Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Hello Again

I am not sure where to begin, but here I am again rambling and muttering on the internet just as I was before.  Suddenly and without warning I found myself needing a blogging break so I just took it and focused on getting my room painted and on sleeping and resting a great deal.  Be assured that I continued to be stylish and gorgeous from the moment I woke every day.  And that pigs fly. 

I always feel very fresh in blue and white. At some time during the past week I apparently wore this and took a picture.


Here I am looking very lagen.  In black and brown I never frown!  I am rather fond of brown, much to the dismay of my son who when he was five opined that brown was not acceptable as my favourite colour because it was not featured in the rainbow.  Beige is not for me, no beige makes me look like I should be hospitalised quickly, but give me a dark earthy brown and I am happy.  While you are at it, I'll take some chocolate too please.  How could brown be bad if it is the colour of chocolate?


Today I can't quite decide how many layers to wear because it's cooler inside than outside.  I went to the grocery store in fewer layers and was so cold I had goose bumps.  The breeze coming in my windows, while lovely, was also making me feel a bit chilly so I added leggings and put on a more substantial sweater.  I prefer the look anyhow.  Layers make me feel grounded as there is the constant danger that I may just float away.

Then I got too warm and peeled off some layers again.  That's summer on the west coast!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Feeling Pink and Punchy

 A big thank you to Ally for sending these gloves on tour.  Check our her blog here if you haven't already, for a fun and insightful journey of personal style and what it means to be feminine.

When you are privileged enough to take part in the rounds of a pair of boxing gloves, and not just any boxing gloves but THE pink boxing gloves, then you might want to put on your fanciest pink duds to go with them.   Pile them on, for pink boxing gloves are power and softness in one, the strength of female friendship, support and acceptance all represented by pink. Tolerance, trust and a sense of belonging to a community all travel the globe with these pink gloves.


Coordinating my outfit with these gloves was not a challenge at all, particularly at this time of year.  My summer wardrobe if full of pink.  Of all the colours typically on offer for summer, pink rarely offends me. I am not particularly drawn to the ice cream colours or neons summer fashion offers up but most shades of pink look good on me so it is a safe pick.  Pink is also one of my happy colours, along with purple, and the softer version of my power colour, red.   I had many pink flowers in my garden too, back in that other life when I had a garden.  Although I object to pink as it is overused in the toy department, or as some sort of symbolism of the female,  I don't blame this on the colour itself.

The pink of the gloves has a blue undertone, making it a mauve pink so I selected the outfit accordingly. The dress is actually in the mending pile but the repair is a small one and  I need to purchase the right thread colour, so it has been pulled for photo shoot duty today.  Usually it is three glasses of wine that will get me punchy, but a fabulous dress and some matching gloves will do it too.  Come on over and join me for a glass of wine punch and we can get punchy together.  I just need to figure out how to pour it with these gloves on!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Spinach Pie, Oh My Oh My!

I do not take food photos anywhere nearly as well as Beate does.  Her photos are gorgeous and always look like they should be framed and displayed.  Her food is gorgeous too.  I like to eat.  I like to eat delicious food.  I am in too much of a hurry to eat it to bother taking nice photos.   If I got lucky and made something delicious, taking a photo of it is not usually top priority until I am about half way through it and I think, oh I should share this recipe.  I definitely didn't think to take any pictures of the process.


So tonight I improvised a little, in order to make a spinach pie that is low carb and gluten free because that's they way I eat.  That is what is best for my body but it may not be best for yours.  This recipe is definitely high fat and  I never  make low fat versions of things.  If you want fewer calories ou can make this filling without a crust or if you want the calories you can use a regular pastry crust. It's not the Greek phyllo dough version though that is very tasty too!   I  don't believe in eating gluten free junk, or at least not regularly, so I made it without starches and refined grain flours.  This gluten free crust comes out something in between a pastry and a thin biscuit dough.

This recipe contains potential allergens:  eggs, dairy, almonds

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F

Crust:
2 Tbsp cold butter
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
pinch salt
I large egg

In a food processor pulse together the butter, flours and salt.  Add the egg and pulse until it forms a sticky ball of dough.  You could do this with a dough blender or two knives as well as you would for regular pastry.

Transfer the dough to a deep 9" pie plate and press it out as thinly as you can get it, pushing it up the edges of the plate.

Bake the crust for aproximately 10 minutes or until it turns golden.  The melted butter will sit on top a little as it doesn't soak into the almond and coconut flours like it would other flours or starches. It's possible I could have used less but I'm not worried about it and it tasted great.

For extra nutrition and to absorb some of the liquid I sprinkled flax over the surface of the crust but that's not necessary.

Filling:
4 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups finely crumbled Feta cheese
5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves (approx)
1 onion, minced
butter for frying
pinch salt
garlic to taste (I used 1 tsp garlic powder as that is what I had on hand)

Sautee the onion in a small knob of butter and when the onions are translucent add the spinach leaves to wilt them.  Stir and mix a little in the pan.  Add chopped fresh garlic if using that.

Beat together the eggs and cream with a whisk and stir in the cheese, salt and garlic if using powder. 

Spread the onion and spinach mixture over the pre-baked crust and then pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake for 30 min or until edges pull away a little and surface springs back slightly to the touch.

This can be served cold but in my opinion it's nicer served warm. Slices olives would be great baked right in or on top and tomatoes would taste lovely with this too, though if baked in they would be likely to add too much liquid to the filling.

If using regular pastry you don't need to prebake it but baking time might be a little longer, such as 40 min.

This really doesn't need a crust, but I wanted to experiment with a new idea for making a gluten free crust.  The filling firms up nicely and will slice into pie shapes without having a crust and eliminating that step would save time unless you have premade frozen crusts on hand.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A Lovely Surprise

I was awakened today by my intercom ringing, only in my confusion at being freshly awakened, I managed to pick up the receiver and drop it, thus hanging up.  The intercom comes through the phone, so I didn't even realise at the time that it was not a regular phone call.  A few minutes later there was a knock on my door.  This was not early in the morning by any means, as I'd had a poor night and was sleeping late in the day to make up for it.  With my hair sticking up all over and dressed in a tee shirt and shorts, I opened the door to what I had already established via peep-hole was my neighbour from the first floor.  I opened the door, still in a bit of a fog and she said, in her usual low toned, monotonous deadpan, "Here's some mail for you, love.  It was the lady with the mail at the door, that's what it was.  She caught me in my pyjamas too."  It was 10:30am.  The delivery wasn't regular mail but an over-sized envelope and as soon as I saw it I knew it contained the art print I had purchased from the delightful and talented Joni of An Artful Closet.

The print, one of Joni's calligrams is part of my new bedroom re-decoration project and I will show it once it is framed and hung.  You can find Joni's art here and in her Etsy Shop.

The package also contained a surprise.  Before I get to that surprise, let me just show you what I had dressed in, an outfit picked out the night before and donned just prior to opening the package.


Multiple layers of blue, greens and cream.  The blue skirt looks brighter in this photo and is more of a denim blue colour in reality.  My necklace of blue and green sea glass picks up all of the various shades of green I have mixed here and my earrings are blue glass beads with silver wire wrapping.


I opened the package, and not only did it contain the art I had bought and a sweet card from Joni, but there was an additional surprise, this lovely scarf which went perfectly with what I was wearing!


The scarf is a very long and narrow rectangle which gives so many styling options and I immediately tested out a few.  Because it had warmed up and I needed to go out, I ended up taking off the little sweater and wrapping the scarf around my shoulders shawl style instead.  I am not certain that I fixed that funny bit of hair before I went out.


I love the scarf on top of the sweater too, but although the temperature has dropped a few degrees it was too warm to wear that many layers when I went out today.   The scarf clearly  has magical powers as I even received a compliment today while I was in the grocery store.  A man on an electric scooter, who seemed to be   speaking to everyone he passed and sharing all of his thoughts out loud,  commented when I walked past, "Now that's the best looking woman I've seen in a long time."



Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Tired But Still Wearing Things

I used up all adrenaline reserves this weekend so I could attend my two favourite events of the four day long festival.  Sunday night was a concert in the park featuring a local cover band I really enjoy.  They play classic rock-funk hits from the seventies and early eighties.  It's very danceable and the vocalists have fantastic voices.  My friend's husband plays trombone in the band and the band leader, vocalist and trumpet player was my mortgage broker.    I love a small town!

Needing to fake it till I make it always seems to lead me to wearing my energy colours so I put on head to toe purple for the concert in the park.  Pink and purple are my energy colours, blue and black are home and red is strength.  Orange is something I haven't figured out yet.

I added the fun flower earrings I'd bought the previous day.


Monday night I had dinner at mum and dad's along with my son.  We watched the fireworks from their balcony and then I staggered home to bed.  It had been a hot day but I would be in the shade all evening and sitting outside at night so I added leggings and took along a cardigan, not shown in the picture.


Today is a stay home and recoup day.  It's hot and will continue to be hot for weeks, so light and loose is the aim, colourful is my desire and layers are my preference no matter how hot.  Two pieces thin enough to sneeze through do the job.


Hopefully I will get caught up in my blog reading this week.  Sophie is not completely on the mend yet, as the Vet called to say there was blood in the urine sample so there is a special diet that is recommended.  Somehow a sensitive bladder is associated with some sort of cat anxiety disorder.  Animals are just as complex as humans.  She is believed to have an anxiety or stress disorder, though her life is very unstressful.  Knowing that this can happen to humans means it makes sense to me that it can happen to animals too, though I didn't quite grasp the way it is connected to sensitive bladder walls.  Somehow it is.

Well on with life.  Sophie and I have some sofa holding down to get done.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Perhaps

Perhaps it's because I am living life backwards.  Perhaps it is because I am such a cliche and really coming into my own in my forties, albeit LATE forties.  As you know I must ponder a great deal before I act, even though some of that pondering goes unmentioned, leading me to appear charmingly impulsive.  In some, though thankfully not all, areas of my life I have been very cautious and reserved, being what others wanted me to be or what I thought was required for a certain situation.  No more!  I'm doing things my way now.  Perhaps that has something to do with realising what my real limitations are and what, on the other hand, I am quite free to do.

Because I don't have the money to spend on designer items, nor access to much other than fast fashion that ends up in the thrift shop, I am beginning to think of sewing.  Yes, I have previously stated that I dislike sewing, and it's true that I always have.  My skills are certainly rusty and I have a new machine I don't know how to properly use, having oddly misplaced my much loved vintage Bernina.  But perhaps, I will soon venture into the land of sewing because now I know what I want to make.  Perhaps it was not sewing I disliked so much as what I was sewing.

Taking small steps, I have recently done a bit of upcycling, taking thrift shop dresses that were weird and turning them into skirts.   The short skirt here was a strapless mini dress. I removed the top, sewed up the raw edges at the waistband  et voila!  So nothing really adventurous yet; I'm just dipping my toes in the water.


This attempt to belt the waist lasted about five minutes.  The belt came off and I wore the tunic loose.  Just can't seem to tolerate something belted at my waist.

Funny how a swipe of tinted lip balm makes me look like I am wearing full makeup.  I could definitely get to like the convenience of that!

In my dress made into a skirt, off I went to The Filberg Festival with mum.  Located nn the beautiful grounds of the Filberg Family estate the festival takes place on the first weekend in August every year and involves a juried show of arts, crafts and lots of food and entertainment.  This beautiful park-like setting is on the water and the grounds and gardens are maintained by volunteers.  Fortunately a good portion of it is under the shade of magnificent trees though there are some wide open and very hot and sunny areas as well, typically where the food and music is to be found.

 
I couldn't resist a photo of this adorable family with three hatted wee ones.


This lovely woman, might look like a model but she's my mum!  I snapped many candid photos and in the process discovered that mum is constantly moving her head about.  This was my least blurry result.  I think I have inherited that head flitting thing because I really noticed it when I got my first pair of varifocals.  I had to learn to move my head differently so my eyes could adjust to the lenses.

My camera lens is always drawn to trees and in the park there are so many beautiful scenes of sunlight shining through the leaves.



My photos do not do justice to the festival, as they show neither the vast quantity of booths, entertainment and food, nor the open sunny areas.  It was hot and we stuck to the shade, my eye was constantly drawn to the trees, and I admit I hesitated to take photos of the vendor's wares in case they thought I was wanting to copy their ideas or of children playing in the children's entertainment areas.  There were some amazingly creative pieces of sculpture from found objects, jewelery, clothing, paintings, pottery and very unique art forms.  Much of it is quite expensive.  The clothing is very much my style, natural fibres, creative forms, gorgeous colours, but I cannot bring myself to pay over a hundred dollars for one piece even if it is beautiful.  

These two ladies were standing outside their clothing booth and allowed me to take a photo of them when I admired their outfits.  I told them I wanted to put the photo on my blog, which is in no way at all a famous one.



I'm including some photos which are not mine, to show the Filberg Heritage Lodge and grounds at non-fesitval times.  I was married here, way back in another lifetime.

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This carving above is a good example of how I feel when I get out of bed in the morning!

Well, there you have it.  That was my Saturday.  Mum and I did the very quick tour of the festival and that took us three hours.  That was the maximum that I could manage and I am spending today recovering.  I go out tonight, again, but much less walking will be involved.  Theoretically there will be dancing but I cannot yet imagine having the energy to manage that.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Layering in Summer

Layering is a bit more challenging in warm weather and you might well ask, why bother?   There are definitely days when I don't wear layers because it is just too hot, just as there are days when I stay home and wear something I wouldn't go out in.  I just happen to be someone who likes layers, so while they are practical in cooler or variable weather, I chose them for aesthetic reasons as well.  I like the way I feel when wearing layers and I like the way they look.  One option in warm weather is to make the layers very thin and gauzy, but for warm weather I also like to wear loose and draped separates.  For some reason, if I am wearing only one item of clothing, say a sundress, I feel like I have not finished getting dressed.  I am likely to add a gauzy blouse or a crocheted shrug.  Although two pieces of clothing isn't really layering, it makes me feel layered and for me that is something I need, though I don't know why.

Sort of Digression:
Not only do I like the look of layers, and the creativity that is involved in pairing proportions, colours, textures and patterns, I have realised that for me there is also a sensory issue involved. I sleep best under heavy covers, which as you can imagine also makes summer a challenge.  I like weight and would probably sleep really well with one of those lead vests they give you in the X-ray department.  I have always layered my bedding, with at least two duvets in winter, not because I live in a Canadian Igloo, but because I like the weight of the extra bedding.  I have to give up on some of it in summer.

So I am beginning to think there is a connection here to my preference for winter clothes and for layers that also has to do with weight and the feeling of weight on my body.  Clearly I am in danger of floating away if I do not weigh myself down!


Now, back to the regularly scheduled programme.


Recently I wore a long skirt with an over-sized washable silk shirt.  If I'm just home for the day,having a bad hair day and feeling hot as in sweaty not hot as in sexy, I happily wear it all long and loose, but I also like it tied at the waist  layered with another skirt as a cooler weather option as shown in the headless photo.  Do you ever just get tired of seeing your own face?  I do.


I was experimenting with pinning up the top skirt so as to show the layers underneath but it was hot and I was tired and I did a lousy job and just gave up.  After all, I was not going anywhere and the real look of the day was the image below.



 I also experimented with more nightgown dressing.  Loose was definitely the requirement for this outfit, as it was one of the hottest days, with little breeze.  The dress is, I believe, actually a nightgown but I like it and so I would rather wear it as a dress, though it can't be worn on it's own since the bust coverage is rather ineffective.  When I went to the grocery store I put on the crocheted top over it to look a little less like I was wearing something I'd slept in.  I also added a touch of lipstick because lipstick always says, hey I really did make an effort today.


Another  experiment was in figuring out what to do with a thin, loose little green dress that cannot be worn on it's own and which I love but have yet to figure out how to wear.  I think it is going in the upcycling pile, and I am considering sewing this scarf onto the skirt portion as another layer, but maybe I will just wear it pinned on like in this photo.  I also really like this purple silk sleeveless blouse worn over top.  I often buy a sleeveless blouse that buttons at the waist but won't button over the bust and wear it like a waistcoat.  apparently I really like purple silk.  The top above is a deep purple-indigo and I am just now recalling a violet silk man's shirt I used to wear years ago.  The shirt was violet silk, not the man, though I might quite like a violet silk man.

I felt a little nervous wearing an outfit held together with small safety pins so I didn't wear this all day.  I really love it though so something must be done to make it feel safe.

And finally, I've saved the worst for last.  This is what I am wearing right now as I type.  I love the individual pieces but I'm not loving the outfit as a whole and I think that is because I feel washed out in all of these pale colours.  I was trying a monochromatic look.  These pants are the only beige item I own.  I generally avoid beige, (or stone or cement or putty -such hideous colour names) but following the advice that beige capris wouldn't chop up my leg line, and with beige being one of the typically available neutrals for summer clothing, I happen to have ended up with these kicking around in my closet.


I attempted all beige, white and brown and even put on my biggest earrings but this outfit is not working and it seems to me that is largely a colour issue.  It's all just so blah.  I'm tempted to dye the pants and the sleeveless blouse, but I still love the poet blouse in white.

Rumour has it that men hate it when women wear capris or even other women hate it when women wear capris and they are said to be hideously, mummish, and non-stylish.  This is me not giving a feck.  I think I'll dye these ones dark brown and the sleeveless blouse a nice orange/red.

Final digression
Did you notice how the metal circles of my earrings look like they belong in the painting behind me?  Yeah, I totally did that on purpose.

So there we are, three days of layering fun in a heatwave.  It's a long weekend here and I am gearing up to stumble out and do a few things as there are many local events going on.  My dear friend's husband plays with one of our best local bands so that's just one event I'm looking forward to.

Have a lovely weekend, dear readers and bloggy friends.