Thursday, 30 August 2012

What's your fav artist?

I have quite an obsession with Art Noveau. I know isn't the best, let's say, in comparison with Baroque.  I hoped that my love will go away but its not.

So here I am - deep in Art Noveay. Thus my fav artist is very simple - no need even to quess - its Alfons Mucha. My second fav... again, noting really original. Hieronymu Bosh. Then Carl Larsson, Delft pottery, Cluny tapestries... 

Yes, sure, I adore the light of Vermeer and such highligts of the art, but still... by some unknown reaon I like things from the lower shelves. Something which feels like I can reach and touch. Something peaceful. Serene.

It doesn't mean anything for me that Edvard Munch's painting The Scream has been sold for $120m - it's simply does nothing for me.

What's your favourite artist? 


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The size of the friendship

Just one... A little airy meringue, decorated with whipped cream...

Like everybody, I have friends. Some are big friends, some are just friends, you know. But now I have new measurement for friendship. Cakes. LOL

My friend was coming for some girlish chat time. Great. Coffee... and what? Genius idea - some cakes (I have very good bakery just around the corner with gorgeous cakes!) So I bought home a big box of cakes to decorate the coffee table.

And then arrived my friend.
With TWO large boxes of cakes from her favourite bakery...

How many cakes you can digest in the name of the friendship?

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

And then he started to sneeze

Well, not actually, but when the man had his beard and hair done...

Tonight I had planned a nice bath and then take care of my hair. Well, but then I found in my wool stash the lump of dog fur and I needed to try it out, I simply needed. So bath was forgotten and off I went... until it was 2 am.

The funniest thing is - it looks like the alive original! Nearly. At least expression is right and all the mischief is there!
And the best part - it's finished. It will be wrapped and packed and hopefully next week will reach it's role model. One UFO out of my way!

So this is my second felting attempt. One I know for sure - there will be the third attempt. :D

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Ancient stone licker on my plate

I’m not a big fan of seafood. Some white fish is nice as well as salmon but that’s about it all for me. Except these three things. A flounder (Platichthys flesus), an eelpout (Zoarces viviparous) and a river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis).

Tonight I enjoyed my lamprey. To prepare it’s quite easy. We just roast them. We usually buy them already prepared but it is possible to do it at home if you keep some simple rules in mind. Send the family out for a day, open the kitchen window and then start only! They smell horrible when roasting. Neighbours will complain! The rest is easy! 

We use wooden buckets to make things nicer. Layer after a layer of roasted lampreys go neatly in the bucket, then a lid on top and on top of a lid – a stone adding some pressure while they cool off... And then the gourmand meal can start. A sprinkle of lemon juice and a loaf of fresh bread is all what I need for complete happiness. (It is easy to eat it into public – just cut in pieces and eat – no bones to worry about at all!)

I went the easiest way – just bought some at the mall tonight. They are not cheap - $ 30 per kilo. 

The lamprey feels firm and soft at the same time. The flesh just beneath the skin sprang to the bite. The interior flesh is like marrow: tender, slightly firm and a little mealy all at once. A thin rip-cord of cartilage running through the middle of the fish adds a springy accent. It’s oily, but different than eel and different than salmon. I do not like oily fish but lamprey is an exception. In everything. Because it’s not even a fish. 

The common name "lamprey" is derived from lampetra, which translated from Latin means "stone licker" (lambere "to lick" + petra "stone"). 

Lacking paired fins, adult lampreys have large eyes, one nostril on the top of the head, and seven gill pores on each side of the head. The unique morphological characteristics of lampreys, such as their cartilaginous skeleton, suggest they are the sister taxon of all living jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), and are usually considered the most basal group of the Vertebrata.

It is quite commercially important as annual catch each year is about 170 tons here.
In Europe you can meet lamprey from southern Norway to France, including Ireland and the British Isles. It lives here, in the Baltic Sea and along the French and western Italian coasts of the Mediterranean Sea as well. Absent from Black, Caspian and Polar seas. Landlocked populations can be seen from Lake Mjosa in Norway, Lakes Ladoga and Onega, upper Volga in Russia, Loch Lomond in Scotland, some Finnish lakes and possibly in Lough Neagh in Ireland.

Still rare in some areas, but populations have markedly recovered following earlier pollution problems in central and western Europe.

Anyway, if you are brave and have a chance, take a try – cold, even slightly chilled roasted lamprey with some lemon juice (just some) and some bread... Yum-yum!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Another 24 h

Another 24 hours proudly added to the first 36. It feels good. All I'm fighting is habits. Just taking the one when  I open a book, when sip my mug of coffee, when I finish something... The little habits, and that's not so bad - I just need to fight with that little voice which whispers "just one, you know, that's not a big deal, just one..." LOL
I try keep myself busy and in a good mode. I had been painting a lot for past few days. Did needle felting. Went out shopping and bought myself Lancaster Paris handbag which I really like and a pair of new shoes
(shopping always heals, right? :D). And so on... It works! Yay!

Sometimes it feels like I will be not able to give up completely, sometimes I feel very positive to stop it forever. It's interesting. I'm not hiding cigarettes, they are still scattered all over the house and yesterday I spent half day in specialised tobacco shops to tease myself with all these wonderful aromas!  LOL (It was such a fun to take piss out myself, I probably have weird sense of humour ). And started to read Brick Lane by Monica Ali. Very interesting, opening completely new, unknown world for me. So yes, keeping busy works wonders along with Tabex. I can do it and I'm determined to do it!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Proudly holding on! :D

So far it's going easy - no cigarette today! Over 36 hours now! Yay! I nearly lit one at noon and then the doorbell rang so I put it back and went to door. Somebody was just hoping that I will fill the poll form, ha! After that the urge was gone again.

I'm using TABEX. My son did quiet smoking on it so I have trust in it. Plus it's herbal. No seriou sideefects. And now I can recomend it - it really helps to stop the nicotine rush. Currently I'm fighting only with my social habits.

Plus I think it also has some antidepressant effect as well because I feel very positive and light. You know, everybody warns that trying to quit smoking make you grumpy. Not me! So I'm like alcoholic trying to quit now - counting hours without a cigarette.

I wanted to quit smoking a long time ago but I never had enough motivation to do so. This time the reason is very strong - one of the family members , also a smoker, must give up due to the serious health condition. So why not to join? To hold on not so much for me but to help her? FI would probably not do so. I liked smoking a lot. But for her it is crucial. She already has started to use electronic one and I'm on Tabex. Let's see where it will take both of us.

Hopefully I will not gain too much weight as I already have "few extra pounds"... well, let's be precise, STONES  :D I need to loose 2 stones already, so adding another one will not change anything dramatically. But I will get my breath back so it's worth the side effects :D And the best part - to kick the habits, I try to move around more and keep myself busy so I already am doing more! Yay!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Giving up

I decided to give up smoking. After 33 years of regular smoking, 20+ cigarettes a day.  While my health is still quite ok, I'm facing some changes of life in the family so I will try. Seriously.

I had one cigarette this morning, and I hope that that was the last. So far so good. 4 hours gone and with some simple breathing exercises I'm holding on easy.

The only thing which scares me is the weight gain. I already have some excess weight. It's autumn when Nature tells body to store everything for the winter. And then this. Giving up smoking AND controlling weight growth - that seems mission impossible right now.  LOL

Anyway, wish me good luck - I will need all of it to make this work! :D

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Itchy hands

I just can't wait to start the next project.  I"have no rush - this one has to be made for Christmas for a friend's mum. Today I just played with possible colours of the new one.Nothing pale - bold colours are ordered and when I looked at what I have - something like this one can be an option.

Currently I'm just playing with ideas and patterns. Idea is clear, now I just need to find the one which looks the best.

Simple, fast and bright. As it will be a present, I'm worried about my ability to quilt so for such a simple pattern just the basic quilting can be done and it will be functional bed cover without big possibility to look ugly due to my still poor quilting. Edges will be quite complicated as well but nothing I can't manage.

I'm trying and trying to find the best design, and now I see I will need to make borders.

Well, if I want borders to be like that corners still do not look really good but I hadn't seen better solution.

Of course, the latest design will mean 10X10 cm squares which means a lot of job instead of the 20X20 cm as I planned before but whatever.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A moment of truth

 The big box of cards was on my agenda for today.  Old photos and postcards. You know all these Happy New Year and To my dearest one  and all that crap… Card after a card to be turned over and checked because many of them had been signed by quite famous musicians and artists. Thus they have some cultural heritage value.

So I was working hard and at 5 pm that was it! It hit me hard.  I had been doing this over a month now! I’M FED OFFFFFFFF with all this crap!
I was so close just to throw all the stuff out! And then one picture made my day… Not a post card, a photo, twice as big as a standard postcard (so quite large for the time). The street of a town in a fog. On the back it’s “Dear brother! Sending You this to show that not all about this war is straight forward. A lot of fog as well! Your Albert” After all these stupid glossy flowers and just another Kaiser Wilhelm on the horse… Just one pure moment of life…. A little glimpse into the reality!

I have no idea who took the picture or where it was taken, but it’s special. At least for me. One glimpse from the past.
By some reason it remained me the old novel Time and Again by Jack Finney. It was published somewhere in 70's if I'd remember right. How to return back, really return back, how to find the real people behind these frozen, faded faces in the old photos. Today I found one. I feel so rich right now!

P.S. Just few hours later. Harry Harrison has died. Do you remember his Technicolor Time Machine? Along with Time and Again, these two were among my favorite Sci Fi books.  Ray Bradbury did left us as well just two monhs ago... Another glimpse of the past... another tiny parachute of dandelion seed  blown away into the Time River..

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Happy again

So now I’m happy. I was turning the house over and over as I was missing one important thing. The crown of the national costume. I did find all other parts but not the crown. OK, it’s just an old embroidered piece, falling apart and no big value but I hated the idea that it has been lost. Now I found it – alone a drawer in completely wrong company, but it’s survived.  It has lost it big glass beads on top which my granny has replaced by small round pearl-shell bits (but I still have the bag of original glass beads) so I will be able to find similar ones to replace the missing ones and repair it properly one day (or I will leave it to my daughters, they need some fun as well LOL).

Our national costume is basically the traditional festive outfit of peasants, craftsmen, fishermen, and other ordinary folk as worn through the centuries, approximately up to the 1870s.
 The traditional costume or rather stylised variations of it became a symbol of Latvian culture in the 1880s, as part of the national song festival. To this day, the traditional costume is an essential element of the song festival. Picture on the left shows a modern day copy, available on market for about $ 200.

The full outfit was not thinkable without a headdress: a crown, a hat or a headscarf. As far as we know, so for at least a thousand years, the head covering served to signify the wearer's marital status. The symbolic covering for a maiden was a wreath or crown ; in some regions, a ribbon served the same purpose

The little girls usually were wearing just a ribbon in their hair for an important event, or a wreath of wild flowers. Early teens started wearing an embroidered ribbon, a smaller, flexible version of a crown, and only grown up girls, ready for marriage, were wearing a full crown. Each area has it’s own style and patterns thus it was like an address book, telling from which part the girl comes. 

The teen stage “little crown” is already gone – I remember wearing it sometimes as a child and it was falling apart then but the main crown is still alive.  

And the best news – I’m back, digging in to my stash now and choosing the colours! Hey, sewing machine, glad to meet you again!