September 9th, 2016

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September 9th, 2016

School’s back (hear the collective sigh of bitter-sweet relief). While I miss the pots of cheesy pasta “soaking” in the sink, the clump clump clump of giant Doc Martens in the hallway, the piles of junk all over the house, the alarmingly violent nerf wars in the garden… Who am I kidding?…I am not complaining in the least. I’ve got things to illustrate! Newsletters to send! Silence to sit in! Despite knowing it will be a good ten months before we hit the languid lakeside days of summer again, I am particularly fond of this seasonal turn. A lovely PNW grey has settled in outside, bringing with it an urge to hunker down. There’s plenty of firewood stacked, soup’s back on the menu and of course; woolly socks/boots/bonfires/scotch/books/cheerful family board games (under duress)/netflix etc. Yep. Autumn – Bring it.




Instagram favourite of the week:  This week I highly recommend experiencing NYC from an entirely different view point; pondlife_pondlife takes us down the microscope to peer at the “single cellular life of New York City, one pond at a time”… The tiny little creatures are quite beautiful in their translucency and the short videos capturing their wanderings and interactions are intriguing.


This is “A grouping of Cyanobacteria with a diatom. These guys are magnified 1000x”.




#GBBO — Where have you been all my life? :  How have I not tuned in to the The Great British Bake Off before this season? Screening in the UK on Wednesday nights is season 7 of this Master Chef style reality-show. 12 amateur bakers gather in a marquee in the grounds of a beautiful Berkshire estate where they undertake 3 tricky baking tasks each week in hopes of winning the crystal cake-stand trophy. You might think it sounds naff*, but honestly it’s some of the most delightful tv I’ve watched in years because firstly – cakes and bread (duh) and secondly – the people are just so generous, unassuming and funny. It’s a long time since our entire family has sat down to watch the same show with equal amounts of glee. It’s not unusual for the cheering and shouting (pillow throwing, loud swearing) at the tv screen to get out of hand. There’s also a lot more shoving and clattering going on in our own kitchen as the limited bench space is in hot demand. Bread dough is being pounded, upside-down cakes are running riot and cookies are lining in up in terrifying misshapen forms. I can see it’s going to be an autumn of comfort eating.
*Because it’s a British reality show this was a deliberate use of the word “naff” but I also contemplated using “pants”, my other favourite Brit adjective.



Well then, I’m reading a book… Right now it’s an old copy of Martin Amis’s The Rachel Papers. The interesting fact about this (to me, anyway) is that I am reading again. Thanks to Pip’s Ten Pages a Day challenge.

What’s in your bookcase, huh? Lily and I have just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and have moved on to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. You can tell a lot about a person from their bookcase, as the super cool Australian blog, Hello Bookcasewill agree. Lily’s is a good example. In her worn, blue-painted shelf there is a lot of Roald Dahl, hinting at her wicked sense of humour and her taste for sublimely warped characters.


Hello Bookcase is such a inspiring and fascinating site…  “Each fortnight Hello Bookcase will introduce someone new and share with you their shelves.” — with interviews and beautiful photographs of such luminaries as Paul Capsis,  Anne Summers and, one of my favourites, Akira Isogawa (above, photo by Kathy Luu), there is much to explore and more to come.

“So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.”  – Roald Dahl. (That’s all very well, but then how would I know what they are making in The Great British Bake Off?)




Gimme something new to listen to…  A Song a Day is a music recommendation service curated by real, alive and breathing people.  A thoughtfully handpicked song chosen by one of my favourite music-loving online friends, Laura Gluhanich, arrives in my inbox every weekday morning. Choose a curator whose music tastes match your own and expect to be delighted.



So yes, this week it’s baking-inspired coveting…  I want to know all the secrets to perfect bread so I can whisper them to the rising flour and yeast.


I feel Flour Water Salt Yeast is a book that will help me figure this out and now that I am reading so much, I can dedicate some of my ten pages a day to this delight. I am also now coveting a trip to Portland to visit Ken’s Artisan Bakerybecause – look at those croissants! I think I must be hungry.



If you’re in need of a little pick-me-up, here are five:
1) I ignored this when it was all over my facebook stream this week but luckily I was finally talked into it; this musicless version of a Mick Jagger and David Bowie classic is stupid-funny. When you start imagining that they are two mates walking home from a big night out it gets even funnier.
2) And Famous Authors Reply to Your Unsolicited Dick Pic. – McSweeney’sgold.
3) Also, in case you were wondering, I am still dreaming about Paris and this time it’s the rooftops.
4) The Vintage Girls of New York City in Harper’s Bazaar (via Messy Nessy)
5) I have been closely following the unfolding tale of British artist Rebecca Moss who is on the Vancouver Art Gallery residency 23 Days at Sea. She is currently stranded aboard a vessel off the coast of Japan due to the financial receivership of her Korean shipping company — no harbour will take them! (via my Editor at Large, Carrie Cogan)


Okay! That’s it for this week.

Last week I took down my solo art show which was up at Auntie Pesto’s Cafehere on Salt Spring Island for the month of August. If you are interested you can have a look at the work here. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to purchase any of the remaining pieces.

Have a good week and thanks for reading. All feedback is welcome and do tell your friends if you are enjoying The Small Batch List.

Over and out,

Claire Robertson,
The Small Batch List
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