{ Hydrangea Girl: August 2011

Lovely mention - Poppytalk

Be still my beating heart.
Seriously.

I've been meaning to post my most monumental mention to date, which has caused an explosion of interest in my little blog - my lovely mention on Poppytalk. It triggered loads of deceptive dust cover mentions from Urban Threads, frohlockend, and a cluster of Pinterest pins, where there were only 3 the day before. 

This all kicked off on Friday, and after hours of sitting in front of my laptop, mouth open, clicking between Blogger, Twitter, and other social outlets, I went for a very long walk. I'm only now getting my head around it, and seeing what I can make out of all of this - to work in my favor, maybe to gain some street cred toward my career.

Street meat

Sundays Street Feast was a phenomenal hit. It was a great day and me and my man got to stuff our faces with delicate delights while getting to know our lovely neighbors, most of which we had never had the chance to bump into - an unfortunate occurrence in apartment blocks these days.

I woke up nice and early on Sunday morning and  made enough pastry for two tourtiere's, blind baked them, made the filling for both pies, and baked them both. By the time I was finished, I was ready to eat them myself. It took a world of self control to not hack into them.

We were fortunate enough to meet two Canadians who were staying with neighbors on their holidays, and they were kindly able to accurately approve my tourtiere's.

Since I had never made a tourtiere before, I was nervous. It's been years since I had one, and I was worried I would ruin Canada's rep in our community. But when it came to the moment of truth, those who tried it were pleasantly surprised. If you'd like to try this surprisingly straightforward recipe, all the important bits are blow. Great served hot for dinner, and leftovers kept for a picnic or lunch all week.

Additional note: my recipe has been amended to reflect a 100% true Canadien tourtiere. Thanks for the tips Emilie!

Practice pattern - skull hat

I just finalized the pattern to my knitted hat project this afternoon, and so as to not mangle my already half knitted hat - I did a practice piece. It turned out pretty cute, so I'm happy to go ahead with my pattern. 

Sorry - I thought this little piece was too cute to not share.

UPDATE: see my fully completed skull hat here!

Street Feast 2011


This Sunday the 28th of August is the annual Street Feast held all around Ireland. This event has been around for decades, where within any given community people get together outside to encourage openness within their neighborhood, to feel safer in your community, to reduce loneliness and isolation, to share your culinary passion {aka stuff your face}, and more importantly to get to know your neighbors - something unfortunately not a lot of us know.

I for one am hoping to make a couple of North American dishes - tourtiere, pumpkin pie or pecan pie. Robert would like us to serve the illusive and ever-tasty poutine, but since we wouldn't be able to keep it hot we thought it would be best to give it a miss.

It's not too late to organize a Street Feast of your own! Official, or unofficial, get out and get to know your neighbors. Break down those barriers and get your eat on.


After and before - Deceptive dust covers



This isn't a new project to me. I first came up with this  deceptive dust cover idea close to seven years ago when I lived with my folks: I had a shelf in my bedroom holding everything I held dear. I am a neat freak and color coordination is paramount, so some of those things I held dear weren't exactly, how do I say, appealing to my corneas. I created faux dust covers to cover up unsightly books and cd's that I loved.

I'd like to say I don't judge a book by its cover, but if it's too bright for my living room I will hide it behind other books. Dark moody colors appeal to me more than bright ones - to each his own. So I sat down and over the past week I made covers for the books I enjoy too much and were making me feel guilty for stuffing them at the back of my bookcase - but no longer. Below I've written a little tutorial on how to make your own dust covers should you like to revamp any books of your own.


What you'll need : enough heavy weighted craft paper {one up from construction paper} to cover your book{s}, ruler, scissors, pencil and eraser, thin gold pen, gold marker, and some form of adhesive - this is only used for adding another layer of paper to your cover - NOT to glue the dust cover to your book. We don't want that. 


Step 1 : lay your book flat on the construction paper -completely flat- ensuring the spine is flat as well, otherwise you won't get a truly accurate width of your book. Align with the bottom of the construction paper, this way you don't have to cut out the entire shape of the book. Step 2 : on the construction paper, roughly mark the height of your book. Make sure to leave sufficient space on either side of the book to fold the side flaps (as seen in step 3). Step 3 : with a ruler, draw a lovely straight line for the top, and cut out. You will be left with a piece of paper the same height as your book, but wider on each side (above). 


Step 4 : fold the construction paper template around the book cover. What I do next is put pressure along the edges to make sure the folds are defined, as well as use my finger nail to define the edge of the spine. Take the cover off, and you end up with this. Step 5 : using a ruler and your gold marker, draw a design down the spine of your cover. Here's where your creativity comes in. I took inspiration from some of my favorite old books, alternatively you can find images of old books. I also cut out a little label for added charm. Step 6 : with your pencil, lightly mark where you will place the text. Once you're happy with it, go over with the thin gold pen. Affix any labels if you choose, et voila, you're finished!

I've mingled these books in with my little existing collection. I have a lot of black bound books already, so I didn't make any for this project. I'm also working on revamping my book shelves. It doesn't sound exciting, but it is to me. I'm considering some interesting alternatives ... Happy crafting! :)

Blogging makes it better

How yummy is this picture? It is a meal for my eyes. I took this picture two weeks ago after visiting my family. My mom kindly hacked into two of their hydrangea bushes for me and they've been holding up since. 


The evenings are getting shorter, snuggles are near manditory, and my instinct to knit constantly is kicking in. Autumn is such an amazing season for me and reminds me too much of Canada. 

I've been feeling kind of awful these last few days. I keep comparing myself to an ex co-worker who is in the thick of their career involved in design, and I'm trailing aimlessly behind. But I'm pulling myself out of this mood by reminding myself of my little blog, my wedding and honeymoon which I will begin planning within the next month, and all my craft hagging projects which keep me sane. Bloggin' through the pain.

I want it now - rhetorical placement

 

Don't ask me how I found this book. I must have stumbled across it online, since I still have the link in my inbox directing me to Amazon. Every time I check my e-mail, it's there. Whimpering in my inbox. Why don't you want me? Well this is why. It's one of those Amazon fables where it says "buy used from $26.56" so I click the link like a fool, and the cheapest is $47.85. Plus shipping and handling. 

Good things come to those who wait. This will fuel my already obscene level of OCD and constant and needless rearranging of items in my apartment. You will me mine soon, my precious. 

Tag this

I recently watched the Channel 4 documentary 'Graffiti Wars' which detailed the long graffiti battle between Banksy {no introduction necessary} and Robbo - one of London's oldest graffiti artists. The interview and facts seemed to tip in one artists' favor. This show reminded me that I've failed to splice more of my favorite graffiti I've come across from my somewhat worldly travels. So I'm sharing them and their stories ...


Be still my beating heart - my ultimate graffiti find. We were in Vienna for two days, and on our second day we were killing time wandering the residential streets before our flight home and all of a sudden, we found this. Words still escape me at our luck. I think poor Robbo is getting longevity confused with worldwide success and using graffiti to its full potential of making a point ...

 
R2D2 on my way to college {left}, and some thoughtful Maser behind the Bernard Shaw pub in Dublin {right}.

 
Kitty love found on the walk down to the city center from Sacre Couer. Paris, France.

Life size application, Dublin {left}. The weeks leading up to both the Queen and the Obama visit to Dublin, every manhole, electricity box and grate were tagged with either this yellow wrench or a blue bolt. It supposedly was to ensure no one tampered with them - ie, planted bombs in or under any access point during their visit {right}. 



Poster on Bachelors Walk Quays, Dublin {left} and some stenciling at the foot of a bridge, re: Billy Goats Gruff {right}.

 
Dublin, 2007. I used this image as my main inspiration image for my very first project in college {left}, and some monkey business somewhere along the Luas tracks in Dublin {right}.

I enjoyed the colors, but not the atmosphere - Prague. Underground walkway to the main train station. 


Funky love on a sidewalk in Niagara Falls, Canada {left}, and last but not least, a mighty tempting sticker on the outside of an electricity box in Dublin {right}. This is an album that is ever expanding, as is my love and appreciation for {GOOD} graffiti.

Vicarious shopping

Today is Katie's 3rd birthday - Roberts niece. Robert gave me full permission to scour H&M for a birthday outfit for her. The words 'Hello Kitty' had barely crossed his lips, and I was already on my way out the door.

How ridiculous are these tunics I found? And those patterns! Talk about sophistication. If they had them in my size, I would have bought them. Wading through this much tiny peoples clothes is bad for the hormones.



Scrumptious scones



It's been far too long since I've made scones, so we planned to have them for tea on Sunday as a nummy treat. These light and fluffy scones are the perfect weekend baking project and keep throughout the week for a grab-and-go breakfast. Special thanks to my dad for the recipe! Alternatively, you can enjoy your scones old school style - fancy tea cups, saucers, strawberry jam, and an artery clogging dollop of cream. It is the only way. One of these delights packs quite a punch, so one is all I was able to handle. Click below to see the super simple recipe. Get your om nom on. 


Skull inspiration

I'm working on a lovely little knitting project for a friend of mine, and I'm a little stuck for a pattern. I'm hoping to add a simple enough skull pattern since it's a project for a boy. Boys are cool, and they tend to like skulls, pirates and transformers. Skulls are the easiest to master out of the three. These pics are giving me the most inspiration for my current knitted adventure ...




I'm just worried I'll want to keep it once it's finished ... Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Get your lounge on

I saw these today and couldn't leave without them. A new line of pyjamas 'Love to Lounge' from Penneys {aka Primark} immediately reminded me of a cross between Northern Getaway {which I'm sad to learn they closed in 2007} and the Mariposa Market

Yes, these are pyjamas for Christmas. Yes, I bought them in August. But when you've been away from Canada as long as I have, you don't need an excuse for buying anything that reminds you of home. They are epic, and I can't wait to get my lounge on in them. €7 each. It's on. 



I want it now - edible hydrangeas

Whilst surfing the internet I came across these hydrangea cupcakes. Words escape me. This really is the epitome of eye candy. I'm not a fan of cupcake wedding cakes {a touch overdone}, but with these little beauties, I could easily convert. Image 1 and 2.

Pretty shoes and tattoos



After months and months of sketching and careful consideration, I got two real tattoos, compared to my previous one.

It took me months to finalize my drawings for my feet; I've always liked the idea of tattoos on feet. In my original design I had robins, poppies, knitting needles, wool, a set square, and sweet pea along with what you see above, but my drawings were way too packed. After a lot of humming and hawing I narrowed down my drawings to a skull, a hydrangea, and an anchor {my three favorite things}. I added some scrolls to add some flow, and threw in some mentions. There's no direct connection between the objects and my parents. Just some stories, and that one is more feminine than the other.

Since I wear tights 99.3% of the year, my tats will only come out on special occasions. But in the end, how many people can say they've drawn their own tattoos? Old school tattoos at that.

Tattoo done by Neil at Dragon Tattoo


Thrifty things - soup mugs




I started collecting these cute soup bowls when we were living in our first apartment. I found my first two {onion and mushroom} together in a charity shop, and ever since then, I've been finding the odd mug all over the country. I picked up my sixth mug yesterday and I now have a nice little collection. I'm particularly intrigued with the mulligatawny recipe which includes mutton, curry, parsnip, and other interesting combinations ...

Onion and mushroom soup - €2 each at Gorta, scotch broth - €1 Mrs. Quin's Shop, oxtail and tomato soup - €1 each again at Gorta, mulligatawny -  €1 from Vincents
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