Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recession Firelighters and easy Brown Bread

Well, to be honest, they are just firelighters, and like so many other things in my life came about as a result of going to the shops to buy them and being totally disgusted at the prices....

Incidentally I am reading a fabulous book the Bro got me for Christmas, its called Home Made: Contemporary Russian Folk Artefacts by Vladimir Arkhipov and is full of amazing objects made by people who were either too poor or too disgusted to buy them - from the very practical to totally frivolous - things like a steam train made from beer cans and other bits of trash as a child's toy. Very beautiful.....

But I digress...
The point of this is that you can make really cheap firelighters out of stuff you have (in our case anyway) lying around the house.
Here they are...

I used cardboard tubes from loo rolls, cut in two and stuffed full of woodchip. (TDW has plentiful supplies from his woodchip fired ceramics) Then I melted down old bum-ends of candles and poured the wax over them - I would say only about 4 teaspoons wax on each one. This morning I lit the fire with just one, and it is burning away merrily as I type.
I would recommend slicing briquettes in two if you are using them though.

I totally love firelighters. Especially the ones in the little plastic packets where you burn the packet with it and they don't make your hands stink. I know its not good for the environment but I love not having to tend a fire. I like walking away and coming back to a warm room. Maybe its from having a bad back and not wanting to chop wood into little pieces and bend over a fire tending it for ages thus mangling my back. And maybe its just plain convenience. Hurray for modern technology!
But a much bigger hurray for homemade firelighters!

And the quest for the most perfect eggs goes on....
Yesterday's were probably the most beautiful yet this year, sitting on a bed of rocket from the greeenhouse - its amazing how the plants have started to grow again now that there is more light - things are waking up in the greenhouse at least. And lying on homemade brown bread.

Ahh, look at them. Sure they're only gorgeous!

Incidentally the bread recipe, given to me by a friend's mother, has to be the easiest bread ever and highly recommendable...

Brown Bread
1lb wholemeal flour
1/2lb white flour (or all wholemeal)
6oz oatbran
3/4 bicarbonate of soda sieved (this is 1 1/2 tbsps)
1oz sugar (optional)
1 tsp salt
1lt buttermilk

Mix all the dry ingredients really well. I sometimes add pumpkin seed and dried fruits too, nuts, whatever....
Then pour in the buttermilk and mix very gently until everything is wet.
Spoon it into 2 x 2lb loaf tins and cook in a preheated oven at 200 C for 40-45 minutes.

I love that this makes two loaves and they freeze well too.

Monday, February 16, 2009


By popular's the Grupat show from the Project Arts Centre last week.
Above, the costumes of the Dowager Marchylove - her busby in the centre, and some pictures of her taken at the Hellfire Club and the Twelfth Lock in Clondalkin below. Thats right, she does have a beard.

Then her graphic scores in rosette form. On the opening night everyone was given a rosette to wear.

The Parks Service brought us a shed filled with drawings from their game - The Legend of the Fornar Resistance, in which the Augments take over planet Erade and blow Emeraldia to pieces. Viewers used a UV torch to reveal hidden messages on all the maps and drawings.

Turf Boon's xylophone made out of teddy bears of ascending sizes, with "black" keys above the "white" keys, and two sticks with teddy heads on the end to play it with.

Detleva Verens' beautiful stick scores - this one based on the paths satellites trace over Dublin.

Violetta Mahon's portable shrine - The Importance of the Filaments, made in a suitcase.

The Bulletin M's graffiti scores on the left here - musical graffiti on walls and written on stones, and on the right, Flor Hartigan's Telegraph - photographs of telegraph wires that the viewers were invited to stick musical notes onto.

There was high demand for drawing and sticking notes on.

The finished piece will be played as a musical score in Barcelona.

The Grupat Cabinet of Curiosities was filled with graphic scores and sculptures from all members of Grupat.

Here are the dream diaries of Violetta Mahon and handmade scores.

The nailed score of Detleva Verens - Aquifera.

And last but not least, musical scores by Bulletin M and the Dowager Marchylove are hidden in the Dublin mountains - under several feet of snow last week. The dice scores are in a geocache waiting for people to take them home. Check out the geocaching website using keyword Grupat. This is a view of their location last week!

There was also an installation by O'Brien Industries - a couple of thousand white balloons in a dark space with a swing in the middle. Visitors took a torch in and had a swing while listening to the sounds being played through four speakers, getting closer and further away as they swung towards each one, and the stirring of hundreds of balloons...
Of course we had to take some of the balloons on a walk home when they had finished their job.