Wednesday, 22 May 2013

lucky mail: pocket quilt from the UK

The postman has been bringing me very happy mail lately - first there were the good results on my language exams, and then a very cheery surprise packet from London.

The sender of the goodies is Helene from Petite Laine. My missing London blues has been coloured over by the contents of this parcel - I feel very spoilt. There were even sweeties and tea included! The tea was consumed  instantly and enjoyed immensely!

I have been thoroughly admiring the pocket quilt that Helene made me. It's not just that it's super to go through all those pockets, like a kid, rummaging for goodies. It is also a wonderful sampler for printed fabric lovers like me. Have a gander at the cute details.

Helene made this as a mini version of the advent calendar she'd made for her kids for Christmas. I adore the sleeping babes tucked up in bed idea!

Thank you Helene for making me such a pretty thing and for sending such a lovely parcel!

(I have to hurry up my Craft It Forward process, it's been nearly half a year since I pledged. Luckily there's still some time left for wrestling with my perfectionism and to compile my packages before the year expires... but a sneak preview shall come earlier than that!)

Friday, 17 May 2013

flea friday: superbomba!

There hasn't been a flea friday post for a while, even though there has been a little thrifting here and there. I'm yet to sit down properly to compile my finds into posts accompanied by good pictures. So I thought that today I will do an atypical post.

Instead of physical vintage finds, I'm going to show you my favourite virtual vintage find. It's superbomba!, a pictorial tumblr blog, a most interesting and intriguing collection of vintage amateur photos. It's a treasure trove for the hobby voyeurist.

via Superbomba!

I love the randomness, the accidentality, the intimacy, the moment-in-time singularity of these images. The collection is full of imperfectness, familiarity, openness, awkward moments, sometimes even shocking and puzzling moments. Through them I really feel the truly creative, trial & error nature of analogue photography.

via Superbomba!

via Superbomba!

via Superbomba!

People, objects and environments frozen in 2D. Slivers of time and space, capturing narrative, emotion, feeling, fragments of fluidity, light, shadow... In other words fleeting and ephemeral things  - to paraphrase Susan Sontag. I like the social history quality of them too, and the humour in the blogger's subtle editing.

via Superbomba!

I hope you too will enjoy looking at superbomba! and will be amused, taken aback, inspired, moved, and full of appreciation for the magic of camera and film, for the wonder that is light, and for the mystery that is mundane human life.

Have a truly great weekend!

- sharing on A Living Space -

Sunday, 12 May 2013

sunday morning in maple

via FACT Magazine
This wooden record of Sunday Morning by the Velvet Underground is fuzzy and a bit eerie, but I celebrate anything that has such a beautiful concept as a song etched into wood.

Have a beautiful sunday!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

may of sparkling blue

Time to catch up to the Colour Me Happy challengers with this month's theme: sparkling blue!

The vibrant clear blue of the springtime sky does lift the spirit, for sure! You don't have to look for beauty for very long when the midday sun highlights the white bark of the bare birches so brightly against the sparkling azure of the sky. The blue still has that rawness to it though, which is so fresh after the grey of the winter (which I'll stop harping on about soon, promise) and it's the perfect forerunner of the balmier, hazier blues of summer skies.

Let me show you this grainy picture of the nighttime sky, in contrast. I took this photo the other day half an hour before midnight - at the moment it doesn't get much darker for the night. In about 5 weeks time it's midsummer's eve and then the sun won't really set at all... I'm still in awe of how the sun behaves at these coordinates throughout the seasons.

There are a lot of sky photography among the Colour Me Happy entries this month as you could expect. It's nice to have a virtual visit around the world to see how the blue looks in other peoples' skies!

Monday, 6 May 2013

spring fever

One sure sign of spring has got to be the catching of a fever.

Not talking about all that feverish activity in mother nature that makes the birds (and the bees) race around building nests and chasing each other, but of course that is also happening...

I meant the bevy of all sorts of other fevers one might catch this time around, like the gardening madness, the cleaning frenzy or the to-do list compiling craze, just to mention a few of the spring manias.

And then, there is also the fever one might catch as the result of a sudden urge to shed the cosy, protective woolly layers of one's winter attire, or at least to go out bareheaded on a crisp but stunningly sunny morning. And that's the fever I have caught. Flu.

Luckily I have some home-brewed medicine to combat it with: Vietnamese noodle soup and  hot chilies. While the chili heat helps to fight back the virus, it is a good way to feed when not having much appetite. Plus, the whole soup takes about 10 minutes to prepare and cook from scratch, which is a bonus when cooking feels like a lot of effort. I'll share the recipe at the end of the post, in case you'd like to try it, having flu or not.

One thing I really despise about being ill at this time of the year is all that time spent lying around sneezing into a tissue. I have stuff to do! Those other fevers have caught up as well.
I have wardrobes and cupboards to sort out, windows to clean, plants to re-pot and seeds to sow, not to mention the enjoyment of the warming spring sun...

In spite of the day after day flu misery, we have managed a little bit the other day: planted some radishes, spinach and chards while recycling some big water bottles which we have saved for this specific purpose. The leafy looking things are some of these re-grown lettuces.

The boyfriend calculated that we shall be able to fit 30 more of those big bottle planters on our little balcony. That's a delightful vision of much leafy greenery for that little space!

I hope that all of you are having a good flu-free start to the week, but if not then read on for the recipe!

Simple pho soup with chilies 
serves 2-3

rice noodles (1/4 pack)
a teaspoon of vegetable oil
2 carrots (cut or shaved into thin strips)
1.5 liter of water
2 vegetable stock cubes (organic if possible)
thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled)
1 star anise
a piece of fresh hot chili to taste (chopped)
1 small head of chinese greens (pak choy or napa cabbage; shredded)
a handful of bean sprouts
1 tablespoon lime juice
soy sauce to taste
  1. First, prepare the noodles. Pour boiling water over them and soak them for a few minutes until cooked (refer to the pack). Once cooked, drain them, rinse in cold water, drain again, then stir in a teaspoon of vegetable oil and set them on the side.
  2. Prep the carrots by julienning them - cutting them into long thin strips. I use my peeler to shave strips of them which then I further slice with a knife into long matchstick thin pieces. The point of this is, that they will need only a minute of cooking time.
  3. Next, prepare the stock by boiling 1.5 liter of water and dissolving 2 vegetable stock cubes in it. Throw the star anise and the piece of ginger into it and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Pull the pot off the heat for a second and fish out the star anise and the ginger from the stock, bin them. 
  5. Add in the finely chopped chili, simmer for another minute - we use habaneros which are rather hot and don't need much of. If wanting to skip the fresh chili part, you can use a little dried chili instead now, or add hot sauce right at the end.
  6. Next, throw in the shredded chinese greens, the shredded carrots and the bean sprouts and cook for another minute.
  7. Pour in the lime juice, add some soy to taste - and if using any, add some hot sauce now - stir once and take off the heat.
  8. Place a portion of noodles into a bowl and serve the hot broth over it. Enjoy!
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