weird smell


slow drain


toilet plunger


2.5mm crochet hook


bare hands


the most disgusting half hour of my life.

My Sweet, Strange Teddy

Teddy was singing "Alice the Camel". You know the song? Alice starts off with 5 humps and in each verse she loses a hump until the last lines are,
"Alice the camel has NO humps.
Alice you're a HORSE!!"

Well, Teddy sang the whole thing but when she got to the end, to the 'punchline', she sang,
"Alice the camel has NO humps.
Alice you're a ....... camel with no humps!"

And then she asked me what I was laughing at.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Then, Teddy decided to jump on the trampoline. While she was jumping a dog started barking.
Dog: Ruff.
Teddy: Woof.
Dog: Ruff ruff.
Teddy: Woof woof.
Dog: Ruff ruff ru-ru-ruff.
Teddy: Woof woof wo-wo-woof.
Dog: Ru-ru-ruff, ru-ru-ru-RUFF!
Teddy: Wo-wo-woof, wo-wo-wo-WOOF!

Just then I walked outside. Teddy laughed and said, "Hey Mummy! I'm talking to the puppy doggy. And he's talking back to me."
I said, "Really? That's nice. What's the doggy saying to you Teddy?"
She gave me a strange look (as if to say 'Well duh!') and answered, "He's saying woof."

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

And not long afterwards, while Teddy was playing near the swing set, she started giggling. She often giggles when she is enjoying herself so I didn't think anything of it. Not even when she giggled again and said "Mummy the spider is tickling me."

Teddy is always imagining something, whether it's a caterpillar on her head ("Hey mummy, did that caterpillar crawl into my ear?") or a fairy in the family room ("Mum you scared the fairy away with your vacuum cleaner. Be quiet please!"). So when she started talking about a spider tickling her I just assumed she was pretending again. (She is usually quite fearful of spiders.)

She giggled a few more times, and then she said something that made me drop everything and run. "Mummy giggle the spider is giggle tickling me every time I poke this stick in his hole. giggle-giggle-giggle"

I made it across the yard in about 2 seconds flat and found that she was indeed playing with a spider. A big wolf spider, to be exact. She had been poking a little twig into a hole in the dirt and the spider had been extending it's front legs to (I assume) attempt to determine if the twig was good to eat or not!

My heart still starts beating faster just thinking about it!

Needless to say we had a long discussion about why it is not safe to 'play with' spiders.

THAT was weird.

Erudite Mondays at Half Soled Boots
Volume 8 Number 4

Susan Gordon Lydon

I'm not sure what came over me - usually I don't post when I feel like that, but last night I thought "Sod it."

And I've got to give props to Kate who wrote a haiku full of good advice.

Wool flows through fingers
Lights or no lights the wheel spins
Turning moods around.

Now, don't you feel refreshed? I do.

Speaking of wool therapy, I have just finished reading Susan Gordon Lydon's Knitting Heaven and Earth: Healing the Heart Through Craft. I read it because it sounded interesting, but now I've put it down, I must admit I probably won't pick it up again.

The premise is well enough - knitting brings healing of real problems by its meditative peace. The execution, though, is wanting. Instead of feeling connected with the author and convinced that knitting had helped her through her times of hardship, the disjointed narrative and surface emotions failed to either interest me or prove her overall point.

What bothers me is that there was so much potential for a really thoughtful book, written from the perspective of a woman who has been through a lot of bad and good, and has wisdom to share as a result. As a reader, I expected to cry in places - maybe laugh out loud in others. But I think Lydon took the easy way out - those surface emotions I mentioned earlier - and on the whole, the book falls flat as a result.

One thing that really bugged me was her constant use of quotations from pop culture, especially music, to express her emotions. It's like her own words aren't enough - she has to call in Joni Mitchell to back her up. Or Lucinda Williams. Or Woody Allen. And when I say "constant use", I mean it: I checked a random section for you, and in nine pages there were five excerpts from song lyrics. When a person is in the depths of despair because her lover has cheated on her and then left her for another, she should be able to do a better job of making us feel her pain than by saying:

During this time I clung to some lines from a Paul Simon song "Graceland" that said "Losing love is like a window in your heart. Everybody sees you're blown apart." I felt like I had been cracked open and there was a hole inside me where the wind blew through.

As I used to say, around 1989: "No duh."

I am attacking this book because I had such high hopes for it, and I'm keenly disappointed. I had originally ordered it to give to a friend who is going through a bad time lately. She's a knitter and I thought this book might make a nice gift to lift her spirits. I hoped it would be moving and thought-provoking - I found it shallow and inattentive.

Last year my friend lent me Eat Pray Love. I liked it fine, as a casual read, but found it overwhelming narcissistic and nauseatingly self-congratulatory. I completely lost patience with the constant cycle of self-destructive behaviour, lack of resolve, devastating heartbreak caused by loving entirely unsuitable and sometimes abusive men, and desperate search for solace in other people's words. Knitting Heaven and Earth can be best described as Eat Pray Love with yarn. Eat Pray Love is a hugely popular book, I'm aware, and I'm sure Knitting Heaven and Earth also has an enormous fan base. But they weren't meant to be literature, and they sure as hell aren't.

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I'm just not a self-help-book type of person.
HSB Highly-Specialised Book Rating System
Knitting Heaven and Earth gets:

Reread: Unlikely
Given to Others: Doubtful, but not impossible.
Bookplate: No.

Exercise in futility? Check.

Well, yeah, we did Earth Hour. Not sure that it made much difference, as we were the only ones on the stinking street with our lights off.

Jeepers, people, get on the freaking bandwagon already.

There should be one of those big levers like Madeline Kahn pulls in the movie Clue. Then I could shut off the whole neighbourhood at once, will they or nill they.

Sewing update, as if you cared.

The fabric I was going to use for Em's dress is a no-go. Too heavy for a child. I took her to the fabric store and let her choose her own. HUGE tactical error. More on that later.

Knitting update.

Fern was going smashingly until I started bringing it to Wednesday knit nights, where I made mistake after mistake, resulting in me ripping the second sleeve back to the wrist and reknitting it. It's the stripes - I blame it all on the bloody stripes. My feeble brain has trouble remembering which is Colour B, which is Colour C, which is Colour D, and which Colour E.

Colours A and F are easy.

So basically things are going pretty damn crappy here at HSB. I meant to publish a review tomorrow but if I write it now I have a feeling Blogger will lose the entire thing and I'll have to start over. Not to mention I am in such a foul mood that I'll probably pillory the poor author, making my Blackstrap Hawco review sound like an epic hymn in praise of the purest, highest art.

I'm outta here. See you tomorrow if I can muster the will, with a review (hopefully) or more bitching (probably).
Here's a funny meme/tag thingy to play when you feel like taking a few moments off.

Do a google search using your first name + 'needs'. Then copy the first 10 results that actually make sense.

1) Mum-me needs to put her everyday chair in the car when she drives. (Does my everyday chair have separation anxiety? Or does it just want to go for a drive?)

2) Mum-me needs our prayers. (Yes please - all welcome.)

3) Mum-me needs to go shopping. (I agree, right after 'Mum-me needs to lose 30kg'.)

4) Mum-me needs a man. (Already got one.)

5) Mum-me needs two lovers. (No thanks, I've got a man and he's the only one I want or need.)

6) Mum-me needs our urgent help. (Yes I agree - all offers accepted.)

7) Mum-me needs to find calmness in the midst of chaos. (SHOW ME WHERE TO FIND THE CALMNESS ...... RIGHT NOW!!!!)

8) Mum-me needs care givers to come and visit and provide love, support and care. (As with no.2 and no.6)

9) Mum-me needs to go and the sooner the better. (Sniff! Sniff! Doesn't anybody love me anymore??)

10) Mum-me needs a tinfoil hat. (I have worn some interesting child-crafted hats before, but I don't think any on them included tinfoil. )

This has been circulating blog land. See some more here, here and here.... Let me know if you decide to play too!

You Know You're Argentine If ...

... You wait a week to have someone fix your modem. OK, I guess that goes for expats, too; either way, I have the internet in my home again. :)

Today I documented a few examples of what it means to be Argentine.

You know you're Argentine if ...

... You drink mate (pronounced MAH-tay). You've built a mate-holder into your dashboard.

... You smoke religiously. Even in the grocery store.

... You love dulce de leche. You put it in everything, even Oreos.

... Your driving puts New Yorkers to shame. My boss put it best when he said, "Where we see lanes, they see a spectrum of opportunities." I will film a taxi ride sometime to show you what I'm talking about. It's insanity.

... You're a flogger. OK, I don't have an illustration of that, but you know you're Argentine if you're all about design and being hip. These pics are from this design fair we went to today.

Go from the leg, give to the hand

Were y'all wondering if the meth heads came back and stole my laptop, too? Sorry I've been such a sucky blogger lately.

Willow was super-duper in lesson #7 Thursday night, and Leslie had nothing but nice things to say. Things like: forward, focused, submissive, bending, soft. Willow even let Leslie walk along beside her in trot and canter, clapping to ask for more forward. Even four weeks ago, that would have freaked Willow out. I'm so proud of my bull-headed mare!

So how'd we get there? Well, for the past two weeks I've been focused on nothing but go from the leg, give to the hand. Working to unlock every locked place from withers to bit. It hasn't been pretty or pleasant. Willow has bucked me up unto her neck more than once, but she really doesn't like it when I land on her neck, so she seems to be giving up on that strategy. I've also been working a lot on just making her stand and give, and that has resulted in marathon backing around the arena, but again Willow realized that that strategy was accomplishing very little and giving her a sore butt, so she has stopped doing it. No matter how mad she's gotten, she hasn't gone up or bolted, so good girl. And slowly but surely, our fight club sessions have gotten shorter, and been replaced by dressage-like activity. Culminating in Thursday's great lesson.

What else? Well, I had planned to give up on Dollhouse after five horrendous episodes, but I kept reading how episode six was the one to watch, so I gave in and watched it, and it was like Fox suddenly realized they should stop crapifying Joss Whedon's project and let Joss do his thing. Episode six was like a completely different show, with interesting characters and an intriguing plot. You know, the stuff Joss is known for. Plus, Tahmoh Penikett wandered around shirtless for a bit.

Sadly, I was not nearly so impressed with Tahmoh's other project, which had its series finale last Friday. Overall, I loved Battlestar Galactica, but other than the mutiny arc, I've felt that season 4.5 has been pretty weak. And I thought the finale was frakkin' awful.

[spoiler alert!]

So many things I just couldn't buy: Why did Cavil kill himself? There's another Earth (Earth II)? Why would Bill fly off and leave Lee forever? On a similar note, these 30,000 people have just been through four years of hell together, and now they're going to scatter to the four corners of the earth (II) and be isolated farmers? For that matter, did everyone agree to destroy all the ships, or did the Adamas just make that decision on behalf of everyone? Whatever. Oh, and Gaius and Six are angels? Starbuck too? Am I an angel? Maybe you're an angel.

If you want to see angels done right, watch Supernatural.

I know the BSG writers had an impossible task, trying to end this epic series in a way that would satisfy its fans, but they had backed themselves into so many corners with decisions they made earlier in the series, that they had nowhere to go. I wish that, like the cylons, the writers had had a plan. Although the cylons didn't appear to have much of a plan, either, despite what the opening credits claimed.

Mousie's Music

Mousie has recently been very interested in writing. Remember I explained that she would 'write' whole pages of 'writing' and then ask me to read them to her?

Well, her interest has now turned to composing music. I have no idea when she got close enough to a music book to be able to study the notation so well as to reproduce her own version of it.

We do have lots of music in our house, so I guess she must have just borrowed one of Possum's or my books for a while. But she has done a great job, taking into consideration the pen-control abilities of her age. She has managed to form some pretty good quavers and even what appear to be chords.

Her current passion for composition has seen her produce many pages of 'music' which she, once again, requests me to read out loud. So after warming up my best operatic falsetto voice I do my utmost to perform her creation. (See, I didn't take that Contemporary Composition class at Uni for nothing after all! I'm sure our lecturer would never have imagined I would use the skills he was teaching me to interpret my 5 year old daughter's composition.)

One Sunday morning before church, Mousie was diligently working away at a new masterpiece. When it was finished she requested that I staple all 3 pages together so she could give it to the musicians at church. Luckily, she became too shy to approach the music team at church so she contented herself with showing it to her Sunday school teachers instead.

Who knows where this budding interest in writing music could have taken her if only she had not misbehaved earlier in the week and had her pencils and textas confiscated by HB! She was so angry with her dad that she declared she would never write anything ever again.

I have to admit I am slightly relieved that I won't have to 'read' any more letters or music - for a few days anyway......

Switch 'em off, flick 'em off, WAAAAY off.

Earth Hour 2009 is scheduled for this Saturday, March 28. It's a one-hour blackout, from 8.30 PM to 9.30 PM local time.

Last year we plunged ourselves into darkness for an hour and wondered why, since it's so easy to do and it saves so much energy, we didn't observe Earth Hour once a week. Life is all about habits, though, and turning off every light in your house for an hour a week (daytime doesn't count) isn't one of them - it takes some remembering.

Anyway, I'll be shutting everything off, computers and all, on Saturday for an hour. You should too.....and you can sign up on the Canadian site and be entered to win a trip to see the Churchill polar bears.

Believe It Or Not

FiberTel didn't come yesterday. We got a fluent Spanish-speaking friend to intercede on our behalf, and the "customer service" people told her they had THE WRONG NUMBER for us, so they were unable to get ahold of us to confirm their appointments Mon. and Wed.

I am flabbergasted. Not only did Neil confirm our phone number and have them read it back to him after they said no one had answered on Monday -- but I have NO IDEA how they could possibly have the wrong number because they successfully called us last month when they initially set up our internet.


We'll see if they actually make good on our appointment tomorrow, Friday, one whole week since our modem died.

Altar Ego

When I was a kid, other girls got "Easter Dresses" every spring. You know the type of thing - confections of polyester ruffles, nylon lace, satin ribbon, lots of eyelet (it was the '70s). For the very lucky, there were matching hats. Going to church on Easter Sunday was an exercise in self-control, so as not to give way to envy - my parents weren't the Easter Dress and Hat type. I think I got one once, but I'm not sure I'm remembering that correctly.

I don't think Easter Dresses are as ubiquitous a phenomenon as they used to be - on this continent, probably more people don't go to church, than do. Not that the dress can only be worn to church, but there are very few other suitable places to wear such a garment.

I've lived to thank my parents for not giving me what I wanted all the time, or even terribly often. "I don't need all that I think I need" is a valuable lesson. I haven't even thought about Easter Dresses for ages, but a couple of weeks ago I remembered that tradition, and thought my daughters would like to have a new, springy dress for Easter Sunday.

I have plenty of fabric stashed away - much more fabric than yarn, as it happens - so I went through it and chose a linen and cotton blend for Charlotte. The one true thing about her is her palette (to misquote Nigella Lawson), so it had to be pink.

I used Burda 9755, in a size 8/10. This garment came together well - I like Burda's patterns, and construction, although their written instructions can be a little terse and their pattern markings (notches, particularly) are sometimes easy to miss.

The pattern includes an apron, which I thought was completely darling. I made it out of a satin-finish quilting cotton, and it is such a sweet addition, although I'm not sure how often she will wear them together.

I paid close attention to the details on this garment - it IS an Easter Dress - and when I got to the handwork stage, the thought of buttons and buttonholes didn't seem quite right. Instead, I went for the smoother finish of hooks and thread loops. I cut some individual flowers from the remnants of the daisy trim used for the neckline, and sewed one over each hook.

The centre back.

Hooks & thread loops.

I have three more meters of the same fabric in a pretty, light aqua, which my younger daughter has requested for her dress. I haven't chosen a pattern yet but I'll be getting on that quick-like - Easter is coming awfully fast.


And remember when I was sick and I said I was going to make myself a new pillowcase to improve my mood? I made it that very day, but forgot to show you.

And that concludes the sewing update for this week - if I can get my act together, next time I'll have Emily's dress to show you.

Feathered Toe Socks

My regular, loyal readers would know all about Mousie's penchant for funky socks.

Nano is pleased to feed her addiction. She provided these bright toe socks under the guise of a birthday gift. Mousie couldn't wait to try them, but even she could understand that the mid-summer 40*C temperatures we were experiencing in January was not a good time to wear warm socks.

So the first slightly cool evening this Autumn produced the perfect opportunity for Mousie to pounce on her new toe socks and declare that she was going to wear them to bed.

And she did!

But I had to get a few photos first.

(Do you think they're a bit big, Nano?)

By the way, Mousie did wear her socks all night long. I didn't really think she would. I expected she would get too hot with them on.

Now, Mousie may be renowned in our family for her distinctive 'sock style', but she is not well known for putting her belongings away properly. Which is why the next day Teddy was found to be decorating Mousie's discarded toe socks.

Teddy has her own reputation in our family, which is that of being a budding fashion designer. Remember this?

Now have a look at this!
Yes, her latest design is feathered toe socks! Taking orders now. (No birds were hurt in the making of this blog post. Except Ducky, who was hurt that Teddy didn't request permission before raiding her feather collection.)

It´s Not All Tea Parties and Roses

Just so you know that I´m keeping it really real here in B.A., I am writing this from a grimy little ¨internet cafe¨ in the back of a convenience store. What´s this --> รง ? I know, I know, but it doesn´t need its own key on my keyboard.

Our modem died on Friday, and the roller coaster ride that is one way to describe dealing with FiberTel began (and you know how I feel about roller coasters.) Oh, they said they´d come on Monday (yesterday) between 8-4 p.m.

Or, rather, between 8-16:00 because they insist on using military time here (yes, sometimes the honeymoon clears for a minute and I see the dog crap all over the sidewalk -- no, really, that´s another big, bad, nasty problem here). Side note, that whole 24 hr. clock thing is odd and annoying.

Anyway, so after a long internet-less weekend, they said they´d show up Monday, and what happens? Neil stays home ALL day so he will be there when they call; he gets two calls that are dial tones when he picks them up. He calls at 2 p.m. to see when they´re coming and they said they called earlier and no one had answered. ARRRGHHHhhhh!! So they rescheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday).

Another side note, FiberTel is so difficult to deal with, that it´s recommended to leave your bill in the name of the previous tenant and just continue to pay it. It confuses them too much to think that a different person with a different name might want internet in the same apartment where someone with a different name used to live. So we pay the bill under the last name ¨Ailfkod,¨ which, as we found out from my co-workers, is phonetically close to being similar to the name of the people who lived in our place before us.

Hopefully the FiberTel people actually show up tomorrow, because it´s kind of hard to do an online Master´s program when you don´t have the internet. Hence, I have spent the past 2 hours and 58 minutes here doing research and h.w. (there´s a counter on my screen -- the cost so far is 9 pesos, and with an exchange rate of $3.70/1, that´s not bad -- but the secondhand smoke, bad reggae music and staphylococcus-laced keyboard kind of make me the loser here). Wait, I think what makes me the bigger loser is that I don´t have internet at my house!

OK, so there´s my gripe. Back to structural realism, hegemony and international relations. Which is another gripe altogether when it´s a perfectly gorgeous, sunny HOLIDAY (Argentina´s Memorial Day -- wait, there´s a bright side, double holidays off work!) and I´m stuck inside doing homework allllll day. Boo hoo!

- - - - - - - - - - - -
UPDATE: As soon as I pressed ¨publish post,¨I got a little Valentine from fate -- Fidel Nadal´s ¨International Love¨ came up in the otherwise and heretofore described as ¨bad¨reggae mix. YouTube this song, it´s great; I first heard it a couple weeks ago but that´s another story.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

Sleepover Party for Dragon's 12th Birthday

Dragon turned 12 years old on 20th March, and he had a sleepover party with his friends to celebrate the occasion. Here he is with his birthday gifts.And here he is unwrapping one of them. This is the dragon clock Nanna sent.Here he is with some of his friends. They all enjoyed a BBQ for dinner.A game of basketball after dinner helped them all make room for the birthday cake.Dragon requested a chocolate ice-cream cake with a crumb base, so I invented this concoction. I made the crushed sweet biscuit base you'd usually have for a cheesecake, then softened 3 litres of Paul's premium chocolate ice cream. I mixed mini M&Ms into the ice cream and spread it onto the crumb base. Then I pressed chocolate Freddo frogs into the top while it was still soft, before freezing again overnight. To serve, I piled more M&Ms in the middle of all the Freddo frogs, and placed the two dragons on top. The small dragon is defending his horde of treasure (M&Ms) from the bigger dragon who wants to steal them! Dragon's friends sang him a very rousing rendition of the happy birthday song, complete with some operatic touches from best friend T, before he blew out the candles.As soon as the candles were out Dragon grabbed his new dragons and took them straight to his bedroom. The next day I found they had joined forces, now that the distracting M&Ms were out of the way, and ganged up on the knights who inhabit Dragon's toy castle. After watching a movie in the family room and munching out on chips and twisties, the boys settled down in the living room for the night to watch more DVDs. (Possum watched the movies with them, but she slept in her own bed.) They were a great bunch of boys, even though they stayed up talking till the wee hours on the morning. The last movie finished around midnight, and then they started to get a bit noisy. HB called out for them to quiet down, and they all spoke in hushed tones for a few minutes - long enough for HB to fall soundly asleep. I, however, am used to stirring at the slightest sound of a voice so I kept drifting in and out of sleep as their conversation ebbed and flowed. I woke up at about 4.30am and was very relieved to discover that they were finally all asleep. Despite their late night, they were still woke up hungry at 6.30am. I fed them blueberry muffins, pancakes and fresh fruit for breakfast and then sent them off around the block on a scavenger hunt. After that they searched for fantales in the front yard, and played the Hanging Doughnut Game which was a great hit as everyone found it hilarious to watch their mates trying to get the doughnut off the string only using their mouth. After a morning tea of chocolate fudge brownies the boys played more basketball and even invented their own game which involved jumping very high on the trampoline whilst throwing balls around the backyard. It is at times like these I just have to go inside, to prevent my overactive imagination suggesting all the possible dangerous and/or fatal consequences of these sorts of activities, and let them have fun being boys. The days of playing ball and enjoying simple games will be gone all too soon. It won't be long until they are talking about drivers licences, cars and girls (a topic which still fills most of them with absolute horror at the moment) and they won't be young boys anymore.

Happy Birthday Dragon! We love you very much, and are very proud of you!

{Don't forget that the Ultimate Blog Party is happening all week, so take the chance to find some great new blogs to read and be in the running to win fabulous prizes.}

That's just cool.

Yeah, baby. What I want to know is, is there anything sheep can't do?

Party Food - Caramel Slice Recipe

A big friendly G'day to new visitors, especially those from the Ultimate Blog Party hosted by "5 minutes for Mom". I am the mum of a half-dozen beautiful Aussie children, 5 gorgeous girls and 1 wonderful boy. We live in Canberra, Australia's capital. I post 3 times a week, about anything and everything! Please feel free to leave a comment - we all love them, don't we?

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

So there's a Party happening and I decided to join in the fun! And what's a party without food? (Yeah, let's get to the important stuff right away.) Here's one of my favourite special occasion sweet recipes. Every time I make this slice I am asked for the recipe. There are several versions, but I like this one best. I think the coconut in the base gives it just the right flavour.

Prior to my wedding, the ladies from our church threw a 'Pantry Tea Party'. It was just weeks before Me and HB said "I do", and more than three years before the first of the Half-dozen appeared on the scene. Everyone was asked to bring a dessert and the recipe for it plus at least one of the (non perishable) ingredients. I have a big folder full of lovely recipes, and this is one of them .....

Caramel Slice


Base: 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup coconut, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 125g melted margarine or butter.

Filling: 60g margarine or butter, 1 can (400g) condensed milk, 2 tablespoons golden syrup (you could probably use corn syrup or light molasses if you can't find golden syrup.).

Topping: 60g copha (vegetable shortening), 125g dark choc or milk choc melts.


1) Preheat oven to 180*C
2) Mix all ingredients for base.
3) Press in to a tin which has been lined with baking paper. (I use a 23cm square Christmas cake tin.)4) Bake for 15 minutes or until pale golden brown.
5) While the base is baking, melt the extra 60g margarine or butter in a medium saucepan.
6) Add the condensed milk and the golden syrup.
7) Stir constantly, while cooking over low heat, until mixture begins to thicken slightly.
8) Spread filling onto the prepared base.9) Bake for another 15 - 20 minutes until the caramel mixture bubbles all over.10) Remove from oven and cool slightly.
11) In a smaller saucepan melt the copha and dark or milk choc melts slowly over low heat.12) When well combined, gently pour the chocolate topping over the caramel and spread to even out, if necessary.13) Place in the fridge until set.
14) Cut into slices.15) See how long it lasts!

You'll find these are so popular that they will be the first delicious morsels to disappear at any 'bring-a-plate' type of gathering. Eat up!

Now, while you're enjoying your yummy Caramel Slice, take the opportunity to visit the Ultimate Blog Party list of links and find yourself some awesome new blogs to read and follow! And don't forget to check out the list of prizes on the prize page! I hope I win something ..... any of the International Prizes will do me (living in Australia disqualifies me from any of the others.) I'm excited to be sponsoring one of the prizes from hickspixoz photography and framing (see my sidebar.)
So off you go! But don't forget to leave a comment first!! Pretty please!!!

Tea Party at the Palace

The Ambassador lives in a palace right by the Embassy. No, really -- it's called the Bosch Palace. It's on both Buenos Aires' and Argentina's lists of historic places, and is on the Secretary of State's Register of Culturally Significant Property.

I went to a tea party there on Tuesday, which was a lot of fun. Plus I love tea, and Teeson had some amazing mixes.

It was St. Patrick's Day -- the Ambassador and I were both sporting green.

Everyone is so patient with my limited "Castellano" (Spanish).

Teeson's "Lemon Flower" was my favorite. The palace's tea set was the perfect complement!

Singing Kitcat

I posted a while ago about Kitcat singing with a bucket over her head, in the car on the way to Port Stephens last Boxing Day. I couldn't get blogger to upload the video, but I have since had a chance to upload it to OneTrueMedia, and then put it here.

This little video is a selection of two of Kitcat's Christmas songs. The first 30 seconds are Kitcat being silly with a bucket on her head, then she starts to sing "Away in a Manger." Keep an eye out for Scruffy.

Then, at 1 minute, it merges into her version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". This is so funny! I laugh every time I see it. Kitcat is performing this for a friend. She is wearing her swimmers and floatie, and the beautiful Tanilba Bay is in the background. (Taken 1st January '09.)

The whole video only goes for 90 seconds.

Like PB and J

Erudite Mondays at Half Soled Boots
Volume 8 Number 3
by Jane Gottelier

This beautiful book came last week, and I loved it at first sight. In Knitting and Tea, Jane and Patrick Gottelier celebrate two of the more potent "antidotes to modern-day stress" in a blend of lush photos, serene text, sumptuous recipes, and inspirational patterns.

The first three chapters contain some really gorgeous pictures, taken by Patrick Gottelier, of Sri Lanka's high-altitude tea plantations. Patrick's father was an English tea planter in Ceylon, as it was then called, so the authors bring a wealth of interest and knowledge to the book. There are little snippets throughout the pages, such as "Five Golden Rules for Making the Perfect Cup of Tea", from the Tea Factory, in Newara Eliya, Sri Lanka. (All five of which, by the way, I was very proud to see that I already religiously observe.)

After flipping through to look at the knitting photos (of course), I started quickly scanning the text, but within a few short moments I had to get up to put the kettle on - I was compelled - and realised it would be a mistake to rush. This book is best experienced slowly, and quietly...I waited to finish reading it until my children were absorbed in watercolour paints.

Sometimes I wonder how well it works when a book attempts to combine two or three different things - in this case tea, knitting patterns, and recipes. I've seen some books that definitely fall flat, after overextending themselves. Here, it works beautifully. When you take the time to actually read the thing, it comes together very well. The authors bring a lot - their lovely pictures, their working knowledge of tea, and considerable knitting chops.
The Garden Jacket - I've always wanted to knit a trowel.

I am having a hard time picking a favourite. I'm inclined to say the Garden Jacket, but then the Boy's Planter's Vest is just too delightful - I think my daughter needs that to go with the corduroy knickerbockers I just made her. But then, the Biker's Jacket wins for wearability, I think.
Boy's Fair Isle Planter's Vest - too wonderfully Beatrix Potter NOT to make.

The Biker's Jacket - I want this.

On the subject of the knitting patterns, I have two little criticisms. The first is, the authors have not included any chatty intros for the patterns, and I find myself missing them. I like those glimpses into inspiration and execution. Those notes, which are so common now, are second only to photos in the list of things that will incite me to cast on a particular project.

Cricket Blazer - Love. It.

The second criticism is a bit more important - there is a spotty incidence of charts. The cabled trowel and fork designs on the Garden cardy are charted, but the cover design, a heavily-cabled men's cricket blazer, is written out line by line. What on earth?
The Swirl Tablecloth - pretty, beaded, elegant, and.....chart-free.

Some people (Karen and Kate) won't care about the lack of charts, but other people (Me) will find it hard to overcome. I think I'd probably end up doing up my own chart, especially if I were to knit one of the overall patterns, such as the cover model, or Summer House.
Summer House is made from laceweight merino and sequins.

Those two issues aside, there is one thing that really impressed me - the sizing. There is a great range of sizes - there is something for busts from 30" all the way to 53".
Ceylon Cardigan - delicate in fingering-weight alpaca.

If you get a chance to look through this book, do take it. You won't get the full impression of it by standing in the bookstore flipping through, but it'll be a treat for you all the same - a little moment of calm beauty. If you do read it, let me know what you think.

HSB Book Rating System
Knitting and Tea gets:

Reread: Yes
Given to Others: Yes
Bookplate: Yes