of the box,

it's all about sharing and giving - enjoy!

Week commencing Monday, 13th December 2010

This week is a random selection of things I think are pretty cool. Maybe they can provide you with that last bit of Christmas gift inspiration for that final hard to buy for person.

Saturday: I am in love with this gorgeous book

Victoria Alexander has created a beautifully interwoven collection of stories, quotes, reflections and photographs. The message of the book is universal: accept who you are and who you can be, whether you live alone, or whether you are one of many. Throughout the book she reminds us to trust in ourselves, try things on for size, take risks and ask for what we want – after all, we might just get it!

Friday: it is summmer, no matter what this crazy weather keeps on suggesting, and one of the great things about summer is ice blocks. When we were kids my mum made her own healthy versions for us – so when I saw Zoku’s Quick Pop Maker it took me straight back to childhood summers….

But how cool is this – instead of putting the ice blocks in the freezer for hours and hours to freeze, you simply leave the Zoku Quick Pop Maker in the freezer, and when you want feel like an ice block you pour the ingredients in and in less than 10 minutes you have an ice block!

It is American but I have just found it at Peter’s of Kensington, however you should also check out the Zoku website because they have some fabulous recipe suggestions on their blog.

Thursday: attention all champagne lovers and friends of champagne lovers (you were trying to think of a gift for them besides the usual bottle of bubbly – weren’t you?!)

GLASS: Clear About Wine has limited copies of the the first ever guide to buying champagne in Australia – The Champagne Guide 2011 by Tyson Stelzer. Personally autographed of course!

The Guide includes:

  • independent assessments of almost 200 champagnes
  • all the champagne bargains of the year, from just $40
  • a detailed Australian retail directory
  • a name-and-shame list of faulty champagnes on the shelves this year
  • everything you need to know about how to buy, open, serve and store champagne, and
  • more than 180 A4 pages packed with information and hundreds of photographs and bottle shots

You can preview the Guide here.

Wednesday: Just a reminder tickets to the St George Open Air Cinema go on sale tomorrow (16 December) – who wouldn’t want to tickets to see a movie at such an iconic Sydney location! check out the program and get in early!

Tuesday: For all you Mad Men fans out there here is the book apparently inspired the series – Jerry Della Femina’s From those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor.

I’ve just given it to my best friend for her birthday, so I’m hoping it is good as it sounds. The book was originally released in 1971 and has been re -released with a Mad Men inspired cover. It is reported that Della Femina was an adviser on season 1 of Mad Men.

I discovered it here and I love this story:

On Sunday, January 28, 1969, the readers of the New York Times Magazine met, most of them for the first time, a young man who was already a legend in certain circles around midtown Manhattan. “Lolling in a chair was the new creative supervisor of Ted Bates & Co. advertising agency, one Jerry Della Femina, 30 years old, a $50,000-a-year marvel out of Brooklyn, hired to bring a bit of sparkle to the Bates image.” The writer, Charles Sopkin, described a brainstorming session for a new client, a “Japanese electronics company” called Panasonic. It was Della Femina’s first day on the job and he was surrounded by account executives, art directors and copywriters awaiting his direction. Finally he cleared his throat. "I’ve got it! How about this for a headline: ‘From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor.’

The wunderkind’s irreverence caused predictable consternation among his new straight-laced colleagues. There was “stupefied silence” and “one account executive dropped his pipe.” And amongst the readers of the Times no doubt other pipes were dropped as well. With the Japanese attack not yet twenty years old and WWII vets heading many households, the wisecrack must have shocked as many as it amused.

But one way or another, the message was delivered: there was a new kid in town. And that’s just how Jerry Della Femina wanted it.

Out of that Times profile sprung a book with the same title of the proposed ad campaign, which, of course, never ran. From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front Line Dispatches from the Advertising War was published the following year."

I recommend checking out the rest of this article.

Of course Roger Sterling’s Sterling Gold is also now available.

Monday: at a Darlinghust gift store over the weekend I picked up the Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. I think this book is AWESOME and I’m not even the dinosaur fan in the family!

There are huge intricately designed pop-ups on each page, and also 3 to 4 separate pop-ups under informative flaps on each page as well.

When I got home and looked it up I discovered Matthew Reinhart has done a whole range of great pop up books – check them out here.

Week commencing Monday, 8th November 2010

This weeks theme is gifts to self – although of course the ideas below also making lovely gifts for others.

As I wrote in my first ever post, while I love thinking of and giving gifts to others – I’m certainly not a self sacrificing type. I also love giving myself little gifts! J

I think giving yourself little gifts is really important – they can lift your spirits when you are feeling down, spur you on to complete something, reward you for hard work…

Saturday: I freely admit I am a bit of a nerd – so this gift idea may not float everyone’s boat – but anyway here it goes…

As I’ve previously mentioned we moved to Sydney a little over 12 months ago. We moved into an apartment in Surry Hills and during my ‘lady of leisure’ time (ie. before I managed to find a job!) I spent a bit of time exploring the area. I loved walking down the fabulous streets and little lane ways and wanted to learn more about the history of Surry Hills, but every time I went to library the relevant books were out – ok, ‘bit’ of a nerd was probably an understatement.

ANYWAY, today I found quite by accident Chirstopher Keating’s Surry Hills: The City’s Backyard in Gleebooks. So I snapped it up as a gift to self! J

Ok – you might not be that interested in the history of your suburb, but I’m sure you have a ‘nerdy’ friend like me and some day you may need to buy that friend a house warming gift. A history of the suburb they have moved into or even a historical map of Sydney (yes, I also LOVE maps), may just float their boat!

By the way – has anyone else checked out the Grand Designs Australia yet? The second episode is set in Surry Hills – we just went for a little walk by the house this afternoon!

Friday: I am a big fan of quotable cards. I know they have been around for ages (since 1993 to be exact!), but I just really like them. For a couple of years I have just had these two favourite quotes on my fridge, but I recently added to my collection.

Over the last couple of months or so I have been trying some new things in my life. I have been working on finding the ‘creative me’ with the help of Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way. A crucial element of this process is the writing of morning pages every day. While I write my pages I now drink my morning tea in a mug with this quote

I have also been getting into yoga and I am trying to be more mindful in my daily life. To remind me to be more mindful during the day I have placed this card next to my computer. It helps when things are at risk of getting a little out of kilter…

Thursday: A theme within a theme today – champagne related gifts to self! Thanks to a post by Champagne Jayne last week I reacquainted myself with a picture that I coveted for my walls when I was a poor uni student. After seeing it again I quickly tracked it down online.

The other champagne related item I recently bought myself are two hollow stemmed crystal champagne glasses. I got them from a vintage shop on King Street, Newtown.

I think they are beautiful – when you pour the champagne, the hollow stem creates a continuous bubbling affect!

For those of you that like your champagne glass history: these glasses apparently date to the victorian era 1880-1915. The style was banned from public use for sanitary reasons because they were hard to clean and are no longer made.

Wednesday: I feel like a new woman this evening after just getting my hair cut and coloured – always a great present to self!

Tonight I also ‘gifted’ myself membership to the Moonlight Movie Club. Check out the 2010/11 program, which was released today. If you join the club before 31 December 2010, you get 5 tickets for the price of 4! As a member any more tickets you buy only cost $11.

I love nothing better than getting together some friends, a yummy picnic and wine and heading to Centennial Park for a movie under the stars!

Tuesday: So I found out about Books & Nooks a couple of weeks ago on twitter because a couple of people that I am following were going. I checked out the website and thought – A Life in Frocks at The Victoria Room – sounded like a fun way to spend a Sunday so I signed up. The book arrived a couple of days later – all wrapped up beautifully – like a present for me! Looking forward to Sunday, 21 November – I’ll keep you posted…

Monday: My next gift to myself – a winnie the pooh christopher robin quote handmade original print from Raw Letter Press.

I just came across this tonight and I love it!

I’m going to hang up it up in my new ‘creative space’ for inspiration and for those times when I just need a little reminder.

Now I just need to decide what colour….