Friday, 28 December 2007

Kris Kringle

What do you give a woman who has everything?

I don't actually know, so in the absence of a great idea I made her a pillow.

I suspect history is about to repeat. Crafty things as presents echoes of my maternal grandmothers penchant for "china painting". Actually very sweet and well intended. For the first 10 years. Then it started to be a bit wearisome. All things considered though, I have never suffered the indignantly of being short of a bud vase or lacking a small decorative plate. And with my surfeit of doilies and crocheted hankies, I have never known a decorating crisis nor an unladylike attack of the sniffles.

I was actually quite chuffed with my magpies - until I realised my understudies were of the northern hemisphere variety and it was too late to change (Yay last minute crafting).

Now that I've realised, I can't seem to notice anything other than that at the very least their beaks should be white. Aargh. Perhaps I'll sneak into her house one day and make some ninja style modifications.

This was also my first attempt at binding. I forgot to get cord (one trip to Spotlight on Christmas eve was more than enough for me). So I used some wool yarn instead. Here's hoping it doesn't get put through the machine on hot. It turned out pretty well I think - I only had to unpick once when I forgot to put the binding on before the invisible zip. Yes I AM a professional.

Its hard to see in the photo, but the birds are actually a deep navy - which really pops against the natural linen colour (without being as severe as black would have been). The "glint" is of course my favourite acid yellow. The binding, which I really wish I'd taken a shot of, is a nice indigo and cream fabric reminiscent of the Eames dot pattern. And yes, it was the perfect excuse to lash out on some yummy Japanese linen. Even though I block fused the applique, it still distorted. There really is a lot of give in the weave of this fabric. But that is the nature of linen, which if it weren't for the pin stripe, none would be any the wiser.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Season's Greetings from the southern hemisphere!

Christmas is always the best excuse to do some serious baking.

Unfortunately its usually stinkingly hot in Melbourne at this time of year - so sweating it out over a hot stove on top of the usual Christmas time over achieving is a little more arduous than fun.

But with plentiful rain being the bestest-ever possible early Christmas present for our drought ridden land, I am seriously enjoying some quality time with my oven.

The last month I have barely stepped foot in the kitchen (except to sneak past the gargantuan pile of dishes and quickly grab the stash of home delivery menus). We have eaten so much pizza lately I'm ashamed to call myself a foodie. However this has been nicely juxtaposed with quite a few "nice" restaurant visits including the work Christmas party at Rockpool - encrusted with enough lobster and wagyu beef to fund a small military operation.

Nice as it was, my heart yearned for the simple pleasure of rubbing butter into flour, adding a bit of this, a touch of that and a few minutes in the oven followed by the heady sweet smell of baked goodness wafting throughout the house. And best of all - I am officially on holiday and can indulge in the fiddly biscuit department to my heart's content.

Now I can't claim any of the credit for these cuties. Instead all kudos goes to an unnamed and probably completely under valued staff chef at Nestle.

To be completely honest, they aren't the best biscuit flavour wise - but they are so much fun to make and the squeals and ahs a plate of these will generate is definitely worth it. They truly do look amazing and are remarkably good at restoring one's Christmas spirit. I am also tickled by the ironic use of a "Star of David" style cutter too.

Christmas Star Biscuits

Preparation time: 50 mins (including chilling time)

Makes approx 20

250g butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup clear boiled lollies, chopped

Cream butter, vanilla and sugar in a mixing bowl. Sift flours and cocoa together. Combine with butter mixture, mixing well.

Turn out to a clean surface and knead until dough comes together. Cut in half. Place each half between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to approx 8mm thickness. Refrigerate until firm.

Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

Remove top sheet of paper, cut out shapes using a 7cm star cutter. Place onto a tray lined with paper. Cut out inner star with a 3 1/2 cm cutter and remove. (Collect the "waste" re-roll, chill and repeat for more biscuits)

Bake for 8 minutes, remove from the oven and fill the center with a few chunks of the chopped lollies. Turn up the oven to 180 degrees and bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until the lollies have melted and the biscuits have cooked. Allow to cool on trays.

Boiled lollies are often hard to find. Don't use the milky ones because they won't melt properly or give the glass effect. This year the only "boiled style" lollies I could find were Starburst lollipops. They worked fine but were pretty strongly flavoured. Also, don't overfill the middles - otherwise you will break your teeth trying to eat them!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Geek is the new punk

Saw Daft Punk live on Thursday night. It was incredible.

The seamless mix of old and new tracks accompanied by a killer light and graphic show is still sending chills down my spine. I've taken to playing "Alive 2007" really loud and flicking the lounge room lights on and off. If only I had a Christmas tree...

Speaking of lights - a not so small part of me that is now well and truly over 30 seems to be pining for my raver roots (just the dressing up - not the "chemical enhancements"). Some may call it regression, others a sad grasp at fading youth. I prefer to think of it as a legitimate opportunity to express myself with electronics. Viva la MAKE revolution!

Now I have a nice rack all things considered - but fitting DAFT PUNK in 5mm leds across my chest was a bit much - so I figured "PUNK" was sufficiently succinct and still in the spirit of the event. I suggested to Jms that we make him a matching Tee with "DAFT" but for some reason he was not so keen.

Anyways - because I am ever so spoilt, the boy got in some super cool multi-coloured LEDs from our favourite sweatshop in Hong Kong. Some serious soldering and tinkering and voila!

These little babies are great because they automatically cycle through red, green and blue without needing a separate chip.

There was an ever so slight hiccup when we'd not quite got the right resistance sorted and I burnt my fingers while showing off my modded shirt to my co-workers (I work for a fashion company that specialises in t-shirts). But being last minute and all, we couldn't rewire it, so I made my own switch to stop it from from overloading (ie. half unclipped the 9V battery and squeezed it with my hand to complete the circuit). This was ultimately serendipitous because I could emote by making it flash in time to the music (or cycle through the colours because I was dancing too hard to remember to unplug). And there was much dancing. At my yoga class this morning I was all ... wow my neck is pretty sore for some reason ... oh wait (sheepish grin).

Big, big ups to Dr. Jimothy for his leet ticket purchasing skillz. Thanks bro.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

I wonder why I didn't really fit in at Fashion School

I didn't have a collection of plastic bangles from Toxic. I didn't get fake tans or wear giant sunglasses. I shaved my head not because I was a punk but because I couldn't afford a haircut.

We had a very memorable "industry partner project" with a high profile denim brand. Those of us who didn't wear plastic bangles and get fake tans protested for something less vacuous than a brand whose ad campaigns were based on breasts and products they didn't actually sell. In the absence of an alternative I thought I'd just take "military styling" to its logical conclusion as well as make a genuine and heartfelt political statement about the war on terrorism.

My design teacher said, and I quote verbatim "They'll never pick you".

But they were going to be wearing denim bikinis under those veils!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Angry (again)

Monday, 10 December 2007

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Something for the ladies...

Perhaps that should read "for the boys". Its still safe for work because there's no nipple.

Needs work

Timing is everything in comedy. So too with comics. Not sure if this hits or misses. Its sometimes hard to distill a lifetime of experience into 4 panels. I am no Sparky.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

I miss that dog (still)

Raw (still) too.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Flashback Tuesday Afternoon

I've often fantasised about being a comic book artist - who doesn't? Especially when you consider all the money, fame and creative respect you get. Oh wait.

Snide remarks aside I am a regular reader of several webcomics. There are so many of such an incredible calibre out there in the interwebs. It is a real joy to find a new artist and have the pleasure of their entire back catalogue to spend a lazy afternoon scrolling through. Its like sitting in front of a huge tub of your favourite ice-cream with a spoon knowing you are allowed to eat it all and it won't make you fat. A warning though: both can give you a bad headache.

Jms hooked me up with QC saying that watching the art develop was almost as good as watching the story unfold. I admire xkcd too for having the presence of mind to not let a reliance on stick figures get in the way of an awesome idea. The kind of presence of mind I wish my virgo self would embrace more often.

An afternoon of trawling through old paperwork (ie. throwing crap out) uncovered a few random sketches that I'd scribbled down that I thought I'd share. In all their embryonic and raw glory. It's not called the random acts of Jimmy Trickle for nothing.

As mentioned previously, that is part of the impetus behind this blog. To catalogue all the random sparks of ideas and energy that randomly pop out of my head and fingers in the hope that they might coalesce into something cogent and identifiable. I am jealous of many of these artists because they chose something and stuck with it. Of a close friend many years ago it was said she was "a jack of all trades and master of none". I too feel like I am cursed with this moniker.