Thursday, December 15, 2016

Stencil art cat.

Stencil art cat, off Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD.

Crystal ball dog

Victoria Street, Fitzroy.


Monday, December 12, 2016

We are here.

In a residential bluestone lane in Footscray.

Friday, October 21, 2016

How to cut up a pumpkin

Back in June in a cycling accident, a car cut me off and my arm was broken, in a sling. I got my brother to help with things around the house including cutting up a whole pumpkin.

Whole pumpkins are an easy way to avoid plastic while still enjoying pumpkin. They have a good shelf life uncut if stored in a cool, dark place. After cutting the pieces will keep for days in a container the fridge, or you can roast then freeze it. I do a bit of both.

My brother improvised the following technique using my paring knife which is usually a big no-no with pumpkins. I was a little worried he'd snap it! I was so impressed with the process, I have documented myself doing it - with a 16cm chef's knife - so you can. Essentially you carve out just the stalk and cut it up into segments and clean up as usual. The key is how you deal with the stalk as it's the hardest part to cut through. With this you don't cut the stalk at all.

Use the tip of the knife to make a series of cuts about an inch deep, close around the stem angled towards the centre. The number of incisions determines the shape created and is dependent on the diameter of the stem.  In this case, for a Kent aka Japanese pumpkin, it's in the shape of a hexagon. Lift the stalk out and you have a pumpkin diamond! Once the stem is gone it's like cutting a big round carrot. Cut along each groove into wedges then do whatever it is you do with pumpkin.

 photo PumpkinCutting_zpsvfszwfpt.jpg



 photo PumpkinPeeling_zpslpjec7v8.jpg
I use a peeler rather than a knife to peel, as there is less flesh wasted, it's quicker and safer. Hold pumpkin wedge in one hand and start peeling from the corner, then flip it around to do the other end. An inline peeler as seen here or a Y shaped peeler are equally good; it just depends on what is comfortable for you.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Vegetarian Baked Potato

1 washed potato, jacket on
1 avocado
1 clove of garlic, in skin
3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
A handful of greens to wilt eg baby spinach, chickweed etc.
A twist of lime juice
A small nob of butter (optional)
Freshly ground salt and pepper



Preheat oven to 200C
Skewer potato 
Put potato and clove of garlic in oven proof vessel and bake. 
Remove garlic after 15 minutes. Squeeze out from skin.
Bake potato for an hour or until cooked.
While potato is baking combine lime juice, roasted garlic flesh, and yoghurt in small bowl.
Wilt greens in microwave, or in a pan with a lid or by washing over with boiled water.
Put potato on plate, and cut in half then - depending in size and shape -quarters or sixths.
Place small dabs of butter in cut potato.
Distribute greens over potato, then slices of avocado.
Dollop yoghurt mixture on top.
Season to taste.





Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Compulsory Palm Oil Labelling in Australia

Here we are at Federation Square, Deakin Edge last night to help promote
the petition to make labelling palm oil compulsory in Australia.
Parliament will decide next month, so it's important we get as many signatures as we can now. Hoping to get 100,000! Please help by signing and sharing.

The orangutan is the gardener of the forest, spreading seeds to create more forest, an umbrella species that others like tigers and rhinos, and countless more rely on.

#labelpalmoil #iwantthechoice #dontpalmusoff #turnmelbourneorange #inyourpalm #orangutan #endangered

Melbourne Zoo , as organisers of both the petition and event, donated 1000 orangutan plush toys which were hidden outside of Deakin Edge, and seated throughout the auditorium. The plushies were for everyone to find, as a reward for attending and promoting this important petition. These toys represent the real live orangutans lost to unsustainable palm oil production every year. At this rate they will be extinct within a decade. Attendees were actively encouraged to take selfies with their plushy, and use the hash tag #labelpalmoil when posting it on social media. Also there were bags of oranges kindly donated by Orange World. Thanks for the juicy evening snack Orange World!

Afterwards we were instructed to swarm/surround Livinia Nixon doing the weather report. I mimed my plushy Kiani, to also do the weather report. I hope we were in frame because it would have been HILARIOUS.

The lower left corner image is a live study of Maimunah, using an enrichment puzzle at the Royal Melbourne Zoo. You can see this drawing on Instagram as the initial live study if you're on there:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BLHZd1NhS-I/?taken-by=patriciadenisartist
I'll be posting an exclusive work in progress shot here.
And the final drawing here first.

Finally there is a free shopping app. for your phone to help you shop ethically now, by avoiding unsustainable palm oil. Read about it here.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Waste Deep


WASTE DEEP from SustainTable on Vimeo.

The title says it all. Made in Melbourne - I'm soproud of my city, we're awesome, we do awesome things!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Everyone is here and ready to roll!

Keeping these hard waste finds together to take to my parents' house for my nieces to play with, was best done like this:

Spring


Friday, September 16, 2016

Make a laundry filter for microfibres

After reading about synthetic microfibres becoming marine microplastics I was inspired by Blair Jollimore to improvise a filter I sit in my laundry tub.

 photo FilterAssembledISITU_zpsrnkijbdu.jpg

Each wash catches about a pea sized amount - when compressed into a ball between my fingers - of wet fibres. We are running a front loading washing machine with the hose running into the laundry tub rather than straight down into a pipe. If you are doing the same then this set up should work for you.

I recommend checking occasionally to see how the water is draining throughout the first wash to ensure there is no risk of overflow. It is possible to collect the fibres as they clump while there is water in the tub. Scrape your fingernails across the strainer then pinch and you should be able to clear it enough to improve the drainage. Top loader users should exercise greater caution as they do use more water, and this system will slow down the draining of water from the laundry tub.

To make this simple, microfibre laundry filter I used an off the shelf sink strainer, an oversized press button and a cut up fry splatter guard* to make a rigid filter.

 photo FilterDisassembled_zpspnidj8co.jpg

The press button allows me to detach the filter to clean it out between washes. You can find oversized press buttons at a haberdashery store. A regular sized press button may still work depending on the strainer's holes, but could be fiddly to use.

I got the stainless steel sink strainer and splatter guard from an independent kitchenware store. The fine aluminium mesh of the splatter guard is easily cut with a box cutter style, snap blade, utility knife leaving an edge that is safe to handle. The gauge of the holes is approximately 1mm. I had previously tried cutting up an old stainless steel sieve but it proved difficult to do neatly, without injury and it was tricky to clean out as a result. A scrap of flyscreen mesh while not as fine at about 2mm gauge, should still catch some fibres. When cutting the circle of the filter, it's better to cut it slightly too big in diameter than too small, because you will ensure the strainer holes are completely covered.
Confession: mine is a fraction undersized but I haven't gotten around to cutting a bigger one yet.
Attach the filter behind/under the strainer. It will filter better and be easier to clean than if you put it on top.

 photo FilterAssembled_zpsbvsc5ehp.jpg

Alternately, you can make the filter and strainer in one - ie sans button and premade manufactured strainer, basically a super fine DIY sink strainer - but I find this doesn't sit as well in the drain hole, and is prone to distortion, requiring adjustment to ensure a good fit for each use.

Clear your filter while wet after each use, by rubbing your finger over the surface.
Always remember to lift the whole assembly out of the drain hole before carefully removing the press button halves.
Avoid removing mid wash if you want to catch the most fibres.
Due to its buoyancy, there are a lot of fibres in the suds which won't drain away the way they usually do. Allow all water and frothy suds to drain and dissipate away before retrieving filter.

On the left, an entire wash's fibres, scale in millimetres. 
On the right top down from another singular wash the fibres: in the suds left in the tub post wash; cleaned from the filter only post wash; scraped from the top of the filter during the wash.

*super fine mesh, aluminium screen used when frying food that spatters. The one I used was by Metaltex.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Spell broccoli correctly!

Brocoli?
Broccolli?
Brocolli?
Broccoli?

Never mind that English is my first language - I have trouble remembering how many Cs versus how many Ls there are in the word broccoli. Sure, in this age of autocorrect and spellcheck it's less critical than it used to be, but what about your hand written shopping list, or wrapped up, plastic free produce you have labelled in your crisper?

Here is a handy typographic I have just come up with to help me spell broccoli correctly everytime. Remember :
You only need one L to make the stalk
The choicest broccoli has a nice big head in proportion to the stalk, so extra Cs!


Friday, September 02, 2016

Pasta Porn

On a pack of Italian pasta, this lovely, retro illustrated seal is disturbing in at least three ways.


Firstly there is a bit of Pasta Inception happening because she is holding another packet of pasta. The actual seal is on the back of the pack so it isn't visible in the illustration. I'm as disappointed as you are about that.


Secondly the act of unsealing the pack is a bit like ripping off her skirt due to the alignment of it and the pull tab. Weird is one word for it. A bit wrong might be another way of putting it. I wonder how a rape survivor would feel about it... 

Lastly, I would like to draw your attention to the blue triangle under her knee - and the main reason why I'm writing 
ie. Where is her other leg and the rest of her skirt?!

Don't worry I have worked it out for you:


You're welcome.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Rejecting Plastic Bags

I don't claim to be living a plastic free life but I have made significant changes since participating in Plastic Free July last year. Do visit the site to learn more.

Here are my own top tips for rejecting single use plastic bags.

Take the plastic/rigid floor out of your reusable bags so you can fold them up smaller. 
Here is my folding technique as used on a cotton bag but it also works for any tote style reusable shopping bag.


  1. Lay it out flat.
  2. Fold the sides into line with the handles.
  3. Roll firmly into a cyclindrical shape from the base up to the handles.
  4. Take one handle in the opposite direction to the other, around the cylinder.
  5. Tie in a single, firm knot to secure.
  6. Done!
Keep at least one reusable bag in your car at all times.
Only buy what fits in that bag/s.

Be prepared but also be prepared for when you're not prepared. 

How?  
Keep a folded up reusable bag in your work bag/hand bag.
It could be one you have folded as above or a ready made, extra compact bag eg. I love my Envirosax retro robot print bag because it's compact, easy to fold, looks good (different prints brought out every year!), strong, holds a lot and can be carried on my shoulder like a tote bag. Another cool, totally plastic free option are old fashioned, cotton string bags.
When you don't have a bag, don't buy anything. You will save money if you can get by without it. If it turns out to be inconvenient because you have to carry it in your hands, or go out again, this will motivate you to get into the habit of having a bag.

Most fresh produce doesn't need to be stored in plastic bags let alone bought in them. 
You can go completely without any form of bag for things like apples, carrots etc. There are some items that are easier to manage - eg salad greens, cherries, beans, nuts - that you will need a bag of some sort for.

Re-use plastic net bags from previously bought oranges, onions and discount green groceries for all of your new purchases. Or buy/make some lightweight mesh bags which are necessary loose leaf greens and beans in particular. Keep some of these with the bag in your car, or the bag in your work bag/hand bag.
Re-use your existing plastic bags to store produce in fridge. Once you have exhausted those - if that is possible - here is a plastic free produce storage guide.

My own findings:
Broccoli will keep really well if the cut end of the stalk is kept in water - like a cut flower because that is what it is - and the whole thing is wrapped in a cotton cloth.
Celery can be temporarily stored in a tall jug or bucket of water outside of the fridge. For long term storage of cut up celery stalks, keep immersed in water in a sealed container  - thank you to my housemate S for that one!

Here is a guide to plastic free bin lining for those of us who want bin liners.
In smaller bins I arrange 3 or 4 sheets in a cross and push in to fill. To dispose of, I gather up the sides and twist firmly closed. Then I add another sheet if it looks like it won't make it intact into the garbage truck. I use this for (bagless Dyson) vaccuum cleaner contents and it's very effective.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Edible Weeds, Chickweed.

I got into edible weeds, and foraging in my garden via a book from CERES called Edible Weeds of Melbourne. You can find out more about it here.

 photo chickweedGARDEN_zpsyrznovjq.jpg
Chickweed growing in my garden. A seasonal weed, it is abundant during Winter coming into flower in late Winter, before dying off in Spring.

 photo chickweedPLANT_zpss9va4tb3.jpg
Clockwise from top left: typical growth - note the pointed leaf tips and alternating leaf pairs along the stem, in bud, section of plant with some roots, in flower like a tiny daisy.

Forage harvesting can be done in one of two ways. If you have the time and have an abundance of chickweed, you could weed  it out of the places you don't want it and snip off the best tendrils from the root hub. Or, if you can't be bothered with that, just snip off what you need from the plant. The snipping method is also cleaner because you aren't disturbing any soil.

 photo chickweedCHOPPED_zpsgsu5rw6f.jpg
Roughly chopped chickweed. While edible in lengths it's more palatable roughly chopped, and easier to stir through food.

After washing and draining, tip harvest into a pile on chopping board.
Make a some cuts across the pile in two directions to roughly chop it. You're are aiming to reduce the tendril lengths rather than end up with something finely chopped. It isn't necessary to be precise. That said, you might prefer a fine chop for your dish.

Use as you would spinach or any other greenery in its cooked form. I have it sautéed with garlic chives or garlic, wilted as an accompaniment to poached eggs, mixed into scrambled egg mixture, in curry, stir fried, wilted with pasta and pesto and a baked potato. The entire plant stems, flowers, and buds is fine to eat, but raw, only the fingernail-sized leaves are recommended and that is waaay too much mucking about for me!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Flipping gymnastics




A local gym recently shut abruptly. They paper blacked out their windows and placed small notices saying 'end of lease' - but these 'Bad Moms' movie posters suggest a more complex narrative.



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Random use of capital letters in a survey leads to LOLs.

 photo ZooSurveyLOL_zpsnhaxyavw.jpg
HOW DARE YOU EVEN ASK ME THAT?!

FYI from the Zoos Victoria, members' survey, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Almost a health food - if you squint - banana and chocolate mug cake

I've taken this recipe as a foundation and built my own.

How it is different and now mine:
I don't use oil, vanilla or chocolate chips.
Instead of sugar, I use a teaspooned dollop of golden syrup and a banana (broken up and pushed into the batter last). I use raw cacao.
I integrate the peanut butter - mine is made fresh into my own jar at The Source Bulk Foods, from just peanuts so I add a dash of salt. Salt enhances sweetness as does the cinnamon for the banana. I microwave it for 2 minutes.

Banana and Chocolate Mug Cake

Serves One.
You will need 1 large coffee/soup mug

Ingredients
4 tbsp plain flour
1 dolloped (scoop and coat spoon) teaspoon golden syrup
2 tbsp. raw cacao
1 free range egg
1 ripe to over ripe banana
3-5+ tbsp water or milk for richness (quantity depends how pudding like you want it)
1 teaspoon peanut butter (optional) or dessicated coconut
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Method
Combine flour and cocoa in mug.
Add egg and combine well.
Mix in rest of ingredients except banana. Ensure no lumps/pockets of dry flour/cocoa.
Break or cut up banana and distribute in batter.
Microwave for two minutes.
Let it sit for a minute then enjoy!

Notes
You can leave out the peanut butter and substitute dessicated coconut if you're allergic and substitute other flour if you have dietary requirements.
Cocoa will work if you don't have cacao.
I reckon molasses would work instead of golden syrup but I haven't tried that yet. Let me know if you do :)
Add more water if you're vegan. It won't be quite as light but it will still be very tasty!



Monday, April 11, 2016

Pasta with Basil Cashew Pesto and Wilted Spinach

This is my favourite, no fuss, minimum mess, vegetarian lunch when I have homegrown basil. If I don't have spinach or suitable greens likes chickweed, I increase the parsley, add oregano and extra garlic chives to get some green goodness in there. Garlic chives are very easy to grow in a pot or the ground, as is Italian parsley.

Serves One
Ingredients
a cup/handful of spinach leaves
a small handful of fresh basil leaves
a smaller quantity of parsley (optional, good for balancing garlic heat)
one to two cloves of garlic depending on size OR 5-6 of garlic chive leaves if you like a milder garlic taste
freshly ground salt and pepper
olive oil
a small handful of roasted, salted cashews*
raw pasta for one

Method
While pasta is cooking:
1. Rip herbs into smaller pieces and add to mortar. Grind.
2. Add peeled garlic and grind.
3. Add nuts and grind.

 photo SpinachPestoPasta6up_zps6rpvxeyb.jpg
4. You should end up with a bright green, thick paste like this. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add a handful of grated parmesan and a good slurp of olive oil. Stir with flexible spatula into a thick paste.
6. Put ripped or chopped up fresh spinach leaves into a colander. Drain your freshly cooked pasta through colander to cook spinach.

7.Tip contents of colander into large bowl, and stir through pesto. Serve immediately.
 photo SpinachPestoPasta_zpsjozzqyms.jpg

* or pinenuts or any roasted nut you like. Unroasted peanuts and macademias should work well

The Wild at Off The Kerb Gallery

 photo OTKbutterflies3up_zpsaemry7mk.jpg
These three paper butterflies will be in The Wild at Off the Kerb gallery.
'Off the Kerb is pleased to celebrate its 9th Birthday Show by inviting you into The Wild, where your imagination can run wild. We invite you into a utopian wilderness where there are 
no boundaries, freedom and beauty is bountiful, a place where love runs wild, wilder beasts and divine creatures roam free - you are fearless.....untamed....... 
Enter The Wild...
OTK celebrates its 9th Birthday with this group exhibition in support of Edgar’s Mission. 
Edgar’s Mission is a not for profit Farm Sanctuary that seeks to create 
a humane and just world for homeless, abused, injured or abandoned animals.
OTK will be donating the gallery commission to Edgar’s Mission www.edgarsmission.org.au'


at  
Off the Kerb gallery.
Opening: Fri 8 April 6-9pm |
7 April - 21 April 2016
66B Johnston St, Collingwood, 3066
9077 0174 | 0400 530 464
info@offthekerb.com.au
Thurs & Fri 12:30- 6 | Sat & Sun 12 - 5
Free Entry

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Meerkat Family at Werribee Open Range Zoo

 photo MeerkatFamily_zpsj0p4rpwd.jpg
Meerkat family at Werribee Open Range Zoo recently welcomed two new additions. A coworker of mine told me about it after seeing it on the news. I made sure I visited within a week to see these sweet little fuzzballs who grow up rather quickly. Both pups were suckling much less on my second visit. I saw one of the pups eating something solid. It was very keen not to let any other meerkat get too close!

 photo MeerkatSentryWBub3sq_zps8zvtirey.jpg
A perched meerkat with its eyes shut - albeit temporarily - is a rare sight.

 photo BabyMeerkatFuzzy1wk2_zpsjd9zjczs.jpg
Week 2.

 photo BabyMeerkatLogLeaves_zpsghtn9nhi.jpg

 photo BabyMeerkatLeafwk2_zpsokleepz0.jpg

 photo MeerkatRelax_zpsyafyuw4t.gif
A chilled out sentry.





Saturday, March 19, 2016

DIY Plant Markers


Icy pole and icecream sticks should always be saved because they are useful.  They can be used to stir a small pot of paint, to mix and apply two part expoxy resin aka Araldite, and with a pencil or waterproof pen/biro...


...they make biodegradable plant markers.



Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pink Bounty Slushy with Bamix

Homemade #slushy with my #Bamix 

I call this one the Pink Bounty. It's a cup full of frozen #watermelon, a tablespoon of desiccated #coconut - have previously used fresh coconut - and a pinch of #rawcacaonibs with a cup of water

#plasticfree #thesourcebrunswick #ilovemybamix

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party

'The Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party was a political party during the Regency era.' From http://blackadder.wikia.com/wiki/Standing_at_the_Back_Dressed_Stupidly_and_Looking_Stupid_Party

Louis Vuitton, Vogue November 2012


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Chanel Toilet Roll Clutch

The title says it all. From Vogue, October 2013

Thursday, February 18, 2016

WhiteNight Melbourne Map looks like...

I settled down to plan my WhiteNight this weekend. I laid the map out to one side and realised the main group of precincts looks like a penis.
 photo WhiteNightBlueHumour_zpsyhgnwanv.jpg
Mean while The Big Top in red, in this new context resembles female gentalia with an engorged clitoris/piercing.

Normally it has those paths and another set which looks like a bra.
 photo CarltonGardenBra_zpsdd99i145.jpg