16 December 2008

Deck the Halls...


...and dress the tree!

I went around to Mum's house the other day and helped decorate the Christmas tree. So many decorations too - Mum has a couple of bags full of them, from ones we made when my sister and I were kids, to ones Mum has slyly bought every year.

When we were younger, I used to sit down before we hung everything on the tree, and split all the decorations into equal piles so that none of us felt slighted. Often we'd have three fairly similar ornaments (like a set of angels or cherubs) but there were also special awesome ones that had to be carefully measured against one another so as not to offend anyone who felt that their pile was not as special and awesome as the other two.

In which case we'd renegotiate.

A delicate balance really.

Here's a photo of one of our cats Lemme (as in "lemme up! lemme on you! lemme have that") hanging out on top of the computer looking bemused at all the tree activity.


Lemme's son, Max, loves the Christmas tree. He has a perennial love affair with a wee felt Santa that we've had for years. Every year he pulls it out of the tree and lavishes licks all over it, so as a result, it's quite fluffy and gross looking. Mum still hangs it on the tree, but at the bottom, for easy access for Mr Max.

25 November 2008

Percy and Thornton

So, I've really taken to making buddies. Haven't had much time in the past few weeks, but now that I'm staring unemployment in its bloodshot and crusty eye, I will have more time to play God of Soft Creatures.

Percy is a penguin who kind of wants to be an owl. He loves having stories read to him, but is equally happy to watch cooking shows on TV. Be warned, if he's hungry, he may forget himself and try to peck the TV to get the treats inside.

I gave this guy, Thornton, to Leigh for her birthday. They get on really well, apparently, they hold hands when Leigh's falling asleep, and sometimes she brings him into work with her.

19 November 2008

Love and Economics


I am REALLY looking forward to seeing the video! I've seen some stills, and it looks quite cheesy, in a golden-good kind of way. Yuss. I really like Tono and the Finance Company (check out tono's blog here), they have such clever and catchy songs! I'd been crapping my pants a little about doing the poster for this, my mind was drawing blanks instead of pictures. After torturing myself for being terrible for a good few weeks, I had myself a session and sat down and did this in an hour. More of less. Pretty happy with how it turned out too.

If you're not in Dunedin, they're playing a show in Wellington on December 3 with Matt Langley at Happy, then playing at Whammy Bar in Auckland on December 6, with Bearcat and the Wicks. There'll also be shows in Port Chalmers and Christchurch but I ain't got the deets for them yet.

12 November 2008

New Hayao Miyazaki



So this is apparently called "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" and looks adorably cute - as you'd expect with a Miyazaki film.
Wikipedia informs me that:
The story revolves around a five-year old boy, Sosuke, and the Princess goldfish, Ponyo, who wants to become human. Studio Ghibli President Toshio Suzuki noted that "70 to 80% of the film takes place at sea. It will be a director’s challenge on how they will express the sea and its waves with freehand drawing." The film does not contain any computer generated imagery, or CGI, in contrast to Miyazaki's other recent work.


Apparently it did really well in Japan when it was released earlier this year - I don't know if it'll be in New Zealand cinemas... Spirited Away did super well, so it wouldn't surprise me if it did find its way onto our silver screens, even if that happens through film festivals instead of mainstream cinema releases.

To find out more about Hayao Miyazaki (if you're unfamiliar with his work and want to know more), check out, wikipedia, or here.

10 November 2008

Happy Birthday Leigh!


And thanks for the best party EVER! Smashing that piƱata was the only way I made it through the election coverage. x

29 October 2008

Taxes


I just realised last night while I was perusing various websites by various creative individuals, that I very rarely make art or design something for the pure pleasure of it anymore. That I use photoshop and illustrator as tools only for doing work for other people, not for doing work for myself, not for playing.

"Well, that sucks and I'm a sucker" I declared. "From now on, I shall endeavor to do one arty designy thing a week for fun."

I started last night by making this poster of a taxman as I imagine them in my head. I have a great fear of taxes, and the tax system as a whole. It seems so incomprehensible to me. Just thinking about having to do a tax return gives me the willies. It's not a maths thing either - I was really good at maths at school, it's more-so to do with the fact that I've never had to deal with taxes personally, and accounting and economics are like a foreign language to me.

I'll have to learn to speak this whack language of tax one day, in the mean time, woe unto those who refuse to acknowledge the might and smoting powers of the taxman!

22 October 2008

Sacha


This is a photo I took the weekend that we spent with the twins for their birthday in Wanaka. They're six now. SIX! Holy jesus.

Anywho, I thought this was a pretty cute photo, she looks so thoughtful in it. I recommend clicking the image and seeing it big, cos it's much nicer big than it is small.

16 October 2008

The Joys of Photos(hop)


I love how photoshop makes pictures pop when you know how to play around with curves and levels and all that jazz.
Here are some photos I took of Dunedintown and the golden weather we're having this afternoon. You can click on them for lovely big juicy sizes.






15 October 2008

Dunedin Circle Jerk


This is a poster I've just finished. It's for a Circle Jerk show where a number of local bands play covers of local music. Sahweet! Covers are one of my favourite things! It should be a rocking night so if you're in town on Friday the 24th of October, pencil this puppy into your diary as it should make for an entertaining evening.

I've been fairly stoked to make a decent number of posters this year. I love the format and like seeing what I can do. Sometimes I want to make things smaller and more subtle, but generally the feedback I receive is to "make it bigger" so I almost automatically do so these days.

One day... one day I'll make posters that have the details small, as an almost afterthought and it'll be the image and the headlining band that'll take up the majority of space. The way things ought to be.

07 October 2008

Vege Garden


DJ and I enlisted the help of my dear mother and her partner Paul quite a few weeks ago to help us build a couple of no dig vegetable garden beds. I'm fairly excited about the progress of the plants so far. In the past week or so, the lettuce seeds have all turned into seedlings - ditto with the radishes AND the potatoes have started putting their little sprouts up! So green and tasty looking! I often find myself standing next to the gardens with my hands on my hips, a sprig of parsley in my mouth, ginning, and nodding to myself.

It's a good life.

This is one of the broccoli plants - we have six of them and they've been the biggest growers so far. Exciting!

Here' some celery. I want the celery to grow faster! It was planted at the same time as the broccoli but just isn't taking off as much as I want them too!

Chives!

One of two newly planted courgette plants. Delicious!

Here we have two varieties of parsley - fancy/curly and italian. I like chewing their leaves. Num num num...


MINT! So lush. Apparently I need to put it in a bucket so it can't escape and wreak havoc all over the garden.

Pizza Thyme - the first wee plant died from neglect because I bought it well before we had a garden to put it into... and so I had to get a new one.

Baby Radishes! Cute! They've doubled their leaves since I took these in the weekend!

Rhubarb. I think our second plant may have died. Sigh.

Zoe's Birthday Present


This is the diamond dog I made for Zoe for her birthday!

Unbeknownst to me when I sat down to make it, the inside of her van is actually covered in the same coloured material! When I gave it to her, I was saying something and she turned to me with this glazed look of delight and shock and said "I'm sorry, I didn't catch any of it... he's just so loud!"

Awesome.

29 September 2008

Sacha's New Friend


This is the bunny I made for Sacha for her birthday. It's quite a punky bunny (I think it's a little gender confused, but that's ok by me) and likes to get her frown on when she's thinking - which is all the time. She likes beat poetry and people watching and when no-ones around, she sings "little bunny fu fu" because it makes her happy.

I think Sacha's decided to call her Fluffy "because she is fluffy". Can't argue with that. I once had a pair of rabbits - one called Whitey, one called Brownie. Logical, but perhaps a bit off in retrospect

28 September 2008

Peanut Butter Brownies

Makes more or less 32 little bite-size brownies

These “brownies” are more fudgey than cakey, with an excellent peanut butter-chocolate contrasts. Have a glass of milk/water handy.

Ingredients

For brownies
225 grams unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter of your favourite variety
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon salt

For ganache
250 gms chocolate. You can use whatever you like - either choc chips or broken up chocolate bar. I went with Dark Ghana stuff because that's how I roll.
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon butter

Method

BROWNIES
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C with rack in middle. Ideally, use a 30cm by 20cm baking tin with a depth of around 5cm. I used a square silicone cake tin and it came out fine. Butter your tin up, then line bottom of pan with baking paper, and then butter the baking paper.

This next bit works best with an electric beater. If you're skint, like me, you may be resistant to getting a beater claiming that you can do just as good a job with a fork. Stop kidding yourself, they're $17 at the Warehouse and they'll stop you getting RSI and in the meantime your butter and sugar will be practically creaming themselves. Double entendre intended.

Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Reduce mixer sped to low, then mix in flour and salt until just combined.

Mix in chocolate chips then spread your thick and sticky batter in baking pan, smoothing the mountain-like globs off of the top.

Bake until brownies are deep golden, puffed on top and a wooden pick inserted in center come out with some crumbs adhering, around about 45 minutes.

Cool completely in pan on a rack, which'll take about 1 1/2 hours. You can choose to be impatient and try taking it out earlier, but the brownie'll fall to pieces and be really shit if you do.

GANACHE
I did this differently to the original recipe and it worked grand. Melt your chocolate using the old "put a the bowl of chocolate on top of a saucepan of boiling water until the chocolate's all melted". Pop your cream into a small saucepan and bring it to the boil, then tip it in with the melted chocolate and the butter.

Gently whisk until the butter is incorporated, the chocolate is melted, and you're left with a bowl of smooth, shiny chocolate that begs you to dip your fingers into it.

Spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set, about 15 minutes.

Brownies keep in one layer in an airtight container three days, and apparently much longer if hidden waaay in the back of the freezer.

LINK- Smitten Kitchen

25 September 2008

23 September 2008

Excellent t-shirt


Holy Moly! Threadless just printed the most awesome tshirt. It's a vampire tee that uses UV ink so that when you go out into the sun, the vampire looks like he's buring in flames, and when it's dark, his eyes and teeth glow.

I want one so bad! Damn my credit card-less situation!

14 September 2008

Banana Walnut Loaf

Banana Bread

5 ripe bananas
3/4 cup of honey (or maple syrup if you like)
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups wholewheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup plus of broken walnut pieces optional

Method:
Mash bananas with honey + vanilla until combined and creamy. In another bowl, sift dry ingredients (don't bother to sift wholewheat flour if you're using that) then add dry to wet - stir until just mixed and at this point add nuts if you want to.

Pour into greased tin= bake @ 160C for an hour - no matter how delicious it smells, don't take out early! check if it's baked through by running a skewer into the loaf and if it comes out clean, it should be all ready for consumption!

We like eating this while it's still warm and slathered with peanut butter. Delicious!

31 August 2008

Mister Mews comes to Work

I think I'm hooked, sewing friends is so much fun! Damn you Gianna! You and your adorable friends got me hooked on stitchin'!

Meet Mister Mews.

He was bored at home so I brought him into work today. (you can see the packaging for my blog's namesake in the background - god I miss that spoon)

He's a bit of a scaredy-cat and hid behind my computer a lot.

Yay for Mister Mews! If I get time later, I'll show you his many different hairstyles - he has so many different looks!

26 August 2008

Spring has well and truly Sprung







I love that I get to walk through the botanical gardens every morning on the way to work. Woohoo!

Moustacha


This is the first friend I have ever made, and his name is Moustacha. He is planning a move to the warmer climates of Brisbane soon where he'll be residing with my sister. Moustacha is never without his jaunty Fez - he likes lemon lime and bitters, reading the newspapers in the morning with a cup of liquorice tea, the smell of pipe tobacco, and the shape of the African continent.


Moustacha does dream frequently about the delightful shape of Africa and he'd quite like to visit it some day.

Yay for Moustacha!

13 August 2008

One of my favourite blogs...


I've got a confession to make... I'm a blog hoarder. As soon as I find a blog, I squirrel it away in my blog reader and feel massively protective of the blog, and want to hide it from everyone and revel in how awesome it is on my lonesome.

Like seriously, I get jealous over blogs so this is like giving away my favourite toys. It's hard, but I still get to play with these blogs.

Anyway, this is a blog called Smitten Kitchen by a lady in New York called Deb who has excellent skills in the kitchen. And excellent photo taking skills too - they make me literally drool at my computer. I have to confess that I've yet to attempt one of her recipes but next time that I've got an evening free and some kind of excuse, I'm going to make her Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.

Delicious! She also has a link on the left hand side of the blog where she alphabetically lists all of her recipes featured on the blog, in categories, for easy finding and use! Argh! Such a wonderful blog!

Indigestion


This is a wee friend I drew. Silly thing ate a bunch of children but didn't make them go to the bathroom first and, because he's greedy, he ate them whole and when they got into his tummy, they pooped! Serves him right for not chewing his food properly...

30 July 2008

20x200


White-crowned Sparrow by Todd R. Forsgrenis one of two prints by the artist that went up on 20x200.com the other day.

20x200 is a project where twice a week, new prints go up for sale on their website - the small prints cost $20 (and there are 200 of them, hence the name 20x200), the medium cost $200, and the large cost $2000.

I really love this photo. It's so cute and odd looking! The birds weren't hurt during their capture and reease - I'm not good at explaining it but Mr Todd Forsgrenis knows his shiz and this is what he had to say:

"Ornithologists now use mist nets. These nearly invisible nets are set up like fences and function as huge spider webs, catching unsuspecting birds. The researcher carefully extracts the bird from the net. Each bird is measured, aged, sexed, and banded with an individually numbered anklet. Then the bird is released.

I photographed these birds while they are caught in mist nets, moments before the ornithologist extracts them. Here, the birds inhabit a fascinating space between our framework of the bush and the hand. It is a fragile and embarrassing moment before they disappear back into the woods, and into data."


Awesome! When I get a credit card again, I'm going to FINALLY get to buy a print from this website, yuss!

22 July 2008

Devendra Banhart and Natalie Portman = Supercute

So, apparently Devendra Banhart and Natalie Portman are lovers! Super cute huh? As if that wasn't adorable enough, Natalie stars in the video for "Carmensita" from Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon.

Man. It's so good. They look like they had such a blast making this. (Sorry the quality is fairly average but it's the best I could find)

Enjoy!

12 June 2008

Threadless!

Ok, so it's a dream of mine to get a t-shirt printed at threadless.com and when I saw the Threadless Loves Lollapalooza competition, I thought I'd give it a shot because, HOLY CRAP! The prize is flights to the festival, accommodation, tickets, and cash. And the line up this year is SPLENDIFEROUS!

SO!

I made a submission... it's still pending approval, but it'll be up for voting soon and I'd really appreciate it if you could vote on it... I know my chances of winning are slim but hey, a girl can dream right?

x

My inner child (has gone a little wild) - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever