maggi salad dressing

when we were kids, our family was often invited to our neighbours house for dinner. they were a grandparent-aged german couple who loved to fatten us up with delicious food. i have very distinct food memories linked to elvira and dieter warmbold.

one of my favourite dishes is a salad they made us, more specifically a salad dressing whose main ingredient is a seasoning called maggi. that is all i know about it. i guess maggi is actually a brand of seasonings but this particular seasoning came in liquid form and as far as i know it was called maggi and that is that. it is a dark liquid, very salty in a vegemite, umami sort of way. it also has a bit of acidity.

i found a bottle in a chinese grocery store a while back and re-discovered my love for this salad dressing.

the salad itself was just iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato and maybe a bit of onion. all ingredients were shredded using a mandolin.


to make the dressing, i took a clean jar and used vegetable oil (not olive as you don't want to mask the lovely maggi flavour!) white vinegar and maggi, 3 tablespoons of each. last i added a tad of worcestershire sauce and a tiny teaspoon of raw sugar.

i didn't mandolin my salad but just used whatever was on hand. what i love about this salad dressing is it is so different from other dressings. it isn't subtle. it makes your mouth kind of water, much like eating salt and vinegar chips.


very tasty! and with a hint of childhood nostalgia!


hetzel family

a couple of weeks ago i got to take some photos of a sweet trio of a family, sarndra, shane and little alex.

alex is such a sweet little one. he has amazingly wide eyes with gorgeous lashes and a very easy going nature. i am sure a lot of his temperament comes from having very loving and attentive parents. babies truly respond to having their needs met! it sounds simple but in reality it is so much harder than it looks. they made it look pretty easy though over at the hetzel's.

i arrived at their place mid morning on a sort of drizzly day. i was a bit nervous, as i usually am when i am going to take people's photos, also because it was my first time trying a really informal, unplanned style of capturing a family, inspired by the amazing tim coulson. his documentary style approach is the direction i'd like to head in, as that is how i like to photograph my own life and family. i think it is much more relaxing for all involved, much more real, and just plain beautiful to have a record of the everyday.

i ve had this sort of 'fake it 'til you make it' refrain running through my head as of late - i LOVE taking photos, but am a relative new-comer as far as things go. i honestly had only the foggiest idea of what an slr camera was a year ago. and i guess in the quest to be inspired into finding my own style i did a lot of photography blog reading and a lot of trolling online and it seemed as though the only way to make a living taking photos was to polish them. don't get me wrong, i still do love a polished photo - but if you know me, polished is not a word that describes me very well!

where am i going with this? ah. yes, i think i am much more of a fly by the seat of my pants type, rather than a chart the sun and tides and locations type. no pocketful of poses here. and i am relieved that i have come to this conclusion so that i know where to direct my effort in the future.

i loved having a peep into what sarndra and shane and alex get up to when his daddy has a sunday off from his chef-ing and were just banging around the house and neighbourhood. and i super enjoyed just taking photos and talking to these people who were really interesting to chat with rather than telling them where we were going to sit and trying to get them to act natural. goodness, it was so much easier capturing people acting natural when they were actually acting natural!

so, thank you to sarndra, shane and alex for letting me into your home 2 weeks ago to drink coffee and take pictures of your life. it truly was a pleasure.



lamingtons & white nectarines


holiday season and pre holiday season flew by in a lovely blur of birthday party-ing, panicked wedding quilt making (in a good way, i kind of like a time-crunch, photos to come one day), campervan-ing, wedding watching, sugar cookie baking, pumpkin pie making, eating, engagement cake baking, beaching, bonfire at farm-ing, more eating, and general family festivities. a VERY lovely few weeks i must say.

i couldn't resist a little blog post writing time tonight although after packing our townhouse for the past few days i should probably be still packing or sleeping or something remotely constructive towards the cause, but ah well i think a moment to document our last days here is a must instead.

yesterday i took the little people down to the waterfront for the last time! crazy. we have lived 400 meters or so from moreton bay for the past 3.5 years or so in a little townhouse that we've sort of scrounged into a home. it is too dark in here. the next place i live i will not be using iso 3200 indoors i'll tell you that much people (well, people who know what i'm talking about anyway)!

wynnum itself has definitely been lovely in its own way and it has been the perfect place to live with kids. that said, we have never felt very settled here in wynnum and whether it be moves to melbourne or canada, the discussion about where to leave to was ongoing. i just can't believe it took 3.5 years to come about.

we took a break from the house and the packing and bought some lamingtons and white nectarines down to the bay for morning tea. it was one of those hazy sunny days of a queensland summer. all sparkling water and hot sun. juicy fingers with sand stuck to them.

snail found

banned from snail farming

re-instated at snail farm















dinner was a strange but satisfying cupboard and fridge clean-out mish mash of barlotti beans (i always keep a pre-cooked bag of previously dried
beans in the freezer for handy use of dried beans), sauteed with a bit of jap pumpkin, cumin (my go-to spice) and onion. Then i boiled a bit of pasta and decided to make the pumpkin and bean mixture a bit more saucy by adding. . . coconut milk. Then it turned into something that would have been much better suited to eat with rice, but personally i quite enjoyed it with pasta.



i have a stack of things i have been meaning to do. instead, i decided to have a play with imovie.

i've been making an effort to take a few more moving pictures of the kids, they love to watch themselves. i am not a huge lover of video but my camera is making it fun. i like using the manual focus, it makes me feel like i'm doing something other than just aiming a camera.

new, additional goal is to compile the little movies at the end of the month using imovie - the application is super intuitive, you can literally make something up as you go without really needing to learn how to do it.

if you have imovie, seriously go and have a play if you haven't already!

November 2011 from Hsu-Yin Boo on Vimeo.



a few party preparations have been underway this week, including birthday party dress sewing.

i used a pattern from ottobre summer 3/2011 but added the lace to the sleeves and skirt.

instead of an invisible zipper i decided to use an exposed metal zip to give this very airy fairy dress a bit of an edge.


i think i'm going to have to make something like this next. i particularly like the yoke she constructed. most likely i'd like to see reao shorts with this future hypothetical romper and probably just straps instead of sleeves but that petal sleeve is very pretty. mainly, i'm a sucker for any fabric anna maria horner designs.

in fact, there could be an adult sized romper on the cards, i wouldn't be surprised. . .


fabric balloons

last week i was in a toy store and came upon a toy that i could 'totally make at home'

you know when you see something in a store and you say to yourself 'i'm not buying that i could just make it!' but then you never do?

well, this time i did.


this little invention is a fabric cover that you blow a balloon up into. it is essentially a balloon cozy. i know, sounds pointless and strange but hear me out.

it looks so much nicer than a balloon. it feels a million times nicer than a balloon and masks the latex smell. it makes the balloon bounce like a proper ball and it loses that floaty sort of problem when you throw it.
lastly, it does not pop straight away like a balloon.

i used this pattern for a fabric beach ball from the purl bee, but any ball pattern would do. i'd like to make a slightly larger one.



with the move to canada slowly approaching, i'm beginning to take stock of all the things i will miss. and when i say things i mainly mean people. oh, and the beach.

friday, the entire livelong day (that's right, a whopping 11 hours) was spent out at our dear friend julie's house. julie and simon's house is the kind of place that is immediately homely and welcoming and full of offers of food and drink and general feelings of good-will. bea would like a house 'like julie's'. enough said.

as usual, the day passed in a blissful combination of tea drinking, chatter, a bit of pattern cutting/sewing plan talk, eating, parenting, and drinking more tea. all this was followed by the dads joining in after work and bbq-ing, having a nice cold apple cider, eating some more and bathing the kids.

although there are still 4.5 months left, these sweet afternoons are numbered and lovely and they are to be savoured.

i know you are reading this julie - believe me when i tell you i don't know if i would have made it here without you. i'm going to miss you something fierce. i wish i could move you with us, somehow.


ok, i just cried my eyes out writing this post. i love you my friend, you will be missed.




there was a lapse in parenting yesterday afternoon when i left B in the kitchen to fix her own vegemite cruskits. of course little ruben was keen to watch so we dragged over a chair for him too. i went off upstairs to do something and returned to this:



his tongue must have been shriveling with the saltiness of it all. for those of you who don't know, vegemite is the beloved australian condiment akin to marmite and promite and is best used as a mere scraping, as opposed to a peanut butter-like blob. my mouth is shuddering just looking at those photos. the poor fellow had a mighty drink of water afterwards. i did feel a bit wrong photographing him while he burned off his taste buds, but the photographer in me took over the mother in me, what can i say!

on a completely unrelated topic, alli has been talking about lurkers, and enticing us out of the shadows.

i am such a lurker. i honestly can't remember the last time i commented on a blog. mostly it is a time constraint thing i think? every blog loves a comment here and there so we don't think we are writing into cyberspace. of course i see stats that tell me someone is reading, and of course i force my family into reading by delivering straight to their mail boxes. so although mainly i tell myself my blog is just for me, i do like to know someone else is lurking out there. . .

so, i suppose i should stop doing so much lurking and write nice things on people's blogs. i will try.



recently, b has been trying to start up her career as a trampoline gymnast, and we decided this thrifted pink and red stripe stretch stuff would be just the ticket for a bit of leotard action. for some reason i am drawn to the sewing of leotards. maybe because the stretch fabric fits so snugly, you kinda feel like you have mastered the fit without actually tailoring anything.

so serious.


and here, the jig is up.


self portrait.


that's my shoulder, blurred in the background. a very abstract cameo appearance. i'm rarely found in photos anymore, dontcha know.

until next time!