Saturday, April 21, 2007

Miss Eagle loves paper, loves printing, loves print, loves font. It is with great joy that she has discovered that this year is the 50th anniversay of the introduction of that famous and ubiquitous font, Helvetica. There is a movie. There is a blog.

Miss Eagle is a would-be-if-she-could-be calligrapher and, since the introduction of the personal computer, has transferred this love affair to fonts. She loves fonts: fonts to suit the words, fonts to express a mood, fonts just to lie beautifully on the page. Be still, my beating heart!

One of the limitations of Blogger, is its ultra-limited choice of fonts. No Helvetica. Neither MS Word nor MS Publisher has Helvetica. To download it, it has to be purchased. So ubiquity doesn't travel free, more's the pity!

So Miss Eagle, who has a penchant for sans serif fonts, tends to prefer Trebuchet in Blogger. Where there is a wider choice, the equally ubiquitous Gill Sans in all its variety is a favourite.

The movie is not due in Melbourne until 21 July - the Kiwi cousins across the ditch are getting it first.

In the meantime, happy birthday Helvetica!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Art will out

Entry to Estevao's home in the favela: Photo Tuco Reines



Estevão Silva da Conceição at work

Estevao's Garden


Miss Eagle watched again this morning the wonderful documentary, Gaudi in the Favela. The blogosphere has a large slice of it dedicated to home making, home decorating, home renovation. A lot of this has a significant consumerist element. In other words, one of the hallmarks of a major proportion of such blogs is consumption whether it is the furniture, the appliances, or the DIY stuff from the hardware shop.

Estevão Silva da Conceição's home in a favela (shanty town) in the centre of Sao Paulo, Brazil is quite a different and brilliant twist on making a place home and decorating it. The favelas of Sao Paulo are the domicile of the poor: the very, very, very poor. In a nation with huge demarcations between rich and poor, the favelas are a testimony to economic isolation.

At some stage in his life, Estevao started doing things to his place. Estevao's home, in the favela of Paraisopolis, has a small footprint so, at times, Estevao has gone up. He has mosaic-ed everything. A lot of Estevao's materials are found not purchased. They are then covered in concrete and whatever goes into making a colourful, interesting and artistic mosaic. His work is reminiscent of the work, in Barcelona, of the great Spanish architect, artist and designer, Antonio Gaudi.

The film, Gaudi in the Favela, depicts a man, without schooling or knowledge of Gaudi, who has built a Gaudinian castle with next to no resources. One day a young architectural student walks through the favela and discovers Estevao's home. She cannot believe that Estevao has never heard of Gaudi; that he is not consciously attempting to imitate Gaudi.

This meeting, in time, results on a trip for Estevao to Gaudi's city, Barcelona. Here Estevao comes face to face with the work of the master - from the great mosaics of Park Guell to his great unfinished Sagrada Familia.

Gaudi in the Favela is about the triumph of the human spirit. In the darkness of the slums, the glowing light of creativity can transform, console, encourage.

Finally, Miss Eagle has to say that well-executed and innovative mosaic has a penetrating and uplifting quality. It relies on colour - usually bright and exuberant. Its pattern rewards exploration. It makes one's spirit sing and soar. Melbourne, at the bottom end of this island-continent, is a long way from Park Guell and Paraisopolis but there is a lovely work in Bairnsdale, Victoria which, for Miss E, is evocative of Gaudi and Estevao. It is around the perimeter of a roundabout in a busy street. It is public art full of colour and joy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Susie, chai and the green bean

Miss Eagle wants to show her favourite tipple. It is a tea-based chai that comes from Cafe Green Bean in Belgrave. There is chai that is a mix of herbs and spices but no tea. It is made by boiling/infusing in milk. This could be done with tea-based chai too but Miss E, dear Reader, prefers just to make it like tea - by putting the leaves, herbs and spices in a teapot and pouring over boiling water. Miss E then drinks it without additives - no milk, lemon, no sweetener. Miss E delights in the fragrance so much so that, when drinking the chai, it is as if one is drinking the fragrance too.

The cup and saucer is one of a set of six Susie Cooper "black fruit" coffee cans inherited from my aunt.

Orderly journey: orderly death.


Miss Eagle has just come across this enlightening article about New Zealand writer, Katherine Mansfield. Miss Eagle often thinks about Mansfield because of this quote that is attributed to her (if you, dear Reader, have precise details please share with Miss E):



Whenever I prepare for a journey I prepare as though for death. Should I never return, all is in order.


Your correspondent, dear Reader, has prepared for many journeys. The preparations were never just a case of packing ports (yes, Miss E is a Queenslander). It meant leaving all in an orderly manner. Not only nice to come home to, but what if one didn't come home ever again!


(Miss Eagle knows how many housekeeping experts - some could get their PhDs in the topic - are out there in the blogosphere. Miss E could never be placed in this category!)


Then one day, Miss Eagle came across the Mansfield quote and though "Aah! Know exactly what she means." Do you identify with this, dear Reader? If so, please add a comment.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tupperware and a Drag Queen. But, oh, the Decor!


Over at The QueerPenguin, Sam has got himself into Tupperware. The hostess with the mostest for this mushroom-quiche-and-champagne event was Portia Turbo, a drag queen. Sam got bewitched, entranced and enthused and has purchased two hundred bucks worth of Tupperware.

Miss Eagle, dear Reader, finds this an absolute hoot! Tupperware and drag queens! The latest hot and gay thing to do! LOL, Roll, LOL, Roll, LOL, Roll.


In spite of only living two blocks away from a huge Tupperware distribution facility discreetly laid out in a landscape of white standard roses, Miss E has never been a big fan of Tupperware. In fact, she has only managed - in her long existence - two Tupperware parties. At one of them, many decades ago, she purchased this item.

Miss E thought this a good idea at the time for the honey and jam etc on the breakfast table (long before Rachel Ashwell taught us to do better). This item turned out to be a b-i-g nuisance in the pantry cupboard. It took up space. It was difficult to accommodate other items around it. Miss Eagle thinks she should have taken a clue from her friend Heather who had a cupboard specially built to accommodate all her Tupperware!

Miss Eagle is not the biggest fan of plastics except in certain limited situations. She prefers glass. The pantry is full of large glass jars for the flour, sugar, rice, etc. Small glass jars for the herbs and in between ones for the caster sugar and the lentils, etc. She rarely buys new. It is clear that everyone does not share Miss E's passion for glass in the pantry cupboard because she has picked up glass jars not only in opp shops but when left out for the taking when people shift houses.

But there are times when plastic is desirable - for storing left-overs in the fridge; taking lunch to work and so on. Miss E's favourite bit of plastic is Australian engineered, Australian made. These are the Decor products and its distribution centre - sans landscaping - is only a suburb away!

Miss E always recalls what her mother used to say about party-plan products that were not available through retail outlets. Phyllis always used to say "If these products are so good, why can't they be sold off the shelf where they have to compete against other products." Now, Phyllis was no market rationalist. Just very practical and full of the wisdom of good, old-fashioned common sense. So, yes, why can't party plan products compete? When you ask yourself that question, you might be surprised by the answer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Alannah's Aladdin's Cave at Fitzroy

Alannah Hill - one of Australia's leading fashion designers

With Alannah, it is not just the fashion - the feminine, flamboyance, and whimsy of Alannah's fashion - but it is also about the hair. Hair that is lush, luxe, large and flowered and/or ribboned.
Alannah has style, most distinctive style.

On a recent trip to Fitzroy with Herself, we discovered a factory outlet in Brunswick Street selling Alannah's fabrics, accessories, and trims.

Wonderland!!!

Style! Style! Style!

Even in a factory outlet!


Bejewelled florals!

The fabric above would make a wonderful jacket







Aren't the colours luscious?




This reminds Miss E of fish scales.

Perhaps, she too, could become a mermaid!

The jewels
The oddments
The trims

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Planter with heart

Herself has been at it again!
This lovely porcelain planter was salvaged by Miss Eagle from the hard rubbish. Oh, dear Reader, how wasteful and unimaginative people can be! Herself has planted some ivy along with a re-shaped wire coat-hanger. One day, each of us hopes, it will be a pretty heart-shaped ivy in an elegant planter.

ShareThis