Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pretty Autumn.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
- John Muir

Check out Flickr for more seasonal inspiration and wonder.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Making Book Tags...

These days I am finding that working full-time and studying part-time means I do not get in much crafting. It's been over 12 months since I started a scrapbooking project (despite the numerous ideas swimming inside my head), and I've had to take a hiatus from trading ATCs due to a lack of time for making them. Any plans to learn something new have been put on hold.

But then I put together some BookCrossing bookrings, along with an RABCK package for a fellow BookCrosser, and couldnt help but think how much nicer the parcels would be for the receivers if I made some book tags to go with them.

A book tag is simlar to a bookmark, except you use a gift tag as the template. It works well, and as they are generally smaller than a bookmark I find them much less time-consuming to make.

Keeping in mind that I am very much out of practice and incredibly time-poor, this is how they turned out:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March

Random Saint Patrick FACT: Although known as the Patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick was not born Irish. He was the son of a Roman-British army officer, kidnapped as a child from south Wales by priates and sold into slavery in Ireland during the 4th Century AD.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Perfect Heresy Giveaway: WINNER!

Title: The Perfect Heresy
Author: Stephen O'Shea
Category: History (non-fiction)
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Published: UK, 2001

As promised, albiet a little later than I'd planned, I have a giveaway winner for The Perfect Heresy by Stephen O'Shea!

I've used an online random list generator and let it decide for me. There were quite a few entrants (see list below), but the lucky person drawn as the WINNER IS...

Congratulations, jemscout425! I shall email you shortly to get your postal address so that I can have the brand-new copy of The Perfect Heresy in the post to you before the end of the week. It is an informative and inspiring read and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks to everyone who took part, and thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. I really appreciate it. I will try and have another giveaway soon - they are so much fun!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vegetable Toad-in-the-hole.

Vegetable Toad-in-the-hole


3/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2 tblspn wholegrain mustard
Pinch of salt
2 tblspn olive oil

2 tblspn butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, cut into eight
2 carrots, cut lengthwise
1 cup french green beans, chopped
50g canned sweetcorn
1 cup broccoli florets
2 tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
1 tspn wholegrain mustard
1 tspn dried mixed herbs

1. To make the batter, sieve flour + pinch of salt into large bowl. Make a well in centre and beat in the eggs and milk until smooth. Add mustard and leave to stand.
2. Pour oil into an oven-proof dish and heat in oven for 10 minutes at 200*C.
3. To make the filling, melt butter in frying-pan (skillet) and saute garlic and onion for 2 minutes, stirring.
4. Steam carrots, broccoli and beans until tender. Drain well and add to the frying-pan with sweetcorn, mustard and herbs. Stir together.
5. Remove dish from oven and pour in batter*. Spoon the vegetables into the centre and return to oven to cook for 30 - 40 minutes until the batter has risen and set.

Serve immediately.

*Oil must be hot when batter is poured into dish so that it starts to rise and set immediately.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A sign of things to come?

After an early start to Summer (the first heat-wave for the season was in mid-November), a dry and hot January, a hot and humid February, is this an early start to Autumn?

I know, I know: Technically March is Autumn, but the change in the seasons usually doesnt happen until April arrives. The start of March usually brings with it one final stinking hot spell (it has been 40*C or more on my birthday for the past three years) before Summer truly starts to fizzle out...

A South Australian Summer always feels incredibly long. It starts early and ends late, and it's always ridiculously hot (you know, the kind of hot where you're unable to venture outside between the hours of 9am and, well, before dark). It is simply exhausting, and maybe I'm just starting to show my age, but I've had enough of it for this year.

But the weather forecast looks promising: Perhaps this year Summer will finish right on time, and for the next month at least we can enjoy wonderfully clear and crisp mornings, days that are perfectly pleasant, and evenings that begin as a glorious mix of reds, yellows and blues as the sun sets...

Perhaps? I hope so.