Week of Winter

Week of Winter

A wet, windy, grey and cold week this week.  Howling winds and hail, black clouds and bucketing rain.  The sun tried its best to come out of hiding a few times, but for the most part it was definitely a Wintery week.  Driving home each afternoon, it was always a race to see who would get there first – me or the rain-heavy clouds.

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See that patch of black sky at the bottom of the photo?  Yeah, that’s where home is!

Work was very busy ( I had to do a library “tour” for new employees – ugh, I hate speaking in front of people!) and I had lots of projects and research reports to get finished.  It seemed like a very long week and I was glad when Friday rolled around.  I did receive an emailed “Good Work!” and a smiley face from my CEO which was awesome and surprising (considering it was for something small and insignificant to me and just part of my job really) but it made me feel good for a little while.  It’s nice to be appreciated.  I also got a little card from one of the Supervisors in another department because I had brought in brownies for their OT student’s farewell morning tea and she wanted to say Thank you.  Also nice.  I’m a bit needy when it comes to stuff like that.  Sometimes you just want to be acknowledged.

I did a fair bit of walking, despite the weather.  I’ve been trying to exercise more and force myself to get out more and move that body (which basically sits down all day in front of a computer).  I live in quite a nice neighbourhood now, with lots of green parks and pretty houses to walk by.

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I love watching the dogs in the park.  They look so happy and joyful, running like mad things, playing and rough-housing.  Sometimes I get so caught up watching them that I don’t notice how late it’s getting.  I live in a nice neighbourhood, but not so nice that I should be walking around in the dark.

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I did get a hat this week.  I’m not good with hats.  I have a big head.  I do!  I also have lots of hair so big head + big hair = hard to find a hat that fits and looks ok.  I got a knitted hat from Ebay (I love Ebay – even if my bank account doesn’t!) and I think it looks alright.  It keeps my head nice and toasty and doubles as a my-hair-is-gross-today-and-I-need-to-hide-it-option.  I wore it to my niece’s 10th birthday party and she asked me “why are you wearing that thing on your head?”.  So, not sure if the hat is a total success.  I’ll let you be the judge. Be kind.

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Big Head!

I was supposed to go walking this morning with a friend of mine but she messaged me early to say she wasn’t feeling well and so would have to cancel.  Bit of a bummer but I coerced hubby into going for a walk with me (I bribed him with breakfast out).  We went to Food for Me, our fave brekky spot.  I had the “Wicked Scrambled Eggs” – so yummy.  The BEST scrambled free-range eggs with Danish feta, sundried tomatoes, chutney and the yummiest bread ever.  I wanted to take a photo of it when it arrived but I, um, started eating straight away, and so you’ll have to make do with a half-eaten display of deliciousness…

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I’d like to say we came home and did lots of housework and gardening but we did not.  I sorted laundry but that’s about it.  Our garden is atrocious.  We were told when we moved in that we could ignore the backyard as there really wasn’t any garden to speak of, but I think we took it a little bit literally and now we have three-feet high weeds.  Looks nice and green though! 🙂  Roderick would have loved it and I must admit I think of him every time I pull up a bit of grass or a dandelion or some herbs from my sad little collection of pots on the front step…

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Terrible really…

I haven’t done much crafting at all this week.  I spent several hours today making earrings but that was all I accomplished all week.  It’s been so cold and miserable and all I wanted to do was curl up in front of the heater and not move from it. Gallons of hot tea have been consumed, trying to warm myself from the inside…but of course then you need to keep going to the bathroom and it’s cold in there!  I am quite happy with the earrings I made today though – having sorted all my bead and finding boxes out the other day made a huge difference.  I could actually find stuff and I didn’t make a mess!  Who knew being organised could be so useful and time-saving?  Hmmm….

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Wish I had more of these stripey glass beads…they were from the bracelet I bought at last week’s High Tea.

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I quite like these.  They’re a bit weird but kinda organic-looking at the same time.

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These little copper leaves are so dainty and tinkly.  I made another pair with green beads too.

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I really like these ones.  They have a vintage/Japanesy feel to them somehow.

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This pair refused to sit still while I was trying to take the photo…but I think you can see them ok..

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These ones were also made from recycled beads from some of the 2nd hand jewellery I got last week.

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These too…I think they may be made from iron ore…

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Pretty and girly.  Forgot I had these silver loops.  I think the pink and green works well together.

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This pair is quite elegant and I have no idea where the little silver cones came from…but they worked for this!

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These leopard earrings look like they have ruptured hernias.  Hope no one else thinks that but me (I have a weird brain).

So, that’s my week.  I’m so over the cold weather and the dark mornings.  Bring on Spring I say!  Hope your week was happy and fulfilling or lazy and chilled out – whichever you prefer.  Have a great Monday and week ahead 🙂

High Tea Fun(d)raiser

High Tea Fun(d)raiser

Happy Sunday all!  Boy the weeks are flying by – I can’t believe it will be Christmas again in just over four months!  We’ve been in our new place for 8 months now and soon will have to think about whether we want to continue with the lease or find somewhere else to rent.  I can’t bear the thought of moving again so I am trying to just not think about it at all!  I haven’t even unpacked all my packing boxes yet…

This week at work we had a High Tea fundraiser.  Each of our departments had a separate day to come up with a theme and organise food to go along with it (as reported in my post here) and our Client Services team decided to have a High Tea, complete with “vintage” stalls, raffles and “Best Dressed” competitions.  Cupcakes and thrift-shopping during work hours?  Don’t mind if I do!  Such a lot of work went into organising it and setting it all up on the day.  It all looked beautiful – the food was gorgeous and so pretty with everything from dainty cupcakes to scones, pastries and sandwiches, lots of different teas and champagne.  The ladies all did an amazing job and deserve a pat on the back.  Client Services is one of our busiest departments and I have no idea how they managed to find time to put together such a wonderful afternoon of treats and fun.

Here’s a few pics of the lovely goodies on offer…..

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Everything was so tempting…but I’ve been on a diet this week and trying desperately hard to be good and not eat naughty things.  I had a couple of tiny things – so delicious – and spent the rest of my time wandering about, taking photos and perusing the “vintage stalls”.  I picked up quite a few bargains (and only spent about $5!) and had to control myself in terms of spending or seeming a bit overexcited – you know me and shopping, especially anything that resembles op-shopping/thrifting.  There were some gorgeous items for sale – brand new pairs of shoes and lovely jewellery and accessories.  I bought a few necklaces that had nice beads on them…they’ve already been pulled apart and stored in my bead boxes to turn into other things later on.  I got this lovely bracelet, which I thought I would alter and make into a pendant:

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I also got a couple of rings – the paler one is way to big for me but I really liked it and so I got it anyway.  Maybe I can change it or make it into a brooch or something… I like the darker one – it looks kinda like marcasite (which I love) and is adjustable so I can make it fit my teeny fingers.  It does have a little stone missing but I’m sure I’ve got one I can just glue in there:

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I also got this bracelet (purely for the beads – I liked the stripey ones!):

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I picked out a pretty pink scarf for Mum…

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…and this “pearl” bracelet (again for the beads) for me:

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When all was said and done and packed up, the department raised about $1000 for Alzheimer’s Australia, which was pretty awesome.  They deserved to do well because they really went all out (and put the rest of our departments to shame – even though EVERYONE did a great job in their themes, this one really took the (cup)cake!).  At the end of the afternoon the ladies on the thrift stall said I could rummage through and have whatever I wanted for free, as they really didn’t want to pack it all up again.  I felt a bit weird about doing that so I offered to take it all to an op-shop for them instead.  That way I could get to go through it (great for me!) and also do them a favour and save them some work.  So that’s what I did yesterday.  Four boxes of stuff I had to go through!  Lots of jewellery has now been dissected and separated into nice beads, charms and findings.  There were some lovely shoes – brand new – but not in my size, so I had to let them go but I’ve got a couple of people in mind who might like them.  I also nabbed a couple of accessories for myself, such as…

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…this green brooch.  It looks sort of vintage although I’m quite sure it’s not.  I just liked the green colour.  I would definitely wear this.

This cuff bracelet – a bit chunkier than what I would normally wear…I always wear my plain silver bangle that my cousin gave me for my 30th.  It never comes off.  The only time I have taken it off is when I was in hospital – and then my cousin wore it for two months to keep it safe until I was discharged.  Anyway, I liked this cuff – it will go with a lot of things I wear…

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I also picked up this brooch which is definitely not vintage and probably not something I would wear (as it features gold and I never wear gold) but I like to have a few brooches on hand for tizzying up presents when I want some glam wrapping.  This will be perfect….

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I did get a few other bits and pieces, but I won’t bore you with everything.  Let’s just say I am a magpie and leave it at that (in other words, I collected lots of stuff).  There were a couple of pairs of very expensive shoes that I did contemplate putting on Ebay (I know, I’m dreadful) but then thought it would be better if I gave them to the op-shop.  Better that a charity get some money for them than my wallet!

Anyway, I’ve done NO CRAFTING this week due to a horrible, horrible neck and equally horrible stress and depression this week.  Haven’t been eating much at all so no cooking to show you either.  I’m an epic failure at blogging this week!  Hope my round up of “what I bought” suffices for this weekend’s post.  I am going out with friends for brunch today and so I’m hoping they lift my spirits and take my mind off things.  Friends are amazing that way 🙂

Hope your weekend is fun and fabulous!  Thanks for visiting 🙂

Walkies, kitties and ring-a-ding-dings…

Walkies, kitties and ring-a-ding-dings…

Very short post today.  I am at home with a horribly sore neck.  It was bad all weekend and when I woke up yesterday I could barely move my head.  I went for a long walk with some friends of mine to see if I could get some of the stiffness out and get some sun-warmth on it.  We walked all the way around the Swan River and the weather was just beautiful (where has Winter gone?) – lots of people and their dogs out walking and jogging and enjoying the fresh air.  We walked for about three hours and caught up on each other’s gossip, love lives and issues.  Didn’t help my neck but I was happy to get some exercise and be out in the glorious sunshine.

On Saturday I managed to make a few little rings as I had received some glass dome cabochons that I’d ordered and wanted to put them to use straight away.  I wasn’t up for anything too detailed or labour-intensive.  My neck was too painful for me to sit crafting for any length of time.  So I made what I could and gave up. It took me a couple of goes to get the glue-ing technique down pat as I hadn’t used these domes before.  So, word to the wise, glue the paper to the cabochon first so it sticks flush to the base.  Then stick the cabochon to the ring blank.  That’s what worked for me anyhow…

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Much of the weekend was spent with cats, thinking about cats or hanging out with cats.  I stayed at my Mum’s on Friday night so got to have cuddles with Alexander (Boyo) who was in a cheerful, purring mood (despite what these pictures looks like):

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Then at home I got to spend some time with next door’s cat, Fatty.  We’ve just called him that – I have no idea what his real name is.  But he is fat!  Very handsome though:

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I also spend time worrying about my brother’s cats, Terence and Oscar.  They have to be rehomed and I’ve been stressing about getting them a new home quickly.  They’re such lovely boys and deserve a forever home with someone who will love them and take good care of them.

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My walk on Sunday produced some lovely shots as the day was spectacularly sunny and bright and blue sky-wonderful.

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This beautiful cormorant posed for a pic very graciously…

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Then we had mondo-major excitement when a small pod of dolphins decided to come in to do some fishing.  I didn’t think I had managed to get any shots but then, when I edited them at home, they came out ok.  It’s funny how we’ve all seen dolphins before but still get excited about them.  EVERY TIME.  I’m even the same with kangaroos and I’ve seen, been near and touched a bazillion of them in my life time.  They just all seem so magical in their wild states.  I dunno…

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This perky pelican was doing a spot of fishing too.  He was being followed around by a squad of pesky seagulls, eager to scoop up anything he left behind.  I thought one of them was going to climb inside the pelican’s bill at one stage…

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There was a couple of black swans out for a paddle too…

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We went back to my friend’s flat for a nice cup of tea and a cool down.  She lives so close to the water – look at the view from her lounge room!  We plan on doing lots of walking around her place now that the weather is improving!

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So, despite the yucky pain I’m in, I had a pretty good weekend.  Time with friends and animals, a little bit of crafting and a whole lots of sunshine – I can’t complain 🙂

Oven-Baked Risotto

Oven-Baked Risotto

Sometimes you just want something easy for dinner.  Something comforting and simple.  Something you can just shovel in while you digest the day’s proceedings.  Risotto fits the bill.  I actually enjoy making “proper” risotto – standing there stirring and adding stock, it’s cathartic and relaxing.  But there are also times when I just want to chuck it all in the oven and let it sort itself out.  Which is what you can do with this “cheat’s” recipe.  Plus you can just add in whatever you have lying around the place or in the fridge.  That’s what I do anyway.

Oven-Baked Risotto

You will need:

5 cups Arborio rice
2 cups stock
2 TBs butter or margarine
½ large onion, diced

Now that’s the “basic” ingredients.  To them, you can add whatever you feel like.  I usually bung in some diced celery, baby peas, some chopped fake bacon, a few sundried tomatoes and some chopped mushrooms, grated cheese and chopped herbs.  It’s all just meant to be spontaneous so don’t worry too much.  It will taste yummy whatever you put in it.  I’ve made one with just celery and peas, with some grated parmesan and it was delicious.

Mix it all together in a large oven-proof dish (usually a shallow oblong or rectangle one – maybe a 6-8 cup capacity…) and cover it with foil.  It doesn’t have to be a tight cover, it’s just to stop the top burning and the ingredients from drying out.  Be careful while putting it in the oven – don’t spill it or drop half of it all over your slippers like I did last night.  Gross!  The oven should be on a fairly high temp  – around 200 C.  Bake for about 30 mins – you can check on it after about 15 mins and give it a stir if you like but I don’t always, it usually takes care of itself – risotto is done when all the rice is tender.  Sometimes might take up to 45 minutes – it’s not an exact science but I usually find 30-35 minutess is enough.  Serve with a nice grating of parmesan or whatever cheese you like.  Voila!

A good dish to make if you don’t like cooking but you somehow managed to invite someone over for dinner.    This recipe is enough for about 6 people or 4 piggies.

Enjoy!

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It’s Friday night and all I can say is TGIF!!!  It’s been a long, exhausting week.  I’ve been in horrible pain with my back and neck and I just want to strap heat packs and hot water bottles to every muscle in my body and lie down for two days straight.  Will have to make do with just a couple of hours probably.

Hope your weekend is shaping up to be something awesome 🙂