Of Stock, MacGyver and Flu

Typical, get thinking about posting regularly again and then get the flu badly! The last week has been full of trying to get rid of the flu and laying on the lounge chair watching daytime tv – something I only do when I am sick. Yay for repeat episodes of MacGyver! Did you like MacGyver? I loved it…and pretty much everything else Richard Dean Anderson was in, especially Stargate SG-1. If you also like MacGyver, you might enjoy the MacGyver Lexicon.

I am currently making chicken stock for tonight’s Chicken and Fennel risotto! OmNomNom. I should return to cooking dinner lest I burn it!

Catnap!

Have you seen the latest Simon’s Cat video? It is titled ‘Catnap’ and you can watch it below! I really enjoy Simon Tofield’s work, he captures Cat attitudes and mannerisms perfectly. My Husbitect bought us the last couple of books in the series plus one of the plushies. I may have ‘Squeed’ when I saw it! If you had not heard of Simon’s Cat before, head over to the official site. You can watch the videos (including the new ‘How to Draw’ series), buy the books and more.

A Skyrim Chest Full of Links!

I am still battling away in Skyrim as a Breton female, level 15. I’ve played through some of the main quest storylines, but have sidestepped away from them for now to spend some time simply exploring Skyrim. There is a lot to explore – not to mention fights to pick, ingredients to find, deer to hunt and treasure to be discovered!

When not playing (or working!) I have come across some fabulous sites to do with Skyrim. Here are five of my favourites:

  1. Skyrim Nexus – One of the best sites to find game mods, view player screenshots and pick up a few tips from the modding tutorials in the wiki.
  2. 5 Personality Flaws Skyrim Forces You To Deal With – A humorous article about what Skyrim might teach some of us about our own personalities.
  3. Tasting Tamriel – A funny video guide to one of the Gourmet’s recipes from Skyrim; Potage le Magnifique!
  4. Ten Ways to Make Skyrim a Cooler Place to Hang Out – Tips on how to make your gameplay more interesting.
  5. Create an Ancient Stone Text Effect – How to make a text effect in Photoshop that is inspired by the stone textures in Skyrim.

If you have found an interesting site on Skyrim, please share!

Cooking for the Queen!

Okay, not really! But it makes for a fun title, dontcha think?

While I did not actually cook for any members of the Royal family, I did cook a British meal for MY family for us to enjoy as we watched the Royal Wedding. We had Coronation Chicken & Potato Salad, Eton Mess and to follow, Lemon (and Lime) Squares Cake with Matcha/Green Tea Frosting. I wanted to choose classic British recipes and was excited to try Coronation Chicken for the first time! Very delicious and I shall make it again. I was very naughty in taking the photo below; I did not notice that I had inadvertently messed up the lovely table setting that my Mum made! Very bad Lysh! ;)

Baking & Coronation Chicken Salad and our pretty table!

Thank you to those who sent messages after my last post; your warmth is muchly appreciated. I am still very much missing my lovely Max, and I always will. I am emerging from my cave though, and trying to get back into things – including this much neglected blog! Cooking has been one of my mercies (as well as craft) and has helped me to return to my old self. I really enjoyed making my Royal menu, even with it taking most of the day! It was quite fun. If you’d like the recipes, see below the photograph of my yummy cake; which just had to have hearts!

Citrus Matcha Cake

  • Coronation Chicken & Potato Salad
  • Eton Mess
  • Lemon Squares Cake. I used lime zest & did not use their icing. I found that the cake did not rise as high as expected, but was very tasty. The lack of rising could be due to my using an oven that is quite old and in Fahrenheit rather than Celsius, so could be my error in getting used to the oven.
  • Matcha Icing. Icing recipe near the bottom.


So, those of you who watched and enjoyed the Royal Wedding, what did you think? Didn’t Catherine and Prince William look wonderful? I watched the whole thing wearing my tiara. A common girl gets so few chances to wear a tiara – why not grab the chance when one can?!

Although, I am sorry to report that when I put on my lovely tiara (from my Husbitect and I’s combined Hen’s Bucks night) I found that one stone had fallen out. *sob*. I’m hoping it is safe within a draw or bag and I shall find it soon. It may only be glass, but I love it all the same!

Halloween Links (Blogtoberfest Day 7)

As I type this, I am listening to “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett, “The zombies were having fun, the party had just begun…” Listen and watch here.

Anyhoo, since we are getting close to Halloween, how about some craft and food links for Halloween fun?

  1. A collection of recipes from TLC. Make Bat Wings with Drip sauce! Mmm…
  2. Papier-Mache Black Cats from Martha
  3. Spiderweb Plates, again from Martha
  4. Vintage Halloween postcards from Craft Jr
  5. Halloween Crafts and Cards from Vintage Image Craft

I have always wanted to have a Halloween fancy-dress party. But I don’t know enough people who would be interested. Boo! But I think I will make some decorations and themed foods regardless. The Kitty Litter Cake has been on my must make (and must gross people out) list for a long time. Is this the year I make it? I think so! Muhahaha! I’ll just have to make sure my Max Kitty doesn’t think it really is a tray!

The ghosty cupcake at the top is one of the Halloween foods I have made in the past. That year I made dark chocolate cupcakes and used food gels to draw spiders on some, and placed white marshmallows on the rest. I shaped each marshmallow by pulling a little of the top part up, and then twisting it to look ghost-like. I then made a mouth with a toothpick, then decorated with gels and icing. Ghost Mallow; not all that scary but very cute and tasty!

I am a gamer (Blogtoberfest Day 2)

I love games. Computer games. I’ve been a gamer since way back in the 1990s when Apogee software was producing some of the best games to ever grace the PC. I remember the excitement of receiving the latest shareware games catalog. In the mail, printed on paper. Back then, the ‘web’ was in the form of a local bulletin board or bbs. Sidenote: First PC game I bought was Legend.

After a while, there was the beginning of the current web, accessed using Netscape. Wow! It was exciting! I wish I still had my very first web page. I possibly do, somewhere. If I find it, I shall share it. It has lots of animated .gif files and very basic html.

Anyhoo, back to games. The first PC game I remember being excited about was Doom (id Software). I remember seeing the full page artwork for it in PC User magazine. It looked so amazing and so different from the basic graphic games we currently had. Things like Paganitzu and Duke Nukem. And when it came out, I kicked death-match butt! I was good, even if I do say so myself (and it was usually death-match via null-modem cable). hehe For those non-gamers, death-match is playing head-to-head with another, real player.

I am still a gamer today, although I will admit, at times I am more of a casual gamer. I go between full on gamer when I have Fallout 3 or Oblivion type games to play, to casual gamer with my love of the simple, Farmville via FaceBook. Or even light-hearted games on the Wii like Animal Crossing: City Folk/Let’s Go To The City. In a couple of weeks when Fallout: New Vegas is released, I will turn back into serious gamer girl!

Do you play any PC/Mac games? How about web-based games? If you play Farmville, let me know – maybe we can be friends?! I also play games on the iPhone (AngryBirds, Peggle, Battleship etc), and within GameCenter I am SquirrelKitty.

Here are some pics of my characters in a few games, I’m missing one from Oblivion, shall find one tomorrow!


My character in Dragon Age.


My character in Fallout 3.


My character in Farmville, on FaceBook.

Blogtoberfest

As I am the queen of procrastination, I decided to join this years round of Blogtoberfest. One post, every day throughout October. Hopefully, I will manage to post every day and not procrastinate! Blogtoberfest is run by the lovely Tinnigirl and Curlypops.

I’m also thinking about signing up for Socktoberfest, a month long celebration of knitting socks! As it happens, I have a recently started pair of socks on the needles. These socks are for my darling Husbitect. And, umm, remember I mentioned procrastination? I may have had the yarn for these socks in my possession for over a year. Ahem. This is my third pair of socks, all three using a pattern which includes an afterthought, or peasant heel. My first socks are pictured below.

Are you going to join Blogtoberfest or Soctoberfest? Maybe you are planning on both?

31 Days to Build a Better Blog

I’m currently working my way through Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. My wonderful Husbitect bought me the ebook and I am really enjoying the course so far. I’ve already tweaked a few things after learning new techniques and there will be more to come.

The main, or at least, most noticeable change is a new header image. Part of the first days lesson is to define what your weblog is about in a clear, short statement. My original tagline was “dipping french fries in thickshakes since 1974″. Cute, but it doesn’t tell any first time visitor what my blog is about. I found this task a bit tricky, but narrowed my new tag down to “Crafting the geeky life one day at a time”.

I chose that tag as it covers three of the main topics that I write about; craft, geek related subjects and day to day life. I also changed the graphics in the header, removing the olive wrapped in bacon image because it didn’t really have anything to do with what I write about. Other than it was an image from the 60s and I do write about retro collectibles.

I’ve been blogging now for over eight years (must look up when I first posted) and some people may remember my first weblog, Bindi. Around that time was also when I first came across Darren’s weblog, when he started hosting ‘Blogger Idol‘. Anyone remember that? Good times. I intend to get all my old blog posts imported into this blog. It may take a while but I want to get them in here.

I still regret the fact that I disappeared from blogging for an extended period, because I had built up a reasonably popular weblog. That regret, and also my going back into web design, has been a part of my wanting to get back on track with blogging. I’m going to run through the ProBlogger course with this blog, and then I am going to start a new weblog on my business site and implement what I have learnt. The new weblog will be focused on topics related to web design and business – I’ll still be writing my personal blog here.

Are you working through 31 Days to Build a Better Blog? Let me know – we can cheer each other on!

Five Geeky Websites

I am a geek, a SciFi-loving geek. I present the above photo as proof of my SciFi-loving geekiness. It was taken in the city at Kinokuniya on Free Comic Book Day earlier this year. When we heard that ‘Daleks’ were going to be at Kinokuniya, we had to go (the Husbitect is also a SciFi-loving geek). A free comic was a bonus. The Dalek was patrolling inside the store while Darth was prowling outside the store. As you can see, I am taller than a Dalek but shorter than Darth Vader.

In honour of all that is geeky and SciFi-licious, I present a list of five fab websites for those who are similarily inclined:

  • Dalek City – Devoted to providing information on how to build a full size, working Dalek. Definitely on our to-do list!
  • Think Geek – Chock full of geeky gifts, toys and wearables.
  • Tor.Com – Fab site with SciFi/Fantasy stories, articles and an online community.
  • Make Zine – I’m sure you have already come across the fabness that is Make. One of the best sites for science and tech related tutorials and articles.
  • Blake’s 7 Guide – A guide to one of the best SciFi shows ever created, Blake’s 7.

Learning New Crochet Motifs

Now that I can make granny squares, I’ve started learning how to make other crochet motifs. The first was hexagons and today I started learning how to make simple flowers. I love the thrill of learning something new and then practising to refine your technique. I’ve been enjoying looking through crochet blogs and come across some wonderful tutorials, two of which taught me the two motifs below.

The flowers are in the order in which I made them, starting at the top, the same with the hexagon motifs. With both, I’m not 100% spot on with the technique, but I’m quite pleased with my progress so far. I haven’t blocked any of my crochet motifs yet, something I really should learn how to do.

For the Hexagon motif, I used the tutorial from Life on Laffer and for the flowers I used a tutorial from Attic24.

Do you have any favourite crochet sites or tutorials you’d like to share? Please do! I’ll include them in a new post with your links plus a link to you, then we can all explore fabulous crochet sites together.

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Update: More flowers! Wheee, I’m on a flower kick:

I played with the pattern and instead of doing 9 dc in the circle, I do as many as fit to make a tight circle, then add the petals. The more dc the more petals, it seems.

Meme Time!

I was tagged by the lovely and talented Debby of Cooking Up a Storm in a Teacup. If you haven’t seen her weblog, do visit. Her blog is filled with lovely crafts, great photos, stories and some yummy recipes. And of course, her answers to the meme! Okies, time to get started! :)

1. If you had to spend three consecutive days on the same train who would you want with you and why?
Easy peasy lemon squeezy; my darling Husbitect ’cause we love spending time together! We’ve been on train trips together, but none over a couple of hours. As youngsters and before we knew each other, we both went on steam trains and loved those so a long steam journey together would be wonderful. We keep meaning to go on one of the special trips that are organised by the local steam societies.

2. Have you ever had a sewing related injury? Give gory details! If not any irrational fears?
I am one of those people who are accident prone to a spectacular degree. I think I would be quite correct in saying that there has rarely been a week when I have not injured myself in some way. It’s not always serious, but I have a gift for stubbing toes, hitting my head on things and lately, being clumsy while cooking!
As for a sewing related injury, I have caught myself so many times with sewing needles over the years. I do have a sewing machine but have not used it yet. Partly because I’m not sure how to thread it (no manual) and partly because I’m nervous about snapping the needle and having it break loose – I’ve read some awful sewing machine injury stories! Which is why when I do start using my machine, I am going to wear safety goggles. Better safe than sorry! hehe

3. What wouldn’t you be caught dead in?
Gosh. For someone who can be a bit of a dag in terms of not following fashion, I’m not sure where to start. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is real fur. I could not wear fur, as the whole time I was wearing it, I would be thinking about the animal(s) whose fur I was wearing. I don’t agree with wearing fur for fashion and would never even consider wearing it.

4. What garment/accessory do you wear the most?
With it being winter in Australia, I would have to say tracksuit pants when I am at home – it’s cold! And to top off that fashionable, around the home style, I team trackies with ugg boots. Pink uggboots. Pink is one of my most worn colours, I usually wear something that is pink, even if it is just my giant, tardis-like handbag. The colour pink and I are rarely parted.

5. Which pattern/vintage style have you been thinking about recently?
The vintage style I have been thinking about recently is a hairstyle – victory rolls. I have not yet mastered the art of them, but I am determined that I will. Having straight hair, I think I will have to try using curlers so my hair has a little more body.
I am fascinated by all things retro/vintage, particular from the 40s and 50s. I don’t own many clothes from that period, but I would love to start collecting and wearing them. The husbitect and I are planning on attending a 50s Fair in August, so we both want to find some retro outfits to wear.

6. What is one place you really want to visit that you haven’t been to before?
Just one place?! Gosh, it’s hard to choose just one. I would love to visit England and visit all the places where my father grew up and frequented in his youth. Not to mention meet all the English relatives that I have over there.

7. What do you wear when you want to impress?
A pretty dress with some feminine jewelery and makeup. I don’t usually wear lipstick or eye makeup, so for a special occasion I like to use both of those. I also like to wear something sparkly, be it a few subtle sequins or beads on my clothes or some sparkly earrings. I would love to own one of the vintage style dresses that are covered in sequins or beads.

8.Who is your favourite literary character and why?
I’m probably stretching it by including her as a literary character, but I will choose Snow White. I have always adored how she was so innocent that she not only charmed people, but also charmed animals so much that they were not afraid of her. I love the scene from the Disney movie where she is surrounded by animals, all very trusting and calm in her presence. I admire innocence, gentleness and pure goodness and I cannot think of a character who reflects those characteristics more than Snow White.

9. Which handmade project are you most proud of?
The handmade cards that I make for my family for Birthdays and Christmas plus my growing pile of granny squares. Each makes me proud that I have found the inspiration for those projects, that I have had the confidence to learn new techniques and skills, and persevere with them, even when I had no idea what I was doing. I’m not sure how many cards I have made in total, I would guess 20+ and I have completed more than 20 granny squares.

10. What was the best date you’ve ever been on?
The first date that my husbitect and I went on! We met online and after chatting via Messenger and Skype for a couple of weeks, we took the next step and met in person. It was a magical, very special day for us both. The whole day went smoothly and afterwards, we both had that special inkling that we had found ‘the one’! Everything was so perfect and we immediately felt completely at ease with each other. I fondly remember that day and all the special memories that we made. I also look forward to all those yet to come!

*If you want to answer these questions on your blog too, please do – I tag you! Let me know if you do answer them.