Wednesday, December 30, 2009

La Cigale

Sorry for the intermission! I blame yuletide and its accompanying craziness. We had about a hundred things on before December 25th and everything, coupled with faltering technology, not to mention thwarting the plans of possibly the cheekiest baby on the planet (lucky she's also one of the sweetest ;-)), has meant that, you know, I've been a big lame-O.

However, I did remember to take that photo. Here it is:

Baboushka and I went down to Jervis Bay that weekend for some q-time with my dad, who'd been away in Adelaide. We had a lovely weekend, despite both of us being under the weather. Poor little Babs had a nasty ear infection (which I didn't know about until I took her to the doctor the next week) and managed to soldier on regardless.

These were the runners-up for the Point + Shoot activity:

Peas in a pod, those two ;-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Point + Shoot

One of my favourite bloggers, Chantelle of the brilliant fat mum slim, has had the inspired idea to make a game she's called 'Point + Shoot'. This Sunday (6th December) is the day to take photos, many or just one, of whatever you happen to be doing that day, and then post about it on Monday. I'll be down at Jervis Bay, hanging out with Baboushka and my dad, sewing bags with my mum and hopefully getting some swimming lessons in.

I tried to get started on a similar, slightly more ambitious project a few months back. The plan was to take a photo every day, of anything at all, and post it up at my Flickr account. It was flawed from the beginning, as I was posting the photos in chunks (having the time each day to transfer photos from the camera, resize them and then upload them was not very realistic). Then our computer kicked the bucket, and all the photos I'd been taking so diligently each day are currently stored elsewhere. The idea of finding them and continuing with my little project gave me a bit of a brain hernia, so I abandoned it. Ah, blithe abandonement. Where would I be without you?

Anyhoo, back to whatever vague sort of post I was stringing together. Ah, yes. My ill-fated photo project and this weekend. I can actually make a not-so-tenuous link between the two! Above is one of my 'Photo-A-Day' photos of (a very small percentage of) the material I'll take with me to make into shoulder bags, using Amy Butler's 'Birdie Sling' pattern. I am eagerly excited to be finally making my way through the acres of material I've been amassing over the last year or so, while my mind has been bubbling away with sewing ideas that I haven't had time to realise. Never mind that I haven't touched a sewing machine since high school. I figure, the more hideous the result, the better the blog fodder ;-)

The Penguins of Madagascar

I'm sorry for the slackness! I remember marvelling at how much my baby took up my time when she was a tiny little newborn. How little I knew. Now she's getting about with alarming speed, intense curiosity and a determination to test out EVERYTHING by shoving it in her mouth. Including her entire fist. Anyways...

What better way to find the motivation to blog than to do one of these tagging larks? I stumbled across this one over at Lovely Laurel's Ooh La La Vintage. Check out her radical red boots (and the rest of her fabulous wardobe!).

1.Where is your phone? Floating somewhere in the ether.
2.Your hair? Gloriously short. Probably not short enough.
3.Your Mother? Pottering around her boatshed.
4.Your Father? On his flight home after 5 weeks away. Very much looking forward to seeing him!
5.Your favourite food? Soup.
6.Your dream last night? About a mythical fellow blogger who was a former magazine editor who had a change of heart and became a 'mommy blogger' and swapped her Louboutins for tracksuit pants. Sounds like a lame movie.
7.Your favourite drink? Earl Grey.
8.Your dream/goal? To live overseas, get my PhD, have a happy daughter :-)
9.What room are you in? The room with the computer, the wardrobes and the too many toys.
10.Your hobbie? Baking, drawing, reading, swimming.
11.Your fear? Being reincarnated as a huntsman spider and ending my days in the lair of a parasitic wasp.
(12. is missing)
13.Where were you last night? At home, watching Twin Peaks and eating chocolate-covered almonds.
14.Something that you’re not? A skilled mathematician.
15.Muffins? Rhubarb.
16.Wishlist item? See future post.
17.Where did you grow up? The south coast of NSW.
18.Last thing you did? Had breakfast with my little lady.
19.What are you wearing? Jeans and an old grey t-shirt.
20.Your TV? Has been playing Twin Peaks a little obsessively the last few days.
21.Your pets? A kitty named Daisy.
22.Friends? Mostly scattered across the globe. I miss them enormously.
23.Your life? No complaints :-)
24.Your mood? Jubilant.
25.Missing someone? See 22.
26.Vehicle? A pram.
27.Something you’re not wearing? Glasses (to my chagrin).
28.Your favourite store? The Auburn St Antique Centre.
29. Your Favourite colour? Turquoise
30.When was the last time you laughed? This morning.
31.The last time you cried? Tuesday.
32.Your best friend? Is in Spain.
33.One place that I go to over and over? The Uni, even though I'm not currently enrolled. Nice coffee and comfy chairs in the library :-)
34.Facebook? It happens.
35.Favourite place to eat? Bento in town or Fireworks Cafe in Austinmer.

Anyone who would like to be, consider yourself tagged!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chopping Spree

Sometimes I feel as though I should not be allowed near scissors. Particularly when I'm feeling restless with my hair.

I had vague thoughts of shaving it all off next year for the Greatest Shave, which I thought would be all the more impressive if it was quite long. And, typically, if I feel bound to something I turn and flee in the opposite direction. I couldn't even wait for my hairdresser friend to do it properly, so I hacked it off while my brother T-Bone held a mirror.

The (radically uneven) result:

The bob only lasted a week - it needed a blowdry to look halfway decent, and of course there was the issue of unevenness. I'd been itching to go all gamine and Jean Seberg*, but at the last minute I lost my nerve and went for something a tad longer. It's times like these that I am profusely glad to be living in The Age Of The Internet**, as it makes spying on girls with cute hair so much easier. I picked Argentinian model Milagros Schmoll as my hair idol:

Despite fears that I would resemble a clunky milkmaid next to her exotic, rake-thin boyishness, it didn't turn out too badly. And, might I add, WHY HAVEN"T I CUT MY HAIR THIS SHORT BEFORE?! The ease with which I can wash, dry and artfully manipulate my newly-docile tresses is luxurious.

(Apologies for the poor choice of facebook photo. Oh dear.)

*actually, I may go shorter still - I'm more than a little obsessed with La Seberg.

**to be honest, I can't really think of any occasion where I have been unhappy with The Age Of The Internet.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Italia Mia

Ah, Gina Lollobrigida. It's been a while since I thrifted any books, but when I was out gallavanting the other day, I couldn't resist bringing this one home. My original plan was to cut out some of the pictures and use them for collages, but I feel so sacreligious when I do that I'm not sure if I'll be able to bring myself to do it.

But how gorgeous is the italiana in the second-last picture? She reminds me of a Tretchikoff, or a J.H Lynch. I'd much rather cut her out and put her in a nice frame than leave her trapped in a book...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

9 months

I remember, back when I was drifting about in a sleepy, milk-scented fog and everything about being a mother was brand new (and daunting, to say the least!), 9 months seemed like it was eons away. And yet, here we are, with crawling and size 1 onesies (!) and mashed vegetables and two adorable little toothypegs, and it feels like no time has elapsed at all.

And, I forgot to mention, pulling herself up with every stick of furniture in the house, and ignoring toys and baby-safe items in favour of anything and everything that is not. Like my knitting needles. Gotta run!


Originally uploaded by fleur_delice
This bedspread is a recent op-shop gem - I've been vaguely admiring pretty gold and pink ones that seem to be popping up on 'interiors' blogs lately, so I was pretty darned excited to find this one in my favourite deep turquoise colour. Salvo's has gone back to the '$10 linen bag' deal, i.e. you can fill an enormous garbage bag with as much stuff from the linen corner as you want for no more than $10. Thank goodness, as they've started charging insanely high amounts for everything else (today I saw a lamp for $100 and a vintage dress for $80. Clearly Salvo's is having an identity crisis and thinks it's an upmarket retro boutique).

I feel like I've been such a lame blogger lately. Our computer conked out a few days ago, and the laptop Pat hooked up to my screen doesn't have any of my photos on file. However, I was able to work out (a mighty feat, for someone with my severe lack of computer dexterity) that I can actually blog from my Flickr account! I may never even go back to my old ways...

PS: more apologies, the awful title puns are continuing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beets me!

So. I've decided to start posting the worst titles for my posts that I can possibly think of. Life is short and puns are one of my favourite things ever. Dad joke-style puns are even better. You are most welcome to pipe up with your own suggestions, as mine are likely to range from fairly crap to downright awful (although I suppose that's the point).

Anyhoo, the beets that today's title pertains to that most delightful of vegetable, silverbeet. Also known as Swiss chard, spinach beet, seakale beet and mangold. They're currently in season, and although we have a good little crop growing in the backyard, I've also been buying massive bunches at the fruit market for 78c. Because I use that much of it (kinda like this guy).

Tonight I'm using it in a risotto - something I've taken the liberty of giving the exotic name of 'Risotto Primavera', la-dee-da. But as it is a work in progress and I haven't a photo, I'll post the recipe for my previous silverbeet adventure:

Palak Paneer:
(Serves 5-6)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander (these first two are optional - I've neglected to use them before and it's been fine)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
2 large bunches of spinach, washed, trimmed, steamed, drained and finely chopped
4 tablespoons sour cream
fresh homemade curd cheese (paneer) made from 3 litres milk, cut into 1.25 cm cubes
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt

1) Combine the ginger and chili in a food processor or blender and process with a few spoons of cold water. Add the coriander, paprika, cumin, and turmeric and blend to form a smooth spice paste. Scrape the paste into a bowl.

2) Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over moderate heat. When the ghee is hot, add the spice paste, and fry it for 1 or 2 minutes or until very fragrant. Fold in the spinach, combining it with the spices.

3) Cook over moderate heat for about 5 more minutes, or until the spinach reduces a little more in volume. (The spinach can be blended with the sour cream, but I prefer it left this way. And I'm lazy.)

4) Fold in the sour cream; add the cubes of paneer, the garam masala, and the salt. Cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes and serve hot, with basmati rice.

*n.b. I made some channa dahl to go with it the other night, when we had friends over for dinner, and we had rosewater-scented halva for dessert. Good mix.

(recipe adapted from Kurma Dasa's 'World Food')

Feeling a bit damp

Or rather I was feeling a bit damp, after more than two weeks of fairly solid rain. Not that I'm against rain (and it was most welcome after our recent monster dust storm), but I only like it for so long, and then I get a bit cagey, which in turn makes me cranky.

And I didn't want to be a big ol' cranky blogger. So here are some pretty pictures instead - it pretty much sums up what I do when trapped inside by the rain, baking and tea. And finding cute teapots at the op-shop ;-)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sweet holy mother of the thrift gods!

The laws of op-shopping have been confounding me lately. It seems that every time I am in the presence of a fellow thrifter and the conversation steers to our mutually-loved pastime, I bemoan the current lack of decent clothing (heck, I've even done it here!) and then get nostalgic for 'the good old days' where I could snatch up silk smoking jackets and geometric shift dresses for under $5, and where Miller's Fashion Club was a mere lurking presence rather than the evil behemoth we now know it to be.

However, it would appear that my laments have had the opposite effect to that which I would have expected. Instead of being brutally smote for my lack of faith, I am being rewarded with some sweet finds...

In town with my little bro T-Bone last week, we ducked into one of our preferred secondhand haunts so that he could look for shirts. Idly sifting through the dresses while he was in the change room, I realised that there was some potential on that thar rack. Several hurried clothing changes later, I emerged with these four dresses:

(Someone woke up mid-photo-shoot)

I nearly lost my lunch when I realised what a gem that last one is. It looks as though it's been handmade, and someone has done the most beautiful job of it, lining it and all.

And the print, my word, that print! Very Temple of the Sun (have I been making Baboushka watch Tintin so that I can watch it too? Yes. Yes I have). I think I have found my life's mission - to discover the maker of that fabric. If anyone knows how I could do this, I will be eternally grateful and (may even rustle up a present of some kind... if, you know, the thrift gods are feeling benevolent).


Sorry for the slack posting, my dears - it would appear that I've been two-timing my blog with Flickr. Oh, new and innovative ways to lure me to the computer ;-)

I'm going to attempt to juggle the two. Along with chasing after Baboushka - even though she hasn't yet mastered crawling, she gets around quite well. The other day I left the room and returned, only to discover that she'd manoeuvred herself backwards and under the sofa. Bad mummy.

She's also taken to making her way over to the bookcase and taking books out, and we had a bit of carnage yesterday. She ripped her first page out (a milestone?) of 'The Monster at the End of This Book', one of my own childhood favourites. Luckily this book managed to avoid the same fate:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What the heck is with this wind?

I am beginning to wish that our toilet wasn't outside. One of my favourite stories of my grandmother's involves a particularly windy day, and her elderly father having the outside dunny literally blow off him,, ablutions. I'm trying not to think of waterfalls.

My two lovebugs have got the right idea - they've been snuggled up and asleep since 6:30pm (4 hours ago). Leaving me to peruse the Intermanets uninterrupted, a rare bliss indeed. The Explorer socks are out in force, I had oatmeal for dinner, I discovered that B52's tickets are $100 (d'oh) and I've fallen for these two blogs:

The Little House By The Sea

and Thrift Candy.
Oh, to be in a floral dress in a sun-filled, un-windy garden.

Speaking of wind, I just had a thought: I wonder if the French words vent (wind) and ventre (stomach) are etymologically related? Because, the stomach is part of the digestive system, and when one has 'wind'...ah, you know what I'm getting at.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yet another project to add to my list...

This is Michelle Jank. Sigh. She's just gorgeous, no?

And talented, too. In my quest to find lovely ladies who emulate my idea of 'Art-teacher Chic', she was one of the first few who popped into my head. Yep, sorry guys, but I have a feeling I'm going to go on about this idea (henceforth referred to as ATC) ad nauseum ;-)

Her clothes are lovely (anyone remember this amazing dress?), but it's her own personal style and her amazing jewellery that I adore the most.

I'm going to have a go at making a similar floral neck piece - this pink one is gorgeous, but I'm not a big pink-wearer, so I'm looking for flowers in greens and blues instead.

Isn't this one heavenly?

(First image from here; second two are from the Sart, and the last two from here)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Question: how does one find the time to both maintain a blog while reading the blogs of other people?

I think I've found my answer: by writing about the other blogs! Some days I'll go from blog to blog and end up at a particularly great one, and not remember where I started or know how I got there...

Anyways, here's one I managed to stumble upon: The Catskill Kiwi. I love how she combines gorgeous photos with rad-looking recipes. The Brown Sugar Cookie recipe looks particularly enchanting.

(Image from The Catskill Kiwi)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Art-teacher Chic

Okay, I'm coining it before anyone else does. We've had some verging-on-the-ridiculous prefixes to 'chic' in the past (Recession-chic? Military-chic? Homeless-chic?!), so I'm just throwin' it out there.

What is this 'Art-teacher Chic' I speak of? Well, er, it's what I would use to answer the question, "how would you describe your style?", which, now that I have an answer for it, I doubt I'll ever be asked. But you know what I'm on about, surely - those style-related questionnaires that also ask, "What was your last purchase?" and "If you could take just 3 items of clothing to a deserted island, what would you take?", etc.

(Chances are I wouldn't take bright turquoise tights. Maybe garments made of soy fibre or some such, so I could eat them.)

Invariably, they ask you to describe your own style, and I'm stumped. Bookish-Hammer-pant-wearer? It's-laundry-day-and-all-I-have-is-this-Deniliquin-tshirt? But now I have it. Despite the fact that I'm not an art teacher, or any kind of teacher (yet), I think my bird's-nest topknot, mismatched op-shop booty and penchant for bright Pantone-esque hues would be quite at home in a paint-splattered classroom.

(These shoes are one of about three pairs I've managed to find in an op-shop, like, and which actually fit. They are mens', of course. Damned ogre-feet.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Soup-y goodness

I've been on a bit of a healthy-eating kick these last few days, and I'm going to credit Chantelle and her Operation: fat mum slim. I've been following her progress in an effort to get motivated on my own undertaking - a bid to stop going to bed so darned late and thus getting more sleep - and it looks like the healthy eating part is rubbing off!

Maybe it's because Baboushka has been settled into a good routine for a while, it could be the warmer weather, or my loathing of pre-packaged goods... or maybe I've just missed spending q-time in the kitchen. Whatever it is, I've been struck by an incurable desire to make food - lots of good, simple food - and as much of it from scratch as possible.

Yesterday evening I whipped up two batches of a long-time favourite, Jamie Oliver's amusingly-named Pukkolla (one for storing in a big ol' jar, one for making up for more immediate consumption). I located a recipe here, and particularly enjoyed getting out my much-loved-but-not-often-enough-used mortar and pestle and giving the almonds a bit of a bash. Waking up this morning to such a ridiculously easy and downright delicious breakfast made me wonder why the hell I haven't been making this stuff more often. Note to self: buy fresh blueberries for tomorrow's bowlful.

Then tonight, I've been making a big potful of vegetable and lentil soup. The balmy, sticky, afternoon storm we've just had doesn't reeeally lend itself to soup... but I eat soup like I drink tea (i.e., any darned time regardless of current meteorological conditions). Here's a not-particularly-precise recipe:

Vegetable & Lentil Soup That Will Make You Feel Like A Skillful Italian Nonna:


olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped finely
2 carrots, chopped finely
1/2 bunch celery, chopped finely
1 or 2 leeks, sliced (optional)
1 turnip, cubed
1/2 green cabbage, sliced thinly (about 1cm)
2 handfuls red lentils
a slosh of white wine
2L (8 cups) vegetable stock
2L water (approximately - just adjust amount of liquid to get your preferred consistency)
salt, pepper


1) heat oil; make up a soffritto with the onion, carrots and celery, fry until soft;

2) add leeks, if using, and fry for a minute or so; add turnip, cabbage, lentils and wine; bring to boil, then add the vegetable stock and water;

3) let simmer until turnip and cabbage are soft, and the lentils are cooked; season with salt, if necessary, and pepper to taste.

n.b: this would also be good with garlic added to the soffritto, and I like it best served over sourdough that's going a bit stale, kind of like a minestra di pane.

(Image from here)

If I were to go 'holidaying'...

..this would be my wardrobe. Or the wardrobe I would dream of wearing, at least. Lanvin's latest resort collection from genius Alber Elbaz (and I usually don't give too many hoots about who designs what and bla bla bla). Kooky and pretty and a little bit Frida Kahlo.

I adore the jewel-like colours of turquoise and sapphire with not-so-plain black

Acid-green + gym shoes suddenly seem like a good idea

Those prints! My god, those prints...