Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary

(Subtitled: Why I Missed a Day of Blogtoberfest!)

Oops. I missed a day of Blogtoberfest! I think my slip is allowed, however, as it was our 3rd Wedding Anniversary yesterday! My husbitect and I have been married for three absolutely blissful years. It feels like so much longer to us, and in that wonderful way of happily married couples. Our gorgeous outfits came from Gallery Serpentine.

Three years ago on October 4th, 2008, we were married in the Blue Mountains. It was a wonderful, misty mountains day. Even though our planned outside ceremony had to be moved inside due to rain, it was magical. A pair of frogs serenaded us from their pond, outside in the garden, underneath the window. It did not matter where our ceremony was held – we only had eyes for each other! The whole day was perfect.

For our anniversary, we went to a local Japanese restaurant, and apart from feasting on looking at each other, we dined on delicious food! We started with Agedashi Tofu & Soft-shell Crab. Followed by the freshest Sashimi and then, Beef Sukiyaki! All washed down with Japanese beers and Green Tea. Nom!

On leaving the restaurant, we took a photo outside, under their gorgeous LED-lit cherry blossoms! I want some for our home, but with two feisty kittens, they would not last long! I am tempted to try by hiding them on top of a cabinet, however. I cannot resist the pink nor sparkly!

After mentioning the delicous Japanese food we enjoyed, I thought I would find some recipes for each course we had, so you can try them at home!

  1. Agedashi Tofu – Recipe from ‘My Delcious Blog’
  2. Soft-Shell Crab – Recipe from ‘Cooking Light’
  3. Sashimi – Tips from ‘About.Com
  4. Sukiyaki – Recipe from ‘Just Hungry

How do you like to celebrate your anniversaries? Not just wedding anniversaries, but any kind of anniversary? I’d love to know!

Very Pinteresting!

One of my favourite social media sites is Pinterest. For those who have not used it, it’s like having virtual pin-boards full of images and links that you find interesting. You can have multiple boards on any theme you want. You can also follow other pinners and view the images that they have pinned, and see what pins are popular and new. And it is free! A screen capture of some of my boards is below.

If you are on Pinterest, do let me know! You can find my boards here, I am alyshajane.

Pink Haired Woman

I’m a day late joining Blogtoberfest, but better late than never! Hoping to post every day for the rest of this month. Hello to other Blogtoberfesters and to non-Blogtoberfesters!

Changes. As well as changing the appearance of my blog, I’ve also changed my appearance. I have wanted pink streaks in my hair for years, but had been nervous about doing it. I’ve spent far too long worrying about what others might think and missing out on doing the things I really wanted to do. No more! My new hair is a start of me being me. Of discovering the real me. It is quite a fun journey!

The whole process of getting my pink streaks took a bit over two and half hours. First was the bleaching, then rinsing, then a little more bleaching, more rinsing, then dyes applied and yet another wash + treatment. I am *so* happy with the results! I love my pink hair, it is so me. I am already planning on adding a larger blonde slice with pink in the centre, at my next visit to the hairdressers. Yay, for pinkness!

Trying to be Creative Again

Late last year life threw us a few curve balls which, amongst other affects, saw my creativeness all but disappear. I am now trying to get that spark back again, as allusive as it is. One of the projects I want to pick up and finally finish, is my mushroom embroidery. My last post about it was back in November. I’ve done a bit more since then, but still much to do:

I’m going to make a little crafting and creating nook in the kitchen this week. Now we have two very curious kittens, I don’t feel safe doing crafts that involve needles on the lounge chair. I shall hang a few pictures on the wall around the table, add some dishes for working needles and maybe a cloth on the table!

Speaking of kittens, Pippin and Merry are much bigger than they were in the photo I posted the other week. They are now heading up to five months old and getting quite big! Their fur coat is changing with the warmer weather and some of the longer fur is shedding out until next winter. They will be much comfier with a lighter coat for summer!

You can just see a photo on my desk of me holding my late Maxie. Pippin has many of Max’s traits, and on the first day the boys were home, Pippin saw the photo of Max on my desk and gave him a little kiss! Awww! Last week was snip snip time for both boys. They were a little sleepy at first but are now back to bouncing and running around the house. No lack of energy, that is for sure! Another craft project I have in mind is making them little ties so they can be little business cats! hee!

Meet the new additions to our family!

On the 15th of July, we adopted two little kittens from a local rescue organisation. Meet Pippin and Merry, brothers and absolute bundles of cuteness! They had been relinquished to the pound by a man who promised he would (finally) get his cat desexed. Her five little kittens would have been euthanised perhaps the same day, if our lovely foster/rescue worker had not been there. All kittens have been rehomed! I hope their Mum is being looked after well, too!

The photos above are the ones taken by the foster carer – many more will come soon! I thought I would use these as their intro photos, as Pippin’s photo is the one that melted my heart and led us to them. *squeee*

Originally Pippin was called Bushells and Merry was called Brittany; he was presumed to be a girl then! Oops! We renamed them after a few days of name considerations. I almost called Pippin ‘Avon’ of Blake’s 7 fame. But it didn’t suit as well as ‘Pippin’ does. Virtual cookies for those who immediately understood where our name choices come from!

We actually went to meet Pippin only; as I was holding him and getting to know him, Merry ran up my Husband’s leg, climbed onto his shoulder and mewed “You are my hooman! Take me, as well as Pippin!“. So we adopted them both! While they are both ‘ours’, Pippin is my baby and Merry is my Husbitect’s baby. They each have their ‘hooman’!

They are just over four months old now and are lovely, loving little kitties. We believe they may be Maine Coon mixes. They rarely meow, they chirp, trill and chirrup! They have tufted ears like a lynx, and have ‘ear furnishings’. Pippin has a very pronounced ruff around his neck (Merry’s is a bit shorter) and they have a double-layered coat. Very big feet with toe tufts, fluffy tails and they will be big boys – even the vet has observed this!

Whatever breed they are, we are both very happy and fortunate to have them in our lives! They are very much loved, not to mention spoiled! Yay for kittens and cats!

And yes, I am back to blogging! Finally!
(and I am addicted to ‘!’ it seems. Ooops).

Pull up a chair and have some cake!

Mother's Day Cake

I hope all the Mothers out there had a lovely Mother’s Day; whether you be Mum to a human or a furbaby! We took advantage of the gorgeous sunshine and had a barbecue in the garden.

Steak (perfectly marinated by my Dad), sausages and salads. For dessert, I made a chocolate cake filled with Chiver’s English strawberry jam and freshly whipped cream! The icing was vanilla butter-cream. I was wonderfully assisted in making the cake by my darling Husbitect. My beautiful Mum had a lovely day filled with sunshine, gifts and yummy food. Not to mention much love! What did you do for Mother’s Day if you celebrated it, if not, how did you spend your Sunday?

Posting my photo of the cake I made, I started thinking about the history of cake. Where did cake first come from? What traditions are there surrounding the partaking of cake? Apparently, the word ‘cake’ traces back to the 13th century. The word ‘cake’ comes from the Norse word ‘kaka’. Food Timeline has these, and many more facts, about cake and other foods.

I wish I could find a course locally, that would enable me to become a food historian. I find food an endlessly fascinating topic. What do people eat and why? How has food influenced the course of history? What customs do the many cultures around the world have with food?

I also love it when authors detail what their fictitious characters eat. One of my favourite authors in that regard is Joanne Harris. Especially her food-titled novels, ‘Chocolat‘, ‘Five Quarters of the Orange‘ and ‘Blackberry Wine‘.

There are many non-fiction books that are on my must-read list too. These include ‘Salt: A World History‘ and ‘Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World” both by Mark Kurlansky. Humm, after visiting Mr. Kurlansky’s website, I now have many, many more books on my want/must-read list!

Do you like reading about food? Do you, like me and many others, read Nigella Lawson’s beautifully descriptive cook books as if they were novels?

My other dream career is one deep within the world of antiques. But that is a story for another time!

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!

Until We Meet Again, My Gorgeous Boy

On April the 1st, at about 9pm, our darling Max passed away in our arms. His precious little head, cradled by my arm. He became very ill and was starting to feel pain from his illness. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, and I am lucky that I had my darling Husband with me. The veterinary hospital staff were lovely, and we had a private room with a lounge chair.

Max was (and is) my darling Kitty for over 15 years. He was my best, and for most of that time, my only friend. He loved me through my sad times and always knew when I needed some Kitty snuggles and purrs. We crafted together, listened to music together, watched birdies together and at night, he would sleep on my pillow or under the bedclothes, snuggled by my feet. I miss my little Max more than words can say.

Not having a house of our own, or a special, safe place to bury my baby kitty, we chose to have him cremated. Again, the veterinary surgery (Small Animal Specialist Hospital) and the cremation company (Pet Rest) were lovely and helpful. Max was returned to us safely and in only a few days.

I have his little casket with his ashes in one of my vintage cabinets. On either side are my two large black Cat statues – one for Max and one for Puss, my first kitty. They guard at either side and at the front I have four little miniature ornaments of black cats. I also have a special box with some of my first Cat’s fur and now, some of Max’s fur. I have surrounded them with Max’s favourite toys.

The picture I hold in my heart, the wish, is that Max and Puss, my two black Kitties, are together now in Kitty Heaven. All safe and not alone as they have each other. And one day, I hope I can be reunited with them once more. Until then, I trust that God will look after my Kitties, because I believe that God is there for animals too.

Goodbye for now, my darling Max. Thank you for your love and for being such a wonderful friend. Trust and stay with Puss, she’ll protect you, and you her. Until we meet again, my darling Boo. xxxx

A Photo Post



A photo taken with my iPhone of the nighttime. Not perfect, but relaxing somehow.


Our older tea strainers. Cute, but not so usable.


A yummy seafood risotto, I had with my love. During Christmas shopping; a welcome treat!

 

The Wanderer Returns

Hullo thar! Kind reader, does thouest rememberest me?
*cough* Perhaps it will help if I stop writing in very strange ‘accents’. heh

Yes, I am back. The last few weeks have been quite busy and most importantly, I have been taking care of my beloved Husbitect after he had surgery a couple of weeks ago. Not major, super life-threatening surgery, but serious all the same and with a lengthy recovery period. All is good now, he is up and about and experiencing much less pain and discomfort. Yay!

I’ve also been busy working on some web sites for clients (I am a freelance web designer) and at the end of the day was a bit ‘computered out’. But I am over the busy period now and feeling like getting back into my little blog. I have much catching up to do in blogland.

Regular alyshajane blogging will now resume!

Thread Bobbin Tutorial

As I was winding some embroidery threads onto bobbins yesterday, I realised I was almost out of them. Not being all that close to a craft shop, I pondered what to do. I noticed a couple of thin cardboard packets from chocolate blocks and realised they would be perfect for making some new bobbins. Bonus is that I am reusing cardboard.

If you don’t have cardboard chocolate packets, have a look at what other recyclables are around your home. Tissue boxes would suit, the thinner packing put between new shirts and sheets, cereal boxes, tea boxes etc.

* If you use cardboard that was from a food product, just make sure there is no food residue left on the cardboard.

Step 1. Open and flatten your cardboard, and trace around an existing bobbin. Try to fit as many shapes onto your cardboard as possible – we may as well make as many as we can! As you can see, I used the packets from Cadbury chocolate; enjoy the chocolate and then reuse the box. Mmmm.

Step 2. Carefully cut out the bobbin shapes, using your tracing as a guide. On one end of the bobbin, make two small cuts in the shape of a ‘V’ which will allow you to tuck the ends of your threads away during winding.

When I am about to start a new bobbin, I write the colour number plus the brand of yarn on one end as well as in the center of the bobbin. That way I can easily replace that colour when I am running low, or have just run out of the thread.

Step 3. Wind some thread onto your bobbins. Hey presto! You have made some new bobbins and you have reused packaging. It’s all good!

Feel like reading more creative posts? Head over to Kootoyoo for this weeks edition of My Creative Space.

Less of the Meh

Less filled with ‘meh’, today. Instead, I am happily covered with Kitty fur after my very snuggly Max Kitty decided it was snuggle afternoon. Awww. I am not, however, happy about the humidity today, but then again, I never am. Humidity and alyshajane’s are like oil and water – they don’t mix well!

Over the weekend, the Husbitect and I visited Birkenhead Point, not so far from the Sydney CBD. We visited the newly refurbished Spotlight there and I was pleasantly surprised with the range of crafty items and how well the store was stocked and organised. They still have a few things to put out, but it was wonderful to walk around. The Husbitect mused that if we won lotto, I could spend a serious amount of money in that store. He’s right! One item I really wanted but was a tad too expensive was the ‘L Letterpress’ kit. Although after reading this review, I am feeling mighty glad we didn’t buy one now!

But, what did I buy?! I replenished a few of my embroidery threads, DMC, in some lovely shades including some lovely purple hues. I also snapped up some of the mushroom Christmas decorations as they are far too cute for me to resist. I have a vintage, white Christmas tree and I am envisioning some decorating of the mushroom type tomorrow. I also bought some black aida material which I am going to use in some geeky, SciFi projects for the Husbitect. My other purchase was a fabulous embroidery hoop from Clover. My previous hoops were like reliable, but older, Holden cars. This new Clover hoop is like the Audi of the embroidery hoop world. I think so, anyhoo. Since I cannot afford an Audi, I shall enjoy my Audi-esque hoop instead.



The hoop in action! Still working on my mushy embroidery!

After enjoying a very delicious serve of tuna and salmon sashimi from a lovely Japanese eatery, we wandered around and happened upon the pet shop. We usually go in and have a look at the kittens, and talk of how we would love to get some and how our Maxie can be Grandad Kitty and teach them how to miaow for food, how to run around the house in the middle of the night and make the most amount of noise, and also, how to do the fluff-yourself-up crab walk!

We marveled at a huge fish tank that had teensy tiny baby prawns floating around amongst the fish and agreed that another tank was one of the most lovely shapes either of us had seen. After looking at the other fish and then the birds, I spied a large cage near the door that I had glanced at when we came in, but not really taken in what was inside.

I looked at the sign. SQUIRRELS. *Squeeeee!* I squeed aloud a little and ran over to see my first ever Squirrel! They were Indian Palm Squirrels and yours for the sum of $1200+ each. Unfortunately, the shop had some very noisy children playing with the squeeker toys, so the Squirrels were staying in their nesting box. But I did get to see a tiny Squirrely face peeking out! I was quite excited at finally seeing a real, live squirrel, but felt sorry for them in their tiny cage. I said ‘Squirrels’ quite a lot for the rest of the day, and told anyone who would listen about seeing Squirrels. hehe.



One of my softie Squirrels with some mushrooms.