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Monday, March 26, 2012

A Little Something for Moi!

...said Miss Piggy!

We have been invited to a friends wedding this weekend and I've been enjoying planning my outfit.  You may be surprised (or maybe not!) to hear that very little thought goes into my wardrobe mostly - I just choose random colours and shapes that appeal to me at the time and hope like hell that it all goes together when and if I ever need to dress up.  So to plan an outfit from scratch was quite a challenge!
First, I chose a short tealy green dress that I can add layers to as the wedding is outside in Wellington, not known for it's balmy weather...to use an understatement.  Then I got a black leather blazer - lovely and soft and warm, some black tights and tall black slouch boots.
THEN...I planned the beads (the fun bit).
They are really chunky and a bit outrageous, but well, you know...FUN!
So here it all is...I have to confess to being a bit disappointed with the colour of the dress - I LOVE colour and would have loved something much more...colourful!  But this is what I got...
I'll take another pair of black shoes for dancing in later, too.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Relishing Sunday

I told you that I bought a big bucket of ripe tomatoes last week - well I made them into relish today.  It was a perfect Sunday, just pottering around with the lovely smell of cooking relish permeating the house.
I'm a bit of a sucker for kitchen equipment - I have lots of old and new gear and love a new toy, but one of the most useful things I have in my kitchen is the grottiest.  An old friend showed me  how to funnel jam and relish into the jars - just cut the top off an old plastic vinegar bottle.  I made this gorgeous item years ago and it's lived in the cupboard coming out on special preserving days.  It doesn't win any prizes for glamour, but it sure as hell wins the practicality prizes!
I made 4 times the quantity of the recipe in the old Edmonds Cookbook - an old Kiwi standard!
It made 24 jars - that's enough for a jar every three weeks or so for a year and a good few to give away.
1.5 kg tomatoes, blanched, skinned and quartered (I skip the blanching, skinning and anything fussy)
4 onions, quartered (I actually like mine chopped a bit finer than this
2 tablespoons salt
2 cups brown sugar (there's no way around this - you need to use real sugar - it acts as a preservative.  You can, however, use raw sugar, but there's little difference)
2 1/4 cups malt vinegar
3 chillies
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 or more tablespoons maize cornflour (so it's OK for wheat free friends)
Another 1/2 cup malt vinegar

Put tomatoes and onions into a non-metallic bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and leave for 12 hours.  Drain off all liquid formed.  Put vegetables, sugar, first measure of vinegar and chillies into preserving pan.  Boil gently for one and a half hours, stirring frequently.  Mix mustard, curry and cornflour with second measure of vinegar and mix to a smooth paste.  Stir into relish.  Boil for a good 5 minutes.  Pack into sterilized jars.  Makes about 4 x 350ml jars.
illy & Mojo had a sleep-in and didn't get out of bed till almost 1 o'clock.  So of course the bed remained unmade until they'd finished with it.  They refused even to open their eyes for this photo.
We went into town late in the afternoon and hung the last sign.  Apologies for the awful photo, quite apart from the fact that you can see my finger, you can't see the gorgeous copper roses that the Toy Boy made to adorn the top.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Counting my Blessings

How was your week?  
Did you have blissful moments?
Have you stopped and thought about the things you are grateful for lately? 
It's so enriching to do this all the time - just noting the wonderful events and abundance that surround us as we go through our days can give a whole new perspective on the world.
Wishing you all a BLISS-FULL week!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Being Inspired

Years ago I read a life changing book called The Artists Way by Julia Cameron and one of her suggestions for re-fuelling our creative tanks was to have regular "Artists Dates".  That's not exactly what I did this week, but I did have two days out visiting with family, shopping and just generally browsing.  The effect was similar, however, and I have come back to the workroom with my head bursting with new ideas!  Yah!  I just cant wait to get back on the torch and convert some of those mind pictures into form.
 I stayed with my darling big sister and we spent some really special time together.  She took me to a new cafe in Nelson, situated in an old historic house on the Nelson foothills called Melrose House.  We had lunch there, served on beautiful china and drank an artisan tea from a gorgeous tea pot in china cups.  Not only was the food amazing, but the staging and setting are to die for! 
I had a fresh fish cake - YUM!
Jane had Chicken Liver Pate with Toasted Walnut Bread and Caramelised Onion Relish
  We've decided that we will take our little sister there when she comes to visit next month. - oops!  Did I let the cat out of the bag?  Was it to be a birthday surprise? Maybe the treat will be magnified by anticipation!
There's a tea wagon loaded with cups, fresh flowers and a gorgeous old garden to wander

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Swarovski Crystal Designs

Erinite (Sea Blue Green) and White Pearls Necklace
Erinite & White Pearls Bracelet
 As I mentioned in my Bliss List, I've been making a few new designs in Swarovski Crystals and silver.  I love to  just sit and ponder over a tray of beautiful beads - how lucky am I to be able to do this regularly?
The Erinite and White Pearls will go with almost anything - it's one of those pieces that will go anywhere, night and day, casual or dressy.   Such and exquisite colour and my absolute favourite in the Swarovski range!
The crystals are so perfect and so full of dancing light and colour that it's hard to resist them - no matter who you are - I think they bring out the magpie in all of us!
Jet Black Drop & Pearl Necklace
Aquamarine Drop& Pearl Necklace
These two necklaces are a little longer and quite fine and dainty in a very flattering shape.
I've (very poetically) put them in a category called "Other Crystal Designs" on my website.
Sadly I've just heard from Swarovski that they are putting their prices up, so I will have to follow suit in the new financial year.  
So that makes this a great time to buy!