Plugged vs Unplugged

I know people who stubbornly refuse to plug-in and engage with technology. They have a basic Nokia phone, can create a very basic Word document, can’t use the internet and like to say how bad it is that all people do these days is swipe their phones. Five minutes later they will ask me to look something up on mine, which is kind of funny so I point it out.  Whatever, it’s fine. That’s their choice and apart from the frustration of not being able to text them, they are not hurting anyone, they are still nice to people, they demand nothing.

I know other people who stubbornly refuse to unplug. They have email conversations with work colleagues at 3 am (hero-mail) and like to cc others so everyone knows that they were hard at work at 3 am. They will jump online at 10 pm and send out a raft of emails after spending half the day talking to people in the hallway. I was once told by a boss that they and another worker were in at 2 am on Sunday morning and my commitment questioned (true story). These people stubbornly refuse to unplug and expect everyone else to be plugged-in all the time too. This is definitely harmful to others. I’m not so concerned about them because they choose to live like that, but they have no right to expect it of the people around them.

These examples represent two ends of the PvU (Plugged vs Unplugged) spectrum, most people fall in the middle somewhere. We can choose how and when we want to be plugged in and when to put the phone or tablet down. It is as simple as that. Or is it? I’ve been told often enough “you’re always on your phone”, so maybe it isn’t.

After deciding that I wanted to join in the conversation ‘Plugged vs Unplugged’ I started jotting (typing) notes and sentences that came into my head as I worked on other things. I couldn’t come up with a story though, or an argument or a theme. 

Plugged and unplugged are great.

Plugged and unplugged are lonely and awful.

Plugged and unplugged take self-discipline.

Ah yes, but there are no revelations there. So I went to the internets and googled “the argument for plugged vs unplugged” hoping to find a bit of inspiration on the topic of whether or not to be on the internet (irony?). On page two I came across this article by Casey N. Cep in The New Yorker from March 2014 called The Pointlessness of Unplugging. The author talks about the fifth annual National Day of Unplugging and how people participate in the event, the reason they participate (the enlightenment crowd vs the efficiency crowd) and how the next day they return to being plugged in and whether it made any difference. I liked this piece, you might too.

I glanced at a blog post in which Facebook is described as “shallow comfort”. This description really resonated with me. When I was a postgrad. student Facebook was a massive time waster, along with the rest of the internet. I had Ph. D. friends who deleted their accounts because it was easier than trying to manage it. I went through a phase where I deleted almost everyone from Facebook so that I was left with less than 30 friends, and they were actual friends. Not people I had met once, or see every day because I have to, or because I spent 12 years at the same school with them, they were people who I cared about, would meet for dinner or coffee and who I thought about often. It was good for a while, I had unplugged a little from the world. I didn’t have Twitter or Instagram, I had very few Facebook friends, it was so much easier! I was cynical about all social media, it seemed like every photo on Instagram was over-styled or over inspirational, I didn’t get it and I didn’t want to. Then without realising it I had stagnated. I wasn’t engaging with the world unless I had to. I wanted to curl up in my cave, read, water the plants, craft, and take bite-sized pieces of social interaction from the select few. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this, but I learned that for me it is not a good permanent state. I needed to engage and I needed technology to do it.

Students from the online Inspiration Information Class.
Inspirational and Informational friends. Thank you technology!

On a whim I signed up for an online course and long story short, the people were lovely and I ended up with 6 more Facebook friends. Then I tiptoed out into the world a little more and I ended up with two more, then four more Facebook friends. I also see these people on Twitter, Instagram and in person. We get to share images, GIFs, dumb stories, crafty stuff and local events. We feel connected and in touch without the pressure of one of us having to entertain at our house or all of us spend a lot of money on eating out.

Super Mario Bros.

Facebook if used inappropriately can still offer shallow comfort, for me the key is to recognise the warning signs. Ella talks about scrolling and scrolling until you feel slightly nauseated and then wanting your lost minutes (hours?) back. I have done this many times. Not a good use of technology! This used to happen to me playing Nintendo when I was a kid, suddenly 2 hours had passed and I felt weird and it was time to go outside!

Lisa talked about going off the grid for a few days and it sounded lovely. Once I was on a ferry from Alaska to Washington and there was no wifi for most of the trip. Like Lisa we read, played cards, stared outside and wandered on deck. It was so good, and it was windy and freezing outside so you felt refreshed. The Magpie Diaries talks about FOMO and my goodness do I GET her! What IF I just deleted all those emails? Maybe I will. One day.

The Mummy and the Minx muses on letting go of her phone so it can be repaired, spending time on social media and being aware of how we use it. I try to be aware but often I fail miserably. Iris and Edie talks about her balanced approach to technology and the opportunities being plugged-in provide.

I’m really enjoying reading all Plugged vs Unplugged posts and being part of this conversation. You can read the inspiration for this conversation at Design for Mankind. Erin’s piece covers the good and the bad, and was the trigger for this conversation. And check out the link-up brought to you by our super nice motivator Pip Lincolne.

Signing off from one platform to check another,


Dead Air and New Projects


It has been a while since I posted (a month maybe?). I’ve been writing but the posts are idling in draft until I finish or fix them, which is fine. Blogging for me is an experiment, about learning new skills, and for connecting with the lovely people who take the time to read my ramblings (thanks!).  This lack of word-time has been due to a combination of being busy with new projects and wanting to write something well researched and factual, rather than the rambliness of the last two posts. I really wanted to write about Palmyra and why we should care about its destruction. I started to research and write about it but I couldn’t do it justice in the time frame I had allocated, but I’m hoping I can get back to it soon. To be honest I was also a little concerned about attracting the wrong kind of attention, but that is the wrong reason to not write about an important topic.

I’ve been wanting to write about my tiny efforts to be sustainable, the hurdles I encounter and how difficult it can be to change your habits. Maybe I will do that, but until then check out Treading My Own Path for excellent non-judgy sustainability and zero-waste advice and information.

I’ve also been wanting to write about achievements in space exploration in 2015. Just a list of sorts to highlight how exciting things are being done by humans on and off the planet. Sometimes it helps to remember that we are so teeny and unimportant relative to the Universe and that the dumb things that happened to you today won’t matter in 10,000 years. Just don’t think about it too much, it can get a little depressing! To see snippets of exciting space-related news check out the Planetary Society’s twitter feed.

Etsy Made Local Melbourne Market advertisement.
Etsy Made Local Melbourne Market

Now onto the new projects I mentioned earlier. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I joined the team of volunteers who are organising the Etsy Made Local Melbourne Market. On November 28 Etsy markets will be held simultaneously across Australia (see here for more info) and feature only local Etsy sellers. Last year the Melbourne market was held in the evening at the Rose St Market in Fitzroy, and it was a great success! This year we wanted to hold the market in the day so the hunt for a venue began. After many emails and searches we settled on Rupert on Rupert and Allpress in Collingwood. We are super excited to be partnering with these venues and you can find out more about the event on our official website. By volunteering to help I thought I might be required for set up on the day, maybe help a bit with logistics or contacts or printing, but nothing too major. It turns out I was quite wrong, which is totally great! I’ve found myself working with an unexpectedly amazing group who have thrown themselves into the task of planning, organising, and running the event with such gusto and enthusiasm it is infectious. Everyone has brought their own skills, experience and talents specific to their background, but are also willing to take on new roles and learn new skills to make sure all the work gets done and the event is as successful as possible. How brilliant is that! I’ve been very lucky to connect with such great people, and it shows that stepping out of your comfort zone every now and then is good for the soul and will take you along paths you never expected. We are always told this, but words are words and advice is only advice until you do something that makes it real and tangible for you.

Melbourne CBD Brown Owls. Crochet and paper pearls.
Melbourne CBD Brown Owls

Another fun side project, and also on the topic of stepping out of your comfort zone, is organising Melbourne CBD Brown Owls meet-ups. Brown Owls is a crafty group started by Pip Lincolne and Kirsty Macafee. You can read about it’s beginnings here and more about Brown Owls here. If you want to join up you can find your closest chapter here or here. (Phew, that’s a lot of links!). The idea of taking over from the lovely former leader Lee tumbled about in my head for several months before I finally sent the email. I wish I was one of those people that walks into a room of mostly strangers and gets excited by the idea of meeting new people and all the exciting conversations and connections that will ensue, but I’m not. Talking to strangers is a bit terrifying, but something I need to practice, and Brown Owls seemed like a nice way to step out of my comfy cave, take a deep breath and hope that I don’t say anything too stupid. Of course nothing bad has happened. Everyone was just grateful that someone was willing to take-on organising the monthly meet-ups and give them a chance to eat Madame Brussels’ famous chicken sandwiches and spend an hour or two on their chosen crafts. Every lady (only ladies have attended so far, but gents are welcome too) that has attended has been a delight. Conversation topics are varied, and everyone is happy to share their skills, knowledge and supplies with other Owls. I couldn’t have asked for more! There is no pressure to chat if you don’t wish to, and you stay as long as you like. If Brown Owls sounds like something you might be interested in definitely check out the various websites, there is no requirement to come every month, no pressure to talk, no pressure even bring a craft! It’s just nice.

Etsy Make For Good Silver Earrings
Etsy #makeforgood sterling silver earrings from Miss Bitsandpieces.

Finally, if you have a few minutes and particularly if you need a gift for someone check out Etsy Australia’s #makeforgood page here. In Ety’s own words… Etsy’s Australian community of makers, designers and curators have got together to #makeforgood and create a silver lining for girls living in poverty. At least 20% of the value of each item featured in the #makeforgood collection will be donated to Because I Am A Girl, a Plan International initiative. The money raised will provide grants to 150 Cambodian women to start their own micro businesses. So get shopping to support Australian and Cambodian small business!

I hope you are having a lovely day! Speak soon,


Hi Everyone, I’m Deanna and I’m a…



As I write this I’m not sure if I’m joking or not. That’s the permanent state of the Gorman-lover, or Gormanite. We’re a crazy breed of ladies who will call every store in Australia AND New Zealand , eat only cup noodles for one month, stalk eBay, and go to other great lengths to get our hands on our Gorman pretties. Sometimes tears are shed, that’s what true love is like.

I recently found a Gorman Buy and Sell group and sadly it has added fuel to the Gorman fire that burns in my otherwise ice cold heart (joking! I also love tea, and Lego, and comfy blankies). What I have also found is a group of ladies that share a love for something that I love, something that no one else I know loves as much as I do. I have found my people. My Gorman people (cue online group hug).  The camaraderie is great, Gorman-girls helping other Gorman-girls to fulfil their dreams of owning complete Grocery Boy outfits, long out-of-stock and lusted after rain coats, and ridiculously cool dresses.

It is so darn great that you can find your clan(s) online now (no, not the clan game. Although the “Larry” advertisement should win an award).  I imagine that growing up, particularly in high-school, would have been a lot easier if I’d known that there was a group of folks out there who were into the same crazy things I was. A group where I could comfortably discuss my love of Indiana Jones, black and white movies, the X Files, sequin dresses, as well as endlessly quote The Simpsons, without my friends going ‘here we go again, smile and nod as she rambles’. I know that growing up in the age of social media has its downsides (thank the universe that Facebook wasn’t around when I was in high school) but I hope for most kids the good outweighs the bad. Like all things, approaching it with moderation and an understanding of when to walk away and when to run is the key.

Which brings me back to Gorman. Moderation and Gorman are two words that can’t exist in my brain at the same time. Just like you can know a particle’s momentum or precise position, my brain can know moderation or Gorman, but not both.  I’m working on it though, one day at a time. What’s your dirty little secret obsession? Or not so dirty and not so secret obsession? Keep it clean! I also have a nail polish and makeup problem, but that’s a post for another day. Here are a few Gorman pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Gorman Dresses
Gorman outfits, AW15 and AW14. Images © 2015 Gorman online.

To end this post I would like to announce that I am going to do Buy-Nothing-New September. Well, yes it is meant to be BNN October, but I am starting early. This may not sound very difficult for you, but with new limited edition nail polish releases, new and old Gorman online and in store, and the endless possibilities offered by new craft supplies, trust me…. it is difficult for me! So, now I have declared it publicly I will do my darndest to stick to it. FOMO will not win this month! *shakes fist at FOMO*



Disclaimer: I wrote this post because I wanted to! Gorman does not endorse anything I have said.

Bits and Pieces About Being in the Garden

Hi-hi! I hope you are having a pleasant week, one where nothing too exciting happens but nothing bad happens either. A nice week in which you are allowed to cruise along and enjoy your surrounds.

I try to fit in a bit of garden time each week or fortnight. Sometimes it is minimal (tidying up the plants on the balcony) and sometimes I’m outside helping others in the garden for a full day… rake or shovel in hand. These are good days. Particularly in winter when there is a chill in the air, some days it is windy, some days you have to go inside until the showers pass. On all days the air is crisp and clear and the birds are chirping loudly.

A few weeks ago I was raking an expanse of mostly wet and compacted leaves. After picking up one pile I turned around to find this little fellow enjoying the fruits of my labour (read: bugs that I had disturbed while raking). He was so close and not scared at all, so cheeky!  Once he had finished snacking he waited on a very low branch for me to clear a few more piles.

Kookaburra on ground and in tree.
Mmmm bugs. Hey little kookaburra!
Weeping Blue Spruce
Weeping Blue Spruce (I think!).

Here is a photo of one of my favourite plants. Pretty sure it is a weeping blue spruce, but I’m happy for the gardeners out there to set me right! I love the green and blue/grey needles, unfortunately the photo doesn’t do justice to either the green or blue, but looking at it still makes me happy. Every time I walk past I say hi to the tree and ask how it is doing. Do you talk to your plants? You should, it makes them happy*. Actually I talk to quite a few plants. Plants have feelings too! And they give back! Have a look at what a big old pine tree left on the ground for me, and the oranges that will be used in a delicious orange loaf. (*I have no data to back up this claim).

Orange tree and cluster of pine cones
Orange tree and pine cone cluster.

I am very conscious about how extremely lucky I am to have access to such a nice garden, and that not everyone does. But whether you live in a teeny apartment or have a house and land, there is something you can grow that is just right for your surroundings. And if growing isn’t your thing, that’s cool! Maybe grab a cheery bunch of flowers every now and then, just to bring the outside in? And if you know someone who can’t grow flowers or plants, maybe cut something from your garden or purchase a little bunch for them (if you can).

And here are a few more pretty pictures, because pretty pictures make the internet world go around! I think the first image is of some kind of heather. It started growing one day and has gone crazy! Ditto for the native violets, they love the cold weather, and they are appearing all over one section of the garden, including in pots that they were never planted in (thank you birds!). The two bright pink and red flowering plants are rhododendrons and camellias, so pretty! And finally the daffodils and erlicheer, these bulbs just keep going! Every year they pop up and fill the garden with happiness.

1. White bells - possibly a heather plant? 2. Pink rhododendron. 3. Purple native violets. 4. Stunning pinky-red camellia. 4. Tree fern. 5. Jonquil erlicheer.
1. White bells – possibly a type of heather? 2. Pink rhododendron. 3. Purple native violets. 4. Stunning pinky-red camellia. 4. Tree fern. 5. Jonquil erlicheer.

Do you have a favourite plant? I love violets! And I adore the flowering quinces with their crimson blossoms. I hope there is a pretty garden, or trees, or pot plant, near you that you can enjoy too!


Where to Begin and Taking Stock

*deep breath*


I’m Deanna, welcome to my teeny corner of the internet. I’ll be writing about whatever takes my fancy, some topics will be important, some frivolous, some will be a mini lesson, and some will be me musing on a recent event or a nagging thought. Don’t worry, I won’t be nagging you though.

First blossoms of 2015. Blossoms near Heidelberg, Melbourne. I decided to start a blog after telling a friend how much I used to like writing at school. There was a range of subjects covering both the humanities and sciences, and we delved into so many topics but over a short time frame. From Jane Austen to fuel cells, the Solar System to comparative religion,  and Tudor England to the biomechanics of throwing a ball, essays never became too epic. I don’t want to write a book, or write professionally, I just want to write a little about things that interest me. So thanks lovely friend, your “well, why don’t you?” was the nudge I needed.

Creating anything and putting it out to the world can be darn scary! So to guide me into the blogging world I enrolled in the online course Blog with Pip (BWP) by the delightful and super supportive Pip Lincolne (creator of Meet Me At Mikes).  One of the homework tasks in BWP is Taking Stock (you can see one of Pip’s here), it is a chance to step back and consider where you are, what you are doing, why you are doing it, what you want and what you have been thinking about. When I was considering where to begin this blogging adventure, Taking Stock seemed like a perfect place to start. I tried not to over-think the answers, maybe next time I’ll be a bit more creative!

Making : a crochet blanky
Cooking : banana bread muffins, chicken pie, orange cake
Drinking : strong hot soy flat white (yep, annoying huh?!)
Reading: Blog With Pip lessons, and Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
Wanting: one month off work!
Looking: for my copy of Creativity, Inc. (it’s around here somewhere!)
Playing: Julia and Jacques, and Doctor Who DVDs
Deciding: what to be when I grow up
Enjoying: my long weekend
Waiting: for my first Etsy sale payment to clear (wheeee!)
Liking: Doctor Who reruns on ABC
Wondering: what to be when I grow up
Loving: african violets
Pondering: what to be when I grow up (have you noticed a theme?!)
Considering: which orange cake to bake
Watching: Doctor Who, Julia and Jacques’ Cooking At Home 
Hoping: the lemon tree produces lemons this year
Marvelling: at how you can grow a new african violet plant from one leaf
Needing: to do some exercise
Smelling: coffee
Wearing: too much Gorman
Following: lots of new blogs by the BWP students
Noticing: cherry blossoms are blooming!
Knowing: less than I had hoped
Thinking: about blogging
Admiring: people who keep getting knocked down but soldier on anyway
Sorting: craft supplies
Buying: too much second-hand Gorman
Getting: a coffee-induced headache
Bookmarking: lots of new blogs
Disliking: ego-driven people
Opening: an Etsy shop… scary!
Giggling: at Julia and Jacques episodes
Feeling: like a walk in the park is needed
Snacking: spelt banana bread muffins
Wishing: the weather would stay cool
Helping: whoever asks
Hearing: the fridge and traffic

Phew! That’s a lot of taking stock! Which reminds me, does anyone have a really good vegetable stock recipe? Preferably without onions (hello FODMAP, but that’s a post for another day!).

Well, I think that’s all for today. Thanks heaps for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog, I know how busy you are! Feel free to comment below and I’ve included a blank Taking Stock for you to try, go on… it’s fun!


Now over to you…

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :