Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Creative Space

Not many changes going on between my creative space from last week to this week. I'm back sketching away on my next project with my 'not always reliable but very still and professional model' up on my computer screen. If you are wondering (I find that most creative minds are also inquisitive minds) the sketch book on the right is covered in Ninja chicken prototypes. Bet that's got you curious now hasn't it ?

This is a very rough first sketch of the next young intrepid explorer.

And here is 'Boys Abroad' in all it's coloured glory. I love bright colours, particularly the deep red. Who wouldn't want a bright red pirate hat, arrrr me hearties.

Now run, don't walk, over to Kirstys for more wonderful creative offerings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cat cardigans are back in Vogue right ?

You get up in the morning and give your long, flowing mane some careful grooming. You flick it over your shoulder, so soft, so silky, you just know that everyone in the neighbourhood eyes it with envy.

We've all been there, staggering in a daze of disbelief back to the car after half a day spent in the hairdressers, wondering why oh why we said "Hey yeah, I trust you, I'll leave it entirely in your hands,"

Poor Cat, has it been twelve months already? Darn those annual hair cuts come around quickly.

Really, she's ecstatically happy with the results, would I lie to you ?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not quite all there.

Image from here

This is exactly how I feel at the moment. Everything seems a tad fuzzy and before you even ask, no I've not touched a drop of champagne or so much as swirled a nice leggy Pinot Noir around in a glass. Rather sad, no ?

Admittedly we are half way through the school holidays, but today we have drifted along at an altogether civilised pace, so I think I must point the finger of blame elsewhere.

Anyhoo, hopefully the fuzzies will blow away in all this wind, it has to be good for something right ? Meanwhile Petal is cleaning her room whilst balancing a book on her head and wearing 3D glasses which make her look startlingly like Roy Orbison and Le Artiste is making a dog named Bob from a cardboard box. Bob certainly looks like he's had a bowl or twenty of MeatyBites. Poor Bob, since you have no legs you really must stick to a stricter diet, or at the very least go and roll down the hill a few times each day.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Eye Spy....Something I shouldn't eat but do anyway.

Last week, as you probably well know, I completely over-indulged in these sweet little morsels. Terribly naughty I know, but you just can't stop at one, I promise you.

Today I am atoning for my sins and ate a great big bowl of this. Aaaah, that's much better now isn't it ? I feel so virtuous that I just may leap up out of the chair and go for a jog around the block.....or, maybe not....wouldn't want to send the body into shock now would I ?

Jog (or gently meander) over to Cindys for more naughty eye spy treats and thanks to Jennifer Rose for this weeks delicious theme.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Creative Space

Not much progress to report in my creative space this week.

I have managed to ink in the boys but between endless games of chess and snakes & ladders, creating various forms of slime (I bet you're tres jealous about that one), twisting a rainbow of pipe cleaners, snipping and gluing an assortment of felt squares and baking cupcakes in preparation for the end of the world, well, my patient little boys have had to sit quietly waiting in the corner for a snippet of love and attention.

Soon my wee ones, soon I will fill your world with colour.

For more lovely creative spaces, mosey on over to Kirstys, but please, take a few cupcakes with you, we're a little cupcaked out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'll save, have a cupcake.

I'm pretty sure that today I affirmed myself as the person that you should have at the top of your speed dial list in the event of a National crisis, heck, maybe even a Global crisis. For those of you who reside on the other side of the world, or those of you living under a large rock, today has been a rather wacky day on our fair shores.

The news first thing this morning reported earthquakes in Melbourne, severe storms with golf ball sized hail in Canberra, a massive dust storm descending upon Sydney and high fire danger warnings for Qld. Hmmm, thought I, what to do ?

Well, I looked out from the balcony and saw this :

Hmmm, I thought again, that looks rather ominous.

A quick scan on Twitter confirmed my fears, Apocalypse, End of the World and reported zombie sightings. Yep. I definitely needed to swing into action, clearly everyone had gone mad. So I did what any sane, completely rational woman would do, I ran into the kitchen and started baking chocolate cupcakes.

You're impressed right ? Clearly I am a woman who performs under pressure and has her priorities sorted. That's right, if the end of the world was nigh, I was going out with my cheeks crammed full of chocolate cupcakes and a smear of icing on the tip of my nose.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Eye Spy....An inspirational person in my life

Have you ever been at the cross-roads ? As a person who harbours slightly neurotic and excessive planning skills, finding myself recently at the cross-roads was a whole new experience, one that I did not particularly enjoy.

Then occurred a series of very fortunate events. An email inviting me to join a crazy phenomenon known as Facebook. To which I dutifully replied and set up my account. Then out of the blue, a friendship request from an old school friend. An old school friend who had been sorely missed for many years. She had a blog, a very well known blog, and so it was that the world of blogs opened up to me. She mentioned Twitter, well heck, I was on a roll, why not ? Suddenly the world had expanded ten fold, old friends, new friends, bloggers, tweeps, peeps, artists, cooks, mothers, crafters and witty wordsmiths.

This new world has delighted and inspired me in a way I had never imagined possible, new paths are appearing before me and I'm terribly excited to see where they may lead.

But in particular it has taken the words and actions of one extraordinarily talented, kind, generous and down-right delightful gal to get the ball rolling and my creative juices flowing. She rocks. She inspired me as a teenager and she down-right knocks my socks off now.

To find out who she is, click here.

Thanks again to the lovely Cindy for hosting eye spy and to Sally for this weeks, stop and think, theme.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Confucius say.....

.: Confucius say, mother who take young children to shopping centre with strict budget expecting happy outcome, clearly delusional and top contender for Worlds Biggest Fool :.

Sheesh, just hand me the sceptre and crown already.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Image taken from here.

Ahhh, yes, it's Sunday and today all is well in the Waffler universe. A memo was forwarded to all members of the Waffler household first thing this morning, it read : Today there will not be crying, bickering, sulking or temper tantrums. Today we will relax. Today we will play games. Today we shall enjoy the glorious spring weather. Today we will exist in a nauseating cloud of lurve. Please sign below that you are in agreement with all of the above terms and conditions. Mama Waffler.

So far, so good, although I don't think Petal signing her contract with a smiley face would hold up in court. Oh, and in case the connection between the above image and my words is as clear as mud, Le Artiste and I are learning to play chess together. I feel there is nothing worse then being taught a new game by an expert, let the novices bumble around in peace I say.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Creative Space

Not a lot of colour floating around my creative space today. I am back to Stage One of a new project, sketching whales and little boys, trying to draw a pirate hat and enjoying seeing these new little people take shape. I'm still tweaking the pencil images but hope to move onto ink outlines pretty soon. It's so thrilling to find an image from my head appearing on a piece of paper, I think that I end up as surprised as anyone.

For lots more lovely creative spaces scoot on over to Kootoyoo's, but don't forget to have a warm cuppa beside you so you can really take the time to admire all the cleverness.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Happy Dish - Chicken Casserole

Image taken from ABC Delicious magazine April 2004, photographed by Geoff Lung.

I quite enjoy cooking, I like the aromas and watching the way ingredients transform during the cooking process. I love watching my children embrace a meal with gusto, declaring it "my most favouritst dinner ever." But some days I lack prolificness, it's all same old same old, and my love begins to wane.

The following dish was discovered in the first copy of ABC Delicious that I purchased (and I am since hooked on these wonderful magazines) and was classed as a tv dinner by the talented Bill Granger. I adore making this dish, everything about it makes my heart sing, the sizzling, the smells which fill my kitchen, the satisfying way that the chicken turns a deep golden and the glorious combination of oil, butter, onions, garlic and thyme followed by potato, celeriac and bacon - mmmm, now I'm starting to get hungry.

I do hope that you'll give it a try, I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Bill Granger's Chicken Casserole

1.6 kg (large) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or I use 4 chicken Marylands, cut into 8 pieces)
1 tbs olive oil
20g unsalted butter
8 pickling onions, peeled, trimmed
12 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 sprigs thyme
8 kipfler potatoes, peeled, cut into equal sized chunks
1 small celeriac bulb, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes ( I have used celery sticks but a celeriac bulb is much nicer)
200g button mushrooms, halved
2 bacon rashers, rinds removed, chopped
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
2 tbs finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
Green salad, to serve (if you so choose)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Season chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in an ovenproof casserole dish (with lid) over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned, turning once or twice (word of warning - the chicken will splatter hot oil everywhere...but it's worth the mess). Remove chicken and set aside.

Pour all but one tablespoon of oil from the dish. Add butter, onions, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes (and enjoy, this is one of my favourite parts of this dish). Add potatoes, celeriac and bacon, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and chicken and stir well. Add stock, bring to the boil and place in oven. Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring casserole once during cooking.

Mix parsley and lemon rind in a bowl and sprinkle over chicken when serving.
Now grab your beverage of choice and dig in. Yummo.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Spy.......Seasons change

I don't think that I am alone in wondering where this year has gone ? Spring already ? But I only made my all time happy dish, chicken casserole, twice in the cooler months *sigh*. It always leaves me feeling a little blue when it's time to push the casserole dish to the back of the cupboard, replacing it with the quiche flan tin (although just between you and me, I do quite enjoy a good quiche).

The clearest sign that the season is changing in the Waffler house is the style of footwear that is scattered next to the front door (yes, it kills me, but I am determined not to start arranging the shoes on a daily basis). It would seem that as the temperature rises, so does our need to air our tootsies, so out come the thongs (or flip flops, if you prefer). Oh yes, we are true blue Aussies, crazy Queenslanders and we love our thongs. Bring on summer, oh, and perhaps a fresh coat of lovely soft pink me, not The Coach or Le Artiste...just to be clear.

For more of this weeks Eye Spy meme, flip flop your way over to Cindy's and thanks to Lisa for this weeks seasonal theme.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's a snore-off

Seems we have all had a big day today, 9.53 pm and the house is filled with slumbering souls. But not me, oh no, I have my match sticks propping open my weary lids because I have blogs to read, blog after blog of crafty, creative goodness, and I do not want to miss a thing.

But the cacophony produced in the living room is a tad distracting. I can't work out who is louder, Fat Cat sprawled on her cushion or The Coach, resting his eyes whilst watching the football on television.

*Sigh* I think perhaps it is time to call it a night, or else steal some of Le Artiste's blue tack stash and lodge a couple of wads into my ears. Nighty nigh and sweet dreams.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago.

Eight years have passed and yet the memories remain as vivid as if it were yesterday. Compose yourselves peeps, for today is the day that the Waffler is going to take a serious moment, but I promise, regular programming will resume tomorrow.

On this day eight years ago I was not yet a mama Waffler, I was still a Mrs Waffler with a rather pronounced 'bump'. D-day was looming and I was ready, ready to meet the little man who was scheduled to arrive on the 12th of September 2001.

As with many a first time parent I was super organised, probably had the hospital bag packed four months early, but when it came to watching the birthing videos...well....we kept popping that into the 'tomorrow basket'. We had a few weeks to watch the video before we were due to return it to the hospital but we realised eight years ago today that the return date was the 12th of September, 2001...oops.

We were slack but diligent, so we pulled it out and sat down for an.....interesting....nights viewing. Strangely enough, the decision to watch the video completely disrupted my early to bed schedule, and so I found myself feeling slightly traumatised and exhausted, wearily dragging my swollen ankles off to bed at a fairly undignified hour.

I don't even think I had a chance to put my pyjamas on before The Coach called out, he wanted me to see something on the tv, sheesh, did the man not notice the giant tummy ?

I tried to fob him off but he was persistent, "No, you really have to see this."

So I waddled back to the living room and sat beside my husband watching events unfold in America. Even now, my hands are shaking as I remember the thoughts which buzzed inside my head like a swarm of angry bees, the trauma, the disbelief, the uncertainty, the horror and above all the sheer panic as to what sort of world I was bringing an innocent little person into.

We sat up until about two o'clock in the morning, then fatigue overcame the horror and I fell into an unsettled sleep.

Four hours later I awoke to an unmistakable sensation, muscles clenching in my abdomen, it seemed that no amount of trauma or lack of sleep was going to stop my little man from arriving bang on his due date. I showered. I washed and dried my hair. I groomed my eyebrows and popped on a smudge of concealer (old habits die hard). I called the hospital. Finally when I was completely organised I woke The Coach who, after running around like a headless chicken for ten minutes, got himself together and we tootled off to the hospital.

Such a strange day, gradually increasing contractions as I sat in the labour ward waiting room watching the news. Filled with uncertainty about the world, about people, about all the horrors awaiting my unborn child and yet overwhelmed with anticipation at finally meeting the person behind all those internal nudges and pokes.

My labour progressed without incident and so it was, that later that day, in a darkened delivery suite with soothing music, as I sat in a tub of warm water, Le Artiste arrived in this world.

It was a crazy roller coaster of emotions in the preceding twelve hours, but as soon as I held my baby and drank in every perfect feature, somehow I could believe that everything was going to be okay. That for all the bad in the world there was also such beauty and I was going to do everything in my power to make sure that this gorgeous, tiny creature would be loved and protected.

And now here we are, my baby is now a big school boy who amazes me and makes me so incredibly proud. Tomorrow he turns eight and I hope that he has the most perfect and wonderful birthday ever.

This day marks one of the most amazing days of my life but I will never, ever forget the pain and sadness experienced by so many people on the other side of the world. My heart goes out to you and my own experience of joy will forever remain intertwined with your unimaginable loss.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Creative Space

Here we are, back at another Thursday (where are the weeks going ?) and playing along with Kirsty's 'Creative Space' meme. All the creative activity will be taking place in the kitchen today as a certain young fellow has a birthday coming up. Today is chocolate cake day, Saturday will be vanilla cake with strawberries and cream and this evening a red wine slow cooked brisket stew is on the menu. Mmm mmm.

But before I head into the kitchen, I did manage to finish off 'Boy and Dragonfly'. The green gouache left the house divided with The Coach voicing his preference for the more simplified coloured scheme, but I quite like the bolder version. So to each his own.

For more creative activity head on over to kootoyoo where you are sure to be dazzled by a terribly clever bunch of cookies.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sorry, which shop ?

The following conversation was recorded between an exhausted mother and her curious child. Names have been changed to protect the identities of those concerned.

Petal : Mummy ?
Mama : Yes Petal.
Petal: When I become a growed up, can I have a car ?
Mama : Yes, I suppose so.
Petal : Can you show me where the car shop is ?
Mama : Yes, I can take you to the car shop.
Petal : What about the key shop ?
Mama : Which key shop ?
Petal : The key shop, where you buy the keys to start the car.
Le Artiste : That's right next to the car shop silly.
Mama: Urm.....
Petal : Is it near the hairdryer shop or the animal shop ? Mummy, can you show me where the hairdryer shop is ?
Mama : Urm......

I'm thinking that Petal would be a perfect candidate for a navigation system and I for one will be very interested to see what pops up when she lists 'directions to car key shop.'

Monday, September 7, 2009

Load up the mules Coach.

Saturday was a big day in the Waffler house. We were heading OM (that's Off Mountain for all you city slickers) yessiree, grand plans indeed. We loaded up the pack mules, filled our pockets with brightly coloured pebbles (lest we lose our way home. Think of all the drama it would have saved if Hansel and Gretel had the forethought to grab pebbles instead of breadcrumbs) and ensured that our back packs were filled with trail mix, chocolate and salted beef. Yes, we were ready and nothing was going to stand in our way.

Down we went, taking our time so as to avoid burst eardrums (yup, that pressure can get you, mark my words) and shedding layers of clothing as we dipped below the clouds and re-entered civilisation and *insert dramatic music* suburbia.

Were we dazzled by all the music and bright lights ? You be the judge.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Eye Spy......Something blooming

Something blooming...a flower, an agapanthus (married to a horticulturist remember) spring.....*yawn*. Hey, I saw that sneaky *yawn* and guess what......I got you. Yes, this is a blooming flower but this is not my eye spy for today. My eye spy is the person behind the camera, little Petal, a blooming photographer. She loves to get her hands on the 'real' camera, then off she goes, totally snap happy and thrilled to pieces when she can see her images in all their glory on the computer screen. Of course the Barbie camera doesn't really cut the mustard, but Petal was happy to oblige when I asked if she could pretend to take a photo of the barren frangipani. I don't think she was particularly thrilled with the subject matter, but when it comes to striking a pose she is a consummate professional.

If you would like to see more eye-spy head on over to Cindys and thank-you to Holly for this weeks fun theme.

And by the way, I hope that all the daddys had a wonderful Fathers Day today. We luvs you, yes we do. xx

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Friday and Stage Two

I'm joining Chantelle in wishing everyone a Happy Friday today. The above image is Petal and I as represented by our Friday morning beverages of choice, I bet you can't guess which beverage belongs to Petal.

I also managed to wrangle the camera back off The Coach and have included a couple snaps of stage two of The Current Project. Now we come to the make or break stage of thick opaque colours which can ruin all of my carefully applied lines. Ha, wish me luck with that one.

I hope you have a fabulous Friday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Creative Space

I was actually hoping to show you stage two of my latest little project, but a certain someone (who shall remain nameless) pilfered the camera this morning, so I have had to settle with some shots I took the other day. I mean, sheesh, does he (who shall remain nameless) not realise the importance of recording my creative space on a Thursday ? Rest assured that this error will not occur again. This time I have recovered my gouache set from the dusty depths of the shed. At this stage I have only done a wash of watercolour, so we'll just see how the gouache comes into things in the next few days. Hope that you're having a lovely, creative sort of day and thanks again to Kirsty for hosting this great meme.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Getting to know you...

Actually, 'Getting to know me,' would have been a more appropriate title, but that wasn't in the song lyrics which tragically I was singing at the kitchen sink this morning. It would appear that rote learning songs from The Sound of Music in year nine at school was way more effective then I gave it credit for.

Anyway, today I am in a sharing, caring kind of mood, so I thought now might be a good time to enlighten you with five completely useless, trivial facts about myself. How exciting right ? Are you ready to be dazzled ? I'll just bet that you're jiggling around in your seat in anticipation, so here we go :

1) I love pickled food. Dill pickles, pickled herrings, sauerkraut...LOVE it. I'm attributing this to my Hungarian/Latvian heritage, but I might just have warped taste buds. One of my favorite memories was seeing the reaction of a true-blue Aussie boyfriend when faced with a Latvian Sunday breakfast. This consisted of toast, hard boiled egg, pickled herring, cream and musicians meat (a cold jellied mince meat dish) and vinegar with hot English mustard. Mmm, yum. Interesting to note that people really do have the ability to turn a pale shade of green when faced with certain culinary treats.

2) Embarrassingly, I still develop crushes on tv characters. I honestly believed this was something I would grow out of...apparently not. But I am pleased to report that as an adult I am mature enough to understand that it is the character and not the actor that I fall in love the way, Jason Wiles, if you ever read this......I loooooooooove you *swoon*.

3) I line my dining chairs up with the joins between the wood panels on the dining table. I kid you not. Ocd much ?? Sadly I have also married a man who finds it endlessly amusing to leave the chairs out at various angles, just so he can watch me walk around and re-align them all. Coach, all I will say is small things amuse small minds.

4) When I was twenty-one I went to France to work as an au pair. The three children spoke no English and I spoke approximately five words of French. It worked out about as well as you'd expect.

5) I used to sing opera. Not professionally, but I took lessons and did exams for years. I still love to belt out a good Italian tune, usually after a few glasses of red wine. I'm not quite sure what the neighbours make of this, but the kids seem to get a kick out of it and who doesn't love a non-discerning audience.

So there you have it, five completely random pieces of information about me. Now we know each other on a whole different level right ? And I really would like to get to know you a little better, if you feel like sharing a piece of your soul. Tell me anything you like, I won't laugh, after all, my first tv crush was on a Thunderbird puppet, who am I to judge ?