Friday, July 31, 2009

Finalisation on a Friday

Phew...sent off two major pieces of work today, one of which I have been researching for the last 3 months, and the other I've been working on on and off for 3 years! I hardly know whether to laugh or cry! Have a lovely weekend :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Likes and Dislikes on a Thursday

I always:

Make a milky coffee for myself at 10.30 a.m.
Go back and listen to my old Smiths records
Re-read Barbara Pym's books (again and again and again)
Prefer strawberry yoghurt to any other flavour

I sometimes:

Try to master the use of my sewing machine (still trying)
Listen to Barry Manilow (I know)
Try and read 'the classics'
Dare myself to dye my hair an outrageous colour

I never:

Wear orange
Eat offal
Go into the reptile house at the Zoo
Avoid chocolate

Thanks to Leslie at good-ness for this fun idea :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And on this day...

Just saw in the 'On this Day' section of the newspaper - in 1981, Charles married Diana. Anyone else remember watching it? We didn't have a colour tv in those days, so I remember going to a neighbour's house to see it in glowing technicolour on her set. Excitement! And getting to stay up late! But not quite so late as to see the whole thing because it was on until - gasp! - 1 a.m. But the thing that sticks most in my mind of this day in 1981? Throwing up half the night because I had been stuffing myself on gherkin-flavoured Philadelphia cream cheese and crackers while avidly watching the Wedding. And no, I still can't eat the stuff.

Paper Cranes on a Wednesday

In my on-going adoration of anything even remotely Japanese, I threaded some origami paper cranes I made a while ago onto some string and suspended them from the ceiling this morning. I think they look quite ethereal, moving gently in the ebb and flow of the air which floats through the house. I am going to get back into origami, I think - I went through a period of being absolutely mad for it - cranes, frogs, bugs, you name it - and ended up heartily sick of it. But looking at my little cranes, I feel the yearn to fold again.

If you haven't been to Hiroshima or haven't heard the story of the paper cranes, have a look here:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taro cake on a Tuesday

Living in the multicultural country that we do, there are always all sorts of culinary delights to be had. Take this little fellow, for instance. Taro cake, as purchased today from a local Asian bakery. So beautiful! And I haven't even taken a bite yet...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thrifting on a Monday

Little bit of thrifting goodness from the local op shop today...a knitting book from, I would say, the late 50s, maybe early 60s. Love it, love it, love it. Little cardigans - oh yeah. Elegant evening wraps - very nice. Now I've just got to learn how to knit :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jaffa Cake!

Mmmm. Jaffa cake. Chocolate and orange goodness...
125g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
Turn oven to 180 degrees celsius. Beat butter, sugar & eggs until smooth and creamy. Stir in golden syrup and vanilla. Mix milk and baking soda in a cup. Mix it into cake mixture. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt & cocoa. Mix in well. Bake 45-55 minutes.
Recipe from my well-loved Junior Cook by Mary Pat Fergus. Psychedelic icing from my own experiments with 1 cup icing sugar, 3 tablespoons boiling water, orange essence, red food dye and yellow food dye. Et voila, a giant Jaffa!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Into something rich and strange

Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange

- Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act I, Scene II.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The chaos of memories

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.
-Walter Benjamin.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Orchid Spheres

Around the pillars of the palm-tree bower
The orchids cling, in rose and purple spheres
Shield-broad the lily floats; the aloe flower
Foredates its hundred years.
- Bayard Taylor, Canopus.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Like the leaves of a book

Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title.

-Virginia Woolf.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Musing with the Muse

I was joined by the creative muse last night. It doesn't happen every day and it certainly doesn't always happen when I want it to! So, I capitalised on it while it was there. While watching Ghost Whisperer and eating dinner, I managed to make seven cards which I am really quite pleased with. At least, I think my cards are definitely on the improve! You'll notice too that they are - ahem - themed. The top one, obviously, is Japanese-style, the middle section, floral and the last group, nature.
Incidentally, the little friend leaning rather despondently on the card up top is a wooden key ring I bought at the markets at Asakusa in Tokyo. She's too big to be a key ring but really too little to do much else! What I especially love is that she can only be bought at Asakusa. In true Japanese style, souvenirs are made not just with the name of the place you've visited on them, but in a style specific to that place. Love that eye for detail. If you're ever in Tokyo, you've got to go to Asakusa (

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Little bit of Thursday Glam Rock...

If you can find a better glam rock clip (or song!) than this - David Bowie, "Starman", early 70s - well, I'd like to know about it! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's for breakfast?

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully."It's the same thing," he said."

It truly is the little things that make up each day. Rarely are there genuinely momentous events - rather, I think, there is the rhythm of routine with the occassional nice surprise - like today's bunch of flowers! And it is amongst these many little things that I try to seek out happiness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The end of the beginning

Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

A quote to start the week, from Winston Churchill. In this end-of-the-beginning kind of year I seem to be having, I liked this one very much. And I am also partial to a bit of stirring Churchill-speak now and then (see this link for some context Seriously, I rather like the figure of Churchill who suffered from depression throughout his life but still managed to achieve great things his own way. And please, should any scholars of Churchill be reading this, I know that that is probably a very limited reading of the man (and that he was also beset by many flaws and made some pretty profound mistakes along the way too) but it's just a little of what I've perceived from what I've read. So, here's to the end of the beginning!
PS The photo is one I took when we were at the Minnesota Arboretum last year (

Friday, July 10, 2009

Nice things in the post!

I have been getting some very nice things in the mail lately! I've recently done a card-swap with my dear blogging friend Helena in the UK. Our theme was seasons. You can see my efforts at Helena's lovely site But above you can see Helena's gorgeous cards, which are just so beautiful. I am a novice to both card-making and photography so I hope my photos have captured just how wonderful these cards are. And so inspiring! They have really given me something to work towards. Thank you Helena! These made my day!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Happy Days

Some sunshine after a couple of very cold nights and frosty mornings! It gladdened my heart and warmed my back while I was hanging the washing out!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Morning, 7 a.m.

View from my kitchen window, 7 am...through the condensation on the window, a little fog, the dark outline of the trees, a distant street light. Roll on summer!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday's Fun Day, Charlie Brown

A lovely winter's Sunday spent cruising around the Yarra Valley with my dear Fellow Traveller. We had lunch in Healesville (an excellent Chicken Parmigiana - is this an exclusively Australian dish, I wonder?), bought some beautifully scenty, fresh apples, mandarins, quinces and pears from a roadside produce store and some other local produce (a very nice pinot noir) from the wine outlet at the TarraWarra Museum of Art ( The view above was taken just outside of the Museum. Still lots of evidence of February's awful fires in the area, but heartwarming to see little green shoots on the charred tree trunks - signs that the Wheel continues to turn.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Farewell Mollie Sugden

Sad news yesterday that Mollie Sugden has died. She was, of course, best known as Mrs Slocombe in Are You Being Served?, a great show from the 70s and one of my personal favourites when I was a littlie. How I got away with watching it I'm not quite sure - my t.v. intake was strictly vetted by my mother - because there were double entendres aplenty with this one. But perhaps the average 5 year-old misses all but the most obvious of jokes. I really did think she was talking about her pet cat.

As you know, I am on a bit of a nostalgia kick these days and I still hold affection for all of the Thames Television shows of this era - Are You Being Served?, Mind Your Language, Man About the House, Robin's Nest, George and Mildred, Doctor in the House. Although I did re-watch Love Thy Neighbour the other day and that one was a bit hard to take. Loved the retro interiors but the out-and-out racism? Hmmm - difficult to watch. But, as with my Andy Gibb clip from a few weeks ago, what it is is that these shows bring back those days for me - of sitting on the nubby, rust-coloured carpet my parents used to have in their living room, watching these neat little stories on the old black-and-white set, as some crazily funny circumstance was sorted out all in the space of half an hour. If only life could be like that! Some bantering dialogue, a few laughs and all done and dusted in 30 minutes! This clip in particular also reminded me of the days when I was working in a call centre. Our toilet breaks were timed too! I should say though, that if you are offended by some pretty off-colour 70s attitudes to women, don't watch this - it won't improve your opinion. I just thought it was a good example of Mrs Sugden at work. And perhaps I am also proving that a childhood raised on this stuff has inured me to its dodginess...hmmm...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Everything has its upside!

I have pondered before some of the things I think we miss out on in modern life - a greater slowness, peacefulness and calm was perhaps once easier to find when evenings were dappled in candlelight. I don't know. Perhaps I romanticise too much. Perhaps I have been fiddling with the sepia setting on my camera too much. Perhaps I've been looking at too much vintage clothing on Etsy ( ...and let's face it, if electricity hadn't been invented, I couldn't watch the double episode, season one finale of Mad Men tonight (! Woo-hoo!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Winter skies

Wild weather lashing us here at the moment. Gale force winds, rain and cold, cold, cold. Apparently the winds are swirling up from Antarctica. I'd believe that! Trees are being uprooted and trucks are even being blown off the roads. This photo doesn't quite get the sulphuric yellow storm-sky which was hovering overhead at sunset. But it was there, I promise! I love to watch the sky rushing past over our backyard but sometimes I love to go inside and shut the door on it, too!