Macau is a curious place, once a Portuguese colony it was handed back to China like Hong Kong in the late 90's. Now it may as well be a colony of Las Vegas with 28 casinos that make it the highest-volume gambling centre in the world. We went there to escape Hong Kong and to live it up 5star style with a cheap deal at the Sofitel. Not being gamblers we only ventured into 2 casinos. One being the obligatory one in our hotel, a very dull affair with none of the hilarity of Star City, Sydney. The other we stumbled into was the MGM Grand, the most exciting part of the complex for me was the Dale Chihuly Gallery. Dale Chihuly is a renowned glass artist that i first saw at the Sydney Bienannle about 9yrs ago where he had installed giant luminous onions around the botanic gardens.
I've been quite enamoured with his luscious bold glass pieces that are often on a huge scale filling atriums with thousands of glass tendrils.
There was a gallery shop that could sell you a piece to take home for a tens of thousands of dollars, shipping included.
I was content to gasp at the collection they had in a quite hall at the casino.
I've been noticing these pieces popping up around here, round, red, lines. All different, no tag so i don't know who it might be... I find them pleasing and hope they don't get painted over. Corner of Shepherd and Wilson St....
I am a weather geek and proud of it. I check the OzWeather morning and night. My link bar always has Radar and Observations. Recently the BoM (Bureau of Meteorology) opened a new radar station at Terrey Hills with add dopplar wind readings. I'm not going to go into the technical aspect to this (because I'm not that knowledgeable) but it does give a cool new view of wind around Sydney and with the crazy weather we've been having this week there is a lot to see. Here is a snapshot of the wind right now in the Sydney region. Most of the time winds in Sydney would be around the light blue/yellow range at best so to see this much dark blue/red. The thunderstorm that came through Wednesday night was also pretty intense in so far as the localised rainfall. This is certainly the coldest October i can recall in sometime and a shock to the system after the hot humid weather in Hong Kong.
seen up the street from me, just near shepherd St. so did they steal the milk crates? is it a reference to the stolen generation? or did they steal the idea? if you're visiting the carriageworks for the markets etc then stroll east along Wilson and check it out. it reminds me of the crate man seen around Melbourne.
After 3 days of rambling in Kowloon and the islands we hit Macau. We scored a sweet deal at the 5star Sofitel at AUD$140 per night and put our feet up. From the TV in the bath to the L'Occitane toiletries with was fun to live it up a little. We caught up on the Sydney duststorms via BBC World/CCN/Australia TV. The view from our 20th floor room over the old quarter to the dazzling, gaudy casinos was astonishing (proper pix of that and more of Macau to come).
Poolside we were brought plush towels, chilled hand towels for our face and bottles of water.
The place was mostly empty with any other guests no doubt in the smoked filled casino. Macau is the only place where one can legally gamble in China and the casino industry there has exploded. We didn't go there for that, for us it was to explore the Portuguese colonial influences, the custard tarts and the cuisine.
So for the last 4yrs Mr Blue-Eyes has scored himself a sweet support gig for a roaming international conference. In past years it has been held in Sydney, Boston, Vienna and this year Hong Kong.
Where possible we tack on a holiday, last year we did Italy & Corsica as our honeymoon and this year i went over for 8 days in HK and 2 days Macau.
HK was astonishing in its scale and efficiency. My first thought when walking out into a Kowloon evening (30c+/60% humidity) was that it is just like Chinatown at home but bigger :)
We did 3 days based in Kowloon with day trips to Chung Chua island and Lantau Island. Breakfasting on pork buns, getting lost in the streets of Mong Kok and barhopping at night in Soho.
Mr Blue-Eyes is the cameraman in these parts with his Canon 40D and 5 lenses so the pix you'll see from me to start with are the happy snaps on the iphone when he couldn't be bothered hauling the beast about.
Rest assured he did get it about and is in the process of culling and grading approx 1000 images which you'll see the best of over the next week or so.
We stayed around the corner from the Temple St Night Markets, a buzzing market of knockoffs and trinkets fresh from China interspersed with clusters of openair dining establishments.
Beer was essential in the steamy nights and cheap too, about AUD$2.40 for 1litre.
And all beered up and full of amazing spring rolls and spicy prawns.
I've had a bit of time on my hands recently but it has still taken me a while to actually do something crafty with my time. Miss Cath gave me the Meet Me At Mike'sbook of crafty things to do which i have used to help me with my knitting but i hadn't quite got much further than that. I used to work with a Sussie of Sweden who was quite the sewer and when she returned to Sweden she donated her fabric stash to me (and to a BrownOwls stash swap). Part of her stash is a number of metres of quirky vintage paisleys, 2 of which complemented each other very nicely. I figured the 'Cute as a button vintage clutch' project wasn't too daunting and I'd have something useful at the end of it too. Plus I'm a long time reader of Kara Smith's blog and was inspired by her fab bags and clutches to have a go.
Well i've had this on the go for a couple of weeks, I have fear of cutting so it can take a while fo rme ot work up to that. Then i stumbled on the iron-on interfacing step as what i thought was iron-on wasn't. BrownOwls to the rescue with the suggesting to use spray adhesive to attach that to the material. A few more stumbles with the sewing machine not playing nice, Mr Blue-eyes is the machine expert around here so i had to twiddle knobs until it came good. So today i had no more excuses, I'd finished the book i was reading, read all my blogs for the day, applied for a few jobs and checked the mail.
The pattern suggests using a button and snap closure but i have metres of mauve/blue snap-button tape in my stash that i'e been saving for just this sort of project. However i had no real idea how to actually use it, hence the sort of wonky attachment below. I possibly could have ironed the seams flat along the way and i tend to be a bit of a free-flying kind of sewer but overall i think it turned out alright. I certainly have enough of both materials to have another go at it or perhaps make a matching tote....look out
As mentioned in my last post, I now have a desk of my own for the first time in nearly 3yrs. Furniture in our house is a much discussed and planned thing, least of all because if Mr Blue-eyes can make something better why would he buy something (therefore the majority of Ikea furniture is abhorrent to him). Then the making itself is planned with CAD, the timber scoped and sourced, the steel checked and prototypes made. What you see here is actually the 2nd incarnation and the drawers and storage at the top were debated endlessly. He welded the K frame, inserted the powerpoints and constructed it out of 12mm form ply. We still have moments about how tidy my desk is but i figure it is my desk, my space and i'll run it as i need. Obviously it is looking most tidy in this pic, perhaps one day I'll show you my creative space in action. Let it be know that i am most delighted that i can sit at a desk, with a desktop computer and type away as opposed to the laptop on the lounge passively surfing.
After some 3 years of not having a desk/work space and using a laptop on the lounge I now have a fab desk made for me by Mr Blue-eyes. I'll show pix and details of that in another post but in the meantime i needed some neat drawers to go under it for misc bits & bobs that i collect (hoard).
After being dismayed by the prices at Doug Up On Bourke for industrial drawers, a bit of trawling on ebay delivered these steel/wooden drawers that durable and considerably more afforable. A bit plain but i had some ideas for that.
I've been a fan of Tord Boontje and his wonderful objects and motifs for a couple of years now. I've been collecting some of his Table Stories tableware (from MCA Store, DeDeCe or Top3byDesign) and also have a couple of his paper Fairy Tail Garlands in red and green. as lovely as they are they're a bit delicate and after a clumsy moment i tore my red garland that i had hanging in the bedroom and couldn't bear to throw it away. We have a bit of a red/purple vibe in our living room so i saw a good mix with the garland and the drawers. Some spray adhesive and a couple of coats of varnish the garland is now on the drawers. A bit of a dig around on ebay sourced some pink glass knobs for a few dollars each. Though I'm one short as Mr Blue-eyes didn't know his own strength when helping me attach them and twisted one off....
Making : a big to do list for when i'm not working Cooking : Lean Cuisines, Mr Blue-Eyes is on night shift so just me for dinner Drinking : Bickfords Iced Tea cordial Reading: Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson Wanting: a new portable home phone Looking: for a new job Playing: solitaire on the train Wasting: as little as possible Sewing: a hole that tore in my top, that's what i get for spending $10... Wishing: the next week would go really fast Enjoying: the first hints of spring in the air Waiting: for Mr Blue-Eyes to come home from work Liking: the fruit toast with dates and poppy seeds from my local cafe Wondering: where i am going Loving: Mr Blue-Eyes and Bruno Hoping: there is something for me around the corner Marvelling: at sunrise yesterday morning Needing: to wax my legs, now the weather is just that bit warmer... Smelling: the jonquils Wearing: my peter alexander camo pjs Following: my heart Noticing: that i'm starting to get muscles from my training sessions Knowing: that sometimes i have to make the wrong choice to know the right one Thinking: that i should do my tax soon Feeling: better than i did a couple of weeks ago Bookmarking: potential jobs Opening: my latest issue of Frankie Giggling: at 30Rock, yes finally i know Feeling: dazed and confused
Things have been quiet around here on the blog front because I changed my work life and not for the best. The details have been pretty stressful and I'm reassessing what i want to do, what i can do and what i'm willing to do. To quote the cliche this experience has reinforced the idea of working to live not living to work as it has really felt like my life has been on hold for the last month and that is not how i want to live. I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and am looking forward to having a life again.
I'll leave you with my winter/spring jonquils from the garden. The fragrance makes this season almost worthwhile. In the meantime do check out my shared items above, i'm still managing to check the blogs and share my finds when i have a moment to breathe.
I always seem to miss the boat on memes about the blogs but when i saw the A to Z meme on Pip's Meet Me at Mikes i figured i could get on board with this one. The idea being you work your way through the alphabet in your browsers address bar and list all the sites you've been to (and hope there isn't anything embarrassing). As i worked through thi s list i've noticed that sometimes it isn't if a site beings with that letter but which URL has the most incidences of a letter.
A - http://www.google.com/analytics/ this could have been for work and for checking to see if i'd had double-figure visitors on the blog. If you have a website of any sort you just have to have Google Analytics
C - http://www.careerone.com.au/yup i've been looking for a new job and accepted an offer last week. More of the same and a then some. Nervous and excited, i start mid July. I'll be back in Surry Hills which is nice to be around the sample sales again...
F - http://www.fitnessfirst.com.au yep i joined a couple of months ago though refused to take the backpack. I'm trying to stick to at least twice a week and have even been seeing a trainer. Getting much harder in the mornings since it hit single figures in temp...
I know things in Sydney don't really get cold as far as the northern hemmesphere goes but when it gets to single figures at night then it counts as cold for me. Cold enough for me that these wool-blend arm warmers from Country Road seemed like a super idea, especially when on sale for $22 (was $50). Perfect for keeping the hands warm when blogging...
So after mastering the art of making pizza dough and sausages Mr Blue-eyes has moved onto pasta. As much as we wanted to get the pasta attachments for our Kitchenaid we werent quite willing to spend almost the cost of the mixer for the attachments and a quick trip to Victoria's Basement scored us a basic pasta maker in a matching red enamel even.
A couple of trials ensued and it wasnt long before the right blend of pasta flour and semolina was discovered. Some digging in the utensil drawer unearthed a long lost ravioli wheel and the technique was perfected.
One of the more successful dinners was a Prawn, pinenut & fetta ravioli with a tomato and cream sauce with garden fresh basil.
The filling laid out on the pasta ready for the top layer
Once the an egg wash is brushed on the bottom layer, the top layer of pasta is laid on top and smoothed down around the filling.
The edges are then trimmed off using the wheel tool.
and then cut into individual pieces.
lots of flour is used to make sure they dont stick together as they're being prepared. Whilst they were in a pot of salted boiling water the sauce was created with cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil and a splash of cream.
We just managed to snap this shot because minutes later there was nothing left in that bowl - a real plate licker...
Inspired by The Crafty Librarian & AmityvilleBoronia I'm going to share what we're having for dinner tonight. From The Silver Spoon which was a wedding pres from A'dair & Tash comes Pumpkin Tortelli. Mr Blue-eyes has mastered the art of pasta making and is now on to trying new fillings and non tomato sauces.
Ingredients: 4 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded and chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra to serve 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 1/2-2 cups bread crumbs 200gr Fresh Pasta Dough 1/4 cup butter 8 fresh sage leaves Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 220c. Put the pumpkin in a roasting pan, drizzle with the oil, cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour. Pass the pumpkin through a food mill into a bowl, add the Parmesan and eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir in enough bread crumbs to make a fairly firm mixture. Roll out the pasta dough into a sheet and stamp out 7.5cm rounds with a cookie cutter. Spoon a little of the pumpkin filling into the center of each round, fold in half and crimp the edges. Cook the tortelli in a large pan of salted, boiling water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frypan, add the sage and cook for a few minutes. Drain the tortelli, place in a warm serving dish and sprinkle with the sage butter and extra Parmesan.
We ended up making ravioli shapes as we didn't have a nice round cutter and Mr Blue-eyes has the ravioli technique down pat. We also forgot to add the parmesan into the pumpkin mixture but it was still pretty damn yummy (if a bit naughty with the butter sauce).
I'll blame Mr Blue-eyes who suffered last week as i'm afflicted with one of those delightful viruses that clogs the head up with goop and turns you into a pathetic shambling creature. I know I'm really unwell when I'm not hungry and I've been surviving on bags of these Eucalyptus and Honey balls. Proper blogging to resume when i can type properly without going crosseyed.
So here are a few more pix from The Finders Keepers Markets this weekend just gone (part 1 here).
Some of the rolls of wallpaper at Publisher Textiles. They also had very cool tops & dresses in prints with circuits and other motifs.
Screenprinted posters and tees in sharp lines from Cultural Urge.
Waist cinching belts and bits from Cherry Morris
Cards and threads and assorted stationary from Lox + Savvy
Fellow Brown Owl, Shelbyville. Jeweller, crafter, 'ziner and bookbinder to boot.
I've been a long time lurker at Auntie Cookies blog so it was sweet to see her craftiness in person.
I've been lusting after Zaishu stools for sometime and i was driven to gibbering at Mr Blue-eyes about these stools and ooo-that-one-ooo-want-this-one.
And my new favourite local store Made590, including me sizing up a frock and Miss Cath & I trawling the rails. I think i will be relieving the deer of its lovely red coat one day soon.
Frankie Magazine was also there with a neat stand that had back issues, knitting needles, fabric bundles, aprons and a rather decent assortment of vintage/2nd hand clothes. You can see the turquoise blue cardie i scored being folded at top left.
And now for random people watching pix, with thanks to Sam from Turramurra with her fab haircut and Grace with her cool toy horse.