Archive for the ‘Cool Things’ Category

An Emu Egg

We were given an emu’s egg!

It’s stunningly beautiful – richly coloured, speckled and perfectly shaped. It looks exactly as you’d imagine a dinosaur egg might have looked, which is hardly surprising, given that emus are the modern day descendants of raptors.

It’s also as solid as a rock. The only way we could get the contents out, short of smashing the shell with a mallet, was by drilling a hole in the top and bottom, then blowing as hard as possible. 500g of white and yolk eventually came out – that’s the equivalent of ten large chicken eggs…

We fried half to use in noodles…

…then turned the rest into a zucchini slice…

It was a bit too rich for our old digestive systems, but the kids loved it.

The shell was rinsed clean and allowed to dry, and now sits on the mantelpiece in our living room. Google tells me that the eggs are seven layers thick and often used for intricate carving. It’s a perfect fit with our rocks and fossils!

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I have a thing about ponchos.

I love them.

I probably love them more than hats.

And I love hats.

Ponchos let you secretly wear a blanket when you go out and get away with it. They let you overeat at a dinner party and undo the top button of your jeans without anyone noticing. You can throw one over your pyjamas when people drop in unexpectedly. And they keep you warm and cosy, while leaving both hands free to crochet or stitch.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I own well over a dozen ponchos. I have several that Maude crocheted for me…

Over the past year or so, I’ve picked up a couple of vintage suede ones from the 1960s…

In addition, I’ve sewn a stack of them following these truly brilliant instructions from Threads Magazine.

I’ve made them out of vintage silk kimonos..

…old kantha quilts…

…repaired embroidered Indian shawls like the one below, and just about every pashmina I’ve ever owned…

My favourites though – the ones that take me from the supermarket to casual drinks with girlfriends – are made from hemp shawls that I bought from the markets years ago. They’re getting a little soft and shapeless these days, but they’re still incredibly comfortable – perfect for travel wear.

If you’ve never owned a poncho, grab an old pashmina out of the drawer and give it a go – it literally only takes one seam. Here’s a link again to the instructions.

As Noel Fielding said in The Mighty Boosh.. “It’s impossible to be unhappy in a poncho!” ♥

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Balancing Animals

Small Man is the King of the Balancing Jungle Animals.

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while now, you’ll know all about these, as we’ve been playing with them since 2005. In all that time, we’ve only had one broken piece out of the six sets we own, and Pete fixed that pretty quickly with a little wood glue.

Most of the pieces are a bit dinged and chipped now, and some of the edges a bit rounded which makes balancing a bit trickier, but they still work quite well. And right now, they’re proving to be the perfect lockdown distraction. This week, we’ve had the Balazoo game on our table (it actually lives in the dining room). Please don’t ask me how the elephant’s trunk is balancing in the lion’s mouth. After 15 years, I still haven’t figured out why it works…

Here’s a video of Small Man in action yesterday…


And here’s his finished construction…

. . . . .

The sets are all manufactured in New Zealand. I checked with Adrien who owns Tarata, and they’re back in operation now that their stage 4 restrictions have been lifted.

We have the Balazoo game, plus a set each of the elephants, dinosaurs, kiwis, apes and jungle animals. The last one is our favourite, but in the past, Small Man would build huge structures using all the pieces…

Each set is cut from a single block of wood and can be balanced in a myriad of gravity-defying ways…

The dinosaurs are especially cool, as they can hang off tables…

Only Pete the engineer can manage the kiwis well…the curved surfaces make them trickier to balance…

We had all the sets out yesterday so I that could write this post, and I built a four-pack-stack. As you can see, the pieces are in surprisingly good shape given their age and the number of times they’ve crashed onto the floor and table. The giraffe’s hind leg has been glued back on…

If you’re looking for a lockdown distraction, visit Tarata’s online shop. I don’t have any affiliation with them, but they’re a great company to deal with and their products are superb and endlessly entertaining. Adrien tells me they’re shipping internationally again now that their restrictions have been lifted! ♥

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Cownose Rays

Good morning folks! Hope you’re all well.

A little footage from Bondi Beach (Sydney) shot last year by the Drone Shark App guys. Amazing stuff! ♥


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Last week, I chipped a ceramic ornament and asked Steady Hands Pete to fix it for me.

Pete: “Can you get me the box with the hot glue gun, please?”

Me: ~hands him a box~

Pete: “This is the wrong one.

Me: “No, it’s not…”

Pete: “Babe, it’s full of Muppets.”

My life is one endless comedy sketch. Also, I have a box of Muppets, which makes me very, very happy!

. . . . .

We’re big Jim Henson fans in our house – so much so that we even built our own Muppet in 2001. I’m not sure if any of you remember Benny? Small Man named him after the Elton John song and we didn’t have the heart to tell him at the time that that Bennie was female…


Did you know Eva’s dad actually worked with Jim Henson years ago? That still blows me away! Any other Muppet fans out there? If so, who was your favourite? ♥

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