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Monday, 25 February 2013

WEEKEND TRIP TO SIRDAL


Hello! How was your weekend? I spent mine at my friend's cottage in the mountains in Sirdal. I used to spend a lot of time there when I was a kid, and always loved it. Even the drive up is exciting, when you drive through places like this:


We went on a long cross country skiing trip up a mountain and down again (which was when I realized just how terrible I am at skiing. I'm so bruised I look like I fell down a mountain. Then again, I kinda did.). The weather was pretty great, so we also went for a lovely walk in the snow and I ended up taking quite a few pictures. What did you get up to this weekend?




Monday, 18 February 2013

DIY BIRD FEEDER




The ground is still covered with snow around here, but the birds have already started to come back from their winter holidays. My mom is really good at feeding the birds, so every winter the garden is usually full of them. I quite like having the bird chirping away outside my living room window, so I went out and bought a bag of bird seed mix to keep them happy. It's been quite a windy winter though, so I didn't realize until I got home that the wind had blown the birdhouse down. Since there's quite a lot of cats in our neighbourhood I didn't really think just sprinkling the seeds on the ground would be a very good idea and thus decided to make my own bird feeder in stead.

These bird feeders are really simple, as they're basically just birdseeds on a string. The birds loved them though, and I could hear them getting excited already when I was outside hanging them up in the apple tree. Making these is really easy, and you probably already have most of the supplies at home. You will of course need some sort of bird seed mix. You will also need some gelatin to make the seeds stick together, some strings to have something to hang your bird feeders with, and some moulds. I used some yoghurt pots that I cleaned out (after eating the yoghurt, obviously).






Directions: First prepare the moulds, by rubbing a bit of oil on the inside of them. This will make it easier to get the bird feeders out once they're set. Then dissolve the gelatin by following the directions on the packet. Once the gelatin is completely dissolved, add the seeds. Stir lots, to make sure all the seeds are covered in gelatin. Lay the two ends of the string at the bottom of the mould, and spoon in the seed mixture, making sure the string stays in place. Once the moulds are filled with seeds, set them in the fridge to allow the gelatine to set. I left mine over night, though I doubt you actually have to keep them in that long. Once they're all set, pop them out of the moulds and hang them on a tree! The birdies will love you for it.



Wednesday, 13 February 2013

CROCHETED MINI HEARTS

Happy Valentine's Day!

Graeme and I don't actually celebrate Valentine's Day on the 14th of February. Instead, we celebrate it on the 14th of March. It can be a little bit trickier because you don't have all the lovey-dovey window displays to remind you (I completely forgot the first time!), and most shops don't really stock Valentine's cards anymore.

So why do we celebrate it a mont late? It's got nothing to do with anti-capitalism or anti-communism or anything of that sort. It's cause the 14th of February is also my birthday, and a few years ago I was complaining to Graeme about how i NEVER get to really celebrate the day. Most likely, I had probably been looking at lots of cute Valentine's projects earlier that day, and felt a bit robbed of the occasion.

I have no idea how people born on Christmas cope with these situations.


Step 1: Start off with three chains to create a foundation ring. On this ring, chain three, and then add three double treble stitches. Step 2: Add three treble stitches. Step 3: To create the point of the heart, make one slip stitch, one double treble stitch, and another slip stitch. Step 4: Finish off the other side of the heart like the first. Add three treble crochet stitches, then three double crochet stitches. Chain three stitches, and finish it off where you started with a slip stitch. And that's it done!

Now go make loads!

Monday, 11 February 2013

MINI STAR PIÑATA


I love piñatas. My first encounter with a piñata was when I was 11 years old. I had recently moved to Texas (from Norway), and was eating at a Mexican restaurant with my family, where they had hung up a piñata to entertain the kids. I'd never come across anything like it before and was super excited until the waitress told me I was too old for the piñata  and that it was meant for the younger kids. I didn't speak much English at the time, so I couldn't really argue against, but I do remember being quite disappointed and thinking that it was pretty unfair that I qualified for the kids' colouring in menu and crayons, but not this magical thing filled with candy, wonder and joy. Did she think I was too old for candy? I experienced my first American Halloween the same year, and trust me I was not too old for candy. Are you ever too old for candy?

As you may also know, me and Graeme are planning on getting married in 2014. It's still a good while away though, so we're very much in the beginning of the planning stages. As in, all I've decided so far is what my nails will look like, and more recently, that I want piñatas  I told Graeme I'd get my El Salvadorian friend who's going to be in the wedding to help out, as she probably had experience. Graeme said I was being racist. Either way, I figured it'd probably be an idea to get some piñata-making practise in before that day comes.


You don't really need a massive list of supplies to make a piñata  but it can be time consuming. The whole thing from start to finish took me about three to four hours on a Sunday. Since you're making your piñata shape out of cardboard and not paper mache though, this saves a lot of time. No need to wait for it to dry. You can of course also make whatever shape you want. I chose a star because a) I like stars, and b) it's a pretty simple shape. So for this project, you will need cardboard, scissors, tape, glue and of course tissue paper. I used the cardboard from a shoebox lid for this, as I wanted it a bit sturdy so that it wouldn't break in the post. If your piñata isn't travelling across the sea then I'm sure an old cereal box would do just fine.


Step 1: Draw and cut out your shapes. Your star doesn't have to be perfect, as long as the two pieces match each other. Remember that you'll also nee to cut out ten rectangular pieces to make the shape three dimensional  and that these should correspond to the sides of the spikes of your stars. Step 2: Tape all your cardboard pieces together! Reinforce where needed with extra tape. It'll just make it a little bit more difficult for the person bashing it! Step 3: Fill it! I chose to fill mine with confetti that I made with some colourful paper and a hole puncher. You could of course fill it with candy as well, or pretty much anything you like. Step 4: Attach the final cardboard piece with lots of tape, making sure your confetti (or whatever else you put in there) won't escape.


Once you your piñata's shape is finished, all that's left to do is cut up your tissue paper and glue it on! The best strategy here is to start at the bottom and work your way up. Since this shape has so many edges and corners, this part can be a bit time consuming. Once your piñata's all colourful and dressed up it'll be worth it though! Piñatas make me so happy. How fun would it be to make this for someones birthday and send it in the post? Happy birthday! Surprise! Have a piñata!  Party-in-the-post.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

BEER BREAD


One of the things that's taking me a bit longer than hoped to get used to about living in Norway again, is that everything is closed on Sundays. I like this in principle. I like that it's a day for spending time with family, relaxing or doing some sort of activity. But it also demands a certain level of planning. Seeing as you can't really go out and buy things on a Sunday, you have to plan your Sunday dinner in advance. In fact, you have to plan all your meals for Sunday in advance, plus your Monday breakfast and potentially even lunch. I struggle with this. And this Sunday, I managed to run out of bread. Enter beer bread, potentially also known as the quickest, easiest recipe for bread, ever.

This potentially one of my favourite recipes. I discovered beer bread about two years ago, and tried it out pretty much straight away. I was so happy with the result and how easy it was that I told everyone and their dog that they should be making beer bread. Incidentally, a few months after I started making beer bread, Glasgow was hit by an ice apocalypse. It wasn't really an ice apocalypse, but it felt like it. Graeme and I were just back from a weekend trip to Paris and came back to a deserted Glasgow city centre covered in a layer of ice. No deliveries were being made, so the restaurants ran out of food to serve. Petrol stations ran out of fuel. Our local supermarket ran out of coke and more importantly, bread. I once again told everyone and their dog that they should try making their own beer bread.



What so great about this recipe, is that less than an hour to make. It has a total of five ingredients, all of which you probably already have in your cupboard. There is no messing about with rising the dough, proving or any of that stuff, even though it's still technically a yeast dough. You mix the ingredients together and throw it in the oven. Forty minutes later, and you have freshly baked bread and your house smells amazing. Seriously, this loaf barely even needs directions.



Beer bread recipe:
375 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar
330 ml of beer or (alcoholic) cider
(and butter for greasing the loaf tin)

Directions: Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Mix the dry stuff together in a bowl. Add the beer, and mix that in too. Transfer the dough into a pre-greased bread pan, and pop it in the oven. Leave it there for 40 minutes, and then let the bread cool a little. Best served still warm, with a bit of butter. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A GRAEME VISIT + ALPHABET STAMPS


My favourite Graeme came to visit me this weekend. I had butterflies in my stomach all day at work before I went to the airport to pick him up, and squealed like a little school girl when he came out in the arrivals hall. Long distance relationships suck. The excitement that comes with the visits must be the only good part about them. If we weren't able to constantly stay in touch with our iPhones then I don't think I'd be able to cope!


The weather could have been better. I am beginning to wonder if Graeme might be some sort of a rain god like Rob McKenna from So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish. We still had a great weekend, and even managed to spend some time outside and go on a couple of photo adventures in Stavanger and in the snowy woods near my neighbourhood. I am very much looking forward to developing the rolls of film!



On a separate note, I also picked up this super cute alphabet stamp set from Åhlens, and I've been stamping everything in sight! The set came complete with letters A to Z, numbers 0 to 9, a pretty good selection of symbols and a green and a red stamp pad. I've already used it for this little sketchbook I bought at the same time, and I've got tons of ideas for other projects.