Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Costume Preparation

So, it’s All Hallows Eve and Littletree has been hard at work getting ready for the big home schoolers Hallowe’en party.

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember she’s been working on designing her Were-Cat costume for a while, starting from the first step of fashion design and scouring op-shops and dollar shops for materials and props. We even dyed her hair.

The amazing goddessmother Lady Demelza of course helped her a lot with working out the sewing of the costume and getting it all together, and the results are… well, I’m biased, but I’m intensely impressed.

They found fluffy black material, sewed it into a vest, just like in Littletree’s design, managed to get cat ears onto a headband. So, all prepared, Littletree did her own make-up



And her own hair


Which turned out amazing!


And the finished product


Which bears a striking resemblance to her original design


So then it was time to team up with her friend Indie, and away we go to the party!'


On the way, we talked a bit about the old Celtic traditions and Beltane… and Littletree interrupted me to give me a lecture on the spread of the Bubonic Plague and the importance of hand-washing. She somehow manages to bring everything back to microbiology.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Of Butterflies and Dragons

Remember ages ago Littletree did an intensive pottery workshop with home school group? (here)

Well, I finally managed to pick up her finished, glazed pieces from the kiln – I’d missed picking them up before the potter went away on holiday, so we had to wait till she came back, but it was worth the wait!

Littletree was so excited – the dragon she made came out so gorgeously


Here it is from the other side, I’d been worried that the scales and wings she’d stuck on might not stick or would break, but she did really well with the “scratching and gluing with slag” technique and it all feels really solid.


The deep blue glaze came out gorgeous; Littletree had agonised for ages over what colour glaze to use, changing her mind 17 times before finally deciding that both pieces should be the same deep blue.

And the bowl came out lovely too


From the underside so you can see how the “spaghetti” technique came out:


And of course, the bowl was a gift for BooBoo, who approves muchly (well, he approves of anything that has food in it)!


Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Next Step

The Hallowe’en preparations continue – in the last post I shared Littletree’s costume designs, which she is working on avidly.

So the next step was a big one – one I had to think long and hard about. Littletree wanted to dye her hair black.


We considered black hair spray, because it just rinses out, but Littletree didn’t want the hairspray effect with stiff hair. We ruled out a permanent dye, because I wasn’t willing to let her have those chemicals on her head, nor she deal with the growing-out process…

So we settled on doing a rinse-out dye, of the kind that only last a few washes, but don’t do dramatic changes in colour. Littletree, being a redhead, her hair did come out a LOT darker, but the red still shines through20121018_125741

Still, it looks good, and she’s really happy with it – we did it two weeks in advance so we’d have time to do allergy tests (Littletree has had mild reactions to several ingredients in body lotions), and to fix it if it turned out a disaster. Luckily, neither were a problem.


I think it makes her look more grown-up and sophisticated. In any case, it will soon wash out.

The next next step is to find her some fangs.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

It begins

Hum, I didn’t post anything for a little while. I’m sure there’s a good reason, and it’s probably relating to something awesome.

Meanwhile, Littletree has gotten intensely excited about Hallowe’en coming up. It’s all a bit baffling to me, as it’s a new import to Australia; we never had Hallowe’en when I was a wee sproglet.

But it’s catching on fast here now, and Littletree is gearing up for a big event. Her current project is designing and sewing herself a costume. She’s been working on it for a couple of weeks now, collecting fabrics, working on sketches and designs, making lists of props and suchness…


I’m actually incredibly impressed with her designs – here’s her costume design, which will be a werecat


And the completed design, complete with background


And an extra design that she made for a friend


Of course, I’m talking with her about All Hallows Eve, and Beltane and history and traditions, and Littletree is all, “yeah, yeah, you told me about that last year, I just wanna design my costume”.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Liquid-Powered Clock

We lucked upon some really cheap home science experiment kits at a clearance sale, so Littletree picked out a few that looked interesting, the first one she wanted to do was a liquid-powered clock.


The unboxing is always exciting, especially when things come with safety equipment! Littletree is so big on safety – she even made the cat go outside for this as it says on the safety information “keep small children and animals away from chemicals”.


First step – reading the instructions. Always read the instructions carefully. It amazes me just how well Littletree can read when she wants to, but if anyone asks her arbitrarily to read something, she’ll say “I can’t read”.


So after a careful examination of all the safety warnings and instructions and checking the inventory, she set to work


Assembling all the plastic bits


Wiring it all up (also learning about currents and wiring)


And then the acidic juice needed to start the reaction (mmmm cranberry)


Copper and Zinc plates (which involved a long discussion about copper and zinc and the different properties of various metals)


And voila! A working digital clock, powered by juice.


I’m thinking it wont be long before Littletree is hacking this kit to power all sorts of things.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Pelicans Can

Littletree has been learning about Pelicans – we went for an excursion with home school group to an estuary where pelicans flock in abundance and we could observe them eating.

Littletree was fascinated, and the birds are relatively comfortable around humans


It was incredible to be able to get so close to a wild flock, and I gave Littletree the camera and left her to observe them and take notes.

She took a whole bunch of amazing photos (dozens, in fact).




And the thing she found most amazing was watching that the pelicans actually turn their bill “inside out”.


So now we’ve been to the library and all over the internet reading about pelicans and learning about them – Littletree was even so taken with it that she got out her “Listening to Nature” notebook and wrote a report on Pelicans.

Life learning in action!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Tiramisu Divine

Littletree and I decided to make a surprise for Aquacat’s 44 1/4 birthday – Tiramisu with fresh organic whipped raw cream and my home made coffee and orange liqueurs.

First squeeze 1/2 cup of orange juice... well, squeeze all the oranges, and take out 1/2 cup for the tiramisu, and serve the rest to Aquacat while she’s having a lie-in.

 01 orange juice

Then brew 2 cups of strong coffee and mix with the OJ, set aside to cool.

Slightly whip 300ml cream (well, slightly less than 300ml cream, because the container wasn't completely full).

02 whipping cream

Separate 3 eggs, beat the yolks together with 1/3 cup caster sugar till it's pale and thick, then whip in the cream and 250g Mascarpone cheese. (Yes, I use an original 1967 SwiftWhip hand beater for this, because I'm just that cool)

04 whipping egg yolks

Whisk the egg whites till they are forming soft peaks, and then gently fold into the cream mixture.

05 whipping egg whites

Now take out the coffee and OJ - pour in a healthy shot of coffee liqueur and orange liqueur (about 1/4 cup of each). Quality control is important here, make sure the liqueurs are good all the way to the bottom of the bottle (adult supervision is vital for this step; kidlets aren’t allowed).

Then soak in Savoiardi sponge biscuits - let them soak up loads of the liquid and then line the base of a serving bowl or deep tray with them.

06 soaking savioardi

Then you layer - a layer of soaked savoiardi; a layer of cream mixture. rinse repeat. Well, don't actually rinse. You should get three layers, finishing off with cream mixture.

07 layers

I grate chocolate slivers onto the top, but you could top with anything - a dusting of cocoa, chocolate-coated coffee beans... or just dunk your face right into it.

08 grating chocolate

Cover and leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours, and then...

09 finished


Aquacat was ecstatic

10 surprise11 omg

And the taste… mmmmmmmmmm

12 perfect slice