Jazzed up

Having not one but two Sagittarians in my family kills me every year before Christmas and this week has been no exception. I took Mr R for a surprise live music treat watching The Meltdown perform at The JazzLab (the new Bennett’s Lane jazz club below) in our old stomping ground of Brunswick on Friday night. Given end of year fatigue has already set in, we only lasted a set before we called it a night but it was good to go back and visit the area.

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We completed a bit of a square walk around to the venue past Black Hearts & Sparrows wine shop (owned by a girl who does yoga with me), opposite the cavernous and rockin’ Brunswick Mess Hall which was fully booked for dinner and found the venue just behind the very cool looking Wick Studios. We probably should have had dinner at nearby Los Hermanos had we known how close it was to the JazzLab – next time!

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For the other Sagittarian in my family, we chose to go somewhere closer to home this weekend and considering the sign is that of the archer – we visited Glenn Ambrose at Ambrose Archery at 25 Orr Street in Heidelberg Heights (indoor targets above) which was heaps of fun! Mr Rosanna had never done archery before and hit the bullseye in his first round while I got my Katniss Everdeen on and also had a great time playing indoors. There were a number of serious archers there but it’s a great venue if you have older children – something where they compete against themselves but all together at the same time. You do have to self-cater but the assistants included an outdoor education teacher and they run a tight ship of three different sessions over the course of the two hours keeping things moving along. It was also quiet and surprisingly relaxing so I can highly recommend.

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I am hoping to now turn my head to Christmas and there are some lovely handmade things around the place that have caught my eye including these beautiful glass sculptures by Amanda Dziedzic being sold by The Design Files (above) and the latest ceramics by Sophie Moran (below).

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I’m also loving the handmade native floral wreaths (see below) by Barouche Flowers which can be picked up at the Alphington, University of Melbourne, Collingwood and Coburg Farmers Markets in time for Christmas. They come in 3 sizes for $35 (25cm diameter), $45 (30cm) and $60 (40cm). You can text Matilda on 0434 824 168 or email: matilda.simpson19@gmail.com It’s all about the feels now leading up to the big day!

A May Day

It’s suddenly got cold with the start of May and while I’ve loved the lengthy warm Autumn days, it’s nice to have had some rain.  There are a number of interesting local profiles I’m hoping to put up soon and it’s great that new businesses in the local area are enjoying very busy times.  It’s a sign that our local economy is in good shape and there is latent demand for products and services for local people, by local people.  Speaking of which, former local fashion maven Estelle Michaelides closed her bricks and mortar shop, Micky in the Van, in Ivanhoe a while ago but her bespoke and very ladylike womenswear is now online, with small runs made to order.  I’m currently in love with her Jack Jack Sweater in Kyoto Night.

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Image via Micky in the Van

Another sign of a good community is the amount of volunteering that takes place and there are many opportunities to give back by way of children’s sports, kinder and school parents associations, local council committees and local not-for-profit organisations and op shops.  I’ve seen a call out for volunteers at the Diamond Valley Community Support Op-Shop in Diamond Creek and have family and friends who have worked for the CPS Op Shop Rosanna (which has a new manager) and St George’s Anglican Church Op Shop in Ivanhoe East.

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Image via CPS Op Shop Rosanna

As for me, in the past 10 years I’ve volunteered for the Winston Hills Pre-School committee, Banyule Arts & Cultural Advisory Committee, in Visitor Services at Heide Museum of Modern Art and will step down later this month when my two-year Board membership ends at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre,  All in all, it’s been a really rewarding experience that has given me opportunities to develop myself personally and professionally, as well as put me in touch with lots of different people in the area and been a good thing to do both in between jobs and in conjunction with paid employment.

It’s perhaps a weekend to head indoors but the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios is on both Saturday and Sunday if you feel like a car trip.  Melbourne Farmers Markets on this weekend include Alphington, Carlton and Coburg.