Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lunch, with a side order of Norwegian Blue*

Pepper's comment, on yesterday's post, that 'The Karma Bank may have something miniature for you this week...' had me hop, skip and jumping across the road to the post office at lunchtime today.

And indeed she was correct:
Dining table with a bowl of soup, a plate of pesto toast, a glass of water and a postal package on it.
Oddly, enough, the minute I opened the package, I completely lost interest in my lunch, which sat there growing cold.
Dining table with a bowl of soup, a plate of pesto toast, a glass of water, bubble wrap and a selection of modern dolls' house miniatures next to a card on which is written 'Happy receive-a-present Day.'
Because the real noms were laid out on the table above my boring old lunch from the freezer...
A card on which is written 'Happy receive-a-present Day', surrounded by five modern dolls' house miniature items: a hand-woven bedspread, three white pottery vases and a birdcage.
complete with my very own Norwegian Blue! Thank you thank you thank you!
Modern dolls' house miniature bird cage, with a blue parrot on its side on the floor of it.
(*Just in case)

Monday, June 29, 2015

#Frugal15: Fabulous friends

This week's grocery budget was higher for three reasons: I decided to buy Mr Nibbs some steak worth $3,50 (I figure the occasional addition of this to his diet saves me on vet visits to clean his teeth). I'd run out of dishwashing liquid and sponges (one of the unfortunate side effects of cooking at home a lot more is there are also a lot more dishes that need doing). And I discovered crumpets (not on the shopping list, but a freezer staple which I stock up on when they're cheap) on half-price special.
Mosaic of images showing a selection of groceries and three meals: apple hotcakes with yoghurt dressing, pasta, spinach, pesto and tomato salad, and mexican chilli corn pie.
The week's menu included mushroom soup (served to a dinner guest with garlic bread made from rolls out of the freezer); a spinach, red capsicum, feta and spinach frittata; penne, pesto and tomato salad; mexican chili corn pie (a favourite: which produced three extra servings that went into the freezer) and tuna, corn, red capsicum and feta pizza.

There were no muffins this week, mainly because the freezer still has a good supply of a couple of flavours.

What there was this week, was the Karma Bank paying out in the form of a lot of unexpected spoiling by friends. I was shouted coffee (twice). Brunch (once). Lunch (twice). Dinner (to celebrate M's birthday and my success at the ANCA sPIN exhibition opening). And three friends who came to my place for meals brought goodies to share.
Mosaic of images showing various cafe and restaurant meals.
I never expect my friends to pay for me, but I'm always very appreciative when they do.

Speaking of The Karma Bank paying out, I received a phone call from out of the blue last night with the offer of a few days' work this week. By my reckoning that should pay the rent for another couple of weeks...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Frugal and free: and then there were two...

The Belconnen Arts Centre's mid-winter market was on today, and I'd promised a friend I'd pop in to visit her and her stall.

And what did I find right next door to her stall, but Hillgrove Pottery: the people that I bought my tiny house from last year.

Having decided that I could completely justify a $2 spend for another, I was delighted when the owners decided that they would give it to me instead!
Woman holding up a tiny pottery house.
 So now there are two...
Two tiny pottery houses on display next to a giant wooden button.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Finish it off Friday: a (w)hole lot of fun

This week I pulled the 'pidgeon' hole unit kit out of my box of unmade kits to work on.
Modern dolls' house miniature laser-cut 'pidgeon' hole kit in packaging.
Components of a  modern dolls' house miniature laser-cut 'pidgeon' hole kit laid out on a work table.
  Because I needed to do a 'quick and dirty' build so I could have it finished to take photos before I lost the light, I decided to do a little experiment. I figured since the kit only cost $4 in the first place, I could afford to potentially mess it up completely...

Could I cover it with printed paper using my Xyron sticker machine? There was only one way to find out.
Pile of scrapbooking paper pads on the floor.
 But first, my lovely assistant and I had to decide which way round I was going to make it.
Dry-built modern dolls' house miniature laser-cut 'pidgeon' hole kit  with dolls' house doll for scale.
Dry-built modern dolls' house miniature laser-cut 'pidgeon' hole kit  with dolls' house doll for scale.
 (That's massively tall, so horizontal it is.)
Components of a  modern dolls' house miniature laser-cut 'pidgeon' hole kit laid out on a piece of scrapbooking paper showing a vintage map of France.
 I decided on a paper that would work with the burned edges of the wood bits
Pieces of scrapbooking paper showing a vintage map of France laid out on a cutting matt with a metal ruler, a knife and a sticker machine.
 and began cutting and stickering. (So far, so good.)
Dry-built modern dolls' house miniature laser-cut 'pidgeon' hole kit  covered in vintage map paper.
 And we have success!*
Modern dolls' house miniature pigeon hole bookcase, covered in paper printed with a vintage map of France. Displayed on it are various French-themed items.
 This is a technique I definitely want to use again in the future...
Close-up of one end of a modern dolls' house miniature pigeon hole bookcase, covered in paper printed with a vintage map of France. Displayed on it are a model Arc de triomphe, cushions with french writing on them and a chicken ornament.
(*Actually, it's only blog finished. I couldn't be bothered faffing around gluing it together then waiting for the glue to dry so the end and top bits are just balanced there...)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Popped in, sold out!

I arrived at tonight's opening of ANCA's sPIN exhibition two minutes after it officially started.
Open sign on the door to the sPIN exhibition at ANCA gallery.
And one of the first people I saw was the Gallery Manager, who was clutching a roll of red dots. 'You've almost sold out!' she said as she saw me.
Five miniature brooches on display in a gallery, with four red dots underneath them.
 Blimey!
Woman looking happy and making a thumbs up sign in front of five brooches with four red dots.
I'd worn my lucky red spot brooch, bought from an earlier version of the show, which obviously worked.
Woman looking happy and making a thumbs up sign in front of five brooches with four red dots. SHe is pointing at a red dot brooch on her jumper.
 Because, within another two minutes this lovely woman bought the last brooch.
A woman stands in front of five miniature brooches on display in a gallery, with five red dots underneath.
 Yep, completely sold out in six minutes,
View of a gallery displaying art brooches.
With disappointed friends who had hoped to buy one of them.
A woman admiring five sold brooches on display in a gallery.
(It almost made up for the fact that my name was misspelled on the catalogue...)
Gallery catalogue and price list.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Blue with cold

The scene started with a fridge magnet I bought on a trip to Jindabyne a couple of years ago, which has been moldering in stash ever since. And a sofa I bought for $5 from this year's Sydney Show.

The blue paper seemed the ideal choice, and then I remembered the yellow-dipped vase that I hadn't used in a scene yet. And suddenly, the story fell into place.
Modern dolls' house miniature lounge with blue walls, black sofa with black and white striped cushions, a winter-themed bus destination roll print and a yellow and white vase.
It's a holiday house available for rent up near the ski fields.

(Although the current occupant seems more interested in other diversions...)
Modern dolls' house miniature yellow typewriter on a pallet coffee table, with paper and a pencil next to it.
Modern dolls' house miniature lounge with blue walls, black sofa with black and white striped cushions, a winter-themed bus destination roll print and a yellow and white vase. On the pallet coffee table is a typewriter and paper.

Monday, June 22, 2015

#Frugal15: Menu Monday

Mosaic of images showing a selection of groceries and three meals: pumpkin soup, banana pancakes and quesadillas.
One of the most important things I find I can do to help with keeping the grocery budget down is menu planning. When I was working full time (and coping with the situation that finally caused me to make the decision to leave), this was something that didn't really happen. I'd buy my main meal at lunchtime from the cafeteria across the road and often eat snacks for dinner. And going to buy groceries was less about actuality and more about intent.

Now I have more time (and head space), the first thing I do each week is plan out my meals, starting with what I have in the fridge or cupboard that I need to (or would like to) use up. Then I make a list of items I need to create a range of meals that will keep me engaged and cover the main food groups.


This week's planning started with a quesadilla recipe I'd ripped out of a magazine a couple of months ago. A new recipe always piques the interest, and this one used up broad beans and feta that I had on hand (and, as I planned to also make a refried bean version,  more leftovers lurking in the freezer). The remaining tortillas went into the freezer for another week.


Pumpkins are cheap at this time of the year so I planned two pumpkin-based meals: Oven-baked pumpkin and spinach risotto (using arborio rice from the cupboard and the last of the spinach from last week's grocery shop) and Thai pumpkin soup (I had green curry paste plus half a can of coconut milk in the freezer). Both these dishes ended up being shared with friends who came to dinner. 


The bananas were used in two meals this week: caramelised on top of pikelets from the freezer for brunch, and cut up on top of muesli and yoghurt.


I used up the last of the zucchini from last week (and some of the carrots) for zucchini parmesan fritters, and the half bag of corn chips in the cupboard became the base for Sunday night nachos. Lastly, I added a store cupboard standby: Tuna and pea pasta.


Oh: and the week's muffins were apple, honey and sultana

Ingredients to make apple, honey and sultana muffins.
and they were all eaten on a lunchtime visit to a friend and her co workers...
Plate of muffins on an office table, with bowls of lunch in the background.
Moving into week three, I still have a couple of apples and one banana left from this shop. An egg, most of the loaf of bread, yoghurt and sour cream. Half a packet of rice crackers and six tortillas.

And, from items brought by dinner guests: half a packet of crackers and a quarter of a bag of Grainwaves, an almost full box of seashell chocolates, and (most deliciously) half a tub of burnt fig and caramel ice cream...