Archive for September, 2013

2013, September 30

DIY Pencil Holders

Usually I throw away tin cans. Last summer however, I decided to try and make myself a couple of new pencil holders. Not that I was in need of them per se, but I wanted to craft some.

At first, I made myself two – a smaller and a larger one with a nautical, summery feel to them. Then, in September, I made a couple more – in the same format for myself, and two larger ones as gifts for friends with a Fall theme.

page pencil holders

DIY Pencil Holders

tin cans (or paper tubes, or cores)
yarn
glue
embellishment

Start gluing the yarn from the top. If you find the yarn is a little difficult to attach to the tube, wait until the glue is tacky before wrapping the yarn around.

After wrapping a few rounds, turn the tube upside down and continue wrapping. I found that working from bottom to top is much easier than working from top to bottom.

You may change the color of the yarn or just keep to one color.

Decorate the pencil holder with embellishment when the yarn is securely affix to the tin can. As you can see, I used sea shells and rocks, ribbon, bows, felt leaves, a wood butterfly and interesting buttons.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, September 23

Recipe of the Month: Fried Meatballs and Mushroom balls

While talking to my friend Kenneth from California one Saturday night, we discussed what we were having for lunch the next day. I was all excited and started explaining the Menu, then suddenly hit a wall. I just couldn’t think of how to describe to him something that is “Meatloaf, yet not meatloaf but more like meat balls, but not in the way I see it eaten in the US with pasta and such. And they won’t look like balls, cause we’re cooking them in butter, they’ll be flatter. And I also make this same recipe with mushrooms!” (Oh, have I mentioned this was at half past 1am over at my end of the conversation? That might’ve had something to do with my effort.) So I went with Google searching a photo for him, then calling it:

Meatloaf, differently. ;)

Wondering how to cook something as the above (so eloquently!) described? You’ll find my recipe below.

page meatballs

page mushroom balls

page meatballs and mushroom balls

Fried Meatballs and Mushroom balls

500g minced pork meat or 500g canned mushrooms
1 1/2 red onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium sized eggs
2 stale buns
salt
ground black pepper
ground red pepper
breadcrumbs

Braise the chopped onions in some oil or butter. (You can leave this part out altogether and start at the following step, if you’re like me and dislike cooked onions.)
When it cooled a bit, add the minced meat or chopped mushrooms, pressed garlic and the eggs as well. You can also add some thinly chopped parsley.
Add the stale buns into water, or possibly milk, and let them soak thoroughly.
Add the soaked buns into the meat or mushroom mix and squeeze them all together like when kneading dough. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper. If the paste is too soft, then add some breadcrumbs and work them into it.
Form balls from the paste with your wet hands, then roll in breadcrumbs.

Add all the meatballs to a pan with oil or butter and leave them to fry until they are brown on one side. Shake the pan to loosen the meatballs and then turn each one with tongs to brown the other side. Keep turning with tongs until they are completely and evenly browned. Don’t give up too quickly, you want that crispy browned exterior. When everything looks pretty brown, cut into one of them to test if it’s well fried. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel to drain.

If you’re not into frying them in oil, another option is to oven-fry them. That is my preferred option, honestly, so I can avoid having too many oily dishes.

The way we traditionally eat both the meatballs and the mushroom balls versions here in Transylvania is on the side of potatoes (no gravy), just fried with a little salt and salad to go with the main course.

If you’d like however, throw your meatballs into tomato gravy to cook for awhile longer and then serve with pasta.
We also like having them on the side with tomato gravy, or pickled cucumber sauce.

Bon appétit! :)

2013, September 19

Dear Thursday, 19.September.2013

image

Estrella’s new sheets <3

I’ve woken up with certain words floating around my mind, inspiration for blog posts and fiction came to me.

Here’s hoping for even more!

2013, September 16

11 easy, homemade gifts for Chefs

Having a Chef for a boyfriend is nice.
However, it is a bit hard to give them gifts when one best likes giving handmade/homemade ones.

There are so many ideas out there which require serious “props”, that I thought I’d first share here the easy ideas I’ve come across, tried and was successful with.

 

page chef crafts

Crafts for your chef:

  1. Cookery-inspired fridge magnets
  2. Or some wine cork fridge magnets
  3. An interesting, highly practical spice-shelf
  4. Baby-apron for a bottle of something you gift them

 

page chef gifts you cook

More along the lines of you cooking:

  1. House delivery of an Estrella’s Love Pizza 
  2. If they like coffee, a bottle of Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  3. A bottle of Orange Syrup

 

page chef gifts he cooks

So your chef can do some cooking (with):

  1. Gift in a jar, Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. A baby-jar of Mumbai Spice
  3. Or maybe some French Spiced Salt
  4. For flavoring dishes, a jar of Red Peppers Paste

 

PS: When I have access to materials for more elaborate gifts, I’ll write another summary post like this one.

2013, September 9

Hello Kettle, meet Pot & 5 things 4 Me

5things4me

In the “pot calls kettle black” fashion, I thought to suggest to a friend that they stand up for themselves and do what they love. Interestingly enough, I hardly ever take my own advice…

So when, during my first week off from work, I stumbled upon Cathy’s blog post about the #5things4me meme, I felt instantly inspired.

After heading over to read the introductory blog post from SemperFiMomma, I drew my conclusions and decided this was something I needed to do myself.

I know, logically, that it’s important to take care of myself. To do things I enjoy, to say no to things I don’t wish to do, and make time for what I love. However, more often than not, I notice work taking over every aspect of my life.
So that day, I made a list. Having time off from work during 26 Aug. to 8 Sept. I’m hoping to turn this into a habit I’ll keep even when I go back.

My lists:

Week 1

  1. Read before bed, at least half an hour.
  2. Write, at least one hour every day.
  3. Spend a day in bed.
  4. Treat myself to a slice of cake.
  5. (A spa-day is out of the question, but) Get a facial, manicure and eyelash tinting.

Week 2

  1. Craft – I have quite a few ideas, but couldn’t find the time to make stuff.
  2. Bake cookies (or something).
  3. Shower, and get into bed early even if I’ll continue editing, etc. from there.
  4. Paint my nails.
  5. Say “No” to something I don’t need to do. 

What I notice now that the two weeks have passed is that I managed to stay on track.

Of course, some goals were really easily kept, like reading before bed and cooking more. Some goals were skipped one day but met for longer periods of time on other days, like writing. And some goals just weren’t met, like painting my nails.

While I am happy with the overall outcome, I suspect the challenge part of this to kick in once I’m back at work starting today. This is when I truly struggle to find time for myself and not fully get lost in a workday…

2013, September 6

Perilous – by Estrella Azul

 

It ended on a mournful note.

IMG_9720-1

 

—————

Afterword

Last night, a friend sent me the link to these photographs of abandoned places. They are exceptional! Looking at them (right before bed) stirred something in me.

I woke up with the above six words floating away from me. Before dissipating, I groggily took my phone and typed them into a “memo”. A week earlier I had shot the perfect image to go along with them.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my six word flash fiction!

 

PS: feel free to check out my first six word story as well.

2013, September 2

Fall-Themed Mason Jar Candle Holder

I saw the tutorial for a Halloween mason jar candle holder back in August 2012. Turning it into a fall-themed one instead of sticking with Halloween (as it’s not celebrated here), I have crafted one for myself last Fall. I never got around to share it on the blog though, so let’s make up for lost time ;)

page fall mason jar candleholder

Fall-Themed Mason Jar Candle Holder

mason jar
graphic paper
cardstock
clear packing tape
adhesive
tea light

Start by measuring from the tip to where you want you want your mason jar covered. You can use any size mason jar for this project. The small ones are especially cute, the big ones can handle larger candles than a tea light.

Make sure your cardstock is big enough to fit around with only a very small overlap. Now take packing tape and run it over the entire length of your cardstock. If you need more tape just make another row with a narrow overlap.

Burnish down the cardstock on to the tape. You can use a brayer, your fingers or the roll of tape so you get it stuck on there really well.

Now, completely saturate with water. You can even take it over to the sink, as it needs to be really soaked.

Starting in one corner, start to rub your finger on the soaked paper. It should start to peel away, the top color will disappear, exposing the white core below. You can add more water and start to wear away the white core some more, but be careful not to rub away the entire image. Take it outside and weigh it down or hang to dry.

After it dried, get rid of the extra paper pulp sweeping it away with a brush, or run a sanding block over it. Gently ink the edges if you want to. Add a good coat of Modge Podge.

Set the piece on the side of your jar, and wipe off any excess glue. Mason jars narrow or widen at the base, so there will always be a little play to getting it to match up. I personally went diagonally, having a few small layers overlap. It added an extra pattern.

Never use hot glue, as once the candle is in your candle holder, it may soften from the heat!

Finish your candle holder by decorating with cut out leaves, pumpkin, or other templates, a smoosh ribbon, buttons, artificial flowers, etc.

Drop a tea light inside and you’re done!

Happy crafting! ;)

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