Sunday, April 26, 2015


After seeing other people's photos of the project on Instagram, I was anxious to see for myself the 5000 poppies project, a carpet of  knitted and crocheted poppies spread across the steps in Federation Square. Read about the project here.

We went quite early for a Sunday morning, getting there by about 9.30 a.m. There were already many people there visiitng and photographing the installation, and when we came out of the National Gallery at around 11.30, there was a big crowd. 

I found it very moving: not so much because of the ANZAC centenary which has been over-cooked by the media and other self interested parties to a disgusting degree, but because of the enormous sense of community and goodwill the project generated. People wanted to be involved and share in it.
There is so much terrible news from different parts of the world every day it was beautiful to see something created from goodwill, kindness and sharing. I loved it.

Then we went to an excellent show at the NGV called Follow the Flag: Australian artists at war 1914-1945. Some incredible artists featured ( Streeton, Nolan, Lindsay, Tucker, Hester etc), propaganda posters, a coffee set cleverly made from spent shell cartridges and a linen tablecloth embroidered by a woman imprisoned by the Japanese in a internment camp in China in 1942. With permission from the guards she embroidered a map of the camp and later embroidered 800 signatures of (presumably) camp inmates. This was a very interesting and moving show and well worth seeing.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

baking and books

It must be the cooler weather but all of a sudden I want to bake all the time.

I had no time to bake when I working longer hours and I have really happily dived back in to it after nearly six months when I hardly baked at all. Above is the apricot cake I made for visitors this afternoon. This is before it went into the oven. Then below here it is cooked:

 Here's the recipe, very easy. The original is from Cooking with the Raizons by Lana and Delia Raizon (2002). The only change I made to their recipe was to use unsalted butter instead of margarine.

Warm Apricot Cake

180g butter
1 and 1/4 cups sugar ( I used caster)
3 eggs lightly beaten
2 and 1/4 cups self raising flour
12 canned apricot halves ( in juice) drained well

Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar, mix in eggs thoroughly, then the flour.
Line a 20 x 30 cm tray or oven proof dish with with baking paper, pour in the mix and spread evenly.
Carefully place apricots in rows, cut side down.

Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream or cold with a cup of tea.

I am also going to show off the piping on the Lemon cupcakes I made for book club last Friday night. Icing and I are not friends: I invariably muck it up somehow ( too thin, too lumpy, too technicolour), but by following Julie Goodwin's recipe to the letter I made great cakes and icing:

Here's a link to the recipe.



I've been reading all the time. It's been good. I have re-read some old favourites (Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, and Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols. The first a clever cosy mystery, the second, a gardening/house autobiography by a favourite author. Now I'm reading Sidney Chambers and the perils of the night by James Runcie.

 I haven't been entirely stuck in cosy 1950s Britain.

I also read Chloe Hooper's A child's book of true crime which I read in Tasmania, which is where it's set. It is a very gothic, sexy creeper of a book. I read it years ago and wanted to re-visit it - well worth it. Then I read The giver by Lois Lowry, a 1993 science-fiction/dystopian, frankly disturbing tale of a weird future society which pre-dates all the Hunger Games and Wool and Silo futuristic stories by decades. I did not like it much and felt quite ripped off by the ending. It is in its way as nasty as Orwell's 1984. I believe it is a set text in some U.S. schools and has been for years which I found interesting. I think I need to read more about this book to understand it better.


It's turned very cold and in between hailstorms today we planted ( very late) 60 more Nerines in the woodland part of the garden. My baby carrot seeds are up and there is movement in the the hollyhock tub which I'm hoping isn't just weeds. Still more daffodils to get re-planted and about a billion self seeded nasturtiums to remove from the new vegetable beds but this will all have to wait until Thursday when my working week is over.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

op-shopping in Tassie and my new favourite room

Even though we only spent four days in Tasmania I managed to visit two op-shops, as well as a vintage store, and scope out the whereabouts of a few more for the next visit.

The tin above was from a heart-stopping store in Wynyard called Mother Hubbards. I could have happily spent the entire day in there. Here are a couple of the crammed shelves:

I don't normally go for tins with cheesy pictures of girls but I thought this one would look good next to the old family cake tins.

Yes that shelf is pretty dusty. It is up high and I am short.

In fact, this room is now my favourite in the whole house. Many book shelves and lots of pictures and treasures in there. It's a nothing room that two bedrooms open off, so it's really just a very wide hallway. That blueish carpet will be replaced one of these days.

Another thing I bought from Mother Hubbard was this little picture, which will probably be hung out in that room somewhere. Just a little reminder of the changing Autumn trees which were particularly golden everywhere.

In Burnie in an op-shop I bought a floral tablecloth and a very bright retro orange apron for S to wear when housewifing, but I forgot to take photos of them. I also bought this plate to hang up.
On the back it says "Booths China, made in England", and the pattern is called Sylvan.

There is something about the little art-deco ish look to the flowers and basket which I just love.

And here I am managing to write a blog post on a Tuesday afternoon again. Back to my normal hours and loving the extra time to DO STUFF. I've finished 3 books and started another and will post about them another day.