I will eventually finish my Road Trip Diaries, but in the meantime there are way too many distractions that I must share! Yes, my train of thought has officially derailed.

[Clicky on photos to enlarge]

So yesterday I found this right?

I've since been thinking about all the fantastic wallpaper I've ever come across, and the first one that came to mind was this.

Beautiful, yes, but not quite as satisfying as being able to pop bubble wrap or write on the walls. And then I remembered this.

These guys also made this.

And this.

Which reminded me of this.

And thus opens a whole new can of worms. Two in fact.

The first is Wall Candy. My walls are bare, just as my landlord likes them. But that's all about to change with the help of one little wishlist and a complete disregard for a "no wall hangings" policy.

The second is Heart Art. A little mini series on artists I love, inspired by a trip to the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane last month, not to mention a large portion of my European adventure being spent in whatever gallery or museum I could find.

Stay tuned.

Calendar Wallpaper: Christiaan Postma via Apartment Therapy
Beautiful Wallpaper: Trove Wallpaper also via Apartment Therapy
Wallpaper Games: Cinq Cinq Designers again, via Apartment Therapy
Tic Tac Toe: Untitled, 2002, Olivier Mosset [The sculpture is Olivier's, the terrible camera phone photos are mine]

Interlude - And Now For Some Real Photos

I need a break from all my terrible camera phone photos. I didn't think it was even possible for my travels look less glamourous than they actually were.

But there's not much that could possibly compare with the work of Carlos Serrao, regardless of the camera.

Holy McLovely. I've never felt so compelled to go stand out in the rain. With a suitcase.

Found via Fubiz™

Interlude - Train of Thought

I found these little guys on Etsy...

Which reminded me of this...

Which made me think of this...

And then lead me to find this...

I don't know which one I'm most excited about. I've been eyeing off the Bubble Calendar for a few months now, patiently waiting for its release. When I first heard about it, the Australian dollar was worth US$0.98. Now, it's worth US$0.62. Not to mention shipping costs to Australia are astronomical. Arg!

The adorable Etsy creations by skunkboycreatures and Moon's Creations are also in my "I Hate The Useless Australian Dollar" basket, and I can't even figure out if Christiaan Postma's Calendar Wallpaper is even for sale, but at the very least, the Sock Monkey Calendar is mine! Until Christmas time at least, when I will share the Sock Monkey love with my friends.

I really should have bought two.

The Road Less Travelled Pt 3

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

--T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
Some roads are a little more travelled than others. I lived in the same house for over 20 years. I had two decades to explore my suburb and surrounds, but familiarity breeds contempt, and I quickly forgot what a beautiful part of the world I grew up in.

Despite my current status as a categorically non-outdoors person, I vaguely recall once enjoying natural light and fresh air. I used to ride my bike everywhere. Initially I was only allowed to ride up and down my tiny little street, but eventually I became more daring, and by the end of my outdoor era, I was exploring all the surrounding areas within a 5km radius, possibly more. All the areas that had a bike track, anyway.

Last weekend, I took my partner on my usual route and showed him all the hidden creek side nooks where I used to rest and contemplate (I was a pensive child). He was not only in awe of the concept of me doing voluntary exercise, but of the beauty of a suburb that is actually incredibly close to what some may loosely term a city.

All this from a girl who made it 20kms out of Sydney, wound down the window and exclaimed "I smell nature!" I think I might even be ready to begin exploring Sydney in earnest.

Interlude - Road Trip Archives

While I'm in road trip mode, I'm momentarily reminiscing on a trip I took a few years ago up the east coast of Australia. I've been prompted to return to this trip by Ez over at Creature Comforts, who asked her readers their favourite day of the year and why it's special to them.

My favourite day is January 4. It's the anniversary of the day I came across the most important question I had ever been asked.

Purely by chance, in a tiny town on the northern New South Wales coast, I stumbled upon a crossroad that I didn't even know I had to have. I truly wish whoever wrote that could know that they changed my life.

So now I have 3 questions for you:

1. What day do you look forward to circling on the calendar, and why?
2. Have you had any groundbreaking epiphanies or monumental lightbulb moments?
3. Are you where you want to be?

The Road Less Travelled Pt 2

After catching up on some much needed sleep following the marathon car drive, it was time to enjoy the luxuries of spare time and sunny days. I am by no means an outdoor person, and I'm definitely not the athletic type, but when the suggestion of a quick bicycle ride to breakfast came up, I had my little bike out before anyone blinked.

We were visiting relatives in an area of town that I'm not at all familiar with, so when I was told the nearest cafes were "just around the corner", I was thinking a 30 minute round trip at the most. It wasn't long before I was completely distracted by the diverse scenery, from lush rainforests to dry native bushland, all with occasional glimpses of the ocean.

One hour later however, we had yet to reach anything even remotely resembling a cafe. In fact, aside from the occasional house, the only other building we had come across was a gorgeous little church.

Luckily nobody was in there, otherwise they would have found out the hard way why my bicycle is named after Gordon Ramsay.

We finally surrendered to technology and searched for directions on my trusty GPS-enabled phone, and it was only another (!) 15 minutes before we had finally reached our breakfast destination. It was now lunch time.

Fortunately for all involved, the lunch was definitely worth the wait and the view was to die for. Pelicans sailed by aimlessly, oblivious to the sheer amount of complaining they had so narrowly avoided.

It wasn't until we were riding back that I realised why one should never trust a man who says something, anything, is "just around the corner". Thinking I was only going to be in the sun for 15 minutes or so, I hadn't put on any sunscreen. Within a few hours, my arms and the backs of my hands were red raw.

Worse still...I had been wearing a sleeved blouse. Oh yes, the infamous sleeve tan. I could almost pass for a real cyclist. Lunch had been good, but not good enough to warrant an embarrassing month-long tan line.

But at the very least, I've learnt two important lessons:

1. Never trust a man's sense of direction or notion of time.
2. Always wear sunscreen.

The Road Less Travelled Pt 1

Last week, with a little help from Erin over at Design For Mankind, I came across the beautiful travel photography of Brad Swonetz. His photography has the amazing ability to transport you in an instant - one moment you're on a desert highway, the next you're in a luscious spa.

His photographs are often in beautifully composed pairs, showing complementary scenes or intricate details. No matter what setting he photographs, you just want to be there, rain, hail or shine.

I spent the next hour daydreaming, thinking of bygone road trips and planning my future adventures. I haven't travelled overseas in years, but I've been fortunate enough to see a fairly decent chunk of Australia, often by car.

I started pondering a short road trip for the weekend, but unbeknownst to me my significant other was hatching his own secret plans. Midweek at 3am, I was woken up, had 20 minutes to pack 5 days worth of clothes (impossible!), loaded into the car and we set off on our way. We took our time on the road, stopping off regularly to soak in the scenery and the morning sunshine, and by midday we had finally arrived at our final secret destination.

In my rush to pack, my trusty camera was left behind, so my poor little camera phone was left in charge. I've thrown a few photos together, taking inspiration from Brad Swonetz (but without his obvious flair).

The sunrise was nothing short of breathtaking. Although my camera phone did a surprisingly good job of capturing the colours, these photos don't even come close to the beauty of the real deal.

Many pit stops later, the sun was high and the temperatures were soaring. We were driving for hours through occasional tiny towns and expanses of farmlands, but occasionally the crops would give way to a wide open field like this one, with bright green grass and one lone tree.

I seem to like trees more when they don't have any leaves. At this time of year however, that generally means they're dead. I'm still holding on to hope for my little frangipani tree though. He is currently named 'Stumpy'. Yes, I name my plants.

But back to the road trip. Despite the hundreds of photos of beautiful scenery, I still quite like these two of miscellaneous roadside machinery. There's something incredibly depressing about the lovely countryside being ripped apart for a bigger, "better" highway, but something strangely appealing about the massive machines they employ. These two beasts were actually bright red, but lil' camera phone doesn't like shooting into the sun.

The secret destination, I hear you say? By no means as exotic or exciting as it sounds, our destination was in fact my home town. I'm not one to get homesick, having lived away from home for years, but it was incredibly comforting and refreshing to be back home around family, old friends and beloved family pets.

I think the fact that I still call it 'home' after so many years away speaks volumes.

More travel diary to follow...

Monday Makeover

I had a nice relaxing weekend planned, with a little bit of reading, a little bit of writing, and a little bit of extreme blog makeover on the cards. That was until I was barreled into a car at 3am and driven off to a secret destination many, many hours away. A lovely weekend away resulted, but the drive back was no less painful...I've had 2 hours of interrupted sleep, a whole lot of sugar and a fair amount of staring blankly into space. What more could you want on a Monday?

The moral of the story, however, is that my marvellous blog makeover is a little behind schedule. The new look is all in place, but there's plenty more prettying up to be done. My extensive blogrolls have still yet to return of their own accord, so I'll slowly rebuild these up to their former glory.

So what do you think of the new look?

[Image Credit] NSFW

Friday Fashionistas

I envy people who can pull of bold, unconventional looks with an air of supreme confidence. Those who don't give a damn what anyone else thinks, because they know they're rocking their own look. A lovely local lady is often cited in this category, and I simply can't go past giving her a much deserved mention...Miss Skye of Skylark and Son fame. She pulls together the most amazing looks, all with adorable (and stylish) child in tow. I can barely get myself sorted of a morning, so I'm in awe of her obvious multitasking skills and keen eye for all things vintage.

Slightly further afield, John Galliano has been rocking the catwalk with some zany headpieces and cotton candy hair, but with a line that is actually quite delicate and feminine. Bold red and black contrasts soon give way to floral prints and pastel silks, and although I have no chance of pulling off any of these looks (headpiece or no headpiece), methinks this is one of Galliano's most wearable collections in quite some time.

Another look that I'd love to get away with comes from the recent Wunderkind Spring 09 collection. I can't even pinpoint what's so appealing about this crazy, eclectic little collection, but perhaps that's why I love it so.

Happy weekend lovelies!

Australian Story

There's something incredibly unforgettable about the photography of Max Dupain. The renowned Australian photographer captured images that are undeniably Australian but with universal appeal; photographs that are simultaneously nostalgic and timeless.

[Left to Right, Top to Bottom] Sunbather 1937, Bondi, 1939,
Beach Cricket 1947, Surf Race Beach Start c1940]

He is particularly well known for his intimate portraits of beach culture in the 1930s and 40s, but for Dupain, these photographs were simply “how I used to spend my weekends, taking pictures for exhibition as a break from commercial work." His most celebrated image, Sunbaker, was taken while on holidays - "The best work is always done on holidays".

[Left to Right, Top to Bottom] Sydney Opera House 1965, 1965, 1967, 1973

During the week however, Dupain was a versatile commercial photographer and an early champion of modernist architecture. One of his most comprehensive projects was his documentation of the entire construction process of the Sydney Opera House, a project he photographed so extensively that his final catalogue of some 1500 photographs was said to have resembled a flick-book depicting the iconic sails rising from the ground.

[Left to Right] Shark Tower, c. 1939 [Architect: Eric W Andrew and Winsome Hall] ,

Staircase, Buhrich I House, 1958 [Architect: Hugh and Eva Buhrich]

[Top to Bottom] Rose House, c. 1951 [Architect: Harry Seidler & Associates] ,
Fredericks Farmhouse, 1983 [Architect: Glenn Murcutt]

Dupain also photographed the work of many preeminent local (or locally based) architects, including a 45 year collaboration with Harry Seidler, and many early projects of Pritzker Prize Laureate, Glenn Murcutt. His architectural photography is sharp, simple and straightforward, with angles and compositions that were considered to be daring and occasionally controversial at the time.

Dupain passed away in 1992, but his legacy lives on in his son Rex, also a photographer. Dupain's work continues to gain wide acclaim, and for better or for worse, plans to immortalise Dupain's "Bondi" photograph on a prominent building on Sydney Harbour eventually fell through some years ago. Although he would have been impressed to see that his strict black and white code had been applied, his photography need not feature on buildings to know that his work has already made a lasting impression on the modern architecture of Australia.

[Credit][Credit][Credit ][Credit]


Wednesday Wisdom

Keep your faith in all beautiful things;
in the sun when it is hidden,
in the Spring when it is gone.

- Roy R. Gilson

[Image Credit]

Moody Balloons

I just couldn't resist.

This first image is from the "Kings & The Queens” is series for “Magazine” created by Switzerland-based collaborators Florence T├ętier and Johan Besse.

And these decidedly surreal moody balloons are the work of Andrea Galvani. Giddy-Up!

Big thanks to Jeremy over at Shape + Colour for bringing such lovely work to our attention on a daily basis. Bless!

Work It

It takes a fair bit to get me excited about work, especially on a Monday morning, but Chanel is always a good start.

I have a tendency to wear black on Monday's. It must be a subconscious reaction to the death of another weekend, but that's not to say I can't mourn in style.

If I happen to forget my unintentional dress code however, I'd rather be in these lovely little Miu Miu creations. Perfect for 5pm drinks, even (especially!) on a Monday.

Did I Mention...

...I love Tim Walker?

There just aren't enough words to describe this mans talent.
All I can say is....balloons!!!