Sunday, November 30, 2008

And... done

Things that I'm done with:

  • cleaning my own house for a while - I have a cleaner coming on Monday. I'm sad that I am doing this but the reality is that in just a few days, I'll have the use of just one arm and be recovering from surgery. Manfriend works fulltime and is completing a thesis and has a right to a life that doesn't involve working 5-6 days a week and spending the other 2 days slaving at home. I am a student and that is part of my "job" in our relationship - part of the year I study, part of the year I'm on placement, and part of the year I'm just working a few days a week and keeping house the rest. It is my fulltime job to balance these things, and I don't do all the housework by any stretch of the imagination, but with one dud shoulder for the past 3 months (well, 18 months but only diagnosed for the past 3), the housework just hasn't gotten done much. Hence I am getting a cleaner. In theory, Allianz will pay for it for a few weeks post-surgery as it a direct consequence of the accident that I am getting someone in to do this... but I'll see.
  • studying. I've finished for the year! Two exams done! I get to shred things and file things away! Woohoo!!!! I am now halfway through my degree. Next year I'll do one 3rd year subject in 1st semester, and a 1st year and a 2nd year subject in 2nd semester, and then two 3rd year subjects in 2010. Got that? I'm confused just writing it. It means I won't do any practicum/placement until late next year but I can deal with that.
  • blogging every day. Because NaBloPoMo is over. And I did it! Or so I say. I happen to like blogging and I have a lot more to say here. And I have a lot of time over the next 9 months to write stuff out. Not that many people are listening ;). I'm not going to do it through December as I have surgery in a few days, and I don't think I'll be up for it!

"Recognizing the central importance of listening and showing sincere compassion is the midwife's job. It can be challenging to be truly present all the time, but it is a quest we must all challenge ourselves to meet if we are drawn."

Illysa Foster, CPM

A study to determine whether breech presentation at term is more common among women with at least one prior cesarean delivery showed a rate two times that for women who had had vaginal births. The study records of 84,688 women showed the relative risk of a breech presentation at term for women with a history of cesarean was 2.18, with no difference related to the number of cesareans. While a total of 2.46% of all women in the study had breech babies at term, 14.91% of those who had had a cesarean had a breech. The researchers took into account other factors, including gestational age, maternal age, parity, birth weight and oligohydramnios.

Am J Obstet Gynecol, 13 Feb 2008 (10.1016/j.ajog.2007.11.009)

Have I told you lately how much I miss midwifery? I don't miss a lot of the minutea and crap that comes with it, but I do miss the women, and the births, and the antenatals care, and the breastfeeding help and the growing bellies. I need to make a board to remind me of this through the next looonnnggg period. You know - I could have a baby between now and when I go back to uni and births. That's a little sad and confronting. And so not on the cards.

from: Cambridge Midwives

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Photo challenge

This weekend I have a lot of time to myself and while I want to finish knitting a project before I have my shoulder operation, I came up with a challenge to take some photos - feel free to steal and copy!
  1. A self portrait
  2. Where you live
  3. Your favourite thing
  4. A seasonal / nature shot
  5. The place you spend most of your time
  6. Something that sums up a dream / wish / goal / desire you have for the future
  7. Happiness for you is...
  8. Something you see on a walk / bike ride / picnic / drive / other activity you do this month
  9. People you see but don't know
  10. A typical meal or food experience for you

Friday, November 28, 2008

One down, one to go!

I sat one exam this morning and wrote wrote wrote for 2 solid hours. It was hard work - can't remember the last time I did that! I think I did quite well though so a good solid C here I come for that subject.

Now I want to sleep but instead I need to:
  • call my lawyer regarding a letter I sent him 2 weeks ago
  • fill in the form for surgery
  • reset rent payment for Friday
  • sort out a cleaner (I have quotes - just need to analyse and arrange)
  • hang cork boards on side of shelving unit
But for now - a brief nap I think!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Treasure map

Millionaire Mommy Next Door has written some interesting and inspiring stuff recently. I'm not saying that she has all the answers, or that I want to be like her, or that I want to be a millionaire even, but her post on how to increase your financial bliss came out of her ealier post how to create a treasure map for a rich life and got me thinking.

I am heading towards the big 3-0 and more serious stuff (heck, I just made tea and cake for morning tea with my sometime-to-be-husband Manfriend, and it made me think of my dad's routine!) and if I had $1m in the bank at the moment, the interest alone would keep me in good stead. I could go and do indy midwifery for a reasonable income but also at an accessible rate for those who need it, I could sleep til I woke up, and I could do what I wanted to do because I wanted to do it, rather than feeling like I Have To Do It.

MMND's suggestions for making a treasure map for your rich life (and she doesn't just mean money-rich - it's whatever makes you happy!) is like making an ideas board for a designer, or a planning board for a large event - it's not hard but it is challenging.
  1. Grab something to stick it on to (cardboard, thin plywood), as well as scissors, glue and sticky tape, pens and textas etc.
  2. Grab any magazines you have handy for this kind of project and flip through them, cutting out whatever catches your eye. This can be quotes or pictures or stories or ideas - anything that inspires you and gets you thinking, or makes you curious as to why it tickles your mind.
  3. Attach #2 to #1 with bits of #1 - just like in primary school! I've not made a collage in *years* and this is going to be fun!
  4. Add notes and ideas into the collage for things that you've not been able to find pictures for, or can't yet articulate.
  5. Review it all and see if it sums up "happiness" for you. If it doesn't, change it!
  6. Title it, date it and sign it (my idea, not hers actually).
  7. Work out how many moneybucks you need to live this kind of life. MMND suggests being specific rather than accurate - but also to write it down!
  8. Hang your collage on the wall where you'll see it every day.
Interestingly, MMND goes on in later blog posts to look at how to identify and prioritise your values so that you can live according to them as a key to finding happiness. I know that when I am conflicted about something that I am doing, it is most often because it clashes with what I want to be doing - not just in a "I'd rather be doing anything other than studying" (oh look! I'm blogging instead!) way, but also in a deep down, do not want, do not agree with doing this kind of way.

Go and read and be inspired :).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Engagement party planning

Because it's my blog, because I'm in the home stretch of Nablopomo, and because the e party is next Saturday, here are some thoughts:
  • I have a dress to wear. It is fabulous. I also have shoes to wear - I have to put some grip on the bottom of them still though!

  • I'll deal with my hair next week - it may have faded a lot by then and need topping up but it may also be amazing still.

I need to organise a few things:
  • food for me and Manfriend
  • drinks for us as well
  • rubbish bags
  • card table
  • things to sit on
  • ice and ice boxes
  • balloons so people can find us in the gardens
  • eyebrow wax
  • massage
  • camera charged and ready to take photos
  • napkins and plates (biodegradable)
  • celebratory cupcakes (because I want them and my sister is an amazing pastry chef)
  • Long Island Iced Tea (and a container to carry it in)
  • ?music

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mix Master flashbacks

When I was little, my mother had a Mix Master. It had a particular smell to it - slightly sweet and a smidge oily and a lot of spice. She used it for cakes and bread and lots of other things and the sound of it is a lovely flashback to my childhood.

Anyway, I am now lusting after a Kitchen Aid.
To make bread. To make cakes. To make those desserts that I want to. It is TOTALLY a want, and I know that until maybe my 30th I'm not going to be able to justify such an indulgence, but I can still write about it, right? And label the post properly...

Monday, November 24, 2008


Summer doesn't really set in around here until late January, and in the meantime the flowers are gorgeous!

And proof that occassionally water does fall from the sky here:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cube stools

So I am in need of some foot poofs and I was thinking of buying them because Ikea has such a firm hold over my thought processes when I think "house".

- As an aside, is anyone else curious as to how much Ikea is influencing Australia's way of seeing and celebrating Christmas? I love the orange and red decorations that are there but am still not moved to celebrate Christmas...

Anyway, in Ikea there are foot poofs that I like but are actually too large for the spot that I have on my loungeroom floor. So I was thinking like this:

as seen at Chez Larsson. I could get the timber cut at the House of Bun, I have a glue gun and a staple gun (and am not afraid to use them!) and I have a week or two to spare post exams so maybe I will...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

10 things gone!

I challenge ye to get rid of:
  1. ten pieces of clothing
  2. ten books
  3. ten craft supplies
  4. ten useless pieces of paper
  5. ten pieces of kitchen crap
  6. ten cosmetic/grooming supplies and
  7. ten things from your "study / basement / laundry / shed" or wherever things go to never be seen again
  8. ten pairs of shoes or socks
  9. ten toys
  10. ten things out of your bathroom
I'll give you a month. I'll keep track on here as well. Take photos! Blog about it! Share it around!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Before: , During: , After:

More photos are on Flickr oddly enough. It's a response to stress in part (exams, uni being horrible, work, injury, Centrelink... how much more can a girl handle?) but is also because I love love love having short hair. It's not that long ago that I had short hair that was also kind of blonde (it was more Tweety Bird than the lemon it is now though):

Happy Emma

That was my 25th birthday, 3.5 years ago. I just threw the watch away as I'd worn the silver coating off it and it now left green marks on my arm. The necklace I still own and love to pieces. And the dress for that matter!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Names are such fascinating things!

I have friends in the USA, Canada, Europe, all states of Australia and in other places around the world. And I find it fascinating the names that are common in each spot. So here are 10 popular names in my circle of friends:
  • Angela
  • Emma
  • Kate /Katie
  • Rebecca
  • Sarah
  • Andrew
  • Michael
  • Alistair / Alasdair
  • Nicholas
  • Ian
And by popular I mean there are SO MANY people named these, the conversations go...

"So Andrew said",
"Wait - Andrew Mc, Andrew S, Andrew Sarah's Andrew, or the other Andrew?",
"Sarah's - J, not P"...

And names I want for my children:
  • Persephone
  • Taiven
  • Indigo
  • Saffron
  • Dharia
  • Grace
  • Mathilde
  • Paige
  • Gaicimo
  • Bexley
  • Felix
  • Xavier (why yes, I do seem to like my X names)
  • Fabien
  • Reuben
  • Cade
  • Bailey
  • Finlay
I'd love to hear what other people can say, especially about the names that are common in their family or cirles!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Smoothie smoothie smoothie smoothie, wo oh oh oh oh oh...

Song lyrics to the some Ruby which I mashed up for that song title can be seen here.

A while ago I bought a cheap version of a Magic Bullet and I love it to pieces - I use it for so many things it was so worth the $30 it cost me at Spotlight. I've used it for:
  • shreddding chocolate
  • whipping cream
  • making smoothies
  • making dips
  • chopping onions
Smoothie advice:
  • Get some flavoured protein powder (vanilla is good as it means you get some sweetness and protein in it but it's not the One Flavour for every smoothie you make) so it fills you up more than just milk or water can;
  • Chop fruit into bite sized pieces and freeze them. Rinse, pat dry and then freeze. You should use it up pretty quickly so don't worry about freezing it flat on something before packing away - it's pretty easy to chip apart! I freeze fruit (bits of strawberry that are sliced off other berries, frozen berries in general, orange, apple, banana) so that I have colds to go in the smoothie. This avoid using ice and increases my fruit content for the day.
  • Experiment with milk - I've used soy as well as rice, cows, goats, UHT etc.
  • Use ice to get an extra cold crunch. I'm going to try freezing coffee as well to see how that goes.
I would like to try some fruit / fruit juice ones too! But I'm not a big sweets person so I'm not in any rush for that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Flowers and tools

Why is it that every new hobby I want to start, or interest I have, requires me to buy new tools? Yeesh. I've started some gardening and now I consider it probably necessary to replace the watering can that is cracked at the bottom, and with cake making I feel that I would like things to make decorations with. And to learn to make pretty flowers like frangipanis.

It comes back to priviledge in my mind, something which Kate at Craftastrophies has had me thinking about more recently. So many things with crafting come with priviledge, a surprisingly difficult word to spell. Here are a few:
  • Access to skills through books, internet, shops and so forth - I don't have to find an artisan to teach me, or work it out for myself.
  • I can read. I have experience with the technology associated with accessing information. That makes it very easy to just decide, on a whim, to learn how to do something.
  • I have time to do these things - it is not taken up acquiring energy, water, healthcare, education etc.
  • I also have money to do what is basically entertainment - it's certainly not a crucial life skill.
  • It is socially acceptable for me to do what I want with my time, money and self, and it is not dictacted by my gender, class, caste or religion.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I once upon a time had very short hair (2005):

And then grew it out (2006-2008):

And now:

I'm tempted to do this:

Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Laundry list of I wants

A list of things I'd like to have in my life right now. From the ridiculous to the sublime...
  • tai chi classes
  • a Kitchen Aid
  • bookshelves assembled and help with moving books around
  • a power drill (14V cordless Makita Li ion)
  • Year in a Bottle (recipe book)
  • Leticia shoes in Jade
  • Wii fit
  • garden makeover
  • a hefty person for the day to help me do a few things around the house
  • hand knitted socks
  • A session at Cream - anything involving a body polish to be specific
  • A trip to Sydney where the Squeaks x3 are free for the weekend and we can drink a lot and bond and shop on King Street and eat yum cha
  • A house cleaner
  • A weekend away with Manfriend, with a spa
  • My car washed
  • a visit with my grandparents
Yes today I'm struggling with what to write. It's halfway through the month and I'm running out of things to talk about. The things I want to talk about, I'm not going to on ye olde public blog. The things I've wanted to talk about on here, I have so far.

Oh, wait! I have an issue! Well a couple actually - mostly a flat battery in my camera which means I can't get photos I took today off it to show you. Which means I'll have to describe it instead. In my post about my kitchen, I didn't show you the top of the cupboard, above the shelving, because it's currently a mess and a half. I need to do some work on it - I think it'd fit maybe 16 milk crates but of course this illegal (their collection, not their use in my house) so I can't do that. So I'm after some names for similar items with which to fill the space and use it up, allowing me to organise a mishmash of glassware, small whitegoods, emergency foods and so forth that is on top of the "pantry" at the moment.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I would like a chest freezer. Since the advent of the piano and wardrobe and extra couch, we don't really have room, but I still want one because it makes so much sense to make:
  • stock
  • soup
  • pies
  • vegetables
  • curries
  • pasta sauce
  • lasagne
  • big purchases of meat
  • chilli
  • pies
  • chicken nuggets
  • fish sticks
  • potato bakes
  • pasta bakes
But really, we don't have the room. So I'm forced to limit (! unbelievable!) the amount of cooking and baking I do, as we have limited freezer space.

*sigh* it's annoying not having a House. I have a lovely semi-detached house (well, half a house I guess) but I'd love a whole house with a garage to put a car and a chest freezer and the bikes in, and a garden to dig in. It'll have to wait until uni is over and I have a job and a life again, right?

Back to exam study it is!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ikea lust, list, loves and hackings

The Fira from Ikea is calling my name.
Thanks to my crafty brain, I look at it and think "change! colour! decorate!" and thanks to the fabulous sites of Ikea Hacker, Decor8 and Chez Larsson, I am inspired to learn how to decoupage and then pimp a few of these.

I also am thinking that this would work well in the Study of Doom
as it's quite a mess at the moment, partly because I have Too Much Stuff (TM) and because I have Too Little Storage (TM).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My house may smell like vanilla, but my kitchen looks like this!

No you eyes aren't deceiving you - I can't work out how to merge the two so that it shows one continuous shot across my kitchen. But isn't it neat? I love that part of my kitchen. Lots of open storage for my Tupperware and glassware, and teapots.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I saw a pdf for a button necklace the other day and was inspired to make things. Sarah from Frankie Fan 13's etsy shop (and sweet lovely friend as well!) made a very sweet necklace that I snaffled up, and one for Kate as well. It was amusing as I'd seen a green one on etsy, and Kate had too, and when she went back with a firm "I wants it and I'm going to haves it" she was devo* to find it not there. And thrilled when I gave it to her.

Anyway, I was talking about buttons. I own buttons. Lots of people have buttons. So I took my buttons and made these:

And then gave it away. Then made a few more. And gave them away too. I also made these:

Aren't they sweet? I love my hot glue gun. They're brooches by the way - itty bitty button brooches. Easy to make and great to look at!

* devo = mock devestation. Because the word "devestation" can be defined in my life at the moment but there are still times when I'm upset.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How do I study? Um...

  1. Have a massage.
  2. Make an acknowledgement/realisation that my exams are in just over 2 weeks.
  3. Also acknowledge that I have done little study in the past few months (Life got in the way. More so than usual in the past 6 months. No excuses - just a statement).
  4. Look at my marks so as to work out what I need to get in the exam to pass.
  5. Realise that this is either 50% of the exam, or near enough.
  6. Realise that I've done this process for the past few semesters and exam periods and still pull a really good GPA so I shouldn't really approach this from this angle... but I think I've been doing this since 1997.
  7. Look at the practice exams and questions for my subjects.
  8. Realise that the subjects I'm sitting exams for are not ones I can fake the answers to.
  9. Make dinner.
  10. Rearrange freezer.
  11. Make bolognese sauce out of the kangaroo mince I bought today.
  12. Rearrange study somewhat.
  13. Discover moths in the dry store for the choir. Quietly freak out and decide to ignore it.
  14. Make a coffee, move to the study and get down to business.
Proud of me?

Silent abuse - triggers, and a post in which I get rambly

Something different for today - a post about abuse. I've spent the past couple of months with a foam sling on my L arm when I'm at work, because I work at the House of Bun (a hardware store) and I have 1kg lifting restrictions on my arm, so I can't use it, but unless it's tied up, I tend to use it and it gets sore and I get really really grumpy.

By the way - Panadol Osteo is my best friend. Slow release paracetemol is the best for pain like I've got (joint pain) and I highly recommend that you talk to your GP about it if you have an ongoing issue. It reduces the overall amount of drugs that I'm taking and makes me less foul tempered and mouthed.

So anyway - the number of times people cracked jokes to me about my partner beating me and that's why I was in a sling. Why do people think that joking about domestic violence is amusing? There are lots of forms of overt abuse as well as a few that are "silent" - an article I came across recently about this really opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of what I went through as a child and teenager was this kind of abuse. It worries me a lot that I might fall into that cycle because I don't know how to deal otherwise with people. I'm very conscious of it now, especially in my close personal relationships, as I am worried about repeating the mistakes of the past, especially as I consider procreating.

On that line and in the vein of this is my blog and I can cry if I want to, I got contacted by my mother yesterday with her usual passive aggressive crap of "I have something for you let's meet up"... and this time, she also said that she had some things that she wanted to say to me and so maybe she'd email me. Now the quick among you will have noticed that she didn't say that she wanted to talk to me, or discuss things with me, or anything like that - she has some things to say to me. Unless they are very specific apologies for past wrongs, and a change in how she deals with a specific family member, then I am not the least bit interested in hearing what she has to say. Not the least bit interested in stirring up past hurts and incidents. Not the least bit interested in picking off scabs from wounds THAT HAVE HEALED in whatever fashion I have had to. And not the least bit interested in hearing her side of the story because I don't care whether there is a side to it other than my own. I just don't.

Skeletons and closets - that's a match made in heaven.

We are, generally speaking, a product of our past. We integrate things that have happened. We learn, and we move on. The moving on bit is REALLY important for our sanity, and for shaping who we are. Not who we were, or who we want to be in the future - but who we are right this freaking second. And given that I've been to two funerals in the past week and have had a crap day with my shoulder and physio, and am still not back at work, and am broke because of this, and am distressed enough without having to deal with 28 years of "things what made me Me", I politely messaged my mother with "thankyou but I don't need anything from you and don't think I want to hear what you have to say, so please don't email me".

And spent the next five minute crying. Just because I've made peace with not having my mother in my life doesn't mean that the pain of it goes away. It's taken me a LONG time to get to this point even, where I don't feel obliged to have anything to do with her - but I still feel that societal and probably primal requirement to have something to do with my dam. And knowing that she is not going to change, and that having her back in my life is just going to hurt and suck even more, makes me strong enough to send messages that make me want to throw up.

But being brave is not being terrified - it's about being terrified and still doing them. So I guess that makes me brave.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The post in which I reveal my easily-amused and slightly smutty side

  • Before today's post, let me just say - if you're looking at buying someone's (chilli - details changed to protect the innocent), and you say you'll be there in 20 minutes, and aren't some 3 hours later, don't expect me to be in a good mood to haggle.
  • Further, if you see it advertised for some $s, and you offer $-200 because you think I'm Just A Lady With A Simple Lady Mind, when you clearly don't know what I am offering for sale, I will proceed to talk rings around you and decline to haggle with you further.
Right, now that that's off my chest:
In other news, consider 9 awesome places to have sex (and the horrific consequences) which perhaps should be the "possible consequences" instead. And some disturbing sex toys.

One month til surgery. Freezer is full, exams are my focus, last week of work, weather warming up... yay.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More cake

I made another cake:

And it was yum. It was a chocolate cake with cream and strawberries on it. So simple and yet so elegant and easy!

But not really a Good Cake. The recipe is almost like a packet mix, and it's a pain to melt the ingredients and then cool them, and then add the flour and mix it up. The result isn't very light (although it is very tasty and lovely immediately after making) but next time I want to make Beatty's Chocolate Cake Recipe.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tomatoes and aphids - well, aphids in general

A reader writes: "Bunnings girl - my tomatoes have aphids. What do I do?" and I replied something along the lines of "I'll write with a long email / blog post about it". Hey it's 2008 and recycling's all the go, right? So there's nothing wrong with taking an sms conversation and blogging...

In 2000 I did an honours degree in chemistry working on roses in pots, and because of what I was doing with them (over watering and over fertilising them) aphids were a huge problem. I wasn't about to use chemicals on these things when I spent 10 months in a greenhouse with them (I'm sensitive to chemicals as it is, and was especially then, and didn't want to make it worse!) so I used a good natural approach to aphid control.

Nightshade spray (so - tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes etc)
These fabulous plants have alkaloids in their leaves and you can extract them in a solvent (like water) quite easily. As it's the plant's natural defence, it tends to ward off the bad bugs and not affect the good ones.

This spray keeps for about a month before the effectiveness wears off, if you keep it in the fridge.
  • 1-2 cups nightshade leaves (loosely packed), chopped up
  • 1-2 cups boiled and cooled water
  • Spray bottle
  • Extra boiled and cooled water
Put the leaves in a jar and cover with water. Steep overnight. Strain well, and put in the spray bottle and add the same volume again of water. Shake and spray onto the leaves where you see the aphids - under leaves for eg.

Some people are allergic to nightshades (my sister for eg!) so be careful about labelling this!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Maybe because I work in a hardward store (currently) or maybe because I love the idea of something other than Ikea in my house, but I'd love to make this Martha Stewart light display. It would be very easy to whip up (a canvas, an awl, some lights, some paint, and some lights) and fairly cheap... tempting!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas, wedding, surgery...

* Christmas may be interesting this year. Surgery is on 10/12 and I'll have 2 weeks of being unable to move my arm, so it'll still be a case of "help me get dressed please" by that stage. I've politely suggested to the family that I'm not up for traveling 2 hours to celebrate Christmas (as much as I do anyway, which is minimally) and will be having a quiet time at home.

* Wedding plans are on hold at the moment or are going on in so much that we are still talking about it when we get the chance. Money comes into it a lot, and I am waiting until I see my dad in December to pick his brains about the trip we want to make. Well, I want to make - it's hard to get ManFriend to make any moves on this, whereas I desperately need something other than school and my injuries to think about.

* Shoulder surgery is set for 1 month, 1 week and 1 day away. That's kind of poignant. And look I did what any good blogger would do and put up a ticker for it. I have exams x2 between now and then as well. I am wondering how to prepare for the recovery period. I'm a bad patient - I don't rest, I do too much, I fret about things that need doing but not by mem and I am going to struggle to feed and entertain myself for at least 2 weeks if not more. I found a great website on recovery from a broken leg but nothing similar for a shoulder; there are lots of similar things to take away!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Working with colour

In my job at the House of Bun, I tinted paint and gave assvice to people about what colours to paint their walls. I love doing this and trying to get people to paint something other than Antique White U.S.A. or Hogsbristle 1/4 strength (which are 2 of the thousand or so shades of white that are available).

When it comes to colour, I'm not actually gifted with something special but as a woman, I am better equipped to discern colours and care about them (there is research on this that I can't find right this second though!) and I like playing with them. I'm also S-M-R-T when it comes to talking people into what they want to hear.

I also love's Color Smart (their spelling not mine!) where you can go and find a colour or two or three that you have, and then play around with what proportions to work with, or else to look at what other colour(s) you should/could put together with them.

This works for:
  • outfits
  • painting rooms
  • designing knitwear
  • painting canvases
  • putting yarn together
  • using up craft supplies that are coloured but you need one more colour
  • cake decorating
It shouldn't be used for:
  • eyeshadow choice
  • cake decorating if you haven't looked at Cake Wrecks recently
  • painting someone else's house
  • overcoming colourblindness, as my dad tells me, as it just tells you if you can put colours together - not so much if you should do it!
So next time you have 3 balls or yarn, or some canvases to paint, or some time on your hands to "paint" the bathroom of your dreams, then try that website! You have to register but not pay for it and it's a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A day of Cream...?

I need a day at the Cream Day Spa. I'd love to be scrubbed from head to toe. In Sydney there is the Ginseng Bath House and it is amazing. Well, it was amazing. It was closed for refurbishment last time I was in Sydney, and has only just reopened, but there is nothing equivalent to it in Adelaide. I am unsure of how it is now as I've not been back since it was reopened, and who knows how things could change, but the idea of going naked, of being soaked and pampered, of being scrubbed to within an inch of my inner organs, and enjoying it - and then having cheese and tomato sandwiches and tea in the waiting area before going back for more soaking - just sounds like heaven at the moment.

And/or a massage. I could deal with an aromatherapy massage as well. I am in need of pampering and stress relief. I have a lot on my mind and it's distressing of my psyche, which is not healthy. I have school (exams soon, and having to withdraw from a course because of my surgery on 10/12), births that I'm missing, women who I'm having to let down, bills that are due, no income, and lots of angst about my injuries.

So Christmas fairy - that's what I feel like. If any gifts are in the offering at the moment, which I'm not sure that they are (due to family angst as well *sigh*) then can it be something that I want? kthnxby

Monday, November 3, 2008

What to do with 2 skeins of sock yarn...

when you don't knit socks? You have a look at Simple Knits: 653 patterns to knit with 1-285 yards of yarn!

I have 384y of Knit Picks Memories (no longer made but linked to Ravelry) to use so will have to find something to do with it. Or trade it. For crafty favours.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Apricot chicken recipe, and thoughts on my childhood

My favourite comfort dishes as a child were sweet and sour sausages, fish pie, and apricot chicken. A few months ago, ManFriend had an unfortunate experience of reverse sweetandsoursausuages and has sworn me to never ever make it again for him ever. So I will at some point archive it here for posterity, and will also post fish pie, and apricot chicken.

It's funny - no specific sweets really stand out as "foods that highlighted my childhood". I've never had a sweet tooth. I was the kid who wanted water instead of cordial, and vegemite on Vitaweet instead of sweet biscuits; who wanted Saos instead of cream biscuits, and hated fruit but wanted carrot in her lunch box; and for whom dessert wasn't a great motivator. Desserts that I do remember loving:
  • self-saucing pudding (butterscotch, blackberry, lemon - but not chocolate)
  • apple turnovers
  • stewed apple and cream
  • sponge cake with strawberry jam and strawberries and cream
  • trifle
  • royal icing off christmas cake as I don't like cake
  • pikelets (very occassionally)
Other savoury things that my family made and I "grew up on" would be:
  • mashed potato wrapped in slices of fritz
  • really awful bland chicken soup with equally bland scones (wow that's SO not a favourite but is something I definitely remember!)
  • baked soy and honey chicken legs
  • bolognese
  • lasagne
  • sausages sliced up the middle and stuffed with cheese, with mashed potato and gravy, and veges on the side
  • chicken satay on rice
Awww now I'm all wistful. And I should go fold some clothes, and study. So - a simple recipe for apricot chicken.

Apricot Chicken (serves 5-6 times which for us was two for dinner, two for the freezer, and two for leftovers)

4 carrots, chunkily sliced
1.5 chicken breasts, chunkily sliced
4 garlic cloves, chunkily sliced
1L boiling chicken stock
1 410g ish tin of apricots
1 shake of spices (as you like - I used a dash of cayene and some nutmeg, with pepper as well as the stock was quite salty)

Arrange in a deep baking dish in that order. Bake loosely covered with foil, at 200C for about an hour. Stir and add some frozen veges. Bake for a further 15 minutes. Add a dash of cream and stir. Make some rice. Serve up.

Yum. I need seconds.

(Manfriend just leant over and asked me if I had a tape measure. And if not, would it be in my apron. 0_O. We both work at the House of Bun and this is funny in the context of, at work, we do indeed both have tape measures on us. At home, I don't usually have it *on* me but I do own a few... it was just a tad random. And amusing.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Welcome to NaBloPoMo

Last year I wrote a novel in a month (NaNoWriMo). It's a piece of fluff and not really "finished" but it's done. I achieved something in that month that is slightly lacking in me. At some point in my life I lost the daring that I should have to try new things. I am wary of trying anything that I might fail at, because perhaps I can't deal with failure at the moment.

*Anyway*, I'm writing a blog post a day this month. It's part of the NaBloPoMo program and you can find me on there as HouseofVanilla.