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Category Archives: Inspired

Things I love from around the web

  1. Ocean Moonrises

    Then last night we went down to the Gold Coast for dinner. Someone had recommended Matsuzaka to us for the Teppanyaki (where the table is around a chef who cooks for you), and I’m recommending it to you. Be sure to request Chef Phil. He is personable and really made the experience enjoyable.

    So enjoyable that I completely over-ate and was miserable well into the night. But it was so delicious. We had chicken and beef and fried rice and scallops, prawns & I tried morton bay bugs for the first time. I’m not a huge seafood fan, but the sauce they put on the bugs was incredible. We nearly licked our plates.

    Another special moment for the night was when we were walking to the restaurant along the shore. The huge orange moon was just coming up and reflecting over the ocean. There have not been many opportunities for this Iowa girl to see such a magnificent sight, and I almost didn’t want to go inside just to savour a few extra moments.

    Posted in Exploring, Inspired.

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  2. I ♥ Askinosie Chocolate

    Askinosie Chocolate
    On Friday we came across a new indulgence, Askinosie Chocolate. The beautiful organic packaging is what drew us in, and we couldn’t resist purchasing one of the 70% dark and one 75% dark chocolate nibble bars with actual roasted cocoa nibs. Their beans are single-source, and the package even has a photo of the farmer on it.

    The packaging led me to their website, where I could enter a number on the package and see the history from beans to bar. I also had a look at their FAQ, and the ethics behind this company make me a real cheerleader. I want them to do well, and I want everyone to support them. They go beyond “fair trade”. They do right by the farmers and share any extra profits. It’s so beautiful. Be sure to go read their story.

    On top of all that, it is REALLY good. Almost badgood. I predict a serious breakout in my future. We stopped eating the one bar long enough for me to take that photo, but I’m sure the other bar won’t last long either.

    Brisbanites can get it at Biome in Paddington for sure, though I haven’t been to the city location and don’t see in on their website.

    Linky Links
    The Askinosie packaging was featured on, which collects all the best in pretty packaging. I’m such a sucker for lovely design, so I plan on visiting this site more often!

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  3. Linky Links

    More expats to peruse:
    * Suzer’s Expat Adventures
    * A Girl Named Supermindy
    * Florida Girl in Sydney

    I’m pretty sure that I got this link from one of the above. A Year of Crockpotting – someone who is using their crockpot to cook every day this year. (Allison & Steve, I think we all need to try some of these recipes and share the good ones!)

    ** Check out the slow cooker options at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  4. Tweet-a-l33t

    Twistori updates with any tweets from Twitter that include the words “I wish”, “I love”, “I hate”, “I believe”, “I feel”, or “I think”. It’s nice and pretty. Plus I just saw the funniest one ever. Someone said “I wish my lawn was emo… so it would cut itself.” Terrible, but hilarious.

    I’m also contemplating the purchase of these Twitter-inspired t-shirts. “That’s what she twittered.” Ha!

    ** Check out The World According to Twitter by David Pogue at Amazon. (Or get it for me!)

    Posted in Inspired.

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  5. Little Joys

    ♥ I found out today that I only have $800 left on my student loan for my one year of private higher education. I’m paying off that lump sum headache tomorrow!

    ♥ I was gifted three pre-loved Bill Bryson books. I already have his full collection. Somewhere. In a box. In the back of a closet. In IOWA. I’m happy to have these on hand for a re-read. (Particularly since there’s no such thing as a bargain book in this country.)

    ♥ I love these posters. Teehee. (via the knack)

    ♥ Though the Australian dollar is extraordinarily high at the moment, I might be learning towards sending my mom (or someone in FLORIDA) to Bed Bath & Beyond to get this butter keeper instead of the expensive handmade ones. Does that make me a bad person?

    ** Get your own cute butter keeper at Amazon.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  6. Linky-Links

    While I’m taking a little break for sanity’s sake, these are some links to remind myself later. (Most are probably from Not Martha, but I’ve got a dozen tabs open and have lost track now.)

    Open Faces Egg Salad & Watercress Sandwich: even though I’m not a super egg-salad fan, this is making my mouth water.

    Favourite Egg Recipes: as I hope to have fresh eggs soon, if Pepper doesn’t turn out to be a rooster.

    ♥ For the girls, Mon.thly: Keep track of when Aunt Irma is due to visit next. (And if you haven’t seen this episode of The IT Crowd, do yourself a favour.)

    (And yes, I’m aware that I’m now spelling in British English. I’m trying to get into the habit so that it makes the transcripts easier. I still have no idea when to use “-ize” or “-ise” though.)

    Pancetta Cups & Hollandaise, at the cutely named Iron Stef. (Can you tell I’m really into food and cooking lately?)

    Gardening in Containers: my sister-in-law has a thriving herb garden in a tub outside. My MIL just started some tomatoes in a bucket, and I’m thinking I need to be getting in on this growing action. I really want to grow chives as they are so hit or miss at the markets lately.

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  7. Linky Links

    ♥ Love, LOVE this Vintage Pillowcase Lunchbox now with tutorial!

    ♥ Oh em gee… homemade butter with bonus buttermilk. That sounds wonderful. I just don’t know how quickly we could use it. Of course, if it is that good, we probably won’t have trouble finding places to spread it. (And my buttermilk waffles are pretty much to die for.)

    Embroidery Transfers… gosh, I’m turning into my grandmother.

    ♥ Gosh I miss NPR. That earlier site linked to The Splendid Table, my old Sunday-drive-home-from-church show. Oh, how I miss you, Fresh Air, This American Life, Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and even you, Car Talk.

    Reversible Wrap-Skirt Pattern PDF: I miss my sewing machine!

    ** Check out books by Lynne Rossetto Kasper at Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Inspired.

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  8. Desktops

    I love my new desktop wallpaper from Kris’s Color Dots. It’s perfect for organizing my little desktop icons that I can’t seem to live without. (Kris’s Color Stripes is well worth a look too.)

    Posted in Inspired.

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  9. Post-Its to Myself

    Sites I’m going to need to find back:
    How About Orange. Nice. My bathroom is accented with orange. My signature flower is orange. I like orange too.
    Doughnut Muffins recipe. I’m not really a super doughnut fan, but muffins make my morning. Somehow I can’t wait to try these.

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  10. Go, Canada!

    In my hometown high school, there was always a bit of a traditional ribbing of Canadians due to the large influx of them every school year. Who knows why my rural Iowa hometown has the college of choice for them? They DO have a hockey team, but until recently they had to practice nearly an hour away for lack of a local indoor rink. While I took classes there with some very lovely Canadians, I’ve never considered myself to be much of a Canada fan.

    Until today, that is, when I found out that several of their cities have a Green Bin Program for organic waste. Everything from food to soiled food papers to plants to kitty litter. Brilliant! Then they turn it into biogas and free compost.

    I had wanted to compost for years but never had until I moved here. Now I don’t understand why more people don’t. Between our recycling bin and the compost, we barely throw anything out. It’s so wonderful, and I love them for making it so easy.

    ** Compost indoors with bokashi bins from Amazon.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  11. Links So I Can Finally Close Firefox without Losing Them All

    Dining Down Under: Australian Recipes
    Craftzine: Bird Quilt – should I ever find the time and patience to take up quilting
    State Bird Patterns of Martha Stewart
    Dacia Ray maker of above quilt and crafter of greatness
    Mizuhiki Heart Knot at Craftzine – for Valentines?
    Zakka Life – maker of hearts and other things
    Decor8 – right up there with Design*Sponge in terms of home lust
    Visualizing the Bible via
    notmartha – I always stumble across notmartha and then forget and then restumble and forget
    Tiny Choices – It’s true. Their posts about water bottles are just feeding my own paranoia.
    Brownie Points Blog – food blog with beautiful photos and great ideas
    Miss Ginsu – more food blogging and other stuff including a homemade bitters recipe. I’m so making that.
    Broccoli Beef Recipe – I used the ingredient search on the other night to find something different to make with the items I had on hand, and it turned out to be really tasty.
    Invent Your Own Casserole – the basic steps to making a casserole
    What on Earth – a catelog I used to get

    These were probably all found via the site one or two above it, so sorry for not giving props if you were the one who led me there.

    ** Get issues of Craft Magazine at Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Inspired.

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  12. Touched by a Child

    I’ve been feeling a bit tenderhearted lately for various reasons, but this is one of those things that has moved me.

    Sunday we watched an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featuring the Byers family of Oregon which apparently aired opposite the Super Bowl (Cheese Fest ’08!) as well. Their little girl Jenessa had fought cancer before, but it had returned. She was such a charming articulate 8-year-old girl, and when they said that the cancer was now in her bones, I was overcome with sadness. I think because whenever I have lost someone to cancer, the bones was always the indicator that the end was near. That show is always tear-jerking, but I sobbed more than once.

    They had mentioned that the little girl made videos and posted them to her website to help other kids with cancer. After the program was over, I naturally went to find it only to learn that she had passed away just this past December 28.

    That family may never know the impact that they have had on people, not just me, but others too. Seeing the love spilled out and their great faith has inspired this household to shine a little brighter.

    What’s more, her nickname was “Boey”, just like the song I wrote about below that has been stuck in my head. So perfectly orchestrated as a reminder.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  13. Come with Me

    Not long ago I was watching a program on ABC2 that finished before the hour, so they played music under a scroll of what was coming up. There was one song that caught my ear, and I knew I had to have the album.

    The group is Idan Raichel Project. Some would call it “world music” (what kind of label is that anyway?), but they prefer to call it Israeli music.

    The song that captured me was called “Mi’Ma’amakim” (Out of the Depths), and it is the first song on their myspace player. It just resolves itself so well. Gorgeous. But it is now the song called “Bo’ee” (Come with Me) that is my favourite. It’s the second song on the music player, and while it starts out a bit slow, the rest is seared into my consciousness. I find myself humming at all hours of the day and night. I blame it on the octaval vocals at the end. (Want to make a brilliant song in my book? Throw in a vocal line an octave lower. Mmm… clinches it.)

    Anyway, check out the documentary videos on their myspace. Maybe you’ll find them inspirational too.

    Sadly they aren’t heading north enough in March.

    ** Check out the Idan Raichel Project store at Amazon.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  14. Pretty Things

    Yesterday, for the first time in a long while, I found a whole bunch of sites on the internet that interested me. I’ve been quite un-entertained by the w-cubed lately, thus the lack of posting perhaps.

    It all started with the discovery of Below the Clouds… a site on which I cannot read a word, but the pictures and hyperlinks have lead me to such amazing finds, such as:
    handpresso: if you ever find me camping (which is highly unlikely), I would most likely be found with one of these beautiful coffee-making devices.

    Retro Joy: hello! A candle holder that looks like the base of a joystick. Does it get any cooler?

    Moss Online: store with many pretty things I’ll never order.

    A Low Impact Woodland Home: so hobbity, so earth-friendly, so how I wish I could be knowing realistically it will never happen.

    Cassette Tape Dispenser: it’s a sticky-tape dispenser shaped like a cassette tape. Love it!

    ♥ I also found Bella Dia today through one of the sites I linked yesterday. Just love those yarn ball flowers.

    ** You can get the Handpresso Portable Espresso Machine at Amazon. (If you love me, you may also get me the Handpresso Wild Outdoor Picnic Set with Deluxe Case… so beautiful!)

    Posted in Creative, Inspired.

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  15. On the Third Day of Christmas [Holidays]…

    Well today things are better… mostly. Yesterday I woke up with a 24-hour flu bug or something, but it wasn’t pretty. I was finally able to sit upright and had some mashed potatoes around 5:00.

    So today the house isn’t immaculate and the motivation to cook a feast is barely there, but I don’t even care anymore. Hubby was starting to feel a little blergy this morning, so I think the goal is just to stay well and not worry about the rest.

    Decorative Ideas
    For next year from Sunset Magazine:
    Decorate with Winter Greens
    Fragrant Fir Snowflakes
    Festive Berries
    Tabletop Floral Trees

    ** You can subscribe to Sunset Magazine at Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Inspired, Nothing in Particular.

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  16. More Christmas Whinging

    It’s the heat. Christmas is not supposed to be hot. “Christmas in July” is a cute little way to rouse up sales in American summer, but seriously think about moving all your Christmas traditions to the hottest time of the year.

    What I have always loved about the holidays is the coziness of it all. Curling up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket watching movies with Dad. Spending all day in the kitchen cooking with Mom and sipping apple cider when there is a break. Watching the snow fall around the street lights, and maybe tossing a handful at a sibling.

    Now I’m trying to figure out how to keep my chocolate from melting. The last thing I want to do is turn on the oven for any reason to contribute to the heat. Even candles add to the sizzle. (But I’m going to be burning my pine-smelling candle anyway.)

    All this to say that I decided if I can’t be IN the cold, at least I can make it LOOK like I am. It started when I found the little stuffed snowman that Chris & Marj gave me during my first Christmas season here when I lived with them.

    Then I saw these:
    ♥ Yarn snowballs… cutest photo foundhere. (She also made the cutest bag out of an old suit jacket, and I’m totally stealing that idea.)
    ♥ Here is a different take on that idea here with yarn ornaments. Not nearly as cute, but I like the idea of hanging them too. (Will have to check out the rest of that Simply Green site for lots of reuse/recycle ideas.)
    ♥ We’ve all made paper snowflakes before, but I’ve never seen any like these. I might have a play with some of my scrapbooking paper this afternoon and try those.

    Without a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby within a gazillion miles (*sigh*), I had to run to the cheapie shop up the street where I did find styrofoam balls and then raided MIL’s yarn stash. The fuzziest white I could find was of the “feather” variety, which is apparently the bane of knitters everywhere. But it worked out sufficiently for this year.

    (Hastily snapped photo this morning.)

    The final display isn’t done. Made a couple non-trad coloured snowballs to match the baubles on the tree, but they may go. Had a long string of giant faux-pearls, but they look more like hailstones. 🙂

    Posted in Crafting, Creative, Inspired.

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  17. Warhol is Here

    We’re trying to come up with a few ideas to get us out of the house over our two-week holiday. One possibility is going to the GOMA for the Warhol exhibition. It just happens that Hans and I went to a Warhol exhibit at the Parthenon five years ago when we both lived in Nashville. However, the one here seems to be more expansive.

    I also really want to go to the Museum of Brisbane to see this exhibit. A good friend of ours produced and directed the piece, and Hans did the graphics. From what I’ve heard, it is an extraordinary albeit uncomfortable story.

    ** Check out the Andy Warhol store at Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Inspired.

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  18. New Obsession

    Last night we got together with some friends for dinner and had such a lovely time. So lovely, in fact, that we looked at the clock with disbelief at about 12:45 and thought we ought to head for home. Good food, great conversation, three baby kitties. And shoes.

    Fiona was telling us about the shoes that she bought recently, and I am now in love with a shoe designer named John. John Fluevog. Do any of you girls know him? Do you not love him too? Oh my gosh.

    I tried on her Lily Darlings (red & pink, size 7.5, from the only distributer in Australia), and melted into a gooey heap on the ground. Oh. My. Goodness. LOVE THEM!

    Lily Darling shoes by John Fluevog

    In some ways, they are almost cartoonish, but I think that’s why I’m so attracted to them. I know Manda will hate them — even though she has a serious need for new shoes. But maybe Brandy or Allison or Erin or Tash can back me up on this new revelation.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  19. Wishes

    If you love all things cute and adorable, you’re probably reading Oh My That’s Awesome! every day anyway, but these little dishes they linked to are so precious. But really, I love everything at that Three Potato Four shop.

    I learned there that I want to be a huge fan of Shinzi Katoh. Seriously. I mean, look at these mugs, this bowl, this tray, this mug & dish, and this bag. I’m in love.

    ** Check out the cute Shinzi Katoh stuff at Amazon.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  20. Beautiful Ad

    If you haven’t seen the video for “Power of Wind“, please go watch. My day is brighter.

    ** Check out the Woodstock Pachelbel Canon Windchime at Amazon.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  21. Linky Links

    Sunset Magazine: I happened upon this one the other day, and I’d like to dive in further. Articles of note:

    Posted in Inspired.

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