Thursday, June 26, 2008
After my little rant the other day about the environment/sustainable living etc I thought maybe I would point out a few little things that I have actually done so that I'm not all talk! These things are by no means earth-shattering (or should I say healing?), but I think it's the little ignorances that accumulate into the bigger problem and these small changes can simple lead to greater awareness and hopefully make a bit of a difference.
To start with, the first thing I did after reading these tips was change all my bills and statements to electronic rather than paper. I then thought about the whole 'green bag' dilemma. My problem with green bags is that I have about 30 sitting at home and in my brother's car, but I most often do grocery shopping on-the-fly after work, uni or when go to buy coffee, in most of these circumstances I am walking, have a small handbag and didn't actually intend to do any grocery shopping, therefore I rarely have a green bag with me.
So my solution came in the form of envirosax, these are reusable shopping bags made from lightweight polyester, they are waterproof, machine washable and can hold up to 40 pounds of weight, which is twice what a supermarket bag can hold. And above all, they are pretty! Much more attractive than a green bag anyway, I got the Flora 5-bag set and I love them! They fold down to practically nothing so that at the moment I'm keeping two of them in my handbag at all times and I hardly even notice they are there.
Other things I am doing is not driving unless absolutely necessary, this means I pretty much drive to work and that is all. If I need to do shopping or feel like grabbing a coffee I either walk or get the tram, with petrol prices at the moment it's pretty good motivation to get of my butt and walk! I also sneakily turned down the thermostat at my parents house, I wash my clothes in cold water, unplug my laptop at night and when I'm going out all day, print on both sides of computer paper, reuse water bottles to death, don't get the newspaper or phonebooks, buy my meat from a local butcher, only eat meat about 3-4 times a week, and that's about it.
Things I need to do include: putting a "no junk mail" sticker on my mailbox, not using the tumble dryer so much, having shorter showers, being more stringent with recycling, not wasting water when washing the dishes, recycling the wire coathangers from drycleaning (although these are technically my bosses not mine, but really as if he cares about the environment), and turning off lightbulbs more!
I've also been lecturing my parents all week and things that should and could be doing to help make a difference, but I think they do pretty well without me anyway. So that concludes my second environmental rant, if you got to the end of this then I applaud you.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
So yesterday I started my cooking binge with a semi-dried tomato and feta pull-apart. After struggling to find a recipe at first the end result ended up being a mash-up of about three different recipes I had eventually found. And it turned out perfect! I was so proud because I don't have a good history of baking with yeast, things tend to end up gluggy or tough or just plain yuck. I had to substitute a bit of wholemeal flour beacuase I'd ran out of white flour and I think it m ade it even better! So here it is, and my version of the recipe:
Semi-dried tomato and feta pull-apart
- 1 cup milk
- 7g sachet dry yeast
- 3 cups plain flour (I substituted about 1 cup of wholemeal flour and used wholemeal while kneading)
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 60g butter, chopped
- marinated feta (I used the dodoni feta in the little container where the dips etc are)
- small container of semi-dried tomatoes
- chopped up herbs (basil, rosemary, parsley etc)
- Combine 1/2 cup hot water and milk in a jug (mixture should be luke-warm). Add yeast and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until small bubbles appear on the surface. Combine flour, salt, sugar and butter in a large bowl. Using fingertips, rub butter into flour until combined.
- Pour yeast mixture into dry ingredients. Mix to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until elastic. When you press dough, the indentation should bounce right back.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees and lightly oil a deepish casserole dish or loaf pan. Divide into eight even portions. Roll 1 portion into a (roughly) 10 x 20cm rectangle, about 5mm-thick. Sprinkle with chopped herbs. Top with one-eighth of the semi-dried tomatoes and one-eighth of the feta. Roll to enclose filling. Cut in half widthways. Place side by side and cut-side down in the pan. Continue with remaining ingredients. Cover and place in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until dough has risen to the top of the pan.
- Brush with reserved marinade from feta and sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cracked pepper.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 200 degrees then reduce to 180 degrees for a further 15-20 minutes or until it's a lovely golden colour and sounds hollow when you knock on it.
- Let it cool a little bit then get into it! Tastes fantastic warm from the oven and as a side with soup or pasta, yum!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
So while I was hiding behind a veil of feigned ignorance I noticed on kootoyoo's post a little thing called Polyvore which I could use to recreate the exact sort of outfit that I would wear if I: a. could afford it, b. could find it, and c. could fit in it. So here we are, an outfit that reflects my personal style, top to toe, sans me.
Although now that I look at it I'd probably include a scarf as well, wouldn't want my neck getting chilly! Thanks to Angela for hosting, Kitty for the theme, and Kootoyoo for Polyvore!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Clickety click the pic to find links to the photographers and the explanation for shy Mr Photo 3!
These are the photo topics:
1. name of birth place
2.country where you live
3. favorite kind of house to live in
4. one word to describe your style of decorating
5. favorite town for a city-trip
6. favorite country for a holiday
7. favorite piece of furniture
8. favorite kind of garden
9. favorite flower
10. a historic place you visited and liked very much
11. where would you move to if you had to?
12. favorite room in your house
I'm going to point out right now that I'm not exactly a tree-hugging, banner-carrying, vegetarian who is well-versed on the effects and current political policies concerning climate change. But that doesn't mean I don't care about it. I love this planet too, and I hope to be able to see all the beauty of it one day soon, things like the Great Barrier Reef or the fantastic rainforest's in Tasmania, not to mention the countless awe-inspiring natural wonders all across the earth. I don't want our planet to shrivel up and die and I don't think I need to be some yell-y radical political revolutionist to think that. I really believe that we all have a responsibility to make little (and big) changes that can add up to a more sustainable life.
So if you care too, then prove it. And read these tips, they are simple and doable and I was so happy when I read it because I realised that, without even really trying, the way I live my life is a lot more sustainable than I thought. But there's still a lot I can improve of course. As a start I just looked up all my bank and utility providers and swapped to online billing, such an easy thing to do and considering I check my email everyday I can't see any reason not to. Let's face it, how many people actually enjoy getting a bill in the mail? Exactly.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Well considering that I don't actually "create" a whole lot except for crappy essays these days the first thing I thought of was my kitchen. Also to be honest I'm not really creating a whole lot in their lately either, just whatever is easiest and that my brother can prepare most of before I interfere and take over the stove.
I should point out that this is an old photo I took a few months ago so it doesn't really illustrate my point very well, I think I was just seeing what my kitchen looked like from the view of my chopping board... or something equally strange.
I might also point out something about my rant about Across the Universe (yes I've already bought *cough* downloaded *cough* the soundtrack and watched a dozen youtube clips of it). I have a tendency to get a tad... uh obsessive about musicals. It's hard to explain but let's just say that some of my favourite movies/plays include Les Miserables, Moulin Rouge, Chicago, The Sound of Music and Life is Beautiful. I guess I like a song that tells a story. I also just really really love a good voice, all my life I've wished I could sing well, but sadly not. There's something about the music in these movies that really makes my heart swell and I can't help but want to watch it again and again, like listening to a favourite album.
So don't think I'm too much of a freak please.
Whoops, in my obsessive-movie-frenzy I forgot to post the second polaroid from the little milkbottle man series. This is my friend Julia. We were having a particularly lame day.
Exam 1 went suitably bad, but hopefully good enough to pass. I found out on Friday that the subject that I thought I was failing I got a credit for, so yay! I even got a distinction on an essay I handed in 1000 words under the word limit!
So now if you'll excuse me I have to go and learn about Psychological Measurement, because it is just so damn exciting.
Have I mentioned I bought this? I love it so far, the writing style reminds me a lot of Angela and Amy, very witty and sharp. Thanks to everyone who suggested it in the 'This is' meme, I finally caved.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Look at this guy? It's Jude. Jude. Oh yeah he's also my new boyfriend, move over Jay from Bedouin Soundclash, I have a new love.
Seriously though, if you like the Beatles you have to see this film. If you don't like the Beatles then you also need to see this film, it will probably change your mind. Put it this way, I've watched this twice in two days and I have an exam I'm supposed to be studying for on Tuesday.
This is the trailer, now I'm going to warm you that this does kinda give away a whole lot of the film, as trailers seem to do these days. So if you're planning on seeing the movie don't watch the trailer (unless you just can't help yourself, of course). But if I haven't convinced you then by all means watch it, you'll be running to the video shop faster than I can say 'yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dogs eye'.
God I love this movie. I want to watch it again already.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
So instead I give you these:
Bear's made with pine needles
Horses made with driftwood
I'm sure there are others out there but in my very quick google search I didn't find any. Do you know of any other art pieces made from nature? I'd be interested to see what else there is.
Also, thanks to everyone for your kind words about my fantasy bookshop/cafe/bar and my bittersweet travel memories, your words make it all seem a lot more real and possible for great things in the future! Maybe I'll combine the two and open my dream bookshop in Paris? Now that would be ideal.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
So I could tell you about climbing the Eiffel Tower, but it was a cold and cloudy day and I remember getting to the top and thinking "is this is?". I think that actually looking at the Eiffel Tower is far more impressive than looking out from the Eiffel Tower. I could tell you about the amazing food we ate, except that we didn't eat any amazing food except for Indian and Chinese in Rome, who would have thought? I could tell you about how romantic and wonderful Venice was, except that I had gastro and the entire city smelt of seaweed and rotting wood. My memories of Europe are tainted by sickness, cold dreary weather and an overwhelming cynicism that can only be caused by a breakup.
The funny thing is, that all I can think about a lot of the time is going back and replacing these memories with new ones so that I can have that fantastic picture of Europe in my head that so far is still mostly fantasized. So to actually give you my favourite travel memory (that I can think of right now and I have a photo of) would be visiting the Colosseum in Rome. I remember walking up that street and it just suddenly appearing through the gap in the buildings. It was such a weird experience actually seeing it in real life, and seeing how huge it really was. The closer we got the stranger it felt and we couldn't help but stop every few metres to take another photo from every possibly angle.
It's such an awe-inspiring place, and we found that listening to the audio-guide really bought the place to life for us as we could imagine the battles and spectacles that people had seen there so long ago. The state of the Colosseum makes it a bit hard to really imagine what it once looked like with a floor, seating, shade sails and trap doors, but it's such an incredible place that you really have to try.
I think I took more photos of the Colosseum than I did of any other place we visited in Europe, let's face it the Eiffel Tower looks pretty much the same from all angles, but the Colosseum really changes depending on what side you are in and which way you look at it. I loved photographing it so much I almost couldn't stop! We actually went to the Colosseum 3 times during our 6 days in Rome, the first time we just saw the outside of it because it was too late to go inside, the second time we went inside and did the audio-guide tour, and the third time we went there at night while waiting for a restaurant to open for dinner. It was even more amazing at night, although much harder to take decent photos of without a tripod!
Friday, June 6, 2008
I just bought this. Some might call it an impulse purchase, but with Polaroid film also winging it's way to my little mailbox I see no reason for not buying a little inspiration as well right? Let's face it, Polaroid will soon be extinct. So I'm going to suck up as much of it as possible now, to make up for the two expired films I hung onto for clearly far too long. Go on, long live Polaroid.
1. my dear Fiona !!, 2. italian gnocci with fungus and tomatoes, 3. School Bus Top, 4. wham:a different corner, 5. Jay of bedouin soundclash, malkin bowl vancouver, 6. teatime, 7. Montmartre, 8. pie duo, 9. happy happy..., 10. Best things in life are free, 11. You May Say I'm A Dreamer..., 12. Happy snap at Sacre Couer
I had to cheat a lil with the "what high school did you go to" question because surprise surprise, there aren't any photos of Cobram on flickr! Who would have thought..
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I think I'm growing up in a generation where everyone expects us to go to uni, get educated, be equal to men, either put off having kids or hire nannies, and be CEO's and executives. And I was totally buying into this whole idea, until I discovered the world of blogs and Frankie and Etsy and Meet me at Mikes! Suddenly there was a world of craftiness and creativity and women who weren't banished to the kitchen but also weren't trying to rule the earth! I've never been overly creative, I'm not a good drawer and I can't sew, but I like cooking and taking photos, and that's enough. The fact that I like art and craft and cooking and photography means that I'm instantly part of this new world that I've stumbled upon. I might not be making softies for Mirabel or selling prints on Etsy, but I might one day. The thing is, these things make me happy, they calm me and inspire me.
The best thing about it all is that I now know that I don't have to worry if I don't get some hot-shot career out of my degree. I'm still glad I did it, it's nice to have a degree under my belt and I know I'll probably go back and do Post-grad one day, just not yet. Next year I want to take a year off from study, I want to work part-time so that I have time to actually enjoy myself and do all the stuff that I've been telling myself I should. I want to take a photography course, I want to take cooking lessons, I want to learn to knit and make quilts, and I want to learn French. I know these courses are available out there, I just have never had the time for it. So next year is my year.
The fantastic thing is that I have this wonderful fantasy in my head of opening a bookstore with a cafe and bar. It'd be in a cool part of town, maybe in one of those alleyways hidden in the city or the inner suburbs. During the day you could come and read magazines (like Frankie, of course) and have a cup of tea or coffee, and at night you could hang around and watch local bands or listen to a poetry reading or something equally lame. We'd have mini art exhibitions for up and coming arty/crafty kids, as well as knitting nights and book clubs. Oh and a big range of games like Jenga, Chess, Checkers, Uno and Monopoly. It'd be like a combination of Meet me at Mikes, Magnation, Nevermind, and Readings. Not to steal Pip's thunder of course! In fact I'm sure we could work in collaboration :)
Anyway that's enough rambling and dreaming for one day. Can you tell I'm a Pisces much? Sorry for the long ramble-y posts of the last few days, I've been a bit bored and waiting for my Polaroid film to arrive so I can start taking pretty pictures!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
The day started well with a coffee-making course for me and Dad. It basically involved listening to a guy talk for 30 minutes about freshness and packaging and yadda yadda yadda and then us messing around with the Sunbeam espresso machines trying to make decent coffee. It took us more than a few shots before anything drinkable came out, and thankfully he taught us how to froth milk to make a latte before I was desperate enough to try and drink one of the espresso's we had made. In the end I drank about 4 lattes within the last half hour and was buzzing around like crazy for about two hours afterwards as a result!
To be honest, my favourite stands were the beer stands. I hate to admit it but I don't drink wine at all, I can't stand it, but I'm quite happy to have a beer or two. And boutique beers are always worth it. So I had a go at a couple of stalls where they were more than willing to feed you 6-7 tiny glasses of beer one after the after. Times this by how many beer stands there were and you have a rather tipsy Fibo at 1 in the afternoon. Oh and there were cocktail slushy stands, can't say I stayed away from them either.
I kept myself very well restrained until about an hour before the show was going to end, that's when I went on my shopping spree. As you can see I did pretty well. Most of the stands were doing "three for $5" or "4 for $10" etc, obviously depending on what they were selling. My best purchase was three loaves of Flinders Bread for $6! Such awesome bread, and with the spreadable honey (honey with pectin in it so it spreads like jam, genius!), it's amazing! And that's about all I can think of right now.. it's making me hungry! (So many exclamation marks, whoops)
Well, not really. My cleaning boss bought a le creuset blue dutch oven. God only knows why because he doesn't actually really cook much. I love it and I want to take it home. But until then I will just cook with it every Monday and soak up it's goodness. Sigh.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I had her from grade one until 2 years ago and she was my best friend, my baby, my breakfast buddy and my confidant.
When I was younger and we owned the caravan park I used to walk her around the orchards almost every day. She wasn't trained but she (almost) always knew the difference between a short whistle and a long whistle, short meaning stop, and long meaning come back. As I got older I didn't really play with Lady as much, and I felt guilty about that, but Lady was never the "fetching" type, she was never an inside dog and she was quite independent. We had a big backyard so as soon as she got bored of me she'd just wander off somewhere else.
Some of my scariest moments in my life were because of her, like the time she escaped the backyard at the caravan park and ran on the highway, or when she escaped the house in Barooga and was attacked by dogs, she found her way inside the house whimpering and hid under the kitchen table. After taking her to the vet and getting her stitches she hid in the laundry cupboard for a week and refused to come out. My heart has never hurt so much. I've also nearly fainted at the vet more than once when she was sick or hurt. She was my baby you know.
There's something so innocent and fragile about animals, and for me especially dogs. Lady had feelings, a personality, habits. When I was angry she could calm me, when I was upset she would sit by me, she even used to drink my coffee dregs every morning in year 12 when I ate breakfast outside in our backyard. I miss her so much it hurts some days, and when I think about her being hurt or sad and sick it still makes me cry. In a way I'm glad I wasn't there when she did pass away, she was 13 years old and within a single week got sick and died. Up until that week she was still the same Lady she had always been, albeit slightly slower. Because of this I don't have a memory of her dying, and I'm glad of that. She didn't suffer for long, but then again, I never really got to say goodbye.
I love you Lady, I miss our talks.
I had a great day today at the Good Food and Wine Show at the Exhibition Centre, it was such a long but fun day. I took a few snaps on my camera so I'll upload them tomorrow and write a proper post about it. Until then you'll just have to wait! Although I'll warn you, for most of the day my hands were full with bits of food, tiny paper cups and glasses of wine/beer/champagne/cocktails/water so there aren't actually many classes. Also the 3 lattes that I drank in quick succession during our 'coffee school' really didn't help my ability to take photos, or stand still, or talk slowly. Anyway, I'll talk about that tomorrow.
Also some bad news. Due to complications I won't be making the baby quilt for my friend anymore. It's best left at that I think, I don't really want to think about it too much and I also don't feel comfortable talking about something so personal on the internet when it isn't really my place. Suffice to say the quilt isn't going to be needed. Although I do hope to make a quilt for my best friend one day when I'm actually good at it. Thanks so much to everyone for your advice about the quilt, I'll still be looking into it all as I'd still like to have a go at making a quilt starting these holidays.
And now because I need something to bring me back up, a list of stuff I dig.
Poached fruit made by my Granny, the smell of coffee beans, waking up without a hangover after a big night, bows on shoes, birds nests found on the ground, brand new bed linen, weird foreign sbs movies, secret smiles, strangers who say ‘good morning’ when you’re out walking, the excitement of planning a trip, obscure movie quotes that only you and your friends know, signature perfumes, carefully written calligraphy, brightly painted toenails that no-one else sees, fresh flowers bought just for the sake of it, homemade soup, birthday cards with number badges, learning French words by reading the shampoo bottle in the shower, the anticipation of having something on layby, colourful knitted throw rugs, puppies that you want to immediately take home from the pet store, cool flickr sites, secret ‘graffiti’ (more coming soon), pyrex and anything on Polaroid.Night!