Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Cherry Blossom Viewing Picnic for One

The cherry tree is blossoming at the moment, and I feel like marking the occasion somehow. Last year I was too busy and didn't even get a chance to take photos before the blossoms fell, which was a little sad. On a whim, I decided to turn my lunch into a picnic.

I accompanied my leftover chicken stiry fry with baby cucumbers, a boiled egg, some dried fruit and nuts, and some orange segments.

The weather is particularly changeable in Spring (even more than normal!) but thankfully it cleared a little by lunchtime. The tree is still too small to sit under, but sitting next to it was perfectly adequate.

In Japan, sakura are the essential symbol of the transience of beauty, and a reminder of the passing away of all things. However as I sat, I was thinking of the future and new growth. Of the cherries that will grow later in Summer, and what the tree will look like in coming years.

This is one of my favourite parts of gardening -- imagining, if all goes well, how the plants will grow, how they will experience the seasons and my part in keeping them well-maintained and happy.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Springtime Salad

Last weekend, I did one of the things on my Springtime Mori by making a Spring-themed salad for lunch. I didn't use a recipe, but was inspired by what I saw at the supermarket. The first thing I saw were some adorable button mushrooms, which I put in whole. What a shame it would be to cut them up!

I also added thinly sliced cucumber and red onion, ham, ricotta cheese and rocket. I very much wanted to add some fresh strawberries, but there has been some controversy around the price of berries in Australia lately (I'm not sure on the details) and some supermarkets have stopped selling them. So I settled for some dried cranberries. It really makes me think I should look into growing my own berries, though!

Husband whipped up a delicious dressing with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lime juice and a few other things.

The salad was delicious and just perfect for the beginning of Spring. The only thing I would have changed was to perhaps soak the cranberries in juice for a while to plumpen them up. Next time I'd like to try something with asparagus, I think.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

My September

It's Spring here in the southern half of the world. The days are longer, the trees are waking up, and the cat spends his mornings lazing in the sun. It's taken a while for the weather to warm up -- even now there are just as many cold and rainy days as Spring-like ones. As inspiring as Spring is, I'm not one to love the Summer heat, so I'm enjoying the cooler days while I can. I've been working on lots of creative activities, though not being able to focus on any one thing on particular, so I feel like I haven't made much progress.

This coming month is Inktober, and also the next round of Creative Sprint. I know many people love Inktober and I'm looking forward to seeing their work, but I have decided to participate in Creative Sprint. Because of my dilemma above, and the ridiculously long list of WIPs I have at the moment, I have decided to focus on working on current projects of all types. I will try to post my progress on my Instagram every day, and also weekly updates here on the blog. But now, back to what I did in September...

What I've been painting ...
There are so many interesting e-courses out there, many free, that it could take me a lifetime to get through them all. I finished the Fluent Self Journalling course, and began Tara Leaver's 10 Days to Making Art You Love course. The first assignment is to do a very simple, quick landscape in any medium you like. I've been very inspired by dreams lately, so I did this dreamlike scape, like something from a primitive myth or an alien world.

What I've been visiting ...
During the month I was very busy with events. Well, one event per week is 'busy' for me, I have to admit! I went out of my anxiety comfort zone and went alone to the Bad Girls' Club exhibition, at a pub in the trendy part of town. There was so much amazing, feminist work there, and I met up with my new friend, one of the artists. I was very inspired and spent all my spare time in the next few weeks writing for my zine, designing plushies, etc.

Bad Girl Zine and bottle shrine work by @possumparcel

What I've been reading ...
I had a renewed interest in reading last month, mostly sticking to the older junior and young adult books that I found while unpacking. There's a library near my new work, and I've set myself a little challenge of reading and donating 12 books before I join. My favourite, which I remember from my childhood, was Helen Keller's Teacher, about the life of Annie Sullivan, who taught Helen Keller to communicate and was by her side most of her life.

Selections from Instagram
With clearer weather, I've had a chance to go for walks before work in the mornings. After rainy nights, the early morning sunlight has a soft, hazy feel to it, and even in the city there are some beautiful shots to be had -- especially when water is involved. It seems I've had a fascination with reflections lately.

The Native Mint plant in my garden. It smells divine, but I haven't yet been able to find out if it's edible: