Thursday, 28 June 2012

Things I Love Thursday - moo cards, potholes and Ryvita

Business cards

Making me gleeful this week

  • My new business cards from Moo
  • Potholes getting filled in
  • Ryvita with vegan mushroom pate and veggies
  • Realising how destructive jealousy can be and turning it into something more positive
  • Devouring The real mad men by Andrew Crackell
  • Making better use of technology to be productive and stay in touch
  • Finding inspiration
  • Having an excuse to do lots of sewing
  • Fresh home grown strawberries

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

What's in my lunch box this week? Allotment, pantry, freezer

Lunch box
I'm on a fridge, pantry and freezer clearing mission. I love it when some ancient ingredient gets put to use. There's also the bonus of buying new ingredients because some things (yeast and herbs for starters) are better fresh.

In my lunch box this week (from top right):

  • Strawberries because my allotment finally produced and there is nothing like a home grown strawberry in June.
  • Stromboli - after the success of last week's beer bread I just couldn't leave well enough alone. Not content with adding vegan Parmesan powder (definitely in the use up category) I roll the bread out, added home made pesto (from the freezer) and mushrooms and then rolled up before baking.
  • Spaghetti with lentils, sundried tomatoes, roast aubergine, asparagus and olives. I'd a packet of lentils in tomato sauce kicking around the cupboard begging to be used up. It was a bit scary when I followed the heating instructions. Apparently they were designed to be microwaved so I went ahead and heated the packet on its side for 1 minute as instructed. About 45 seconds in there was a huge bang. The packet had exploded spraying lentil goo across the back of the microwave. Worryingly my microwave in a much lower power than the one specified in the packet instructions!

Monday, 25 June 2012

My weekend - but I am a good girl


Path through grass
Monday morning greeted me with a headache, knotted stomach and feeling of nausea which is rather annoying as I was the very opposite of a party animal over the weekend.

Saturday the sun shone while I did 8km. Then it was down to some serious time with my sewing machine. I'm doing a stall with Carla from Ducking Fabulous at Barges and Bikes next weekend. Hence I had a load of half completed pieces that I needed to finish in order to sell.

Fresh strawberries
I got more sun and fresh air at my allotment on Sunday morning. I was also really pleased to bring home a couple of boxes of strawberries.

Sunday saw me spend more time sewing. I like doing the construction of pieces like bags but I love doing embellishments and appliqu├ęs on them. I sorted the various beads, fabric scraps, ribbons and so on into jars by colour earlier in the year. It was well worth the time as I could easily find what I was looking for when I got creative.

I also found time for some cooking. I made a batch of sultana and carrot muffins for the freezer and adapted last week's beer bread to make a version of Stromboli. The Stromboli is for my lunch and the muffins are for the mornings I don't eat breakfast at home.

Stromboli bread
So note to self: next weekend party like it's 1999 and see if Monday dawns with that fresh-as-a-daisy feeling.



Sunday, 24 June 2012

Reasons to cheerful - social butterfly

I've had a busy week and time for blogging just slide away. However I've so many things I'm happy about (and who doesn't want to look at the good stuff at least once a week?) that Sunday evening seems the ideal time to be cheerful.

Posh frocks

Three people with drinks
Tuesday night I had an excuse to dress up and drink champagne. It was the annual reception for peace and friendship at the Japanese Embassy. My grandfather was a prisoner of war in Japan many years ago which is how I got involved in Pacific Venture.
Me in a blue dress
This year I wore my Grandmother's dress from the 1950s and spoke to some interesting people. I always meet a fascinating mix of people and am reminded of the common ground we share with Japan.

Decorated nails

Painted finger nails
I always paint my nails green and lately I've been experimenting with layering and patterns. Nothing make me smile like lots of shades of green mixed together.

Time to read

I'm often pushed for time to read and worry as the pile of unread items increases in size. However I'm clearly getting better at finding extra minutes. This week I've enjoyed Up for renewal by Cathy Alter (true story of women finding meaning of life and true love through advice from magazines), My side of the story by Will Davis (very readable coming of age tale) and I have finally finished The Music Instinct. I've been reading 10 pages a day of this because that's all I can handle. I'm really glad I read the mix of physics, biology, music theory, history, sociology and psychology but I probably did miss a lot.

Other stuff *sewing *London Vegan drinks - great company and great food *wandering across cool places by accident *green dresses *sunshine

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

What's in my lunch box this week? - loafs and veggies

Lunchbox with food
This lunch box was a real reminder that lots of vegetables make pretty satisfying lunch. I'm always worried that without some serious carbohydrates and proteins I'll spend the afternoon dreaming about bags of crisps instead of doing something useful. Happily this combo of beer bread, bean loaf and vegetables mean I was able to avoid that possibility.

Clockwise from top right:

  • Radishes and celery
  • Cucumber
  • My take on the Wellington filling in The vegan Lunch box. As ever I just could stick to the recipe and threw in sunflower seeds and pickles while omitting walnuts and most of the suggested seasonings. Turned out great anyway but I don't think you can go that far wrong with this one. Although there was the time I put rather a lot of celery in and the time I added grape jelly...
  • Carrots and slices of home made beer bread

Monday, 18 June 2012

My weekend - it's (almost) all about food

After last week and the various things going on in my life I knew I would really appreciate my weekend.

Pile of food
I kicked things off by buying loads of good food on Friday. I think the guy on the market was a bit distracted as I only realised that I had no peppers when I was deciding on pizza toppings.

Saturday I went out first thing and got some fresh air while walking 8km. Then I popped into the library to return a book and came out with a load more. I love having a pile of free reading materials to dip into.

I was expecting to perform some burlesque pieces at a carnival late afternoon. First my lift dropped out and then, while I pondered if I should drive myself and where I should park, the whole thing was pulled due to the weather. So I took the opportunity to make another huge chunk of patchwork.

I got my burlesque dose on Saturday night, by watching some burlesque programmes I'd recorded on Sky, while I did some knitting.

Sunday I made a good start on the day by making a nut and bean loaf and beer bread. I'd hoped for lots of produce from my allotment but the weather seems to be taking it toll. I was sad to see lots of unripe strawberries knocked off the plants by heavy rain. The rocket and spinach are still doing well though and I'm hoping the beans will do ok.

The rest of the day was all about food and sewing.

I enjoyed a big brunch before going through the sewing projects that I could easily complete in the next week. Then I ordered some midorigreen mini cards from Moo. It'll be great to be able to give them to people when I tell them about my blogging and Twitter activities.

Plate of food

Then I enjoyed an awesome plate of food while watching some daft programme about aliens. I'm really inspired by some of the blogs I read that have fantastic looking food. At present I'm really enjoying Keeping healthy, getting stylish. She has some really tasty, healthy, fresh looking food for me to aspire to.

Plate of salad
Looking back on the weekend I want to make bread more often, keep eating lots of fresh stuff, get exercise and keep sewing. That's how to recharge my batteries and keep living life.


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Things I love Thursday -friends and fabric

Beetle statue
It's not been a very jolly week so it seemed even more vital that I take some time out on a Thursday evening to celebrate the things in my life that are good.

  • Memories of sunny days without worries
  • Lovely evenings at Mimi's eating, drinking tea and chatting before dashing to Burlesque class

  • This glorious under bust corset in my favourite colour
  • Making plans with friends
  • Green dresses, especially my new lace one
  • A belt that goes with everything
  • Hours of patchwork creation
  • A floor coveted with fabric scraps
  • A pin board covered with sewing ideas
  • Getting inspiration from Mollie Makes magazine -almost tempted into a subscription but happily I can't decide between print and virtual
  • Cheery emails from chums
  • booking tickets to see Alice Cooper in October
  • crafting plans for the weekend

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? - the consolation of food

Lunchbox of food
For various reasons which I won't go into this week is not going to one of the best of my life. So lunch is time to console myself with a few pages of some shallow literature and distract my mind with food

Clockwise from top right:

  • Boiled Jersey Royal potatoes - so amazing they don't need any kind of dressing or seasoning
  • Scrambled tofu - I had loads of celery in the fridge so I threw some in when I made this. My advice to anyone considering a similar course of action - don't! It's ok but...
  • Celery is really good when it's eaten raw and spread with a little peanut butter
  • Nothing like home grown - this is a mix of rocket, spinach and fresh herbs

Monday, 11 June 2012

My weekend - cocktails, shears and unripe strawberries

I actually had a rather excellent weekend. I arrived home on Friday feeling relaxed after a bout of acupressure but was soon frazzled about domestic routines. Plus it was incredibly windy and raining.

So what's a girl to do? Well start by taking it easy on Friday night with a single glass of wine (because sometimes less is more!) and a reasonable bedtime.

Spend Saturday morning practicing Burlesque routines, playing bass and sewing patchwork. Follow up with an afternoon in the company of Carla from Ducking Fabulous. We talked blogging, crafting, cars, food, life balance and business. Several cocktails and one green lace dress from Truly Madly Vintage later, I was buzzing with ideas and ready to re-engage with life.

Alas this bout of enthusiasm lead me to getting rather too enthusiastic with the shears and shoulder high grass growing around my allotment. I make the same mistake every year. I get carried away with the process of hacking everything down and then have to endure shaky, achy limbs for the next few days.

Strawberry plant
Alas my strawberries still haven't ripened.

Then it was time for brunch, a bit of paperwork and more sewing. Sorting my fabric stash into colour coded drawers has been brilliant for allowing me to see what I actually have and make use of it. I might be doing a craft fare at the start of July so it's just as well my sewing mojo has woken up.

Other weekend antics- *finished The Japanese Fish Girl by Robert Rankin (highly amusing in places) *tried sesame popcorn *wore bright blue tights

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Things I Love Thursday - food, food and green things

Life is very satisfying right now. I feel like I've got the balance of stuff going on in my life right. I'm busy as ever with loads going on but feel enthusiastic about all of it and have stopped worrying that I need to relax or should be doing other more important things. From the photos below it may suggest that food plays a rather large role in this!

So this week I love:

Days off indulging in hobbies, domestic activities and delicious meals

Vegan food
Days at work doing things I believe in, avoiding the rain and stopping for lunch

Evenings talking with friends, doing burlesque and making meals in mugs

Meal in a mug

Other good stuff: green things, being an auntie, patchwork, mugs of tea, plans for Cybher, performing, Melissa shoes.

Green things

Monday, 4 June 2012

My weekend - Jubilee, patchwork and ladies of leisure

Cat on union jack cushion
Who doesn't love the prospect of 4 days off work? The buzz surrounding the Jubilee has made it almost like having a second Christmas this year. Shoppers in the town centre on Friday were buying as if their lives depended on it. I've been getting a kick out of seeing red,white and blue decorations everywhere and have decided that bunting is the new tinsel.

It's particularly lovely to have 4 days to do my usual weekend stuff in. Particularly as I have suddenly become inspired by creating squares of patchwork using my sewing machine. It's still towards the crazy end. Let's face it I'm never going to be the quilting type who buys specific fabric and uses a rotary cutter for precision. However I was inspired by a blog post I read (can't recall where so let me know if you recognise it) where some made a patchwork quilt for their dad in blues because he likes the sea.

This far I'm liking the way different colours and textures sit together and how it allows me to use up bits of fabric too small for anything really useful. My piece has actually grown rather substantially since I took this photo.

Sunday I partook of some vegan Jubilee themed baking. I still can't seem to get buttercream icing to set when I use Pure margarine so had to resort to a ring of blue icing to keep the out of control buttercream in place.

Then I spend several delightful hours being worn out by my niece while her parents went to watch Jubilee celebrations on the Thames get soaked to the skin while attempting to enjoy themselves. I really don't know how parents and carers keep it up day after day. I actually took a book with me in case I had some spare time! I took home a lovely thank you from my niece (now displayed over my bass amp next to a picture of Nikki Sixx) and slept soundly.

Painting of handprints

Today I've been allotmenting, spending hours enjoying the calm state that patchwork brings and making a stick from the garden glittery. I'm taking part in a Jubilee show tomorrow with my burlesque troupe and one routine requires a hat and cane.


Stick and glue on newspaper
It's being busy great! Maybe the secret to a long and happy reign life is to keep busy or as my late grandmother would have put it - 'I wasn't meant to be a lady of leisure'. My cat would clearly disagree.

Sleeping cat