Skip to content

2011 reflections

Wow, what a year! 2011 has certainly speed past in a blur. When I started putting this post together, I never realised how much of a truly epic year it has been. There’s been lots of food, travel, conferences, adventures and did I mention food?!


Work has been absolutely flat-out for me as usual, but despite that, it’s been a very enjoyable year with lots of interesting projects. I attended less conferences and work related events this year but had great fun at the ones I did make it to.

My workmate Kim and I presented Dealing with the different attitudes to accessibility at the OZeWAI conference at La Trobe University. The presentation was a fun look at culture change involving the Attitude Adjusters game cards that we did up.

Ruth and Kim presenting at OZeWAI 2011
Ruth & Kim presenting at OZeWAI 2011 conference, photo by Gary Barber
Attitude Adjusters
Our Attitude Adjusters game cards

UX Australia is one of my favourite conferences – it’s the once-a-year catch up with all my User Experience (UX) family.

The interstate & international crowd
Some old and new friends, post UX Australia conference
Photobooths are addictive
LOVING the photobooth at UX Australia
Kim, Scotty and Ruth - UX Superheroes
Kim, Scott and Ruth - rockin' the Stamford UX Superhero t-shirts

Family & friends

My brother turned 21, our friends Craig (and his twin Wesley) and Caronne celebrated special birthdays this year, my mum came to visit and Alastair’s mum also came to spend xmas with us. Our friends Joel and Kelly got married and we got to share in their special day by being their photographers. I played paintball for the first time when my youngest sister celebrated her 19th birthday.

Mum and I at Floriade, Canberra
Mum and I at Floriade, Canberra
Bec and friends at her paintball birthday party
Bec and friends at her paintball birthday party
Joel & Kelly's wedding - reception photo
Our Perth friends at Joel & Kelly's wedding

Events & other social things

Lots of organising over 2011 – I helped to organise either in the lead-up or on the day: BarCampCanberra, TEDxCanberra, Sydney SkepticCamp and the Make Hack Void xmas party.

Ruth, Alastair and Tim at barcamp canberra
Checking out cupcake entries at BarCampCanberra (photo by Gavin Tapp)
TEDxCanberra volunteers
My volunteers helping me pack up the TEDxCanberra showbags using a very efficient production line! (Photo by TEDxCanberra)
Ruth briefing volunteers
Me and my trusty clipboard at TEDxCanberra (photo by Gavin Tapp)

Hubby and I were one of the lucky 50 that attended the very first CSIROtweetup, to celebrate the launch of the Mars Rover Curiosity.

CSIRO Tweetup group shot
Our fellow space geeks (Photo by Martin Ollman)
At CSIRO discovery centre, watching the launch of the Mars Rover, Curiosity
Watching the launch
Monitor screen showing the dishes at CSIRO discovery centre
Watching the dish move in preparation for the launch

Making stuff

2011 was the year for making things. I made my first laser-cut jewellery, which will be available under the CrankyBot label in 2012; learned to sew (badly); got dressed up in various costumes, mainly the Lady Mechanika comic con costume which was the main impetus for learning to sew.

Space invader necklace
One of my space invaders, from my CrankyBot label
TARDIS and Doctor Who magnetic potery
Doctor Who magnetic poetry and TARDIS I made as an xmas present (located next to the TARDIS cookie jar)
Alastair & I
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Hubby dressed as Commander Shepard from Mass Effect video game, and I’m dressed as Lady Mechanika. Comic Con in costume was a very different affair to Comic Con in layperson's clothing.

Hubby and I also made our first sausages with my KitchenAid sausage maker attachment! They were utterly delicious, particularly as the meat was flavoured with fresh herbs from our garden.

Chocolate Bailey's cupcakes
I did a lot of baking in 2011 - putting my KitchenAid to good use.


Hubby and I visited the United States in July. The main reason was to attend The Amazing Meeting (TAM) in Vegas, but we also discovered that Comic Con, the BIG (and I mean big) pop culture convention, was on around the same time. The US trip was huge – we visited our friend Bob and his wife in Dallas, Texas, then headed off to Las Vegas for to check out the sights, followed by TAM, then on to San Diego for LEGOLand, followed by Comic Con and New York. I love New York.

Ruth holding a fossil
Discovering fossils at Eisenhower State Park, Texas
Ruth and Alastair relaxing at TAM, Vegas
Caught up with old friends and made new friends, Las Vegas
Penn Jillette's rock & roll bacon & donut party
Penn Jillette’s rock and roll party ticket, Las Vegas
Penn Jillette and his band, No God Band
Rock on at Penn Jillette’s party, Las Vegas
San Francisco city, built with lego
How awesome is Legoland!
Evolution shop at New York
The very brilliant Evolution shop at New York (thanks for the recommendation Minnie)
Meet Dr Chels, our muppet
We made a muppet, Dr Chels, at FAO Schwarz
Ruth playing the Big Piano at Fao Schwarz, New York
Playing the Big Piano at FAO Schwarz, New York
New York hackerspace
We visited the New York hackerspace - they have a great space with lots of character
5 Pointz - graffiti building
We saw some awesome graff at 5 Pointz, New York. Hubby and I spent hours wandering around the building taking photos. We finished up with a late lunch at a local diner.

On the last day as we started the very eventful journey home to Canberra from New York (crisscrossing the country and seeing many airports!), we discovered that our flight was cancelled due to weather conditions. Fortunately Qantas upgraded us to Business Class and we made it home to Australia in the lap of luxury (I didn’t want the flight to end!).

Looking forward

2011 on the whole has been a good year. I had some health issues (getting addressed in early 2012), I’ve attempted to address my fear of vegetables (and learned a lot about myself in the process), and I learned a lot of new things. I look forward to 2012 – getting CrankyBot off the ground, working on a number of exciting UX and accessibility projects and learning to take it a bit easier. Here’s to 2012!

Published inGeneralLife


  1. Bobby Bobby

    I think your photos are great and what varied and wonderful talents you have: baking, organising, jewellery making! Look out 2012: here comes Ruth Ellison for more and better things.

  2. Ray Ray

    What a wonderful year! Happy New Year, and wishing 2012 to be as eventful and fun! –Ray

  3. Wow! How did you fit that all in? And you were kind enought to volunteer to judge a short story competition. I guess that’s what they say – need something done? Ask a busy person. All the best for 2012, Ruth and thanks for your help in 2011.

  4. @David – thanks for the comment. I forgot to mention that I was judging your cool short stories competition as well as the Australian Web Awards. So much to tell, not enough blog space…. ;)

  5. Ben Ben

    Oh wow, you’ve been busy. I love your @RuthEllison t-shirt. Simple but effective!

  6. Lisa Wade Lisa Wade

    Hi Ruth,

    Believe it or not, i stumbled on yoru blog while doing some research for the Pow Wow. Did you know that I have an FAO Schwartz muppet too? Well, technically, the kids do…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *