Saturday, 25 June 2011


Just thinking of the colour orange in the middle of winter gives me a warm glow, which is more than can be said of our newly replaced hot water service.

Making this applique denim jumper dress for the BrisStyle Indie Designers Market on 9 July helped a little, but I needed more.  Time to go shopping.

Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, this delightful creation by Aardvark is first on my shopping list.

I would be ready to face the world wearing this yummy resin necklace by the lovely Sophie of Strat Designs.

I'd feel like a million dollars wearing this gorgeous ring by Jewelry By Emmy.

I would come home to a warm bowl of pumpkin soup and admire my latest print purchased from Hey Harriet.

Lastly, I would take in the beauty of this stunning glass bowl by Corporan Glass.


For more Let's Go Shopping ideas, take a look at what BrisStyle has selected this week.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

When is coconut ice dangerous?

He was the most marvellous melodramatic villain any stage could hope to be trampled over.  He was also something of a legend in Sydney back in the early 1960s for being the eternal law student at Sydney University.  Martyn Corbett was a presence not to be ignored - larger than life and a genuine bon vivant. 

Boo! Hiss!

The Genesian Theatre presented the melodrama Only an Orphan Girl and I was DESPERATE to play the part of the Orphan Girl's mother (such anomalies are acceptable in melodramas). 

Dang ... if only I still had that dress!

I don't think I slept for a week after I won the role, particularly as my best friend Penny was to play the Orphan Girl.  The Villain's Moll was Judi Farr who was beginning to make a name for herself in the acting world. 

The Sydney critics loved it, as did the audiences and the season was a sell-out.  We had the Snow scene when the Orphan Girl was thrown out of the house, the Saw Mill scene when the Villain did dastardly things to the Orphan Girl, and in between all these scenes of mayhem and pathos the audience were entertained by a Barber Shop Quartet and various other side acts. 

So why is coconut ice dangerous?

The patrons were sold packets of peanuts in their shells and coconut ice before the show.  They were encouraged to throw the peanuts at the villain and to eat the coconut ice.  One hot and muggy evening the coconut ice virtually melted into a soggy, hardened mess - unfortunately it was the same night that a mob of university students came to see the show.  I was standing next to the Villain when he threatened that if the mortgage wasn't paid by midnight (and the clock was dinging away the hour in the background) we would all be thrown out into the snow.  A good time to throw a few peanuts.  However, the uni students found the rock-hard coconut ice inedible and decided that they would make excellent missiles to launch at the Villain.  The Villain I was standing next to.  I felt like a duck in a shooting gallery.  By popular demand the coconut ice was withdrawn from sale until the weather improved.

A few months after the end of the production Martyn sailed to Europe and the following year my best friend (and Orphan Girl) and I left for a year in London.  We were walking along Earls Court one evening after work when who should be coming towards us but Martyn Corbett, who greeted us warmly and ushered us into the nearest coffee shop.  When he discovered we were about to leave for two months in Europe he swept us out of the coffee shop (without paying - he was caught up in the moment and the poor proprietor looked too stunned to stop us) and took us home to lend us some books on Rome, which he knew we could not survive without. 

Over the years we often wondered what happened to Martyn.  I googled his name a few times but could not find anything past the 1970s.  Then late last month Penny rang to advise that he had died.  I felt sad and filled with pangs of nostalgia, but was pleased that he had rated a half page obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald.

I wasn't at all surprised to read that he had become a teacher and that he had mentored and encouraged one of his students, Alfred Molina, who wrote this homage to him in 2009.

Alfred Molina in Spiderman

The last time I saw Alfred Molina he was playing a villain - so my story has come the full circle.

Vale Martyn Corbett


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Local Handmade Goodness

Have you ever had to scramble to buy a last-minute gift?  It's my own fault - I knew a celebration lunch was coming up for a good friend's 60th birthday, but I thought it was a week away instead of a day.  I was at a quilt meeting at our local library when the bombshell was dropped, but fortunately the library is situated in a shopping centre.  The bad news was that I didn't have a clue what to buy.

I slipped out early from the meeting and arrived wild-eyed at my favourite gift shop in the centre.  I should have known that all would be well.  There waiting patiently for me was the perfect gift.

Thea & Sami

This beautiful hand-printed linen tea towel by Brisbane designer Thea Samios of Thea & Sami simply jumped into my hands. The hardest part was gift wrapping it because I really wanted to keep it for myself. 

Thea and I had both participated in this exhibition organised by Melanie Gray Augustin back in April, so I knew first-hand what a wonderful designer she is and I knew my creative friend would really appreciate this gift.

Of course, in my haste I forgot all about wrapping paper and card, so that evening I hastily designed some paper and a card.

Not too subtle, do you think?

The lunch the next day was delightful and my friend loved her newly acquired tea towel, although I doubt it will ever dry a dish - too good for such a mundane chore.

I guess the moral is support our artisans - buy local and buy often!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

My First Century

I've just turned 100 - Etsy sales, that is.  I realise it's not Crack Open the Champagne stuff, but it's a milestone, something to tick off the 1,000 things I must do before I die list.

100th Etsy Sale
And where is global warming when you need it?  Brisbane is experiencing a winter worthy of our southern cousins Sydney and Melbourne.  In subtropical Brisbane we expect our winters to be civilised, with the nights a little chilly, but with mild, sunny days.  Not this winter - we have had temperatures plummeting to the coldest June temperatures on record.  So we ran away to Sydney for a few days.

We don't have many deciduous trees in  Brisbane, so it was something of a novelty to walk under large trees which allow the sky to peep through.

Gloriously coloured leaves ...

... make walking such a pleasure.

After a brisk walk, it's time to do a little reading.  Of course, I realise that when Grandad is around, this little four-year-old has eyes for no one else.  They are soul mates and have been from the day they first laid eyes on each other.  It's so heartening to see in this modern age that grandchildren and grandparents still have this amazing bond that no electronic games can replace.

All too soon we flew back to Brisbane where we have spent the last few days vying for heater space.  Today we had been looking forward so much to catching up with our Brisbane grandchildren and their parents, but poor Mr Fudge came down with a particularly nasty bout of 'flu and we reluctantly postponed the lunch until next week.

I had made two chicken and corn pies (fresh corn - none of your frozen or canned variety), enough to feed an army.  I was able to freeze one while we two frozen ice blocks made a reasonable attempt to polish off the other.

Lemon Meringue Cakes
As a special treat for the children, I made these muffin-sized cup cakes.  The middle is hollowed out and filled with lemon curd (yes, freshly home-made) and topped with meringue.  There were 12.  There are now 8.  What a shame.  Sorry kids.  Promise I'll make some more for next weekend!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Three Little Maids

I was commissioned to make these dresses for three sisters aged 4, 5 and 7.

Front view

Back View

I'm waiting on the arrival of new fabric to make three more dresses  like this ...

... and they'll be on their way to their new owners.

I'm sitting here freezing on the first day of winter in Australia and it's hard to imagine that it's actually warm where these dresses are going to reside.  Wish I could go with them!