in the bathroom will kill me more than I care about polluting my otherwise semi-clean beach with nasty ingredients? I doubt it. Even with a trendy camera filter, Windex still looks toxic.

Yesterday, I was flicking between a few thousand digital pages and I discovered the ecoholic.  I am always, always on the hunt for new green worthy websites.  They are a dime a dozen and there are only a small handful that make any sense, are well written and inspire the environmental soul to take some action, in the home and out of the home.  Ecoholic had a link to world renowned green activist, David Suzuki, I felt that this is exactly what was required, cut out the middle man, go straight to the scientific source. DS also has a blog link, which multiple people contribute to and has a good balance of humour and greenie knowledge and activism.  I signed up for his newsletter too as a way to remind me to stay on path when it comes to putting the environment first. I figure that’s the way it has to be, especially for our clean future.
I buy green household items from here.  Here is a make your own household items website for the $$ conscious and environmental consumer.
I researched and wrote this week’s WWW to the mixtape soundtrack by Steph Lund, my all time favourite musicologist.  I can’t beat this April mix, it’s download worthy.
Go forth and click.
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Prince and prints

Great news today.  For anyone digging the Prince return to Oz, turns out that he is being supported by none other than unofficial performing protege, Janelle Monae.  She is a young talent who has exceeded audience expectations with her live performance and she is something to rock up for early.

Did you know that Prince released 6 albums by the time he was 23, including Prince, Controversy & Purple Rain.  His talent blows my mind.  30 years on, he is still touring the world and making records.  Prince appreciation station right here.

Back to the Wednesday Website Wack purpose, to introduce websites of note, Prince has inspired the search for quality prints.

Art is in the eyes of the beholder as ever and most importantly it doesn’t require over intellectualising, it is about the feelings evoked when we are engaged with creativity, whether our own or someone else’s. I go to galleries to engage with texture and originality wherever possible and I buy prints because I find original art pieces completely unaffordable (for the most part).  I buy prints to support artists and causes in line with my means and ultimately to colour my rented walls.  Prints of notable and emerging artists have been dotting the net for sometime but the last few years has seen a real push for online galleries that support artists and offer a percentage of sale proceeds to a charitable organisation of the artist’s choice.  I think this is a perfect synergy and I have purchased many pieces recognising that I my numbered piece is contributing to creativity and a good cause.

Tiny Showcase was my first foray into this style of gallery and they have introduced me to so many great works.  They release one work per week and continue publicity in their gallery until the piece is sold out. I have my very own Jen Corace (which raised over $11K for the Gulf Restoration Network following the BP spill) and Sarajo Frieden pieces, now framed and ready for the nursery wall.

In a very similar vein, Working Proof cojoins the works of artists with charities, creating art that intrinsically holds what they call, ‘social value’.  Both these stores will set you back less than a $50 unless you are after large scale.

So not all the print suppliers are do-gooders and I haven’t found an Australian version of these websites yet, but this post would not be complete without championing the dedication to creativity executed by Abi Crompton at Third Drawer Down.  She has been printing original works on pillowcases, a(rt)prons and tea-towels for almost a decade.  Third Drawer Down is part gallery, museum, newsletter and wholesaler for all things incredible and best of all, it’s located in downtown Fitzroy while anything in store can be shipped anywhere.  I was gifted a David Wlazlo (sold out) artpron that sits above my bed with perfect geometric hang.

Mike Mills designed pillowcases – yep, the film maker.





I wish I was finished and yes, I am close but when I get on a roll with affordable art, I can’t help but keep spruiking.  So, please find below a few more pics with direct links to the incredible art makers, you might notice I have a penchant for collage and colour, Joachim Knill followed by Russian artist, Irina Polin.

Apartment Therapy has a post titled, 10 Affordable Print Shops for First Time Art Buyers, worth checking out their tips but note they don’t leave the USA.

Go forth and click and buy a print.

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My cooking mission

It started with a cup of tea. The No Worries Koala Tea is a great flavoursome herbal tea made up of lemon grass, lemon balm, roasted chicory root and mint. The koala on the packet is surfing, no hands, on a big fluffy wave. So relaxed. Makes me feel like I could productively meditate through a whole day.

It was a bit late in the day to start a cooking mission but I hadn’t checked the time. We had run out of the homemade supply of Granola. Jill Dupleix in her cookbook, Lighten Up, makes a fantastic version of granola that has had us coming back for more time and again. I have a massive bag of oats to get through so I will just keep making it until they are gone. Plus I have a massive soft spot for Jalna Biodynamic yogurt, it’s seriously the best. Together with the granola it’s a match made in heaven. I have been trying to add a bit more raw fruit to the mix before eating too and apples this week are us.

Before I knew it I wasn’t making lunch until nearly 3pm. Shit. I have really got to watch this blaze fasting, I was feeling really dizzy when I finally sat down to my vegie gluten free pasta with fresh corn, broccoli and ricotta. It was pretty good actually, I have leftovers, that’s always handy.

In my search for a lunch dish I realised the Mister had leftover plain rice from a stirfry the night before. I have always wanted to try my hand at rice pudding. The recipes I have always been in search of have asked for cooked rice. Turns out that Stephanie Alexander actually makes it with uncooked rice. I had to use a little bit of creative licence with amounts. Try finding how much rice you will get from 2tbsp of uncooked rice? That information is nowhere on the net. I went with Stephanie’s Jenny’s Rice Pudding. It’s currently in the oven, in a bain marie set up, in 2 separate souffle dishes. It cooks for 45 mins, can hardly wait. I am hanging for the outcome. I pretty much get it all. The Mister is out and he doesn’t eat wobbly food. MINE! Kitchen is a small disaster.

If you want any recipes, comment below.  Otherwise, just come over and eat with me, anytime.

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Glossy Goodness – WednesdayWebsiteWack

I am a sucker for a page turner, especially when it comes in the form of a glossy mag with pretty pictures, fashion to revere and cultural reviews.  Any mag that comes under $10 these days consists of mostly B grade banter of which i can catch up on in any doctor’s surgery.  My feminist tendencies also steer me well clear of the body image centric stapled rubbish.

The internet is once again the saviour in filling the void of that part of my brain that the glossies (now often matte) once nourished. The ever amazing thing about the net, is that it is already like a magazine shop in the way that it caters to the distinct tastes of anyone willing to do a search.  I gravitate towards the broad cultural sources, that’s what magazines mean to me, sections of quality photography with information and hopefully some well resourced and edited cultural journalism that includes some great interviews or opinions.  A cultural magazine should cover all the old faves of music, art, film, literature, events, food and then some….[insert your own preference here].  I note that sometimes the online magazine is a blog, really it’s the same thing but if it’s a blog culture mag it probably didn’t evolve from a physical format, such as Juxtapoz which is actually available online (reduced content) or as a digital version (ipad, see below) or a tangible copy for a little bit extra.
There is a online magazine for every city in the world, I am sure of it.  Flavorpill takes care of most of the big cities in the U.S. and is like the online version of what Time Out magazine used to publish.  Then there are Aussie versions, Broadsheet The Thousands and The Colour whose competition of each other keeps everyone on their toes and off the couch eating out, they are both online but you can also subscribe to their weekly newsletters for a hit of their ‘best of’ from that week. You will not find opinion pieces or long reads here, you will find social pages, gallery launch info and cultural reviews.
Here’s a quick list of my current actual online magazine favourites to get you clicking, follow the links of the pages you like.  Suss out the style of writing that appeals to you or the featured art and follow those contributors/authors to wherever they go, that’s how I discovered most of this list:
The Fox Is Black – where this whole post started really
Lost At E Minor – brothers Zavros are consistently updating this website with new global finds, one bros lives in Austin, TX and the other Newcastle, what a mix.
Rookie Mag – for teenage girls
Faux Magazine – good mixtape and lost and found sections
Flavorwire – the non-localised version of Flavorpill
M-A-G-A-Z-I-N-E-S —– SO GOOD.  Must say I still like a hard copy of Frankie and Another Mag.
Go forth and click.
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Wednesday Website Wack – Focus. Can you?

There’s been talk, so much talk – some might say, “too much talking.”
It’s no secret to anyone that I am a practicing yogi, I try and attend at least one class per week.  I am in an out of schools as often as a kid with a Dad in the Navy but my level of enthusiasm for the flexibility, focus, stamina and stillness that yoga brings into my life never waivers, I am committed to the cause not the teacher or the class.  Each week I afford myself some time to recollect my thoughts, stretch my muscles, sit still and consciously breath.
Almost a decade ago, I took breathing to a whole new level.  I took the meditative principle out of the yoga classroom and into my everyday life.  It’s called meditation. I knew that there was something special in sitting still for a time and focusing on just one thing, whether I could achieve that goal, even for a minute, only practice and time would tell.  I couldn’t do it alone and instead I enrolled in a 10 day intensive Vipassana course.   Vipassana is a technique of self-observation, it’s one way to meditate.  The course provides guided, detailed instruction on how to travel through the conscious mind to the unconscious mind to gain control of our thoughts, our actions and our reactions in the face of any and every situation that arises, it is for EVERYONE.  It took me 10 years of deliberation to enrol and since my initial instruction I have returned once to re-align my meditation practice.
Is this a Wednesday Website Wack? Yes, it is.  This week on Lifehacker they posted A Guide to Meditation for the Rest of Us.  Lifehacker is an all round ‘how to’ kind of website, helping anyone get through life more easily through simple instruction.  Their posts are often technical (especially finding the best apps for Blah) but they also travel to other genres of day to day such as how to be fiscally responsible, reduce your credit card debt, practice creativity or solve your procrastination issues (ironic, especially if you are in the midst of a deadline and check Lifehacker to assist with the distractions).  It’s an extremely valuable resource for the most part and they have a great Guide on Meditation here.
As it states, you will require nothing.  Start with a 2 minute practice.  There will always be a distraction so it doesn’t really matter when/where you start but you need to be non-contactable and comfortable.  Meditation is free medicine for anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation, anger, depression and it is a way to start or continue a self-discovery of who we are and accepting whatever we find, without judgement.
Everyday I intend to meditate – some days I do and some days I forget or get distracted or feel alienated by the daunting process of focusing my attention on this one small thing when I have so many other things to do.  If I remember that meditation is a tool for awareness, above anything else, it often brings me back to the cause which is self-awareness and compassion which ultimately helps me with everyday occurrences such as Road Rage and Judgement on anyone and everyone! If only you knew me before I discovered Yoga.
Go forth and click.

note: this is from a Tiny Newsletter publication, Wednesday Website Wack.  You can sign up here if you want regular updates on what’s right about the internet!

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Wednesday Website Wack – Inferior on Interiors

Less clutter, more colour, minimise, expand, dress up, feature walls, hue, mood boards and feng shui are all common in the interior design vernacular but for me, I find it altogether confusing and consuming.  How many different styles of cushion cover really look good on the one couch? I feel that I am not doing one thing wrong, I feel that I am doing it ALL wrong.

A few weeks back stylist Megan Morton featured as a guest blogger on popular daily Melbourne based website The Design Files, you can see her posts here.  Megan gave such a great summary over 5 days of the things to take into account when making changes to your home that I finally feel empowered to make some decisions, even in my pokey rental, that will make me feel blessed every time I walk into my home.  Her love of all things design, teaching and colour did not finish there, she has also contributed to a new design website, Interiors Insider, which I think is a fresh approach to sharing information relating to home renovation and anything that fits within the Grand Designs banner.  Also this website is Australian based which does matter to locals where stockists and builders are concerned.

Megan quotes Andre3000 as one of her ideal clients. Check that burst of colour.
photo by: Jeff Kravitz

I also have a soft cushioning for Apartment Therapy, just for being the first of its kind and so encyclopaedic for anything home design. I particularly appreciate their posts on storage solutions and decluttering small spaces, let’s face it, none of us have enough room and, probably never will, so taking this advice is perfect.  As with most design websites, the pictures are communicating with our aesthetic nature. A great example of this is Google Images, try the experiment below next time you wanna make a room ignite.

EXPERIMENT: Go to google images here, type any colour idea with a room you intend to spruce to another level and wallah, amazing reference tools to accommodate EVERY preference.

Go forth and click.

If you want more websites to wack, you can sign up for the Wednesday Website Wack newsletter here.  You will be very welcome.

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Kickstart my heart

Once the beginning of a famous rock motto by Motley Crue, “Kickstart my heart” has always been an instant motivator to get my head rolling and methodically air banging. I am 100% sure that was the intended purpose. I can’t say I was a ‘Crue’ member but I can admit freely that I never get sick of the guitar licks, massive Tommy Lee drums and the drama surrounding the group AND all those tatts! This 1989 motto lives on, not just in the rock arena but constantly in my bones whenever I feel I need a boost of energy or ideas. Play it using the link, you’ll see what I mean.

Kickstarter, the online creative fundraising platform is equal to the Crue song in it’s energy and dedication to a cause. It allows any company or individual to pitch any idea and publicly raise funds accordingly. Some ideas are product inventions like a new city bicycle design or a collapsible sunglasses case while the creative projects are a broad mix of collaborations and public art, including documentary films. I first stumbled across Kickstarter via the industrial design website Core77, it seems they have project partners that help to publicise new projects. The idea was a converter for the the ipod nano into a functional wristwatch, it looked schmick and desirable, that’s all I needed really. Most recently though I discovered the Elevation Dock+.

For anyone that has ever used a docking system for their iphone/ipod this invention is set to take Apple mobile products to another level. Read the benefits. The popularity of the funding from pledgers/backers speaks for itself. They raised almost $1.5m from over 12,000 supporters to get the product into production.  There are varying levels of support, the more money you pledge the bigger the benefit when the product or idea goes into production.

Less shiny but more earthy is Kiva, a non-for-profit organisation that similarly garners support for grassroots projects to alleviate poverty and create empowerment and opportunities for people that need a kick start for their business. The major difference here is that the money offered is in the form of a loan. Supporting farming, food stalls, crafts, transportation methods, you can help anyone from anywhere with any business for just $25 and there is a 98% chance of getting the money back. Great odds for a reinvestment.

Both these ideas make me think how a little help can go a massive distance and if you really want something then pay for it and you will not only get it first but you will know that you contributed to a fresh idea that would make your own or someone else’s life better. Even more exciting would be a friend raising funds to support their idea through to fruition using the Kickstarter project page, it really separates the ‘gonnas’ from the ‘doers’.

Go forth and click.

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