Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Glass oven

My newest homewares-experiment is with an alternate type of oven, a glass oven called an 'Easy Cook'. People who use them seem to love them and I thought it might be an energy efficient way to cook without heating up the kitchen (and my studio!) in summer. So far I have only cooked one thing, a plum tart which cooked well. (It is fun being able to watch the cooking process through the glass.)
Easy Cook glass bowl oven (with plum tart).
The glass oven does not seem to need to be as hot as a normal ovens, perhaps because a reasonably strong fan forces air around the food all the time the oven is on. Next I will try veges or a meat loaf or scones.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dawn at Umina Beach

Flying back to Oz after long enough in New Zealand to adapt to the 2 hours time difference has the advantage of effortless early mornings. Waking before dawn means you can see the sunrise on the beach. It is always surprising how quickly the sun appears over the horizon. One minute it is pre-dawn...

then the sun peeps over the hills
and suddenly the sun is too bright to look at.

Early morning sun reflects on the water

Friday, February 24, 2012

Loving roses

Granny would know the names of these roses, all of them photographed in her garden.
Red rose

Rust-red rose

White 'iceberg' rose

Yellow rose

Pinkish yellow rose

Jug of flowers

Jug of flowers from Granny's garden.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"If you have a garden you are never lonely," says my mother.
She spent a lifetime on an isolated farm, so she should know. At 84 she moved into a new house in town with no garden at all. Now, 8 years later, her garden is credit to her skills. 
Parsnips flourish and ...
...the pear treee is laden with fruit. 
Under the pear tree her favorite little whistling boy stands with his hands in his pockets.

It is no surprise that her children and her grandchildren are garden enthusiasts.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Milk that tastes as it should

In Wellington I bought a little pack of Anchor milk to drink on the bus. It tasted as milk used to taste, which is more than you can say for most of the milk in Australia. I had not realised until recently that the cheap milk sold in Coles and Woolworths is processed from milk, dried milk, water and who knows what else. Tastes like it too.
Anchor Milk
Addendum 20 September 2012:   Now I read that Fonterra uses permeate in its milk (one of their brands is Anchor) so either they have started to use it since I wrote this or you can't judge real milk by taste. In the meantime the organic milk from Aldi that I had been buying in Australa has changed and is now ultra-pasturised to make it last longer so I don't buy that any more. I buy Aussie Farmers Direct milk because they say they don't add anything.
Addendum 9 October 2012:  Milk is still in the news (and no wonder). An update is here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Signpost in New Zealand

I know I am home when I see signposts like these.
Rural Signpost near Taihape.
Nowadays these signs remind me of the wonderful work of New Zealander Rosalie Gascoigne. Unknown until her fifties, famous as Australia's finest sculptor in her eighties!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Public Conveniences

Toilets, lavatories, the girls/boys room. Whatever you call them, they colour your feelings about places you visit. After a short trip to New Zealand I can report that Sydney Airport should be ashamed of its toilet facilities. They were dirty and blocked on both days I visited them.
Wellington Airport
 Wellington Airport facilities were better but not fabulous. The prize goes to the Wellington Railway station. Their toilets were as clean as a whistle and pleasant to visit despite the many train and bus passengers passing through. Bravo to the station staff.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Art in the scout hall

The scout hall in Umina is a pleasant place with wooden floors and quiet surroundings. Just the place for watercolour classes. I am busy making posters, getting insurance etc and plan to start in March. Online brochure is here in case you want to come!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Patonga Inlet

Patonga is such a quaint and unspoiled place, tucked away behind the hills, between a creek and the sea. I have been painting there fairly often recently and I just put the paintings online at
Boat in Patonga Inlet

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Paint Out, Patonga Beach

The 'paint-out' this week was in Patonga.
Painting at Patonga
There were seven painters, most of them using oil, painting the beach or the wharf.
Patonga Wharf
The little bit of blue sky didn't last long but the rain held off for the morning. In the afternoon it started raining and it has barely stopped since. Further north there are floods again. Those poor people.