Experimenting with Colour and Design

Experimenting with Colour and Design

Still suffering with a lurgy of unknown name and origin.  I have been to the doctor now, mainly because I developed a rash on top of the other symptoms (eg sore throat, fever etc) and she took some swabs of my throat and nose (yes, I even managed to get some weird bacterial infection in my nostril!) and prescribed me a million drugs, ointments and creams.  I await the results of the swabs… I don’t feel too bad – just a bit weary and “off” but I wish the sore throat would go away and the horrible rash – it’s gross and itchy!

Needless to say, I haven’t felt like doing much at all but I hate sitting about wasting time.  So I’ve doodled a bit and painted a bit and basically just played around with ideas and designs.  I’m still enjoying the watercolours with varying degrees of success!  I’ve tried them on different papers and backgrounds for different effects and I am happy with some of the results.  I’ll keep experimenting!  Below are a few examples of what I’ve been doing.  I like the flowers – they’ve turned out quite effective and the little notecards I made with them are (I think) quite sweet.

I hope to get well soon and sort my creative brain out.  It’s taking a bit of a holiday right now.

Stay well friends! 🙂

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Leapin’ Lizards & Lurgies

Leapin’ Lizards & Lurgies

I am suffering from a horrible sore-throat lurgy this week.  I’ve had two days off work and haven’t accomplished very much at all, although I did attempt some more painting on the weekend before giving up and relegating myself to the couch and bad day time TV.  Shame, as the weather was lovely (though cool) and the sun was shining.  I did manage to get a few shots of the local skink population in my garden having a grand old time in the sun, catching bugs and soaking up the rays.

They are gorgeous little critters (generally 5-15cms) – shiny and sleek and so perfect with their little miniature scales and dark eyes.  Some of my friends don’t agree, but I think they are wonderful and fascinating.  I read up on them in the week (when I was busy doing nothing but sniffling and feeling sorry for myself) and found out a few facts I did not know:

  1. The common name for these little guys that are found everywhere in Australia is Fence Skink (or Wall Skink) – basically because they are usually found sunning themselves on outside walls and fences!
  2. They lay clutches of about 5 eggs and often have them in communal nests with other skinks.  The ideal spot is somewhere warm, dark and moist eg under logs, in damp garden beds etc. 
  3. The eggs resemble perfect miniature chicken eggs.  They are soft and leathery and become enlarged as they absorb moisture from the surrounding soil.

Now I am a bit obsessed about finding a skink nest but it is pretty unlikely.  I’ve never seen one before…but then I guess I wasn’t looking for one!  I am a bit paranoid about disturbing one now or accidentally digging one up so I will be extra careful in the garden from now on.

I really enjoyed capturing these guys on film – they were quite willing participants, all things considered.  Normally shy and timid, they kept quite still and didn’t run and hide which was lovely as I got to get up close to them.  I think the sun was just too gorgeous for them to want to hide away.

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Beautiful eyes!

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So many colour variations!

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This little guy was very bolshy and jumped down (he actually landed with quite a thud) to where I was standing in order to catch a spider right I front of me.  I don’t think he could have cared less that I was there – he just wanted his lunch! 🙂

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This tiny little fellow was so shiny and handsome.  He was only about 3cm long so I think he was a new hatchling.  I nearly trod on him as he was so tiny and blended in with his surroundings.  Beautiful though.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my fabulous garden friends – I love having them around 🙂

Pain in the Neck, Cake & The Joy of Thrifting Videos

Pain in the Neck, Cake & The Joy of Thrifting Videos

I am off work at the moment with a painful neck.  After all the stress of the last couple of weeks at work, with all the heavy lifting and long days, my neck decides to spaz out on me when I am doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to aggravate it.  Maybe it got used to the stress and heavy lifting…maybe it got confused on the weekend when I was no longer working long hours… Who knows?  All I know is that on Sunday morning, after a reasonably long country drive, down to my Dad’s for Father’s Day, I got out of the car, my neck went “ping” and I went “ouch”.  I also went into immediate meltdown because my neck and back have been good for ages and to have this happen made me panic and start seeing visions of a yet-again painful and debilitating future.  But I have been to the physio, been strapped up and pummelled and am now at home, resting up, trying to keep my muscles warm and un-stressed, so I can hopefully go back to work tomorrow.  Because being at work is way better than being at home, unable to do anything but watch TV and drink endless cups of tea.  I desperately want to craft or go op-shoppping but can do neither due to having the neck pain and no money (have over-spent a little bit this month, need to reel it in a little) and also being in my pyjamas with no bra.  Ok, you didn’t need to know that last bit…but bra straps do dig in to sore neck and shoulder muscles so going about sans bra is essential.  Essential maybe, but not very attractive.  Ahem, moving on…

So, I’ve baked a cake (my stand-by Gingerbread Cake).  I don’t know who for, because there’s only me here and I’m supposed to be lowering my sugar and fat intake.  I can’t take it to work because the new digs are supposed to be sugar free and a haven of good eating and healthy snacks.  So, I will most likely eat a piece (or two) and freeze the rest, so I have something to offer unexpected guests.  Which I never have because everyone knows I hate the “pop in”.  At the end of the day, I know the cake will be entirely scoffed by me, over a period of time.

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Besides baking a cake, I have made a couple of necklaces for my niece – really quick, simple ones that only took a couple of minutes and wouldn’t hurt my neck (i.e. with sitting and hunching over for a long period, fiddling about with tiny beads and whatnot) – she likes the simple “surfy” style chokers that just have a black cord with one little charm on them.  I looked through some craft magazines, watched Dr Phil (some lady boo-hooing about her “famous” baseball-playing husband treating her badly…I don’t know these people and although any kind of spousal abuse is wrong and not to be joked about, I couldn’t quite figure out if the lady was crazy, lying or just wanting attention from the media…I got bored and didn’t watch to the end so I’m gonna go with crazy.  And possibly on drugs) and, surprisingly, did some dishes.  I also have been watching lots of YouTube videos about thrifting.  There is something strangely addictive about watching other people shopping.  Not normal shopping, in department stores of whatever, but thrift store shopping (op-shopping as we call it here in Oz).  Seeing someone pick up some vintage dresses for under $5 is exciting.  Watching another YouTuber collecting some fabulous homewares from charity shops and then giving them a makeover?  Enthralling.  But then I am home bored and unable to do much myself so watching other people go shopping is about as exciting as it gets for me.  Here are some YouTube channels I recommend, if you’re interested:

Hermione LillaRosa – Lovely English lassie with ever-changing hair colours, fabulous non-fashion sense, quirky decorating style.

Thrifters Anonymous – A couple of thrifting buddies shop up a storm in some of the most-amazing-looking op-shops in the U.S.  One of these shops is apparently 34’000 sq feet in size.  Swoon.

Grav3yard Girl – If you haven’t watched Bunny’s channel before, do stop by and watch a couple of her “Thrift Hurl” videos.  Seriously, she is just so entertaining and I have watched her for a couple of years now.  I do tut when she is promoting products that are not cruelty-free…but then I skip over to one of her thrifting videos and then I’m happier.  She just makes me laugh.

Haul or Nothing : Thrift Store Shopping (on FAWN) – I wish someone would challenge me to a thrifting spend-up

Riannstar – She makes me laugh.  Mostly because I don’t think she actually gets the whole thrifting/op-shopping thing.  I think if you’re looking for “in-season” pieces or anything “on-trend” you should probably go to different shops.  The whole point of op-shopping is that you don’t look like everybody else and don’t have to spend a fortune.
But that’s just my opinion.  Maybe I’m wrong… (I’m in pain and cranky so it’s likely I am just being picky for nothing).

Xpurr – Welcome to the crazy world of dumpster diving.  Crazy because people THROW AWAY SO MUCH STUFF IT IS CRAZY!!!  I find it fascinating that all this stuff (most of it brand new) gets thrown away by shops etc.  This videos for me are like watching those makeover shows or American Pickers or something.  I wish I was brave enough to go dumpster diving.  But I know if I was brave enough, I would probably just end up finding a load of rubbish.  And catch the plague or something.  It amazes me that so many people and businesses can throw all that stuff away and I have trouble tossing empty rolls in the bin, recycling or otherwise.

Anyway, that’s a few that I like to watch.  Mostly, they’re just fun distractions.  I get the guilts when watching anyone buy lots of new stuff (the world has enough landfill in it thank you) and really, there is enough second hand stuff in the world to clothe and decorate us and our homes into the next millennium.

Well, I’m sore and achey from sitting here in front of the computer for even this short length of time so I will retire to the lounge room, make another cup of tea (I’ll go crazy and make it a proper cup – no more herbal for today) and heat up yet another heat pack for my neck.  Hopefully I will get my bum into gear this weekend and make some stuff to show you.  I have a business idea I may or may not share with you at some stage…still working out the logistics (i.e. whether I can be brave enough to do it).

Have a happy, thrifty week – let me know if you find any 2nd hand treasures (but only if they won’t make me jealous) 🙂

Coconut and Pistachio Barfi

Coconut and Pistachio Barfi

I am off work today with a cold.  Not a terrible cold or the flu – just sniffly and snuffly and couldn’t get out of bed-dy.  I always feel guilty about taking time off work but I really didn’t feel well this morning and so when hubby asked me if I was gonna stay home, I said “Yep” and went straight back to sleep.

I’m not feeling well but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna sit around and do nothing.  I have to be really sick to just lie on the couch all day watching TV or sleeping.  So I’ve been re-organising my jewellery supplies.  When I say “re-organising”, what I should really say is “organising” because they were in a pretty bad state and nothing was even remotely organised.  At all.  I want to put all my silver findings in one box, copper findings in another and so on.  So I can find stuff when I need it.  Which will certainly be a novelty for me.  It is going to take me the better part of one whole day I think.  I’m culling as I go as well because there are beads and findings that I just won’t use. Lots of plastic beads and stuff that I’ve just acquired over the years.  So many boxes and cases to go through…it all looks so much nicer when it’s all neat and tidy and colour matched though:

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As I said in my last post, I have a “Bollywood” themed fundraiser at work tomorrow so my department had to make Indian foods for a staff banquet.  I said I would make some sort of sweet thing.  I chose Coconut Barfi because it seemed pretty simple to make and didn’t have lots of ingredients.  I altered mine a bit to include Pistachio because it’s just such a pretty colour and I love the flavour.  So, here’s the recipe, provided by my lovely library assistant, Bhavni:

Coconut & Pistachio Barfi

Should make about 12 – 15 pieces depending on how big you roll them

Ingredients 
2 Cups Desiccated coconut ( I am a bit of an idiot and accidentally used shredded coconut but it still worked fine)
Condensed Milk -1 Can (300 ml)
½ tsp Cardamom powder
100g ground pistachio
Extra desiccated coconut for coating

Method
1.Heat a non-stick pan on medium flame and add the coconut.
2. Saute until the you can smell the coconut, making sure it does not brown at all (it takes 5 to 10 mins).
3. Add the condensed milk and cardamom powder and ground pistachio

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4. Saute for 5 mins continuously until everything rolls out to a ball.
5. Add some food colour if you like (the pistachio was green enough for me) and mix it.
6. Switch off the stove and let mixture cool down so you can handle it.
7. Roll into small balls and roll in extra coconut.

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8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.

Voila!  Pretty easy really.  Thanks Bhavni!

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Hopefully people at work will like them.  I should point out that I washed my hands continuously throughout the making of these little gems.  I didn’t want anyone getting my germs as a special surprise in their Barfi.  I’m not coughing so I hopefully kept my plague to myself.  I had some ideas for dressing up the dish and making them look all blingy and Indian-inspired and colourful but I’m not feeling that well.  I’m just glad I got something made, despite my ill health.

Have a great week everybody.  Why not try some Barfi?  They don’t take long and you could make some to take to your own workplace and share around.  Let me know if you do 🙂

PS The Barfi can also be pressed into a tin (buttered, the recipe suggests, or, as I would suggest, lined with baking paper) and when set, cut into diamonds.  Pretty!