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Reflections on the end of year folio review and graduation

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, December 1, 2016, In : Creativity 

A few weeks ago, classes come to a close and it was time for the final folio review for my visual arts course. We had worked all year towards this point, and it was wonderful to look back on the body of work created over the year and take in what we had accomplished. There was such a diversity in the student work - you could really tell that each person had travelled their own path in their own way.

End of year review week (can you believe it?!)

For my part, when I saw my selected pieces displayed together, I could finally see what others ...
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Three black dogs (and working fast)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, In : Creativity 

Sometimes a short, fast creative session can yield great results. These three black dogs could easily have taken me weeks of agonising over creating the designs and carefully painting them. But instead they were completed in a single afternoon. And they're amongst my favourite pieces from this year :)

Three black dogs

We were given a brief in our last studio drawing class to design a set of three pieces featuring either cats or dogs, that would be of an appropriate nature to emblazon the sides of a large trans...
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#ICAD2016 week 8 round up

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, In : Creativity 

Eep, I've been so busy finishing up my art course that I'm weeks (months!) behind in posting about all the things I want to write about before this year is out. It's just been a massive year and a great experience, and I have so many ideas I just want to jump on straight away :)

But - before I get sidetracked and start writing about all of that, here is my final weekly index card wrap up from the 2016 Index-Card-A-Day challenge. I managed eight weeks' worth of index card art, reaching a total ...
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LOL cats (in felt)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, September 29, 2016, In : Creativity 

If you follow me on Instagram or Flickr, you might remember seeing these guys earlier in the year ...

LOL cats

I created these LOL cats for a 3D typography assignment. I was (and still am) really happy with how they turned out. I think they're colourful and cute and fun :)

I also enjoyed the whole process of making them - coming up with the designs, brainstorming different ideas for construction, creating the pattern templates, choosing the colour scheme, drawing and stitching the embroidered details, a...
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#ICAD2016 week 7 round up (and marbling)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, In : Creativity 

Here's my seventh weekly set of index cards, and my second last little collection for 2016. After the fun of creating collage postcards for my art course, I decided to explore it a bit further in my index cards, and you can see some of the results of mixing paint and found images here.

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 7 round up

My favourite piece from this week's set was the marbling shown in the centre card. I had just watched a Creativebug tutorial on Facebook about paper marbling using shaving cream and food colouring, and realised ...
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There was a crooked man

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, In : Creativity 

One of the elective subjects I chose in my arts course this year was Illustration & Imagery. Fairly early on, we were given a brief to complete a series of illustrations to accompany a nursery rhyme. I chose "There was a crooked man". If you don't know it, I've included the text below:

    There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
    He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
    He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
    And they all lived together in a littl...
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#ICAD2016 week 6 round up

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, September 18, 2016, In : Creativity 

Okay, here's another week of index cards to round up. This post is quite late, as I finished these cards about a month ago and have since completed the daily challenge for this year. At the point that I completed this set I had equalled my total number of cards from last year, and then continued on to finish after eight weeks (56 cards). So it's good to know I've been able to push this challenge a bit further each year :)

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 6 round up

As I look at this set and the ones before it, I can really see how my us...
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#ICAD2016 week 5 round up

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, August 15, 2016, In : Creativity 

I'm running behind both on creating daily index card art and blogging about it. I finished this set a few weeks ago, and have completed more since. I'm not sure yet if I will complete the full 61 cards (I've never managed it yet) or choose my own finishing point.

I remember that this lot took quite a while to create, as I agonised over a few of them for several days! The trio of flowers in the top right of the photo took me ages to finish - I really liked the design I'd come up with, so I took...
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Japanese collage postcards

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, August 8, 2016, In : Creativity 

This project was one of the last assignments in first semester, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Our task was to create a set of postcards using mixed media collage. They could be created manually or digitally (or both), and we needed to incorporate the following principles of design:
  • Colour (colour theory / schemes)
  • Contrast (dominance / subordinance and emphasis)
  • Movement and direction
  • Pattern (repetition and rhythm)

Japanese postcard collage - set of three

You can click on the image above to see a larger version of my set of three c...
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#ICAD2016 week 4 round up

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, July 14, 2016, In : Creativity 

I had a bit more time at home to work on this set of index cards (school holidays!), so it was a good opportunity to get messy and play with paint. In fact, I've just looked back at all of my weekly collections for the last three years, and this is the only set that features paint on every card for a whole week.

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 4 round up

Something else occurred to me as I was looking at these cards, though, and that is that only one of this week's card uses paint alone - the rest all incorporate at least one other medi...
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Triptych

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, July 10, 2016, In : Creativity 

For one of our assignments in first semester we were tasked with creating a triptych (a set of three works that are designed to be displayed together), with a focus on the principles of composition, including balance, proximity, use of positive and negative space, etc. The subject matter was completely open, but we were restricted to using black, white, and one colour only.

It can be so hard sometimes to come up with a creative idea and get started. For this project my mind was stuck on wantin...
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UTS Library Artist-in-Residence Program (30 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 30, 2016, In : Professional 

Last night I attended the VALA AGM and 2016 Williamson Lecture at the University of Melbourne's Baillieu Library.

Mal Booth is the University Librarian at UTS (University of Technology Sydney), and the 2016 Williamson Award recipient. He spoke about the UTS Library Artist-in-Residence Program that he began in 2012. I loved hearing about this program - such a great initiative that has reaped wonderful rewards in terms of cultural engagement with the library and its collections.

Mal has a great s...
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#ICAD2016 week 3 round up (30 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 30, 2016, In : Creativity 

I'm running behind on the index card challenge (and #blogjune too), as I really needed a few days off after the semester finished. I'm not really worried about trying to catch up or keep up, though, as long as I just keep going.

To that end, I've started carrying some basic art supplies around with me, and several of the cards in this week's batch have been started or finished when I've find tiny pockets of spare time. Some of the cards were started while I was waiting for a lift, and then fin...
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A History of the Future: Imagining Melbourne (28 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 28, 2016,

There's a lovely little free exhibition on at the City Gallery in Melbourne Town Hall at the moment, called "A History of the Future: Imagining Melbourne". It runs until 12 August 2016 and features stories and images of ideas for development in and around the Melbourne CBD over the years.

There are proposals for elevated pedestrian walkways, canals, bizarre building designs, underground trams, pyramids and autogiro buses. There is also information about some design proposals that actually did ...
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More about charcoal (27 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 27, 2016, In : Creativity 

My blog post from yesterday was all about the first time I 'got' charcoal. I mentioned in it that the following week I really got stuck into making the most of the medium. This post is a quick one with some pictures from that class.

The podium in the drawing room was covered in a random assortment of objects, and depending on our position in the room and proximity to the podium, we were to draw a section of whatever we could see. I took a quick photo of the view from my easel. It included a to...
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Seven things I’m loving right now (27 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 27, 2016,

Thanks to Kate for the idea behind this post :)

Seven things I’m loving right now:

1) School holidays. Two weeks of no classes, and I'm so glad to have some time off without the constant pressure of assignments. I'm not going away, as travel usually costs more when so many people are taking leave at the same time, but that's okay as I have heaps of things I want to catch up on during the break.

2) My personal cheer squad. I simply can't say enough how much I have appreciated people's support t...
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Learning to love charcoal (26 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 26, 2016, In : Creativity 

In our first drawing class at art school, we were given sticks of charcoal to draw with. I had never used it before, and I hated it. Charcoal sticks are fragile, and dirty, and not pointy. You (and everything else) get covered in black dust when using it. It smudges easily. It's hard to draw clean, straight lines, and the width of the line isn't consistent as the charcoal constantly changes shape while it's being used. You need to seal drawings with fixative afterwards to stop it from smudgin...
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Reflections on the mid year review (23 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 23, 2016, In : Creativity 

Thanks to all who offered kind wishes for my mid year review at art school yesterday :)

I was really happy with how it went. My display table looked good (see previous post), and although I didn't love every single piece that I produced this semester, overall I was pleased with my progress and how much I'd achieved. In fact I am quite chuffed.

In the formal review, I got some really good feedback about my skills development across the semester. The teachers said that pattern, colour and a dev...
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First semester nearly done (21 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, In : Creativity 

Yesterday I submitted my last assignment for the semester. It's been hard yakka all semester long, usually with five or six assignments on the go at any one time. It's such a relief to have a short break to look forward to! But the holidays aren't here yet ...

Today was the first day of our mid year review. In the morning I set up a table and display space with a selection of the first semester's work - all of the assignments, plus my six best pieces from life drawing and five best pieces from...
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#ICAD2016 week 2 round up (18 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 18, 2016, In : Creativity 

Another seven index cards done, so another weekly round up. A collage of the second week's efforts is below :)

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 2 round up

I thought I would find it much harder to do the index cards while I'm also spending so much time and energy on my arts course. But so far I'm actually finding it a great outlet for doing my own thing creatively.

In my course I am constantly pushed outside of my comfort zone, while here in the index card challenge I am free to play around with the patterns and colours that I love. I'm n...
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Cherry Tree in Autumn (13 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 13, 2016, In : Creativity 

I'm totally in love with the colours on my cherry tree right now. Every time I catch a glimpse of it through my laundry window, or step outside my back door, it makes me feel happy. A reminder of the beauty in the world.

Love the golden colours on my cherry tree right now!

Last week I desperately needed some inspiration for an assignment on modernism that I was really struggling with. I had ideas, but just couldn't pull them together and move forward. One of my friends suggested taking inspiration from a landscape, and suddenly everything came t...
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The first assignment (12 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 12, 2016, In : Creativity 

Well, I guess I really have been nervous about sharing my artwork, as it's nearly halfway through June and I still haven't posted anything from my course yet!

It's funny - I don't feel any hesitation about sharing the results of my daily creative challenges. I suspect it's because they're quick and small, and of necessity there are limitations on how much time and effort I can spend on them.

My art school assignments are a different matter. I've spent more time on them, and put more thought and...
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The cumquats are coming (10 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 10, 2016,

It may be a little premature to be blogging about my much anticipated cumquat harvest while the fruit are still green (counting my chickens before they're hatched?), but ooh I hope this lot ripens successfully :)

Last year, after our cat Roxy died, my friends at work bought me a cumquat tree. I'm not sure who contributed, but I know it was Rose that remembered my reminiscences about growing up with a cumquat tree, and I was so touched at receiving such a personal gift at that time.

I took this ...
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#ICAD2016 week 1 round up (8 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, In : Creativity 

I just realised I've already done my first seven cards for this year's Index-Card-A-Day challenge (#ICAD2016), so it's time for a weekly round up.

I've been posting them each day to Flickr, and also to Instagram and Tumblr. A collage of the first week's efforts is below.


Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2016 Week 1 round up


Again, never easy to make time to do these, but it's such a worthwhile activity for switching gears, engaging creativity and developing skills. It's a bit like a shared daily sketchbook habit, really.

I had a few leftover wa...

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Smells and memories (7 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 7, 2016,

Oops, missed a couple of days already. Oh well, I don't think anyone's counting my blog posts except for me. I'll manage what I can :)

Anyway, this morning I tried a new shampoo sample. It had a coconut fragrance that instantly took me back to living in Darwin. Not that we were surrounded by coconuts up there (although we did have a coconut tree above our pool that was rather alarming - I was so worried about getting hit on the head by a falling coconut that we put up a shade cloth for protec...

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The 100 Day Project (4 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 4, 2016, In : Creativity 

I mentioned in my first #blogjune post for this year, that I'm taking part in a couple of creative challenges this month. One is the Index-Card-A-Day challenge that I've done for the last two years - I'll be posting updates on that here on the blog every week or so. The other challenge is The 100 Day Project (#the100dayproject).

I first heard about #the100dayproject when it was mentioned by a few artists and illustrators that I follow on Instagram who were planning to take part. Intrigued, I i...

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The Light in Winter (3 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 3, 2016,

Last night I caught up with a good friend for dinner in the city. As we walked towards Flinders St Station at the end of the night, our eyes were caught by the illuminated buildings of Federation Square, which were covered in colourful patterns. I wandered over for a closer look, and learnt that the light installation was part of Fed Square's tenth anniversary The Light in Winter.

The Light in Winter, Federation Square

The light projections on the building facades are called Federation Squared, created by Reko Rennie and The Electr...
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Design Futures Forum (2 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 2, 2016, In : Professional 

A couple of days ago I attended the annual Design Futures Forum (agIdeas), hosted by Ideas On Design at the Melbourne Convention Centre. It was a great event, and the calibre of the speakers was amazing.

Nicolas Hogios - Toyota Motor Corp (automotive designer)
Nick spoke about his career in automotive design, including some cutting edge futures work. He finished with a 5 minute live demonstration of creating a new car design, which was really interesting to watch.

Raphael Pimentel - Luma Picture...

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Challenge addict (1 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, In : Creativity 

It's the first day of June, and as I mentioned in my last post, that means it's #blogjune time again :)

I always look forward to taking part, although my posts will have to be short and sweet this time around. You see, it appears that I'm a sucker for challenges, so this will be one of *three* daily challenges that I'll be doing throughout June this year. 

1) #blogjune - blogging every day of June, along with a lovely bunch of library folk
2) #ICAD2016 - creating art on an index card every day o...

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Art student

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, May 30, 2016, In : Creativity 

Wow, time has really flown this year! All of a sudden #blogjune has come around again and it's time to dust off all the draft blog posts that I've been cogitating on (sometimes in writing, but mostly in my head) and hit that publish button again and again. But before that starts, I just wanted to share some long overdue news properly ...

This year I've taken a year off work to study visual arts full-time :)

As many of my friends will know, I love creating and making. Although for many years I'v...
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25 more Christmas decorations in 25 days

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, January 4, 2016,

As promised, here is the wrap-up of 25 Christmas decorations in 25 days for 2015 - the second year I've taken photos of Christmas ornaments on my tree for each day in December leading up to Christmas.

25 Christmas decorations in 25 days - 2015 mosaic

A few ornaments still didn't make it into the final selection of 50 (25 last year, 25 this year) but I got most of my special ones in. The full photo set of inidividual decorations is on Flickr.

It's a funny experience, posting about Christmas every day. If you love Christmas (and I do), it stretc...
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25 decorative days ahead

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, December 1, 2015,

It's that time of year again! I do love Christmas time - for the family memories, the nostalgic traditions, the seasonal cooking, and of course the decorations!

I've already put up the tree this year and have decorated it with my favourite ornaments collected over the years. Some I made myself, some are purchased, some are gifts, and some are family treasures. Nothing matches, and there is no overall theme to my Christmas decorating - everything I love gets thrown at the tree, and I give mysel...
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Cherry season

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, November 30, 2015, In : Food & Recipes 

When we first bought our Melbourne home, one of the attractions was the number of fruit trees in the backyard. Since then, we have added some and lost some, and they are still a huge part of the pleasure our garden brings us.

One of the trees we lost along the way was a wonderful old cherry tree. It was on its last legs when we moved in, but we were able to get a few years' harvests before the tree finally died. It was a black cherry, with sweet luscious fruit. It was always a battle with the ...
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A lovely last day

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, November 9, 2015, In : Professional 

Last week I finished work at OCLC, having been there for just over 18 months. It's been a great experience, doing something different to any library-related job I've had before. I love to learn and take on new challenges, and I'm proud of the work I did at OCLC.

One of the best parts about working there is the people. Such a fantastic team of professionals who really care about providing high quality service to libraries. People who are intelligent, dedicated, passionate, knowledgeable and gen...
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#ICAD2015 week 6 round up

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, October 5, 2015, In : Creativity 

Well it feels like ages since I last posted, and I guess it has been. I finished my last week of index cards over a month ago (I decided to stop at 42), but I haven't blogged about them until now due to a curious reluctance to turn on my home computer ...

Anyway, here's the sixth 'weekly' round up collage of #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day) cards:

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 Week 6 round up

I was really pleased with this final set, which includes a few designs that I like a lot. The centre card is a particular favourite, but I also love the...
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#ICAD2015 week 5 round up

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, August 15, 2015, In : Creativity 

I'm still trundling along with the index card creativity challenge, even though July is now over. I'm not going to try to make it to the full 61 cards, but I haven't quite decided on an end point either. Maybe once I've completed 42 cards (6 weeks' worth). Or maybe a little longer ...

Here's the fifth 'weekly' round up collage of #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day) cards:

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 Week 5 round up

There are a few in this batch that I was really happy with. Doodling is still my fallback position when I'm creatively stuck, but I...
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#ICAD2015 week 4 round up

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, July 19, 2015, In : Creativity 

June flew by, as it always does. I managed 20 blog posts, and a similar number of index cards. I'm pretty happy with that, considering everything else that was going on at the same time.

At the very end of June I came down with a nasty virus and chest infection, and everything ground to a halt. I still have a very sore throat and I'm not sleeping well, but I'm starting to find my feet again.

Yesterday I finally finished my 28th index card, so I can post a new weekly #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day)...
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The unusual experience of having a photo featured on Flickr Explore (29 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 29, 2015, In : Technology 

So an odd thing happened yesterday. One of my index cards was featured in Flickr Explore, and it was a very interesting experience ...

I first realised something unusual was going on when I started getting phone notifications for 'likes' (favourites on Flickr) at a much faster rate than usual, and from people that I didn't know. There were just 3 or 4 to start with, and my first thought was perhaps I was getting spammed. I actually had a quick look at Explore on my phone, but couldn't see my p...
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Special collections at the William Angliss Institute (28 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 28, 2015, In : Professional 

One of my first library jobs after completing my Grad Dip was at the William Angliss Institute. For those who don't know it, the William Angliss Institute in Melbourne is a training institution that specialises in food and hospitality courses. They specialise in vocational education programs, but also conduct a range of short courses for enthusiastic amateurs :)

There were two main perks to working at the William Angliss Institute Learning Resource Centre (Library). One was ready access to the...
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Prevaricated Frequencies (26 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 26, 2015,

I popped into the city to run some errands yesterday, and as I'd heard of a new art installation called Prevaricated Frequencies by Victoria University's Skunk Control in the Flinders St station / DeGraves St subway art space, I decided to make a detour and check it out.

Although the sign had a start date of 24 June and a few pieces were already set up, they were still in the process of constructing some of the displays. Skunk Control's Facebook page says the installation begins on 30 June, s...
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#ICAD2015 week 3 round up (26 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 26, 2015, In : Creativity 

I mentioned my battle with watercolours last week, and in this week's #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day) round up you can see some of the results:

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 Week 3 round up

I've been trying to master the swirly abstract watercolour background effect. Nope. That isn't going to happen apparently. But I keep trying, and sometimes the effect is quite pleasing. Unfortunately the two cards with eye motifs (one in black fineliner, the other using masking fluid) required me to do the watercolour background last. No second chances! S...
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200th post :) (25 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 25, 2015,

If my enumeration is correct - and I think it is - this is my 200th blog post!

So I made an index card to celebrate the occasion :)

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 no. 19

Short and sweet tonight.


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Stitching Snoopy (24 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, In : Creativity 

I loved Snoopy and Peanuts when I was young. In fact, I still love them. So when I saw a sweet cross stitch pattern of Snoopy and his doghouse on eBay, I snapped it up.

I completed the stitching in January this year, and found a neat little blue photo frame that suited it just right - it matches his collar :)

Snoopy's Doghouse Cross Stitch - Framed

The pattern had called for 14 count Aida fabric, but I decided to use 16 count instead. This reduced the design down to just the right size for a standard photo frame. The stitches were sm...
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More on library blogging, and why I want to write about cool stuff (23 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, In : Professional 

Yesterday I wrote about changing direction and being myself. Basically, I realised that it was time to stop trying so hard to write big issue opinion posts that I don't enjoy writing (and that other people are better at than me). Instead, I'm going to focus on writing blog posts that I enjoy, both as a writer and a reader. I want to write about cool stuff.

[Note: my definition of cool stuff is quite possibly not your definition of cool stuff :) ]

Blogs that I love / have loved

As I mentioned in ...
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Changing direction and being myself (22 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 22, 2015, In : Professional 

So I did that thing again ...

That thing where I start writing a blog post, or maybe drag out a half-finished draft. I start writing. I fact check. I realise I don't know as much about a topic as I thought. I research. I read. Hours pass. I have now completely lost confidence in my ability to write knowledgeably about said topic. I go to bed. No blog post.

I promised myself I would stop doing this. I've steeled myself against perfectionism time and time again. I told myself I would be brave and...
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#ICAD2015 week 2 round up (20 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 20, 2015, In : Creativity 

Well, it took me a little longer than two weeks to create two weeks' worth of index cards for #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day), but I'm catching up :)

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 Week 2 round up

I nearly didn't post the first index card I made - the one that says "Be brave" on it. I wasn't at all happy with how it turned out (apparently I can't write in a straight line, even on lined paper!). And then I tried to 'fix' it by adding some arrows, but they came out all wonky. Anyway, after nearly binning it, I gave myself a stern talking to abo...
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A day at NGV International (19 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 19, 2015,

I had a fantastic Friday last week, catching up with my friend Julie at NGV International.

Great Hall, NGV International

After a short pause to stick my finger in the water wall (very important), and gawk at the Great Hall's beautiful stained glass ceiling, we headed to the NGV cafe for a cuppa and a chat. We went to the fancy one upstairs, which is a bit quieter than the ground level cafe, so we had a lovely long chat :) The drinks (tea and hot chocolate) were lovely, and generous.

Stained glass ceiling of the Great Hall, NGV International

We visited the NGV to see the Exquisite T...
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Tea. Earl Grey. (15 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 15, 2015, In : Food & Recipes 

The next line is obviously - Hot. Right?

I wonder how many fellow Gen Xers thought of Captain Picard when they tried their first Earl Grey? I know I did. And I've had it on good authority that I'm not the only one.

Go on, 'fess up :) Did Patrick Stewart help to get you started on Earl Grey?

Anyway, for me it's - Tea. Earl Grey. Milky with half a sugar thanks.

Tea. Earl Grey. Milky with half a sugar thanks.


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Hello possum (11 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 11, 2015,

Ringtail possums. So cute. We often see them on our phone and power lines at night.

Hello possum

Luckily we don't have any possums inside the house or roof any more. We used to have a couple of resident brushtail possums living in the wall cavities (they even chewed holes right through the weatherboard for ventilation). Paul the Possum Catcher took care of that years ago with his humane one-way exit system, and we haven't had a problem since. They still visit and eat the fruit in our garden. But we don't m...
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Some thoughts about library blogging (8 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 8, 2015, In : Professional 

I've been blogging (sporadically) for just over 6 years now. Blogging is different to the other ways that I share information online, in part because I can bring lots of things together here (words, images, videos, etc.). But it also feels more permanent - or at least longer lasting - than transient tweets and Instagram photos. It's my 'home' on the internet.

In terms of content, this blog is my personal blog. It has always been, and will remain, a random assortment of things that I'm doing or...
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Why I love #blogjune (8 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 8, 2015, In : Professional 

There have been quite a few blog posts and tweets this year about why people are still participating in #blogjune (or why they aren't). And indeed on why people are blogging at all (or, again, why they aren't). It's really interesting to hear people's thoughts on this, as we all have slightly different perspectives and motives.

Kate Davis' post on Libraries Interact is a good place to start if you're interested in this discussion, and it includes a couple of links out to other posts too.

For m...
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#ICAD2015 week 1 round up (7 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 7, 2015, In : Creativity 

I've just finished my first seven cards for #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day). I've been posting them to Flickr and also to Instagram this year. A collage of my first week's efforts is below.

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 Week 1 round up

It's always difficult for me to think up ideas for this. Even when I have them swirling around in my head, it's not easy to work out the execution. And then to whip something up in an evening after work / commute / dinner / etc. - especially when I'm trying to write a blog post every night too! So sometimes I ...
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10 years in libraries (5 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 5, 2015, In : Professional 

This year I passed my 10 year anniversary of working in libraries. I've been thinking about the journey I've taken over that time - the things I've done, the skills I've learned, the places I've worked, the people I've met, and the friends I've made. So please forgive the listy-listy-list nature of this blog post, as I take a trip down memory lane ...

I have worked in university, parliamentary, TAFE (vocational education), special, and corporate libraries. I also did a work placement in public...
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Molecule of Light (4 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 4, 2015,

Last week I posted a couple of photos of a strange new art installation in Federation Square (known locally as Fed Square). It reminded a few people of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, for obvious reasons! The information signs were mysterious, simply saying that more details would be revealed soon ...

I don't know what this is.

Well now it has a name! Officially launched on 1 June, it's called "Molecule of Light" by artist Chris Levine. This laser installation radiates a constantly moving series of colours and patterns,...
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Silver Princess (4 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 4, 2015,

I recently showed this photo of a neighbour's Silver Princess (Eucalyptus caesia) to my great friend Anna-Maria.

Silver Princess gumnuts

Not only was she able to identify it for me, but what a delightful surprise I got when she also bought me one as a gift! Fingers crossed it thrives in my garden and grows beautiful gumnuts like these :)


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Cabbage (2 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, In : Food & Recipes 

Yesterday I bought a cabbage. I was pretty excited about it.

This is ma cabbage #cabbagelyf

I think cabbages are underrated - they make some pretty yummy recipes. Okonomiyaki is one of them. Coleslaw is not. But curried cabbages and sausages is another one :)

Curried cabbage and sausages :) #yum

Curried cabbage and sausages
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 Tb mild curry paste
  • 1/4 cabbage, roughly chopped
  • couple of sploshes of boiling water
  • 4 vegetarian curried sausages, sliced into 2cm pieces

Method:
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and cook the o...

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June is here again (1 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 1, 2015, In : Creativity 

And with June, comes the annual #blogjune daily blogging challenge! I'm taking part again this year, and like last year I'll also be doing the #ICAD (Index-Card-A-Day) challenge over June and July.

Sadly last year my Mum's health suddenly worsened, and she passed away at the end of June. Of course this brought an abrupt end to my participation in both challenges as I concentrated on spending time with my family, grieving, and finally administering Mum's estate.

I did create a few more index car...
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Rest in peace Roxy

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, May 29, 2015,

Our beautiful girl Roxy has passed away after a sudden illness.

Her last day was a beautiful, sunshiney day. Tim and I both stayed home with her, and had lots of cuddles and pats.

Roxy soaking up the rays in our garden. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful last day.

It was such a privilege that Roxy chose to share her life with us. She had such a friendly nature, and we loved her to bits. She was our first and only pet, and her absence is felt deeply every day.

Cat on alert

Tim built a beautiful little wooden box for her, and I wrote a long letter which we both signed and buried with her. She'...
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Stitching on the train

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, January 18, 2015, In : Creativity 

I didn't do a lot of crafting in 2014 - my emotional and physical energy was sapped, and it was an effort to engage my creativity. There were a few brief spurts, notably my short participation in #ICAD last year, but overall I struggled to find the time or inspiration.

Towards the end of the year, I decided to change all that. It might sound like a cliche, but I felt like I was only living half a life when I had nothing creative going on. So I made a deliberate effort to make the time and oppo...
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25 Christmas decorations in 25 days

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, January 11, 2015,

I put my Christmas tree up early for a change in 2014. When I posted a photo of it on Instagram in late November, I mentioned that I had more ornaments than space on my tree. My friend Jo suggested that I post photos of individual ornaments each day, so that people could get a closer look. I thought that was a great idea, so 25 Christmas decorations in 25 days was born :)

Each day in December, up to and including Christmas Day, I posted a photo of an ornament on Instagram. Some were decoration...
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New Year 2015

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, January 3, 2015,

For the most part, my 2014 was awful. My Mum passed away at the end of June. She's now with my Dad, who passed away in 2008. It was both expected and unexpected - we thought we would have her with us for much longer. I'm very grateful, though, to have my two sisters. Our family is small now, but still very close.

I hope that 2015 is a good year for all of us. There will be sad memories, as my sisters and I continue to do what we need to do with my parents' estate. There will be new memories to...
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ANZ 23 Mobile Things: Voice interaction and recording (18 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, In : Technology 

This is a re-post of my original blog post "Thing 21: Voice interaction and recording" that I created for the ANZ 23 Mobile Things course last year.

*************************************************************************************************

I think we can all agree that one of the great things about modern mobile devices is the variety of ways that we can interact with them. Unlike older phones and desktop computers, we are no longer restricted to a keyboard (or mouse) interface - we can ...
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ANZ 23 Mobile Things: File sharing – Dropbox (18 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 18, 2014, In : Technology 

This is a re-post of my original blog post "Thing 19: File sharing - Dropbox" that I created for the ANZ 23 Mobile Things course last year.

*************************************************************************************************

This week's thing is file sharing using mobile devices. The portability of mobile devices makes them an ideal tool for accessing and sharing files on the move. We will look at sharing / syncing files across multiple devices (eg. your smartphone, tablet and PC)...
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A magnetic subject (17 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 17, 2014,

I thought I would be too tired again to blog tonight, but I've just seen Steph's post called "Magneto-grrl" and inspiration struck! Thanks Steph :)

I'm also a collector of fridge magnets, accumulated during my travels over the years. Each time I've moved house, arranging them neatly on my fridge has always been one of the small pleasures that I've found in setting up our home.

I prefer to purchase magnets myself, rather than receive them as gifts, as I like to be part of the story that brought ...
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#ICAD week 2 round up (15 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 15, 2014, In : Creativity 

Another week of #ICAD (Index-Card-A-Day) has passed, so it's time for another round up of my week's creative efforts.

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2014 Week 2 round up

The second week was a little harder than the first week, as I hit a few creative stumbling blocks. I'm trying to do something different each day, and that will keep on getting harder as the challenge progresses. The central card in the above collage was the result of feeling frustrated at my own lack of technique (and sometimes imagination too).

But I'm persevering, because some...
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KPop obsession (14 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 14, 2014,

Some of my readers may be aware that I've become just a little bit obsessed with KPop over the last year or so. And JPop. And CPop.

You see, one Sunday morning early last year I discovered SBS PopAsia. It was around the time that Psy's Gangnam Style was still going crazy, but that wasn't what caught my attention. It was a five member boy band doing a synchronised dance routine in their music video. I don't even remember who it was now, but I had an instant flashback to the 90s! I watched a few...
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Wet weather day (14 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 14, 2014,

It was a lovely wet afternoon in Melbourne today :) Lovely because the weather held up this morning so that we could run errands, move boxes into storage and treat ourselves to morning tea at a fancy cafe, and lovely because the rain started after we'd got home so that we could do indoor activities with the heater on and enjoy the sound of the rain outside. My kind of wet day!

Wet day

I'm not doing too well at keeping up with #blogjune this year, although I have already blogged more this month than I ...
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Retro library posters (10 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, In : Professional 

I love a bit of retro style, and these vintage library posters are fantastic! I think they could still be used today :)

RETRO POSTER - The Book Hunter

RETRO POSTER - Books are Arranged ...

RETRO POSTER - When You Want Facts

And for the fiction buffs ...

RETRO POSTER - There's Romance in Books

There's a whole Flickr album of these posters, collected by a library technician who goes by the username Enokson.


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Homemade paneer (9 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 9, 2014, In : Food & Recipes 

Many years ago, when I was living in Canberra, I did a couple of courses in Indian vegetarian cooking with some friends. It was a fantastic experience, and I still use many of the ideas and recipes today.

As well as learning how to prepare many delicious Indian recipes, with a focus on healthy home-cooked meals rather than what you would find in a restaurant, I also learnt how easy it is to make your own flatbreads, grind your own spices, make chai tea from scratch, and the subject of this blo...
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#ICAD week 1 round up (8 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 8, 2014, In : Creativity 

The first week of #blogjune and #ICAD (Index-Card-A-Day) has drawn to a close, and as promised in my first post I have put together a round up of my week's #ICAD efforts.

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2014 Week 1 round up

I have found the Index-Card-A-Day challenge to be a lot of fun, but also surprisingly challenging. It's been a long time since I've put pen or brush to paper on a regular basis - and it showed! I felt quite clumsy on several occasions, especially when trying new techniques or media.

But that's the point really. It's about exer...
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Letting go (7 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 7, 2014,
Tim and I both took a big step today. We delivered our analog televisions to the local e-waste recovery centre and said goodbye.

Why was this a big deal? Because we have trouble letting go. I've blogged before about my struggle to overcome a collecting habit that's been ingrained since my childhood. I also have difficulty dealing effectively with things that might come in handy one day, and anything that has a sentimental attachment.

My little black and white TV was a gift from my parents on my...
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Excellent company (3 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, In : Food & Recipes 

Another late night blog post, having just returned home at 10.30pm after a lovely night out with my friend and former colleague Julie :)

We met up after work for a drink at Chloe's Bar, Young & Jackson. We then enjoyed dinner at Il Pom Italian, at Fed Square. I had gnocchi tre formaggi and a delish melon spruzzi mocktail (see pic below), followed by soft centred chocolate pudding. Very decadent!

Melon spruzzi

We talked of many things, joys and challenges. Always a pleasure to spend time with such a good frie...
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Origami Mother's Day card (2 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 2, 2014, In : Creativity 

It's only the second day of #blogjune, and here I am at 10pm trying to scrabble a post together! I have lots of drafts in progress, but all need more work than I have time for tonight.

So a simple post about something that I created recently. I made my Mum her Mother's Day card this year, using origami paper lined with writing paper, and a strip of floral tape. I bound it with a ribbon, and of course added a personal message inside. I was quite pleased with this effort, understated but pretty....
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Two daily challenges for the price of one (1 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 1, 2014, In : Creativity 

It's June already! Which means it's time for the #blogjune (blog every day of June) challenge to commence once more :)

I've been looking forward to participating this year, since I missed it last year due to travelling through parts of Australia with very little internet access. This year is the fifth year of #blogjune, so it will be my fourth attempt.

If you're interested in getting involved in #blogjune, Con Wiebrands has provided some information and a sign-up page, as well as a list of the ...
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An update

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, In : Professional 

A lot has happened since my last blog update, and life has been stupidly busy. But a little bit of breathing space has finally opened up again, and I'm finding my way back towards a (hopefully) manageable routine.

My sisters and I have been working really hard to prepare the family home for sale. It's sad for all of us to part with this house that has been in the family for nearly 80 years and is full of memories. We also haven't had much time to work with, as we need to raise the bond for the...
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On being quiet

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, January 29, 2014,

Long time, no blog.

We arrived back in Melbourne in July last year (gosh, 'last year' makes it sound so long ago!) after an amazing holiday in the Kimberley. We're now back in our own lovely home, and have enjoyed settling back in to the house and working in our garden. Melbourne's predictably unpredictable weather is certainly a change that takes some getting used to, but it's nice not to be hot all the time (although it's very hot some of the time!).

I've been on a hiatus from work, taking so...
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On the road again

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, May 30, 2013, In : Professional 

Well, we are on the move once more! This is a short post for a lot of news, but time is limited so here goes ...

Just after Easter, I submitted my resignation at the university I've worked at for the last 3 years. It was both a hard and easy decision. Hard because I loved my job and the team I worked with. Easy because I miss my family, and as time went on I struggled more and more with the Darwin climate.

It's both a happy and sad day today

So we're returning to Melbourne (again). My last day at work was a couple of weeks ago, a...
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Nightcliff jetty

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, April 7, 2013, In : Travel 

Last weekend (the Easter long weekend) marked the end of the busiest time of year for a liaison librarian in an academic library. The beginning of first semester is incredibly busy, with heaps of classes to plan, prepare and deliver - as well as an orientation program to run, lecturers to assist with unit readings, and of course lots and lots of students needing help.

So it was lovely to have a few days off to relax and enjoy myself, for what felt like the first time in months!

On Saturday afte...
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Humidity

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, February 3, 2013, In : Travel 

Tim recently complained about me steaming up the bathroom with my hot shower. Fair enough too - the last thing you want in this humidity is to have more steaminess added on top of it. Except I hadn't had a hot shower. I'd had a cold shower. Just like I have every day for the last 2 or 3 months (though the cold water is never really cold at this time of year). Darwin is a very hot and humid place right now.

This wet season has been disappointing - not very wet at all. We've had one really lovel...
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Happy New Year 2013!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, January 1, 2013,

Happy New Year!

Another year begins, and I'm hoping that 2013 will be a good one! 2012 was a challenging year in many respects, but of course there were plenty of highs to balance out the lows. Mostly it just felt really busy - moving interstate (again!), lots of visitors, lots of work. The year seemed to pass in a flash.

My blogging frequency dropped off a cliff after the #blogeverydayofjune challenge, as per usual. My PC was out of action for much of the year, and I don't really enjoy blogging with my netbo...
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Territory Day (aka cracker night)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, July 2, 2012, In : Travel 

The 1st of July is Territory Day - the only day of the year when any man and his dog can buy fireworks and set them off to their hearts' content. Which is why it's also known here as cracker night.

There's a big official fireworks display from Mindil beach, but the main event is really happening all over Darwin (and the rest of the Northern Territory too). Pay packets are blown on pyrotechnics, and the sky is filled with bright lights and the smell of gunpowder.

We went along to Fannie Bay, whe...
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Tour time! (30 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 30, 2012,

Yes, it's that time of year again. Late nights watching bicycle wheels turn, close-ups of exhausted faces, tension-filled race finishes and lots of beautiful French scenery too. It's the Tour de France :)

My own race preparations have included:
  • Reviewing the TdF stages and dates to see which nights are going to be late ones
  • Clearing space on the hard drive recorder for the crucial mountain stages and time trials
  • Updating my favourite TdF mobile apps: SBS Tour Tracker; Sportal Tour; and the Tour H...

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A friendly hermit crab (30 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 30, 2012, In : Travel 

On a recent visit to East Point Reserve, I picked up a pretty shell and got quite a shock when this little fellow crawled out to say hello!

A hermit crab says hello :)

Tim is much braver than I am around creepy crawlies, so the photo is of his hand of course. It was quite fascinating to watch the hermit crab pop in and out of its shell, and explore Tim's hand freely. I filmed a short video of it, which I've uploaded so that you can watch it too :)




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The problem with pom poms (28 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 28, 2012, In : Creativity 

A Christmassy/crafty post in June - why not? ;)

Each year for the last few years I've made little ornaments for my sisters' Christmas trees. Photos of some of my previous efforts are on Flickr HERE. For Christmas last year I didn't have much time to put something together, so I decided to make something I'd been wanting to try my hand at for a while - pom poms! It sounded so simple :)

I soon learned that there are a few important things to take into consideration when making yarn pom poms. The ...
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Of pygmies, palms and pirates (27 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 27, 2012,

Time for some poetry (another daily blogging challenge tradition!) -

Of pygmies, palms and pirates by Mervyn Peake

Of pygmies, palms and pirates,
Of islands and lagoons,
Of blood-bespotted frigates,
Of crags and octoroons,
Of whales and broken bottles,
Of quicksands cold and grey,
Of ullages and dottles,
I have no more to say.

Of barley, corn and furrows,
Of farms and turf that heaves
Above such ghostly burrows
As twitch on summer eves
Of fallow-land and pasture,
Of skies both pink and grey,
I made my statem...
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Found treasures (27 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 27, 2012,

While I was out walking this morning, I came across some startling red seeds amongst the leaf litter. I just had to collect a few, they were so pretty - hard, shiny and very colourful!

I asked a friend on Twitter - @lokilovesyou - who makes beautiful seed jewellery if she knew what they were called. She told me that the seeds are from Adenanthera pavonina, also known as the Red Bead Tree (fitting!), Saga Tree or Red Sandalwood.

Found treasures

I'm not sure yet if I'll try making jewellery with them in future. ...
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Vintage craft book: "Creative Needlework" (27 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, In : Creativity 

I know, I know! You've been waiting *all year* for another instalment of vintage craft! Well, I try not to disappoint ;)

"Creative Needlework" (1974) by Jo Springer is another gem from my Mum's collection. It has some fantastic retro styling that is quite on-trend at the moment.

Creative Needlework 1

Creative Needlework 2

Creative Needlework 3

Creative Needlework 4

But then it starts getting a little iffy ...

Creative Needlework 5

Creative Needlework 6

Until eventually - dear God, won't someone please think of the children!?!?

Creative Needlework 7

Creative Needlework 8 (collage)

Luckily, there are a couple of dapper chaps playing with model trains to rescue us all at the end ;)...
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Polenta with mushrooms and blue cheese sauce (26 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 26, 2012, In : Food & Recipes 

It's been a while since I posted a recipe on this blog. This polenta dish is one of my favourite treats, inspired by a menu item served at Il Tempo in Melbourne's DeGraves Street.

This isn't an exact recipe, as it can vary depending on how much polenta and mushrooms I feel like on the night. But the sauce makes enough for 3 serves (or 2 very generous ones!). It's also a bit of a cheat's recipe, because I like to save time by using pre-cooked firm polenta rather than making it from scratch ;)

Polenta with mushrooms & blue cheese sauce

Po...
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Wycliffe Well, UFO capital of Australia (25 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 25, 2012, In : Travel 

Welcome to Wycliffe Well

They take the title of "UFO capital of Australia" pretty seriously in Wycliffe Well, Northern Territory. In doing so, they've certainly set themselves apart from all of the other small localities that are dotted along the Stuart Highway, which tend to blend together in the memories of that long, long road trip.

Some residents of Wycliffe Well

It's a great place to stop and stretch your legs, grab some lunch and a beer, and buy some gorgeously tacky UFO souvenirs! The walls of the cafe are lined with newspaper reports of UFO ...
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Beautiful Darwin sunsets (23 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 23, 2012, In : Travel 

There's something magical about watching the sun set over the water at Mindil Beach here in Darwin. The crowds on market nights make it a wonderful shared experience as we grab something yummy from the food and drink stalls and make our way to the beach to see what kind of show the sky will give us. Of course it's different every time, depending on the shapes of the clouds or the amount of smoke in the atmosphere (there are always fires burning somewhere nearby during the dry season).

Mindil Beach sunset crowds

Friday Photos 2012 Week 20 - Water

But do y...
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Pretty paper flowers (22 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 22, 2012, In : Creativity 

A couple of years ago, my Mum was in hospital and I was planning to buy her some flowers. Then I remembered an online tutorial that I'd come across for making carnations using tissue paper. I'd never really been one for paper crafts before, but these were really pretty - they would last longer than real flowers, and my Mum would always know that they were made with love.

Tissue Paper Carnations

The tutorial for tissue paper carnations was from the Folding Trees blog. The blog authors have stopped posting new material...
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YouTube stardom? (18 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 18, 2012,

Hmm, I'm not doing a very good job of daily blogging this year. I took the weekend off, a much needed break :) But now I have some catching up to do!

So I'm going to start getting back on track with a post about my cat - of course, you should know by now to expect blog posts about Roxy on a fairly regular basis - and her YouTube stardom.

Perhaps I exaggerate when I say stardom, but although I've posted a few videos of Roxy on my YouTube channel, there's only one that's really taken off in terms...
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WaterMyPhoto (14 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, In : Technology 

I have lots of photography and video apps on my iPhone. Most of them are free, though I've paid for a few too. They let me edit or play with photos or videos in ways that previously could only be done on a desktop or laptop computer - and sometimes in new ways altogether! Some apps try to do everything (crop, contrast, filters, frames, etc.) and others just focus on doing one thing well (panoramas, colour splash, stop motion).

WaterMyPhoto is a neat little app that does one thing well. It cost...
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Mangrove Boardwalk (11 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 11, 2012, In : Travel 

Darwin has many beautiful beaches, though they are somewhat let down by the fact that you can't swim at any of them because of the ever-present dangers of crocodiles, sharks and stingers ...

But much of Darwin's coastline is also made up of mangroves and mudflats. Today we went for a walk along the Mangrove Boardwalk in East Point Reserve.

The mangroves have a strange beauty all of their own, and their complex root systems are fascinating. These photos were taken at low tide. The same scene wou...
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Out and about in Darwin (9 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 9, 2012, In : Travel 

This is just a "what I did today" post - they tend to be more prevalent during the #blogjune challenge ;)

In the morning we visited the Alawa shops to see the new location of Dragonfly Fabrics. They're Darwin's only specialist quilting shop, and have the most amazing selection of fabrics, especially Japanese designs. They also have lots of other embroidery and sewing goodies. And you can't go to Alawa without stopping in at Dimitrios Speciality Cakes for the most beautiful cakes and Greek past...
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RNIB and Vision Australia libraries on YouTube (8 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 8, 2012, In : Professional 

I regularly monitor Twitter and other channels for news and developments related to accessibility in libraries and the broader community. I recently came across this YouTube video from the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) that explains the work of their National Library Service in the United Kingdom. I was so impressed by it - very professional with a clear communication of the library's value and how advocate on behalf of vision impaired readers. The contributions of some of t...
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Brrr, chilly! (6 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 6, 2012,

Everyone in Darwin had their winter woollies and long pants on today as they complained about the bitterly cold night we had just had. My colleagues wore scarves or shawls to ward off the chill. And there's no relief in sight for these poor folk - temperatures will be down all week ...



Yes, that's the week's forecast. In Darwin, that's a cold spell. I haven't re-acclimatised to the tropics yet, but even I woke up cold in the middle of the night and had to retrieve an extra coverlet from the cu...
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Manton Dam (5 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, In : Travel 

Manton Dam is located about 70km south of Darwin. It was constructed during World War II, as were many of Darwin's major infrastructure projects, and was Darwin's first reliable water supply. Now it's used as an emergency water source only - the rest of the time it's a popular recreation spot for boating and fishing, and a valuable conservation area.

Manton Dam 4

The short walk to the dam wall is very pretty, and at its end you are rewarded with a lovely view of crashing water over the curved wall. You can...
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Experimenting with origami (4 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 4, 2012, In : Creativity 

I'd never tried origami before this year, but in the space of a few months I picked up the bug! I bought a book on origami for beginners (oh alright, it's actually called Origami for Children), some lovely origami paper from a couple of Japanese shops in Melbourne, and an origami-a-day calendar for 2012. A friend of mine also gave me some origami paper that she'd bought in Japan.

My origami paper supplies are still boxed up in the craft room / home office - I can't wait to unpack them! - but I...
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Blabberize (3 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 3, 2012, In : Technology 

Last year my colleagues and I put together a fun library orientation program for students that involved treasure hunts, QR codes, animated videos and more. It was a great project to work on, and I've previously blogged about it HERE.

As part of the online version of the treasure hunt, we used video clips that I created with an online tool called Blabberize. They were silly, and they made students laugh - which was exactly the reaction we'd hoped for. They were also a hoot to play during the co...
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Welcome back to Darwin (2 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 2, 2012, In : Professional 

I returned to Darwin at the end of April, and also to working on campus again after 6 months of working remotely from Melbourne. It's great to be back :)

On my first day back on campus, my fellow liaison librarians surprised me with a wonderful office makeover! How lucky I am to work with such amazing people, and to be welcomed back in such style!

Return to work :)

My colourful work station

Welcome back


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What's in a name? (1 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 1, 2012,

Sally sets forth = sallysetsforth

I started using 'sallysetsforth' as my username for all things social and online in early 2009. Where did it come from? Well, ever since I first went online back in the '90s I've been calling myself sallyforth or a variation thereof. Usually a variation, because someone always seemed to snatch it up first!

I've always loved the term 'to sally forth'. I first heard it in a song from one of my all-time favourite musicals, The Pirates of Penzance, and was immediat...
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Themes and messages from VALA2012

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, March 26, 2012, In : Professional 

In February this year, I was fortunate to be able to attend VALA2012 in Melbourne. This was my second VALA conference, having also attended VALA2010. And just like last time, I found VALA to be an amazing experience in terms of content, presenters and attendees.

My attendance was funded by my employer, Charles Darwin University (CDU) Library, this time around (I paid my own way in 2010), so after the conference I put together a summary of some of the major themes of the conference as they ap...


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A lovely day in Warrandyte

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, March 10, 2012, In : Travel 
In a burst of sanity a few weeks ago, I convinced myself to stop working and get out of the house for a day! Warrandyte is one of our favourite nearby locations for a day trip, so Tim and I took ourselves there for a break from our too-busy lives.

I love visiting Warrandyte for its beautiful location alongside the Yarra River, as well as its wonderful collection of shops and cafes. On this particular day, we stuck to the riverside shops - but there are many more more places to visit and explor...
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Tough times, busy times

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, February 26, 2012,

Oops, it looks like I've let a couple of months pass by between blog posts again ...

We had a tough start to the year. I still haven't decided whether I want to talk about it here, so for now I won't.

Then came the lead-up to the University first semester at both of my workplaces. My workload was (too) intense. I'm not sure if I want to talk about that here either.

Thanks to the professional development money from our team's Vice-Chancellor's Award, I was able to attend VALA2012. I also attended...


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Catching up

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, December 29, 2011,

Wow. What a crazy couple of months it's been.

Sometime it's seemed like a string of disasters ... but there have been highs as well as lows. I haven't blogged (and probably won't blog) in detail about some of the things that stressed me out at the time - partly because I'm a bit of a slack blogger (did you notice?), but mostly because I prefer not to vent on my blog. So I've waited until I've got a bit of distance on recent events, and can now provide you with a brief summary of the ups and do...


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Ch,ch,ch,ch,changes

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, October 28, 2011, In : Professional 

I've made a few veiled references lately to being busy and making plans, but have been keeping the details under wraps until things were a bit more solid. Well, I think it's pretty well confirmed now, to the point where I feel comfortable talking about it online ...

For family reasons, we're coming back to Melbourne for about six months.

We're already in the middle of packing the house up and arranging the move, which is why we've both been so under the hammer lately. I'm flying out next week, ...
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Presentation at the ALIA Top End Symposium

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, October 28, 2011, In : Professional 

Gosh, three weeks have now passed since I delivered my presentation on "Twitter for professional development and career progression" at the ALIA Top End Symposium. I didn't mean to wait so long before posting about it, but life has been so busy!

My presentation time was 10 minutes, so I didn't have time to discuss all (or even most) of the findings from my survey. So I selected some of the key results and findings that I hoped would resonate with my audience, along with a few of the fabulous c...
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A real treat!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, October 16, 2011,
The ALIA Top End Symposium was on last weekend, and the following day I headed off to Alice Springs where I spent a week working at the campus library there. So I have heaps that I want to blog about, but I'm going to start with an unsual experience I had in Alice this week.

My colleague Leonie took me on a tour of the uni campus - she was a great guide and introduced me to lecturers and staff all over campus. One of the highlights of my campus tour, though, was meeting a staff member called S...
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Wordle

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, October 5, 2011, In : Technology 

I've been looking for a good excuse to use Wordle for ages, and I finally found one :)

This Wordle was created using the comments made by respondents in my recent survey about "Twitter for professional development and career progression". It will be part of my presentation to the ALIA Top End Symposium, 7-8 October 2011.

Twitter Survey Wordle
(click on the image to see a larger version)

Wordle generates "word clouds" (similar to tag clouds) that display the most commonly used words in the text that you provide. The ...
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Taking a stab at needle felting

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, September 26, 2011, In : Creativity 

Do you see what I did there?

Well if you don't, maybe you haven't come across needle felting before ... :)

It's a craft technique that involves shaping wool roving into, well, shapes. And then stabbing it again and again with a small barbed needle until the wool sticks (felts) together to become a solid mass in whatever shape you desire. There are many different colours of wool available, and different needles (fine or coarse) allow you to control the amount of detail.

Needle felting is most com...
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A big thank you :)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, In : Professional 

Whoops - I thought I'd already published this blog post, but I just found it still languishing in my drafts folder *slaps forehead*

I received an absolutely amazing response to my survey on Twitter for professional development and career progression. I'm so grateful to the many, many people who took the survey. And to all those who retweeted (passed along) my survey info to their own Twitter followers - you definitely helped the survey reach a wider audience than it would have otherwise, and I...
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Survey: Twitter for professional development and career progression

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, September 9, 2011, In : Professional 

I've created a short survey (about 10 minutes) that seeks to answer some questions relating to how library and information workers use Twitter for professional development and career progression. The results will be presented at the ALIA Top End Symposium on 7-8 October 2011, and may be extended into a paper at a later date.

If you work (or study) in the library or information industry, please help me out by taking this survey. I would really appreciate it!

Here's the link: http://www.surveymon...
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Inspired again :)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, September 7, 2011,

Isn't it funny how a flurry of blogging activity (a la #blogeverydayofjune) is always followed by an extended burnout-induced hiatus :)

My energy levels have been at an all time low this year (possibly the topic of another blog post), and blogging has fallen to the bottom of the to-do list. In fact, a whole lot of things fell off my to-do list. But lately I've started to regain a bit of my former vim, and have been making an effort to get re-involved in the things I love - both online and offl...
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Goodbye June! (30 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 30, 2011,

Scraping in a final blog post just before midnight - this one takes me to a total of 30 posts in 30 days. Not quite blogging every day, but I'm glad I've been able to catch up and do 30 posts.

It's been a bit of a mixed bag. I haven't always had the time or energy for insightful, engaging blog posts - but I hope the readers of this blog enjoyed at least some of my offerings during the month of June :)

For my final post, I don't have much to say except to tell you that I've just been to see X-Me...
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Potato gnocchi (30 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 30, 2011, In : Food & Recipes 

Tim has been exercising his culinary muscles in the kitchen lately. I was very lucky earlier this week that he decided to whip up some potato gnocchi from scratch - it was utterly delicious :)

Homemade potato gnocchi collage

I made this collage using Picasa.


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Madness (30 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 30, 2011,

♪ ♫ Madness, madness, they call it madness ♫ ♪

Madness were a little before my time. I first came across them through their appearances on the Young Ones, but didn't know their music well at the time it was released.



It was during my Uni days that I really discovered Madness and their music. I bought several CDs, including a fantastic imported singles collection from the now (sadly) defunct Gaslight Records store on Bourke St, Melbourne.

I totally fell in love. The music with its ska and...
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Back on the boat (29 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, In : Travel 

We flew down to Melbourne at Easter to buy a new (second-hand) car to drive back to Darwin. On the way, we collected our boat from the friend who was kindly looking after it for us. After doing a bit of maintenance work on the boat after it being in storage, we recently took it out on its maiden voyage in Darwin :) We set out on a lovely Sunday afternoon from the Dinah Beach boat ramp in Stuart Park. The weather was just beautiful, and the water was calm. It was so great to get the boat on t...
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Cinderella (29 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 29, 2011,

It's something of a tradition that I post a favourite piece of nonsense verse at some point during a daily blogging challenge. I've previously blogged Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll) and On the Ning Nang Nong (Spike Milligan). I've even posted some of my own adolescent poetry :)

So here's another favourite:

Cinderella by Roald Dahl

I guess you think you know this story.
You don't. The real one's much more gory.
The phoney one, the one you know,
Was cooked up years and years ago,
And made to sound all so...
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Easy Beetroot Risotto (28 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, In : Food & Recipes 

I originally posted this in the Recipe Box page on my website, but I'm now turning it into a blog post too for those who only access my site via their RSS readers :)

This is a recipe I came up with myself for a simple and colourful beetroot risotto. I first made it in Melbourne, where we had prolific rosemary bushes to call on. A dollop of yoghurt or sour cream on top would go very nicely too.

Easy Beetroot Risotto

Easy Beetroot Risotto
Serves 6

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups arbo...

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Hibiscus (28 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 28, 2011,

A beautiful hibiscus flowering in our garden.

Hibiscus

One of these days I'm going to set up my tripod early in the morning and do some time lapse photography of a hibiscus opening up to greet the sun. It's one of my favourite sights from the kitchen window each morning :)


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India at Mindil (25 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 25, 2011, In : Travel 

This evening we went along to India at Mindil - a cultural festival featuring food, music and dancing that was held at Mindil Beach.

To be honest, I was underwhelmed. We bought palak paneer from one of the food stalls, and found it to be distinctly less than hot - so much so that we worried about the food safety aspect. It was a bit of a measly serve too. We made up for it with a yummy fruit shake, but in that case were let down by poor customer service.

The crowds were huge, with lots of jostl...
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FIGJAM (23 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 23, 2011, In : Professional 

Do you ever forget how good you are at your job?

I do. But today I had a nice little reminder.

A researcher needed help to locate a health questionnaire that had been published in a journal. She'd made some headway, but was stumped when it came to finding the full-text. I took her through a few steps about finding out which database holds a particular journal in full-text, how to navigate through a journal's archive to find an article, using the reference list in an article to locate source doc...
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Aspic Delight! (22 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, In : Food & Recipes 

A colleague of mine recently took part in a retro dinner party, where all of the food had to be popular dishes from the 50s and 60s. We had a marvellous conversation on this topic, dredging up all kinds of memories of foods of the era that we'd seen in films or on television, but especially from our own recipe collections. It was this conversation that inspired us to make blancmange this week :)

During our discussion, I reminisced about a set of old Weight Watchers recipe cards that my Mum onc...
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Finding Solutions: Assistive Technology Forum (21 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, In : Professional 

Today I attended a forum called "Finding Solutions: Assistive Technology in Education, Training & Employment for People with Disability or Learning Difficulties", organised by the National Disability Coordination Office Program and held at Charles Darwin University.

Accessibility is an area that I've long held an interest in and felt strongly about, so I was really glad to have the opportunity to attend this forum and learn more about what is being done in education, and what *can* be done - e...
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Blancmange (20 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 20, 2011, In : Food & Recipes 

Tonight we found ourselves with a litre or so of milk that was about to hit its due date. While pondering what to do with it, I remembered a recipe that I'd been wanting to try for ages - blancmange!

A couple of years ago, I bought some of Mrs Beeton's recipe books - reissues, or rather modernisations, of recipes from her famous book of household management that had been converted to current measurements. One of them focused on puddings and desserts, and had a section on old-fashioned rice and...
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Vintage craft book: "Celebrity Needlepoint" (18 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 18, 2011, In : Creativity 

Ever since our last #blogeverydayofjune adventure I've been meaning to post another instalment of vintage craft :)

Last time I blogged about one of my favourite vintage craft books, "Crafts for Fun and Profit". That book is part of my own craft book collection, but originally belonged to my Mum. Today's book is one that my Mum has hung on to - I took these photos when I visited at Christmas.

The book is called "Celebrity Needlepoint" (1972) by Joan Scobey and Lee Parr McGrath. It doesn't have a...
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Tired (17 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 17, 2011,

I have no energy for writing a blog post today.

Roxy snoozing on my pillow


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Playing with Dumpr (16 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 16, 2011, In : Technology 

I love discovering fun online tools, especially when they're free :)

Dumpr is a photo and image editing tool that I came across at the beginning of the year. It has some really nice effects available. A few of the effects that used to be free are now part of their paid "pro" package, but there are still enough free ones to make it worthwhile checking out.

I especially like the Amazing Circles effect. It doesn't work well with every image, you'll have to try a few to find out for yourself which ...
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The Library Minute (16 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 16, 2011, In : Professional 

I really like the Library Minute videos produced by Arizona State University Libraries, featuring librarian Anali Perry. They have a wonderfully light touch, are visually interesting and professional looking, and manage to impart plenty of information (but not too much!) in the space of a single minute.

Have you seen them? If not, do be sure to check out their YouTube channel. Here's one of my favourites:



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QR codes in the library - an investigative and fun orientation program (14 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, In : Professional 

I consider myself fortunate to work in a small but energetic team of liaison librarians at Charles Darwin University (CDU), and I love that new ideas for providing innovative and relevant services to our clients are encouraged here. This year we created a fun activity that incorporated library orientation, mobile technologies, learning about our on-campus and online students, promotion, and activity-based learning.

Last year, when the call for abstracts for the Third International m-libraries ...
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Sunday night at Nightcliff Jetty (13 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 13, 2011, In : Travel 

I promised that I'd do another blog post featuring Darwin sunsets, so here it is :) Last Sunday, we decided to get some hot chips and help ourselves to a sunset view at Nightcliff jetty. It turns out we weren't the only ones who had the same idea - it was absolutely packed! But there was enough coastline and enough sunset for everyone, so we eventually found somewhere to park the car and pulled out the picnic blanket to enjoy the view. I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking (larger ...
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Kumihimo revisited (13 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 13, 2011, In : Creativity 

Last year I blogged about trying kumihimo (Japanese braiding) for the first time.

Since then, I've bought supplies and set to work making a number of braids using this technique. I find it very enjoyable and relaxing, and easy to do while travelling or watching TV. I've learnt about colour combinations and patterns, and my technique is definitely improving.

Daily Image 2011 - 12 June

Daily Image 2011 - 13 June

Kumihimo collection

I'm planning to use these braids to create bracelets. I've bought the jewellery findings, but turning the braids into "wearable art" is a w...
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Glenti (11 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 11, 2011, In : Travel 

Today we went along to the Greek Glenti festival, held each year in the parklands alongside the Esplanade in Darwin. It was a much bigger event than I had imagined. There were lots of very busy food stalls selling souvlaki, yiros, octopus, oysters, spanakopita, moussaka, honey puffs, baklava, and a whole lot of other sweets that I don't know the names of. Music was playing in the central stage area, and kids in traditional costumes were dancing. And somewhat to my surprise, there were carniva...
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String! (10 June)

Posted by Sally SetsForth on Friday, June 10, 2011,

The internet is made of cats.

Therefore, whenever I upload a video of my cat I am strengthening the foundations of the internet - yes? Just performing a community service really :)

String. It gets Roxy pretty excited sometimes.



If the video is too small, you can expand it to full screen or view it on my YouTube channel HERE.

If you want more kitty goodness, I've added all of my videos of Roxy (I mean, contributions to the foundations of the internet) to this YouTube playlist.

P.S. I put tonight's ...
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2011 ALIA NT Recognition Award (9 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 9, 2011, In : Professional 

On May 26, the ALIA Top End group held its annual Library & Information Week dinner, which was combined with the presentation of the 2011 ALIA NT Recognition Award. A great night was had by all :)

This was the second year that the ALIA NT Recognition Award was, well, awarded. A'Mhara Russell from the NT Department of Health Library was named as the winner, for her innovative use and promotion of Web 2.0 technologies in the library.

I was really impressed by the achievements of all of the nomine...
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Tears For Fears in the library (8 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 8, 2011,

There will be actual library-related posts appearing during this month, but they're all in draft form and awaiting further attention. In the meantime, please enjoy this offering.

With thanks to my colleague Julie for sending this my way :)

Dustin McLean's literal video version of Tears For Fears' "Head Over Heels". Strange goings-on in the library ...




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Diana Wynne Jones (8 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 8, 2011,

The wonderful and oh-so-talented author Diana Wynne Jones passed away earlier this year on 26 March 2011. She'll be sorely missed. Her works will live on in the hearts and on the bookshelves of her readers. I am one of those readers, and this post is my small way of thanking her for enriching my reading life.

I'm actually not a big fan of either fantasy fiction or young adult fiction. But the most notable exceptions to the rule are, strangely, where the two genres intersect. Some of my favouri...
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Fannie Bay, milkshakes and fish & chips (7 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, In : Travel 

I didn't really intend for this month's blog posts to be of the "what I did today" variety. Mostly because a mixture of the wet season, assignments, work and tiredness over the last few months have meant that I don't usually do very much that's worth reporting on. But now that the semester is over, assignments are finished, work is settling down and the weather is so much better, I'm finding that I'm getting out and about a bit more. And since the original intent of this blog was to keep my f...
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Saturday night at Cullen Bay (5 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 5, 2011, In : Travel 

You can't spend all of your time studying - sometimes you need to get out and remind yourself that there's life away from the computer. On Saturday I pined for the beautiful day outside while I was stuck in the study, but when evening approached it was time to take a break and get some fresh air. Tim and I decided to get some dinner at Cullen Bay, but first we stopped off at the boat ramp near the Darwin Ski Club in Fannie Bay. Checking out boat ramps is a regular activity for us, especially...
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Study blues (5 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 5, 2011,

I just submitted my final assignment for the semester. Huge feeling of relief. It was almost a week late, due to an awful combination of illness and fatigue. But I finally got it done.

Illness aside, I wish I knew a way to study that didn't involve massive disruption to everything else in my life. Last minute/day/week assignment panic. All those days and nights where I think I will finish the thing, then discover (or simply decide) that there's lots more still to do - those darn perfectionist ...


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Okonomiyaki (3 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 3, 2011, In : Food & Recipes 

I have an assignment to finish, so I'm copping out a bit tonight by posting a recipe. But hopefully you will love it so much that you'll forgive me ;)

Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) is a regular dish at our place. It's so simple and delicious. And it's popular too :) It was the first recipe I ever added to my Recipe Box page, and in fact was the reason that I originally created the page, as it was easier than emailing the recipe to everyone that asked for it!

Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake)

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pancake)
Serve...
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Hello dry season! (2 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 2, 2011, In : Travel 

This is the blog post where I gloat about the beautiful weather in Darwin :)

While you've all been enjoying spring, summer and autumn, here in Darwin we had the build-up (also known as the suicide season because the weather is *that* bad) and the wet season (along with a record-breaking 3 metres of rain!).

But now that you're all turning the heaters on for winter, it's Darwin's turn to shine. The dry season.

About a month ago, the weather in Darwin turned and the dry season arrived. The transiti...
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Blogging again (1 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 1, 2011,

Glutton for punishment that I am, I have decided to participate once again in the challenge to blog every day of June.

My blog's been pretty quiet this year due to a multitude of reasons. But I have been jotting down my thoughts and activities every now and then, and my drafts folder has been growing and growing. So although I certainly won't have an excess of spare time on my hands in June, I figured this was a good push to get some of those drafts out there - and then you all might have a bi...
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Tropical Cyclone Carlos

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, In : Travel 
Alternative title: My first cyclone

Yes, I know. This blog post is ridiculously out of date (three months late!). But I couldn't just leave it languishing in my drafts folder forever, so it's time to finish it off and get it out there :)

Way back in February I wrote about the formation of what was to become Tropical Cyclone Carlos. On the 15th of February, we watched the weather graduate from lots of rain, to tropical low, to cyclone watch, to cyclone warning ...

My last blog post left off on th...
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Good things about today

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, March 9, 2011,
I really need to write the sequel to my last post about the tropical low that became Tropical Cyclone Carlos on 15-17 February, but I felt like writing this post today instead.

It's kind of a gratitude post I guess, but really I just wanted to write about some of the things that were good about today. It hasn't been a perfect day by any means. I started the day dog-tired, I'm finishing it dog-tired, and it was crazy-busy in between. But it was good too.

Good things about today:
  • Rain. We got a th...

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So this is the wet season!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, February 15, 2011, In : Travel 
7.00pm

This blog post has been updated a few times since I started writing it this morning. It's changed from a "boy it's wet" post to a "OMG cyclone!" post *lol* - you can see my earlier scribblings below :)

The wind is really picking up now and the lights are flickering, so I'm going to turn the computer off when I've uploaded this blog post (although I'll try to keep up with the news via my laptop and wireless connection). I'm sure we'll be absolutely fine - our house is built to code, and t...
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Scrapped!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, February 13, 2011,
So, I'm still taking part in the Daily Image 2011 challenge on Flickr. I'm slightly surprised that I'm still going, and haven't missed a day yet. Even when the last thing I've felt like doing was taking a photo of myself, I've still managed to give myself a little push and do it. And I'm glad, because although I'm getting sick of the sight of myself ;) I'm really enjoying being part of this community activity and seeing the interesting photos being posted by all of the participants :) You can...
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Library Day in the Life

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, January 24, 2011, In : Professional 

The Library Day in the Life project began in 2008, inspired by a blog post from Bobbi Newman. In 2011, more than 200 librarians are taking part in the sixth iteration of this project (#libday6) to share their day, and give others a look into what librarians do :)

For those who haven't visited my blog before, I work as a Liaison Librarian (Health Sciences) at a regional University in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. We're in the middle of our summer break, so there aren't many students ab...
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Daily Image 2011

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, January 16, 2011,
Thanks to a intriguing invitation from Kathryn Greenhill, I've started off the year by participating in the Daily Image 2011 challenge on Flickr.

Daily Image 2011 involves posting a photo or video of yourself each day for 365 days, or however many days you can manage. You, or part of you, must appear in each day's picture. The details are on the Librarians Matter blog, and on the Daily Image 2011 Flickr group page.

I'm a sucker for a challenge it seems, although I try to keep it realistic ;) Da...
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Happy New Year 2011 :)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, January 8, 2011,
My best wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy 2011!

The last few months of 2010 were pretty tough for me, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here. And I'm pretty sure that 2011 will also throw a few challenges my way.  I generally try to blog in a positive frame of mind, so posts have been few and far between while I've been in struggle-mode. But it's a new year, and I'm ready to get back on board :)

I've got plenty of blog posts in draft mode, just waiting to be polished and ...
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Fun with frogs

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, November 29, 2010, In : Travel 
The frogs in our garden are going crazy. They're barking, belching, quacking, grunting and honking. Loudly.

Apparently some people enjoy this noise. Nuh. I don't get it.

The last time the frogs were this loud, this is what we found in the morning:

Frisky Frogs

These frisky frogs were in our pool. We chased them out - and snapped a couple of photos ;) - but soon discovered that they had left something behind in the water. Hundreds and hundreds of little frog eggs. You can see some of them in this photo (upper...
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#Octshowntell Week 4

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, November 7, 2010, In : Technology 
Yes, yes, I know October is over now ;) I created each "digital story" for the #Octshowntell challenge during October, and posted links on Twitter. It's just taken me a bit longer to showcase them here on my blog ...

Anyway, I thought I'd try something different for the final week of #Octshowntell. I first came across DoInk a couple of years ago, and had been meaning to have a play with it ever since. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.

DoInk allows you to create your own animations - you...
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#Octshowntell Week 3

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, October 31, 2010, In : Technology 
For the third week of #Octshowntell, I made a cartoon using Pixton.

I've been going through a rough patch lately, and this cartoon is my picture-tells-a-thousand-words way of showing the wonderful support that Tim has given me.

Pixton's embedding function isn't working for me, so unfortunately I can only attach a small version to this post. You can view the full-size cartoon HERE.



P.S. No, neither Tim or I are stick figures, but I couldn't figure out how to change body shapes in Pixton's free ve...
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#Octshowntell Week 2

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, In : Technology 
My second attempt at digital storytelling for #Octshowntell was made using Storybird. Storybird is a website where you can use high quality (and gorgeous!) illustrations to create stories, and publish them in a visually appealing digital storybook format. I encourage you to give it a go, the site is a real pleasure to use.

I wrote a simple little story about a helpful librarian (in the guise of a green fairy) answering questions about finding books and information. The artwork is by the very t...
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#Octshowntell Week 1

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, October 18, 2010, In : Technology 
First there was #blogeverydayofjune. Then there was #1pic1thoughtinAug. Now it's time for #Octshowntell :)

#Octshowntell is a challenge to explore a variety of digital storytelling tools - one each week in October - and share the results on Twitter, using the #Octshowntell hashtag. As well as being great fun, it's a terrific idea to get to know these tools, and to consider how they can be used in both personal and professional contexts.

My first effort was using Animoto, which creates beautiful...
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Time to catch up!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, September 23, 2010,
Hello, did you miss me? ;)

I've been in Darwin for 7 weeks now, but the time has absolutely flown! I'll try to make this a quick catch-up, with more blog posts to come ...

We lived out of hotel rooms for the first 3 weeks, before finding and moving into a house here in Darwin. By Darwin standards, we were lucky to find a place so quickly! Of course, we're paying through the nose, but that's a given here. The house is close-ish to my work, it's got air-conditioning in every room, a plunge pool a...
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Wow. I'm actually here

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, August 3, 2010,

When I first set up this blog, it was partly with the intention of using it to keep my family and friends up-to-date with my life when I moved interstate. Well, now it's finally time to start doing just that!

I arrived in Darwin last night. The weather is perfect. The serviced apartment that I'm staying at is great, and is centrally located in the CBD. Everything feels both familiar and unfamiliar. Love it!

Tim and I have had a crazy few weeks getting ready for this move. Unfortunately, Tim won...


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Happy Happy Joy Joy

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, July 16, 2010,
Whee! We're off to Darwin!

We've been looking forward to this day for some time :) We had to postpone our plans a couple of times due to finances and family circumstances, but now the time is right and everything is falling into place!

I've landed a liaison librarian position at the university in Darwin - starting in about 2 weeks(!). I'm looking forward to it so much! :) And I'm getting some good vibes about my new employer too, everyone's been really helpful and friendly so far.

I've been out ...
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Last day (30 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 30, 2010, In : Professional 

Well, today is the last day of #blogeverydayofjune

Victorian Parliamentary Library

It's also my last day at work, having finished my contract at the Victorian Parliamentary Library. Again.

Although I'm ready for new adventures in new libraries in new places, I will always have the fondest memories of working with the wonderful group of people at "Parl" :)

I played tourist in my own workplace today and got snap happy. I hope you enjoy these photos of the gorgeous library that I've been lucky enough to work at for the last three...
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Public service (29 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, In : Professional 

I'm generally reluctant to state opinions on my blog. I really enjoy discussing hot topics with friends and colleagues, but part of my enjoyment of it comes from the fact that the exchange of ideas goes both ways. Although we may agree to disagree, more often than not I'll learn something from the discussion and consider issues from different viewpoints. But blogging isn't really like that. If I put something out there, it feels like I'm publishing a "statement". So I'm going out on a bit of ...


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Oh Mandy (28 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 28, 2010,

This post will catch me up for the couple that I missed. And since I've already done one serious blog post today, this is just a fun one :)

I'm a Barry Manilow fan. For real.

The first time I listened to a Barry Manilow album, it was for a joke. But the joke was on me, because I loved it! I promptly stole all of my parents' LPs and picked up some more at op shops. I bought and read his autobiography. I got one of my LPs *signed* by Barry himself at Westfield Doncaster. And I went to one of his ...
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The importance of accessibility (28 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 28, 2010, In : Professional 

This post was actually inspired quite early on in the #blogeverydayofjune challenge by @geomancer's gratitude post, in which she lists her eyesight as something she's very thankful for. This immediately touched a cord in me, as I also feel very fortunate to have my - heavily corrected by optometrists - eyesight.

I started wearing glasses as a teenager. Most of the time it's easy for me to take this vision correction for granted, but now and then I wonder what life would have been like for me...


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Roxy (27 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 27, 2010,

We have a cat. Her name is Roxy. I love her.

Except when she throws up on the carpet, scratches the furniture, sheds hair all over my clothes, sprays on the laundry hamper (only once, when she was stressed), won't swallow the darn tablet, causes an allergic reaction when she scratches me, hogs the doona, and rips up the carpet at the front door so that we can't get into the house.

But then she snuggles up to us in bed each night, follows us around the house because she likes to be in the same r...
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Vintage craft book: "Crafts for Fun and Profit" (27 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 27, 2010, In : Creativity 

Well, I missed another #blogeverydayofjune post yesterday due to illness. I don't know if I can make up for it in the few days left, but I'll do my best ;)

I love flicking through vintage craft books. Occasionally I will buy one to add to my book collection, but there are so many out there that I have to restrain myself! I try to only collect books that have continuing appeal, but I must confess to having picked up a so-bad-it's-good book from time to time :)

This book is one of my faves. It wa...
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Manic (25 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 25, 2010,

Yesterday was manic. So crazy, so busy, so packed, that if I tried to tell you all about it I would probably collapse in an exhausted heap just from thinking about it!

Anyway, something had to give, and in this case it was my daily blog post. I'll do an extra one over the weekend to make up for it :)

Tonight, I'm having a deliberately unproductive night. I'm going to make a pizza and watch Poirot telemovies on the couch.

Then I'm going to make like the cat and sleep, sleep, sleep ...

Roxy sleeping 2


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Ning Nang Nong (23 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 23, 2010,

I have a real soft spot for nonsense verse :)

On the Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan

On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There's a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang
And you just can't catch 'em when they do!
So its Ning Nang Nong
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning
Trees go ping
Nong Ning Nang
The mice go Clang
What a noisy place to belong
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!


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Cold Day (22 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 22, 2010,

I was just having a quick look through my folder of draft blog posts (searching for something that I could finish off and post quickly) when I came across a post that I wrote when I was blogging every day in December - my Advent calendar of blog posts. Oh, and yes I am obviously a glutton for punishment to do it all over again!

The post that caught my attention was called "Hot Day". And it occurred to me that the perfect title for this blog post, 6 months later, is "Cold Day". Last night was...


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Flickr find (21 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 21, 2010,

I'm working on a job application right now, so don't have time for a full blog post.

Instead, I'm sharing this lovely photo uploaded to Flickr by the Victorian Public Records Office.

This is how the State Bank handled internal correspondence until 1974. It reminds me of the tubes used to disseminate "information" in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Also, check out the shoes!

Internal communications at State Bank head office

P.S. Let's not talk about how much time I spent on Flickr looking for a photo that I liked, when I could have been ei...
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French knitting (20 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 20, 2010, In : Creativity 

I was a bit surprised that I hadn't written more craft-related blog posts this month, considering how much I talk (and think) about it, but then I realised that I've spent so much of my spare time blogging that I didn't have much time left over for crafting!

Despite that, I did find some time to play with my new crafty toy. It's a French knitting bee, also known as a knitting nancy or a spool knitter (remember those cotton spools with nails hammered into the top?). Most people come across thes...
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Georgette Heyer (19 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 19, 2010,

I first discovered Georgette Heyer's books when I babysat the children of a family friend. I can't recall now whether she loaned me some of the books, or whether I read them at her house after the children had gone to bed, but I do vividly remember that she had a whole shelf full of them, and I thought it was wonderful!

Once I started reading Georgette Heyer, I couldn't stop! I absolutely devoured her books as a teenager. The Regency romances were my favourites, but I also enjoyed her histori...
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The Sharp (18 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 18, 2010,

This post is dedicated to Jenelle! It's a response to her blog post about Icehouse that sprang from a fun Twitter conversation / singalong :)

The Sharp released most of their singles during my first couple of years at Uni. I saw them perform at Union House (University of Melbourne), and thought they were pretty wonderful!

They are probably better remembered for their skivvies and the big double bass than their music, but they really did create some terrific songs. I still play them on a fairly ...
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Hoya (17 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 17, 2010,

I have so many blog posts in draft form, but they need more polishing than I have time for tonight. *sigh*

So I thought I'd share a photo of one of my favourite things :)

Hoya Carnosa

This beautiful Hoya Carnosa is growing on my back balcony. I adore its waxy texture, starburst shape, sweet scent and velvety petals - truly a feast for all of the senses!

Hoya Carnosa is my favourite variety (we always had a plant growing next to my parents' front verandah), but there are many different Hoya species available ...
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Simon's Cat (16 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 16, 2010,

I'm tired and this is a lazy post.

But if you haven't met Simon's Cat yet, then you're in for a treat :)



You can see more videos at the Simon's Cat YouTube channel and at the official Simon's Cat website. Oh, and there's an app for that.


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In the firing line (15 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 15, 2010, In : Professional 

I don't normally blog about my workplace, but I'd like to share an experience that I had today.

This afternoon I spent four hours on the reference desk, and during that time I encountered what is often referred to in library circles as a "nutter".

Happily, not in person. My workplace is a special library, and is something of a closed shop to the general public. But we do have a phone number, and sometimes take questions from members of the public, as long as they are relatively easy and quick ...
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Coconut macaroons (14 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 14, 2010, In : Food & Recipes 

I know it hasn't been very long since my last recipe blog post, but I brought these coconut macaroons along to #creativebarter on Saturday and was told that I *must* post the recipe :)

Easy Coconut Macaroons

Easy Coconut Macaroons

Makes approx. 15

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tb cornflour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt

Method:

  • Combine coconut, sugar and cornflour in bowl. Beat together egg and salt, stir into dry ingredients; mix well.
  • Place heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture on to greased and cornfloured oven tray (or tray cover...

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Crochet lesson (13 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 13, 2010, In : Creativity 

Thank you so much to Kim for giving Ruth, Zaana and I our first crochet lessons on Saturday!

We were all terrible fumble fingers to begin with, but one by one we started to get the hang of it :)

Crochet lesson (2010)

My first attempt is pretty wobbly looking. I accidentally twisted it at some point, so I'm pretending that it's a crocheted Möbius strip ;)

Crochet, first try (2010)

I've been itching to learn crochet for *so* long! The technique feels very strange, especially for an ex-knitter (though not a very good one). I can see a lot of pr...
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Creative Barter Mark II (12 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 12, 2010, In : Creativity 

Today I spent an awesome afternoon with fellow Twitterers, librarians and crafters Ruth, Kim and Zaana when we met up for a #creativebarter swap session.

I've described #creativebarter in a previous blog entry - basically we swap items that utilise our own special creative skills. Kim creates amazing crochet pieces, Ruth makes gorgeous pottery, and Zaana is a talented artist and print maker. Oh, and I cross stitch amongst other things :)

I'd like to extend my personal thanks to Zaana for being ...
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Choices, choices (11 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 11, 2010,

Just a few days ago I was talking about plans on this blog. Well, Tim and I were pretty set on our latest plan, and excitedly looking forward to putting it into action.

And then ... I saw a job advertisement in my inbox. All of a sudden, we're looking at a completely different possible future - also an exciting one.

So instead of all the things that I expected to be doing tonight, we ended up hashing out the pros and cons of our two options, which included doing sums to figure out what we could...
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Walnut meringues (10 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 10, 2010, In : Food & Recipes 

This recipe for walnut meringues is one of my favourites! I usually double it because they're so yummy (and more-ish!). Meringues are much easier than you would think - try this out for yourself and see! The walnuts make them extra special :)

Walnut Meringues

Walnut Meringues
Makes approx. 10

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method:
  • Beat egg white until soft peaks form, gradually add sugar, beat until dissolved. Fold in brown s...

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Tumbling - again (9 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, In : Technology 

I've previously written a blog post about Tumblr, but I've decided to revisit it after posting a comment about it on moonflowerdragon's blog tonight.
 
I use Tumblr in addition to my more traditional blogging platform here. I use it differently - it's more for finding, recording and sharing sources of art/craft/visual inspiration that I find on the web.

Here's the link to my Tumblr - http://sallysetsforth.tumblr.com

It's very easy to use. There's a bookmarklet that makes it really simple to send ...


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Overcoming the collecting gene (8 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 8, 2010,

Sometimes I joke that collecting is in my genes - after all, both of my parents were avid collectors. But really, I was *taught* to collect from an early age. I learnt from the example set by my parents, and I was also encouraged to begin my own collections.

As a child, I collected:

  • stickers
  • anything related to Snoopy
  • badges and pins
  • Avon perfume bottles
  • novelty erasers
  • Princess Di memorabilia

At University I got hooked on science fiction and Star Trek, and began collecting bas...


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Strahan (7 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 7, 2010, In : Travel 

I'm in the mood for sharing some photos :)

I've just uploaded to Flickr a collection of photos taken on a trip to Strahan, on Tasmania's west coast, in August 2006.

We flew from Melbourne to Burnie to meet up with a friend who was working there at the time, then drove down to the pretty township of Strahan. We went for a walk along the beach, explored the town and had dinner at the pub. I loved our accommodation at Risby Cove - complimentary port! The next day we went on an amazing Gordon River...
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Pie fight! (6 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, June 6, 2010,

I've been feeling a bit low today, so I'm going to post a link to a video that never fails to cheer me up :)



This pie fight scene is from The Great Race. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon were wonderful on screen together (Some Like It Hot is another of my favourite films). Tony Curtis plays the hero, The Great Leslie, complete with sparkling white teeth. Jack Lemmon is the villainous Professor Fate, dressed all in black (he also plays Crown Prince Hapnick in a mistaken identity subplot). Natalie Wo...
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The best laid plans (5 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, June 5, 2010,

I've been thinking a bit about the ups and downs of planning for the future. I'm talking about personal plans, the 5-year and 10-year kind.

The problem with making these sorts of plans is that you never know what's around the corner. Career, family circumstances, relationships, health, study, etc. - all of these things can jump up and throw your plans into disorder.

BUT - that's no reason not to plan. We all need something to look forward to, and aim towards. In my own past experience, writing ...
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Kitchen-appliance-aholic? (4 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 4, 2010, In : Food & Recipes 

I suspect I'm not the only blogger dusting off old draft posts for the #blogeverydayofjune challenge, so here's one I prepared earlier ... *lol*

Some time ago, there was a discussion on Twitter about the joys of bench mixers. I regret to say that I still haven't used my Kenwood Chef to whip something up as I promised that day. You'll know when I do, though, because proud pictures will be posted!

That discussion got me thinking (and not for the first time, I'll admit) about the number of kitchen...
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Excitement! (3 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 3, 2010, In : Food & Recipes 

I've just arrived home after a lovely evening of dinner and DVDs with my Mum. The dinner was fish and chips (or in my case, a vege burger and chips) and the DVD we watched was a couple of episodes of early Poirot, starring David Suchet.

But the excitement that my blog post title refers to was in regards to a new local shop that we discovered this evening while waiting for our chips ...

An Indian grocery store!!!!

To put this high level of enthusiasm in context, you need to know two things:

(1)  T...

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Ode to the Book Depository (2 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, June 2, 2010,
Oh how I heart thee, Book Depository!
  • Your prices are so cheap, even after converting them into Australian dollars
  • Your postage is free worldwide, yes *FREE*
  • You have a wide selection of books that I would have great difficulty finding in Australia
  • You include a free bookmark with every order
  • Your books always arrive in Australia, all the way from the UK, within a week or two of ordering
  • You politely say "Thank you ever so much for placing an order with us" :)
This is not a sponsored testimonial, bu...
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#blogeverydayofjune (1 June)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 1, 2010, In : Professional 

An absolute flurry of tweets erupted today, with many of my library friends and colleagues from Australia and New Zealand committing to blogging every day in June. Thanks to @stephmcg and @flexnib for starting the ball rolling! :)

I've "signed up" to the challenge, partly to enjoy and participate in the community spirit of it, and partly to re-energise my blog. I found the experience of blogging every day of the Advent calendar in December to be both challenging (thinking of things to write ab...
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Japanese braiding (Kumihimo)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, May 22, 2010, In : Creativity 

A couple of weeks ago, I went along to the Stitches & Craft Show in Melbourne. I went on a bit of a shopping spree, but I also took the opportunity to go along to a class on Japanese braiding, run by Trish of TrishAlan Designs.

I'd never even heard of Japanese braiding (known as kumihimo) before doing the class. It's a bit like friendship bracelet making - which I never got the hang of in my school years - but there is a lot more variety to it. There are many different ways of making the braid...
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Hello again :)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, May 16, 2010,
Man, oh man, oh man! It really has been ages since I last blogged!

Whilst I won't go into all the reasons why I've been a bit quiet online lately (let's just say I tend to withdraw from the world when I'm under stress), there have been a few changes in my life lately ...

Our long-anticipated move north is on hold (again), this time due to family circumstances. We may still be looking at moving in July/August, but it will very much depend on what else is happening at the time. We'll just have to...
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Finding comfort

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, March 23, 2010,

The last month has very been stressful for me and my family, especially this last week. This isn't the place to go into further detail, so I'll just leave it at that. But perhaps it will explain the lack of blog posts - my mind has most decidedly been somewhere else!

I've got a backlog of half-complete posts waiting to be finished about VALA2010, the Tour Down Under, decluttering, and an assortment of topics inspired by Twitter conversations. Hopefully they will appear soon. In the meantime, t...
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Sorry about RSS feed problem!!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, March 5, 2010,
If you have received a bunch of random bizarro stuff from my blog's RSS feed - I am so sorry!!!

I don't know what's causing the problem. I'm only getting the strange posts in my Google Reader (not in Netvibes or My Yahoo! or anywhere else). It's affecting the direct feed as well as the Feedburner feed. The blog itself has not been affected, just the RSS feed. I don't know yet whether it will affect email subscriptions.

I've changed my passwords - this seems to have stopped the rubbish in the Fe...
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A young poet

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, February 5, 2010, In : Creativity 

I've been working my way through boxes of "stuff" that migrated from my parents' garage into our spare room many years ago, never to be looked at again. Until now, that is. In preparation for our move, I have been busily sorting and culling. It's amazing how much paperwork can build up over the years!

I'll write a blog post some other day on the treasures and embarrassments that I've uncovered along the way, but today I thought I'd share with you some poetry that I wrote 20 years ago in high s...
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Alternative VALA2010 dinner, Wednesday 10 Feb 2010

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, February 1, 2010, In : Professional 

I'm really looking forward to attending VALA2010. It will be my first major library conference apart from the New Librarians Symposium in 2008.

And although I'm looking forward to the presentations immensely, I'm also very much looking forward to meeting in person some of the amazing librarians that I've met via Twitter over the last year. And some new people too :)

I won't be attending the official VALA dinner on Wednesday night (I'm self-funding my conference attendance). But happily, this is...
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Busy year ahead...

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, January 20, 2010,
Well here we are in 2010 :)

It's going to be a very busy year for me and Tim, at least for the first few months. We're doing repairs and renovations around the house, doing a major cull of our possessions, moving interstate, looking for work - and who knows what will come after that!

Since Christmas we've had three large trees removed, a new toilet installed and other plumbing work done, new roof insulation put in, and we've thrown out or recycled several large bins full of 'stuff'. We've also ...
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Advent Calendar - Day 25 (Christmas Day)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, December 24, 2009,

Merry Christmas!!!


A very Roxy Christmas (2007)


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Advent Calendar - Day 24 (The Night Before Christmas)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, December 24, 2009,
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house ...

Nope. No silence here. It's more like a madhouse - we're running around trying to get everything done in time. And then when we realise that there's no way we *can* get everything done in time, we start compromising and working out what's still possible in the time available! Why does Christmas always seem to creep up so fast?!?!

Tim and I have both been slaving away in the kitchen for much of the day. We're having Christmas Eve din...
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Advent Calendar - Day 23 (Christmas Carols)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, December 23, 2009,
We finally finished the Christmas shopping today. We'd already bought all of the presents for Tim's nieces and nephews, but we still had a few adults to look after. Unfortunately, even when you know exactly what you want and where to get it from, shopping at this time of year is pretty nightmarish. We had to admit to ourselves, though, that our attempts to get it over with quickly probably made it even worse! Tim and I lost each other twice in all the rushing around!

Anyway, everything is now ...
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Advent Calendar - Day 22 (Career Guidance Film)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, December 22, 2009, In : Professional 
Thinking about becoming a librarian? Perhaps you should watch this vocational guidance film from 1947 ;)



You know, apart from the emphasis on books, I must say that this film's message and content has held up pretty well over the years!

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Advent Calendar - Day 21 (Vision)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, December 21, 2009,
Yesterday, when we were on our way to a Christmas BBQ with friends and former colleagues, a screw on my glasses came loose. That caused one of the lenses to fall out and render my glasses useless. We were already halfway to our destination (which was a fair way from home), and I didn't have my contact lenses on me, or the small glasses repair kit that I used to carry around (I used to carry a *lot* of stuff in my handbag!). So I resigned myself to a fuzzy day ahead.

I'm shortsighted, with a pr...
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Advent Calendar - Day 20 (Felt Christmas Decorations)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, December 20, 2009, In : Creativity 

I love finding inspiration on the internet, and when I came across this Zakka Life tutorial for felt Christmas decorations, I knew I had to make some!

I gave these to some good friends of ours as a housewarming gift :)

Felt Christmas ornaments (2009)

If you haven't come across the term "zakka" before, I'll take a stab at describing it. Zakka is a design movement encompassing a wide variety of hand-sewn household items, usually functional. Their style is often a little bit kitsch or cute. You can view some nice examples at the...
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Advent Calendar - Day 19 (Day of Rest)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, December 19, 2009,
I woke up this morning with a sunburn headache and a cold. As a result, I spent most of today in bed. So having done nothing today, I have nothing to blog about (except for the fact that I slept the day away!).

Unfortunately I missed out on a 1st birthday party that I'd been looking forward to attending. The 1-year-old's mum is an good friend of mine from high school who I haven't seen in ages. Hopefully we'll catch up in the new year.

I started feeling better after about 7pm, so hopefully this...
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Advent Calendar - Day 18 (Out and about in Melbourne)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, December 18, 2009,
In my previous post, I mentioned that I went along to the #socialmelb tweetup for a spot of creative bartering this morning. It was held at Mr Tulk Cafe in the State Library of Victoria. And it was the beginning of a very enjoyable day in and around the city for Tim and I.

After we left Mr Tulk Cafe, we did a spot of window shopping in Melbourne Central. We were hoping to finish our remaining Christmas shopping, but had no luck in that department. So we popped into a cafe for something to eat ...
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Advent Calendar - Day 17 (Creative Barter)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, December 18, 2009, In : Creativity 

Sorry about the lack of a blog post yesterday - I was stitching to a deadline and ran out of time!

I've been meaning to post here for some time about crafty stuff - crafts that I currently do and crafts that I want to learn. That blog post is still in the pipeline, but for now I'll show you my latest cross stitch project of robots mucking around in a photo booth :) (click on the photo to see a larger version on Flickr). The pattern was created by Krupp at Mr X Stitch. I loved the design as soo...
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Advent Calendar - Day 16 (Hot Day)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, December 16, 2009,
It's hot. 39°C to be exact.

We beat the heat earlier today by getting out this morning to do some Christmas present shopping. But now we're home, the air-conditioner is on, and you can expect very little activity (from me at least) for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, the computer is not in the same room as the air-conditioner, which is why I'm writing this quick blog entry and then skedaddling to the cooler part of the house :)


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Advent Calendar - Day 15 (Christmas Pudding)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, December 15, 2009, In : Food & Recipes 

All these Advent Calendar posts, and no mention of Christmas yet!

Well, last night Tim made the Christmas pudding. The recipe we use is slightly too big for our pudding basin (as we discovered last time when it popped the lid off!), so Tim made some mini puddings as well. They cook faster than the main pudding, and turned out absolutely delicious :)

Mini Christmas pudding (2009)

I love having a traditional Christmas dinner, although nowadays I substitute the roast with a nutloaf or something similar. But I still enjoy the r...
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Advent Calendar - Day 14 (Magnum P.I.)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, December 14, 2009,
I'm totally loving that Magnum P.I. reruns are back on TV!

Channel 7 had started showing them every now and then (and on a completely random basis) on weekends, but their new digital channel 7TWO is playing Magnum P.I. every weekday at 11am. I set the timer every day, and have been having a blast watching the show! :)

Tom Selleck playing Magnum is so much fun to watch. In fact, everything about Magnum P.I. is fun! The fast cars, the fashion, the camaraderie between the characters, the Hawaiian ...
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Advent Calendar - Day 13 (Roxy's 15 Minutes of Fame)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, December 13, 2009,
I can't think of anything to blog about today.

So I'll link to someone else's blog entry instead ;)

First Blog on the Moon - Reader's Pets (10 July 2009)

Earlier this year, Crikey's lovable cartoonist First Dog on the Moon put out a call for photos of reader's pets. I responded, and - voila! - our cat Roxy was featured on his blog! I was far more excited than she was, of course :)

P.S. If you do go and have a look at First Dog's blog, make sure to pass your mouse over the pics for more funnies ;)


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Advent Calendar - Day 12 (Camping)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, December 12, 2009, In : Travel 
We bought a new camping mattress today, one of those foam mattresses that fold up rather than roll up. Our old camping mattress finally died after many years of loyal service - it previously belonged to my parents, and to my grandparents before that! Tim and I have tried roll-up foam mats, inflatable mattresses, and those expensive self-inflating camping mattresses, but nothing was as comfortable as that old fold-up foam mattress. I hope we get a few good years out of this new one!

Although Ti...
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Advent Calendar - Day 11 (Job Application)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, December 11, 2009,
I've just finished labouring over the job application that I mentioned yesterday. I've now sent it in, and I think it was a good effort in the end (although my chances for this position are only so-so). I'm kind of buzzing actually - a bit like the feeling you get after completing a work project or handing in a Uni assignment!

I'm also feeling very fortunate today. In the lead-up to submitting the application, I was lucky enough to receive assistance from several fellow librarians in different...
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Advent Calendar - Day 10 (Quick Update)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, December 10, 2009,
Today's post is super-quick, as I've got to finish a job application tonight :)

Tim and I bottled the home brew last night and have 54 bottles of beer to show for it. We had quite an efficient production line going between the two of us as we sterilised, rinsed, primed, filled and capped all of the bottles.

Home brewed English bitter

We also had an electrician come around this morning to fix some lights and install an extra powerpoint in the study. Hopefully that should put an end to some of the power-related computer pr...
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Advent Calendar - Day 9 (Berries)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, December 9, 2009, In : Food & Recipes 

I picked some delicious berries from our garden today :)

Berry Harvest

On the left are raspberries, and on the right are boysenberries. The raspberries are especially sweet and delicious - so much better than anything you can buy! They were all eaten within 10 minutes of taking this pic ;)

Below is a photo of our berry patch. It was taken a couple of years ago (I thought of taking a new photo, but it's very overgrown and brambly at the moment!). Along the back wall are boysenberries and loganberries. Raspber...
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Advent Calendar - Day 8 (Career Planning)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, December 8, 2009, In : Professional 
Woohoo! I spent a good-sized chunk of the last few months working on my e-portfolio for a Uni subject, and today I received my marks - a High Distinction! The lecturer's feedback was great too: "Excellent portfolio, well done, the best by far". Squee!

Alright, I'll stop showing off about it now ;). But it was great to hear that the work that I put into the e-portfolio paid off. Unlike most other Uni assignments, the e-portfolio involved a great deal of self-reflection about my past and present...
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Advent Calendar - Day 7 (Jabberwocky)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, December 7, 2009,
Today I'm just going to share my favourite poem with you :)

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish th...
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Advent Calendar - Day 6 (Doctor Who)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, December 6, 2009,
I enjoy watching Doctor Who, although I'm not a mad keen fan - it veers a little too close to horror for me sometimes ;). But it's a show that holds a very special place in my memories, so I will always have a soft spot for it. The recent series with David Tennant as the Doctor has also been excellent - a wonderful reinvention of the show :)

I remember Doctor Who being aired in the 6.30pm time slot on the ABC when I was a kid. I have especially fond memories of watching it during the summer ho...
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Advent Calendar - Day 5 (lolcats)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, December 5, 2009,
I have a real soft spot for funny or cute animal pictures and videos. And yes, I love lolcats - those silly photos of cats with captions attached :). I visit I Can Has Cheezburger? every day for a dose of lolcat fun. Here's one of my favourites (so hard to choose!) ...

cat
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

YouTube is a great source of funny animal videos, and Roxy's reaction to cat noises that she can't locate the source of can also be pretty hilarious :). I'll leave you now, with what is possibl...
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Advent Calendar - Day 4 (Herb Garden)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, December 4, 2009,
This week I started a small potted herb garden to see us through the summer. It's just a temporary one until we move, but it's definitely worth it. There's nothing like adding herbs from your own garden to a home-cooked meal - especially when it's to highlight the flavour of some freshly picked vegetables from the same garden :)

I've planted parsley, chives, thyme and oregano. I may also try to get some sage and coriander growing from a previous season's saved seeds.

In addition to these potted...
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Advent Calendar - Day 3 (Pandan Coconut Milk Jelly)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, December 3, 2009, In : Food & Recipes 

Pandan coconut milk jelly

This is a great little dessert for the warmer months. It finishes a South-East Asian meal beautifully, but goes nicely with most other meals too. The use of agar-agar powder makes it suitable for vegetarians, and gives it a different texture to jellies made from gelatin. If you've never used pandan essence before, it is a real treat! It's bright green in colour, and has a distinctive sweet taste. I've heard it described as Malaysia's equivalent to vanilla.

Pandan Coconut Milk Jelly
Serves 6

Ingr...
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Advent Calendar - Day 2 (Home Brewing)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, December 2, 2009, In : Food & Recipes 

Tim and I decided that we have time to make a batch of home brew (and maybe even drink it all) before we move north. So today Tim dug the fermenter out of the garage and got started. He's sterilising the fermenting vessel and assorted paraphernalia as I type.

Once the ingredients are combined and the brewing process gets underway, we'll be ready for bottling in a week or so. It will be all hands on deck to sterilise, prime, fill and cap the bottles. A couple of weeks after that, it will be rea...
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Advent Calendar - Day 1 (Twitter)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, December 1, 2009, In : Technology 
I'm setting myself a challenge for December - an Advent calendar of blog entries! I'm going to write one blog post every day until Christmas. It may be a full blog entry, or just a short one with maybe a photo or a thought. But I'll post something here every day.

I got the idea from the title of a blog post by Dörte Böhner, who I follow on Twitter (@bibliothekarin). And since I first saw the link to that blog post on Twitter, I think Twitter would make a good subject for my first Advent post...
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Tumbling...

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, November 21, 2009, In : Technology 

If you've visited my site lately, you may have noticed a new entry on the left-hand menu. It's called "Tumblr" and it links to a web page with my latest ten Tumblr posts.

In case you haven't come across Tumblr before, it's a microblogging site, but it's quite different to that most well-known microblogging service, Twitter. With Tumblr, you can quickly and easily grab interesting things off the internet - web pages, photos, videos, quotes, blog posts, etc. - and display them on Tumblr with a c...
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Canberra - love it or hate it...

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, October 20, 2009, In : Travel 
Canberra is a city that seems to arouse strong emotions in people. Whilst a small proportion of the population may simply think it's 'okay' or 'nice', the vast majority appear to either love it or hate it. I certainly know plenty of people in both camps!

Me? I am firmly in the 'love it' category!

I lived in Canberra from 1999 to 2002. I moved there from Melbourne to take up a position with a large government department as part of their graduate program. I stayed for four years, working in a var...
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Thinking about mentors

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, October 7, 2009, In : Professional 
A few weeks ago, a dear former supervisor of mine passed away. He was a good man, and I very much enjoyed working with him and learning from him in my previous career in the public service. He was someone who I considered to be a valuable mentor to me, although not in any formal sense.

My reflections on this sad event, combined with a discussion on Twitter at the time about mentoring arrangements, had me thinking about the mentors - in my case they were usually also supervisors - who have enco...
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Study angst

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, October 4, 2009,
Ahem ... it's been a little while between blog posts, hasn't it? I can't believe it's October already! The time has been flying, but what have I been up to?

Well, at the end of July I went straight from work into full-time study. Surprise, surprise (not) I struggled to get back into the swing of it. Full-time distance study requires motivation and discipline, and I was lacking both.

One of the big differences between this time studying (to complete the Masters) and the last time (for the Grad D...
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New chapter

Posted by Sally Cummings on Wednesday, July 22, 2009, In : Professional 

This Friday is my last day at the special Government library where I work. My main role for 2 years has been a combination of conducting client (end user) training and reference duties, but I also spent 6 months selecting and indexing journal articles for an in-house database.

I've had such a wonderful time - I've learnt so much and gained confidence in my skills in several new areas. I'll be sad to leave this unique library and my first-rate colleagues, but I'm also looking forward to the nex...


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Vive le Tour!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, July 9, 2009,

A few years ago, while holidaying in Darwin, I got chatting with another hotel guest in the pool (as you do). She told me about the book she was reading, Lance Armstrong's auto-biography It's Not About the Bike, and recommended that I read it. That afternoon, I saw Dodgeball at the cinema, in which Lance has a cameo role. It was a sign, I thought, and when I saw his book for sale after my return to Melbourne, I bought a copy.

I'm not usually interested in athletes' biographies, but Lance has a...


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Magpies!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Friday, June 26, 2009,

BEWARE

The magpies are gathering in our street, and swooping season approaches. Help!

I used to look forward to spring. Who wouldn't? It's a beautiful time of year. But for the last 10 years or so, I have somehow ended up on the magpie hit list. Now every year I dread the coming of spring and the accompanying magpie nesting season.

Just in case I have some international readers, I should note that I am talking about the Australian Magpie. This is a particularly fearsome bird, quite large and with ...


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Back to school

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, June 25, 2009,

Tim and I are now planning to move to Darwin early next year (probably February) rather than late this year. The reason is a mixture of finances, renovations required to rent out our house, and an aversion to moving to the tropics in the middle of the build up.

At the end of July I'll finish work at the beautiful library where I'm currently employed. Rather than do temp work until the move, I decided that this seems like a pretty great opportunity to re-enrol in my Masters in Library and Info...


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6 days in Hobart (Part 2)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, June 9, 2009, In : Travel 

Sunday was museum day, and we started out at the Maritime Museum. I have a thing for swashbuckling tales of adventure, so was interested to find out more about Hobart's rich maritime history. More models of ships than I personally needed to see, but great stories made it a worthwhile visit.

Mum and I then went on to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, which provided an interesting combination of fact and fantasy. I loved the Antarctic exhibition, which included a 3D theatrette for viewing so...


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6 days in Hobart (Part 1)

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 8, 2009, In : Travel 

A couple of weeks ago, my mum and I took a trip together to Hobart, Tasmania. I figured I'd better write a blog entry about it now, while I have access to a working computer :). I've also uploaded some pics to my Flickr account.

We had a slow start, with fog in Melbourne delaying take-off for almost 3 hours. But happily that did not foreshadow any further problems! We stayed at Hadleys Hotel in Hobart's CBD. This historic hotel was built in 1834 by convict labor, and we found it to be well lo...


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Me and The Sims

Posted by Sally Cummings on Monday, June 1, 2009, In : Technology 

Well, the computer is almost back to its old self. The programs are reinstalled, passwords and preferences have been entered, virus checks are in order.

There's only one thing missing.

The Sims is not installed yet. No, not the brand new Sims 3 that will be released here on Thursday. No, not its precursor Sims 2. I'm talking about The Sims, originally released in 2000. Old school.

It's a bit clunky and prone to crashing, but it's my fave computer game. I can play with the characters that I...


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My reduced online activity over the last few weeks

Posted by Sally Cummings on Sunday, May 31, 2009,

No, I haven't forgotten my blog, although it's been quite a while since I updated. My tale of woe follows...

First there was my shoulder injury. Although it's feeling heaps better now, it still tends to feel sore at the end of a long day on the computer. So my optimism about it being a short-term injury was slightly misplaced. I would now say that it appears to be a result of over-use, possibly/probably mouse-related. So I will have to be careful in future to ease off when I need a rest, and ...


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I have an ouchy

Posted by Sally Cummings on Saturday, May 9, 2009,

My right arm started hurting on Thursday, getting progressively worse during the day. The pain was brought on by any twisting motion of the arm, which included using the computer mouse and keyboard, as well as using cutlery, lifting my handbag, getting dressed, etc.

I thought it might be a pinched nerve, but when I saw a doctor on Friday she diagnosed it as shoulder bursitis - a kind of inflammation. I was ordered to rest it for several days, but also to make sure it didn't become stiff (which...


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Working with the web...

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, May 5, 2009, In : Technology 

Wow, this last few weeks has been a real learning curve!

I purchased my domain name, selected Yola as my website builder and host, put together a bit of content, and published my site!

Well, I thought it was going to be that easy. It turned out that my domain name purchase did not include domain management, and I couldn't direct my site to my domain (hello hidden costs!). Enter: ZoneEdit to the rescue!

Yola uses templates to make it really easy to start up a blog and website. But, of course, ...


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Animal Kingdom is now open for visitors!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Tuesday, May 5, 2009,

If you look over to your left, you will see a new menu item called Animal Kingdom.The focus of this page is on animals, with particular emphasis on our cat, Roxy, and animal welfare issues.

At least, I think that's what it's going to be about. I hope that the 'static web pages' on this site will never actually be 'static', as I'll be updating them and adding new content regularly (I'll probably mention any major updates in my blog entries). So the focus of some of the pages may change over ti...


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Yesterday, I had a great day!!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, April 30, 2009,

- It started out with a terrific client training session in the morning, out at the clients' office. It was an excellent 2-way conversation and learning experience. We covered the library's services and resources, and much more besides. The session lasted just over 4 hours!

- After the training session, I took advantage of the inner city locale to visit a couple of interesting-looking bookshops. Yes, I found some lovely new treasures.

- I then enjoyed a very nice lunch at an atmospheric veget...


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What's it all about?

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, April 30, 2009,

The main reason that I'm starting a blog is to help me to communicate with family, friends and colleagues when I move to Darwin. But I don't just want to keep an online diary.

I'd thought about setting up a website and/or writing a blog for a long time, but I felt that it should be 'about' something. That's partly why it's taken me so long to get started. But now I've realised that I can't maintain a blog on just one (or two) subjects for an extended period of time, because that's not how my ...


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Sally sets forth ... with first post!

Posted by Sally Cummings on Thursday, April 30, 2009,

Righto, I'll start with some information about myself...

I currently live in Melbourne (Victoria), Australia. I've lived there for most of my life, with the exception of four years spent in sunny Canberra (Australian Capital Territory). Later this year, my partner, Tim, and I will be moving to tropical Darwin (Northern Territory) - a place we've always loved.

I work as a librarian, and think it's a terrific profession to be a part of. I really enjoy helping others find information and resourc...


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Sally Cummings

Artist. Designer. Crafter. Librarian. Foodie. Geek.
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Maneki Neko welcome image (by IcoJoy)

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