Thursday, December 23, 2010

South American oasis on Gertrude Street ...

I wish my back door looked this cool ....

Add caption

Gorgeous graphic ...

Changing the lp for our listening pleasure.

Maybe the best ever hot chocolate - chocolate direct from Columbia of course

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Man Can Not Live By Bread Alone - Pop In ....

Are you in London today? Pop in - open until Dec 24th ...........

Man Can Not Live By Bread Alone
The fantastic Bettina Mcillwraith and friends doing a gorgeous London pop up shop .... all  clever, beautiful, sustainable, ethical and available for purchase. Perfect really!

Bread as the perfect gift

We had a 5 year old boys birthday in our home last weekend. This alone is enough to make us all smile but added to the joy of this event attended by 10 or so very loud happy young heros and princess's was catching up with an old friend.

Our lovely friend in the past always turned up to events with the most delicious ice cream on the planet. Today he arrived with loaves of bread wrapped in beautiful vintage tea towels.

Bread really is the perfect gift. Still a bit warm, wrapped in linen it is the kitchen signifier of sharing. Every kitchen has something to put on it, simply butter and salt a personal favourite, so no one goes hungry when there's a loaf in the house. It it the appropriate match with whatever your beverage, all age groups can eat it - the quintessential comfort food.

In the spirit of this gift Nigel has sent me the recipe so I'm going to share it with you.

If you cook nothing else this Christmas cook this. Loaves of warm home cooked bread on the family and friends table will ensure a contented Christmas for you all.


  1. rustic sourdough: the secret to making amazing bread at home [5 ingredients | simple baking]

    rustic homemade sourdough bread rustic homemade sourdough bread and butter

    sourdough bread video

    rustic homemade yeasted bread
    makes 1 loaf
      This is a great way to see how wonderful homemade bread can be.
    425g (15oz) bread flour
    375g (14oz) water
    1 teaspoon find grained salt
    1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
    semolina, optional
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, water and salt until just mixed together.
2. Cover with cling wrap and leave overnight for at least 8 but preferably 12 hours.
3. Form your loaf. Place a generous amount of flour on your kitchen counter. Scoop dough out onto the flour then sprinkle generously with more flour. Gently fold the edges from the outside in to form a round loaf.
4. Place more flour on a clean tea towel. Place loaf with the rough top side down. Sprinkle with semolina, if using, or more flour. Cover.
5. Place a large oven proof dish with a lid in the oven. Preheat oven and the pan to the highest setting for at least 1/2 hour.
6. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Remove lid. Sprinkle a little semolina, if using in the base of the pan. Gently place loaf in the pan inverted so that the rougher surface is now on top. Don't worry about smoothing it out or having it centered – it will work itself out in the oven.
7. Pop the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.
8. Remove the lid and turn the oven down to 200C (400F) bake for a further 15 minutes until the loaf is deep brown.
9. Cool on a wire rack uncovered for at least 30mintues if you can wait that long.


Cook My Way - Local (ish) site to share, compare and cook with


Saw this on Remo's newsletter this morning. Lovely idea - great food ideas and discussions.. and ... it's her birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEE.

Here's the site in their words:

Cook My Way was born out of a love for preparing food and eating it.

CookMyWay's philosophy is that you don't need to be a celebrity chef to make love in the kitchen, we believe that cooking, gardening and brewing should be celebrated and practiced in modern lives

Log on and apron up!
I'm off to try and cook Argentinean 'Alfajores'


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. lemon rind, grated
  • 1 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

My Argentinian work exchange student brought these in and they are as delightful as she is


Cream butter; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg
and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well. Beat in vanilla
and lemon rind. Sift together cornstarch, flour, baking powder
and salt. Add to mixture and mix well. Drop batter by small
spoonfuls onto well buttered baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove immediately. Sandwich the cookies together with (dulce de leche) sweet milk dessert. Makes 40 cookies.
For extra special fabulousness, roll themaround the outside in dessicated coconut

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"An work of art is a work of love" Lewis

3 Stories Artspace - ART IS A VERB

3 Stories Artspace - Intrigue - Inspire - Involve

How could I not write about 3 stories when they offer such things as little boxes of inspiration for us all to purchase. 

So the inspiration here is 'tooling up' for a bit of inspirational activity with beautiful equipment. 


This is a space that honours the process as much as the end result. They actively demonstrate this by constantly offering a range of classes, workshops and community activities.

3 Stories Artspace is set high above the Maroondah dam so the views themselves are worth a visit. 

Pieces are set off by this natural back drop that invites you to contemplate and relax with whats on offer - not feel isolated and have a purely intellectual experience with the work on offer. The space invites gentle change and thought from both the artist and the viewer.


The gallery is owned and run by artist, curator, power house Ali Griffin and her partner Bill. They are both owners and absolute participants in what happens in the space. Their blurred boundaries between their life and the space is obvious with a positive result. They are welcoming and inclusive by nature.

This is a piece of Ali's work that came out of a workshop dealing with the use of layering wax on paper and mixing with other mediums if required. Ali has used maps in this piece. Available for sale at the gallery of course.

Delicate linen vessels - perfect for holding light and space

Choices of things all hand made, gathered, shared and sourced with inspiration, beauty and thought in mind. Perfect gift giving area. Maybe a gift for you, maybe for someone else .... we all need a little parcel once in a while. A very well chosen book collection sits behind and beside the 'objects'. These are books choosen to complement an eccelectic love of what artictic expression is and can be.

Type a quick zine. If you can't do that buy one of the many on offer here. We LOVE the modern Zine. Expression on paper from all angles.

Current exhibition is by Malcolm Peel ... extraordinary work. To much to say about in in this blog but ....he says "It's about people and place, about my sense of reality, about the realities of others, in time and place, about the nature of the universe we find ourselves living in. The place we occupy in this vast universe astounds and terrifies me. By the light of day I see the familiar. By night I see the vastness and the violence of the rest of time and space. I see our future." 


Take some time to see this work - you'll need time but you will be well rewarded for it.

A view from the space....

While you are here you can also enjoy a coffee (Yarra Valley sourced) and locally made biscuit. A cafe it is not but a wonderful place to sit and contemplate the world it is.


Alistair Whyte's ceramics always have a spot here at the gallery. Moulded into the likeness of takeaway paper cups all a little bit 'out of shape'. Just as a paper cup is in our hand. From Alistair "My skills come from years spent studying and working in Japan learning fine porcelain techniques, though I make a diverse range of ceramics in porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, raku and by pit firing"

3 Stories - Artspace
505 Maroondah Highway
Healesville,  3777

Open Thursday - Sunday 11ma - 4pm
Phone: 03 5962 5688
Email: art@threestories.com.au
Web: http://www.threestories.com.au/

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stacks of stuff

Wood stack at base of driveway ... taking some of the old to provide fuel at the new

Shelves becoming empty ....               


'Keating and the arts' from a Stephen Murray-Smith lecture 2010

An excerpt from The State of our Creative Nation, the 2010 Stephen Murray-Smith Memorial Lecture that Anne Summers delivered at the State Library of Victoria on Thursday 21 October:

“When it was over, the performers joined Keating on stage in an exuberant throng.  The newspapers the next morning showed a photograph of the Prime Minister, wearing a trademark light grey Zegna suit, standing close between two Bangarra dancers who were wearing not much more than a laplap and a bit of body paint.
It was an endearing – and revealing – image of contemporary Australia.
Paul Keating was a very different kind of Australian from the hard-drinking, womanizing, sports-loving Bob Hawke. (Although both excelled in their profane use of the Australian vernacular.)
Keatng’s nationalism – his Australianness – exhibited itself in spectacularly different ways.
In his kissing the ground at Kokoda, with his two most famous speeches – the Redfern speech and the one on the unknown soldier, and in his inventive and often inflammatory aphorisms.  He thrilled his admirers with such outbursts as: ‘If you’re not living in Sydney, you’re just camping out’, or, ‘A soufflĂ© does not rise twice’, ‘All tip and no iceberg’ and, memorably from a few months before this Arts for Labor event, when John Hewson pestered him as to why he would not call an early election, he said: ‘The answer is, mate, because I want to do you slowly’.
At the same time, the leader of the country was urbane and elegant, a man whose tastes ran to Regency furniture, Georgian architecture and the late-Romantic Austrian composter Mahler. And, now, here he was that Sunday in Sydney, embracing the Indigenous descendants of one of the world’s most ancient cultures.
How great our arts will be, Keating had said in his speech, when we are as one with Indigenous Australians, ‘when we say sorry for the murders and the dispossession and mean it, not just write a cheque off the budget’.[1]

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Newspaper wrapping 2 - 'Love Clarence' stamps

A few weeks ago I posted some beautiful Indian newspaper that had been hand stamped to be used as wrapping paper.

I went back to Clarence as I'd had a few comments and questions about it.

It's hand done by a womens collective in India. Clarence sell the actual hand carved wooden stamps as well as the paper. 

You could do some yourself!

Clarence with Love - Flowers and Fancy Goods

217 / A Maroondah H'Way
Healesville Vic 3777

Ph: 03 5962 4226

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Designed In Brunswick

Things are happening in Brunswick these days. The amazingly multi talented couple behind this new venue are certainly setting the pace.  

Aisling Gallagher and Neil Hargreaves can cook, sew, paint and now it looks like they can also print amazing fabric (Ais) and design fabulous cups (Neil). 

A website is coming soon but for now check them out on Facebook. 

Be in touch and be the first to own a little bit of Brunswick.

I'll be doing an interview with shots from 'where the work is done' next week .

Monday, October 18, 2010

'The Red Parasol' hides a retail delight

So - I found a little oasis in suburban Croydon yesterday. They assure me they have been here a while (2 years) but why they've been hiding under their 'Red Parasol' I have no idea. This is a shop for those that love merchandising, love 'stuff' and are excited by detail.

The displays were - well everywhere. Every corner of this shop has been thought about .... carefully. It's as though the owners and people that work here actually walk around their space and look at it from all angles.End result - as a customer - everywhere you look there is something exciting for the eye to explore.

With giant bursts of colour at different height placements the space is vibrant without being totally retro. It's done against a backdrop of muted vintage charm, but please, the "vintage charm" is by no means twee and does hold wit and the whimsy of fun.

Nice bum!

Also - what vintage? 'Red Parasol' seems to blend and crossover quite a few vintages with very little clunky, clumsy culture clashes. You can buy new, something from last season through to something your very groovy grandmother wore on her first date. Most of the decades in between will have a showing also.

The dressing rooms are an adventure in themselves. As I said earlier - the entire space is fitted out with things to look at.

The other amazing thing it doesn't "smell" like a second hand shop AT ALL. Maybe it's the delicious soy scented candles they sell?

Enter the dressing rooms and try not to forget why you're there with so much to look at

Handwritten dressing room etiquette. 

They must know how good they are. They even supply sweets so you have enough energy to keep going. Could easily miss a meal you spent so much time here!


Bits and buttons

Beautiful old lace in front of great retro wallpaper


This ribbon is SO beautiful. If you are expecting a little parcel form me any time soon it just may have a bit of this wrapped around it. This heavy woven ribbon alone has made me a friend for life. They sell it by the metre and there may be none left by the time you read this (depending on my schedule tomorrow).

They also sell wrapping paper by the metre.Beautiful heavy weight printed wrapping paper by the metre - just makes you want to buy someone a gift. This is a personal favourite piece of the shop for me. The idea of being able to buy quality paper and incredible ribbon in lengths I want is pure retail decadence. 

Original old woven ribbon ...LOVE!
Whether it's a fabulous one off dress, an earing or a simple but brightly coloured scarf you are sure to be able to find something pretty special here. It's well worth the drive. If this shop was in Melbourne city area the prices would be double and the stock would be running out the door. Lucky for us it's based in Croydon so the while it's busy - it's still a bit hidden from the hordes of quirky fashion lovers. 

This shop has been one of the biggest retail surprises I've had in while and I can't wait to get back. Nice work!

Bag for the races ladies?

 'The Red Parasol'
New - Recycled - Designer - Retro
Quality clothing and extras
163 Main St, Croydon VIC 3136
03 9724 9744

Or any number of hats.