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This Week: Iconic illustrators, easy as cake, slap bass, smiles-a-plenty.
The Small Batch List

October 14th, 2016

There's a storm coming! Three, actually. Number one is meant to hit the island later tonight. The schools have sent out letters regarding "inclement weather procedures", the local fire department released a scary looking weather map with swirls of bright colours and a facebook update that says there is a "potential for tree damage, power outages, flooding and landslides", and Sheila, our awesome local Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Leader, has sent out emails telling us to batten down our hatches. Our hatches are battened, neighbours checked on, and all of our vegetable beds already got wrecked in last week's storm, so I am using this pre-storm calm to work on this email newsletter. I am hoping that I can get it to my superstar proofreader in Australia (Dad) and then back again and uploaded ready for distribution on Friday before the "whoa, Nelly" craziness hits. A loss of power for days is not unheard of around here. If I don't get there, I am just not sure what you will do without my recipe (see below) for warm ginger cake and toffee sauce. Because it's survival food. See you on the other side! Be safe.
It's free!
Jean Jullien


Instagram awesomeness: You might know Jean Jullien from his iconic illustration of the Eiffel Tower peace symbol that appeared across social media after last year's terrorist attacks in Paris. He is an undeniably clever illustrator and cartoonist. I follow his Instagram for its whimsy and the laughs it often provides. He also has a brand new book out called Modern Life.


'Tis the season for family get-togethers and rich food. Over on my blog you can find my fall-back dessert, The Best Warm Ginger Cake with Toffee Sauce in the World. It's a melt-and-mix cake, so it's fast and easy and seemingly foolproof. I have been making this cake for nigh-on 15 years thanks to an introduction from Kylie Gusset (whose vintage cake-tin I stole and still use every single time with loving thoughts - that's the kind of friend I am), and in recent years I have adapted it and also added an approximation of Stephanie Alexander's caramel sauce that she pours in great quantities over sticky date pudding. Served with whipped cream or ice-cream, this is a pretty perfect way to end a meal and it will feed up to eight as you do not need big slices. As a special subscriber bonus I have made a printable version of the recipe which you can download and print from here:
Download to print


Mum, this one is for you: I say this because she is a fan of the band Primus from years ago and I just discovered that lead singer Les Claypool and Sean Ono Lennon (of all that other fame) have collaborated to form The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Their debut album, Monolith of Phobos, was out last June. How on earth did we miss it? Not sure I like it, but I'm looking forward to hearing what my mum has to say. There is enough 90s Primusy stuff in their sound, that she might love it. She might need her own newsletter (would it be called Slap Bass Grandma?).  Here they are interviewed and playing some tracks on NPR's World Cafe. I'll report back next week with my mum's take. 
The Lizsts


Something to read by flashlight, in the dark, when the lights go out, after the storm hits: The Lizsts, by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Júlia Sardà. This beautiful picture book arrived in the mail today, just in time to sneak into this week's SBL. As you may have noticed, I am a fan of lists - The Small Batch List, obviously, and also as part of my Inktober game-planThe Lizsts is instantly appealing. Its quirky Tove Jansson-style storyline about a kooky family who all compulsively write lists about everything (usual and unusual), and an unexpected visitor who is on nobody's list. The lush and detailed illustrations filled with patterns and typography beg to be pored over. The book is a great joy. Here is an inspiring article about the illustrator's process. The Lizsts is a little like a Wes Anderson movie in a picture book. Published by Tundra Books, Penguin Random House. 


Three things are on my Wishlist this week:

This woodsy poster:
Last night a storm blew pretty much everything in this poster onto the back deck, but this morning things don't look quite so pretty as in this arrangement. Nature Poster US $42 from Studio Morran - by the ever fab Camilla Engman.

This alternative music blueprint poster: Alternative Love Blueprint - A History of Alternative Music. Metallic gold screen print on Navy Blue uncoated paper. H60 x W80cm. "A history of alternative and independent music mapped out to the circuit board of an early transistor radio."

In the seriously coveting category, Gumnut Babies linens: I need to get in quick before my kids are all too old for this stuff. This year marks the 100th anniversary of celebrated children's author and illustrator May Gibbs' classic Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. There isn't an Australian who doesn't recognise this iconic work. Quilted bedspreads and pillowcases, comfy sheets... I want them all. Preorder from Kip & Co.


Just because last Friday was international Smile Day doesn't mean we can't smile today too.

1) This music and its video are an excellent start: Bomba Estéreo - Soy Yo - thanks to @lauraglu and her Song A Day recommendations.

2) Eyes wide open - 11 minutes of inspiration:  "In this introspective, personal talk, [Isaac Lidsky] challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality." I liked this.

3) Jim Jarmusch's new film Paterson: Really, nothing about this looks like we will be disappointed. (via editor-at-large Carrie Cogan)

4) The new Christopher Guest (This is Spinal Tap, Best in Show) mocumentary Mascots is now streaming on Netflix: And it's great.

5) Bjork: "I'm not into normcore sexuality" - no surprise: Regardless, this Brief History of Bjork is super interesting if you are into the Icelandic superstar the way I am.
I made it, and the sun is still shining!
Thanks again for the lovely feedback emails I received this week -- and, as always, be sure to whisper the words The Small Batch List in your friends' ears.

Over and out, 

Claire Robertson,
The Small Batch List

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