cooking in bali...

on Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thank you very much for all your lovely comments on my last postI've still got that lovely Bali calm...even my children are saying I've gone all zen!
I mentioned that one of the fabulous things I did when I wasn't writing last week was go to a cooking class at the Casa Luna Cooking School in Ubud...famous I know why.
Like the whole writing experience, the cooking didn't let us down either.
We were whisked off to a place that was less a school, more an oasis in the hustle and bustle of downtown Ubud...
 a balinese mortar and pestle weighs between 16-20 kilos and is made of volcanic rock
The school is run by the legendary Janet de Neefe, author of Fragrant Rice (I now have a signed copy!) and owner of several wonderful Bali eating places. I may or may not have sampled a few desserts at Indus just up the road from the hotel :)
We helped make the spice pastes. The lovely staff took over when needed otherwise it would have been two hours in the making, not the 20 minutes it was!
We cooked Chicken Curry, wok fried eggplant, tofu fritters, bean and coconut salad (that was impossible to stop eating), spicy anchovy and coconut sambal, and sago pudding.
 our fantastic and very funny cooking teacher Udeh (not sure if that's how you spell it)
I haven't asked for permission to publish any of the recipes sorry, but I'll surely be trying some of them out this weekend.
I’ll let you know how I go. 
In the meantime, you have a top weekend. You deserve it :)
all images: a tranquil townhouse

back from bali...

on Monday, June 27, 2011

Have you ever had a week so special that you don't quite know what to say about it?
That's how I feel about my time in Bali...although you probably wouldn't believe me if you'd been in my office yesterday where they couldn't shut me up about it!
I was doing a workshop called The Art and Craft of Writing the Senses, run by The Sydney Writers' Centre and delivered by the extraordinary Patti Miller. A writer, a teacher, an absolute gift and a total inspiration. 
I went to Bali to find out whether writing was something I could possibly do. Well, that is. And as I left Ubud on Saturday night I told Patti and anyone else who'd listen that this had been one of the best experiences of my life. And it's true. The camaraderie of 12 women, all with a passion for writing and a huge variety of life experiences; all supportive, caring, nurturing. And clever, oh so clever.
I knew, well before the end of the week, that this is how I want to spend my life. After looking for what seems like an age, and trying out lots of things, I've finally found my focus. I'm going to write. 
I'll take small steps (there are after all mortgages to be paid!) but I already know what the first of those will be. Just the thought of it makes me feel both excited and tranquil [and if I'd been reading this out during a class last week I'd be in trouble for using abstract words!]
It certainly wasn't all work; and even the work felt like play. There was sightseeing, shopping (I was very good given my '100 day don't buy anything I don't really need challenge'), and I took a lot of photos of food. And I mean a lot!
A cooking class at the Casa Luna cooking school was a real non-writing highlight. I'll do a separate post about that.
I won't go on too much more about my wonderful week, but if you're interested in doing something like this, feel free to email me and I can give you the low down :)
all photos: a tranquil townhouse
p.s. And guess what? I didn't buy a buddha, not even a little one :)

young designer::erin lightfoot...

on Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our family has a huge soft spot for Erin Lightfoot. She was the first friend Jess made when she went off to a new high school not knowing a single soul. I'm still not sure I've been forgiven for that! They sat together in the cavernous assembly hall and they've been friends ever since. Even survived weekly after school flute lessons together. And a whole pile of other things I'm sure it's best I don't know about!
Now there is another reason to love Erin...not that we need one. Look at the amazing fabric, clothing and jewellery she is designing. 
Erin was recently featured on the Finders Keepers blog. You can read her interview here.
Now Erin, when I come off my self imposed 100 day don't buy anything I don't really need challenge, there's this chair I have that needs some new fabric...
and those beautiful bangles would make some nice gifts too don't you think :)
That's Erin on the right, my girl in the middle and their friend Matt. I may get shot for posting that. But I'm overseas so they'll have a hard time finding me:)
You can see more of Erin's wonderful work on her website...
images of erin's work from her website; family snap by me 

a cool magazine spread::aka look what my clever girl has done

on Monday, June 20, 2011

If you can't use a personal blog to brag about your kids occasionally then there isn't much point in having one as far as I can see!
Many of you will know that the first born works at Cleo magazine. She started as an intern after doing work experience at Girlfriend magazine and is now the photo editor/features assistant.
More and more she's being given the opportunity to showcase her skill and talent and I'm so proud to be showing you this 10 page spread she and her colleague Kate put together for the July edition. All the words are by Jess. You might have to click on them to make it easier to read.
Or you can go and buy the magazine...on sale now :)
It's about happiness as you can see. And does my girl Jess make me happy? Oh yes, even when she's not being clever and smart and funny. 
You make me proud my precious :)

Bali::and off I go on a writing retreat...

on Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm heading off to Bali tomorrow. It's around 30 years since I've been there. Horrifying thought. The 30 years thing, not the actual going to Bali. Some of you were probably in nappies, or at pre-school or still wearing knee highs (does anyone still do that) the last time I went; with my long permed hair and new husband in tow :)
This time I'm heading off alone (it's not sad, don't worry) to attend a workshop run by the Sydney Writers' Centre. Aren't they clever going to the tropics so that when you're sweating about what you're writing you can brush it off as the effects of humidity!
I booked this ages ago when I was searching for a focus other than the paid work. If you've been reading this blog for a while you'll know that I'll have a go at most things. It could be called a short attention span; I prefer to call it a fascination with learning :)

But writing is one of those things that is a constant in my life. I do a lot of writing for work. I love that part of it. Discussing problems with my clients, working out what we're trying to achieve and then producing it. The solution always involves words. If I'm really lucky I get to design some graphics too. But not all the time. Rarely in fact. And while I try not to use too much formal language, sometimes it has to be so. Which I suppose requires its own creativity. That's me with my Pollyanna hat on.

Writing creatively is what I'm looking to do sometime down the track. This blog is a small part of that. I feel like I'm embarking on something. I'm not sure of its shape or form, but it's exciting. And the worse thing that can happen by heading off to Bali? I'll meet some nice people, have a crack at something different, revisit a beautiful place, have a cocktail or three....:)
I probably won't blog while I'm away but I have scheduled two posts about two very lovely young women I know so you don't miss me too much. So you all take care and I'll catch up with you when I get back. And wish me luck getting everything finished at work today before I can down tools with a clear conscience...that could be a challenge :)

my creative space::quilt beginnings...

on Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thanks to the inspiration provided in this book...
and the birth of a baby called Ruby Grace (isn't that a beautiful name)...I am attempting...with this fabric...
the making of a cot quilt...ta da!
I'm so happy with the top layer. The dodgy photos not so much :) The striped fabric will be the backing and I'll have a selection of the quilt top fabrics as the binding. That's the plan anyway...we'll see how it all works out once I get back from my travels.
Lots of creative spaces...probably involving finished projects, over this-a-way.

top ten pictures from the week ~ 14 June 11 (and a relative of mine starts a blog!)

on Monday, June 13, 2011

Hello possums...
how was your long weekend?
...if you were lucky enough to have one that is.
...mine was mixed.
by nic at make space
I spent most of saturday starting to make a quilt for a new baby
paul candales as seen on the style files
her name is Ruby Grace...isn't that lovely
seen on mfamb
you can see the start of it over on my FB page
but my plans to finish it were scuttled by that thing called work
seen on anya adores
which seems to be crowding my life just a bit too much at the moment
I shouldn't pays the bills after all
seen on alkemie
but still...
taken by anya adores
My cousin Phillip has started a blog (he says he was inspired by me...silly bugger. I've warned him about blogging addiction)'s called Reinventing Home and it will chronicle his and his partner's search for their first home somewhere in the Blue Mountains. Pop over and say hi if you get a chance. He's family after all :)
There'll be no top ten next week...I'll be out of the country and quite possibly incommunicado!
You'll cope I'm sure......but I've given you a few extras today just in case you don't :)