Premier Décembre

Wow a post a month, not so good is it!? I know it’s not just me who gets insanely busy round the end of the year. Who knows why, the time still continues in January! But I’m extra busy at work (everyone needs good holiday hair, I love this time of year) and trying to get a lot of pressie projects done. The quilt top for Kelly’s wedding quilt is done and I’m in the middle of doing some sewing for my Mum, who’s birthday is dangerously close to Christmas (which means often last minutely-remembered!!)

Not the best lighting for this picture, but you get the idea!

I’ve been making bread weekly! It sounds harder than it is. I don’t know about you, but I am a massive carb lover. My weakness, bread, cakes, croissants – baked goods of any sort. I could literally eat an entire loaf of freshly baked bread with no second thoughts.

It’s mostly just time you need, but if you can put it in the mixer and then let it rise while you do other things, it really is simple.

Here’s the recipe! It’s actually an old Challah recipe but I find it so tasty for every day bread. You can leave out the eggs if you’re vegan.

  • 1 1/4 cups of water (lukewarm – so the yeast can feed)
  • 1 sachet of dry yeast (I think it’s roughly 7-8grams)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (whisked, set aside a little of this for brushing the loaves, use about 1.5 eggs in the bread mix, or you can just use 1 egg, with no egg wash)
  • 1 Tablespoon vege oil (or melted butter)
  • 4 cups flour (sometime you’ll need 1/2 c more or less)

Place the warm water and 1 tsp of the honey into a bowl with the yeast. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast is frothy. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Add the flour a cup at a time, just so that you can stop when the dough has come together nicely, you may not need a full 4 cups.

Knead the dough for 8 – 10 minutes until it’s nice and smooth and elastic feeling. Then place it in a lightly greased bowl for an hour or so with a clean dry tea towel over top. It should rise and double in size. At this point you can divide the dough into 3 parts and roll out each and braid it, or you can roll it into little balls to make buns. Whichever you decide, place them on a lined baking tray and cover with the same tea-towel for another hour.

Once the loaf or buns have grown again, preheat the oven to 180C or 350F and lightly brush the egg you set aside previously, over top of the dough (this is not necessary, the buns in my picture above aren’t egg washed). Bake for 20 – 25 minutes (a whole loaf) or 15 – 20 minutes for buns.

I’m not going to make my usual selection of Christmas cookies this year – too much to do in too little time, but maybe I’ll make New Years cookies instead!

November

I’m rarely sick, but this weekend I’ve been hit. It’s good it’s over the weekend because it won’t impact my clients, but it’s a bit sad too. Nothing to be done. It’s nuts to think it’s already mid-November, but easier to believe now that there is snow falling outside my window as I write. Where does time really go?

I finished a simple plus quilt for my friend Adri. Her baby came early so I posted it off pronto for little Beatrice.

I really like the simple cross pattern. It’s a goody if I’m not sure of the tastes of the parents. I’m all about pattern and tons of colour usually, but I definitely know that’s not everyones bag. I always put a little ribbon loop now, for hanging, and a tiny signature too.

I’m super excited to be going back to Australia for the holidays. Lots of family business to focus on this year, nieces to meet, weddings to attend!!

I’ve recently been missing doing glass, it’s been a long time now. I think I’ll try and find somewhere in 2015 to tinker in, wish it wasn’t such a pricey endeavour.

I’ve also been missing Japan. I’ve spent lots of time there over the years, it really is a wonderful place, so much to explore packed into such little space.

Does being sick make you nostalgic? My Mum always used to say, “health is a crown on a well mans head that only a sick man can see”. But I’ll be fine in a couple days, I’m just going to watch tv in bed, drink juice and tea and sleep. It really could be worse!

Sewing sewing…

I have been nice and busy both at work and on my weekends! I always say better busy than bored! Although I can’t even remember the last time I was bored! So I’ve made a couple new baby quilts. Some for friends and some for soon to be sale! I’m just using all my favorite fabrics, which seems like an obvious thing to do, but I tend to hoard them, only taking them out of the drawer to stroke and admire them, until now. I’m just going to use them all up so I can get more later! And because of this, each new little quilt I make becomes a new fav. Forgive me if you follow me on Instagram, I often feel blogging is slightly redundant, but you’re in control! Scroll down/click away if need be! The autumn weather really makes for good crafting, I usually find an hour or so to bake too, so my weekends really do end up being cozy and productive. Hope you’re enjoying your days, spring or fall!

Cotton and Steel and friends plus quilt

Chicopee and friends flying chevrons quilt

It’s my lovely Poppys birthday today. Happy birthday Dad!

It was my sweet Goddaughters birthday yesterday too! She asked for sparkly cupcakes, so I obliged (pretty much – it’s hard to find food that sparkles!) That with some real sparklers and a helium balloon and life is good!

Andrew Baldwin

Andy is an Australian glass artist who lives and works in beautiful South Australia. I met him first when he came to study at the Australian National University in Canberra where I was also studying. We always got along well and discovered we’d come from similar educational backgrounds (Waldorf) which definitely helped our friendship. We worked together again when he had returned (and I had moved) to Adelaide, to attend the JamFactory as associates. He has always made both thoughtful exhibition work and production. But one of my clearest memories was how he’d sometimes make me run while I was working with him. Run so that the glass was as hot as possible to make the fine little parts necessary while goblet making. The best thing about Andy is his attitude, he always has a good one. And when you work long hours with all kinds of people you definitely appreciate a positive and enthusiastic energy. I do anyway. You can’t be down on someone who loves what they do and one thing is for certain, Andy loves glass.

Andy and I also collaborated on some work in Adelaide, exhibiting under the name WAMB we made some work that was slightly out of each others comfort zone, but really fun. It’s been probably a good 10 years since I’ve seen him, I’m looking forward to the next time we meet, but you can meet him here.

Tell people a little about yourself.  Where were you born/grow up, did you study?

Born in Stirling, Scotland. My family worked and lived in a Camphill Community for people with disabilities. When I was three we moved to Australia. I had twelve years of Waldorf education in three different states. I guess I am pretty grateful for that.

What do you do now, is it what would you like to be doing?

I make a living blowing glass. It is a very challenging lifestyle but also rewarding. Sometimes I wish I was a professional surfer… But mostly I am happy with what I do.

What does a typical day for you involve?  Or a typical week?  Is typical even a word for you?

I like running in the morning first thing. It jogs all the chatter out of my head. In a good week I run four or five times, in a bad week I don’t run. My days are very flexible but revolve around my routine of glassblowing. Sunday and Wednesdays.

What mediums do you like to work with?

I am all about glass. I think that other mediums are great, but glass got me from an early age and I’m still passionate about it.

Where do you work?

Jamfactory in Adelaide has been my work place since 2001. It is a vibrant community of creative people. So glad that place exists.

Who or what inspires you most – at the moment?

Buddhism is pretty core to my life. I like reading Buddhist literature and finding ways to put it into practice. It definitely makes life more meaningful and is also where I find the inspiration for my work.

Do you have a favourite blog and/or book to recommend?

Hmmm. Mahamudra by 9th Karmapa. It is probably the most clear and succinct guide to meditation I have read.

I also really enjoy reading Lojong texts which are often translated as mind training texts.

Best thing you’ve ever made?

A timber crate to freight my work. Very satisfying to work with another material. I like timber.

What is the coolest thing to do in your town?

Farmers’ Markets on Sunday

Surfing the mid-coast

the festivals

And one awesome place to eat there?

Wasai Japanese Kitchen, Adelaide

Is one thing you’re bad at that you wish you were better at?

Surfing

Did you ever want to be rich or famous?  What drives you?

Not interested in fame. I would like to be wealthy but choose happiness first. Or maybe I am just too comfortable to make lots of money. I am really inspired by the techniques of glassblowing; I like to push myself to make complicated things like fancy Venetian style goblets or other intricate techniques.

 

Thanks Andy! You can check out more of his past work and info on his website.

Log cabin

I finished a little log cabin quilt I started a few weeks ago. I wanted to make one simply because they’re super enjoyable to put together and I used tons of my favorite fabrics which was also fun. It’s backed in a lovely blue Japanese cotton.  I’m keeping it for the right person (no idea who!) No matter what your hobby is, it’s always great to have free and spontaneous projects, ‘just because’ isn’t it?

 

Techno

I don’t have a cell/mobile phone. I had one years ago and then I got rid of it and I thought I’d get one again, but I’m enjoying life without it too much. That being said, I do have an ipad. So I can get my fill of apps and such. The main reason I have it is because I have a little attachment so that I can swipe credit cards for work which is THE BEST.

I know it’s daggy but I really love watching quiz shows and I love doing quiz’s. When everyone was talking about Lumosity, the app to help increase brain function, I was all over it. Daily. But recently I’ve found two apps I love even more! If you like testing your brain or facts, you might like these too! The first is Elevate, it’s like Lumosity on drugs. It definitely tests me and I like to think I’m staving off going senile by at least a year or two. The second is Quizup which are hundreds of quiz options you play vs your friends or real people around the world. This also satisfies my competitive edge (when it comes to quiz’s that is) and I’ve found myself down the rabbit hole of facts more frequently than I should be admitting. (I’m best in Canada in Australian Geography and fairly high on the Downton Abbey rankings!! :) )

Brother and Sisters

I feel so happy to have them. I know it’s a lot to do with luck whether or not you get along with your siblings. Sometime you’re just such different people you really can’t be friends. I know more than 10 sets of twins! Isn’t that strange? I love hearing about their experiences as such close family members. I’d say half the sets I know really don’t get along so it’s true, it’s often luck. Only children are lucky in other ways. For me, especially in tougher times and even though I’m so far away, I’m not sure I could live without them.

This month I’m working on my baby sisters wedding quilt!! She liked her little lap quilt so much that I went with a sort of similar design, but in black, grey and white. It will be my second big queen quilt, which is nuts to quilt on a home machine, but I’m almost half-way done! Seems odd to gift a quilt in the middle of summer, but weddings need such big presents no? Quilt photo’s coming soon. Happy weekend!