The Crafty Minx at Home

When Kelly Doust was a teenager she, like many ofus, didn’t have the budget to buy the items she saw in her fashion magazines.

Instead she would take a clipping to her favouriteflea markets and charity shops and look for alternatives – even if that meantchopping off a sleeve here and lifting a hem there.

“I just always loved the element of finding fabulousfabrics. There were just so many beautiful fabrics and I just wanted to knowwhat to do with them,” she said.

The skills needed were self-taught, although she hadwatched her mother sewing from a young age.

Later in life, those same skill sets would beapplied to homewares from reworking lampshades to fashioning hot water bagsfrom cashmere jumpers that had seen better days.

Kelly, who has just published The Crafty Minx atHome, her fourth craft book, said she believed there was “a big push back todo-it-yourself”.

“It always happens when we are in economic strifebut we also live such sedentary lives and we don’t make anything. We just sitat computers.

“But people are going back to making things. Most ofthe craft in the book are fairly short projects because I am a quick fix girl –and that’s a growing trend.

“Even a lot of wool is much thicker these days soyou can knit faster.

“And I did a course last year quilt-making. But it’sdone by string piecing and it’s really tricky but very clever and fast.

“A lot of people want to do craft perfectly and Ithink that seizes people up. There’s not much fun in thinking you are justgoing to keep going until you get it right.

“That’s something you have to unlearn. You need tothink ‘if it doesn’t fit, then just chop it off’, that’s my attitude.

“To be creative you have to be kind to yourself andalso just be bold.”

Kelly said with her latest book, which includes morethan 50 handmade and upcycled projects “for beautiful living”, she hoped tohelp people think laterally about what they could achieve.

“People will show me something and ask what they canbe. Perhaps it’s a dress that can become a blouse, people need to beencouraged.”

Kelly said everyone had the ability to be “crafty”.“I think I just indulge in it more. When you work at it, you get good at it.And it’s something I have learnt through having a real interest in it.”

Kelly said if anyone was looking for an easy firstcraft project they couldn’t go past that hot water bottle cover.

“That was the first thing I ever did as homewares. Ibought a beautiful old cashmere jumper, put a hot water bottle over it, choppedaround it, sewed it by hand and put a heart on it in contrasting fabric. It wasa beautiful thing to own or give away.

“And I actually prefer hand sewing – you can do itwhile you have a chat.”

Kelly said one of the reasons she was drawn tovintage and upcycling was because of the great quality of older items.

“And you can always dip into things from the pastand still have beautiful new things as well.”

Kelly, who isalso a brand ambassador with Vinnies, said her move from being a publicist to awriter came when she fell pregnant and it just seemed like the right time.

“I felt like I had hit on something,” she said.

But with four craft books under her belt, Kelly saidit was time to venture into something new – this time, a novel.

“I feel like I have done with my craft books for awhile,” she said.

“I have explained themessage to have a go, enjoy being tactile, and enjoy old things and give them anew life.”

Kelly Doust.

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Coalition event made lewd jokes at PM’s expense

Julia Gillard Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Mal Brough. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

Part of the menu at the Liberal Party function.

A menu that made lewd and offensive jokes about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s anatomy was used at a fund-raiser for federal Liberal National Party candidate Mal Brough.

The menu, used at an event earlier this year, lists ”Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail” before going on to describe it as ”Small Breasts, Huge Thighs & A Big Red Box.”

The revelation comes as Ms Gillard reignited the so-called ”gender wars,” on Tuesday, during a speech in which she argued that women’s voices in political life would be ”banished” under a Tony Abbott-led Coalition government.

Her speech at a Labor women’s event has drawn fierce criticism from the Coalition – who have called her comments desperate – and has even been questioned by Labor MPs.

But union leader and Gillard supporter Paul Howes tweeted that the menu proved Ms Gillard’s gender attack on the Coalition had been right.

”The irony of course is that Mal Brough and @JoeHockey have proven the PM right despite the LNP’s howls of outrage over the last 12 hours.”

It had been suggested that shadow treasurer Joe Hockey attended the event where the menu was used.

But on Wednesday Mr Hockey tweeted that he did not remember seeing the menu.

”I don’t recall ever seeing any such menu. It is offensive and inappropriate whenever it was put out and it is now,” the tweet said.

A spokesman for Mr Hockey could not confirm the shadow treasurer had attended the event in question, saying Mr Hockey attended a number of fund-raisers.

The Opposition Leader condemned the menu during a visit to the Gold Coast on Wednesday, but said Mr Brough’s preselection would not be affected.

”I condemn it as Mal Brough has. I think that we should all be bigger and better than that,” Mr Abbott said.

It is understood Mr Brough will release a statement about the menu on Wednesday. Fairfax Media has also contacted him for comment.

The Liberal National Party issued a short statement condemning the menu in the ”strongest terms” and confirming it was used at a ”small local event” in March.

”This card was not produced or authorised by the LNP or the candidate.The content of the card was absolutely unacceptable and has no place at any LNP event,” it said.

The menu also makes jokes about former Labor leaders Kevin Rudd and Simon Crean as well as Treasurer Wayne Swan.

It lists ”Rudd’s A Goose Foie Gras” and ”Simon Crean Pollen and Grilled Kilcoy Grass-fed Tenderloin”.

It also features puns such as ”Please ensure you eat up all your greens, before they take over completely,” and ”You will be served Liberal amounts of Wine.”

Mr Brough, a former Howard government minister, is the LNP candidate for the seat of Fisher, currently held by former speaker Peter Slipper.

Last year there were calls for Mr Brough to be disendorsed after a damning Federal Court judgment found he was involved in actions to discredit Mr Slipper.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Shorten ‘believes’ Gillard will lead to poll

A key ally of the Prime Minister, Bill Shorten, has backed Julia Gillard saying he ”believes” she will lead the Labor Party to the September 14 election.

Mr Shorten refused to be drawn on speculation that MPs have been lobbying him to take part in a delegation of Ms Gillard’s supporters to tell her to step down for the good of the party.

When questioned whether Ms Gillard would lead Labor to the election Mr Shorten said on Wednesday morning: ”I believe so.”

Leadership speculation has been swirling since late last week when former prime minister Kevin Rudd gave a highly publicised interview at the end of the parliamentary sitting week before throwing himself into a busy schedule of visits to Labor seats to campaign on behalf of government MPs.

Ms Gillard has been resolute this week in her determination to stay in the top job but has again faced questions about her political judgment after giving a speech on Tuesday in which she warned that a Coalition government would mean a return to a fight over abortion rights and a country run by a sea of ”men in blue ties”.

Ms Gillard’s comments on abortion caused unease among government MPs who have no desire to reignite a political debate on the issue.

Labor MP Ed Husic said on Wednesday morning that he would prefer to see other issues dominate the political agenda.

”I think there are other issues . . . [such as] health care or superannuation that legitimately have an impact on women that should be definitely discussed within the political arena,” Mr Husic said.

The blue tie comment drew the criticism of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who pointed out that Mr Rudd was wearing a blue tie while visiting a Sydney electorate on Wednesday.

”Quite a few MPs have blue ties on today,” Mr Abbott said.

Mr Rudd joked about his choice of a blue tie for Wednesday’s appearance saying ”like most blokes” he relied on his wife and daughter for fashion advice.

”If I had to get rid of all my blue ties I’d have to get rid of about a third of my collection,” Mr Rudd said.

Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton said on Wednesday the Coalition had no plans to change the existing arrangements in relation to abortion.

”The only ingredient that has changed in politics . . . is the prime minister’s in a desperate situation and her leadership is on the brink,” Mr Dutton said on ABC radio on Wednesday.

”When you’re looking at the leadership skills of the prime minister, people are blind to gender.”

Mr Shorten defended Ms Gillard’s comments on gender.

”Clearly there is a difference between our Prime Minister and their leader in terms of social conservatism and reproductive rights,” Mr Shorten said.

”I know what the Prime Minister meant. She said there’s a clear difference when it comes to the role of women in Australian workplaces.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Man of Steel sequel gets early go-ahead

Henry Cavill stars as Superman in Man of Steel.Will you like Man of Steel? Warner Bros are so confident you will, that even before it had its world premiere on Monday they were already fast-tracking the sequel.

In the process they have locked in Zack Snyder to direct again, Christopher Nolan to return as producer and David Goyer to take up the super-pen where he left off. Not only that, Goyer has also been given writers duty on Justice League – DC Comics’ answer to The Avengers.

The premiere acted as a starter’s pistol for reviews of the highly anticipated Superman reboot, which were largely positive.

Both to its credit and detriment, depending upon the reviewer in question, the film has been widely noted for its all-action style.

“To the oft-asked question of whether or not the world is really starving for yet another superhero origin story, Man of Steel simply responds by serving up what could be as much spectacle and action – minute-by-minute, frame-by-frame – as any movie anyone could think of,” writes Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood Reporter.

“Zack Snyder’s huge, backstory-heavy extravaganza is a rehab job that perhaps didn’t cry out to be done but proves so overwhelmingly insistent in its size and strength that it’s hard not to give in.”

Scott Foundas at Variety was less impressed, concluding “a humourless tone and relentlessly noisy aesthetics drag down this heavily hyped, brilliantly marketed tentpole attraction”.

Both reviewers made particular note of Hans Zimmer’s score, which Foundas described as an “unceasing Wagnerian bombast”.

Online movie hubs were consistently stronger in their praise of Snyder’s film.

“Zack Snyder has made an epic and heartfelt adventure that successfully reboots the Superman character in a realistic, and humanistic way,” wrote Germain Lussier on SlashFilm.

“Man of Steel is easily the most exhilarating and arresting interpretation of Superman yet,” says Simon Reynolds from Digital Spy. “When Cavill’s predecessors took flight it all seemed so leisurely. Here, his lift-offs are positively supersonic.”

Criticism from these areas has focused on Snyder’s extensive use of hand-held camerawork and overly strong suggestions towards the Jesus Christ metaphor.

Ultimately the reviews are confident the film will do well and should form the foundation for a new Superman franchise.

Alonso Duralde at The Wrap suggests “even if it doesn’t quite soar. Snyder’s direction feels far more assured than it did in the misfires of Watchmen and especially Sucker Punch, and now that the requisite first-movie origin story has been accomplished, the movie lays the ground for what could be some thrilling sequels featuring a Superman who’s both exactly what people want to see and a significantly different take on a well-established character.”

The now-confirmed sequel will likely come before the Justice League ensemble as Snyder recently commented that “completely hypothetically, I feel like you need to get Superman a little further down the road, I think, before you can do a Justice League movie.”

It’s been a remarkable journey for the film – and its Australian director – after the largely negative reception to Snyder’s work on Sucker Punch and the disaster that was Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns prompted early concerns that the film could kill both Snyder and Superman for good.

Australian film writers have not been shown the film yet, however Roadshow announced on Wednesday that Snyder, Henry Cavill who plays Superman and Russell Crowe, who plays his father, will attend a premiere of the film in Sydney on June 24.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Climbing Uluru: it’s more complicated than you think

“There’s something else,” says John Sweeny, a guide at Uluru, “but we can’t talk about it.”

He’s referring to the vexed question of the gigantic rock we now stand beside: to climb it or not to climb. It’s been debated before and will be debated again, and right now we’re in the middle of another one.

I know you’re not supposed to climb it, and I’m happy to respect that. But what’s the local Anangu people’s opposition to tourists ascending Uluru?

“They’re concerned about safety,” John had said earlier, translating from Sammy Wilson, an Anangu man. More than 40 people have died attempting to climb Uluru, and the Anangu feel personally responsible when it happens. They don’t want innocent people dying on their land. Fair enough.

They also can’t understand why anyone would want to climb it, John says. There’s “Tjukurpa”, or Aboriginal knowledge expressed in stories, to be found right the way around the base of the rock, wisdom to be gleaned from the trees and the dirt and the rocks. That’s where people should be. At Uluru’s summit, however, there’s no Tjukurpa, and therefore no reason to go up there.

That’s why they don’t want people to climb. And, John says, “there’s something else”.

We can’t find out what that is because it’s private knowledge, something the Anangu want to keep to themselves. For a white person not brought up with the respect for tradition and storytelling that Aborigines have, that can be tough to get your head around, but that’s the way it is. That’s all we have to go on.

It’s what is missing from this explanation, however, that’s the most interesting thing for me. I’ve always been fine with the idea of not climbing Uluru out of respect for the Anangu’s wishes; however, I was under the impression that a key factor in those wishes was that Uluru is a sacred place, and that people treading on it is akin to desecrating a holy site.

But that’s apparently not the case, at least for some.

There are plans in place, John says, to close the climb completely. Then, he adds, some Anangu would like to develop the climbing route, increase the safety standards to something similar to the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, and reopen it to those willing to pay for the experience.

That solves the Anangu’s first issue of safety. It also, of course, negates any opposition on the grounds of Uluru being a sacred site. It’s difficult to justify banning people for religious reasons one day and then welcoming them back for a fee the next.

It demonstrates what a complex issue this is. Some Anangu want the climb closed entirely. Others want it developed as a tourist attraction. And most of us will never be told one of the reasons behind all of this because it’s private knowledge.

Meanwhile, the tourists are coming. Jetstar has just opened up direct flights from Sydney to Ayers Rock Airport, and millions of dollars have been poured into the refurbishment and rejuvenation of Ayers Rock Resort, the only accommodation in the area. There’s the expectation, clearly, that visitor numbers to Uluru are going to be increasing, meaning more and more people will be asked to make that decision.

To climb, or not to climb? At the moment, it’s up to you.

I still won’t do it. It’s enough for me to just walk around the base, to watch the rock appear out of the darkness at sunrise, to have that “Eiffel Tower” moment of seeing in the flesh something you’ve been shown so many times in photographs before.

And there’s nothing so enticing about standing on top of Uluru that I would go against the wishes of people who’ve lived beside it for tens of thousands of years in order to check out the view – regardless of the reasons behind those wishes.

But, having heard new sides to the debate, I have less opposition to those who have a different point of view.

Have you climbed Uluru? Would you like to? How do you interpret the wishes of the Anangu people?

Email: [email protected]杭州夜网


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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