31 December 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Talk about the year going past quickly, hasn't the decade overtaken it at lightning speed?  I remember like it was yesterday when we bunkered down to watch the new millenium unfold and to wait for chaos to explode as Y2K appeared before us.   More of a fizzle than a bang (the computer bugs, that is).

So here are some photos from this year's fireworks (the 9pm ones, it isn't midnight yet).  They were suitably spectacular, with some new quad-colour ball fireworks drawing lots of applause.

Happy New Year everyone, hoping that it's a wonderful year for us all.


Update: The midnight fireworks! It's now officially 2010!

Don't know if it's a precursor of what's to come in 2010, but I was too lazy to walk the 10 minutes down to the end of the street to see the fireworks, so here are some photos taken from my upstairs window.

Looks kind of apocalyptic, no?

Afterwards, when I came downstairs, Tabitha cat was huddled under a chair, a little perturbed by all the booming... there, there, Tab, it's alright.

24 December 2009

Season's Greetings!

Hi Everyone,

  Thanks for reading Ooh, Look over the past year.  Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season and look forward to seeing you all again in the new year.

Warm wishes from
Bel and Tab

17 December 2009

Eveleigh Markets and Summer Finders Keepers - shopping for cat grass

Where does the year go? Whoosh - there it goes, straight past your face in a flash and before you know it, it's a new year.

It seems like last week that I visited Eveleigh Markets, but it was probably earlier this year.  A return visit was in order a few weeks ago because the twice-yearly Finders Keepers event was on at the same time at the same place. But more on that later.

Eveleigh Markets are held each Saturday in a large open shed beside the railway lines near Redfern Station.  There is all manner of fresh farm produce - fruit and vegetables, artisan breads, cheesemakers and their wares, colourful flowers, a plant man, gourmet meats, it's all there.

It's good that the market is held under cover, as it's on even when it's wet.
The summer fruits and flowers are particularly abundant at this time of year, as are the pre-holiday shoppers.

Notice the shimeji mushrooms above - the grey tones are reminiscent of a colder, more dismal climate, but they are so picturesque.

The apple grower had golden apple pies for sale, adorned with sprigs of Christmas bush.  There were also heirloom tomatoes available - I didn't get any though I'm regretting it as they'd be perfect in a summer salad, dressed with a tangy vinaigrette.  And isn't the basil just gorgeous.

The main reason for visiting Eveleigh this time was to pick up some more cat grass for Tabitha. She enjoyed her last pot so much that when it ran out (ie. died) she resorted to eating the liriope leaves that grow on the side of the garden. So we got a new one for her ($3 per pot).

When we'd finished at the food/produce section, we strolled across the path to the Carriageworks building, where the Finders Keepers market was on.  This event is for new designers and artists to show their works, and is filled with gorgeous accessories, artworks, fabrics, clothes and jewellery.

There were around 80 stalls this time around, and it's a fabulous place to pick up unusual trinkets and gifts. The next Sydney market is not till next year, and there is also a Brisbane market soon.

All up, it was a productive, feelgood type of day.

And of course, Tabitha cat just adores her new cat grass.

Eveleigh Markets are at 245 Wilson Street, Darlington NSW, about 10 minutes walk from Redfern Station.  The final markets for 2009 are on this Saturday 19th Dec, and they will have a Christmas theme, with hampers, etc.

30 October 2009

Of Halloween cats and bats

I wanted to show something food-related for Halloween, but all I had were some sweets I'm saving for the hordes of children I'm expecting for trick or treat on October 31.  Actually, whenever I don't have anything on hand, there is always a knock on the door and 'Trick or treeeaattt!'.
And whenever I'm prepared (like this year), no one turns up.  Oh well,..

Anyway, Tabitha cat and I hope you have a candy-filled, ghoulish Halloween.

22 July 2009

Some Assembly Required

This is not a post about food, so if you are expecting it, please move along, nothing to see here.
However, I hope you'll stay for a bit...

Did you know, the words that the other half is most afraid of - apart from 'We're out of Coke' - is 'Can you help me put this together?'. So you could have heard the mutterings a mile away when I bought this piece of 'self assembly' joy.

I needed a place to put all my craft stuff and magazines, and the Oslo low storage unit from Freedom Furniture fit the bill. Except for, ahem, the fact that I had to give the Philips head screwdriver and hammer a bit of a workout.

The shelves are a pain because you have to try and squeeze the dowels and screws into the pre-drilled holes, and they don't always fit. I proudly admit that I made all the drawers myself, and really enjoyed doing it. And yes, I always follow the instructions to the letter.
It took 2 days, but we finally did it (and I did about 75% of it!!).

I've used storage boxes and magazine holders from kikki-k and Smiggle to keep it neat.

Tabitha cat loves it.

19 July 2009

Sydney Rocks Aroma Festival - rock on!

Don't you just love days like this - sunny, bright, filled with convivial coffee-seeking crowds wandering the traffic-free streets. Welcome to the Rocks Aroma Festival for 2009.

In a city that is filled with festivals, this one celebrates 'coffee, chocolate, tea + spice'. It was held in the Rocks district of Sydney, redolent with convict-built structures and cobbled laneways.

We went fairly early, and it was not too crowded yet.
The first (and only) coffee we got was a mocha from PeaBerrys coffee. Nicely made, with a full-bodied flavour. Nice.

There was also a coffee stall next door, called yukk. Not sure about that name...

Coffee from PeaBerrys; or coffee from yukk?

There was some food for sale, mainly the sweet variety, cupcakes and so on. These berry/chocolate and mango mini pavlovas were very photogenic:

Cute pavolvas (forgotten the name of the company)

There were also plenty of tea stalls promoting the humble tea leaf - as a tea drinker, I found these interesting, but there weren't many samples to be had. I got a sample of Madame Flavour tea from the Good Food and Wine Show that I am keen to try again, but they weren't here, as far as I could see.

Stall selling chai; another stall with an opened flower bud tea in glass

A break for lunch saw us at the Lowenbrau stand, where I had a nibble of the 40cm hotdog ($10). It was served in a sweetish bun, and was alright. They also had available pea and ham soup with chorizo, and a massive meatloaf in a bun ($8).

Food for sale from Lowenbrau Keller

I needed something more, so a stop at La Renaissance patisserie provided a beef burgundy pie. It was full of delicious meaty chunks drenched in red wine. Yum. I ate it in a laneway while reading a wall plaque about Francis Greenaway's journey from convict to chief architect (did you know he probably forged the title deeds to his house in the Rocks?).
La Renaissance fortunately had a stall outside their shop, selling pies, sausage rolls and croque monsieur; pie shot; random phone box in the Rocks

The I love my chocolates stand had the most delicious-looking strawberries on skewers - so red, round and luscious:

Strawberry and marshmallow skewers (can be dipped in chocolate) from I love my chocolate

Flowerfruits sells amazing chocolate-dipped fruit, arranged in baskets and boxes. Very artistic and delightful...

Gorgeous arrangement from flowerfruits.com.au

The Aroma Festival also had an area called 'Flavours of the World' - think gozleme, Turkish coffee, etc.

Chinese musical performers on stage; camel rides (!?!); Turkish coffee; the lack of cool drinks for sale meant that the ice cream van under the Harbour Bridge did a roaring trade

As we were about to leave, we passed by this 'coffee masterpiece' produced by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Grinders Coffee and Dairy Farmers.

It is made of coffees ranging from long blacks to lattes. Amazing!

A fantastic day, can't wait for next year's!

10 June 2009

Donna Hay, Paddington and a giant Cake

I am an unabashed fan of Donna Hay, so I was excited to read of the opening of the donna hay General Store (40 Holdsworth St, Woollahra). It's inside a cute corner shop a little way off the main Queen St drag, and it has a spotless, whitewashed look about it. And no photos (I asked, and they said there were photos on the dh website!??!).

There are a quite a few sales assistants in their brown aprons, and at the back of the store is a small stainless steel kitchen that sells macarons. The store is filled with lots of gorgeous stuff - glassware, soaps, candies, kitchenware and accessories. The Belle Fleur candles on the 1st floor are absolutely divine. I bought some cupcake papers, with a colourful polka-dotted design:

Afterwards, a walk down Oxford St brought us to a new/reconditioned area next to Paddington Town Hall, Paddington Reservoir Reserve. The old reservoir has been spruced up and is now a lovely spot to sit in the afternoon sun and chill and observe the passing traffic.

Further along Oxford St and the window of Sweet Art cake shop had this in it - yes, it's a decorated cake, and it must have been about 40cm (15 inches) high!

I'll leave you with some of the macarons I got from the Donna Hay store. I will let you know what flavours they are later - pay attention, there will be a Test.

10 May 2009

A Mother's Day page!

As usual, I was struggling to find a gift for Mother’s Day. Fortunately, my mother and I had attended a wedding on the previous weekend, which produced some lovely photos. I was inspired by this page by the talented Tiffany, and produced my own version as a result.

I put the finished page in a white box frame, which allowed the die-cut butterflies to remain ‘wing up’. Hope mum likes it.

Supplies: Patterned paper: Bella Blvd. Cardstock: Bazzill. Die-cuts: Amy Butler. Chandelier stamp: Heidi Swapp.
Rub-ons: American Crafts. Other: Cuttlebug embossing, Fiskars Apron punch, Stampin' Up! scallop punch

Detail of page inside the frame
Tabitha cat straightening up the frame (or there was a cat treat caught underneath)

28 April 2009

Trash or treasure?

Rozelle Markets is considered to be a must-visit if you love fossicking amongst piles of stuff, where one woman's trash is another woman's unbelievable, vintage, OMG, can't get that on Ebay find. So, every couple of weeks, I make the trek to see what I can suss out.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself...

On a crisp Autumn day, we walked up Darling St from Balmain, towards Rozelle. Our first stop was the cluster of shops opposite the Cat and Fiddle Hotel, near Teriyaki Boy and Samurai restaurants (no food today, though, they weren’t open yet). There are a couple of homewares stores here, including Vivalino and Lola et Moi. It was at the latter that I spied some cute coasters, made of mousemat material and with an adorable print of quirky little girls and animals. Bf was kind enough to get me 2 sets. Lola et Moi is a French-inspired shop that’s full of delicate jewellery, baby clothes, plates and the like. I love its airy decor and modern, covetable collections.

Next door is Quintessential duckeggblue, sort of an antiques store, but different, better. They had an amazing old Metters metal cabinet on display, a huge circular contraption, covered with drawers labelled, ‘Towels’, ‘Sugar’, ‘Spices’, and the like. There was even an old shilling coin embedded in the top. I wish I had a house that I could fill with the tables, chairs and wares from this shop – it was all beautiful, and with a ‘history’ behind it that you could sense from touching the scratched surfaces and mellow patinas.

Window display at Quintessential duckeggblue; cute coasters pour moi, from Lola et Moi
A few minutes up the road and we arrived at Rozelle Markets. It’s a jumble of stalls containing clothing, old junk (a rusty Beta VCR, anyone?), plants and food. I usually get an obligatory gozleme from the stall here. Today, I got some colourful felt brooches, made in Nepal.
So how do you tell if something is trash or treasure? Don’t know – it’s all in the eye of the beholder (or stallholder)!
On the way home, we stopped at About Life to pick up some stuff for dinner (roast beef and salad). I also got a bottle of rosewater because I liked the label. What I did with the rosewater is a story for another day...

19 April 2009

You call that a scrapbook page?

I've been a bit slack on the craft front lately (though it hasn't stopped me from buying craft supplies). I did manage to put my phone boxes photo onto a small 'page', though.

The actual phone box in the picture below is from Hamleys toy emporium in London. I also have a red bus and a London taxi ...

Supplies: Patterned paper - Basic Grey, Bella Blvd (tree), KI Memories (lace).
Transparency - Hambly. Stamps: Stampin' Up!. Velvet flock - Doodlebug.

12 April 2009

Velvet and embossed wedding card

One of my cousins is getting married in a couple of weeks, and this is a card I made for her wedding.

In the tradition of most weddings these days, a wishing well is going to be made available at the reception so that contributions to the honeymoon can be made. So, I've included a place for the money envelope inside the card.
The bronze embossing on the righthand side of the front of the card is done with the Cuttlebug 'Texture' folder - so pretty!
Supplies: Velvet paper: Doodlebug Designs. Stamp: Hero Arts.
Ribbon, scallop and circle punches: Stampin' Up!. Rub-ons: American Crafts. Cardstock: Bazzil
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