Thursday, 26 February 2015

Increasing my Stash

I think I've become a bit of a Bendigo Woollen Mills fangirl. I get so excited every time they release a new yarn. When the new season's shade card arrives in the mail, I linger over it and stroke it. It's a bit sad. More than a bit sad, some might say. So when they sent me an email saying that their new release wool Bloom could be obtained at a discount price, there was no other option for me. I bought some! Along with some Classic brown and Dusky Blue from the limited edition Colonial 1984 range. I'm planning on using them in a new project that I'll tell you about soon. I think the variegated shades in the Bloom range will also look fab in my Granny Square Galore blanket. Enough with the babble now. Here they are:

Let's look at that one more time, shall we?:

Yes...... I made it mine...... *rubs hands with glee*

Monday, 23 February 2015

In the Kitchen : Cold Noodles for a Hot Day

Today I'm afraid I have to convey the sad news that my favourite magazine is closing down. SBS Feast magazine was where most of my cooking inspiration comes from. Not only did it have many interesting and authentic recipes from around the world, but also intelligent articles on every topic food- and drink-related. It was also a welcome relief from all of the Northern-hemisphere-oriented magazines and websites that are talking about hot stews and baking while we're sweltering away down here!

Summer has properly arrived here in Melbourne, so yesterday I wanted something easy and cool to make for lunch. I turned to the cold noodle dish special from a couple of issues ago for inspiration.

The Vietnamese Lemongrass and Beef Vermicelli bowl looked appealing. I ended up making quite a few modifications to suit what I had in the cupboard, but that's all part of the fun! Instead of barbeque beef, I used sliced Polish sausage, with cucumber, julienned carrot and canned bean sprouts. Husband had the idea to garnish it with peanuts and some fried noodles we had floating around in the cupboard. The dressing was a combination of the beef marinade and sauce from the recipe, with lime juice, fish sauce, chilli, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and some French dressing to add a bit of tang.

It's clear that I'm no food photographer ...

... but trust me, it was delicious! My intent now is to finish the stalled indexing project that I'd started soon after subscribing to the magazine. Hopefully there will be much more inspiration along the way.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Return to Cat Café Melbourne

Husband and I have both been having a tough time at work lately, so as a special treat, we decided to visit Cat Café Melbourne again. You might like to see my original review here. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera, and Husband didn't take too many photos with his iPad as he was too busy playing with the cats! But I have a little bit of photospam for you today.

Since our last visit 6 months ago, we noticed a few small changes. One of the staff mentioned that they have changed the cats' feeding routine so they are more active during the day. We certainly noticed this. All of the cats were in the public area, so I was able to tick them all off my list! Some were happy to just be patted while napping, but a couple were more playful -- Waldo in particular was stalked the birds outside the window, before settling down for the world's longest tummy rub with Husband! So cute! I didn't mind so much that many of the cats were asleep, as it gave me the perfect chance to practice my drawing! I did 2 sketches before it was time to go. I'll leave you with the photos now!:

Monday, 9 February 2015

A Box Just for Me

Ever since I was a kid, I loved receiving things in the mail. I would cut out coupons from the newspaper and send them off to have travel catalogues and any other free item on offer sent out to me. As a teenager I subscribed to monthly book and CD clubs. I subscribed to several magazines and eventually had to cut back because I didn't have time to read them all.

When monthly beauty box subscriptions launched in Australia a few years ago, I signed up to them all! I even started a second blog (now defunct) to review them. I recently unsubscribed to most of them when I realised that I had literally a whole cupboard full of little face washes and body lotions.

I also unsubscribed to the Fashion Box after about 6 months -- what's in fashion at the moment often isn't to my taste, and I ended up giving away a lot of jewellery. I'm still a founding member of the Fresh Stitches kit club though, which sends out a kit for a crochet plushie every two months.

Still, I want more! It seems there are subscription boxes for just about anything you can think of now, from food to underpants. I was particularly eyeing off the Kawaii Box and some of the Japanese confectionery boxes on offer. But I couldn't quite convince myself ... I only like some types of kawaii items, and I can get Japanese food from the Daiso near my work. It's the surprise factor of the boxes that intrigues me, but at the same time I've received too many items in the past that I didn't like or never used.

I got excited recently when I heard there was a subscription box for Mori Girls starting up. I was too late to get the first one, and unfortunately it was run by a single person who wasn't able to continue with it. Still, it got me thinking -- what if I made my own box? I'll get a pretty box, and put nice items in it from time to time. Then at the start of each season, I'll open it up and enjoy the things in it.

I think this will be good for several reasons -- I tend to order things online impulsively, but by the time they arrive, the thrill of the purchase is gone. I put them aside for a long time before using them. I feel bad about this. If I put them in the box though, hopefully I won't feel bad, and I might even get excited again when it's time to open up the box.
Plus, it'll save on packaging materials, carbon footprint and that sort of thing.
Also plus, I'm guaranteed to receive items I like instead of wasting money on things that I won't use.

This is the box I've bought and a few items to get me started. I'm going to put it in a location on a high shelf so that I can't accidentally see what's in it before opening day. More updates then!

Monday, 2 February 2015

My January

January this year has been an odd one. It's been a lot cooler and rainier than normal -- more like early Spring than high Summer. In my experience, that means that March and April are usually scorchers, but Melbourne weather is notoriously unpredictable. Much of my focus has been on work, so I haven't had the time or energy to do much else. I do have a few things to share, though:

What I've been making ...
I've been working a little on some clothes for my Lammily doll. I finally wove in the ends on her handbag and even sewed on a decorative button.

In anticipation of hot weather, I started making a tank top, and planning on some shorts or a skirt next. Ultimately, I'd like to write the patterns up and put them on Ravelry.

What I've been cooking ...
Last weekend, inspired by Pinterest, Husband made this amazing pizza pull-apart. It was really quite easy. ... Of course, he knows how to make pizza dough off by heart, so it was easy for him! It's definitely worth making again, so next time I'll document it and share it here. Needless to say, we nommed it.

What I've been drawing ...
I'd been meaning to start drawing again for a while, but recent world events spurred me on to sit down and actually do some. I'm all right when I'm copying from a scene or photo, but when I try to do anything without a visual reference, I'm on much shakier ground. Still, I'll show some dreadful sketches I did at lunchtime a few weeks ago. I found a shady spot down by the river, rolled dice to choose random subjects, and just mucked around with some assorted pens.

What I've been photographing ...
Lately I've been seeing more, in an odd kind of way, or perhaps noticing more, and wanting to capture it. So I've been taking more photos as well. I noticed the softly beautiful rose-pink light filtering in through the bathroom window one morning when I got up, and instead of grunting and having my shower (I'm not a morning person!), I grabbed my camera and took these few quick shots. The colour is not edited in any way.

What I've been picking ...
It's harvest time at Three Eyes House. The fruit trees are ripening and it's very exciting. The apricot was done a couple of weeks ago and we ended up with three bowls full of apricots like the one below. We stewed most of them and froze them for later, except for one portion that we spooned over our porridge last weekend.

Creamy porridge made with milk powder and a little salt, and home-grown fruit, dusted with nutmeg ... I always thought that when gardeners went on about how much better home-grown produce tasted it was a smug cliche. Well, I'm afraid I'm one of those people now, too! The plum tree has been very prolific as well, with two bowls full so far and at least one more still ripening up. Oranges are still ripening periodically and there are some lemons coming on. As for the nectarine, we have a total of three fruits this year. Husband and I shared one, and it was huge, juicy, and just about the most delicious nectarine I have ever tasted. (Sorry!)