Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chugging Along

Arisaig is coming along nicely. I've finished the back and have started on the left front.

I am a little concerned about whether the 2x2 ribbing will flatten sufficiently after blocking. I already used larger sized needles for it but the DB Baby Cashmerino is very springy - too springy perhaps?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Revenge of the Cardigan

Came across Ben Kweller's free 'One Minute Pop Song' podcasts completely by accident on iTunes. I don't know how I missed them before considering I subscribe to his newsletter...

Anyway, they are quite amusing vignettes* of his life and well worth a peek if at least for this incredibly daggy aran cardigan he wears throughout. (Man, I had one of those when I was a kid in that exact shade.)

I like the episode where he talks about how he learnt the drums from his dad. I think it's ep 4.

You can also get them on YouTube, but mate, if you got this far, just follow the links on his website.

Actually I came across BK's podcast cos I was downloading Zach Braff's (also free) podcast about his new movie 'The Last Kiss' (which unfortunately for Australia, is not coming out til Feb 07). Again they are short vignettes* of cast members doing very very inane things. I'm sure there are links on his blog.

*I really truly hate the word 'vignette'. I think it's one of the ugliest words on the planet, but I was forced by my thesis supervisor to use it over and over again in my thesis to refer to these videos that I showed my research 'subjects'. Clearly the experience has scarred me.

Space Invaders

Found these super cool space invader 'wall decals' (is that the technical name for wall stickers?) on Via Alley. My brother and I used to have a space invader game. This brings back memories... awwwww.

Too bad they're sold out.

But check out these Potato Queen charaters by Genevieve Gauckler. Would be great for decorating a kid's room. (Now I just have to find the kids.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Death By Ribbing

I started Arisaig about a week ago using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in a navy.

I finally finished the 2x2 ribbing on the back today. Done on 3mm needles it was an absolute killer (the pattern actually calls for size 2.25mm (!!) but I'm generally a tight knitter and I didn't think changing needles between the ribbing and the pattern does that much for the shaping anyway). I don't know if I have the stamina to go through the ribbing two more times (for the fronts).

Does anyone know of an Arisaig knitalong? I need some mutual motivation!


Been meaning to mention this for a while...

Sophie Cooper is behind Scoops Design. She had a stall at the Young Blood Designers' Markets and I got one of her cool poodle brooches. She's got some funky customised tees too.

Looks like you can buy her stuff online. Always handy.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rockin' Cupcakes

I have been salivating over a Rocky Road Cupcake recipe that was in a Donna Hay magazine a couple of months back (I think it was issue 27... Anyone?). Then we saw this in a cafe in Glebe on the weekend...

I was going to get one after we'd had lunch but then we'd spent all our money on parking and at the markets and had literally no cash left! Worst thing was, I forgot to even take down the name of the cafe. All I know is that it's on Glebe Point Road, opposite the school. Ideas, anyone?

They also had this...

(It says 'Malteaser "Lindt Chocolates" Cake' on the sign.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Young Blood

Jamnuts and I went to the Sydney Design 06 Young Blood Designers Market on Saturday.

We had a fab time checking out all the innovative and funky fashion, jewellery and homeware designs of up and coming Australian designers.

I didn't get any photos cos' Jamnuts was too embarrassed by me taking out my camera like a I'm about to steal these people's designs, (not that I have the skill anyway) but I've made a list of all the labels that stood out for me...

Christiania - chunky perspex jewellery, a playful take on victorian cameo jewellery.

Slingfings and bird textile by Rachel Bending - Gorgeous gorgeous Jap inspired printed fabrics and clothes. I fell in love with this tie wrap dress (below) in a bird fabric print but couldn't justify spending $230. Now I can think of a million reasons why I should've got it.

(btw, you can buy any of the dresses in ANY of the bird fabric designs on the Slingfings website!)

I also liked this apron dress but not sure how often I'd really wear it...

High Tea With Mrs Woo by 3 sisters, Rowena, Juliana and Angela Foong - Modern fashion designs with an Asian twist. Very unique cuts but beautifully fitted designs. I loved the top and dress on the left. Check out their lovely website and design gallery.

fg by Felicity Gleeson - resin bangles embedded with bits of lace, crochet doillies or fabric. Really feminine stuff. She also makes these unusual alien looking dolls and brooches from antique fabric. An ecclectic combination. According to her card, "This wistful collection was created with the scent of freshly baked scones and jam wafting in from the next room, to the sound of someone putting the kettle on and cups clattering onto their saucers." Unfortunatly she doesn't have a website and I forgot to ask whether she has any stockists but you can email her at felicitygleeson(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au

Bleak Indeed

Jerms and I have been following the adventures of Miss Esther Summerson, the main character in Dickens' Bleak House over the past few weeks (BBC production on the ABC, Sundays 8.30pm-9.30pm).

I'm not sure how many episodes are left but it is well worth watching. Like most of Dickens' stories, this one is pretty dark and full of intriguing characters with funny names like Guppy, Jarndyce, Krook and Skimpole.

For a fun overview of Dickens' life, catch the short animation found on the BBC site. Quite amusing.

For the full text of the novel, check out the eBook.

Friday, August 11, 2006

1st Music Post

I know that the subtitle of this blog suggests that I blog about music and bands and stuff but so far, none of that's been happening.

Main reason is that around the same time this blog started I got an iPod (yes shock horror) for the first time. As a result of that momentous development in my life I decided to go through and listen to all my old music, in order to justify my new acquisition (well technically it was acquired by Jerms but what's his is mine, so).

Anyway, long and short of it is that I have not bought ANY new music since the week before Easter (when I bought The Whitlams' Little Cloud, Jack Johnson's Curious George and Augie March's Moo, You Bloody Choir all in one go). That's nearly 5 months with no new music!

But the drought has broken! Yesterday I bought...
Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set's What Was Left
Kings of Leon's Aha Shake Heartbreak (Limited Tour Edition)

I've had my eye on Clair's album for a while now - she has a mesmerising husky voice. Highly recommended. Loving track 2 'Lips Like Oranges', 3 'I Thought You Were God' and 5 'Divorcee by 23'.

The main reason I got KoL's album was actually cos' it was only $9.90. I did see them at the Big Day Out and they were rockin'. Better than, dare I say, The White Stripes' set (I must be the only person in the world who do not like them live).

Actually I walked into the music shop looking for The Panics' Sleeps Like A Curse cos' it was Richard Kingsmill's no. 1 favourite album for 2005 (Richard is the sexiest man on radio), and I'd listened to the FREE MP3s on The Panics' website and loved every track, especially 'In Your Head' and 'Twin Sisters'. Check it out.

(I didn't end up buying the album cos' it felt too indulgent to get 3 albums in one go... and I'm trying to be more sensible with money. Trying.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Haigh's Chocolates

I'm still on a mission to find the best chocolate shop in Sydney. (See my earlier rant here.)

Queen B and I went to Haigh's in The Strand Arcade one lunch this week and it was somewhat disappointing.

Mind you, the chocolates looked very nice, but the prices were heart stopping. (Although it looked like lots of people could afford them. The shop was packed.)

Things that tempted me included...
70% cocoa dark chocolate block ($7.50 for 100g)
Dark chocolate marshmallow bars and ginger bars ($7.40 for a pack of 4, 176g in total)
Super sized frogs ($16 for a 375g frog)
Dark chocolate rocky road ($6.90 for 200g or $16.35 for 500g)

We walked out with just a dark chocolate peppermint frog ($0.90) for me and a milk chocoate cappucino bar ($1.80) for Queen B. The frog was good but the bar was way too sweet.

They did give us free choc coated berry balls. But the insides were like yoghurt coated synthetic fruit. I much prefer the chocolate coated raspberries I had here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Seaming Weekend

All the pieces of Cosmopolitan are finished. It's going to be seamed on the weekend as it is absolutely impossible to see the stitches in the evening when I'm home from work.

Never again will I make anything in black mohair.

Dun Dan (Steamed Egg)

I did it. I made Dun Dan (Chinese steamed egg custard) last night. And it was good. It's probably my favourite dessert in the whole wide world.

The recipe below is courtesy of Jayne's mum. Well I didn't really ask her permission but I'm sure she doesn't mind advertising her culinary prowess to the world.

So here goes... "Auntie Rita's Steamed Egg Custard" (abridged - cos' I'm just doing this from memory).

Ingredients (for 1 serving* - double/triple/hundruple as desired):
50ml hot water (a bit more if you like your custard really soft)
1 tbs sugar (I would add a lot more but am probably putting myself at srisk of diabetes)
1 egg

*I actually doubled the ingredients for my 1 serving but I have these Texan ramekins

1. Dissolve sugar in hot water. Cool to room temp.
2. Get steamer going.
3. Mix egg and sugar water really well.
4. Pour into bowl/ramekin. Steam in steamer for 6 mins or until set (took about 10 mins for my double portion. I tested it by whacking the side of the ramekin with a chopstick to see if it's still wobbly.)
5. Eat while it's hot hot hot!

Here's what it looked like before it went into the steamer...



(Notice that the surface is not very even. It's probably because I didn't mix the egg well enough - below the surface it's beautiful though.)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Breaking the Curse

Something momentous happened on the weekend.

I finally casted on for the 2nd sleeve of Cosmopolitan. This is the Jo Sharp wrap cardigan that has plagued me for over 2 years and has been wrecking my knitting mojo. (Just do a search on this blog for 'Cosmopolitan' to read the background story, if you're really that interested.)

It is actually an incredibly fast knit on 5mm needles and once I got going it wasn't so bad. I'm up to the shoulder shaping now. Should get it done tonight.

Then I have my favourite part - SEAMING - to look forward to. Woohoo.

However, I promised myself I won't start any new projects until Cosmopolitan is complete. Which is hard because I got my copy of Rebecca 31 last night (btw, I see that 32 is just out) and I know my Knitting Nature is coming in the mail (so the shop tells me - apparently it was posted in Sydney on the 28th July...)

There's quite a few things in these two publications that I want to make, such as a little black bolero in Rebecca 31.

I've also been meaning to start Arisaig for months now. The Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino I got for this project is gathering dust!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Dad's Cable Scarf

Not much knitting happening lately...

Having said that, I am making a replacement scarf for my dad. I made him a long green scarf using Rowan Aran Tweed for his birthday in April but he complained that it's too thick and coarse.

It did cross my mind that the texture was like a piece of carpet but I had stayed up a few nights to finish it in time for his birthday so I was not in the clearest frame of mind (I actually had a ring of green around my pointer from knitting with that yarn non-stop)...

Anyway, he refuses to give the scarf back to me unless I make him another one (strange man).

I'm making it from 4 skeins of soft felted wool I got in New Zealand earlier this year, and he has approved the yarn. Hopefully I'll finish it before the Souther Hemisphere winter is out...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sydney's Best Chocolate Shops?

On the cover of this week's Good Living guide in the SMH was the headline "Sydney Best Chocolate Shops". My excitement was quickly dashed when I turned to the section and the following shops were reviewed...

Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place
Max Brenner
Fink Chocolate Cafe in Lane Cove

Now I have nothing against these chocolate shops. In fact, I'm quite fond of the first 2 myself (haven't been to Fink so can't say). But do they really deserve the title 'the best'?

What about Just William in Paddington? Or Bon Bon in the QVB? Or even the ol' Neuhaus stand in the Qantas domestic terminal?

Tall Beautiful Women

Yesterday's post on Freakonomics "Why Do Beautiful Women Sometimes Marry Unattractive Men?" really raised my eyebrows.

Apparently research by an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics has found that beautiful parents are 36% more likely to have baby girls as their first child.

I went to the researcher's website to read up on the research methodology but the full journal article has not yet been posted. However, there's another article titled "Big and tall parents have more sons" which is interesting. Basically, he found that "taller parents have significantly fewer girls than shorter parents" (S. Kanazawa, J of Theoretical Biology, 2005, p.588).

This conclusion can be generalised to say that tall people have more sons and short people have more girls. But is this really the case?

Using Jerms and my families as case studies - my family representing the tall people and Jerms' the short people... my family has 5 girls and 3 boys whereas (as far as I can count) Jerm's family has 8 boys and 3 girls. So why are there more girls in the tall family and more boys in the short family?

The only logical explanation I can think of is that the beautiful (thus girl producing) trait in my family is so powerful that it has actually overridden the tall (boy producing) trait. As for Jerm's family - well, you can draw your own conclusions but even I darn't go there.