Thursday, December 23, 2010
Thanks Francesca for reminding me about this lovely Christmas treat!
What a lovely surprise I had when I logged on this morning and saw this post over at Cooking Up A Storm in A Teacup. I think you can tell from Deb's words just how much we value the friendship we've forged this year. When I first started this blog 12 months ago I really had no idea that I would meet so many wonderful, warm, talented and generous people. People like Deb, Lucy, Francesca, Tracey, Sandra, Estelle, Fourth Daughter and katiecrackernuts who have inspired me, made me laugh, made me feel welcome and most important of all taken the time to regularly comment on my posts. In fact, a big thank you to everyone who has read, commented or glanced at these pages over the year.
As the days and hours whiz by I'm thinking this may be my last post for the year. There's a pavlova to make today; roast chicken, stuffing and vegetables to prepare for Christmas Eve; presents that still need wrapping and children whose excitement is so contagious I can think of nothing more wonderful than just sharing this precious time with them.
I'm pretty sure we all want the same thing for Christmas - a day filled with love, laughter, good food, an afternoon nap and no family faux pas so that is what I wish for you. Have a happy and safe holiday season and I'll see you all again very soon.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Time for another update on the Four Simple Goals Project. Way back in September my first goal was to 'bring music back into my life'. I'd envisaged doing that by finally getting the iPod I got LAST Christmas up and running but that still hasn't really happened. Instead I've found inspiration in some unlikely places.
The first place was my car. For the first time in my life I have a car with a CD player (sure it has iPod-compatability too but I digress...) so I've been able to drag out all my old, unloved CDs and play them end-to-end to see if there is anything worth saving. Turns out there is and I've been mentally compiling flamenco, big band, 60s and indie pop playlists ever since.
The second place was watching Glee and listening to the Glee CDs with the kids. The great thing about kids is they have no pre-conceived ideas about what's cool and what isn't (Henry took a 'Chicken Dance' CD to daycare last week and a Debussy CD this week). Through Glee they've become very excited about KISS, Madonna, U2, Lady Gaga, The Beatles and Ella Fitzgerald which I think is great.
The third, and perhaps most unlikely place, was the Rock Chicks concert where I saw Nat Allison wielding the most beautiful guitar in the world - the Gretsch White Falcon. I simply could not take my eyes off that guitar (which is almost as big as Nat!) and went home and dragged out my own acoustic number for a bit of a strum. Like many things (the tennis racket, sewing machine, flamenco shoes...) my guitar has spent way too much time in the cupboard over the years. I used to love playing guitar alone in my room and it seems my newfound enthusiasm has rubbed off on the kids because they've both asked Santa for guitars! Who knows perhaps we'll start our own retro band...
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Chatwin was a bit of a literary rock star at the time, 'feted for his looks as much as his books'. A true renaissance man he worked at Sotheby's as a porter as a young man and quickly earned a reputation for having 'the eye'. He became one of the youngest ever directors of the venerable auction house before leaving to study archaeology and pursue a career in writing. When he resigned from his job at the Sunday Times he reputedly sent a telegram simply stating, 'Gone to Patagonia for six months'. Knowing Chatwin this is probably an apocryphal tale - he was never the most reliable of narrators.
His first book, 'In Patagonia', ostensibly a travel book, is a slippery beast (as much fantasy as fact) and although the bookstores are now groaning with books of 'faction', Chatwin was one of the first writers to really push those boundaries. He took this to new heights in 'Songlines', the book he wrote in 1987 about his travels in Australia and his theories on nomadism. After that I remember waiting with bated breath for the release of his subsequent books and I felt the same way when I heard about the recent release of 'Under the Sun: Letters of Bruce Chatwin'.
It's been 20 years since Chatwin died from complications associated with HIV/AIDS. He was only 48. Unlike his contemporaries Iain McEwan, Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie who have been able to cement their reputations and ensure their legacies Chatwin was really only at the beginning of his career. Perhaps his early death and the fact that his books are devilishly difficult to categorise (his novels are punctuated with arcane facts and his travel/ autobiography/ history works often reads like fiction) helps explain why he has slipped into relative obscurity? I haven't read any Bruce for many years and I hope they really do stand up to the test of time. I think it's time I found out - perhaps you'd like to join me? Do you remember Bruce?
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
This new floor-to-ceiling bookcase takes books from almost 3 of our standard IKEA bookcases so we now have a bit of breathing space in the house especially in the entry hall. Now we just need to re-paint the room and the bookcase the same colour (so that the bookcase recedes into the wall) then build 3 or 4 more. Once we've got this lot under control I'm planning on adopting the one in/one out principle to make sure we don't end up back where we started. How hard could that be??
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Image via Whip Up
I realise that it is absolutely not the right time of year to be lusting after winter woollies (well not here in the Southern Hemisphere anyaway) but I keep running into these amazing cowls. To be honest I'd never even heard of cowls until recently but now I can't seem to get away from them! One of the things I really like about cowls is the way they use interesting buttons, corsages and decorative pins to keep them closed - very swish. I don't recall seeing people wearing cowls around the city this winter but perhaps I just didn't notice. We Melbournians do love our scarves but we seem to prefer long and loopy over short and neck-hugging.
If you're somewhere wintry now and would like to knit one there are hundreds of free patterns online but if re-purposing is more your thing you could try the clever 'Upcycled Scarflette' pictured above which is made from a re-fashioned cable knit jumper.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Maybe the secret to moderation is to only eat panettone (hot cross buns, mince pies) that you've made yourself. Perhaps this year I'll give it a whirl using this recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller. What do you think?
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Pip from Meet Me At Mikes is doing a musical Five Faves so I thought I'd sing along. Over the past year I've been working on an online Australian music timeline so I've spent lots of time listening to music from the 1950s onwards (pretty sweet job I know). Here are five of my all-time favourite 60s songs (not Australian I know - except the Easybeats - but my research takes me far and wide)!
God Only Knows - The Beachboys
Friday On My Mind - The Easybeats
No Milk Today - Herman's Hermits
Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks I Call Your Name - Mamas and the Papas
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
4. What is your favourite comfort food?
Another thing I love about Nigella is that she frequently takes us into her enormous walk-in pantry for a squiz. I'd love to have a walk-in pantry a la Nigella but what I have is one big cupboard. In it keep all the things I need to make all our regular favourites - tins of tuna, cans of diced tomatoes, chickpeas and beans and bottles of pasta sauce also rice (basmati, arborio, brown and sushi), pasta (spaghetti, fusilli, risoni), couscous, polenta, stock, onions, garlic and potaotoes. I keep spreads in here too (Vegemite, Marmite, peanut butter, honey and Nutella) and all manner of liquid potions (Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, mirin, sushi vinegar etc) as well as things I use rarely but like to have on hand like orange blossom water and rosewater.
One whole shelf is, of course, dedicated to dry foodstuffs for baking... sugar, flour, rolled oats, coconut, dried fruits, seed and nuts. We also have an indecently large variety of breakfast cereals that perch on top of said cupboard. Zen-like sparsity? I think not but not incedible extravagance either.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
'Kindred spirits are not as scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world'.
Anne to Marilla in 'Anne of Green Gables'
I'm more than happy to agree with Anne when it comes to kindred spirits (as blogging teaches me everyday) but I'm not sure I'm as comfortable with the idea of multiple soulmates wandering around out there! Check out this new song by Ben Folds and Nick Hornby. Don't be fooled by the catchy tune - this song packs a punch. You can find out more about the Folds/ Hornby project here.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Originally uploaded to Flickr bybill barber
On Friday I found out a friend has a family member in palliative care so I baked something nice for them - ridiculous I know but in the face of death everything seems a little ridiculous...
On Sunday I went to my youngest sister Rachel's wedding. It was a balmy Spring day by the beach and the bride and groom looked blissfully happy especially when they announced that another baby was on the way...
Today I'm waiting with bated breath for a call to say that my sister Angela has had her baby. They say that nothing is certain but death and taxes so the arrival of babies is always a welcome respite...
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I heard this song on TripleJ last week (you can hear Ronson here interviewed by Richard Kingsmill) and I can't get it out of my head. Not the best quality video but as it's only a new song there's not much out there yet. Mark Ronson is best known as a turntablist and producer of such people as Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse and Robby Williams and his new album 'Record Collection' draws on the talents of many of his famous friends.
PS: If you've received this post by email and can't see the clip just click on either the title of the post or the 'Bird With The Golden Seed' banner at the top of the email to go straight to the blog to view.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I've gone over to the dark side... Not only am I crocheting instead of knitting but I'm using acrylic yarn. I've always been aware of a bit of an 'us' and 'them' thing between knitters and crocheters although hopefully there's not too many knitters in the world like the crazy couple in this hilarious clip. Many knitters - and I include myself in this - also have a bit of thing about using acrylic yarn (too squeeky, doesn't always wash and wear well) but the very talented Sarah London and Lucy from Attic24 have convinced me that the world won't stop turning if I indulge in a little acrylic stitchery.
Armed with this new confidence I headed down to Spotlight to buy some cheap and cheerful acrylic yarn. Acrylic yarn comes in a seemingly infinite range of colours and at between $2-$5 for a 100gram ball it's a steal. It's very difficult to find truly colour-saturated wool and when you do you often need to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay for it. So far so good. These are the colours we bought although we didn't end up using the yellow.
The blanket I made is Lucy's Granny Stripe Blanket made from continuous rows of treble stitch clusters. It's dead easy and grows incredibly quickly. I've made mine a bit smaller than Lucy's -more a large lap blanket than the double bed size she made. It only took a couple of hours a night while watching TV (box set of 'Bones') and voila, two weeks later I had this...
I haven't sewn in the ends yet or crocheted a border but it's already in high demand in the living room. I'm not used to buying such large balls of yarn (I'm used to wool in what now seem small 25gm balls) so I have oodles left for further projects...
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
At the beginning of September I pledged to complete Four Simple Goals by the end of the year. I've been a bit slow getting started but this weekend I finally cracked Goal no. 4 - ressurect the vegie garden. Taking advantage of this weekend's glorious Spring weather weekend we traipsed off to Bunnings to buy some seedlings, seed raising mix and compost. I wanted to plant an edible garden so we only bought things we love to eat - tomatoes (Grosse Lisse, Sweet Cherry and Roma), strawberries, blueberries, rocket and dwarf lemon and orange trees. We also planted lettuce and beetroot seeds and added mint and parsley to our herb garden. The kids had a great time planting the seeds in yoghurt pots they'd been saving all week and I'm very excited about the possibility of keeping us in blueberries over Summer. Have you ever grown blueberries before? Any tips?
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Exterior, National Gallery of Victoria promoting the Stadel Museum exhibition (I haven't had time to see that yet either!)
Sometimes it's hard to find time to string more than a few words together (or worse still to take photos, upload them, find and insert links etc) while still having time to play with the kids, go to work, get some crafting done and keep the house running. It's been one of those weeks...