December 13, 2011

peculiar questions from peculiar people.

boy: "Do you like dolphin pie, miss?"
me: "I can't say i've ever had dolphin pie Sam."
boy: "'Cos you can really taste the plankton in it."

a delightfully innocent, not-yet-tainted Year 7 boy, with a wonderful sense o'humour (and no idea about the diet of a Dolphin).

girl: "How long does it take to get to Paris, Miss?"
me: "Around about 20 hours i think."
girl: "Wow, i was way off!"
me: "What did you write?"
girl: "About 2 1/2 hours."

a geographically impaired Year 7'er.

"Do you do facebook?"

a 55+ year old teacher at school, in regard to whether i am on facebook...

i am sure glad i had pen and paper handy today.


December 1, 2011

Of late.

things i've been up to:
watching these cute little piglets grow into bigger little piglets. aren't their hairy rumps so cute?! i've been in an ag teaching role for the last couple of weeks. its interesting; learning what bees do when building a hive, how to show cattle and how the dairy industry works.
reading my new favourite modern poet; Wendell Berry. if you love life, beauty, the land, the Lord, family'll love Wendell Berry. this page is from Sonata at Payne Hollow, which flabbergasted me with its simple beauty and raw love.
taking photographs of majestic old beasts of cars. and roaring up bushy escarpments in said beasts (with a big grin).
and of course, waiting patiently and excitedly for the season of christmas. (a vignette of my folks fireplace and mantle.)

until we do this again,


November 23, 2011

wednesday - today

Jose Gonzalez drove me home from school this afternoon, with the splishing and sploshing of rainwater hitting the undercarriage of the car as i bumped over cracks and potholes. my school day quickly faded from memory as i dreamt of the chewy, salty ginger bickies i was going to make when i got home (they're baking themselves in the oven as i write...).

i had to stop at the shops to pick up the necessary raw sugar, ground cloves and ginger - it was a minor inconvenience - having to slosh through rushing gutters, in completely silly, inappropriate shoes. my feet now still a little damp, i sit, waiting for my afternoon tea and preparing myself for a night of peaceful creativity.


November 14, 2011

. : heat energy : .

driving home from school this afternoon, with the windows down and the hot, hot air blowing past my face, i considered the power of this heat. the way that it has really dramatic affects on things; it's not just a temperature, but an energy source that has real time and place effects.

i was thinking about how timber and other materials expand and warp in the heat. the heat has the muscles to physically change such a solid material - but it can do it without the muscles. and how the heat casts its spell on our bodies; that with the same amount of sleep, food and drink we can feel so much more weary on a scorcher' than on a tepid day. you can see such fast effects on plants in hot weather too. mature leaf plants shrivel and crumble inward as if to writhe from the encasing heat.

its oppressive, i've decided. not in a completely negative way. but the way the heat pushes down on your shoulders like a heavy weight when you step out into it, really isn't that positive either. don't get me wrong, i love the heat. i am a summer girl. born and bred (literally). i guess it always happens, this time of year. we welcome, even if begrudgingly, the heat that is the Australian summer.

welcome, heat. i will escape you, momentarily - off to the water i go...


November 11, 2011

call me a winner!

i'm blogging about this...because i want to win - there's no simple way to say it.

i mean - who wouldn't want a gloriously soft leather purse from After the Apple to call their own. hmm, didn't think so.


picture books

while in the library at school, supervising (babysitting) students, i had the pleasure of encountering some of my favourite stories from when i was young - but probably too old to be reading picture books. the colourful, contemplative and deceptively 3 dimensional like picture books of Jeannie Baker.

i saw the book Window lying on a desk and immediately had memories of pouring over each page, finding new things in every image - little creatures, things in trees, old coke cans in the grass. strong memories of the books theme came flooding back; the way we drastically change our environment, the way we don't notice over time. but i always liked the way the book watched this little red-headed boy grow, from his first trip home with mum to the day he started his own family. i followed this family, and i knew them. Baker builds such a joyous and real family story, and opens our minds to the way we affect our environment.

" opening a window in our minds, by understanding how change takes place and by changing the way we personally affect the environment, we can make a difference." Jeannie Baker

she was onto something back then.


heat - wave

so the weather is hot. has been, for about a week now.

the sun is punishing, the westerly air is warm and the flies are out. Days have reached 34^ at their peak, sapping what little energy and motivation i have - especially at school. Who want to argue with teens when there is sweat rolling down your back. (gee, sorry about that)

so ive sought refuge in any place i can - most often an early trip to the beach, or an afternoon dip in the in-laws pool. the cool aqua blue soothes so nicely. i dip, i bask, i dip, i swim and i dip. such awakening refreshment.

stay cool.


October 24, 2011

. : chrome : .

over the weekend i indulged myself for a few hours, drooling over old cars; cars with style, cars with flair and cars with a whole lotta' chrome. the annual Chromefest was held nearby home and i made it a priority to visit over two months ago, when i first heard it was on. to top it off, i had the major privilege of riding in an exhibited car that a friend owns. it was all too much, my grin was unbearable (and completely embarrassing).

i frenzied around on sunday morning trying to find an outfit to suit the 50's rockabilly style festival, but more importantly to compliment the red '63 F150 i would be riding in. i went for a 50's/60's style red plaid shirt with rolled sleeves and tight black skinnies rolled mid-calf. i felt suitably attired, teaming my outfit with my canvas TOMS.

with the air in our hair, we roared up to the festival - (my embarrassing grin still beaming) - turning heads with every acceleration and grunt that this beast exclaims. check it out
as you can see, there were some mighty fine automobile specimens on show. i thoroughly enjoyed myself.


October 17, 2011

the search is on...

after a fabulous day at the event that was Sangria and Lace, hearing what people think of my glass wares and being humbled and amazed at peoples enjoyment of it, i believe it is time in my glass career to purchase my own kiln. it will be a considerable step - and will make quite a dent on our bank account - but will hopefully see me making glass wares for many years to come.

there were a few times throughout Sangria and Lace where i would be talking to market goers about my work and i would have a really vivid realisation that i am doing something that i have dreamed of for quite a long time. this is a dream come true. a real dream - to work with warm glass - coming true. it is something i need to actively remember, as i sometimes winge about so many dreams never being fulfilled (see this post), but i need to be aware and grateful that this one is!

so, i'm in the market for a small glass work kiln...wish me luck


October 14, 2011

the ants are out...

wouldn't you be bummed...
the ants aren't that bad at my house, but they are pretty pesky. out come the pet-safe ant baits. they shall sit on every windowsill and near every door for the next 4 months at least.

p.s. an amazing sculpture featured in a sculpture park just outside Wollombi.

October 11, 2011

. : garage sale glory : .

we love a good garage sale. my man always goes searching for tools or needed furniture (sensible) and i search for anything (silly)...cutlery, crockery, haberdashery, pictures, trinkets and furniture. i never have a real plan or specific need, i just want to get my hands on someone's old treasures.

this last saturday we ventured a mere 2 minutes over the hill to 2 local sales (score!). as we were closing the doors to the car, he had a word to me; 'now, i don't want to be taking home junk. remember we're moving soon.' its true, we are moving, but i don't see that as a reason to not find cool things - we'll have a house to fill when we move too. anyway, without letting him know, i took his advice and shopped wisely. i love old rusty bits, old measuring things, things that were once useful to people in what was a more 'hands-on' world. so here is what i found.
as you can see, i also got some crockery, old asian style crockery, with 4 tiny little bowls perfect for bits of chilli, ginger or other little condiments. we were also sensible, coming home with a new saw, drill and drill press. he got his tools afterall.


October 10, 2011

things i did today:

sat clearing my eyes to see the sun coming through the clouds, on the back deck.

returned to my cup of tea, several times, as i got ready for my first day back at work after two weeks off.

coerced year 9 kids to do their school work (quite successfully i might add!)

tried to pick paint colours (exterior).

grocery shopped.

sat, daydreaming about my impending maiden trip down to Costco on Wednesday. eehehehehe

dreamt of cooking an italian sausage stew, laiden with loads of chilli and garlic.

cooked a spinach and fetta pie instead, with a big bunch of fresh vibrant silverbeet purchased on aforementioned grocery shop.

paint swatches:


October 8, 2011

on waratahs and wildflowers

we sat and enjoyed a fresh brewed cup of coffee, then we drove, all the way up the winding hill to the most spacious, fresh-air-filled national park and went searching. we went searching for the last of the fabulous waratah flowers, knowing it was a little bit late in the season but hopeful of what we might find.

the sun kissed our noses and warmed our shoulders and the native wildflowers did not disappoint - well ok, they did a little. we were just too late; although there were a few bright red blooms in between the brushy green-brown bush, they were past their prime. but alas, we still enjoyed the stroll, finding other little beauties along the way - like the interestingly titled little horny devils.


. : to 'the point' : .

as a surfer, i know that a point is a good thing; creating almost identical waves, one after the other and generally running for quite some time. i love a good point, as the waves are generally predictable, the rides are long and there is always the safety of the shoulder. you can sit on your board searching the waters below, watching the weeds sway back and forth with each undulating wall of energy, waiting for the next long peeler.

so, i just spent a very good few days at 'the pt.' with some friends, capping off a nice two week break from school. we scored waves, rain (lots of it), thunder, sunshine, quality conversations, frivolity and there was an abundance of food and beverages enjoyed all round. here is some evidence
my friends have a pretty good set up, which i mooched off for a few days. don't worry - i did some beer-buying, wood chopping and a few loads of washing up. i tried to pay my share, but i know that my friends are pretty generous too. i'm a lucky girl


September 25, 2011

have a look

i have a new direct link to my facebook site for wood|GLASS art glass and jewellery. go have a look. we had a great time at that event and are looking forward to more in the future.


September 23, 2011

my return

last sunday morning saw my return to the ocean, going for my first surf in many months. and it was the best day to plan a return! with light offshore winds, small waves between two deep crystal blue channels and the warmth of the spring sun on my face - made for an unbelievable surf. not to mention the fun of running into old friends to share the waves with.

i felt again, that incredible joy, the lightness and energy in the water even with heavy arms and that uncontrollable grin on my face as we walked over the sand to the carpark. STOKE. you hear the word passed around the surfing world a bit, but it makes complete sense. the amount of stoke from a fun surf with friends in the warmth of the spring sun is truly glorious. god has created some amazing playgrounds for us to enjoy, and beautiful fruits to devour from the land with thanks. enjoy.

September 15, 2011

gulli·bili·ty n.

gullibility - tendency to believe too readily and therefore to be easily deceived.
i am afraid that i can concede, after many years of fierce defense on my part, that i am - at times (i will allow only that) - gullible. it has come to my attention, in my current context of working in a male-heavy Industrial Arts staffroom, that i fall for jokes far too easy. or even at my wednesday night sanctuary of glass workshop, i am becoming more prone to falling.
can i interject!? when did this happen? the proud Berlach that amy is, considers herself a fairly knowledgeable soul, never predisposed to folly or the jokes of others. it is a humbling realisation.
it is enjoyable, to laugh with people, even if yours truly is the butt. i'm beginning to enjoy it and am trying to grow stronger in accepting such jocularity and jest. and besides, these folks i'm surrounded by are pretty darn hilarious! we play jokes on one another frequently and i try to have something ready for them as they walk in the door at the beginning of the day. it keeps the load lighter...


September 13, 2011

. :work: .

i have been working of late, every day! (shock, i know! but to a young lass accustomed to casual work - it is a bit of a burden) i'm not so sure how i feel about that, considering the event i have coming up and the amount of pending glass projects in my studio incomplete. i would rather be doing other work, even doing some yard work.
i hope you enjoy doing your work - whatever that may be.


September 7, 2011

new bangs

spring has brought a skip to my step, sun to my shoulders, sweet floral scents to my nose and saucy new bangs! haha

it was time for a little bit of a change, so off to the hairdresser i went. it looks something like this...unfortunately i don't look as sweet as little miss barrymore.
what has spring done for you?


September 1, 2011


ive been making a few little things lately. some for specific reasons and some for no reason at all, but to make. i'm enjoying it; making time when i come home from work to be industrious instead of idle, meaningful instead of meaningless and thoughtful instead of thoughtless. in place of watching 'the tube' (a romantic old name for such a time-sucking beast), i'll read from a book or listen to a record - really listen; play it and it only, sit and dance around the loungeroom floating on the melodies or try to grasp the quick and crazed rhythms.

also, i've been making. for some reason (i know exactly what reason...i'll tell you in a bit), i've been recently fascinated by the 'terrarium' and eager to attempt my own. so, i did. i went on a crazed search post school-bell and bought my supplies, and on my return home got straight to work. here are mine...don't worry - i am quite aware of thier short comings (like the disproportionate amount of stones and dirt and too-large plants), but am pleased with them nonetheless.
and here ladies and gentlemen, was my inspiration. a florist shop that we visited on Brunswick St in Melbourne blew my mind, with amazing displays of colour, scale and scents-so-sweet they lingered in my nostrils far down the road. these were clever little creations, displaying true terrarium mastery (if the price-tag was any indication) - with succulents growing from mere shells, and perfectly proportioned plants to glass containers.
i also recently tried my hand at my very first string of bunting, for my little niece who i like to call 'Schnophy', who turned two over the weekend. i was quite happy with the result - and hopeful that it will hang in her room until she is old enough to remember that i made it for her. x
what have you been making of late?


August 27, 2011

the middle day in Melbourne

toasted granola, hot chai, tram rides, rose street markets, rich cheesy arrancini balls, happy hour, and a whole lotta lamb...

we had a good time on saturday.
i think this was my favourite part of where we stayed...the restaurant cumulus inc. was only two doors down from our apartment block. we went there each morning for a delicious breakfast feasting and on saturday night for an unbelievable dinner (see bottom of post).
we scoured the shelves of this second-hand bookstore for probably an hour, unawares of time as it passed by, with trams, cars, bicycles and people passing outside. it was worth the 'we'll have a look' stop. from the grumpy old woman captaining the store, to the 'leave bags at front counter!' signs (which we disobediently ignored), this was a great experience that saturday morning. it was restorative, as i stood reading poetry from Harwood, Kipling, Browning and the likes. I did some bargaining and walked out with two leather-bound glories of Browning and Kipling.
my lunch - dense, rich aranccini balls with parmesan and sicilian olives
we walked up flinders lane on saturday night about a quarter to eight, dreaming of what cumulus inc. became in the evening was beyond all we imagined (too much?)! the atmosphere was electric, noisy in an intoxicating way. we placed our name, ordered some wine from spain and waited. not bothered at all that we had to stand and watch as diners chatted and laughed while enjoying their meals. our time came, we were escorted to the bar...the kitchen bar. we had front row seats to the magic and mastery of the kitchen. we watched, as an apprentice copped it from 'the boss', the one with the metaphorically bigger white hat. we ordered...venturing toward a shoulder of slow roasted lamb. a whole shoulder. we also requested a side of broccoli to balance the carnivorous main. when they arrived, we were coy yet was i going to attack this piece of meat? well i just asked - the head chef i think. he was helpful. we enjoyed our succulent, moist and dangerously flavoursome little lamby. (i apologise if you are a vegatarian, but i am clearly not.) i only ate the greens so i didn't feel so bad, but they too were extraordinary. who would have thought that a crispy anchovy and caper crumb would go so perfectly with broccoli? i now know. with another glass of red we stuffed ourselves full, finding more and more tender meat on the bone, that we had to, in the end, leave some. our stomachs were so miserly compared to that cut of meat. it felt a little wasteful, but we had done well.

as we waddled home, down the street about 20 metres, we were so content. content of a day exploring Brunswick st, eating delicious food and chatting along the way.


August 22, 2011

an early morning it was...

we left home for our journey south to melbourne town around 4 am...eek - it was quite horrible. but it did give us a whole day to walk and explore the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Swanston Street and Collins St. it was a huge day, which saw me needing a little afternoon respite in our apartment room (which was a beautifully stripped back and renovated place with exposed brickwork and concrete ceilings).

the width of my grin on friday afternoon, while exploring the mastery of australian and international artists, was incredible. i felt so elated strolling the gallery, soaking in all the colour, scale and shape that i was surrounded by. i was a little naughty and snapped some sneaky shots...
that evening, after my aforementioned rest, we did some shopping - i bought some silk, ceramics and confectionary - then we journeyed to the famous Martini Bar and enjoyed the finest martinis. it was such a beautiful atmosphere as we sat by the large glass window, near the fire, and watched the people bustle around below us on Swantston street.
that was our first day. fun.


p.s. you know how i said we were having those family photos, well - we had them. have a peek. i'll leave you to it

August 21, 2011

stories to tell...

do i have some stories for you!

i had a wonderful trip down to melbourne last weekend to shop, eat and drink with a dear friend. i'll fill you in over a few installments. for now, here is a mere peek of what we got up to...
that right there, my dear friends, is THE most amazing toasted granola i have ever eaten. i can't explain its goodness to its full extent...i'll leave your minds to imagine the crunchy, toasty sweetness that it was.


August 7, 2011

and so, winter returns...

that sunshine i was telling you about, and the warm spring scented air - well this morning we awoke to a sad and noticeable change. there were heavy grey skies out the top window and damp on the ground from the early morning rain. it was a sad change, but not unreasonable considering we are in the tale-end of winter, but a little welcome today.

looking back at my day; i quite enjoyed the lazy sleep-in, the joint grocery shop, the sweat from my afternoon yoga class and staying home this evening listening to the rain fall outside. a lot of rain is quite dreary, but it's nice to have a little every now and again.

what did you do today? how do you fancy a little precipitation?


August 5, 2011

smoothie recipe

as per request....

so it goes a little like this; i rush a smoothie together 5 minutes after i'm supposed to be out the door on the way to work. so, please forgive the ambiguity of measurements and ingredients. its all very flexible anyway...i mean, c'mon - its only a smoothie.

all you need is a stick mixer and large cup to mix in, then a cup to serve in. (see aforeposted picture of my new smoothie has insulated walls for heat/cold and is the perfect weight in the hand, with a beautiful blue lid)

a couple of tbsp of cooked quinoa (necessary morning grains - its handy to have a batch cooked in the fridge for each mornings smoothie delight)
a couple of tbsp of natural yoghurt
a cup of frozen berries
a small handful of fresh strawbs
a cup of milk
1 - 2 tbsp of honey (i do like it sweet) - you have to work to make sure the quinoa isn't too overpowering in the mix...i'm sure fresh berries would help that.

i just wizz, pour and run and out the door!


August 4, 2011

cold weather/warm weather

we've had a few changes in weather of late, around my neck of the woods...

we had torrential rain for, say, 8 days straight. it was out wettest July, in along time. that was followed by chilly winds and cold nights. we had the heaters on for at least a week straight...(eeek, i don't want to see that energy bill). BUT - for the last 5 days, the sun has been shining, and bringing warm spring-scented air with it. i even had a little too much sun on my shoulders last saturday...what a treat.

in light of this new sunshine and new warm weather (which, by the way is forecast to end soon...) i have a new breakfast tradition. instead of eating a bowl of wintery of warm porrige to fight the cold - i've traded in my bowl for a travel cup...of berry smoothie! i know - seems too early to be having chilly berry smoothie's this time of the year but i can't get enough!
i still fit in my morning grains, by adding quinoa to the smoothie with yoghurt, berries (frozen and fresh), milk and a little honey...(ok, a lot! i like it sweet)

what are you having for breakfast?


July 24, 2011

glass beauty

you know that i love glass, and that i enjoy playing with it and am amazed by the wondrous things it does when 'gently' fired to blistering temperatures. here some other beautiful pictures of glass, and important uses for it, might i just say...
a full tray of pretty glasses, filled with a delicious mix of liquids - served on my bubunia's stainless steel tray.
aah, and crystal...there is nothing like it.


mi familia

a family feast.
berlach family feasts are not that regular...but when they do occur, there is no shortage of raucous and rioting. when all the members are placed together in one small area there is as many conversations happening as there are members and no shortage of laughing and jest.
food is relatively key to any such meeting, which i think can be traced back to my bubunia and her wonderful provision of food for her family, who you can read a little about here and here. both my mum and dad are really brilliant, but most importantly adventurous cooks who cooked me anything from italian to lebanese while growing up (even though our strongest ancestral roots are polish and english). we always set the table, prepared the water and the wine and sat and enjoyed the food before us - critiquing the finer points of the cuisine along the way.
here are some images from one of those most recent evenings at my beloved brother and sister's home. you can check out their love for food and family at the beetle shack.
one very happy customer. totally satisfied by the generously coated tandoori chicken, fresh carrot and coriander salad and zesty cocktail.
an evening of indian feasting enjoyed with a cocktail of two. (cocktail - coriander + grapefruit mule kinda thing...delicious)