Patti Flynn Soapmaker

soap.cats.cookery.travel.books. sometimes all at once.

By BoOOLNE boss-loans.co.uk

july/august 2013

Posted on | August 21, 2013 | No Comments

pottery soap dishsoap display at bundarra pottery open studio weekendgolden orb spider at parents's house, with hand and bic lighter for size referencecurtain fig treecurtain fig treeview from the julatten range
view from julatten rangeview from julatten rangecrocheted wire earringsmetal sculpture in brisbaneyawkyawk, detailyawkyawk by anniebell marrngamarrnga
brisbane parkbrisbane parkbrisbane parkbrisbane parkbrisbane parkbrisbane park
IMG_1951

july/august 2013, a set on Flickr.

some random images from my iphone.
spider. soap. pottery. brisbane innercity green area. sculpture. view from julatten range. curtain fig tree, yungaburra. yawkyawk.

travelling light. ultra light. micro light.

Posted on | July 25, 2013 | No Comments

i figured out 23 litre packing in mid- 2011 and haven’t looked back!
i have made several trips; anything from a week in the city, to 2 weeks in japan to 6 weeks in europe….all with the same h.a.l. timbuk2 backpack. (if the thing ever dies….not looking likely at this stage…i already have a crumpler aso bag picked out to replace it. and only because timbuk2 don’t seem to be still making the h.a.l.).
it weighs about 8.5 kilos, fully loaded, but i like to keep it around 6.

my main trick is to stick to black and gray bamboo jersey separates that mix and match. one set to wear and one set to carry. long silk knit underwear. a boiled merino ruana for aircraft and wintry places and a swimsuit for the tropics. a silk sarong. a cardigan or wrap.
i have short hair. i get it cut before i go. i use any old shampoo. i wear minimal makeup. my skincare routine consists of handmade soap and sunblock. i stick to 3 pairs of silver/black earrings and no other jewellery. i take a silk scarf with me.
it is a very understated look, but it can go almost anywhere.
of course, the trade-off is constant laundering, but that is fine.
i figured out a while ago that nobody actually gives a damn what i am wearing. and i don’t really care either, as long as it fits, is comfortable, is clean, and is black.

thank god for the ipad. what a game-changer! i don’t carry a camera anymore…i learned how to take decent photos with an iphone and a handful of apps. i have an apple travel adaptor for charging both of them anywhere in the world. my travel stuff is all stored in tripit and backed up (encrypted) to evernote.

i do like small bags inside my main bag, to hold things together in an orderly fashion.
i have a few superlight nylon bags i bought at REI in seattle several years ago….waterproof, various colours, they weigh nothing, and they are handy to corral an entire outfit together. i also have various pouches and small leather bags to hold other small stuff together. i love the LAG bags from MUJI, especially the zippered gray see-through mesh ones. every airport i have been through allows those bags, EXCEPT for darwin. twice a year in darwin, they FREAK OUT when my bag goes through the scanner, march me to one side, empty my entire bag, and force a plastic ziplock bag on me. you would think one of us would have learned by now. hehe.

as a not-terribly-young woman who often travels alone (my husband loves our own hearth), i place huge value on being able to independently move my bag easily on public transport anywhere in the world, and being able to carry it all day if i have to.

now, clearly, i am not doing any mountaineering or diving or other things that require specialised gear.
my travel generally consists of a lot of galleries and museums and churches/temples/mosques, hanging around cafés, and zhooshing through markets and famous department stores. 23 litres is fine for that. but if i had to carry a pair of hiking boots, i would need another bag just for those. herring boxes without topses simply aren’t in it.

no-knead bread, redux

Posted on | May 10, 2013 | No Comments

there has been a lot of breadmaking happening here of late.
my brother and i have been collaborating and swapping notes.
i went over to his restaurant a couple of weeks ago, and littered about the kitchen were loaves of this most amazing-looking rustic bread.
wot’s all this, then? i enquired and he told me it was the no-knead bread recipe with my notes that i had sent him years ago….that he had further tweaked.
TELL ME MORE, i demanded, and actually forced him to mix a batch in front of me so i could see precisely what he meant by “really wet dough”.
liam’s breadmaking was a revelation…he barely measured anything, just scooped it all into a huge bowl and then ran water right out of the tap and mixed rapidly.
i took note of what his next moves would be, then went home and did the exact same thing with further refinements. because one simply cannot leave well enough alone.

for a start, i added molasses, rolled oats, sultanas, cinnamon, mixed spice and allspice.
i invested in some proper baker’s flour….this makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
the gluten and protein in that stuff really makes for some elastic springy proper bread structure.
i mixed the dough and left it alone for 16 hours.
when it was baking time, i took my two vintage cast iron skillets (a 1906 wapak and a late nineteen twenties griswold, and both #9s, if you were wondering. whatever else the americans have done, they REALLY have a stranglehold on the world’s most awesome cast iron cooking tools. these things are the most smooth flawless cast iron i have ever seen and everything cooks like a dream on them. i spit on your teflon, pffft, get rid of it, buy yourself ONE vintage cast iron skillet and pass it on to your grandchildren and to their grandchildren) and pre-heated them.
i poured the dough into one and used the other as a cover, imperfectly balanced on the rim of the skillet below.
hey, it worked well enough.
the cast iron actually gives a bit of extra crispiness to the crust. plus i get to feel like a real old-timey pioneer, turning my loaf of bread out of my cast iron skillet, in my local timber and corrugated iron kitchen.

where can we buy your soap?

Posted on | May 9, 2013 | No Comments

as many of you may have noticed, we have not been at rusty’s market for a while.

our lease was up and we decided to have a change after 11 years of fridays at rusty’s.
the market has been wonderful for us, but seasons change and life marches on.

i am trialling something for my cairns customers.
every friday i shall be at FRAME cafè in macleod st between midday and 2pm.
i will have pre-ordered, pre-packed soap in the car.
if you text or email or call me (0439561266 or sales@patti-flynn.com) before midday on thursdays, i will have YOUR pre-packed soap in the car, ready for collection.

there is good coffee at FRAME and plenty of parking.
heck, if you are in a hurry and you call me, i am sure we can do a drive-through arrangement.
i am flexible like that!

in a nutshell:
order soap before thurs midday
collect soap between 12 and 2pm from FRAME in macleod st.
have a coffee with me or arrange a drive through!

skyrail cable car….view from the top!

Posted on | May 9, 2013 | 1 Comment

the cable car runs between cairns and kuranda and apart from the amazing view, you get to see the top of the rainforest canopy.
there are dizzying heights down those tree trunks and into the leaf little below, let me tell you.
and you start to get a feel for the incredible diversity of the forest.

photos all taken with iphone and the wonderfully versatile hipstamatic app.
this combo has pretty much replaced my little leica d-lux 3.
which words i never thought i would ever utter.

pottery workshop

Posted on | May 7, 2013 | No Comments

the fruits of the introductory pottery workshop i have been attending locally, with annette tranter at bungarra pottery.
HUGE fun, and as you can see, i have quite a way to go before i get a grip on my own style.

file under: what took you so long?

Posted on | May 1, 2013 | No Comments

coconut cream in coffee.

i have been thinking about this for MONTHS. possibly years.
i love coffee. i love it with cream, or evaporated milk.
i don’t love the post-nasal drip that accompanies this little dairy habit.
in fact, the post-nasal drip makes me more than somewhat slightly unhinged.
so, this morning, i made a cup of coffee with my aeropress, and poured in a slug of coconut cream; right out of the can, like nature intended.
it didn’t curdle, separate, or foam up out of the cup and eat through my timber countertops.
it smells faintly coconutty, but it doesn’t taste coconutty.
it tastes like creamy coffee, and my sinuses are kicking back, all relaxed and happy and not springing into crazed mucus-producing overtime.

so when i get to the supermarket this week and find the shelves STRIPPED BARE of all the home brand coconut cream, i’ll think to myself: you’re welcome.

grilled chicken and pumpkin with warm chickpea salsa

Posted on | September 29, 2012 | 1 Comment

my husband produced a woolworths good taste magazine recently, with a recipe that contained several things he likes.
i tweaked it and we cooked it together, and it was so delicious and easy, i have to share it.

1. firstly, get enough chicken breast fillet for two people.
slice it into tenderloin-sized strips and marinate it in 1 tsp ground cumin and 1/4 tsp chilli flakes. (maurice added some of our fermented chilli paste for a serious kick)

2. cut up enough jap pumpkin into wedges for two people and steam it until it is just tender.

3. in olive oil, sauté half a chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp fresh ginger.
when translucent, add 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes.
cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

4. add 2 tblsp sultanas ( or currants. or raisins), a can of rinsed chickpeas (we used a mix of chickpeas and butter beans), a chopped tomato, a sliced scallion.
cook for a couple of minutes. it is ok if the tomato stays chunky.

5. add the zest of a lemon and then juice the lemon into the mix.
add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. check for sweetness and tartness. add more lemon or a little red wine vinegar if needed.
throw in a handful of fresh coriander.
keep it warm.

6. meanwhile, get someone else to oil and grill the chicken strips and pumpkin.

7. serve spoonfuls of chickpea salsa with pumpkin and chicken.

home again

Posted on | September 28, 2012 | No Comments

it is the wee hours of the morning and i am wide awake with jetlag.
i just crept out the kitchen to steal a bowl of chopped fruit, thoughtfully pre-arranged by my husband who knows me well.
a few cats thought it was a bonus meal time too. they see you at the fridge at 1am and leap to assumptions.

i have had a marvellous trip.
england, denmark, ireland, france.
i have wandered busy city streets; stayed in an inn built in 1156; looked at art and artefacts from pre-history right up to this minute; visited exhibitions; seen the tara brooch; eaten baguette on the street; breakfasted in hong kong; made soap with a professional soapmaking friend in northern denmark; caught up with numerous other friends, old and new, and had some great laughs; had a hilarious time driving around champagne and burgundy with my parents; seen the very pen knife that roald amundsen used to shapen the norwegian flag pole he hammered in at the south pole; window-shopped until cross-eyed; mixed up heathrow and gatwick airports (not recommended); cried over the famine sculpture on the liffey; taken some more photos of notre dame at reims (i do love that cathedral); mastered the paris metro system at last; gotten hopelessly lost in copenhagen, two days running….and lots more.
i experienced beautiful weather for the entire five weeks, apart from a chilly arrival in belfast late at night.
by the next morning, the sun was shining and so it remained for a week.

travellng with a six kilo bag was the best decision of my life.
i was often walking for miles and hours daily with my bag….and it made public transport a viable option.
everywhere i went, i saw hordes of travellers struggling with enormous packs and suitcases, and i felt very grateful each time for my small backpack.
yes, naturally there are drawbacks….firstly, you are pretty much wearing the same thing every single day and secondly, the laundry never stops. i did get used to it though and the benefits vastly outweighed the drawbacks…for me, personally.
next time, i won’t take my good scarves or as much jewellery…..this was only about six or seven extra items, but it all adds up.

my worst mistake was relying on hotel shampoos.
my scalp loathed them all and the itching was unpleasant.
i stopped using the beach clay styling stuff….it wasn’t helping either.
by the time i got home, my scalp was very annoyed and i had to mix up some stuff to calm it down.

in the vitamix blender:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups green tea and camomile infusion (throw a couple of green tea and camomile tea bags into a pot and make tea. let it cool)
2 tsp manuka honey
1 tsp olive oil
5 drops tea tea essential oil
5 drops of australian sandalwood oil
blend on high for thirty seconds.
keep it the fridge and use it within four days. it will go off quickly, and it is designed to be made and used fresh.
shake the container when you want to use it….it will separate unless you get into emulsifiers and i wanted to keep it very simple.

i washed my hair, towel dried it, then saturated my hair and scalp with the mixture and let it dry.
it is a bit vinegary, but it fades as it dries.
after three applications, my scalp is back to it’s happy self again.

we are at the tablelands garden expo this weekend, all weekend….which is being held at the malanda showgrounds this year.
come along, say hi, and check out what is happening garden-wise around the area.

odds and sods

Posted on | July 22, 2012 | No Comments

we’ve been wandering through a quite pleasant winter here in the far north.
citrus crops have been amazing and my husband presses a huge glass of whatever is on hand, for me every morning,.
this weekend, it has been the most gorgeous honey murcott mandarins.
we’ve had a good mix of warmish overcast days and clear sunny chilly days….just when you get sick of it, the weather shifts.

a couple of weeks ago, completely out of the blue, i received an email telling me that pandora radio was now (legally) in australia.
O HAPPY DAY!!!!!
i am WALLOWING in new music!
thank you, tim westergren, for not forgetting the tune-hungry antipodeans!
http://www.pandora.com/station/play/210144138416872406

we have been attending our small local markets and having a great time.
mostly lovely weather….if somewhat chilly early starts….good turnout of delightful customers….and of course, boxes of citrus fruits to be had.
we recently purchased a big woven mat for the floor of our tent.
it is made from some sort of recycled plastic, and it makes a huge difference…..keeps the grass and mud and dust and damp off us.
i notice that more and more stallholders have invested in one or two of these mats.

and on the topic of markets, we are now able to accept credit card and paypal payments whilst at the market.
technology! after a whole heap of documentation to prove that i am not laundering money, paypal approved my account to do this.
it all happens with a card reader that slots right into my iphone.
financial voodoo, i am sure, but all too fabulously convenient.
so, dear customers who have rushed out without cash….never fear, we can now accommodate your wildest orders. and some of your orders have been fairly wild.

recently, a cousin of mine turned up here, with a wonderful new pixie haircut.
i was so inspired by the entire liberated look of it, that i went to a new salon in atherton and said “chop it all off”.
i came home with a sensational (if i say so myself) haircut. it feels marvellous, it looks moderne, i can “do” it and be out the door in a minute, and product is optional.
as it turns out, i did buy a product called beach clay, which has an incredible grippy texture and means i can shove my hair into practically any shape i want with just a few slicks of the fingers.
is it time to retire the mason pearson hairbrush that has been my trusty hair tool for the last 25 years?
really short hair also frees up a certain amount of luggage space; minimalist travel being something i am highly interested in.
i am fascinated by these people who can take off around the world for three months with nothing more than what they are standing up in, plus an ipad, and a spare set of skivvies stuffed into a jacket pocket.
i plan to be somewhat approximating that next month as i take off for the uk and europe on my own for five weeks.
but i will need an entire spare outfit; i am just not a hardcore minimalist, no matter what i imagine.
i certainly do not intend to be dragging any more than four kilos of stuff though. three if i can manage it.
in fact, my timbuk2 h.a.l. 30 litre pack is starting to seem unnecessarily over-large….

a-fermenting we will go

Posted on | June 21, 2012 | No Comments

a few months ago, i bought myself three of those pickl-it jars and a sandor ellix katz’s excellent book: wild fermentation.
it has been one long sauerkraut festival around here ever since.

clear favourites are emerging:
julienned carrots with scallions and whole cumin seeds (omg)
whole garlic cloves (you can eat these right from the jar and god knows how much raw healing power is packed into them, because they taste powerful)
spicy tomato salsa
sauerkraut with white/purple cabbage, carrot, onion, apple, scallions, ginger, garlic
julienned beetroot with carrot

my cucumber slices are terrible.
they are crisp but salty, and the brine is unappetizingly murky.
no, thanks.

why ferment vegetables at all?
in a nutshell, it is all about the enzymes and probiotics….lacto-ferments are simply seething with all that.
additionally, i love having jars of food ready-to-eat in the fridge and ferments will last in the fridge for months. we always eat them before that happens, but still…good to know.

essentially, you chop up the vegetables, apply salt, or a brine, add flavourings as required, and leave under airlock for as long as it takes (right now in our below 20C winter, things are taking around ten days).
things develop a delicious complex pickled flavour, without the vinegar and work that pickling involves.

if anyone is interested in buying pickl-it jars, you might like to know that the lids fit all the bormioli rocco fido jars……so if you have fido jars lying around, just buy the smallest pickl-its and swap the lids around as required.
nice to have: the dunk-r glass weights. they are the right size and they are clean glass, and they go with the whole system.

my next ferment project is chilli paste.
chillis, apples, salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, five spice……all processed to a rough chunky paste.

in other news, our solar panels were FINALLY installed yesterday and we are already counting the kilowatts generated.
i like it when it rains (the garden! the watertanks!) and i like it when it is sunny.
if i had a windmill, i would even learn to love the wind.
now, there’s a thought.

and we have just finished putting together a signature soap for a boutique fashion spectacle frame designer.
photos of the classic white soap to come, but the essential oil blend has notes of lime, geranium, basil, lavender.
delicious.

the milky way, like never before

Posted on | June 11, 2012 | 1 Comment

last night, around midnight, it was chilly, and crisp, and very clear here.

everybody else was asleep, including six unspeakably lazy cats, when i took myself outside to gaze upon the sky from the lawn behind our place.
we are perched on a hill, so it feels closer to the sky anyway…..in the clear night, i could see the milky way with my de-cataracted, lens-enhanced eyes, like never before in my entire life.
we have very little light pollution here and the moon hadn’t risen yet. every star was so very distinct!

i watched for falling stars until i began to shiver.
and frankly, even if i had spotted a falling star, i would have worried all night that it was actually a flash of light caused by a detaching retina.

and so to bed.

and now, i see everything clearly

Posted on | May 18, 2012 | 2 Comments

this week, i have been embarked on adventure of a surgical kind : i have had a very big, very bad cataract removed from my young eye.

this thing had been hindering me for some time.
in february i went to the optometrist and was promptly sent on to an ophthalmologist.
i have one very shortsighted eye, one very longsighted eye and fast-growing cataracts in both.
no wonder i was having increasing difficulty with the simplest things!
i liked the steady look of the ophthalmologist’s hands, so i booked myself in to his next available surgery (may 16) for my worst eye.

it is a day surgery, done without sedative of any kind.
a half hour prep with drops to dilate the pupil, then i trotted into the next room for a local anaesthetic.
you haven’t lived until you have heard someone say : and now, i am going to make two tiny cuts on the surface of your eye.
the anaesthetic went into my eyeball, and i felt nothing.
pretty soon, the entire half of my face was numb, from hairline to throat, and i was wheeled in to say gidday to the steady-handed one.
my good eye was draped, all banter in the room ceased, and the surgeon got to work.
i could see lots of weird lights and shadows and liquidy squishy things, but as you can imagine, i didn’t move a muscle.
i am quite good at meditating myself away in times of medical stress, so i lost track of time.
eventually, the surgeon said he was all done and that it had taken ten minutes longer because my pupil wouldn’t dilate as much as usual.

we went home and i slept the afternoon and night away, waking for infusions of tea and vegetable juices.
the next morning, we went back to the city and my bandage was removed and my eye was careully opened.
things were a little blurry and weird, but a test on the eye chart showed marked improvement right away. last time we tried the eye chart, i coldn’t even locate the chart, let alone read anything upon it.
i went home clad in sunglasses, with two sets of eye drops.
by early evening, i was sitting on our balcony, drinking pots of jasmine tea and boggling at how far i could see! and how much detail! and the crisp outlines! and colours!
it was all simply amazing.
today my eye feels even better and i can see even more….it is hyper-real! individual trees! leaves on the trees! bits of bark in the mulch! a cat closing his eyes twenty metres away! birds flying two kilometres away!
there will be more improvement to come over the next few days.
i feel as though my whole world has turned into an apple retina display….it is incredible.

in ealy june, i will have cataract #2 removed.
then, for the first time, i will not require prescription glasses for anything at all.
i have one razor sharp eye for reading and one razor sharp eye for distance work….and there will be no cataracts at all.

listening to…

Posted on | April 22, 2012 | No Comments

sandrine piau singing beautiful vivaldi on an album called vivaldi: in furore.
she has such an effortless, light, trilling, thrilling voice.
and anything vivaldi will keep me quiet for hours on end.

some more vivaldi i have been listening to lately:
sergio azzolini: vivaldi: concerti per fagotto and concerti per fagotto 2.

all downloaded from emusic at very reasonable prices ($5 to $7 per album).

has anybody else got any vivaldi favourites that i need to hear?

seriously?

Posted on | April 20, 2012 | 2 Comments

as some readers may know, i am a fervent supporter of KIVA.
go on, click on the link, make a loan to someone (USD$25 gets you started)…i shall wait quietly here for you until you return.

now, what has got me so annoyed about KIVA this evening?
well, they have a person lined up for a $4200 loan.
a young man who lives in new york.
who left his corporate job in 2010, and started a ….wait for it…soap company!

now, i am not saying that he isn’t entitled to a loan if he requires one.
i cannot judge his requirements from here.
but i simply do not believe that KIVA is the place for first world privileged folk to be lining up, with their hands out.
in the first world, we have resources that people in burundi and uganda and the dominican republic et al, can only dream of in their wildest dreams.
how can this guy stand up next to a lot of shoeless cattle farmers in drought-ridden africa, or widowed 35 year old women with six dependents, and say, hey, i need this as much as they do?

sorry, mate.
you might have to get off the monkey bars for a bit and supplement your soap biz with some paid outside work.
we’ve all done it.

solar powered soap!

Posted on | April 17, 2012 | No Comments

after yipping and yammering on about it for literally years, we have finally earlier this month closed a deal on a grid-connected solar system.
it is a big enough system to run our house and the workshop, and sell a few kilowatts back to the electricity company each month.

i have been researching for ages….it is a minefield out there. so many new companies, so much stuff happening in china politically with solar panel manufacturing, so many packages and options, so many warranty fine prints.

ultimately, we like long term bang for buck around here. so we are paying slightly more for tier 1 german-made panels and inverters, with warranties to see us well into our sixties. well, me into my seventies actually.
i am thrilled at the prospect of generating our own power out of all that lovely tropical sunshine!

i rang my accountant to discuss the gst etc on the solar and she was all omg you are getting solar? who are you getting it with? what are you paying? can you send me some info, i haven’t got time to research all this and we want solar too!
so, i have made my first referral too.

a very long time between blogs!

Posted on | April 15, 2012 | 5 Comments

hasn’t time just been off on a wild gallop lately?
somehow, SEVERAL months have slipped by since i last blogged.
how does that happen?
in the interim, i have been to nz (for a family thing, and tremendous fun it was too), driven to melbourne to see geoffrey rush on stage (lady bracknell in the importance of being earnest….and it was just as sparklingly hilarious and excellent as you might imagine), taken up raw veganism (more on that later), endured a bathroom renovation (including a month with no shower or toilet in the house….but as everyone says, the inconvenience of renovation is all worth it in the end) and currently i am in ubud, bali (relaxing, and spending time with a favourite cousin).

it is a year and two days since i slipped on wet tiles and broke my leg so comprehensively, in paris.
i cannot help but look at the nicely-faded scars either side of my ankle, and ponder how deeply fortunate i have been, and what an interesting year i have had.
i have realised that a broken leg is a tiny thing in the general scheme of things….but when it is happening directly to you, it is quite a game-changer.
huge adjustments have to be made immediately and there is no rushing the healing process.
at one point i did wonder if i would ever walk again….yet, here i am.
i am so very grateful for the skillful surgery and care that i received in paris, and the great follow-up i had once i got home. my husband is a truly wonderful man and my parents are awesome.
i did some reading on the broken leg forum and other people’s stories moved me to tears….poor surgeries, shoddy care, permanent damage, health insurance issues, employment issues, no family support.
it certainly made me realise that if i had to have a broken leg, then i was having a really pretty good one.

in january, we signed up with some online friends to undertake a detox regime and support each other while doing it.
by the time we stripped coffee, sugar, wheat, wine, meat, dairy, and eggs from our diet, we were left with fruit, vegetables, nuts, herbs and various seasonings.
o and it was pretty much all raw too.
we started juicing, making green smoothies, and getting very creative with salads and raw nuts.
and the food was delicious.
then we started noticing how GREAT we were feeling….energised, positive, even-tempered, well.
we were sleeping better than we have in years. our digestion was wonderful. skin and tongues and eyes were clear.
i had an initial two days of horrible coffee headaches and after a week of drinking pots full of a detox tea of my own blending, i allowed myself the odd cup of green tea.
months later, i am still not drinking coffee at all…..and i feel so much better for it.
o how i used to love coffee! but it didn’t love me, i can see that now.
so, the initial three weeks came and went and we were both feeling so very marvellous that we just kept on with it.

while the intial discussions about the detox were going on, i enquired about the quitting of wheat.
i have always thought you either had a wheat and/or gluten allergy/sensitivity….or you didn’t. and that you were born with it. or not.
not so fast!
after doing some reading, i now see that there is a whole spectrum of intolerances to wheat and gluten, and things aren’t so cut and dried with regard to genetics. these sensitivities can actually be acquired.

travelling as a raw vegan has been less challenging than you might imagine.
in auckland i went immediately to the long-established harvest wholefoods shop, and stocked up on raw nuts and dried kale and dried fruit and wheatgrass powder….and i managed very well.
in ubud, there is a place (called kafé) which has embraced the raw and is offering several dishes and desserts. i have been going there to get my fix of celery/spinach/parsley/apple juice, with a carrot and turmeric shot on the side!
and there is always salad to be had.
also, my general policy is that while i can completely control the catering at home, while on the road it is ok to just do one’s best and not get hysterical if you are served a bit of fish or butter occasionally.

preparing this food has been a delicious adventure and i will have to share some ideas and recipes here.

trinkets and baubles

Posted on | November 20, 2011 | 4 Comments

my o my.
i’ve been waiting for some weeks, with impatiently tapping foot, for elizabeth taylor’s stuff to be shown online at christies.
i’ve waded through PAGES of awesome jewels and frocks and i’ve got a little something all picked out.

isn’t it gorgeous? wouldn’t the five brooches look FABULOUS pinned up in the right sort of hairdo?
i really like those old mine cut diamonds; such a soft glow to them, rather than a lot of jazzy flashy brilliance. not that there isn’t a time and place for that too.

on the whole though, i was slightly repulsed by the sheer amount of stuff.
how could you possibly enjoy so much stuff?
i bet that even out of that cornucopia of jewels, elizabeth herself had a handful of favourites that she wore over and over.
well, that bloody huge gorgeous krupp diamond was hardly ever off her finger.
if it was mine, i’d wear it all the time too.
but the rest of it? not so much.
and the nonstop work of storing and cleaning and repairing and organising all those clothes and jewels? fuhgettaboutit.

still, i had a most enjoyable couple of hours sifting through it all and if it had come to australia, i would have loved to have seen it all in person.

financial crisis? what financial crisis?

Posted on | October 25, 2011 | 5 Comments

i do wonder what kind of dual-economy madhouse we are all living in when i receive an email from a brand new retailer, on her second day in her brand new boutique, in a teeny weeny town (but i note that it is slightly larger than malanda!) requesting more soaps pronto pronto, because she has already sold out of my large wholesale minimum!
crazy times!

i hope she is taking photos….i had a sneak preview of some of her soap displays and i am hankering to blog them up!

listening to…

Posted on | October 9, 2011 | 3 Comments

….red hot + blue.
a tribute to cole porter.

i’ve had this album for a long time and i don’t think i’ve ever sat down and listened to the whole thing properly.
we were making soap in the workshop during the week and suddenly, i had to stop and run over to check the ipod….was that actually roland gift singing “love for sale”?
why yes, it was.
and it’s the tip of the iceberg.
too darn hot by erasure
night and day….u2.
you do something to me…sinead o’connor.
and my favourite: debbie harry and iggy pop duetting hilariously on well, did you evah?

well, did you evah?

steve jobs

Posted on | October 8, 2011 | 2 Comments

i came to computers late in life….about 34 years old.
i googled soapmaking and a whole world opened up for me.
online friends taught me how to do everything from opening a second window (omg!) to cut and pasting to emailing images and links.
i struggled along with various PCs for about 7 years, because that is what everyone had; and then i started paying attention to one of my cousins, who is/was an apple fanboi.
his enthusiasm was utterly contagious, and it didn’t take long for me to buy a macbook.
suddenly, computers made SENSE to me.
i could easily play with images, music, text. i could chat with people all over the world.
within weeks i had ripped my entire lifelong music collection to itunes, bought a few back-catalogue things (i had never managed to successfully do this on a PC…..i tried and i was billed, but i am still whistling for the actual music) and had bought an ipod classic.
the iphone 3 followed a couple of years later, and was about ten million times faster, cooler and more useful than the top of the range palm pre/pro (who can even remember?) rubbish i traded in for it.

nowadays, my office computer is a shiny new imac with lion osx….my husband and i travel with and play on an ipad each (because trying to share one of those things is im.possible)….he has an ipod touch with all of his music loaded onto it….and i’ve still got my original ipod classic and iphone.
we are an apple family.
we like finding recipes, taking photos, listening to music, emailing friends/family, chatting on the phone….pretty much every day.
steve jobs made a tremendous difference to the ease and enjoyment with which we do these things.
his designs and ideas have a huge and ongoing positive impact on myriad things i do for business and for pleasure every single day.
RIP mr jobs. we’ll sorely miss you, but we’ll remember you with gratitude every single time we see a luminous apple.

garlic lovers, rejoice

Posted on | October 3, 2011 | 5 Comments

we love garlic around here, but nobody adores the job of peeling the stuff.
after seeing the smart saveur clip below, we are now lining up to peel the garlic!
i’ll do it! NO, let ME!!
this really truly works, and is a great dinner party trick too.
and i use bowls that are about one fifth the size of the demo models, so don’t feel you have to dig out the gigantor bowls for this.

How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds from SAVEUR.com on Vimeo.

more photos from japan

Posted on | September 24, 2011 | 5 Comments

fushimi inari

fushimi inari

fushimi inari

fushimi inari

fushimi inari van goghed

watercolour, fushimi inari

fushimi inari

nijo castle

the golden temple

really old

Posted on | September 21, 2011 | No Comments

and then there was this weird little pottery pilgrim’s bottle.
10th century, liao dynasty, green glaze, gangwa ware.
i fell in love with the glaze on this piece and the shape of it, not to mention the sheer utility of it.
a bit of rope through the hole, hang it round your neck, and off you go on your pilgrimage!
it looks like it came out of the kiln yesterday.
it was a good thing that there was a sheet of glass between me and the pilgrim bottle.
i totally wanted to pick it up and feel it’s cool curves and slightly rough glaze.
i bet you do too, now.

pilgrim bottle

really really old

Posted on | September 21, 2011 | 2 Comments

at the tokyo metropolitan museum, we spent hours poring over amazing samurai swords and pottery and kimonos and calligraphy and prints.
but these two items really captured me…..both of them ancient and both of them just kinda cool in that design-y way.
check these out.
first up is the 3500+ year old jia wine warmer from the erlitou culture, shang dynasty, dated 16th to 18th century BC.
that is hella old. and very beautiful.

jia wine warmer

keep looking »


hi, i'm patti flynn

self-portrait using new hipstamatic tintype pak

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