Monthly Archives: March 2013

Upcycled Display Stand

DSCN3548I am still mourning the loss of the tip shop. (If anyone is interested in the tender to the Broken Hill Tip Shop, please contact the Council.  At least two of us are suffering severe scavenging withdrawal symptoms!)  I’m having to rely on my stash which shows the wisdom of having a stash doesn’t it?  Inspired by my daughter who blogs about creative storage and organisation (and occasionally about incredibly cute goldenDSCN3555 labrador puppies and aren’t we all excited!!??) and by the amazing Marlene Brady who has excelled herself with her revolving jewellery stand here, I decided (read: was driven by necessity) to work something out for displaying the Samunnat ladies’ shisha bracelets.

It is nowhere near as magnificent as Marlene’s, but it does make use of tip finds , rolls from paper towels and my beloved lokta paper-the Nepali paper made from daphne bark.  I have three of these stands now and a very unattractive metal mug holder that also serves as a shisha display stand.  My life has been somewhat dominated by plaster and papier mache of late but progress is being made.  I am having to accept that I won’t get all I wanted donw before I leave but in the spirit of enough, I am happy enough with what is happening!

More soon.

Momo madness

DSCN3522I’ve never done a gustatory post before but there is a first time for everything isn’t there?

The smell of Kopan masala spices is up there with frangipani, gardenia, daphne flowers, Nature’s Garden Lemongrass incense and rain after hot weather in my list of all time favourite smells.  Maybe because theDSCN3530 smell usually announces the arrival of momos-that delicious Nepali delight.  For a while, I couldn’t eat momos and I certainly can’t eat them in restuarants as they are not good for Coeliacs but at home, I make them using spring role wrappers to make them gluten free. Obviously they are not quite as delicious as using the proper wrappers but look, you take what you can get and they are still pretty amazing!

The recipe for Kopan masala comes from a cook book produced by Betty Jung and the resident chef at Kopan monastery to raise funds.  I think it is only available in Kathmandu?  Or maybe here?  The vital ingredient that I love is alaichi, black cardamon.  And lots of it. Grinding the spices is almost meditative and making momos is such a DSCN3525momoscommunity event.  On our Colourful Journey tours, our gorgeous Chaita and Bishnu teach us how and we all have a go at making the dainty crescent shapes. Or not.

We shared them with friends from the Hill including a couple of wandering Nepalis who advised us on how much salt to add.  So we added half that amount. Ekdam mitho thyo!

Enough Already!

Races tablePlease read through the entire post before making any judgements or deciding I am out of my tree.  You may well still decide that, but it will be a more informed decision.

It was somewhat tragic, that mid Saturday morning, with half an hour to go before we left for the highlight of the Broken Hill Racing Calendar, St. Pat’s races, I was trying to talk myself out of plastering one more bust.  I had exercised, squeezed fresh orange juice, emptied the Bokashi ( a stinky multi step task), lovingly prepared two mandala like fruity platters, made earrings to match my necklace and done some urgent emails.  And then wondered if I could do a bust before we left.  This is not boastful.  This is SAD.

The REAL tragedy is that, instead of saying Get a grip girl, how sustainable is this I reasoned that, while I couldn’t plaster a bust, I could papier mache the final layeDSCN3547r on one already plastered.  I won’t go into what I wore to do this as the task was sandwiched between my shower and getting dressed for the races.  He who was tempted to capture this moment for posterity fortunately understands that anything involving Instagram and underwear is a deal breaker.

Other slightly driven people Some of you know that too many days like this are followed by those inert, can’t be buggered, fall into a heap type days.  And I share this, not to show how much I could cram into a morning but to confess my greed.  I need to re-embrace the concept of enough with respect to time.  I struggle to balance a sense of making the most of every moment, living authentically and generously, with a constant sense of never having enough time to do the things I want to do.  And therein lies the issue.  Putting it simply, I am very, very greedy.  There is so much I want to do in whatever time I have left.

It means that contentment is elusive.

When I am doing yoga, for example, I think I should be doing a piece for my exhibition.  When I am working on an exhibition piece, I am thinking I should be updating the Samunnat etsy shop.  While studying Nepali, I’m thinking I should be doing yoga. When I’m blogging I feel bad about not doing Nepali.  I was losing sight of enough.  Then, with that serendipity that stops you in your tracks sometimes, Marianne Elliott (whom I have raved on about ad nauseum to some of you) wrote about just that.  Enough.

There is so much in her post that is worth reading (On her whole site actually, just get thee hither and read).  A year ago, HorsesI discovered Marianne as a result of enrolling in one of her 30 Days of Yoga course.  I enrolled because I felt like I didn’t have time to do yoga.  And because I was theoretically passionate about a regular yoga practice.  I knew it would help with psychological scattiness and physical stiffness.  I was really, really doubtful that I would be able to sustain a practice because I’d tried many times in the past.  I’d loved attending classes in Nepal but didn’t have that luxury here and thought I’d fail without my twice weekly Narayan sessions.  Much to my surprise, and because of her very gentle, supportive approach, one year down the track I still HAVE a regular practice and it means I do at least think before I hurtle too far down the I CAN NEVER DO ENOUGH track.

I’d write more but this is already a long post.  I’d happily burble on to anyone who wanted to know about the course and the links above give heaps of information.  I have not forgotten my Monday Mindfulness post and have one prepared but…you know what?  This is enough for now.

Adelaide etc.

On Monday I was mindful of kangaroos and emus on the road as I travelled the 600 km back from Adelaide after a fabulous frenzy of festivals.  The only kangaroos I saw were dead ones (perhaps my friend Deb’s gardening buddy Joe had passed through the night before!)  but there were scores of emus (live ones!) and I was mindful of the fact that if one strikes out across the road, a second will inevitably follow.  We made it home without hitting anything, even the kamikaze bush mouse that flirted with death near Yunta.

Did you know that there is one cafe at Burra that gives Gluten Free bread its bad name and makes a lousy hamburger but that another one, the Gaslight, makes a fantastic GF Chocolate and Date Cake and has a wonderful old books collection?  Deisel and Dust 2

Did you know that the ruined house used for Midnight Oil’s Deisel and Dust album is just outside Burra and nowhere near the Centre? As previously thought.  And we discovered that that self same ruin is becoming VERY ruined indeed and the target of a fundraising campaign to make it less precariously ruined without diminishing its ruinedness.

BamboosIt was Mad March in Adelaide which truly lived up to its reputation of Festival City.  With my darling friend Jane, I saw Frank Woodley and Simon Yates in Inside as part of the Fringe Festival.  Cleverly staged, dark, and thought provoking.  I heard one of my favourite authors, Toni Jordan, at the Writers’ Festival (and went up and said hello to her and we reminisced about an email exchange we had when I lived in Nepal.  As you do. Nine Days is a MUST READ!!! ) And we caught up with lovely friends and listened to fantastic music at one of my favourite annual pilgrimages, WOMAD.  Highlights this year were Aussies: The Bamboos, Mia Dyson and Cat Empire.  Another highlight was Mari Boine, a Sami from Norway.  Among others!  The odd CD was purchased.

And now it’s back to work.  On Friday, Jane dragged me into a craft shop would you believe and so, just to keep her quiet, I followed.  Lucky me-they had some plaster cloth which was exactly what another friend Rusty had suggested may make my bust making a bit easier.  RUSTY YOU ARE SOOOOOO RIGHT.  Transformed the future baby!  Photos soon but boy oh boy.  Plaster cloth may just be the beginning of a new creative direction and what an exciting, if slightly messy, thought that is.

I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes from Toni J:

Most people miss their whole lives, you know.  Listen, life isn’t when you are standing on top of a mountain looking at a sunset.  Life isn’t waiting at the altar or the moment your child is born or that time you were swimming in a deep water and a dolphin came up alongside you.  These are fragments.  10 or 12 grains of sand spread throughout your entire existence.  These are not life.  Life is brushing your teeth or making a sandwich or watching the news or waiting for the bus.  Or walking.  Every day, thousands of tiny events happen and if you’re not watching, if you’re not careful, if you don’t capture them and make them COUNT, you could miss it.  You could miss your whole life. 

Mutawintji revisited

DSCN3409It’s ever so slightly Tuesday here but that’s OK.  I am combining my mindful arrangement activity with necklace arranging and as I make the rules here who’s to say that’s not perfectly fine?

Regular readers will recall a visit to Mutawintji National Park a month or so back.  I may have passed the comment then that there was a necklace waiting to be made.  And it is still waiting but so much closer to birth that I am hopeful of even updating this post later in the day with the completely assembled Mutawintji Mala.  No pressure.

Most of the elements are polymer with the exception of a few purchased beads-theDSCN3412 oval jasperite bead and the slightly shiny green and peach coloured disc beads-which were so perfectly Mutawintji coloured that they begged to be included. The rest- the bark, the bones, the stones, the compressed mud, the gum leaves and the goat droppings- are all polymer.  If I was being really authentic, there would almost be so many goat droppings as to spoil the necklace but that would be taking literal realism too far and denying the power and beauty of the place that still shone through in areas where the goats had not crapped quite so much.

DSCN3410Today, I have also included a shot for history!  Since returning from Nepal, I have used a home made light box that I made following instructions on the net.  (Quite a big deal for me!)  It has been great and I could alter diffusion effects with the addition or removal of Tibetan farewell scarves (kattaks) which made it almost a religious activity.  Draping the scarf took on a ritual quality.  But, the box was wobbling increasingly and theDSCN3415 I had replaced the diffusing wall a couple of times and it is not at all transportable.  (Learning this may have contributed to the wobbles.) So, I have decided to purchase a table top studio on a friend’s recommendation and will report on this when it arrives.  If it works and is easy to use, the plan is to take it to Nepal to photograph the ladies’ work over there.  It looked good on paper!  Herau.

And the observant reader will have noticed a new button on my page!  This allows anyone who would like to, to donate to the building fundraiser we have for Samunnat.  This has been organised by two incredible people, Ron Lehocky and Cynthia Tinapple .  Thanks to the generosity of the polymer community, we are over half way there.  Read more about this here and here.