Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hiatus

Much stuff is happening. All is well, but there will be a break in regular transmission over the next few days and I'll be back into the swing of things next week.

In the meantime I hope there's some late afternoon sun coming your way.

30/30 challenge: 50 mins walking. Today ends the 30/30 challenge. It was Grand Final weekend that got the better of me, while I got out for some physical activity, it wasn't quite enough. Never mind, there's next month. Different challenge; same reward!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rounds 4 and 5

Rounds 4 & 5 revert to the usual granny square crochet stitch. They're a creamy white, and help turn the circles into squares for my current crochet project.

30/30 challenge: 40 min walking

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pinecone



Another item collected on my lunch time walk. I'm hoping to make it out there again today. Problem is, we've hit a cold snap. And there's been rain and hail and more rain. Very much looking forward to a few more degrees as promised later in the week.

30/30 challenge: 35 min lunch time walk

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cupcakes and Cider


The title pretty much sums up my weekend. Cupcakes were baked and frozen for next Saturday. There is much relief as the house is in far better shape than last week and ready to receive guests. I'm sure the two of us can't make that much mess in a week, right?

As for cider, I've been drinking it for three days, you know, here and there, in appropriate settings. Starting with farewells & birthdays Friday night. The Grand Final giving the right result on Saturday deserved a toast at our crew's get together and a chance encounter at the bottle shop earlier today with Montheith's newish(?) crushed apple cider. First the name got me, and then the packaging. They've done a good job on their design - it worked on me. And if you like your cider to taste like apples, I suggest you give it a go.

30/30 challenge: 20 mins walking in the wind & rain along the beach = nasty - I actually had to break into a jog to warm up, plus hours of housework - does it count?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This week in the garden*




If there's one plant that has defeated me, it's the cyclamen. I've killed many a plant while house sitting for others. Two or so weeks on, the plant that Miss K sent me for my birthday is still alive, though battling in my overheated office.

It's still intent to reveal another flower. The first photo shows the bud last week, the second photo shows the petals unfolding as it's been doing all week. As soon as it's feasible, this plant is leaving the office and coming home.

Sketch Saturday will resume when time permits. I'm as keen as ever, just struggling to find time.

*Today garden and office are interchangeable.

30/30 challenge: 15 mins walking. Today I failed. Once the rain & hail set in I was a goner.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The week that was


This week I caught the MTC play God of Carnage (not my fave play this year, but just got wind of next year's season and it looks a little more uplifting than this year). Got pretty hair after a visit to the Salon. Listened to the most recent additions to my iTunes La Roux and Daft Punk's Alive. Ate yoghurt covered red licorice and rediscovered my love of cottage cheese. I also collected the Gumnuts above on my walk. All the while work got increasingly stressful, but it was always going to happen.

The weekend will involve house stuff (and hopefully some desperately required time out) as the Fiesta is next weekend. Eep.

30/30 challenge: 30 mins walking, just.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My creative space

This is what my creative space looks like this week. Patience sewing at it's best. If you've sewn a garland, my hat goes off to you. Or perhaps I've just got the process wrong. Which is entirely possible.

Head over to Kootoyoo to see more.

30/30 challenge: 40 mins walking

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Midweek meal

How do you cook? My Mum is a bandit for getting a recipe and not following it at all. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I love a recipe that can handle change. This Pumpkin, Ricotta and Sage Lasagne certainly can. I don't think I've cooked it the same way twice and every way works.

I find boiling the pumpkin in some vege stock works well on a weeknight to reduce time, when pureeing I add spice. To make it a little more artery friendly, I tend to reduce the amount of parmesan incorporated into the ricotta mix to 1/4 cup if that, I definitely don't use 100g butter, more like 1/2 a tablespoon just to fry off the sage leaves and I omit the walnuts, because lets face it, they wouldn't last that long in my pantry.

30/30 challenge: 35 mins walking at lunchtime

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three things...




Three things I see on my way to the Botanical Gardens during lunch time walks.

30/30 challenge: 35 mins walking

Monday, September 21, 2009

Seeing off Sunday


We rounded out the weekend with a purging trip to the Op shop amongst other errands. Sunday at the Parentals is usually pasta night, here in the west it's pizza. I always make the base and haven't been able to go past Donna Hay's. Its easy and I love the texture of the finished product, crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy closer to the middle.

We'd usually opt for the less is more approach to our pizzas. But last night was an all on affair. We sat down just in time to catch 'Yellowstone'. A documentary on ABC about the seasons in said park. Last night was winter. I think there's two more parts to go. The photography is stunning.

Basic Pizza Dough serves 4.
• 1 packet dry yeast (7g) • 1/2 tsp sugar • 1 cup lukewarm water
Combine these three in a small bowl and set aside in a warm place. About 5 mins. There should be bubbles on the surface.

• 2 1/2 cups of plain flour or 2 3/4 tipo '00' flour • 1 tsp salt
Add yeast to flour, mix and then knead for 5-10 min until smooth.

Divide into 2-4 balls depending on the size of pizza you're after.
Lightly dust balls with flour. Place on tray, cover with glad wrap (or a damp tea towel - messier) put in a warm place (I usually turn the coffee machine on and put the tray on top) and let double in size. Anywhere between. 30-45 min.

I would usually roll my pizza out straight onto baking paper. But an adequately floured baking tray works just as well.

4 small pizzas will take 10-12 min each to cook at 180C.
2 large pizzas will take ~20 mins.

30/30 challenge Sunday: 30 mins walking just.
30/30 challenge Monday: 45 mins walking

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sketch Saturday and more




Another basic watercolour.
The white dog makes herself at home.
And viscous gold for cupcakes to come. Recipe here.
I halved the recipe and if you're going to attempt it, I suggest you watch it like a hawk after 2 hours.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The week that was

It's been a good week after the lows and highs from last week.

We've been privy to some glorious spring weather, allowing for three days of riding. Gosh I love the bike.

Mr T surprised me on Tuesday by walking in the door before 7pm. That's unheard of, he's usually no home until after 8:30 pm. We used the extra time to watch Tropic Thunder. Robert Downey Jnr as the Australian is awesome and I can't think of a funnier closing scene. It's an easy movie to watch, particularly if you're partaking in some crochet at the same time!

Last night I caught up with 'the girls'. I so didn't feel like heading out, but so glad I did. Good food with lots of laughs. Our meal went straight from entree to dessert, it was so worth skipping mains!

It's the small things, but I'm excited for the weekend, I get to look after the pappies. The Pies are playing in another final on Saturday night and the plan is to get stuff done for the fiesta in a couple of weeks time. I want to finish these paper flags that I'll be using as decoration.

30/30 challenge: 30 mins walking in the glorious sunshine

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This week in the garden


The succulents are showing tiny new signs of life. And one is even about to flower. I had fears that I harvested them for cuttings too heavily, but they seem to be happy enough, particularly in the sunshine they've been enjoying over the last week or so.

There's other signs of life too. The basil has the tiniest of leaves, so does the beetroot. Still no sign of the carrots or rocket yet. This is the first time I will have lived through a spring with a garden to tend, I'm excited!

30/30 challenge: 40 mins walking

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Round 3


Round three was tricky. It took me a little while to get it right. Initially I ended up with a puckered round that was pulled apart after the photo was taken. The key was to chain two between each cluster stitch. It may have said that in the pattern, but eh, the pattern was such a jumble of crochet shorthand that I couldn't even begin to comprehend. Pictured is my version of the cluster stitch.

30/30 challenge: 55min cycling. I think the clear skies end today, but gosh, it's been nice having them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Neighbourhood snapshot. Part II




30/30 challenge: 55 min cycling. The weather has been perfect for commuting to work!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Neighbourhood snapshot. Part I



I was lucky enough yesterday to steal a bit of time to myself and walk around our neighbourhood. This is what I found.

30/30 challenge: Too easy in the bright sunshine; 55 min cycling. 25 min walking

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekend wrap


What a birthday! What a weekend! Thanks for your wishes.

I am one lucky girl. Mr T spoilt me rotten. The parentals were also very generous. We had a fun evening at Vue de Monde on Friday night. Definitely the way to go if you're not quite ready to splash out a whole lot of your hard earned. The food was lovely, the drinks delicious and served as half martinis, which meant one could walk out of there with some composure. The service was not nearly as refined as the dining room, but the major disappointment was the fact that such fine food was served with wooden cutlery. Oh to eat with a stainless steel fork would have made me so happy. I am a bit of a cutlery pedant though...

On to Saturday, lots of gardening and lots of getting the house ready for the upcoming fiesta. Can you believe I went to the footy on Saturday night in jeans and a t-shirt? Well I did. Almost unheard of! And still at 11:00pm when I got home I wasn't cold. Oh how I enjoyed the warmth. And what a nailbiter of a match, we have made it to the next round of finals.

Sunday involved more of the same. But this time with a cooked breakfast. French toast with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup & strawberries.

30/30 challenge: 40 min walking

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sketch Saturday

Rubik's cube. The perfect (?) way to display primary & secondary colours. At least something made it into my visual diary this week. It's been sadly neglected. Note my impatience in waiting for the paint to dry, my fine liner bled a little.

30/30 challenge: 45 min walking

Friday, September 11, 2009

It only happens once a year

Today it's my birthday. These flowers were given to me by my market companion earlier this week. They have opened beautifully throughout the week.

Tres excited as we are off for our second visit to Vue de Monde tonight. This year I will not roll out of there after 12 courses with matching wines (eek, Mr T pulled all the stops out last year for the big 3-0). Instead this year it's all about Cafe Vue's "After work drinks" cocktail night. Ahh I love a martini and I'm sure I'm going to love the pescatarian version of this menu:

Ocean trout ravioli with lime leaf infused velouté/Barista's martini
Crackling fried egg on toast/Sommelier’s martini
Goat’s cheese with three textures of honey/Waiter's martini
Quail pithivier/Chef's martini
Valrhona chocolate soufflĂ©/Maitre d’s martini

30/30 challenge: 45 min walking. Lovely in the sunshine at lunch. Could have done with less wind though.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The postman's been


A couple of weeks ago Beci Orpin was doing a little giveaway on her blog. She's collaborated with Kit cosmetics and had a few prize packs to giveaway. I missed out on the main prize, but Beci said she'd send me something anyway - how sweet is that? It arrived today and bought some cheer. A couple of cards and a tube of lip sheen. How cute is her return address stamp?

30/30 Challenge: 30min - just.

Round 2

Here comes the new stitch - for me anyway. It's a puff stitch. I learned by watching this.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In the mix

I've signed up for a botanical illustration class which includes an introduction to watercolour starting in October. Am terribly keen and have already picked up the suggested paints (went for the art spectrum range as they're Australian made) and had a play with mixing them last night. I successfully made mud. Oops. That wasn't meant to happen.

30/30 Challenge: 45 min walking

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Round 1

This is the start of the new crochet project. Round 1 involves a foundation chain of 6, joining that to make a circle with a slip stich and then 16 double crochets into the round (it sounds like I know what I'm talking about!). Working with the yarn I've chosen is a little tricky as it tends to separate. It just requires a touch more concentration at this stage.

30/30 Challenge: 1 hour walking

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bedside

While reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society it struck me that I was well underdone on the Classics. The Bronte sisters were mentioned often and shamefully I've read nothing of theirs. When I saw Pip over at Meet Me at Mike's had chosen one of this month's books as Jane Eyre I knew I had to take part!

30/30 Challenge: 30 mins walking, just! Very close to not making it today.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sucker for punshiment?

I couldn't help myself, I couldn't bear the thought of my hands sitting idol while sitting down, so I picked up some new yarn (cotton & bamboo mixes) and plan to embark on a new project - another blanket, but with some new stitches. I also hope to pick up some more colours in this range.

Papa: Happy Father's Day. Shame the Pies didn't come to the party.

30/30 Challenge: 50 mins walking

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Short & (bitter)sweet

A bittersweet Saturday involving a sleep in, strolling in the neighbourhood, shopping at the market and a saunter around Albert Park lake with the pappies. And the saddest news of the Little One's Dad passing. RIP Mr B.

30/30 Challenge: 50min walking

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sewn together



I almost can't believe my eyes. Finally the granny square blanket is done! Phew. I'm so ready to start on something else, I'm thinking another blanket, but in more spring/summer colours for the spare bed in my sewing room. I love the idea of my hands working while watching tv.

30/30 Challenge: 40mins walking (includes a 10min jog when I got caught in the rain during a lunchtime walk).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On the menu




For a few weeks I've been in a cooking rut. I've been lazy and rather uninspired. At the start of the week I sat down and menu planned. Deciding to try all new recipes. The Taste website is a veritable gold mine.

From top to bottom: Cajun prawns with a sweet potato salad very loosely based on this. Spiced fish with Quinoa (instead of cous cous). Potato & baby corn salad to accompany the un-photographed grilled mushrooms. Haloumi & Lentil Salad (this weeks winner by a mile, outrageously simple, but so tasty, and destined to make many appearances come summer).

30/30 Challenge: 60mins walking

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

All the colours




Monday night was my last Foundation Drawing & Painting class. Unfortunately I didn't meet my own expectations with regards to my 'art', so I'm keen to undergo further instruction, I think my interests lie more in botanical illustration and watercolour. Watch this space! Best not hold your breath though.

The last two classes were focused on painting (I'm still mastering circles and squares), which initially I didn't get into. That said, the colour theory we learnt was invaluable. As per the second photo, I love the fact that 3 colours and white can produce a number of swatches. Very very handy knowledge indeed. I'm looking forward to putting it into practice.

30/30 Challenge: 60 mins cycling