Friday, March 26, 2010

Creative juices

I thought I would share a few of the pieces I'm working on at the moment. Being mostly confined to being still, I've found that doing a few jewellery pieces keeps my brain active. Well, sort of. It's more meditative than an intellectual activity! Anyway, the necklaces are not quite complete. They need their toggle closures. What do you think? Would you pay money for something like this? Let me know.... I'm floating the idea of creating unique 'one off' pieces using semi precious stones, swarovski pearls and crystals, sterling silver and other interesting beads.

In these five pieces I've used freshwater pearls, moonstone, crystal, swarovski crystal, sterling silver and porcelain beads.

This necklace will have to be called 'Constellation' simply for it's lustre and shine. I've used a large 18mm moonstone bead as the feature. There are also Swarovski pearls, glass beads and smaller moonstone beads. I love this one!

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE orange! My favourite colour. This is a free form brooch that I've formed using a large orange shell donut as the base. This piece will look glorious pinned onto my new knitted neck warmer. I'll post a pic of the two together later.

This brooch features a selection of moonstone beads, glass pearls and glass beads. I think I'll call this one Mercury.

Brooches are a wonderful statement on a denim jacket or a beautiful winter coat. Never leave a collar unadorned I say!

More pieces to follow...

Monday, March 15, 2010


I'm laying low for a few weeks. I've just had a major op and need to rest. I'm so lucky to have the most beautiful view from my bedroom window! I'm truly blessed with the love and care I've been shown by family and friends. Thank you everyone. You know who you are!

Smily face from Kim and Vic

Beautiful pink roses from my hubby!

I'll be celebrating with this bottle of champers from Richard just as soon as I don't need those little white tablets anymore!

Magnificent bouquet from Janelle and Graeme. Thanks guys!

And this lovely arrangement and chocolates from my Irreverant internet friends!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vetkoek Night

My lovely Mum Marie is visiting us for a few days. She goes home to South Africa next week. Time goes so quickly when you want it to go slowly! Having her with us is a treat. She cooked us a delicious South African treat last night. Vetkoek and mince.

Vetkoek (pronounced FET-cook) is a traditional South African pastry. It is dough deep-fried in cooking oil and either filled with cooked mince or spread with jam or jam. It is thought to have its origins in Dutch oliebollen, which go back to the time of the migration period. It is similar in taste to Mexican Sopapillas. A common Afrikaans dish is vetkoek (pronounced fet-cook) literally meaning "fat cake." The word "koek" refers to the fact that this dish was used as a dessert as well as a meal. It is similarly shaped to a doughnut (jam filled, no hole) and is made from flour, salt and yeast. It is dough rolled into a ball then deep fried. It is commonly eaten with butter or filled with jam or a more savory filling. In a traditional South African braai, or barbecue, vetkoek may be served alongside boerewors, (South African sausage). Koeksisters are made from a similar, but sweeter, dough but are braided in long strips then coated in a sticky sweet syrup.
The Black township version of the vetkoek is called magwenya by the locals living in the Gauteng province of South Africa. In the South African townships vetkoek/magwenya are fast selling food items since they are popular, cheap, and easy to eat on the go.
Sara rolling and shaping out the dough.
The master at work. It's a tedious task standing in front of a hot pot cooking around 40 pieces of vetkoek.
The end result. Split the vetkoek. Fill with mince and a bit of grated cheese for added decadance!

Vue de Vanves Market - Paris

I LOOOVE markets! The trash and treasure kind. Well, any kind really. So I thought I'd share some of the wonderful markets I've been to on my travels. The first thing I do when I get to a new city is to find out from the locals where the best night market or trash and treasure market is. There are some markets that feel like my regular stomping ground. I have my favourite vendors. For instance in China, I visit the city of Yiwu on a regular basis. The night market there is very local. The best treat is to get your nails done for around $5. Then stock up on journal notebooks. You find the strangest things in the strangest places!

However, I digress. I want to share my favourite market with you first. One of the most exciting markets I've ever visited. It's in Paris. Way down at the bottom end of the city. Almost the last train stop! A bit of a mission to get to, but so worth it. It's at this market that I learned to drink expresso coffee. The bitter drop was a perfect foil for the crepe covered in lashings of chocolate spread!

Coffee and crepe!

The market entrance. Doesn't look like much, but it goes for a good km, tables lined up along each side of a tree lined street.

I loved the fact that you could purchase a chandelier at the market, then continue on browsing for the next bargain!
Picture frames galore. Pity they're too big to put in a suitcase!

I bought a pile of little baking tins from this stall. I gave some to my foodie friends as souvenir from Paris. Much nicer than a fridge magnet! Most of the tins have pretty beaten patterns on the bases that transfer to the baked pastry. I made the most delicious little marmalade tarts using these tins.
I was in heaven at this large stall. Vintage and new French linen. Tea towels, table cloths, sheets, pillow cases. However, they were not cheap.

Here I am fossicking in a box of antique lace. I gathered quite a large pile, only to return it when I found out the total cost. It was the equivalent of around $10 per meter. I think not..

There are more markets like this one in Paris, however, I was told by a number of locals that this one is by far the most interesting. So if you're visiting the City of Love and Lights, then don't miss this one!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Melbourne Markets


There's nothing I love more than to wander around the Camberwell Market on a Sunday morning. Getting there early is the only way to experience it. Check out all the second hand dealers and then pop into one of the surrounding cafes for breakfast. The market is situated in the carpark in front of the Target and Safeway stores. It finishes around midday. If you go to the market in Winter, you may need your torch! It's still fairly dark around 7am. Don't forget to dress warmly!

The backdrop to the market. You could almost be in any European city. This is the only Basillica in Australia, the Basilica of our Lady of Victories. The Our Lady of the Victories building contains much of interest by way of stained glass, a powerful pipe organ originating from Ireland in the early 20th century, and a memorial plaque to Amy Castles - a singer of the calibre of Nellie Melba and considered the opposition to Melba.

Shabby Chic heaven! The best plan of attack when visiting the market is to have one or two items in mind to look for. You need a mission!

Sara and my Mum.

Race day is coming up again!

Sara doing a deal with a vendor for a groovy suede leather jacket. Line dancing anyone?

Isn't she beautiful? A little doll!


Shopping for vegies, meat and deli supplies doesn't get much better than the Vic Market in the city. It's open every day except Mondays and Wednesdays. So don't make the same mistake I've made and turn up mid week expecting to stock up your fridge! There are a number of halls selling fresh produce. Also a large hall selling all the yummy things like cold meats, olives, bread, terrines, butter etc. And then the meat/poultry/seafood hall.

This is one of the fresh produce halls.

Olives for Africa!

This is the deli section. Sara and my Dad.

My Dad comparing prices of meat to those in South Africa. The noise level in this section of the market is amazing. The butchers all shouting out their bargains at the tops of their voices. All at the same time!

Wonderful seafood.

No visit to the Vic market is complete without the obligatory Bratwurst with mustard, onion and cheese followed by a skinny latte. Well, we have to make a small concession the the fat consumption!