Thursday, 27 September 2012

Travelling in New South Wales, Australia

Half way through our trip to visit friends and family, Jen & I have spent a few days in Orange, enjoying cold nights and delightfully sunny days. Spring in Orange and surrounding areas means magnificent gardens, and the cameras were snapping wildly as one fabulous vista followed another. The garden of our hosts follows. First Australia's marvellous Snowy River Wattle (Acacia boormanii),

a grove of Silver Birches underplanted with daffodils,

hedged Magnolia,


hedges of Photinia (red) and Camellias (green) for wind breaks.

We also went to the Japanese Gardens at nearby Cowra, where the cameras were again whirring. Here are just a few vistas.

Coming from the NSW Central Coast as I do, our winters are just not cold enough to support ornamental blossom trees such as these. Camellias and Wisteria do well but most of the plants in Orange and Cowra here like a chilly winter. Today we are in Western NSW at Dubbo and tomorrow go on to Trangie, on the edge of the Far West. Hotter, drier, very, very different.

Location:Dubbo NSW

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Recipe Book Project, Spider alert and Springtime

September brings the latest edition of The Recipe Book Project, an invitation to iPhoneographers to submit their photos and recipes for how they made them. As usual, I'm running late, but my photos are here, all taken on my iPhone 4. And this is where the spider alert comes in; this spider is a female Golden Orb Weaver, one of many who grace our garden throughout summer. Fairly harmless, though a bit scary if you blunder into the web.
I put a photo of wisteria through Tiny Planets to make the swirl. In PhotoBlender I added the wisteria swirl and the spider, blended in Hard Light, then found a frame in Snapseed.
I blended (in PhotoBlender) a photo of an arum lily with a different photo of the same spider and chose Color Burn, then framed in Snapseed. Spiders over... Now to Decim8 the cat!
I love Decim8! This is a photo of Dr. l'Orange, put through several random Decim8ions. Framed in Frame Magic. So simple!
Freshwater Beach, NSW.  And still they come! I need help with this one - I can't find where I got these UFOs! Dave, any ideas as to which app I've used?

A bit of springtime in Wamberal. Wisteria blooming everywhere you look...
Crab Apple putting on a brave display for a very young tree. My childhood dream was to have masses of apple blossom as I read about in Anne of Green Gables and my three crab apples are my fulfilling of that dream.
Crucifix Orchids are everywhere, red or orange. Gorgeous against the beautiful Eucalypt bark.
I've just spent a few days at Bundeena near the beach. As usual the garden is filled with Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, all vying for the chook food, along with Topknot Pigeons, Rainbow Lorrikeets and Noisy Mynahs. Marilyn Red Chook will have none of it and moves them all on with gusto.

I'm taking off on Monday for a country trip with my friend Jen, visiting friends and relations and apparently taking in picnic races in one country town. There should be plenty of photos of that...

Don't forget to visit Dave and the others taking part in the Recipe Project. And of course, leave me some comments, please.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

On my bookshelf ...

The swag of books I've added to my shelves in the past month gives quite an insight into my interests. I won't labour the point, I'm sure you can read between the lines.
Book artists will probably have seen this book. My main  interest was in the work of Brian Dettmer, who features on the front cover. This work is titled New Books of Knowledge and is constructed from an altered set of encyclopedias. I'm vaguely disappointed in this book though I'm not sure why. It has some wonderful artists but several I felt were of not much interest to me. It is, in my opinion, very much a coffee table book. A good one to borrow from your library until you decide you really need it on your shelves.
This huge, stunning, expensive book is not a disappointment. The jewellery of Alexander Calder [1898–1976] is brilliantly photographed for an exhibition catalogue. I didn't have to buy the book, there is a wonderful online resource for this jewellery, but I knew this was an opportunity to have something wonderful in my hands. Keith Lo Bue, jewellery artist, is responsible for my interest in Calder, for which I am very grateful.
Sorry, I've nearly cut off Joseph Cornell's [1903-1972] name in the photo. Diane Waldman is the biographer. Cornell's box constructions and collages were very much in the found-object assemblage-art genre, and are as relevant today as they were in his hey day. Cornell hove into my sphere via Michael DeMeng's influence on my art interests. These two books, Calder and Cornell, are very welcome additions to my collection of art books.
I've purchased two books by India Flint, the wonderful Australian fabric artist. Reviews of both books, Second Skin, and Eco Colour, may be found here.
For some time I've been aware that various friends have been talking about India Flint, and I realised that here was someone taking a truly gentle approach to our world. Since receiving these books I have found India Flint's writing to be inspirational and I really didn't want to put them down. If you dye fabric or paper, sew, or like me, do neither, I recommend both books simply for the pure pleasure of reading India's prose. Oh, and her photography is beautiful.
Now for something entirely different. Dan Reeder's dragons and monsters. Sorry about the flash on the cover, but look at that dragon! This book has a step by step workshop on how to make a dragon.
But before I do that I'm going to start with the easier stuff. In this book:
Apparently if I work my way through Monsters, I'll find the dragon a breeze. Actually I think I'd like to make some fish. I'll let you know...
Dan has also written and illustrated a charming book about a dragon, William, who loses himself in gathering a huge mound of trash/treasure. It made me feel that Dan knew something about my obsession with collecting stuff. Fortunately William comes to his senses and goes back to the happy unencumbered life. Just one more dragon - the real life William.
For several years I haven't had an oven. Just lately I've been reading some wonderful vegetarian cookbooks and I've realised that I NEED an oven. So I've bought a fancy new one, and although at the moment it is sitting in state on my kitchen floor, I anticipate that it will be installed pretty darn soon. The new books that have pushed me towards this commitment are as follows:
It is so many years since I've made bread that I can barely remember the experience, but just reading this book fills me with enthusiasm and I can almost smell the bread baking.
Simon Bryant is my favourite Australian chef. I love this book and I know I will read and use it constantly. It sits on my shelf alongside Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Veg Every Day, my other vegetarian favourite.

Well, there you have it. What I'm reading, how I'm being inspired and entertained - and who will be influencing what I eat. I'd love to know if any of these books interest you, please leave a comment.