***Melbourne!!!***

29/10/2006

I arrived at Pinky’s place quite late in the afternoon. Pinky said that seeing as we met face to face I could call her by her real name “Tania” during my stay!

I was very tired after my trip so I unpacked my bag, changed into my jammies & got ready for bed. During my visit I’m sleeping in “crochet corner” which is very comfortable but has some strange residents! There is cookie monster, moomin troll, snork and 2 popples there – not my usual company, but they seem very nice! I have a big day tomorrow, so I need to get some rest!

30/10/2006

Today Tania took me into the university where she works as a fashion lecturer. I was very excited to see what things the fashion students learn – I might even learn something myself! The first person I met was Denise the receptionist at the front desk. She was lovely and showed me where she works and let me sit in her chair.

I then met some other lecturers, Peter, Sue & Robyn. Here we are in front of the display cabinets with some of the students work. They all thought I was lovely!

Here I am again with Sue and Robyn. This time in front of some interesting 2D work by Nyssa – one of the students I got to meet later on.

Peter then held me underneath the surveillance sign on the wall. He was making a joke about the peace sign badge he was wearing – I didn’t understand his sense of humour, but that peace logo was something from my era! You can see the RMIT logo here – Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology – that’s the name of the university. I was champing at the bit now to go and see what the students were up to and see what happens at fashion school!

I went around to the far studio and the first student I met was Kevin. Tania taught him in her corsetry class last semester. He was doing some tailors tacking on his jacket neckline.

He let me put his tape measure around my neck so I would feel like a pro – even though I’m still learning!

Then Kevin went to press his jacket with the big industrial iron!

It was a little scary as it made a lot of hissing and sucking noises – I didn’t want to get too close!

I forgot to mention too that classes officially ended last week. All these students were there working hard as they have assessment of their final project in 2 weeks. They have to do design development – 2D work, pattern making, 3D prototype garments and written projects – it’s a lot of work! Next I met Jeremy who was cutting out with a big pair of scissors!

Then Jo who was doing some interesting design work.

I then went into the overlocking room and met Melanie who was overlocking seams together. This room also has sewing machines that do all sorts of things – zig-zag, coverstitch, elasticating and eyelet and studding machines.

I then had a look at one of the other sewing machine rooms that is full of industrial plain sewing machines… and lots of student’s working hard!

I then got to see some pattern making action from Eloise and Grace. They were using a big plastic drafting ruler and drawing a lot of lines with pencil. I had trouble following – it was a very big pattern!

Sheila came to get some direction from Tania on sewing her final garment. Her “toile” looked interesting and she was really happy to meet me!

B.T.W. “toile” is a new word which I learnt today. It means “cut” in French, but in fashion terms means a trial garment made when pattern making to see if the fit and design is correct before making final patterns and final garment. Normally toiles are made from calico.

I met Sindy then who was looking for a pant “block” in the cupboard. Another thing I learnt today! A “block” is a very basic draft made to standard measurements which is used as a starting point for making a pattern.

Sindy then got some pattern paper.

And measured the pant length she wanted – I think she was making Capri pants!

She traced off the block and measured the length – this I understood!

Beth was making a men’s jacket that seemed enormous to me! I nearly fit in the pocket!

Tania then had a close look at Beth’s jacket. Poor Beth! She had to do some unpicking and she wasn’t very happy!

I tried to cheer her up with a hug but it didn’t really work!

She got it done though and then moved on to some more sewing. It was very interesting to watch – these industrial sewing machines go fast!

I met Lia then who has beautiful long eyelashes – the ones that are applied small sections at a time and last a couple of months. They are almost as lovely as my fake lashes!

Oh dear! Lia had to do some unpicking too – I wish I could help but my hands are too small!

Brit has lots of wonderful 2D & 3D work which I really enjoyed looking at. Brit really liked my hair and wanted instant growing hair too!

Brit was trying one of her final garments on Elizabeth – It was interesting but a little too modern for my taste!

I finally got to meet Nyssa whose 2D work I saw earlier. She was pinning together her garment.

Then she tried it on a “stand” and draped part of the front across. Again – a little too modern for me, I prefer something symmetrical and A-line!

B.T.W. a “stand” is a padded form which you can pin into and comes in standard sizes. Like a mannequin without a head! Wouldn’t a crissy sized “stand” come in handy?!

Emily then tried a bit of draping on me! Not my colour though and again too modern! Besides, I had to go soon, thank for the thought though Emily!

Just as I was leaving I saw Nyssa again and saw some “teaching action” with Peter. They were talking about coverstitch and binding and I got completely confused!

Then Peter told me about a fashion competition I could enter. I had to decline! I haven’t learnt enough for that yet!

I then went back to the office and met a few more of the staff members. Mick is the program director and he showed me the beautiful fashion drawings on his office wall. These are more my style!

I then met Liliana who gushed over me and thought I was absolutely gorgeous! She had lots of interesting things in her office too!

I then met Arthur, another part-time lecturer like Tania. He was having lunch and I was a little hungry by then so he shared some of his cucumber!

There is a “review” board in the lunch room with mainly movie reviews, but Peter put my visit up there! I got five stars!

I’ve had a great day and it’s been really interesting seeing were Tania works and meeting all those lovely students and staff members. Robyn gave me a brochure too for “Architecture & Design” at RMIT which the fashion program is a part of – in case I was interested in applying to become a student! I told her I would think about it!


31/10/2006

Today was Halloween – something that isn’t celebrated in Australia. I was a little disappointed to miss out on trick or treating, so to cheer me up Tania made some jack-o-lanterns out of oranges!

Here I am with the jack-o-lanterns on the mantle piece. They looked really spooky with the lights turned down!

Tania made a happy one, angry one, & a sad one!

We weren’t really expecting any trick or treaters, but just in case we had some “lollies” (which is what Australians call “candy”) in a glass bucket. We had minties – a chewy type of mint, & fantales – a caramel covered with chocolate.

The fantales have movie trivia on their labels and these ones were “Halloween” themed with spooky movie trivia. My label had some trivia about “The Omen”. That movie scares me and I didn’t really want to be reminded of it!


1/11/2006

Tonight for dinner we went to Tania’s husbands Patrick’s parent’s place for dinner. They have a lovely Australian native plant garden and I had a good look at their “callistemon” or “bottle brush” tree.

Pat fed the fish in the pond - they were a little hard to see. Note the low water level in the pond – there has been a drought in many parts of Australia and also water restrictions.

After dinner Pat’s dad Walery poured some vodka. He is Polish and had many different vodka varieties – a fancy one, orange flavoured – Patrick and Tania were having honey flavoured!


2/11/2006

Tania really wanted to take me to see some Australian animals, but wouldn’t have time this week as she had lots of renovations to do. This morning I was lucky though – there were some Aussie animals from Healesville Sanctuary featured on one of the morning shows on the television.

Healesville is about one hr drive from Melbourne and the Sanctuary is a zoo especially for Australian animals. I saw a wedge tail eagle and a koala.

I really like the koala. It’s a special type of mammal called a marsupial and has a pouch for it’s babies.


4/11/2006

On Saturday night, Tania made an Aussie roast dinner and though I didn’t get to see an actual marsupial or kangaroo this week I now got to eat one! I was a little unsure about the kangaroo meat at first....

But Pat assured me that it was pretty similar to beef!

I really like the cutlery Tania let me use – it had kangaroo’s, emu’s, echidna’s and koala’s on the handles!


5/11/2006

This morning I went down to the Mornington Peninsula with Tania and Pat. Pat’s parent’s have a holiday house at a town down there called “Rye.” Melbourne is a city built on Port Phillip Bay, and down on this peninsula you have the bay on one side and the ocean beach on the other. Rye is about one hr drive from Melbourne.

It’s a long weekend this week in Melbourne for the horse race “The Melbourne Cup” on Tuesday, so the purpose of this trip was actually a working bee! The garden at the holiday house is really overgrown so Tania, Pat and Pat’s dad and brother spent all day cutting back tough vines and demolishing a fence! I was happy to stay inside away from the dirt and mess and kick back on the couch!

I looked after Tania’s wedding and engagement ring while she worked outside!

I had a lovely view from the house – over the bush land with little glimpses of the ocean beach!


6/11/2006

We stayed overnight in Rye so that Tania and Pat could have a well deserved rest after all that hard work!

Before going back to Melbourne we went down to the Rye Ocean beach. There was a fresh off shore breeze – very good for surfing – not so good for beach going!

There are warnings on the sign about the rocks and currents on this beach that make it dangerous for swimming.

Tania lent me her “double dip” outfit and made me a zip on wetsuit top with a koala on the front to keep warm, so that I could have a supervised paddle in the ocean! I also have an Australian duffle bag to keep my beach towel in. It sure is windy on this beach!

Before having a paddle I watched a few surfers that were out on the waves. You can’t see them in the picture as they were too far away and kept going under the waves!

The waves were really big and noisy!

I had a little paddle in the ocean. It was very chilly even though it’s nearly summer. I can see why all the surfers wear wetsuits down here in the south.

I had a little lie down on my Aussie towel before we went – then it was time to go – I didn’t want to get too much sand and salt spray in my hair!

We then drove back to Melbourne after my lovely visit to the beach. For my last afternoon with Tania & Pat we went into the city on the train to catch some of the sights of Melbourne.

We caught the train to Flinders Street Station which is the oldest and one of the main train stations in Melbourne.

Here we are inside the main entrance to the street corner which has old fashioned clocks showing the departure times of the trains from the station.

Here is Tania & I outside on the steps under the clocks. This is a bit of a hang out place for teenagers, also a good meeting place for people “under the Flinders St clocks.”

The station is built over the railway line & has steps going down to the platforms.

This is a far away view of the entrance I was just standing under.

There are lots of souvenir shops close to Flinders St so I bought myself a lovely toy kangaroo with a “joey” in it’s pouch – to remind me of my meal on Saturday night!

We then went to a very interesting store called “Harvey’s” which is an old fashioned haberdashery store with very good quality sewing and tailoring supplies. Tania was buying a pair of dress making scissors for her sister.

We then went down Flinders Lane for a late lunch and a drink. They loved me at this little café and the lady let me watch her making the coffee.

We then headed over to the arts precinct and had to cross over a big bridge over the Yarra river which runs through Melbourne. In the background you can see the Rialto which is one of the biggest buildings in the southern hemisphere.

Here is the Victorian Arts Centre where lots of plays, ballets & operas are performed. It looks a bit like the Eiffel Tower! The flags in front are part of the “Spiegal Tent” which is an old travelling tent that is here every year for the performing arts festival.

Here we are in front of the National Gallery. We didn’t have time to go inside – maybe next time I’m in Melbourne! The glass I’m standing in front of is a very interesting water feature that looks like a curtain of water.

When we walked back over the Yarra river on the other side of the street you could see the M.C.G. (Melbourne Cricket Ground) in the background. This is Melbourne’s most famous sporting arena.

We went back to Flinders St to catch the City circle tram. This is a free tram that runs around the perimeter of the city to show the sights of Melbourne.

Electric trams run in a network all over Melbourne city and through the suburbs as part of the public transport system. The city circle trams are old heritage trams – most of the trams running around Melbourne are much more modern!

Here’s Tania and I inside the tram...

There were also lots of other tourists on the tram!

From Flinders St we went down to the docklands area which is just being redeveloped. Tania and Pat found this interesting as they had never been down there themselves.

Here I am looking out of the tram. That is the State library you can see in the background.

Here we are hopping off the tram.

It was then time to head back home on the train. I sure did see a lot of Melbourne today!

I met a new friend “Rob” on the train who admired my hair and face! Here he is with Pat...

It turned out Tania and Rob went to the same high school at different times. Melbourne isn’t such a big place after all!

I’m now getting packed and ready for my last week in Australia with Jason and his family.

Looking forward to more adventures here in Melbourne!

Thanks to Tania and Pat for having me – I had a blast!

xxxx, Crissy


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