Thursday, 9 April 2009


Hi all,

This is Cate's husband - just letting you know that while she has found blogging and crafting to be extremely fulfilling and has appreciated all the support you have offered her, the arm injury continues to be a major problem, and we have to draw this chapter to a close.

We both hope that she will heal up and you will see her around in all her crafty glory, but until that time we wish you adieu.

Thank you all,

Mr Jimmy Trickle.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

ABC kids (Italian style)

Earlier this month I was soooo thrilled to discover that Misseri Studio had decided to start a YouTube channel. These guys really kicked off my life-long love of animation.

For those of us who spent their afternoons suckling at the cathode nipple during the seventies and eighties - hopefully these vids will bring back some good memories.

I dare you to resist singing the AEIOU theme song on loop (to the increasing distress of your friends and loved ones).

And just because he was so fantastically animated - I also present a bit of La Linea.

In true Italian style - there was an 'Adults Only' episode La sexilinea. Cicciolina was definitely not a cultural aberation.

(Until I looked her up on Wikipedia I didn't know but she used to be married to one of my favourite artists Jeff Koons - curiouser and curiouser).

But I'll let you find that one for yourselves. We have standards here.

Albeit not very effective ones. But standards nevertheless.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Souper Sunday - late edition

Ahh - I could blame the house guests for posting this late - but that's just being petty. Besides, they really loved the soup.

I will spare you the vegan rhubarb and apple crumble that followed (just a bit too odd). Vegan desserts are definitely not my strong suit.

La Sfarrata with Rosemary oil
(adapted from Jill Dupleix, The Age Epicure)

1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil (Extra virgin)
1/2 cup lentils (Australian blue are great)
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock
Sweet Chilli sauce (optional)
1 x 400g can cannellini beans
1 x 400g can chickpeas
Salt & Pepper

Rosemary Oil* to serve

In a large heavy saucepan heat the oil and lightly cook the onion, celery and garlic.

When softened, add the lentils, barley, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the lentils and barley are soft (about 30 minutes). I also add a good slug of sweet chilli sauce. It takes the edge off the acidity of the tomatoes, and adds just a hint of warmth to the soup.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans and chickpeas. Add to pot and simmer gently for a further 30 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. This soup is great fresh - but like most hearty soups - it is even better the next day.

*To make the Rosemary Oil:
Pick a decent bunch of rosemary. Carefully pick off the green leaves and place in a mortar, discarding the woody stalks. Generously drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a good pinch of coarse salt and some freshly cracked pepper (adds both flavour and acts as grist to release the oils). Pound with the pestle for about 5 minutes. It will make a pretty unsightly concoction - and the rosemary will not break down much (unlike when making a basil pesto). It should start to smell great and the oil will start to take up the colour of the rosemary. You may need to add more oil (the leaves do soak up a lot). Let it "ruminate" for a few minutes then carefully scoop it out and place it into a fine tea strainer set above a small bowl. Let the oil drain off and using the back of a teaspoon press the leaves to get as much oil out as possible. Discard the spent leaves.

You should now have tablespoon or so of bright greenish oil with a darker sediment. It won't seem like much but it is quite strong and very pungent. The oils are very volatile and will deteriorate after a few hours - so you only need enough to drizzle on your soup (about 1 teaspoon per bowl).

To serve - ladle the soup into large bowls and drizzle with the rosemary oil (and more pepper if desired). A bit of freshly grated parmesan might also be nice - but not essential.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Lights Out...

Earth hour approaches!

Queen B candle at the ready - perfect for some carbon neutral scrabble.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Little Things

We all like to collect something. Bills, dodgy boyfriends ... wrinkles.

Throughout my life I have spent many an hour engaged in the thrill of the hunt - looking for that one item to add to my collection.

When I was young it was rabbit figurines, then later it became lego, game+watches and transformers.

Years later I met and moved in with a collector and then it was glow-in-the-dark things, children's books, more lego, fisher price toys, coins, action figures, stamps, comic books, Japanese pottery, ceramic kettles, robots, CDs, DVDs, fabric and notions etc etc until the collections became a collection all of their own. Collecting for collectings sake. Compulsive and automatic.

We started to run out of room. And dusting took forever.

All this stuff became burdensome. Like a weight around our necks. It had to stop.

It was just stuff. And more stuff did not equal more happy.

We decided, resolutely, that we had owned it once, but now it was time to let it go.

Slowly, bit by bit, the collections were broken down. Stuff was given away, sold at markets, put on ebay, taken to the op-shop. Given to those who needed it - or just wanted it more than we.

Some stuff was difficult to let go of. So some stuff was allowed to be kept.

My inner collector went back to basics - to where it all began.

My grandmother's minature tea set. Some cheap, made in Japan, badly painted little thing that as a small girl I coveted with all my heart.

Not only was it small - the teapot worked! Cute and practical. I was smitten.

Eventually it was gifted to me. It is the foundation of my new collection. A collection so small it fits into a little box. Less than half a shoe box. Not burdensome at all.

A minature collection. Of Little Things.

There is only one rule for this collection. It must not only be minature - it must also be functional. It must do the thing that it's full size counterpart does.

A teapot must pour. A pencil must write. Simple.

So here are my Little Things:

2 inch tall Little Golden Book. Appropriate title for such a small book, don't you think?

My Granpa's Lilliputian dictionaries. He carried these with him during the war. They are a bit fragile now and the spines have split. Mainly because as a small child I used to obsess over them. Typical. Survived months of living rough, criss-crossing Europe in the Polish Free Army.

Only to be nearly destroyed 30 years later by a precocious 4 year old.

I believe the world's smallest comic book - actually the business card from Lambiek, the world's best comic book shop in Amsterdam.

Cards anyone? We could get a game of Canaster going - but they are a bugger to shuffle.

Perfect for a bit of 3 card Monty in a flea bag coffin hotel.

My tool kit of sorts. All working. Five cent coin for size reference (19mm). I declared the pocket knife going through Swiss customs. They laughed at me.

I haven't used the pencil yet (because I haven't found a sharpener small enough).

Smallest wooden block set - comes in a matchbox. Not made any more apparently - choking hazard much?

All that remains of my once 180 strong miniature fragrance collection. Amassed after spending my Uni days as a Fragrance Consultant at various department stores (i.e. one of those annoying, overly made up types that insist on giving you pieces of cardboard drenched in stink as you enter the store).

Real leather baseball, tarot cards, my smallest Japanese tea set (not an actually working teapot, cheats - I know), small sewing kit - for small holes only, Barbie doll coat hanger and the smallest set of Maneki Neko I have found (only beckons small treasures - lost buttons, beads and such like).

And of course my little rubber ducky...

Thanks Pip for an awesome theme that I just couldn't resist!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Cato's first Doll Quilt

I just got back from an appointment with my pain specialist. It seems that if my current drug regime and daily activity management system (ie. spend my days watching TV) don't improve matters the next step is Ketamine injections and a 9 day hospital stay.

Surely I must have miss heard? He is a low talker after all.

But NINE days? C sections don't even keep you in for that long.

I must have got it wrong.

So perhaps the bright side of this encounter is that maybe I am actually only going deaf. Add it to forgetful, vague and the fact that putting my socks and shoes on is a task I need to ready myself for (thongs are the #1 thing I am going to miss about summer).

Old before my time, unless I just caught a bad case of the geriatrics from the hydro pool. Because let's face it, I am the youngest client there by about 30 years.

Not that there is anything wrong with being old. Really, I love old people (except of course if, god forbid, I am stuck behind you at a shopping centre).

I do intend to be one one day- and heartily embrace my codgerism with a gnarled shake of my fist at the young kids walking on my lawn. But I did hope to at least experience middle age before I got there.

I want my crisis and sports car too!

(edit: someone didn't forget to take the bitch pills this morning I'm afraid)

In the meantime, the highlight of my weekend was a four year old's birthday party - which left me completely spent for the rest of the weekend. I almost fell asleep during the dystopian bloodfest that was the Watchmen movie. Then again it was a matinee session. Traditional nap time at chez Trickle.

Slumber aside, I did enjoy the movie - even if it did stray from the original comic book (Hazzah! Nit picking - the unmistakable vestige of the comic book geek).

A bit of ultra violence was a interesting counterpoint to an overload of PINK. And ballerinas.

I had to turn my fabric collection inside out and trawl the scrap pile to find enough appropriately coloured patterns.

Fortunately the finished product only had to be 25 x 35 cms - so I really didn't have to find that much. But even then I only just made it.

(There is a reason why I don't fill these posts with pictures of my fabric collection. Shades of navy blue and black anyone?)

Putting myself in the mind's eye of a 4 year old girl who is Angelina Ballerina obsessed, I thought that mice with miniature tutus would make me lose my shit.

Of course, I didn't quite factor in just how long a little bit of embroidery would take with my sewing arm ailments. But it was worth it.

Even if after the careful pacing of the project each day, it still left me up late the night before and dipping into my painkiller cache.

Please don't tell Jms (I promised him it wouldn't come to that).

Um, hang on - he reads these posts too.

Even after a severe chastising from a very disappointed husband: Still worth it.

Because it is soooo cute. Because it made the birthday girl's eyes sparkle. Because it got immediately taken to the bedroom and I was told it was 'very special'. Too special even for the pram for which it was intended. No - its going to be hung on the wall with her other favourite things.

And here was I truly expecting it to end up trampled on the floor, covered in cake crumbs like most toys at a small child's birthday party do.

Dodgy machine quilting aside (alas no walking foot) this was a lot of fun and very satisfying to make. I now completely understand the myriad doll/mini/art quilt collectors and flicker groups out there.

This could be a new obsession - perfectly suited to one who has a very short window of opportunity for work and the attention span to match. And as for pink - I think could be hooked.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Wordless Wednesday