Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chai loving....

Do you like Chai? It seems quite the in-thing now and yet I still feel pretentious and awkward when I whisper my order to the barista ...

"Excuse me do you make your Chai with real leaves or syrup?.... Real leaves? Great in that case I'll have a (voice drops down a few decibels) large Soy Chai Latte with honey thanks"

I cant abide the syrup stuff... Eew

The reason for soy? I think it tastes creamier and richer

Now that the weather is warming up I'm experimenting with a chilled version

I'd like to have a go at mixing my own brew and you can be sure I'll go a little over the top with ginger

Gorgeous Jo shares a recipe here and if you love the flavours you may even try making a Chai cake

I buy my brew for the tea heaven that is T2 (my home away from home) - some say it's a little heavy with the cardamon pods but I think that's why I like it so much

I even purchased a vintage copper tea strainer to add to the magic of my Chai ritual

Teamed with a few fresh Medjool dates and you have a sweet treat that is actually good for you

So to Chai or not to Chai? What are your thoughts peoples?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Paper love... six ways.

and of course .. my personal favourite ... 

A few facts ... a few tips ... and a quick catch up...


I love paper. I love all kinds of paper.... however the heart races for delicate tissue thin writing paper (and if there's a water mark within it.... swoon) anything handmade, linen finish card stock and of course - as is evidenced in this post... pages from just about any vintage reference book I can find. 

There are an abundant number of abandoned books filling the shelves of thrift stores world wide. This fact simultaneously saddens and excites me. The digital era brings with it great convenience and many an environmentalist would argue the decrease of forestry pillaging, yet it also leads to the orphaning of thousands of truly stunning encyclopedia sets and reference books.

There are innumerable ways to recycle these exquisite pages and I'm on a mission to try them all. 

Christmas is around the corner... I won't give you a minor cardiac episode with an accurate day count, however I will add that little compares to the pleasure of knowing your festive plots and plans are progressing along at a stress free pace.... she says smugly whilst scribbling a foreboding list longer than her arm.


You need very few tools to transform paper into handmade loveliness. I find double sided tape, fancy edged scissors and stamps are the only "luxury purchases" required to go from basic cut and paste to... hmmmm ... how can I humbly state this... unique brilliance?? Might I add that all the brilliance lies in the delightful typography, alluring illustrations (think Websters pictorial peoples) and yellowing ageing of these parchment treasures.

Handmade is just hands down (see what I did there) a superior touch when it comes to gift giving. 
(even if the gift is store bought, the effort put into personalising ones wrapping rarely goes unnoticed)

You need not be a crafty bod to have a bit of fun with paper and you don't even have to tear out the pages (sacrilege I hear many of you scream) since the magic of scanning and/or photocopying allows you to duplicate as many of those captivating medical journal images (a gory personal favourite of mine) as you please. 

For those of you who do not have any thrifted books on hand fear not - The Graphics Fairy  is a modern day super heroine whose efforts to share vintage images in convenient down-loadable clip art form truly renders her Nobel peace prize worthy. Her website is a cornucopia of visual pleasure and well worth a visit. Obsessed with foxes and rabbits peoples ??? 

I cannot even bear to part with the corners and scraps of the paper I'm using so as you can see I sew them together (the music paper bunting) and/or turn them into mini cake flags. I'm always trying to come up with new ideas so if you can think of any other uses for these leftover bits do let me know.

I made the Monopoly money bunting for my son's room  - a token of visual abundance for all his lofty plans and dreams. Usually I turn vintage children's story books into bunting (and gift it to new mums for their nurseries and kiddies for their rooms & cubbies) yet I have found that just about any paper treasure can be turned into bunting and as for shape/size, uniformity etc ... well they're all silly rules that must be abandoned.

Even if the word "craft" has you running a mile I still think adding a personal touch to gifts and cards goes a long way to making someones day. Hand made cards are especially sacred and too easy when all you've really done is "steal" a page from an old dictionary and hand stamped the message - quick but completely unique.


Again thank you for your lovely comments and emails on my last post. I am still pretty inactive however it's only ten more sleeps and I'll have an operation that will put and end to all of this nonsense.
I am enthusiastic, optimistic and ever so grateful. Not only for the kindness and care of loved ones but also for the ability to distract myself by making and creating... twas very cathartic! 

We are back to school and Young Prince will be tackling exams pretty soon. He's at that bold and brassy age where he doggedly believes that study is for the birds and I'm trying (unsuccessfully I might add) to school him in the benefits of regular revision. Hmmm.... we shall see.

My hero of a Hubby made THIS and THIS yesterday (adapted with lemons) so I have no reason to complain about being couch bound with a couple of magazines, a pooch and a new period drama to enjoy. 

We have grandiose veggie plot and garden plans which will swing into action AS SOON as I am able to wield an axe and dig a hole. I. CANNOT. WAIT. In the meantime I swoon whilst looking at these.

How has your weekend been peoples? Have you been crafting lately? What about Christmas? (I know, I know... too early some might say) but have you begun preparations? Stocking stuffers, gift purchases, jam making? (a dream I have yet to tackle) Are you excited about summer days at the beach or are you stoking fires and donning socks? Are you out and about on a jaunt or home bound with cosier activities at hand? Do you have teenagers emptying the fridge and filling the washing machine or are yours of the littler persuasion... nappies, teething, racing around in dress-ups?? Will you be vacationing soon or will your festive season be a local one with family and friends? 

Do tell. 


PS - The chicks are doing really well. Roz is still fiercely protective but hopefully we'll be able to move them into the bigger run soon so that the other gals can get used to them. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Jaunt....and the truth.

Frustrated and moody, irritable and challenged. I'd rather be honest than tell blogging fibs and post about a cosy existence that does not (at least for now) exist. 

Health issues are still lingering and even though there is most certainly "light at the end of the proverbial tunnel" I am forced to dig deep for patience and optimism. Hubby decided a day out and about might help lift the spirits and I'm happy to report that although we only managed a "half-day" adventure ....

... it was exactly what I needed.

It's no coincidence that I chose black & white to capture the day... I think when you feel a little disconnected it affects most of your choices and there was something strangely comforting about viewing images that reflected the way I'm feeling ... the way I'm seeing... the way I'm thinking.

We went to Fremantle and sat on the main street eating a tapas style lunch in the brilliance of a Perth Spring day. The atmosphere was upbeat and touristy ... as it almost always is in Freo. Oktoberfest had begun and so there were a number of events being held up and down the main stretch. (I think it's pretty tacky celebrating a very NON-Australian tradition here but I suppose local business would argue that any gimmick pulls in a crowd) 

I'm not really forcing a smile... by this stage I was truly grateful to be venturing away from the couch and soaking in some much needed Vitamin D. What this photo does not reveal is the hideousness of the busker hired to entertain with what can only be described as really bad "german folk music" with blurred cultural interventions (Shuduppayaface??? - have you heard of this song? ... Oh Dear) 

Still it's nearly impossible not to feel burdens lighten when everyone around you is basking in the first real Spring weather we've had all year and before long I found myself perking up & feeling truly grateful. I have the most amazing Husband who tends to my every need (no small feat when you consider the frightening unpredictability of a hormonal female whose stubborn attitude has yet to be defeated) I have a son who has championed me through some of the worst of this "crisis" and I have a family, friends (and you dear fellow bloggers) who have helped me tremendously. 

“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You have left such intuitive, kind and caring comments and I want you to know that EACH and EVERY one of them has touched me deeply. Just the fact that you take the time to fill in that "annoying spam decoder" thingy is a compliment in it's own right! I sit with Kleenex reading them to my Hubby who smiles, hugs me and tells me "I deserve your well wishes" ....

.... again THANK YOU. I am going in for am operation at the end of this month. The only reason I choose not to detail the specifics of my health issues is simply because we are all so very individual in our needs, bodies and medical experiences. What may have been a cause for alarm with me would not blip on anothers radar and what may be easy for me may be challenging for someone else. I have learnt of the health challenges of a few fellow bloggers (some privately and others publicly - some in great detail and some vague) and I feel that the essence of each story always brings about the same moral...

... gratitude, love, hope, friendship... these are what count. End of story. Period. Fact.

Hubby and I pondered all of these truths over our chocolate treats ... we savoured each delicious bite and reflected on the fact that even when life presents a stumbling block we are blessed to have human hands who reach out and lift you up, cheer you on and celebrate your victories with you.

Yes... a jaunt with a loved one, a few rays of sunshine and some chocolate ...was far better than ANY of the Doctors orders. 

We are smack bang in the middle of school vacation here and I'm blessed to have my Young Prince with me ... most days ...
(teenage social calendars... methinks the President of America aint this busy!!) 
...and I hope to enjoy a walk in the park with him later today. These casual dates often lead to deeper things as we chat, laugh and ponder life's very important issues - although can anyone really ever say which cross species would make for the best super hero powers??? 

On another note I'd like to introduce you to the two newest members of our family....

Welcome to Fay & Cassandra - a spritely Welsummer and a plucky Rhode Island Red. 
We ventured with friends on the weekend to help them choose a new feathered family... 
(they recently lost ALL six of their gals to a Fox frenzy!) 
...and ended up with two of our own. As you do. 

Method in our madness though. 
Our dear sweet Roz became broody three days ago and so last night we snuck 
these two darlings beneath her while she slept ...
(we've done this before with great success)
... and woke early this morning to find them following her dutifully and nestling as though 
she'd been there Mum all along. Oh how I love chickens!

Updates to follow I promise.

I've had a few people ask about their names and (although it may seem cheesy) we have chosen to name all our chickens after female characters in the American sitcom Frasier. It was a show that provided emotional/comic relief in a time when we were nursing a loved one through Cancer so we have fond memories attached. So far there has been Roz, Daphne (RIP) Lillith and Maris... and now Fay and Cassandra. We have at least twenty more names to choose from too... my favourite being Mrs Moon.

Well peoples... I wish I could say I have a day of marathon running, cartwheel turning and dancing ahead but alas I am forced to choose from activities of the slightly more docile nature. Today will consist of reading, light tidying, crafting & creating and checking on two little chicks at regular intervals. 

I promise though that my next post will not contain a stitch of self pity and I will make a concerted effort to include colour filled images of creative ventures, cute animals ... and so forth ... and so forth.

For now though... a sincere thank you for indulging me in my woes and pondering life through a colour  drained lens. In truth I think it adds to the poetic irony of the day... ♥♥♥

Wishing you bundles of fun for the week ahead!
I'm going to put the kettle on now - steep a delicious brew and catch up on all your adventures... 
...which I'm sure will be even more tonic for my soul. 

Aaaah... I feel better already :-)