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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

WORK IN PROGRESS: PICKLES' PUFF MAMA!

I am awesome at starting new projects. Not always so great at finishing them, but great at starting. The latest project I've started is this pouf from Pickles, the Puff Mama! I love the look of knitted poufs, and I've previously knitted the Puff Daddy twice for our old flat in Glasgow, once in blue and once in white. Both times I chose yarn that didn't hold up very well, and as Bo claimed the poufs as her new beds they ended up looking quite ratty and lost their shape. There was also that time when I was making this rug, and I managed to squirt black paint all over the white pouf. So it goes when you're DIY-ing it up in a tiny flat!

This time though, I'm using t-shirt yarn. I found this great t-shirt yarn from Krea Line, which seams way more durable. And it's super soft too (which makes me want to crochet a rug out of it, perhaps similar to this one I made out of an old bed sheet, eons ago?)! I appear to have miscalculated the amount I need though, so I'm toying with the idea of doing half of the pouf in a different color. A dark, contrasting charcoal grey, perhaps?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

DIY PRINTED BANNER

I don't usually blog much about work and I don't plan on starting, but I recently got the news that I would be offered a redundancy package. Being the least experienced and newest in the department, it wasn’t exactly a massive shock to me as they had announced that redundancies would be made earlier in the year, but regardless—that kind of news are never any fun. Either way, I’m pretty optimistic about the whole situation and new opportunities that will ultimately arise from this, and I’m confident that I’ll find a new job soon. And in the meantime, it’s just a little extra time to enjoy the summer, work on some projects around the house, and organize our wedding in August, right?

So with that in mind, I figured I’d make myself a printed banner with some wise words of wisdom printed on them. I've seen tons of these around the web, and I love how cute and simple they are. And the phrase is of course a reference to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I think might be one of my favorite books. I made the image using the font Langdonand I used this technique to print the image onto fabric. I don't have the best printer in the world, but i quite liked the worn effect I got here. I then hemmed the sides and used a large, wooden BBQ skewer to mount it on, and ta-da! I haven't quite decided if this will be going in our studio downstairs, or if it will be going next to our dog Bo's bed, as it looks pretty cute there and she's very nervous and panics about most things.




On a completely different note, today Graeme and I spent 4 hours in IKEA, waiting to order our kitchen. We usually try our best to avoid IKEA on a Saturday in the first place, but it was the last day of their special kitchen deal so all we could do was to suck it up with all the other kitchen buyers. More on this later!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

LEMON COURGETTE SALAD


Last month, Graeme and I did the Whole 30 challenge. For a big part of it, we lived off delicious roasted chicken dinners with a healthy side of vegetables or salad, which wasn’t all too different from what we used to have for our dinners during the week. Breakfasts were a bit more difficult. We got a new appreciation for both kale and sweet potatoes, and probably doubled if not tripled our egg intake. The first week we both experienced crankiness and headaches, and it felt odd having a Netflix movie night without chocolate. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as we were expecting. And breakfast and Netflix trials aside, we’ve definitely benefitted from the challenge and feel both healthier and happier. Personally, I noticed a huge improvement in my overall mood, and the quality of my sleep. I’ve been known to lie awake and toss and turn at night, but suddenly found myself actually sleeping at night and waking up feeling alert and refreshed at 6.30 am, a feeling that was pretty new to me.

More importantly though, doing the challenge has changed our habits, and we've been eating way healthier even after we finished (with the exception of a holiday in Scotland were we ate ALL the food and were left gagging for chicken and kale). One of the salads we've been having a lot, and potentially one of my favorites, is this lemony zucchini salad. It's based on a recipe from the Polpo cookbook, but over time I’ve changed the cooking method and the ingredients a bit so that it feels more like a meal. And if you’re doing a whole 30 challenge, you can easily adapt it—it’ll still be delicious. Yummers all around!



Lemon courgette salad recipe:
1 courgette
juice form 1 lemon
100 g rocket
15 g pine nuts
cured meat (prosciutto or similar)
grated parmesan
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
sea salt
pepper

Directions: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Slice the courgette, and place on an oiled oven tray. Squeeze half of the lemon juice over, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, flip the courgette discs, season and squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over. Roast for another 10 minutes until they are a bit translucent and tender all over. Leave to cool. Lightly toast the nuts in a dry pan. Toss rocket, courgettes and cured meat with a splash of olive oil and balsamic. Top with pine nuts and parmesan and serve.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

LA SARDINA / BENICASSIM, CARTAGENA, MURCIA

I think my favorite thing about using analog film might be the anticipation and excitement of getting it developed. I tend to save them up and go and get a whole bunch of films developed at the same time, so quite often I have no idea when the films are even from.

Last week, Graeme and I were in Glasgow and in between wedding errands and visiting friends and family, I managed to sneak off and get a couple of 35 mm rolls developed in Snappy Snaps on Byres Road. The two rolls that were mine turned out to be from last summer- one from when Graeme's dad came to visit and the other from our trip to Spain. I've been working on a photo book from our Spain Trip, and didn't even realize I still had undeveloped rolls of film! And as this week's been pretty grey and dreary over here, I thought I'd share a couple shots of sunshine.

These were all taken with the Lomography La Sardina using 35 mm film. They were shot in Spain, namely in Benicassim, Cartagena and Murcia.


Saturday, 28 March 2015

DENIM SHIRT TO DENIM SKIRT

I've been experiencing a bit of sewing performance anxiety recently. My parents bought me a new sewing machine for my birthday, a Janome 2030DC. It's awesome. It’s a world away from my old machine, a John Lewis mini. Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE my JL mini. It’s red and super cute. It’s tiny and light weight and really easy to transport, which was very handy when I was doing my ├ůsom sewing course. Not to mention, I’m a bit sentimentally attached to it, as it was a spontaneous gift from Graeme when we first started dating—I’d seen it in store and mentioned to him how cute it was, and then one day I came home and there it was, sitting in my bedroom. I've since used it for tons of projects, including several dresses and skirts and pillows and other projects. But lately the seams have come out a bit wonky. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot of things the JL mini just isn't made to do.

Enter the Janome 2030DC. It has a ridiculous amount of functions (especially for someone used to using what is essentially a kids’ machine). Every time I turn it on, I squeal with excitement as the LCD screen lights up. And so many features! It’s got 30 seams! Various feet! It can make button holes like no other. When I made this skirt with my old machine,  I had to do various calculations to determine the button hole size, and then do each one by hand, which took me about twenty minutes each and didn't even end up being even. No more of that! In short, this machine is a bit of a revolution. And I've been pinning tons of inspiration and projects to try. But, where to start? With great sewing machines come great sewing expectations, right? (teehee—see what I did there?)



But eventually, after trying to decide between all sorts of elaborate ideas, I ended up just sewing something that’s been on my to-sew list for a while: turning an old denim shirt into a denim skirt. Said shirt used to be a bit of a favorite (aka. I used to wear it far too often), and I was absolutely gutted when it tore, so it’s nice to be able to breathe some new life into it! To turn it into a skirt, I cut across under the arms, cut and hemmed the bottom, and used fabric from the sleeves to make a waistband. I meant to cut it a bit higher, so that I could use one of the buttons on the shirt in the waistband, but alas I ended up accidentally tearing it and went with plan B: using a clasp from an old pair of suit pants. And as a result of the tearing it ended being a bit shorter than what I had planned, but I’m still pretty happy with the results. Looking forward to wearing it bare-legged in the summer!




Hoping this will put my sewing performance anxiety to an end! Can’t wait to try that button hole function.