Creative ideas come "out of the wild" growing like yeast. Enjoy a meander around my creative pursuits - art printing with stamps, sketching, photography, baking, gardening...

26 April, 2013

Friday Smiles

Hello Smilers All,

I haven't been on deck much lately because I've been busy with the garden that needs heaps of autumnal attention, and having friends to stay, not to mention some dentistry that left me with a better mouth and a poorer pocket!

Two Smile-makers today. The first is the autumn produce that I bought at the market on Wednesday.

Chestnuts from a local farm, walnuts from Nagambie.
Fresh as can be, the walnuts taste wonderful and the chestnuts are for roasting this weekend. They are supposed to be easy to peel - oh well, that's fine but really I'd use a jack-hammer to get to that nutty flavour.

And here's a little Friday Funny story to make you smile. It came from a newsletter I receive every Friday from Westprint which is a publishing company specialising in maps and books about outback travel and history. The newsletter is full of interesting stuff, some of which is contributed by travellers in 4WDs and caravans.
BTW, if there is any vernacular that you would like to know about, let me know. I'll add edit notes.
A drover, who just moved to Queensland from Victoria, walks into a bar and orders three glasses of XXXX. He sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, He comes back to the bar and orders three more. The bartender approaches and tells the drover, "You know, a glass goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time."
The cattleman replies, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One's in 'Tassie' , the other one's a 'sandgroper'. When we all left our home in Echuca , we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together.
So I'm drinking one beer for each of my brothers and one for myself." The bartender admits that this is a nice custom and leaves it there.
The drover becomes a regular in the bar and always drinks the same way. He orders three mugs and drinks them in turn. One day, he comes in and only orders two mugs. All the regulars take notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."

 The drover looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in his eyes and he laughs. "Oh, no, everybody's just fine," he explains, "It's just that my wife and I joined the Salvation Army and I had to quit drinking. It hasn't affected my brothers though."



Anzac Day and Favourite Anzac Recipe.

On 25th April, ANZAC Day, we acknowledge with great respect the price paid for war, and the courage it takes to be part of these dreadful events. There is also a lot to reflect upon about the bonds of friendship that come from the most unlikely connections, such as between the Aussies and the Turks at Gallipoli.

This post is about The Anzac Biscuit. It's become popular yummy nibble for most occasions in many households since the Great War and it seems a good time to share the recipe with you. Originally they were hard biscuits that wouldn't spoil in transportation and were (reasonably) nutritious for the Diggers. I haven't made the home baked variety for ages but I did make many batches a few years ago and here is the perfected version (in my view - be it ere so 'umble).  ;-) 

I made two batches this morning and sent some off to the working bee at the local Estuary where the Friends are weeding like crazy to give the natural grasses some space and get rid of dumped rubbish. Sometimes I'm very ashamed of my fellow humans.  Anyway, here's how...

Anzac Biscuits.

Note: it's important to stick to quantities for the "perfect" biscuit. It's the balance of ingredients that I worked at getting just right. The cups and tablespoons are different from US measures. A cup here is 250ml and the Tablespoon is 20ml so you might make your own measures first.
1 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats. Make it a scant cup.
3/4 cup dessicated coconut, also a bit mean.
1/2 cup sugar
125g butter
2 T/spoons Golden Syrup.
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda.
1 T/spoon boiling water, be generous and let it spill a bit...
Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut.
Place butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gentle heat and stir to combine as they melt.
Mix the soda and boiling water and quickly add to the butter mixture.
(Woohoo, I love how it froths - this is the best part, except for eating them).
Stir into the dry ingredients. It makes a sticky but loose mixture.

You can see that the mixture is not smooth like a batter.
Place pressed shapes onto an oiled or baking papered tray using a spoon to form the shapes - a soup spoon is a good size. Allow room for some spreading.
Cook in a slow oven for 20 mins. I bake them at 160C fan-forced. A conventional oven will be a bit higher.
Loosen while warm, then cool on wire trays. I get about 25 from this recipe but you could make them smaller if you wish.

The finished crunchy biscuits. Did you think there were 25? Ha, the cook has to test.

Well there's a little culinary caper which I hope you'll try and enjoy. Do let me know if you decide to pop some in the oven. I'll be over for a cuppa and watch the look on your face.
Happy days.


13 April, 2013

Pan Pastels Playtime

I've been experimenting with the new PanPastels which arrived during the week. I bought two sets which give me some limited colours but enough to get hooked start with.

Let me just digress to say thanks to those generous souls who left me some wonderful comments on my WOYWW post this week. BIG thank you.

Experiments with yellows and magenta on both plain and ice gold card.
Here are three samples which show on the left, the shading of yellow/orange then the astrology wheel is stamped with black Versamagic. I trimmed it with a circular die cutter. Not shown in this photo, the astrology wheel looks fine with some vintage photo DI around the edges.

The piece at the top of the picture started with yellows graduating to pink/magenta shades. The Magenta stamp was close at hand so I used that with Versamark and then dusted it with dark green PanPastel. So far, so good.

Next I sprayed both pieces with workable fixative and when dry, reached for the Twinks to paint the floral stamp. I sponged the lower corners with magenta PP and added the Liquid Pearls. The little sample was also fixed as the PP rubs off the sparkly surface of the ice gold card very easily. It looks more effective in reality than in the picture.

Well, sad to say for my hip pocket, I have started a love affair with PPs. Think I'll print a colour chart of them and choose a set of say, 20 or 24 based on a range of coloured pencils that I think looks pretty adequate. That will keep me happy without going bankrupt.

Miles of smiles,

10 April, 2013

WOYWW No. 201. Pastels and Birds

Greetings all - friends, Romans, countrymen.... no, no, no, wrong audience, friends, followers, artists of the blogosphere!  I hope you are well and content.  I was away last week walking on the beach, meeting friends, making the most of the sunny days. We've had really gorgeous Autumn weather which is just not to be missed.

My very best news is that I've found an on-line store called Blue Bazaar here in Oz that sells PanPastels. Oh frajious day!  Nuff said. I went to pick up my order from the Post Office this morning - two sets which included a starter set of the Sofft sponges.

PanPastels to pander to my wicked verdant humour!
Then I had a demonic thought. These sponges look very like the make-up sponges that one can buy at Price Line - wrong shape but El Cheapo!!!!  I'll let you know how they work... from behind the door, y'know.

Make-up sponges which might give me some practice with the Pastels.
I had to get going on a birthday card for one, young Jazzie, the grand-daughter in the family. That took my time and creative pleasure without using the pastels - they're for next posting.

The iPad providing the dulcet tones of Norah Jones, the card (centre front) and all the tools on hand.
Notice the Autumn photo on the iPad. This is our driveway which is about 60 metres to the front gate and it's quite a picture when the leaves turn. Otherwise, you can see the doings for the card which is finished for deliver tomorrow.

Birds on a wire, an additional tiny Memory Box perching bird.
This is quite simple but I enjoyed making it. The ribbon is stamped with black Versamagic and I'm impressed with how clearly it took on the ribbon.  The circle is die cut and distress inked, then sprayed with gold Perfect Pearls. It's hard to see, but the blue panel is mounted on a white panel of the same textured card as the card stock.

If you wonder what all this desk display is about, visit Julia Dunnit over at her Stamping Ground, and join the desk-hopping gang around the planet.

Be well, and I do hope the Northern Hemisphere folk are thawing a little.