This Blog is Rated P for Perturbed.
Yes that's right...there's a fair amount of perturbation going on around here.

On the weekend I was waiting for a takeaway coffee and while I waited I happened to glance at the front page of a certain Sydney tabloid rag.

What caught my eye was the headline which screamed something like
"A Victory for Decency" accompanied by a shot of the burly butts of some police officers disappearing up the stairs of what I recognised to be a highly esteemed art gallery.
of course my interest was piqued. (They don't call the gutter press sensationalist for nothing).
Turns out that the cops had raided an exhibition of Bill Henson's work after
"complaints" it was "child pornography".

Now... censorship in the Arts is nothing new, so the fact that this had happened was only part of what saddened me, no what truly disturbed and depressed me was the language of moral outrage that was being used:

"Victory for decency"? ?

What the?

For a moment I thought I had slipped through some awful wormhole in the space/time continuum and had reconstituted in the early 50s with J.Edgar Hoover as head of the Australian Police Force heading up the good old Vice Squad.

I would like to think as a supposedly civilised society that we are beyond such reactionary rhetoric, but apparently we are instead going backwards.
It really does depress me. Bill Henson is undeniably one of the finest artists currently practicing in Australia. His profoundly intuitive grasp of highly charged emotive imagery coupled with his sheer technical brilliance is beyond comparison. I can only hope a good civil rights lawyer steps in to protect his
freedom of speech.

More here for the interested.

If you've just joined needle's edge after Lucy very kindly awarded me this . . .
well, you're probably feeling horribly alienated by now!

I don't usually get up on my soapbox and rant about such issues, but in this case I felt moved to.

There's probably some rules associated with this award thingie, but I'm not sure what they are (like which way to wear the tiara and sash, and so forth...) so if anyone knows, fill me in and I'll be happy to oblige.

A big thankyou to everyone who commented on the dog bed.

As I was making it a low-wattage light bulb did indeed begin to dimly sputter above my head. I'm considering this one a prototype, so even a modest production run would be a while away yet. Until then I'll be looking at a few elements including how it stands up to wear and tear, and most importantly how it copes with repeated laundering. I'd love to hear back from anyone who would seriously think of buying one (in the future). Watch this space while the R+D continues...

- a belly button in the rock, or worm-hole, taken at a harbour rockpool a few minutes before it started raining. For vessel wednesday. Yes it's still going!



It's impossible to buy a decent dog bed.
All the pet stores, both of the online as well as the bricks-and-mortar variety, are resplendent in pet kitsch. Piles of day-glo paw-print polar
fleece, or would madam prefer the plaid 'Country Kitschen' look?

Muttropolis do have some nice ones, but upwards of $160 Australian seems a tad excessive even if it does include shipping.

Then Martha had to go and introduce us all to the Hepper range, oh yes indeed she did and I found myself ignoring my previous financial reservations and feeling a dangerous credit card click-ey click-ey through the checko
ut-ey moment coming on. But a quick whip-round with the tape measure revealed that (luckily for my bank balance) they only come in chihuahua size! Nothing for real-size dogs, and certainly nothing large enough to accommodate two real-size dogs that like to sleep snuggled up and sprawled out together (yes Scout and Harper* are BFF now).

But things were getting critical, the current dog bed in a state of aromatic decay, and funky as a ripe rabbit. What to do? Get on the Janome of course.

A few metres of cotton drill, 200 metres of quilting thread, several layers of dacron and much fun free-forming on the sewing machine later**...

A 100% machine-washable dog donut.

As soon as I put it down on the floor Harper gave it her seal of approval by hopping in and promptly going to sleep in it.

She gives it 10/10 for snugglability.

*If you've just joined us, Harper and Scout are my two dogs, one we've had for four years and the other is a rescue and recent addition to the family. And yes, I am a crazy dog lady.

** The Janome -a relatively recent purchase- also gets a 10/10. Six layers of thick cotton drill plus wadding without a hiccup.



It was a perfect Autumn morning earlier today.

Bright, sunny, chilly, an autumn wind but not too strong.
A morning full of promise.
Just like those mornings when you were little and most days were full of promise.
Before you became a grown up and were ground down by responsiblity and disappointment.

Speaking of ground, let's talk about spice shall we?

After taking the dogs out on a gallivant, I realised I still hadn't bought any brown tea for breakfast. The cupboard holds nothing but herbal as far as the eye can see.
So it's back up the street to the local spice market: purveyors of all things aromatic. Except I think they operate on Sri Lankan time. Despite official trading hours printed on the sign, they're still closed.

I amuse myself for a while documenting one of the shop cats who appears deceptively meek and mild soaking up the morning rays nestled into her basket of dried curry leaves surrounded by suitably armour-like glinting stainless steel cookware and bowls of Chinese dates and Star Anise.

In reality she has cahones and guards the stoop of the shop ferociously. Scout is respectfully terrified of her and would rather cross the street than risk walking past on her footpath.

But all this window-gazing is reminding me of the aromatic spices I used for dinner last night; a quick braise of eggplant and sweet potato delicately spiced with ground cumin, freshly grated ginger, honey and lemon and served on a bed of saffron-infused cous cous.

Proper saffron brought back from Spain by a friend. Oh, the aroma from just one or two strands of this! Simple and delicious.

How bland would our lives would be in the West without the discovery of all these ingredients we now take for granted. It's not hard to imagine how colonialism and empires were won and lost over the spice trade and how valuable a commodity they were.

Now all I need to complete the spicy picture is a skein or two of this.

But it's so scarce and desirable a commodity that I think it's up there with saffron and gold on an ounce-by-ounce scale and could usher in a new age of the Spice Wars.

Wishing you a spicy week.



is my current word du jour.
Or even du mois.
I've been using it a lot to describe space.
I think some of my students are starting to think of me as Miss Chunk.
As in "You know, the one who describes everything as a chunk of something".

Fittingly, and in a not entirely different sense of the word, I stumbled upon...

Eat your heart out Wenlan Chia. This is Estrelita* ! ! !

Photo by
permission Ms Charm + Poise (whose birthday is incidentally coming up this Friday, I think you should all rush over there and bombard her with birthday wishes, and while you're in a giving mood, rush straight from there over to flintknits to offer some much-needed cheer).

* Brought to you with an IQ (Irony Quotient) of 99.9%