Darwin Blog

Welcome to the Dry Craft Fair
Wednesday, 25 April, 2007, 7:46 am
Filed under: Observations

On Sunday just passed, I thought it would nice for us as a family to attend Territory Crafts’ Craft Fair.  In the past it has been a great event and over the past few years it just seems to be declining in numbers attending, number of stalls and the quality of product.

To put it simply, it was full of crappy crap!  What a waste of time.  With a couple of hundred dollars in the pocket to burn – it was hard to actually part with any money due to the lack of anything worthy to buy.

The exhibition, Wings, I think it was called was superb and as always I just love Ingrid Germanis work and in this case, especially her mosaic piece of birds – if I had somewhere to hang it, I would have bought it myself.  Another artist who I have admired for a long time is Brian Bulley – he work has such depth, emotion, feeling, passion – all of his pieces were sold – damn!  Ingrid also had a stand at the craft fair and I would say it probably was one of two worth looking at.  Ingrid has a knack of making sculptural pieces from driftwood and other bits and pieces she find – some of those birds had great personality!  Well done, Ingrid.

I was disappointed that Sonia Martingon didn’t have her mosaic pieces on display – they are beautiful and she is very accomplished at producing the “wow” factor pieces.  I am hoping to soon be the proud owner of one sometime soon!

The other stall worth looking at was potter, Cecily Wills.  She is an excellent potter and her work is well executed and extremely well priced.  I would have like to have seen more of the blue print pieces and because they do match my house, but the green ginger jars and teapots were fabulous.

The demonstrations were quite poor except for the marbling by Gillian Thompson – what a clever lady.  If you have have a chance to buy a piece of her marbled silk – my recommendation is do so without looking at the cost.  I have a few pieces that are long scarf lengths and I love them.  A friend of mine had a dress made out of a Gillian Thompson piece and it was to die for.

There were way too many beading stalls and some of them were just poor quality.  As Territory Craft is meant to be representing the quality craft makers in the Territory and encouraging others to perfect their craft, I think there needs to be some quality control enforced when people to sign up to be a stall holder.

What I did notice was the volunteers of the organisation – the lifeblood of Territory Craft – as it is a not for profit organisation.  The volunteers are an aging and I say, an old volunteer workforce!  Of course, many of them were the same faces you see each time you visit.  It was sad to see no younger people assisting or for that matter really involved with the organisation.

Maybe that is one of the factors that led Territory Craft to lose some of its funding – they need to get a much wider demographic involved and driving the organisation.  To start doing that, the organisation needs to deliver premier events that get people in the community talking about the event and hence, the organisation. 

It was sad to note many of the stall holders talking amongst themselves about the lack of advertising of the Craft Fair and I must admit, I am pretty across what is going on in town and I had no idea it was on until I received a newsletter, via email,  that I do every week that had a tiny article in it about the craft fair.

To my embarrassment, I asked another family to join us thinking the fair would be really good and it wasn’t!  They were too polite to say anything, but you could see the disappointment on their face.  But, we did get out of the house and do something a little different. 

I think I will give the next Craft Fair at Territory Craft a miss.


Friday, 20 April, 2007, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Mind Your Manners Miranda, Observations

I work in a office in the CBD of Darwin and at the moment there are a number of staff moving in and out of the floor space that my team and I sit in.

As most of the staff on the floor have moved out, the floor in general is quite bare and really a prime opportuinity whilst there are removalists in, to have larger items no longer required moved.  It is also a good opportunity to actually have a really good clean up.

I am the manager of my group and whilst I do not mind pitching in and helping out, I do resent the fact that I always seem to play a “mother’s role” when the space needs to be cleaned up.  I know the people I work with are clean and tidy people and can imagine them being so at home, but when it comes to being tidy and being poart of a team in trying to maintain a tidy and clean office space – it always appears to be only me carrying the flag.

You see I maintain that if your workspace is clean and tidy tasks do not seem so overwhelming and believe me, on a Monday morning when you come to work and everything is clean and tidy – how good do you feel and Monday’s don’t feel so bad after all.  Also, you are able to ascertain where you are with projects, re-prioritise and get super organised.

So not only do I do a general tidy up in my office – which took a whole five minutes as I am incredibly tidy and organised, I then spent and hour cleaning in the general office space.  I felt good when I finished, but was slightly annoyed at one of my staff members for basically pretending nothing was going on to avoid helping out.

She did proclaimed how good it looked and how much space “we” gained by me cleaning up and sorting things out.  The two women I work with also have a bad habit of just leaving things where they used them, rather than pack up/ put away when they finish using something.

I feel good and I will have a warm and fuzzy feeling when I walk back into the space on Monday and hopefully it will make a difference to the way their day goes and how they do their work.  Here’s hoping anyway!

The Laneway Cafe
Friday, 20 April, 2007, 11:50 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Darwin, Dining

Finally, it is the end of the week and I met up with my dear friend “B” for lunch at the Laneway Cafe.

Located in Darwin city, in the new TIO building at the top of Mitchell Street is the place to go for the best chicken BLT with avocado in the Territory for lunch – not too much and not to little, just right.

Run by a young chap, Christian, it has been in existence for the past two years.  Not only does he do great BLTs, he also has the best raisin toast in town.  He does a good trade and I somehow suspect that the prices aren’t too out there and that helps.  I understand the Christian opens the store on Saturdays and I know on occassions we have called on his services on Saturday morning when we have had a board meeting and need coffees.

We had a great lunch catching up and we even managed to fit in cake, but when don’t “B” and I fit cake in.  We have been known to go out for lunch whereby we only eat cake!

Looking for a good quick lunch and are at the top end of town, try the Laneway.

Alice Springs – More Recommendations
Friday, 20 April, 2007, 11:39 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Alice Springs

Sorry, I don’t have business cards for these shops but do recommend them. 

Novita Gifts – in the Alice Springs Mall – is one of the best gifts shops in the Territory and there is a great price range.  Takes a while to go through the shop as there is so much to look at and take in.  I always find amazing gifts in this shop for people and always get comments on where did I find it! 

Swank Shoes– Yerrepenye Shopping Centre – this is the flagship store and has a slightly different range to Darwin and a much bigger range of handbags and accessories than what they have in Darwin and I always buy something here when I go to Alice.  In fact every woman I know and many others I see, from Darwin, always find time to drop into this store when in Alice Springs for work and many are seen carting a Swank Shoes bag onto the plane home.

 There is a clothing store opposite Swank Shoes, can’t remember the name but I find good buys in there from time to time. Gondwana Gallery – Alice Springs Mall – used to have two galleries, was my favourite for a long time as I have bought art, ceramics and some amazing jewellery from here.  They have changed direction a lot, but when I was there last year, I still managed to buy some jewellery from there and is always worth checking out. Oscars – great place to eat opposite Alice Plaza 

Hanuman– Crowne Plaza – better in Alice Springs than in Darwin.  If you ever have the chance, eat here and skip the restaurant in Darwin.  The Darwin one is overrated.

 Bluegrass Restaurant – yummy food, great atmosphere for dinner and the menu is to die for. 

Piccolo Puccini– Italian café in an arcade that I think has Sussans in the front of it.  I always have a bowl of pasta here for lunch when in Alice – there is a dress shop and a gift shop down this arcade worth having a look at.

When next in Alice Springs, I hope you enjoy your visit and perhaps these recommendations will assist.

Dressing for Work
Tuesday, 17 April, 2007, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Mind Your Manners Miranda

You have the right to wear and behave how you want.  Anything you wear, say or do will be used against you.  You have the right to seek advice to ensure you do not make a complete ass of yourself.  If you do not know how or where to get advice from; you shall be Mirandarised!

Not so long ago, the Commonwealth Bank decided to issue a “grooming booklet” to assist its workers on how to dress and present themselves.  There was some attention in the media suggesting that such a guide infringed on the rights of its workers.  Bollocks! 

Look around your own office.  In mine today, there is a pair of very low hipster jeans complete with a “muffin top”, a tight “little” singlet and slippers, that really pass as fancy thongs.  Not to mention the tattoos on different parts of the body that are exposed.  That was just one employee who sits in the executive area of a large professional company. 

There is nothing wrong with a company seeking a certain dress standard for the staff they employ.  After all, the staff are representing the company and their attitude and pride in their appearance reflects on those managing the company. 

Dress appropriately for where you work.  Make sure that it is clean and pressed.  Tattiness is not acceptable anywhere.  A piece of clothing can be old and loved, but ensure it is in good enough condition to wear to the office.  It is ideal for men to wear shirts with collars as opposed to muscle shirts and tank tops.  In the tropics, short sleeves are the way to go.  If your workplace has casual Friday, it would be wise not to wear any item of clothing with offensive, obscene or lewd comments.  For females, I would strongly recommend building a work wardrobe for the week that consists of appropriate and professional work wear.  Anything exposing the midriff or extremely figure hugging is quite simply, inappropriate.  Any exposed muffin top is truly offensive. 

Also part of the package is cleanliness and tidiness.  Make sure you are clean i.e hair is washed and brushed, nasal hair is clipped and shave daily if you are a man, wear deodorant and brush your teeth.How you present yourself is a reflection on how you think about your workplace. 

If you work in an Executive area, the Managing Director would like to see professionalism, expertise and confidence ooze from the presence of his workers and this can rarely be achieve dressing in your weekend wear. 

Many offices have a casual Friday system whereby employees come to work in smart casual (including denim) and donate money towards charity for the right to do so.  Smart casual means exactly that, no torn jeans, clothes still need to be ironed and you still need to be respectable, if by chance a client comes in or you have to go to them. 

A good rule to go by is to dress for the job you want, not for the one you currently have!

Exotiq Homewares
Tuesday, 17 April, 2007, 11:51 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Alice Springs


This is a little taste of the tropics/ Bali in the desert.

Not sure if it still is, but the lady who owns the Swank Shoe stores also owns this store and although the store is somewhat out of the way – it is worth going to have a look and perhaps make a purchase.  The furniture is of excellent quality and they also have lots of small pieces for the home.  There is also jewellery available for sale.  There is quite a bit to look at.

a home like alice
Tuesday, 17 April, 2007, 11:38 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Alice Springs


This is a homewares/ kitchen shop and has a good variety of stock.  There is also a stock of gift items and have often bought gifts for the present box from here.  There is all sorts of kitchen gadgets, Maxwell and Williams and many other well known brand names (just can’t  think of them right now – sorry!).  This store is next door to Swank Shoes (yes, the original store started in Alice Springs) and there is also a good luggage store, an independent clothing store that can cater for the whole family and also a Woolworths in case you forgot to bring your toothbrush or pyjamas (like I did once in the middle of winter!).