Moving countries has really made me think about what things are my absolute favourites, that I can’t possibly live without. I didn’t want to move completely fresh, I have so much art and objects that I love to have around me.
So many things I have found when travelling and they give me pleasure just from the object itself, but also bring back some great memories. Many years ago I often travelled to Asia on business and I occasionally tacked on a holiday at the end. One of my favourites was taking my mother to Vietnam, we had a fabulous time and I can recommend it as a holiday destination. I picked up a few pieces of art while I was there, but one of my favourites is this propaganda poster that has the date 68 in the corner (of course it might be 68 for a different reason, but as it was in the middle of what they call The American War, I like to think it is the year).
It was one of the least militaristic posters I could find – there are many shops selling these types of posters in Ho Chih Mihn – but I am not really sure how well my new American neighbours will take it. It is obviously a criticism on the US, and the military is a whole other thing over there. I do love it though, the colours, the obvious message of peace, and the simple graphics. I had it framed so you could see the edges, as I like seeing the roughness of the paper. I hope I find a place to hang it in my new home.
If you are interested in propaganda art, there are a number of Vietnamese online stores, my poster is available here for $US35 with free shipping.
We are selling our lives on Trade Me in preparation for the big move later this month, and it always surprises me what ends up having all the attention. I have had these two wrought iron gates stored under the house for so long. They used to be part of an outdoor wall that I had to remove. I love them and always intended to use them in the garden again, but that time has come and gone so I put a crappy photo up on Trade Me and listed for $20. I had thought about just selling them at the garage sale next week, but I had time, so why not?
It was worth putting them on. There are still 4 days to go, I have 54 watchers, 7 bids and they are up to $51! I didn’t expect it. I guess vintage gates are hard to come by, and if I love them, maybe other people have similar taste to me. You can see the listing here.Read More
You know I love baking so I love Maisy & Grace’s vintage kitchen line Tala. This retro cooks’ measure would be a great addition for any baker’s kitchen. It has great retro looks, your normal cups and pint measures, and also measurements of most common products in grams and ounces. So if you are making a quick batch of scones, you wouldn’t even need to pull out your kitchen scales. I remember having something similar in our kitchen cupboards growing up – and Tala is an authentic vintage bakingware company as it’s been around since 1899.
You can see more about this measuring cup here.
Finally I have a few free moments to write. In between moving and a toddler weaning off his day sleep, there haven’t been very many minutes to myself!
I spied this art deco tiny cottage for sale in the Saturday newspaper and it made me feel a bit nostalgic. I used to part-own it, and in the middle of a messy breakup, was not able to keep it. I always felt sad that I had to give it up. And sure, I may not have kept it anyway being so tiny, but how else would I ever ever ever be able to own a house in Grey Lynn again?
Check her out here, she’s a cutie, although there aren’t many original features left. The listing price band they have her at is $700K+ though – I could have been rich!
I would love to add these bookends to my small chalkware collection. How wonderful are these plaster genie bookends? It looks like they are in great condition for their age, although with some small touch ups – not surprising as chalkware scratches so easily. I searched to see if I could see prices for anything similar and I spied another couple (although not as great as they have dishes between their knees) on Etsy that are going for $US95 (and shipping is $80 on top of that!). So perhaps that is an indication of what these might go for.
The Blackamoor tradition was popular in the 1600-1700s enameled or carved from ivory, but also became popular mid- century decorations now chalkware (plaster). These bookends have a lot of the blackamoor signatures – they are a pair, are wearing turbans, wearing jewels and are black with bright colours. These would be great pieces to own!
Check out the full Trade Me listing here.Read More
Well I’ve been trying to write a post for a month, but this damn house, this damn move and (mutter mutter) my child is weaning off his day sleeps – everything has been thwarting me! But onto more interesting things – my favourite finds in the holidays (Happy New Year by the way!) were two gem irons. Yes, I can now make ginger gems, and they were every bit as delicious as I remembered. And why are they so delicious, you may ask. I can answer that: because the recipe includes a half cup of golden syrup for 16 gems! That’s a lot of golden syrup, no wonder they are so yummy.
I got my irons on trade me – I had a sudden realisation that I would not be able to buy them in the US, so I needed them now. And I whipped up my first batch immediately, sizzling away in the cast iron. Irons do come up on Trade Me quite often, but make sure you get the cast iron ones, not the aluminium ones as they don’t do as good a job. I found some aluminium gem irons at an op shop but they didn’t make great gems. If you want new, you can also get new gem irons for $70 (yikes!) at the Home Store here.
This ginger gem recipe is from the recipe book Ladies, a Plate: The Collection - my sister gave it to me for Christmas and it is a wonderful reference for traditional New Zealand baking (I’ll do a full review later on). I recommend it for any keen New Zealand baker.
Anyway here goes the recipe (just writing about it makes we want some, so I think I’ll make them again tomorrow):
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
60 ml milk
150g golden syrup (about 6 level tablespoons)
1 tbsp butter
And about 55 g extra butter for greasing the irons
Preheat the oven 230 degrees C. Put the ungreased irons in the oven to heat just before mixing.
Sift the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a large bowl.
Dissolve the baking soda in the milk.
Whisk the egg until light and fluffy – about half a minute with a rotary hand beater (which I don’t have so I used my electric beater).
Heat the golden syrup gently in a small saucepan, then add the butter and stir to melt.
Now work quickly. Tip the golden syrup into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon – it will be quite dry. Don’t try to combine it all, just tip in the egg, mix again briefly, then lastly add the milk. Stir for a few seconds. It will now be soft dropping consistency. Set aside.
Take the gem irons out the oven and put on heatproof board. Drop about 1/2 tsp of butter into each space. You don’t need to spread the butter, it will move up the sides when the mixture goes in.
Now take an ordinary tablespoon and spoon the mixture into each space. If you let it drop from the side of the tablespoon it will fall neatly into place (makes 16 gems)
Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and brown.
Take out of the oven, leave for a few minutes, then tip out onto a rack.
Yum yum yum!