Friday, 25 April 2008


It was ANZAC day here in Aus today. A very special day for all Australians and even more so for those of us who had loved ones in the forces.

I've had a long day and it's late so I don't have the patience to put a moving blog together. Amarinda has done that for me, so drop by her blog as few could have done a better job.

My Grandfather fought at Gallipoli. He was an ANZAC. He survived. I don't know how but he did. He died the year I was born so I never got to meet him but I am ever so proud.

Cheers Pop!


This was a pic from last years ANZAC parade. A much nicer day and my camera was working better then.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Conjuring Cal

Conjuring Cal by Buffi BeCraft-Woodall is coming soon to Total-E-Bound.

I love this cover. It's definitely up there as one of my fav's. I've been dying to do something like this for a while and I will admit that it was heavily inspired by Denise Rossetti's - Gift of the Goddess cover by the incredible Syneca. I added a few brushes to give it that magical feel. I mucked around a bit with the dragon, all the while berating myself for not having done some more drawing/painting lessons. I ended up resorting to some dragon stock available at DA and in the vain attempt to not take credit for someone else's work, I maniped it to add another head. As required by the story.

I added his hair, again with brushes and was surprised that it was allowed through. I didn't think it looked quite real enough - but hey! I'm not complaining LOL.

Oh, I so need to practice my hair and painting skills. I also really need to start making some of my own brushes. DA has been a fantastic resource, but I'm hesitant in mentioning it because I don't want just anyone going along and thinking they can take things for themselves. There are rules set up by the owners of the stock there. Some allow commercial use, others not.

I guess now that I have Illustrator and CS3 I have less reason to say I can't. Now it all really just comes back to time. Time to focus. Time to experiment. It's frustrating to turn around 3-4 hours later and have nothing to show for it. Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a winge post. So Hurrah! Conjuring Cal has been released :D

Ooh .. quick update on the So You Think You Can Dance AUSTRALIA. It's down to the final 4 and Rhys is one of them. Yay! for Rhys LOL. Love him to death even if he does bat for the other team. He danced with Jack on Sunday night. Jack is the fav to win the comp. He's good. Damn good, but I still gravitate to Rhys. Anyway, here they are (Rhys is the one on the right of the screen, slightly to the front):

Phhwwaaaarrr .. is all I can say.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Ta daaaa ...

Well. There we have it. Despite the intervention that some of you had planned, I made Butter!!! LOL.

Wasn't as hard as I expected. Mind you I can't believe how hard it was to find Organic double cream.

Our local IGA has quite a reputation for stocking a lot of alternative ingredients, so I assumed that Organic Double Cream would be there amongst the Tofu and Organic Yoghurt. Sadly all they stock was the Pouring or Thickened Creams. The same you'd buy in any supermarket. Considering they have everything else in Organic form, I guess it was silly of me to assume as much. I quickly ducked up to the 'full on' health food store up the road and they only get their organic cream on a Wednesday (of course, why am I not surprised). So back I trundled to IGA and just got some thickened cream. It was on special at $0.99c for a 300ml. A 600ml was usually about $3.20. Still a good deal cheaper than the $5.18 for the tub of butter.

So when I got home I whacked it in the food processor and watched with baited breath. I can't believe it actually worked LOL! I drained off the buttermilk (which I then used to make some buttermilk pikelets - is that scary or what? LOL) and rinsed the butter in cold water. I then whipped in a bit of salt and some light olive oil to make it easier to spread and voila! I have butter.
It was interesting to read what ingredients were used in the bought butter - Cream, Vegetable Oils (Antioxidant (320), Butteroil, Salt, Buttermilk Powder, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Flavour, Vitamin A, Colour (160a), Vitamin D, Milk Fat 38% and Canola Oil 21%.

Geez. Seems an awful lot of 'stuff' for a pretty natural product. All I used was - Thickened Cream (which contained Vegetable Gums 407 & 412) and 35% milk fat, Light Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt.

I'd ideally like to get organic cream or a good double cream with minimum additives. Funny thing is that we're surrounded by dairy farms. Sounds like I may need to chat up a few farmers and see if they sell any products direct.

So. All in all, it was a productive morning. I wonder what it will be next week. I already do my own breadcrumbs. Hmmm ... what will it be? Soap making? Candle making? Bread making?

Ah yes, I know. Just call me Martha :D

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Where for art thou Muse

Okay, so I'm over my little spat with the computer. I ended up dropping it off at my computer guy. Turns out that my disk drive didn't read DVD's. 'Fix it' I said and it was done. So everything is working (for the time being). Now if I could just find some inspiration I'll be set.

Speaking of Inspiration (aka Muse), well, he's done a runner on me. In other words I don't have any. I've offered to do a banner for someone who wants a Fantasy theme with a hand-painted feel to it. Unfortunately I'm not confident (or good enough for that matter) to digitally paint something so I'll have to do a manipulation and give it that hand painted feel - aka whack a filter over it LOL.

Anyway, the thing is. I can't for the life of me come up with anything. I've dabbled but there's no spark or interest what-so-ever. It's just so hard to come up with something? Why is this?? I'll get a picture in my head but it means a lot of dabbling, learning and general mucking about. I just don't seem to have the time to dedicate to dabbling, learning and mucking about. I don't recall it ever being this hard before. I spend so much time at the computer already, perhaps it's a guilt thing. My mind is constantly telling me to get away from the computer - you're putting on too much weight, you need to move, you need to hang the washing out, you need to do something with the kids, the house is a mess. DO SOMETHING!!!

Ooo .. I did do something this week. I went horse riding with my daughter. Woohoo! We went on a 2 hour bush ride (or trail ride for the non-Aussie folk). It was a bit of fun although I was a bit torn between wanting to go for a nice canter and stick behind with my daughter and be a responsible parent. LOL! I got a bit of both which was nice. The guide, Sue kept an eye on my daughter while I went for a bit of a run. So now my legs are aching but I love it. I missed the feel of being on a horse. It was hard work though. My boy was always so responsive. I basically had to lean forward to go and sit back to stop. He'd turn with the pressure of the reins and to canter I just had to put one foot back a smidge and we'd be off. The trail horses are very much the opposite. You need to boot them to go, pull them to stop and push them every step of the way LOL! Still, it was a bit of fun. I do miss my old boy though.

I did a quick grocery shop at our local IGA (Idependent Grocers of Australia). I like real butter. None of this pretend margarine crap, no matter how good they want to tell me it is for my health. So. I went to grab a spreadable version that we go through at ridiculous speed. $5.18 for a 5oog tub! What the hell? It was only $3.90 not that long ago. Oh-0h, somethings going to have to give.

So this morning I had a bit of a domestic moment. Why don't I make my own butter? So off to the computer I trot to look up recipes for home made butter (yeah I know what's in it, just not how to do it). I really don't know what I'd do without the internet. Honestly! Anyway, I looked to see if there were recipes for home made spreadable butter, which of course there were. So I'm all set now for recipes. This afternoon I'm off to IGA to pick up some heavy cream and have a go at making my own butter. No doubt it will end up more expensive to make than just buying the tub LOL! But what the heck. I'll give it a go and report back.