Saturday, 28 January 2012

This is a garlic bulb I have managed to sprout ( I am hoping to repot it soon and finger crossed get some garlic growing) Plus I decorated and used an empty baby cerial tub as a plant pot double recycling!!!!!!!

Recycle, Reuse and Reinvent!!!!!!!

This year I am going to double my efforts to recycle my clothes and packages and hopefully play my part to make the world a greener place. So this blog is about making a difference to the environment.

Food waste

In the UK alone they throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food from  homes every year which begs the point- how can we waste less and inevitably save ourselves resources and money? Here in Jordan quite a lot of the work is done as my family in law have chickens and so much of the non meat scraps go to them. The meaty scraps are fed to stray cats who have, over time been taken almost as pets. However if your not so lucky as to have chickens investing in a good compost bin would be amazing as you are getting rid of waste which is biodegradable (not the meaty bits lol) and getting some brilliant free soil for your garden at the same time.

waste clothes and material

There are sooo many ways to re-fashion and reuse materials. Like this rabbit (pictured above) which is made from recycled materials. My dad in law was making some adjustments to a sofa and removed some material from it. I offered to recycle it as it had the feel of suede and I thought It would make a nice toy. So with the scrap material some vintage buttons and embroidery thread and bingo ! a heirloom toy for my son . The beauty of recycling and reusing is that you have to use your imagination and experiment with the fabric and in the end the piece you make will always be unique to you.
Here in Jordan my extended family here take material recycling very seriously. Every piece of clothing which is not wanted by one person is either handed to someone who does want it or taken apart the buttons and fastens removed and the material used for wash cloths in the kitchen or dusters.



Waste packaging

I particularly love taking packaging that would normally be thrown away and turning it into something for my home. The photo above is of a small project which takes no time at all and the really great thing is you can use your imagination.

Tissue box canvases

You need-
empty cardboard tissue boxes
magasine cuttings of pictures you want to use, it's also nice to use captions from newspapers
glue (paper glue works best)
plastic book covering (the sticky transparent plastic material available in most stationary shops)
scrap ribbons and buttons
super glue (for buttons)

1.Its basically about covering the bottom of your box of tissues box with magazine cuttings and words to suit your creative vision. I also covered the sides with aluminium foil.
2. Cover the canvas with your transparent plastic book cover material.
3. Here's where you add the buttons and ribbon. (as you can see I put some buttons, ribbon and a vintage clock face I found at a craft fair.
4 Finally hang using the hole which was used to access the tissues
A piece of art which is free, creative and helps recycle
                    Save the planet !!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

My Internet has been down this week unfortunately so was unable to post anything but its fixed now sooo yayyyyy!!!!!!

Thought I'd post this lovely sunny picture taken in October at Jerash which is quite close to my home. Its an amazing historical site to visit as there is a virtually unspoilt example of a Roman town square which is a serious reminder of the beauty of their architecture and civilisation. I would definatly encourage you to come visit Jordan as Its really a beautiful country full of places like this one. The Jordan weather can be rather hot in summer so for people who  love this its great. At this time of the year the temperature is almost identical to the UK . It rains, and on occasion snows at this time of year so for those people who can't take hot weather its better to go In the autumn winter time. Another place to visit here is the Turkish baths which are in Amman and provide fantastic spar treatment packages (had a day there before my wedding). Amman Is an amazing city where you can find most of the shopping centres and hotels you would find in the western world with the added bonus of Jordan's  delights.
Jordan is a place I have taken into my heart because the culture here is very family orientated and the joy I feel in living here is in the fact that everyone makes you feel so at home . Soooo If you haven't come to visit Jordan  try having a holiday here cos its a really great experience- plus for those who love to shop the near by town of Madabar is where you can get some really good bargins. Go for it in 2012!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Vintage chic

This post is to show my absolute love for anything vintage. Its amazing what a difference a bit of nostalgia makes to a home. Like this vintage post card I picked up on a holiday in Brussels. I love the expression on this child's face as though he is willing everyone who sees it to smile and be reminded of someone special. Although part of me wonders what he is smiling at. And the inquisitive part of me always causes me to go off into a daze, dreaming up stories about his life. I love mixing modern minimalism with vintage pieces . But not only in the home, in how I dress too. One big thing I realised after reading countless magazines filled with women who bought the best designer vintage  items was that I could do it all just as well through visiting charity shops (like goodwill), car boots and faking it by making my own. (nobody knows the difference and most will be impressed by your artistic flair)
I had the most beautiful but utterly broken silver watch from my grandmother.Who was given it as a birthday present on her 21st birthday. It was engraved on the back 'from mum and dad Dec 26th 1938'. It didn't work and had no straps but I loved it for its emotional and family history value so I put a link on it and turned it into a pendant. :)
 As a final message I recommend you try some vintage tomorrow!!! accessorise with pearls and take a leaf out of coco Chanel's book. Wear that gorgeous vintage broach on your winter coat and you can't help but feel like a film star!!!!!Similarly adding a bit of vintage charm to your  home makes it all the more cosy during the long cold winter so go for it !!!!!(I would love to see any ways you have added vintage fashion to your own homes and personal styles too sooo send me a message and a pic ) :)
Stuffed courgette and aubergine

This is a really lovely meal for a winter day when you  just really want some comfort food.
Serves 4
Ingredients

11/2 mugs of short grain rice
olive oil
mixed spices
salt
cinnamon
black pepper
1 1/2 kg of fresh tomatoes
200g minced meat (lamb or beef can be used)
1kg courgette (Zucchini for all Americans out there )
1kg Aubergine ( or eggplant)

  1. First hollow  out the courgette and aubergine and put the filling in a bowl to the side as you will need this later for a rather ingenious supper idea. (My family in law luckily have a special tool for this however you can use a potato peeler just as well)


     2. Soak your rice for 30 minutes and rinse twice. Then add 1/2 a dessert spoon of mixed spices, 1/2 a dessert spoon of cinnamon, 1/2 a dessert spoon of salt, a pinch of black pepper, 2 table spoons of olive oil and 200g meat to the rice and mix with your hands.


   3. Put a few tomatoes aside and dice into cubes. Stuff the courgette and aubergine with the rice mixture and plug the tops with a small cube of tomato.


 4. Meanwhile put tomatoes in a blender and blend . Then sieve them so that all the bits are extracted.  Put the stuffed courgette and aubergine into a large pan and then add the tomato sauce.


5. Bring  to the boil for 10 minutes and then simmer for 30 minutes. And Bingo! an amazing meal !!!!!!!
Oh by the way I ate this for dinner today  which was really lovely as all the women of the family get together and sit around my mum in law's kitchen table cooking and chatting. Its really great fun :)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Today is rather a special day for me as its my dads birthday !!!!!. So my first blog today will be to celebrate his birthday and also tell the world how amazing he is.
My dad

Born on the19th of January 1942 , into a working class family with two brothers and a sister.
Who would have thought that this cute little boy would grow up to have such a long and varied career as first a police officer, an education social worker and now a manager of an internationally flourishing business.
 My dad, the man who epitomises the very heart of the word gentleman. Whose kindness and generosity make him a star that makes the world just a  little bit brighter. The father who taught me to dream of the possibilities and not to give up easily. To do jobs quickly so there was more time to relax. To always know my own strength and to be honest with others.
I felt I really needed to write this as I am not in the  same country as him and my dear mum and dedicating this blog post to him on his birthday somehow has made me feel closer to him.
so

                    Happy Birthday

                       Darling Dad
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Saturday, 14 January 2012


Afternoon brew and chat

I just wanted to champion the cause of taking a moment out of your day to sit with a cup of seriously comforting tea/coffee or whatever, (should be hot though) a biscuit and relax . Stilling your mind from the never ending list of jobs most of us pile up during the day. So my evening advice is when you get home put the kettle on. Slip on your fluffy slippers or in my case, (don't laugh) gorilla slippers put your feet up and give yourself a  moment where all the things you worried about today are left outside. You could try a bit of meditaion (breathing deeply and imagining yourelf in a peaceful place ful of contentment). Another fun way to relax is to get a bowl and fill it with warm water, add two tablespoons of salt or a few drops of your favorate essential oil and soak your feet.  I will definitely be having a moment like this later with a cuppa and my knitting. So why don't you give it a try :)?

Blogging on a rainy day in Jordan

Sitting down for a moment to write my blog whilst my son plays in his baby walker behind me. He has a very loud voice for someone so small, definatly not a shrinking violet.( which I confess I don't think is such a bad trait) Here there is plenty of house work to do as the dusty enviroment means there is always something to clean. Which in fact has turned out to be an amazing way to get some cardio exsercise FANTASTIC! two jobs done at the same time. :)
I am, at the moment learning Traditional Arabic cuisine from my wonderful mother in law and as one of my new years ressolutions have decided to write some of the scrummy recipies up here on my blog. I definately recomend trying them as they are really delicious. I am hoping to post recipies for the following - Mahlubah, cousa betinjey, addas and for your sweet tooth easy cake. I will also be posting some cute and crafty tutorials during january soo watch this space.!!!!!!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Thursday January 12th
Hi guys :)
Today its really cold in Jordan which even now contradicts my expectations for a desert country as does the rain. Its a wonderful feeling sitting blogging with my cup of Lipton tea (with powdered milk- fresh milk is kinda hard to come by here) listening to the soft lull of my blow heater and the sleep music of my dreaming son. I have the house of a laundrette at the moment as I am drying what in my minds eye equates to a mount Everest of washing (which as its cold is taking longer to dry). Life here is very relaxed but at the same time the days are always full of jobs and bits and bobs I end up doing, not to mention unexpected visitors and trips out so its never dull here. Not to mention my attempts to learn Arabic which are, despite my family here's optimism rather slow. There is some hope though, as a new years resolution of mine to improve has been helped by my recording basic words in my mobile and so I am happily no longer making my sister in laws crazy asking them the same basic words repeatedly lol.
Anyway I thought I'd post a message with a spring time craft to help you forget the cold of winter.
This is a small tutorial for a wind chime I made last year whilst on holiday In England with my parents at the seaside. I used shells from the beach which had holes worn in them from the sea.

Materials

  • Plastic bangle (you can get them from most cheap jewelry shops or second hand shops)
  • A square of patterned material which is approx double the size of the bangle (remember you should think about your colour scheme in choosing the material)
  • Wool that matches the material
  • shells with holes in the middle from an obliging beach
  • A large shell with a hole in it for the centre
  • needle and thread to match material
  • scissors
  • 3mm crochet hook
  • wool needle (sharp point)
Instructions
  1. Trace a circle on the material and cut out.
  2. Make a yoyo (will write a tutorial on yoyos this week)
  3. Meanwhile take your bangle and sc all round it so that it is covered in wool and fasten off.
  4. Here you need to decide what kind of lengths you would like your chimes to be and how many lengths of them. As you can probably see I decided on 6 strands with one centrepiece but its all up to you how many you put.
  5. Once you have decided get your wool and sc into the wool wrapped around your bangle and chain 5-6 and sc through the hole in one of your shells.
  6. This bit is a tiny bit fiddly chain 3-4 to cross the hole in the middle of the  shell then on the parallel side of the shell make one more sc.
  7. Add as many shells as you like using 6 then with the final shell on the thread simply sc in one side and fasten off.
  8. Repeat for as many threads as you would like to hang around the bangle.(tip- make sure all the shells are spaced so that they can easily knock each other)
  9. Take your yoyo and sew it to the top of your bangle wind chime.
  10. If you would like a middle piece - you now get your wool again and sc through the hole in your big shell and then make between 22-25 sc before fastening off. (leave a long thread)
  11. Attach the thread to the middle of the underside of the yoyo and secure with a few stitches and fasten off.
  12. This last step is also virtually up to you I chained about 26 left the 26th chain extra loose missed one chain and double crocheted back to the bottom. You should then have two threads of wool. Thread your wool needle with each thread and pass it through the top of the yoyo to the underside and fasten off tightly. Turn everything the right way and hang. Enjoy!!!!!
I particularly liked using shells as they make such a lovely calm light noise in the wind.
I would love to see some photo's of peoples own chimes you make so please feel free to post them!!!!!
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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Tuesday beans
This is my mum in law's recipe for  a lovely bean dish which is amazing with some warm flat bread
Ingredients
2 onions diced small
1 whole head of garlic
a large pinch of mixed spices (here its called pyrat)
a bag of frozen string beans
6 tomatoes chopped and de-skinned
  • First fry onion and the garlic for 5 minutes in about a table spoon of olive oil.
  • Then add the beans  and simmer for 15 minutes
  • And finally add the tomatoes and mixed spices and simmer a further 30 minutes and bingo!
A heart warming meal for a cold winter evening which won't upset the veggies!!!!!!
                                            Bon Apetit!!!!!!

Tuesday 10th January,
Got a new bike for bb Zak and will clean it up before I sit him in for a ride. Am crossing my fingars he takes to his new form of transportation. Weeeeeeeeeeee and away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 9 January 2012

My first blog

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!
New year and welcome to a new blog full of recipies, fun little projects and crafty bites. And I can't wait to get started!!!!!!!!!