Cool stuff

All by myself from Richard Dunn on Vimeo.

I’m still laughing at this video even as I type up this quick post.  Richard Dunn found himself stranded at an airport after his flight was cancelled last week, so using his iPhone (and a wheelchair and a roll of packing tape) he set out to make a music video.

It starts strong and then it gets better.  Three thumbs up.

(Related: SOUR GRAPES.)


Marina Abramovic and Ulay

by Elizabeth on May 24, 2014 · 1 comment

in Art, Cool stuff

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in.  When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMA retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her.  Ulay arrived without her knowing it, and after 22 years of separation this is what happened.

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These gifs are from Tumblr so the original source is probably lost forever, but you can read a more detailed account of the story here.

Here’s the full video:

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An & Ria’s first flight

by Elizabeth on May 4, 2014 · 3 comments

in Cool stuff, Videos

Two elderly Dutch ladies fly for the very first time.

Watch the whole thing – it will make you smile like a crazy person!


I’m the latest fan of this kickass bedroom looper, Kawehi.

She recently created a $3000 Kickstarter project to fund her Robot Heart series – a collection of songs created from a robot girl’s perspective – and exceeded her goal by a further $25,000.  People seem to be really, really into this artist and it’s not hard to understand why when you see her perform.

Her cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box (above) is the first time I’ve seen another artist attempt this song and do it justice.  Yeah, I’m pretty protective of the original.

Despite her success Kawehi doesn’t take herself so seriously that she won’t hang out in her bedroom with her dogs while she records.  It’s refreshingly “real” for an industry so obsessed with presenting an image, and I love that.  And her dogs, who get progressively funnier during the video above.

And hey, are you into pretty girls who do kickass stuff while singing bad words?

I can’t wait to see what she does next so I’m basically stalking her on social media now.  If you want to do the same here’s where you can find her stuff:


Happy Friday everyone!

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A boy and his dog

by Elizabeth on March 23, 2014 · 1 comment

in Cool stuff, Stuff, Videos

A  little film about a brave little boy named Owen and his  three-legged dog.

(I know, you’re not crying.  You just have something in your eye.)

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Feelgood video of the day

by Elizabeth on December 11, 2013 · 1 comment

in Cool stuff, Funny Stuff, Videos

She thought she kept hearing fireworks and couldn’t sleep, so we sang to keep her mind preoccupied. In the end, nothing competes with fireworks.

– Benjamin J. Ames and his 4 year old daughter


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This prank took some serious commitment and attention to detail!  I love how plumbing their mate’s house with warm beer was out of the question…

(I’m just going to go ahead and file this one under “DIY”.)


#69 – Bake a rainbow layer cake

by Elizabeth on August 16, 2013 · 9 comments

in 101 in 1001, Cool stuff, DIY, Food, Life



#69 in my 101 Things in 1001 Days project: Bake a rainbow layer cake!


I’ve been wanting to make a rainbow layer cake for the longest time, ever since I first laid eyes on Meg Duerksen’s beauty way back in 2009.  I can’t imagine that anybody could look at these happy colours and epic proportions without breaking into a smile, so it’s the perfect cake for a celebration.

Ever since Pinterest showed up on the scene I’ve had almost weekly reminders of how damn pretty this cake is.  The desire to make my own kept getting stronger, and when I realised that three of my favourite people had birthdays coming up in the same week I knew it was time.

Finally, an occasion worthy of this beautiful giant!




This was my favourite stage of the cake making process, when all of those vibrant layers were stacked up high and nothing had fallen over!  At this point I realised how important it was to get those colours right before throwing it all in the oven.  I was a bit sad about the prospect of covering everything in white frosting, but after a handful of photos I got on with the job.  After all, nothing beats the ‘wow’ factor of a plain white cake with surprise multicoloured guts!

The next day our friends came over to help us break in the new BBQ I bought Tim for his birthday.  When it was finally time for dessert I lit three candles for each of the birthday babies.




I imagine it’s pretty tough being my friend.  I mean sure, maybe I’ll invite you over for lunch and maybe it will be really delicious, but if it had anything to do with my 101/1001 list you’d better not touch a thing on your plate until it’s been photographed!  Luckily due to the height of this cake the pieces were all pretty skinny, so I was able to feed my friends before whisking away the rest of the cake to take the photo above.

My friends make fun of me a lot.


Tips!  I have some.

If you have a failsafe plain and dense cake recipe then stick with what you know.  If (like me) you don’t have a go-to recipe that you trust, don’t be ashamed of using a packet mix that’s been tested in a million different kitchens.  My little cousin was mortified when I came clean about this, but I’m super happy with the result and I think somebody owes Mrs Crocker an apology!

My cake was made with plain 20cm cake tins, $7 each from Woolworths, and I baked two at a time.  I didn’t use springform pans for this, but I did spend time lining the tins really well.  The cakes cooked really evenly despite my dodgy oven and tipped out of the pans easily when they were done.

You’re going to find a lot of advice about which food colouring to use in your google travels.  Most people swear by gel colours to get these vibrant colours, but the truth is I just used a couple of boxes of the $2 Queen 4-packs from the supermarket.  I had to use a lot of colouring to get that red layer to stop looking pink, and lots more red for the orange and purple layers too, so make sure you have plenty.  Normally I steer clear of food colouring but with this cake it’s important to go big or go home.

Spend time trimming your cakes to make sure that they’re perfectly flat on top.  It’s obvious from my photos that I didn’t bother trimming the orange layer – oops!

Your frosting is going to need a lot of sugar in it to keep your structure standing.  Don’t even attempt this with runny icing or you’ll find that your construction won’t be up to code.  (This is probably not a good time to reflect on your weight loss journey.)

Just know that in order to get the right visual effect you will need to use more frosting than you ever dreamed.  And when it comes time to eat your slice you shouldn’t feel bad about leaving two thirds of it on your plate because diabetes.

If you find yourself getting emotional during the cake baking process, call my little cousin Trisha.  She gives great moral support over the phone!



And finally… try not to get too depressed when you realise that some other kickass lady has made an eighty layer rainbow cake that leaves yours in the dust.  Nobody likes a show-off, lady!


Happiest of birthdays to my love Tim, and to our gorgeous friends Glen & Janelle.  Sorry about the hypoglycemia.


Weekend funtimes!

by Elizabeth on May 31, 2013 · 0 comments

in Cool stuff, External Sites

LOVING this San Cisco cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ on this morning’s Like a Version on Triple J. It’s amazing, and I am firmly Team Bongo/Goldpants. 


What a week!  Things at work have been nuts lately, and I feel like I’ve been fighting off a cold all week as well.  I’ve been putting myself to bed earlier than usual but waking up tireder.  How is that fair?

And aside from that, my hand had a nasty introduction to a rusty nail on Monday and I have been whining about it ever since.  I was touring a building site at work and after an incident-free hour of stepping over nails and not falling down half-built staircases, I went to leave.  I was about 3 steps inside the boundary fence when I gouged my hand and spilled a bunch of red stuff all over the ground.

A $30 million project, and one injury.  Mine.


I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that its been a long ass week, and one-handed blogging is hard work.  So please enjoy this mega-post full of juicy links to kick off your weekend.


The Noun Project is my new favourite place for high-quality, beautifully designed icons.  Even if you’re not looking for something right now it’s really fun to browse.

Not a morning person?  Let people all over the world wish you a good morning, and maybe you’ll crack a smile.  Unless you’re me, and then you should probably wait until after your first coffee (otherwise murder).

20 bizarre items that really exist.  Mock that lobster phone case all you like but I bet it would stop me from losing my phone at the bottom of my bag!

Here are 8 ordinary things that look really cool under a microscope.  Shark skin is WEIRD, you guys – denticles?!

What do you do when your fish can’t swim?  You make him a lifejacket, of course!

Andrew Gunthardt proves that all you need to make art is a ball point pen.  His wife Alisa convinced him to share some of his excellent tips and techniques.

And speaking of clever artists, these finger painted impressionist paintings are better than what most people can do with a brush.

Are you sick of Harlem Shake videos?  Me too, but promise me you’ll watch just one more.  Go!

This post gave me serious closet envy.

You’ve probably been wondering how to make a vodka cocktail in your dishwasher.  I know, it’s been keeping me awake at night too.

The newest exercise craze to sweep the nation is here: Prancercise!  No really, you’re welcome.

Tiny chocolate terrariums!

10 secrets (actually shortcuts) for better cooking.

The Design Files visited the home of David and Yuge Bromley, and shared a bunch of photos from inside their home.  I think my eyes would get tired if I lived there all the time, but I kind of want to be their best friend so that I can visit.


Thanks to:

Suzy of Just Enough Education
Shauna of Nubby Twiglet
Alycia of Habitual Homebody
Courtney of Nobody Too


Happy weekend! Mine will be full of studying and whining, but we’re hoping to squeeze in a day trip on Sunday if I can get some assignments out of the way.  Praise be to Melbourne for giving me a rainy, stormy soundtrack to send me to sleep tonight.


Tim and I are taking the first baby steps towards buying a house.

Given that neither of us are originally from Melbourne it’s been tricky to know where to start. We don’t have family here who can guide us towards (or away from) certain suburbs or tell us which areas are overpriced, and the places we’ve loved renting in are out of our price range. In fact the main problem seems to be that every suburb is overpriced – all of them – unless maybe we’re interested in commuting from Tasmania every day?

And sure, maybe there are other problems, like the fact that my heart is set on having a bit of a view…


… a unique street frontage / facade…


and maybe something modern and open-plan?




I mean, I don’t mind if the kitchen is basic, as long as it’s functional…


… and I suppose I could live without a shower in the bathroom for my very first house.


Just as long as we can have a few friends over for dinner without being embarrassed., you know?


This fixer-upper is back on the market again (maybe they have termites or something?), but ugh… Brooklyn, really?  I really would prefer to spend our $18 million on something a little closer to home.  I mean they don’t even have Tim Tams there.

But I do hope that somebody snaps up this little diamond in the rough.  I mean, it’s not perfect… but we all have to start somewhere I guess.

Esquire Apartment 2011 from Esquire Apartment on Vimeo.





I’m so excited about Friday that I could smooch it riiiiiiight on the kisser.  I’ve had a pretty good week really, but it’s been so frantic that every single night I’ve collapsed into my bed and been fast asleep before my head has hit the pillow.

Let’s hear it for Tim, who has been known to check on me in the middle of the night to make sure I’m breathing.  I guess I really have been sleeping like the dead lately.

Anyway, I thought we could kick off the weekend with some great stuff that’s been happening around the web lately.  Follow me!

Rules for life by The Bloggess.  It’s basically perfect.

The 101 Most Useful Websites of 2012.  Most of these are smaller sites or web apps that do one thing really really well.  There are some excellent resources in here – definitely one to bookmark!

How To Not Be Boring by Belle Henley.

Overcoming Procrastination, Money Problems, Self-Doubt & Other Creative Distractions.  Easy, right?  Not according to Chuck Palahniuk, who once wrote, “People don’t want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.”  I would love to see Chuck and Kate Reid debate that one!

And speaking of Speedy Reidy, Kate has prepared a complete guide to this year’s Eurovision.  It has been a long time since I have seen this level of dedication and statistical analysis, and I for one cannot wait.  Will we ever again find a song that can rival Safura’s Drip Drop?  Oh 2010, you smell like lipstick again.

Did you know that MoMA offers online courses?  You can choose between self-guided or instructor-led courses and some of the topics look great.  I wonder if I should tackle one of these for task #8 on my list

Skillshare is another cool resource for learning.  It’s an online marketplace for classes, and anybody with knowledge can apply to share it.  The best part is that the prices are extremely reasonable, and there are heaps of topics that don’t take themselves too seriously.  Courses range from typography to app-building to cooking and even makeup.  Heaps of fun to be had here!

How to network without feeling gross.

Georgia wrote a beautiful post about learning to live simply.

The value of ugliness by Clem Bastow, who writes some of the best opinion pieces out there.

How to break the online cycle of “compare and despair”. – Hello, gorgeous.  (Farewell, productivity!)

LOVE this DIY concrete letter tutorial by Wit & Whistle!

Today Kellie shared these cute ideas: DIY instagram wrapping paper and spotty jars with nailpolish.

I’ve been craving soups with this cooler weather, and I’m looking forward to trying these recipes for curried split pea soup with coconut milk and spicy sweet potato and peanut soup.  Yummo!

I’ve noticed a bunch of North American bloggers embracing spring and filling their homes with indoor plants.  I adore having greenery inside, so it’s been great to peek at other peoples’ green thumbs!  Check out Katie’s bedroom nook with mini terrariums, Rachel Denbow’s creative planter ideas, Kaylah’s pretty succulents, Elise’s beautiful bedroom plants and also her tips for keeping indoor plants healthy.

Allie Brosh is back with another incredible Hyperbole and a Half.  ALL OF THE FEELINGS.

Portraits of soldiers before, during and after war.

H&M Shows Collection On Plus-Size Model, Doesn’t Make a Big Deal Of It.  Are we living in the future now?  Hooray!

Design*Sponge shares the story of Crayola.  That vintage packaging is RAD.

Thanks to Nova, Kellie and Danielle for finding some of these great links!

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This funny little film popped up on my Facebook feed today and it was too awesome to keep to myself.  Anyone who is familiar with Melbourne’s pretty cityscape is going to love this naughty lizard!

Bless You is what happens when an architect in the skies tires of his creation and decides to spice things up a bit.  (The artist hasn’t actually come out and said this, but maybe the lizard is supposed to symbolise Myki?  You know I’m right about this.)

The man behind this short film is Philip Watts, a Melbourne-based editor with, you know, a handful(!) of TV episodes under his belt. His other passions include cartooning and animation, and lately he’s been putting them all together to make his own little films.  Let’s hope he keeps going!


Meanwhile, ever wondered what might happen when a hungry alien with anger management issues meets a faulty vending machine?  Vend Your Anger is a rough approximation of my most recent vending machine tantrum.  Only I’m pretty sure I didn’t look this adorable at the time.

Go and show Philip Watts a little love on Vimeo.  He’s rad.



Remember when I used to pour stuff into my paper journals?  I was flicking through my old journals today and this made me want to start again.


I don’t even know how to write about my last week.

A bunch of stuff went down at work that I probably shouldn’t share here, and I’ve found myself kind of hiding from the world all weekend to make up for it.  To give you some idea, I am writing this from bed at 4pm on Sunday and there is a strong chance that I will not be changing into grown-up clothes today.

I’ve wanted to share a bunch of stuff here on the blog over the past week but haven’t had a chance to sit down and write.  So how about a great big linky roundup instead?


40 Things To Say Before You Die by Jessica Hagy of Forbes.  I’m working on #25 next week.

Beautiful photos of grafted cherry blossoms by Nova, a new bloggy fave.  I’m really excited for Autumn but I love that my Northern Hemisphere pals are starting to see signs of spring!

A love letter to my daughter on the eve of five years.  Keep reading for stunning photography and a dose of optimism.

Hello, I’ve got some sobering news.  My friend Kate has made a super brave decision.  If you’re the sort of person who looks for ways to improve yourself (or your life) you’ll be hooked by Kate’s energy and courage.  She’s rad.

How to crochet a granny square.  If anybody can teach me how to do this without throwing a tantrum, it’s Pip Lincolne.  But I dunno, my tantrums are pretty legendary.

The easiest homemade icecream ever. I’m going to try this soon!  Related: maybe I should finally buy the icecream attachment for my Kitchen Aid…

40 inspiring workplaces of the famously creative.  Mine looks a little like Alexander Calder’s right now, I think I’ll tackle that tonight.

The best smart playlists for organising your iTunes library.  I’m already a bit OCD about the state of my iTunes library, but there are some great tips in here.



How about a bonus Currently post to round off the week?  Thanks to Danielle for introducing me to these.

Feeling: Well rested (perhaps too well rested?) but wishing I hadn’t wasted away my weekend.  I guess the last two days have been for recovery rather than productivity but something tells me I’ll get a surge of energy tonight to make up for it.

Watching: Earlier this week I followed a link to this incredible video.  It’s a TED talk by Frans de Waal, an expert in moral behaviour in animals, discussing what happens when you give capuchin monkeys unequal pay for the same task.  It’s absolutely incredible.  The video below is an excerpt, but if you have time to watch the full talk you’ll also hear him talk about cooperation, empathy and consolation in chimpanzees and elephants.

Reading: I’m trying to complete a Diploma in 12 weeks (!), so most of my reading right now is confined to badly-written manuals full of spelling mistakes and poor grammar.  I have so far resisted the urge to return them to my trainer with red pen corrections because I don’t think that will get me extra credit.

Thinking about: Old friends.  About 6 weeks ago I wrote about my old highschool best friend and the difficulties we’ve faced as adults. Since then, despite our best efforts, we’ve found ourselves at another crossroad.  I think I’m finally okay to leave that friendship in high school where it belonged and remember it fondly; some things just shouldn’t be so hard.  It’s taken a long time to find that kind of peace.

I’ve made a conscious decision to say goodbye to people who drag me down.  It even extends to the blogs I subscribe to and the people who pop up on my Twitter feed.  I love a little bit of snark, but I’m through with people who thrive on mocking and negativity.  There is so much more to life than being right.

Looking forward to: Winter!  Melbourne weather has finally taken a cool turn, but the last couple of weeks have been very mild.  I can’t wait for nights where we need an extra doona, hot chocolate and nights spent in front of the heater.  I’m looking forward to breaking in my new Banana Republic trench coat and taking a day trip to find some snow.  I hope that the late start to Autumn means that Winter will stretch a little bit longer too.

Making me happy: I had a particularly hellish day at work last week.  The next day I arrived at work to find that my desk had been decorated with balloons, and a handful of people in the know dropped in just to give me a hug and tell me that I’m doing a great job.  The support of my favourite colleagues has taken years to earn, and to know that it’s there has made all the difference this week.  Living well is the best revenge, and all that.

Because holy crap you guys, I love my job 99% of the time, but there are some days when it can go and suck a big fat bag of dicks.  


Right.  Perhaps I should get out of bed?


Insomnia by Brian DeYoung

by Elizabeth on April 13, 2013 · 2 comments

in Art, Cool stuff


This powerful image is “Insomnia” by Brian DeYoung, who said:  “I think it was only fitting to stay up until 4:05am to finish this…”

I first discovered this incredible illustration on Tumblr, and as much as I wanted to share it here I promised myself that I would track down the artist first.  It took a couple of days to work it out – even TinEye was no help!  Eventually I used Google’s image search and clicked on each result until I found somebody who was crediting the source.  Thanks be to Reddit.

Tumblr is such an incredible source of inspiration, but why don’t the people there understand the value of attribution?

Anyway.  Brian’s portfolio is full of pop surrealism like this, and some beautifully executed conceptual ideas.  Check out his blog and society6 store for more of his clever ideas.


GIVEAWAY: one small puppydog!

by Elizabeth on March 12, 2013 · 10 comments

in Cool stuff, DIY, Harry


I am thrilled to be able to offer my readers an exclusive giveaway here at Scarlet Words – a small dog!  It’s just a small gesture to thank you all for your comments and encouragement over the years.



Harry has spent the past few months growing enough extra fur for one (1) extra small dog.  Your prize will include all of the accessories you will need for your new pet: two eyes, one button nose, and a collar.

Some DIY experience is desirable.


  • Obeys simple commands, such as stay! and be quiet!
  • Requires no food or water
  • Completely housetrained
  • Enjoys daily walks, but prefers to be carried
  • Will not chew your shoes or bite small children.


  • Drink a large glass of water while doing a handstand, and film it.  First entry wins.


(For sentimental reasons I have decided to keep the dog on the right.)