September 27, 2009

Back to the mmm-market

Queen Victoria Market
Originally uploaded by Taccolina

I'm hoping that life will calm down a little now that the launch party has gone off as a success. You know, sometime in between work and studying and interesting projects, perhaps I'll have a little time to sew? Maybe I can start drawing again? (Caus heaven knows, I miss it a lot.)

I took the day off on Friday, and he took the afternoon: so we had a long leisurely lunch with a friend we don't see often enough. All three of us gleefully escaping from the usual hectic round of activity, sitting in comfy booth with milkshakes, parmas, burgers, big breakfasts and all the accoutrements of a good catching-up session.

Saturday morning, off to the market. Being completely and utterly ignorant of football and all things AFL-related, it was nice to go when everyone else was rushing off to the game/game parties/getting ready for game parties. Meanwhile, back at the bratwurst stand... 'A second coffee, dear?' Hhmm. Back home to finish the latest Lindsey Davis that I've borrowed from the library. And then some sewing.

Some weekends are about re-claiming the basics. Shovel out weeks' accumulation of clutter. Re-acquaint myself with my sofa. My sleep in. My sewing machine (sorry about all the dust!). My bag of library books. My dog on my lap.

I hope yours has been glorious, too. I've still got half a day of playtime left, so I'm off...

September 25, 2009

Careful consideration of chocolate cake

Another photo from the launch party.

It's a pleasant consideration to have, right? One medium-sized table plus about sixteen gorgeous cakes. Where to put them? Oh, what to do?

I'm pleased to report that the Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame took its pride of place in the cafe and was duly demolished. Remnants of fame were last seen disappearing in large white boxes borne away by happy Kinglake locals.

(Do you like my op-shopped Salvos store tablecloth? I love it!)


September 22, 2009

Cookbooks and cake

The cookbook launch went well! We had a party at Kinglake on Sunday evening, and much fun was had by all. Dinner from the cookbook, prizes and face painting, music and delights. Not to mention, much cake.... Here are a couple of shots of the pre-launch preparations chez Taccolina on Saturday afternoon. I'm still sorting the photos from the launch itself, so I'll show you those soon.

Saturday afternoon, getting sorted: cake boxes, muffin cases, mm-mm.

Baking and icing, mm-hhmm.

Cupcakes finished and starting to fill the cake box... (Little silver sugarballs on top.)

I'm not sure if I took a picture of our kitchen table before we left, but it was piled high with white cake boxes full of baked goodies. Many lovely people dropped off a cake, or three -- and the assortment was beautiful, and turned out to be delicious.

At the party, a very serious 10-year-old wanted to discuss the various merits of the cakes with me. The Chocolate Truffle cake was pronounced 'Very dark. But nice.' - and the Orange Cardamom Sour Cream Cake was 'Really, really good.' That's one sophisticated ten-year-old cake taster, not mincing her words.

We had dark cakes, light cakes, coconut cakes and pink-iced cakes. We had three tiers of cupcakes on a gorgeous stand. There was a strawberry-adorned chocolate beauty. Glossy icing on a tall dark number. A double-decker chocolate cake, with butter cream icing and german cherry jam in the middle. A clown cake. Ring cakes. They all made new friends. Large white boxes were last seen being borne away by happy Kinglake residents full of assorted pieces of cake (the residents - and the boxes, that is!)

Hurrah to the cake bakers, one and all of you!

September 18, 2009

When I can't quilt.

Life's kinda busy at the moment. The party this weekend, a small matter of dinner for 200, editing and ideas and chocolate cake and - oh, I'm not going to bore you.

We all have times when we're just unable to quilt. Or to draw, collage, stitch or embroider. Whatever yoiur craft addiction, I'm sure you know what I mean.

And at times like these, I like to flick quickly through pictures that inspire me. It's like slurping down a chocolate milkshake all at once, because you can feel it filling you up for hours to come. (Okay, so that's not the best analogy in the world - note to self: revise.)

Tiny bits of inspiration can percolate while everything else is going on. And I promise myself that soon - soon - I will draw something like this.

(This is not a slab of chocolate. I know what you were thinking, Curlypops! No, it's the carved wooden screen across the quire of a cathedral in northern England, near the Lake District. note to self - look up cathedral name...!)

September 14, 2009

Jam on top

Six days to the launch and counting... I've been working on a few interesting recipes for the second printing of the benefit cookbook. Yes, that's right, Homemade: The Handmade Help recipe book will be reprinting. Thanks to all of you who bought copies we're really close to being able to fulfil our goal, which was to have enough copies to provide one for every one of those 2000 families who lost their homes, should they want one. (We've been selling copies to raise the money to print extras, and any money left over from the sale will be donated to the Salvation Army. So when you purchase one, you give twice: you give a cookbook to a family AND money to the Salvos for the work they do all across Australia).

Thanks to the oddnesses of printing and presses and production stuff, if we add a couple of pages to the book, it costs less to print. (And wastes less paper). So, let them eat JAM! I've got a couple of jams and a marmalade to add to the back of the book.

The new copies won't be out for a good six weeks yet, so in the meantime, your copies are jam-free (but jam-packed with great recipes). It's a sticky situation, knowing we need to add something extra to the book, but we think we can spread it on lightly and the result will just be that much sweeter.

September 13, 2009

Book and bag

While I was away, I did a packet-load of crafting. Here's just one of the things I made which has been in my handbag ever since. It's just a pouch, but useful, very useful! Two kinds of fabric fused to woven interfacing, with a vintage sheet lining. (More of that sheet later!)

We're gearing up for the launch of the cookbook this coming weekend: lists and ingredients, lots of helpers to muster. It's plenty to organise but I'm starting to look forward to it, too. We'll celebrate and start giving the cookbooks away through some of the community groups in the bushfire-affected areas. Should be lots of fun.

September 12, 2009

Kinda good, kinda bad...

... kinda happy, kinda sad.

Up until my last post, you'd be forgiven for thinking we were still away in North America. There's been a period of silence around here: not much blogging, even less drawing, and no writing at all. Shortly after we came home from our wonderful trip, we were thrown for a loop on life's rollercoaster, and over the course of ten sad days we said goodbye to a grandmother who was very dear to us both.

It's been a couple of weeks, but time contracts and extends. It flexes and coils, so that sometimes you are crawling through each day and other times you find yourself thinking it was only yesterday, I was there, holding her hand. Enjoying the flowers together. Or snorting with glee about the latest crazy fashions and sewing patterns, and just talking 'girl stuff'.

Some families pull together for the mourning process: others don't. We've had a couple of weeks in full riot-gear and the fun never stops. I'm old enough to realise that just one or two individuals can spread toxic poison, that you can't hide from all of the tricky people in your orbit and you need to draw in and look after your own. With the bombs flying, there's been no time for words or grief, or for memories and sad joy that we had a good friendship. And that, my friends, makes even pacifists like me just a little bit angry.

I hope we turned the corner this week. We're looking forward and thinking of good things. We love each other and will protect each other. Some of our family is fantastic and I give thanks for them every day. But I'm tired, and there are no words and the drawings are few and tentative. We need good soil, gentle breezes, sunshine and soft rain to grow again.

September 6, 2009

Things I like

Sunday morning, up early and baking cakes. There are a few things I like about a quiet Sunday at home.

  • An early walk with the dog. We've got the streets to ourselves and we can admire the sunlight sparkling through the trees. Be nosy and stare at things in gardens, mutter to ourselves (should we wish -- the dog's good at this), and generally slouch around the block. 
  • Time to sew. Well, when don't I appreciate this? 
  • Quiet. Quiet all around. And more quiet.
Ironically, I was awoken rudely, early today, by an obnoxious bird sitting in the tree outside the bedroom window.

He/she has been there every morning this week from 5:30 to 6AM.

Honestly, I never knew birds could shout so loud. Must be spring.
He's probably yelling:

"Look at me, ladies, I'm a hunka-hunka birdy luuve, and I've got this here tree ALL TO MYSELF. 


Mr. Tacc asked me why I thought it was a he. "Maybe it's a she", he said.


Who said birdies sat in trees and delicately twittered? Hah. Damn fool, them.

I've got a linen jacket all cut out and awaiting the very important decision about lining. The jacket is heavy linen, dark blue. I'm thinking batik, red and white gingham or some crazy floral glazed cotton I've got somewhere. It's a casual short sleeved jacket. I've never made a jacket before, so wish me luck. If you don't see photos, even progress shots, you know it's all gone badly and I'l be making a quilt with very small linen triangles in it, all in a nice coordinated blue...

Now, for a piece of warm cake, a cup of coffee, and I'm off to give it a go!