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    Cat cafe playtime

    Posted in Lifestyle
    November 30th, 2014

    Last week I visited Australia’s first Cat Cafe in Melbourne (or Meowlbourne, as artfully put by Aoife Boothroyd).

    The kitty residents are delightful – some very inquisitive and playful, balanced by more sedate “don’t touch me” cats. The new policy about restricting children should also be extended to those who are Cat person versus Cat person person.  What does this mean? It’s the difference between people that like cats, and people who understand how to interact with other people who also like cats. It’s having an apprecation of whether someone wants quiet time or wants to play (being considerate about animals’ needs as well as the other people there).

    The main rooms can be quite busy with people depending on whether they’ve been booked out for that time slot (you enter on the hour). I didn’t really want to hang out with other cat people, I came for the cats – so I slunk off into another room and sat with the cats who don’t like others (we had lots in common – Clara and Lynx were the best).

    Two kinds of cats at Cat Cafe, Melbourne

    Cat statues

    We were relaxing together, and then another lady came along with her fancy noisy feather toy, waved it at the cat in my lap, then they ran off together into the sunset. She totally cut my [cat]grass, like I was lying on the beach telling my life story to the man of my dreams and a distracting vapid bikini type walked past. Of course the cat ran away of their own enticed will, but that lady should have been sensitive enough to realise that we were already having a nice time without her prying.

    It’s okay, I won in the end because I found some cat toys behind the couch which were very exciting for all the residents. It occurred to me that perhaps I’m more of a cat than Cat person or Cat person person.

    Lynx at Cat Cafe, Melbourne

    Lynx and reflection

    Of course you visit for the cats more than for the drinks (‘more cat playroom than cafe…’), I understand that this will change with the menu expanding in the future. Hopeful that they’ll have something like the delicious-looking high teas at London’s Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium or the organic local fare at Paris’ Le Café des Chats.

    Pirate cat at Cat Cafe, Melbourne

    ARR, matey!

    Some of the cats are also getting wise to photo shoots and offering their preferred poses  – this photo from Rachel is very similar to mine above. If the cats had some glamour shoots, I think people would buy good-quality photos. Australia’s first vegan B&B, Bed & Broccoli, already does this by selling prints of some of their animal residents.

    It would also be great if you could buy drinks as 1 for the price of 2, with the price of the ‘suspended coffee’ going towards all the cats or a cat of your choice (their very own tip jars). This could be tracked with donation boxes featuring each of the cats (the boxes could be mounted on the wall so the cats could climb on them, similar to perches featured in this article). Each cat could sponsor another cat currently in a shelter.

    I’d recommend a visit to the Cat Cafe, I was lucky as a walk-in, but it’s best to book ahead.

    Woodland zweiheit

    Posted in Lifestyle
    November 24th, 2013

     

    During our Hawai’i ceremony, I felt breathless like the Cure’s Love Song, the sun shone through the leafy canopy and the forest so kindly bore witness.

     

    I walked towards him at the waterfall, the celebrant said the words, and my partner gave the most wonderful and thoughtful vows. We exchanged leis which were made with an orchid called “Sonia” (purely a coincidence!).

     

    Wedding shoes Hawai'i

    Pink podophilia

     

    Thank you to Frieda Gayle, such a wonderful and thoughtful celebrant, who even hiked to several areas to find the perfect place and really did organise everything!

     

    Many thanks to Shawna Lee for taking us to the rainforest and the beach, and for your heartfelt hula and beautiful photographs. We couldn’t have asked for a more magical ceremony, and we are so grateful for all your assistance.

     

    Wedding hair by Rhubarb & me, flowers by The Snail and Petal

    Mother Barfoed with roses

     

    Yesterday we had a family celebration at a rural property in a Canberra valley, with thanks to Leonie for letting us picnic and croquet on her lawns. It was lovely to share a quasi-wedding experience with my family, as our Hawai’i ceremony was really an announced elopement.

     

    My dodgy photos won’t do justice to the beautiful flowers and food, so I’ll link to Leonie’s professional photos when they’re available. I’m looking forward to seeing the family photos, but I’m a bit worried about the couple ones, as being photographed is one of our areas for improvement.

     

    Quiche by Veganarchy

    Quiche by Veganarchy

     

    It was a very relaxed affair, but I think that’s because everyone contributed towards the day – there was even a gift of a hand-built deck in our backyard, so we’ll always remember this moment in time when we play on it. We also had a nice moment opening cards from overseas family, who also sent a traditional Norwegian spoon for sharing porridge. I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture of the food before it started being demolished (a good testament for vegan catering!) and melting in the sun –it was also amazing that the layered cake survived the trip in the bouncy Terraplane.

     

    Mum organised all the details – making the cardboard table pad, stamping the cutlery napkins, finding tableware and furniture, even down to hand-quilting a hot pink rug. Intense! I think it stems from her project management expertise. I am so thankful for her caring and organised nature and to spend this special moment together.

     

    Wedding cake by The Cake Cabinet

    Wedding cake by The Cake Cabinet

     

    We forgot to bring our board games (carcassonne and dominion), but my father and brothers had set up a croquet lawn, so we enjoyed pretending to be in Wonderland. Somehow one of the brothers Barfoed managed to break one of the mallets, I didn’t realise it was such a violent sport.

     

    Sonja with croquet mallets

    Mallets with unknown collective noun

     

    It was nice to see all the furry cows and hear the kookaburras’ songs. There was a spot in the forest that reminded us of our ceremony spot in Hawai’i, a funny connection between such different landscapes.

     

    Sleeping groom with boutonniere by The Snail and Petal

    How to plant a flower

     

    You can see below, Mr. Cat on my veil (made by Effie Dee), and the largest earring contains one of my Grandma’s gallstones. She always said they should be made into earrings (my previous post provides context), so artists Lan Nguyen-Hoan and Tarn Smith have been transforming them with silver. When the series is complete I’ll share better pictures. It was really gratifying to fulfil my Grandma’s wishes and feel like she attended, in a way.

     

    Sonja with Effie Dee veil and gallstone earrings by Lan Nguyen-Hoan and Tarn Smith

    The gallstone wish

     

    We had a wonderful experience at the ceremony and the picnic, and I am so glad that we both decided to speed-date on that fateful night so many years ago.

     

     

    Our excellent (and of course highly recommended) facilitators:

     

    Hawai’i:

     

    Celebrant: Frieda Gayle, first listing on Kauai directory

    Driver, photographer, hula dancer: Shawna Lee

    Hair & make-up: Chelle at Koloa Town Salon & Day Spa

    Marriage paperwork and local advice: Ellen at The Wine Shop Kauai

    Pizzas: Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza & Burgers

    Post-ceremony art exhibition enjoyment: Galerie 103

     

    Australia:

     

    For both events:

     

    Dress: Claire at Nocturne Design

    Veil and brooch: Effie dee and her shop with custom made pet portrait brooches

    Tux t-shirt: Millie at T-Bar Canberra Centre

    Gloves: inherited from Grandma

    Shoes: second-hand online

     

    For Canberra picnic:

     

    Gallstone jewellery: Lan Nguyen-Hoan & Tarn Smith

    Hair & make-up: Jess and Anne at Rhubarb & me

    Flowers: Anna at The Snail & Petal

    Wedding cake: Nie-kiewa at The Cake Cabinet

    Vegan picnic catering: Gabby at Veganarchy

    Photography (beautiful pictures to come, the ones above are my dodgy ones) and venue: Leonie at Snowgum Studio

     

     

    Tusen takk! xxx

    Veiled kitty

    Posted in Lifestyle
    September 15th, 2013

     

    I’m not sure, but I think our cats know of our Hawaii elopement plans. We are leaving today and they are treating us with suspicion and disdain. More than usual. I do hope they like our housesitter.

     

    I’m relieved that things are mostly organised for our Canberra wedding picnic, even though it’s a few months away. This is in contrast to our “plan when we get there” Hawaii ceremony in a couple of days. I have the dress, shoes, veil, jewellery and gloves. I inherited the gloves (as well as a jar of gallstones) from my Grandma a few years ago, it was quite emotional to go through the bag of gloves and think that we were holding hands through time. I miss her a lot.

     

    I found a hot pink remote controlled helicopter, but didn’t find a good spy camera (as an attachment) to undertake the wedding photography. So I might find a real life spy but this could be too derivative of Sophie Calles’ The Shadow (1981).

     

    Cats with veil by Effie Dee

    Cats with veil by Effie Dee

     

    Effie Dee, a splendid (and very patient) artist, made my wonderful veil with spare fabric from my dress, with a clay portrait of Mr Cat. I wanted to have a photo of one of my cats wearing the veil so they felt more included before we abandon them, but they were uncooperative. So impetuous. Im-PET-uous. Ms Cat is trying to charm for attention in the background, and Mr Cat is being unimpressed with me, or sniffing the netting? Or it is a two-headed cat.

     

    Pineapple drawing by Vicki

    Pineapple drawing by Vicki

     

    This week, my work team sent me off with a great surprise morning tea resplendent with inflatable palm tree. Vicki drew this pineapple on the whiteboard and everyone was wearing very kitsch grass skirts and leis, and the table was covered in vegan food (everywhere you looked, it was themed, even the printer wore a skirt. They would be great wedding planners). I had been told it was a “mandatory work meeting” so of course I was freaking out that it was something bad, and then I saw the team dancing in Hawaiian shirts. Quite unexpected!  My social awkwardness in being surprised (but of course, very grateful and touched!) reinforced to me that our plans for private ceremonies are the absolute best thing to do.

     

     

    I’ve been looking forward to the holiday, but it’s like a time lapse video of a plant growing, it’s mainly just shaky and I will feel happier when it blooms into the actual holiday. I hope to see the Bishop Museum’s Lego exhibition and the Hawaiian Hall, and to gaze at the stars at Mauna Kea. I will send the cats a postcard so they don’t feel excluded.

     

     

    Terrarium Moon Day

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 10th, 2013

     

    I received a really fun gift from Iome, a DIY terrarium kit from Perth-based the little green project (amazingly survived in the mail!).

     

    Moss terrarium DIY kit from the little green project

    DIY kit from the little green project

     

    It was custom-made with a cat statue, even though the cat is stretching (relaxation?) I think the pose looks quite similar to my Mr. Cat’s pre-bathroom aerobics. At least the terrarium will be a great litter tray for Miniature Cat – and a small cat will only make snail-size turds.

     

    Completed terrarium from the little green project

    Completed terrarium!

     

    In contrast, the biggest terrarium I’ve ever seen was in the 1986 Troll movie with Julia Louis-Dreyfus (check out the trailer), when an apartment block is converted into troll land with lush greenery and a humidity only matched by butterfly rooms. Luckily our cats patrol the area to ward off nasty trolls, and to protect the nice Norwegian ones.

     

     

     

    Snail start to blogjune

    Posted in blogjune, Lifestyle
    June 3rd, 2013

     

    blogjune – it’s the third of June so here is a three day wrap-up! Changing from monthly to daily posts for this month was possibly a little ambitious, but maybe this will further focus my time management.

     

    I was unwell on Saturday so I was sad to miss the opening of Blaide Lallemand’s painting exhibition at CraftACT’s pod, Lonsdale Street Traders. Make sure you head along! If you’re not based in Canberra, there’s also a video of the interactive paintings.

     

    To console myself, I watched lots of episodes of Dawson’s Creek, I’m now up to Season 5, episode 4. There are only six seasons so there’s not long to go (then I’ll be beyond consolation). Perhaps I should frame this as a sociological study of the 90s, but my viewing is mostly for nostalgic reasons (and as background refamiliarisation before I watch Apartment 23). It also means that the cats get to hear their favourite sitcom intro song, in addition to increased lap time and being harassed by toy dinosaurs.

     

    The butterfly and rose were shocked to discover that neither seemed as they had appeared. Darn internet dating!

    Meadow Argus butterfly on John Maddock and sons “Old Rose” plate

     

    I spent Sunday cooking minestrone soup, chocolate coconut cake and spaghetti veganaise. The vegan chocolate coconut cake was very successful – I adapted a Taste recipe by replacing the butter with cocoa butter (expensive but the value is in the flavour) and milk with soy milk, and flour with hazelnut meal. I also added cocoa nibs. I guess I just can’t follow recipe instructions. Verdict from Mr. Sonja was “delicious”. It’s a lot better feedback than “What happened?” or “Very rustic” (hmm).

     

    I reduced my tyre changing rookie status, but the bolts were so tight that I had to stand on the wrench. It was like the fairytale where the princess wishes she was heavier (the princesses received their weight in gold as a reward, another variation was choosing between being dipped in oil or gold). It was unpleasant but not as bad as last week when I almost crashed because the tyre burst. Drama, excitement! The biggest reward in changing the tyre was finding a lovely butterfly on the ground, I was sad it had gone to the great nectar in the sky but I do secretly enjoy collecting them.

     

    Today (Monday) I planned lots of library tweets for the @aliangac account (ALIA New Generation Advisory Committee) and culled a swarm of emails (it’s good to know that cialis is still popular!). While I was at work today there were lots of lovely sunbeams coming in through the windows and I managed to catch all of them around the building with my feline hunting skills.

     

     

     

    Liedekijn cat

    Posted in Art process
    December 31st, 2012

     

    I’m excited to be part of the liedekijn group exhibition which will be held at the Front Gallery, Canberra, from 26 March – 8 April 2013. Each artwork will tell a different part of The Song of Heer Halewijn, so you’ll get to move around the gallery and read the story.

     

    Liedekijn cat

    Cat sitting on liedekijn drawing.

    The part of the story that I’m drawing is when Machteld first sees Halewijn in the forest, she has been lured by the music of Halewijn’s lute. Enchanted by the spell, she embraces him – despite being surrounded by hanging bodies in the trees, his previous hapless victims.

     

    As you can see, my Miss Cat is unimpressed by my efforts thus far, below her you can see a large lute which I’m thinking about floating somewhere in the air (as Machteld and Halewijn are embracing, it is tricky to incorporate this instrument). You can also see Halewijn’s muscular legs (surrounded by cape and resplendent with pointy cuffed shoes), it almost looks like Miss Cat has squashed him like in Lady Cottington’s pressed fairy book.

     

    The liedekijn artworks from the exhibition are also being made into a full colour artbook – the fairytale has been translated from the olde Dutch so this will accompany the artworks.

    You can preorder this limited edition book via the liedekijn bigcartel site. Today is the last day for discounted preorders!

     

    Some of the works in progress are on the bigcartel site, plus the images are being updated on the artists page of the liedekijn site. There’s additional information about the artbook and exhibition on the general liedekijn site.

     

    The story has a dark beauty but it might make you hesitant to venture into the woods!

     

    Adorable kitten rescue news flashback

    Posted in Event, News
    August 19th, 2012

    Monday 20 August is RSPCA’s Cupcake Day – remember to pat a puppy, make a donation and eat some cake!

    Karen Roberts reunited with her pet kitten.

     

    The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was established in Victoria in 1871. The main goals were to reduce the ill treatment of horses, and since then the Society received the Royal Warrant. The RSPCA has helped lots of animals, here’s one rescue story of a kitten that was “treed” in Perth:

     

    On 17 December, 1949, a former miner climbed a tree to rescue a small black kitten. RSPCA inspector D.H. Roberts took the cat home but then she escaped the following day. Luckily the kitten found her way back home and was reunited with Roberts’ 3 year old daughter Karen. There is another article that assures us that the cat was affectionately cared for – just in case we were wondering why she kept running away. The unnamed cat had her own litter of kittens in 1950 (mentioned at the end of this article).

     

    Other animal adventures

    Perth-based RSPCA’s Inspector D. H. Roberts also played a part in rehoming “Nelson” (“Lady Hamilton”) a grey seal, relocating a swan, and helping “Creamy” – a dog trapped in a well.

     

    Adorable! Remember to support the RSPCA and be kind to all the animals in your life.

    All news stories are from Trove’s digitised newspapers.