Sunday 28 July 2013

i think it's going to go quiet here for a while

i think it's time to give the blog a bit of a rest.

if you have issues you need to discuss with me, feel free to write to me via my contact page
...that way i can write back privately.
or not.

  + + +

for now here's

my version of 

pumpkin pie

 cut a hole in the top of a pumpkin
remove the lid as if you were going to make a lantern
leave the seeds inside
place it on a baking tray
and roast it slowly in a moderate oven
until the skin is caramelised

let it cool for a bit
[otherwise it is like dealing with napalm]

while it is cooling
make the base by browning rather a lot of butter
and adding some honey
followed by equal parts of rolled oats and ground almonds
spread it in a big pie dish.
flatten it with the palm of your hand.

scoop the seedy bit out of the pumpkin
[your dogs will enjoy this with their dinners]
then scoop the flesh into a big mixing bowl
[the dogs can have the skin as well]
a good deal of sour cream
[i used several cups]
a generous pinch of salt
about a cup of muscovado sugar
freshly grated nutmeg, some cinnamon, vanilla and a little freshly grated ginger

in another bowl
beat 4 or 5 eggs
then beat them into the pumpkin mix

keep beating the mix [i use a balloon whisk]
until it is nice and smooth.
[the fragrance should be almost irresistibly delicious by now]

pour it over the prepared crust
bake in a slow oven until set and the top is nicely caramelised
[mine took about an hour and a half]
 all this does take a lot of heat energy
it is delicious.
and filling.

serve hot or cold with whipped cream.

+ + +

i guess the energy-efficient alternative would be a raw spiced pumpkin salad
...that's something i'm keeping for summer.

Friday 19 July 2013

a sad farewell to a pair of good friends and an apology

there have been only three times in the last decade that i have cancelled a professional engagement. it isn't something i do lightly or without a great deal of consideration.

the first time occurred when two emails arrived; the first from the workshop host telling me that although the class was booked out he would only be paying me half my fee due to "unforseen financial difficulties" [meaning that not even my airfare would be covered] and the second was from a student-to-be in that same class telling me how excited she was to be sharing a room with me for the duration of the event. gulp.

the second was for private reasons, too complicated to be listed here.

the third; my taking advantage of the clause in the contract that allows either party to cancel the agreement at any time up to 30 days prior to the event, took place over a month ago after i had wrestled with flight bookings for the MISA class just passed and realised that there was a very real chance of finding myself stranded somewhere in the dark instead of arriving in good spirits and fine form ready to teach at Lopez Island in September.

now that i have actually been to Madeline Island i am glad i listened to my inner Border Collie. 
the island is very pretty and reminds me strongly of Latvia. lilacs and peonies abound, the road verges are bursting with wildflowers and strawberries, fireflies and owls bring entertainment to the dark, the dyepots produced amazing greens and my students were a joy to spend time with : but the process of getting there tried me somewhat. delayed inward flights, no less than three gate changes at Minneapolis airport [B to C to D - i think i've had the full tour now] before arriving at Duluth and a long journey in the back seat of a shuttle [during which my knees informed me that i'm not the spring chicken i once was] have vindicated the decision. [ my preferred mode of surface travel is in a car with me at the wheel and with a stop for wandering and wondering and leg-stretching about every 45 minutes ]
i'm truly sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment the cancellation has caused those students who signed up for the Fall class but when push comes to shove, the Lopez Islanders did book me first and do have a right to expect me to arrive on time and unflustered. just to get back to Minneapolis took more than half a day...and i had only allowed a day to travel between Madeline and Lopez. with not one but two ferries and three or four plane trips involved i could see disaster looming large on the horizon. all it takes is one good storm or one missed connection and it all goes down the gurgler. my fault entirely for wanting to accommodate as many folk as possible and for over-estimating my capabilities.
 the folks at MISA asked me to write to students and explain myself
- i figured it was best done here where it wouldn't get lost in translation.  

+ + +

and what is that picture of the boots about?
they became infested with a breeding colony of chiggers during my stay on the island and i was forced to abandon them in San Francisco. squirting the insides with insect repellent didn't quell the libidinous enthusiasm of the tiny terrors and so i had to leave my trusty friends behind.

sadly my command of Spanish was not adequate to explain to the kindly housekeeping person at the Kabuki that these boots harboured unpleasant surprises. i do hope she didn't try them on. if they sit in a Goodwill sorting shed for long enough, maybe those chiggers will have shuffled off this mortal coil -  i really couldn't risk bringing them home and introducing a new pest to Australia -
i'll spare you the image of what they've done to my leg but i can assure you i won't be exposing the bare flesh of my calves anytime soon.

...we don't want to frighten the children...

Thursday 18 July 2013

textile visionaries

i am in a new book

the title
"textile visionaries" 
reminds me of something in the film 'Lake House'
where they had an architectural firm called Visionary Vanguard
i found it in my mailpile on my return home
and am delighted to be represented in such good company

 available through the Book Depository in sidebar

Monday 15 July 2013

homeward bound

wandering the streets of Yerba Buena
gathering this and that
watched by dogs
some that don't care
and some
that seem quite concerned
i visit the subject of one of my tattoos
[and debate whether to leave the property owners
a note : the ivy and fig are gaining on my jasmine!]
the pavements retain archeological evidence
of string long gone
and as ever, + marks the spot
a paint squiggle
is echoed in wire fragments
that become rubbings
with the help of a rather substantial graphite stick
[shown here with my teapot to give a sense of scale]
which i purchased at that fabulous art supply store on Pacifica
along with some nice Fabiano paper [at reduced price]
with which i am making a journal to take to
 all this wandering 
required a rest at my favourite cafe
happily unchanged since 1976
later, on the long walk back to my camp in Japantown
i found some birds
who decided to join me
a lost heart
it wasn't mine

Sunday 14 July 2013

heel Toto, we're not going to be in Kansas much longer

i had a bunch of fabulous students
who made beautiful work
and survived my soup-cooking
[i had a stern talking to because apparently their insurance
does not cover witches cooking soup after hours]
heh heh.
we made books, dyed and stitched cloth 
cackled uncontrollably when we discovered the
Haigh's chocolate frogs
had [after the warmth of New York] fused 'in flagrante delicto'
[best not to post an image in case of blushes] 
watched ducks watching people
and now it's time to sail away
sometimes i'm a bit of a SanFranpsycho

i like to be a New Orleanian





Thursday 11 July 2013

more green

i am on Madeline Island
midst fields of green but slightly nervous to tread in them
having already been attacked by the dreaded chiggers
not to mention ticks literally raining down on me
every time i am foolish enough to set foot under a tree.

there are big ones and little ones

those little ones at the bottom are particularly insidious.
apparently they like to attach themselves to gentleman's vegetables.
they are hard to spot and can give you Lyme disease.
i am very glad i am not a boy.

green abounds in our samples
 in the instruments we make
to apply proteins to our pages
and on a hill
though there is less of it on the other side
a little way down the road i find peony heaven
so far we have limited ourselves to using colour
literally gathered within 500 yards of the cauldrons
after class hours i play music amplified by a jug
which is a good deal cheaper than extra speakers
every bit as effective
and amusing to look at.
the Madeline Island School of Arts prides itself on its food [on the website at all events]
but does not provide evening meals.
for those of us without transport [such as yours truly]
this has meant a simple diet of corn chips-washed-down-by-gin for supper.

this evening i discovered a clean cauldron in my digs
and cooked soup [lentil+potato+squash+corn] for my students.
in the absence of herbs [none that i could find at all events]
i flavoured it with peanut butter, garlic, chili and maple syrup;
dressing it with a mix of yoghurt/green onion/lemon
which some of us also anointed with Tabasco.
it sounds vile but was actually delicious.
sadly the visuals did not match the flavour and so i shall spare you an image.

and now
i have to get back to my sewing. i have a Fall collection to construct
so every non-teaching [waking] moment has to be put to good use...

Sunday 7 July 2013

a LOT of pictures of the big apple

i have a confession to make.
i have been in New York since yesterday morning
and not set foot inside a single museum

instead i am living in the present
taking note of the everyday
and wearing out my boot leather hoofing it around town

blessed be the waitress at the Diner on 9th avenue
who made my day by asking to see proof of age before supplying me with a margarita

even though i am as wrinkled as the vinyl on that chair
 she probably just forgot her contacts
but it made my day

New York is full of marks and signs
delicious bookstores and really interesting clothing stores
like Mieko Mintz, where Eiko kindly let me take her picture
loved the road markings laid out in ducktape

 who knew that wedding gowns had a season
and that they were stored when it was off

the boots have the last word