Friday, 16 November 2018

Date Slice

I love it when people share recipes with me. This one came from Jan, a fellow participant in a Printmaking and bookbinding class. Anything with dates and of the simple melt and mix method will win me over.

Not only simple to make , this slice is quite economical. I did not have any difficulty cutting the slice warm despite the suggestion that it is better to cut the next day. 

Here is the recipe as sent to me by Jan.

Date Slice

125 gms butter, melted.  1/2 cup raw sugar.  1 cup chopped dates (I usually just cut in halves). 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. 1 Egg.  1 cup SR Flour.  1 teaspoon vanilla  


1.Mix melted butter, sugar and beaten egg.

2.Add chopped dates and walnuts.

3.Then mix in Flour and flavourings.

4. (It is quite a stiff mixture.) Spread evenly into a slice tin lined with baking paper.

5. Bake at 160 C in fan forced oven for approx 20 mins until golden brown.

6. Dust top with icing sugar when cold. Better cut next day.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Burnt Butter, Apricot and White Choc Chip Cookies

A very ‘more ish’ treat. The burnt butter gives a layer of  complexity to the dough and the contrast of tangy dried apricot and white choc chips provide lots of texture and flavour. The more usual version of Burnt Butter Cookies has a blanched almond on top and a plain dough. 

Burnt Butter, Apricot and White Choc Chip Cookies 

125 g butter
1/2 cup raw caster sugar/caster sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup white choc chips

2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
1½ cups SR Flour

Place butter in saucepan and melt over low heat, increase heat and cook until butter starts to foam and turn a light golden brown. Remove from heat.

Add sugar and vanilla, mix well and allow the mixture to cool.

Add egg, flour, apricots and choc chips; mix until it forms a ball of soft dough.

Roll mixture into small balls, place on a tray lined with cooking parchment, slightly flattening the biscuit as you do so. 

Allow room to spread.

Bake at 170 deg C until light golden brown, approximately 12 minutes.

Cool on rack.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Alphabet Postcards

My friend Lariane and I have embarked upon a postcard swap. The theme for our year long swap is the Alphabet. Initially we decided to select a letter and then a word beginning with the selected letter. However, we have now refined the project to have an art theme. We agreed to make two cards, one to keep and one to swap. The first letter to be selected was F and the matching word Found.

F: Found

Hugs and Kisses from the Street

This is my card. 
Circles and Crosses are frequently used to denote Hugs and Kisses. Assemblage and collage techniques were used in the construction of this found object artwork. The materials used included rusted street sweeper bristles and washers found on the streets along with a discarded Bonsoy cardboard carton which also contained the text. The street map backing came from an old street directory. The found objects were attached with stitch.

Gawler Ranges Landscape

This is Lariane’s and reflects here recent travels and objects that she found on her travels. Earth pigment, Acacia Bark, Eucalyptus leaves, Graphic ink on watercolour paper.

Lipton’s Galaxy

Another card that I made for the theme. Inspired by the works of Elizabeth Gower. Made with the discarded tags from Liptons teabags,

I: Identity / I / Self

I am Woman

My card. Inspired by the early 70’s song I am Woman by Helen Reddy. This song served as an introduction to feminist thoughts in my early teens. 

Stitched drawing of the female nude on fine woollen fabric, eco dyed using locally sourced plant material.

I Am Not Here

The explanation of Lariane’s card.

Y: Yellowed

I made two for this swap.

Shades of Yellow

So many shades and names; made from paint chips/cards from the hardware store, cut up and glued to card.

Yellow on Yellow (after Rothko)

Inspired by the works of Rothko. Acrylic paints in shades of yellow on canvas.

The Grid

The explanation for Lariane’s card.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Garden Snippets

Spring is when my garden is usually at it’s best, although perhaps less so this year. We have embarked on some redevelopment, some our choice and sadly, some due to a series of deaths amongst our fruit trees. There has also been a recognition that as we are aging that perhaps we should replant with trees that require less pruning and clambering up and down ladders. 

This assembly of three pieces is currently a favourite section of  my garden. The bottom part is a bird bath that was found on the street (free to a good home), the middle was given to me by a neighbour that no longer wanted it and the top statue a gift from my mother some thirty years ago. It is surrounded by Hellebores, some Clivea and Nasturtiums that self sow each year. There is a row of very small Crepe Myrtles , replacing the plum trees, planted along the fence line that overtime will grow up and around this. 

We have also had a very large roofed area installed over our paved area. This project took much longer than we anticipated with difficulty finding a builder, delays from council and  permit issues due to the need to comply with heritage overlay on our house. We were not sure how the building would impact on the garden so were reluctant to plant up areas that were likely to be trampled.

We had hoped that the verandah posts would be able to go back behind the wall hedge but alas this became an issue and we had to put them in front of the wall, unfortunately, not before much of the hedge had been dug out. We are hoping that it survive the replanting.

Despite the neglect there is a lot of growth 

Arum Lillie’s, Euphorbia, self sown parsley and a few orchids that were tucked into the garden for safety.

Tagetes and Euphorbia behind the box hedge.

The Boston Ivy is spreading along the fence that screens the water tank.

The quince is looking magnificent, hoping that the foliar spray of Charlie Carp will make it less attractive to the possums and we will get fruit this year.

The citrus are all heavily in flower, the perfume intoxicating. 

There are Salvias, Aquilegias and the Opium Poppies are starting to bloom.

The heavily pruned Weeping Cherry rewarded us with a lovely display of blossom

Which has given way to a lovely green canopy

The wisteria that we planted to replace the one that died has taken off, however, the Aeoniums in the terracotta wall planters have suffered from the patio construction and are going to need some work.

The succulents on the patio are being treated to some TLC.

This bowl is a favourite and has already started to respond, it will be thick and luxurious by Christmas.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

BOAA at the Art Gallery of Ballarat

I love a day trip. Today, my friend Lariane and I went to Ballarat for the Biennale of Australian Art. There was so much to see and across many venues, it was really too much for one day.   I was particularly drawn to the work of Faridah Cameron.

The paintings are made using a technique of using plastic bags of paint to pipe the thread-like lines.

Cameron says ‘The thread-like application of paint becomes a metaphor for connecting, making, repairing. As with text, marks evolve towards meaning. There are many threads to be followed.

These enormous installation pieces by Asher Bilu providing an immersive experience for the viewer.

My friend Lariane and I in front of  Infinicopia, this should give an idea of the size of the work.

Resurrection, a massive sculpture made from sponges, painted white.


Marlene Gilson, a Wathaurung Elder. Her paintings explore Aboriginal myth and stories of the goldfields.

My favourite from the Numina Sisters


And lunch, a girl has got to refuel.  My fave coffee haunt, L’Espresso also has delicious meals

Today, confitduck leg, with channeling beans, speck, spring peas and beans.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Adventuring into Artists Books

Adventuring into Artists Books with Peta Lloyd, a fabulous class at Fibre Forum (Tafta Inc). What a great class, you can read more about Peta here . It was a very busy week with many techniques in both bookmaking and printing of papers for inclusion in the books. I decided to focus more on making books and less on producing pages and papers, instead using up some of the stash of leftover prints and papers from previous printmaking classes. 

 Can you see the feather?  Flag book constructed using a multi layer print of a feather, the cover has the feather motif repeated.

Another book using up many of my bird and feather prints along with a range of found and collected images that were suitable the bird theme.

This book is a multi signature book with a wrap around cover. Not quite finished, I planned to have five signatures but still need to make another two.

Some of the pages included in the signatures.

Concertina Pamphlet book with stitched pages.

Turkish Map Fold book, using DL envelopes 

Star book

Portrait Gallery, a small book made as a variation of the Magic book and stamps.

Tunnel book - Yoga for Cats

Magic Book made from a folded and cut magazine page. This given out in class by Peta to get us started.

My first Magic book.

More covers

More concertina folds

One of the pages, Procion dyes, salt and plant leaves as a resist.

Rusted and printed pages

Transferring images from printed pages using orange oil, oil of Wintergreen or eucalyptus oil. 

Using packing tape to transfer an image.

There was plenty of this to keep our energy up.

The grounds and garden, perfect for a stroll

Matchbook Project, One of the exhibits in the Paper Makers exhibition