Sunday, May 22, 2011

Swans are pretty.

Hello!


So I'm still fixing up my new place, trying to make it nice and comfortable for myself. The kitchen is a pleasure to use. There's so much more space than there was in my last apartment and so many more utensils and crockery. Oh, the dinner parties I shall have! I spent a few hours this evening arranging my craft and dressing tables to be pretty. There's just so much space here, I can't get used to it!

But anyway... In lieu of any interesting news, crafty endeavours, out-of-town adventures, etc, I'm gonna post some nice pictures from the last week. Walking home one evening, the river was really high... And I'll stress again, it was REALLY high. And there was a whole bevy* of swans chilling out in the high water. I really like swans. Sure, they could break a bone or two if they wanted, but they're so beautiful and graceful. I never appreciated Yeats when I was forced to study him in school, but I know now that The Wild Swans at Coole is a wonderful poem! I'm always reminded of it when I meet a few swans.





How's everyone's weekend going? Anyone doing anything fun?? I'm *hoping* to go to the Galway Aquarium tomorrow with Michelle, Nelly and a few others. But of course, this all depends on if the weather calms down enough for us to cycle out and not get soaked in the rained or blown off our bikes into the sea. Here's hoping!

Fi


*Thanks to a quick Internet search - "collective noun swan" - I've learnt something new this evening.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pretty Bike, Yay!

I've had my bike for five years. Look! Ain't it nice?


It was the first real thing I bought with my first real money that I got from my first real job(s).* I love my bike, it's perfect for me. However, I've been wanting to paint it for quite a while. I could see pretty mint greens in my bike's future. So that's what I did! I got the paint in Faherty's, the paint shop I mentioned in my shelf restyle post. They made up a tiny pot of the prettiest pretty mint green enamel paint. Yum! And look at it now!

**

It took some time... I was hesitant about dismantling the brake and gear cables. I made sure to cover every part that didn't want painting in masking tape. I had to sand every last centimetre of it. Then came two coats of primer and two coats of the green. Then lots of waiting. Then another week of packing up and moving out and being otherwise busy. Then back to the bike, painting in some not-so-perfect parts. I painted the back carrier with some gloopy old black enamel paint my Dad found in our shed. That was tough, and gave the carrier a... "rustic" look. I want to get black mudguards, but that will have to wait some time. Pretty happy with it as it is though, yay!

In other news, I've moved all my stuff into my new apartment / house *** in town and spent yesterday evening rearranging things in the kitchen to fit my cups, mixer, baking tins, cookie jar, etc. Unpacking is going to take some time. I really have too much stuff. But with as much space as I have, I don't think it'll be too much work finding a space for everything I own.


Once I've settled down and unpacked properly, I'll dedicate a post to my lovely new house. There's no internet connection there though, and I'm not sure if I'll be getting any soon, so you may have to wait a bit. In fact, posting may be irregular for a while. I hope you all don't mind!


Enjoy your week!

Fiona

*Two jobs, I was that hardcore.


**Excuse the drying towel in this photo. I should have allowed more care and time to take photos of my lovely newly painted bike. Busy lady, I am!

***It's on the third floor of the complex, but it has a three storeys... So what does this make it? An apartment or a house??

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bookshops Around the World

Hi everyone,

Remember the bookshop in this post?


The really awesome one in which I bought the old Chemistry school book??

Well, today it's been featured in Andrea's blog, The Art of Staying Up All Night. Yay!


Andrea has a great series on her blog, called Amazing Book Shops Around the World. If you're into books, reading and travelling and happen to be visiting a new city, check out this feature to see if there's an Amazing Bookshop in that city. You really should stop by and say hi anyway!

And while I'm here... Rosemary, a fellow Galwegian, wrote a great post on the Moycullen Market. I've never been, due to the fact that Moycullen's a long cycle or a short drive away, but now I so so want to! I envy drivers. It's really time I started learning.

Have a nice week everyone!

Fi

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cook Book Love!



I have a confession to make. This post should not actually be about my cook books. But oh, how I love them! A collection of classic and modern, complex and simple, fancily expensive and reassuringly economical recipes.

The Usborne First Cookbook was the first cookbook I started using, back when I was just a wee one. Well, I'd say I was using it between the ages of ten and thirteen, so not too wee. The old edition we had was a super tattered, super used copy. I remember my friends and I would make chocolate cake and spiced biscuits from it. Yum! My Mum found the new editions of the book just a few years ago and got one for me, my sisters and for the family home. These days, it's the apple crumble recipe I gravitate towards. Yum, crumble!*

I actually didn't like cooking much when I was in secondary (high) school. The one thing I did love to make was the Thai-Style Sweetcorn Soup from the Low Cholesterol Low Fat Cookbook.** But that was all really. When the end of my final year in school was getting closer and closer and moving out for the first time was drawing nearer and nearer, my parents tried to encourage me to cook. They wanted me to learn the basics so I wouldn't be living on pizza and pasta and jars of sauce all through my college years. But I was busy, I had exams and friends that needed my attention, I wasn't bothered learning how to cook. And I spent the first year of college eating pizza and pasta and jars of sauce. Delightful.

It was in my second year that I really developed an interest in cooking, thanks to Cook with Jamie and a few other books. My housemates and I would occasionally bake some cookies and have dinner parties. Baking really intrigued me! Over the years, I collected more Jamie books and learnt the basics of cooking and baking. I baked cakes for my friends throughout my third and fourth years. They were so awesome!

Once I started my PhD, started living by myself and started collecting kitchenware, I really got into cooking and baking. Then came such wonders as I Know How to Cook and The Silver Spoon.*** [I'll be honest and say that I haven't cooked from these books too often... They're very, very daunting. But what I have made has been so good!] And Home Cooking from Rachel Allen, an Irish cook. That's a great book!

I get recipes from the internet quite a lot, as I'm sure most people do. But when I'm planning a dinner or baking adventure, I love to open all my cookbooks and find the right recipe and method. I spend an insane amount of time looking, just looking, through my cookbooks, salivating at all the pretty foods. Most mornings, when I actually wake up in time to have breakfast, you'll probably find me sitting with my porridge and a cookbook, dreaming up my future meals.

Now, as I said, this post should not be about my cookbooks. Nope, I just really love books! It should be about the shelves holding my cookbooks and baking stuff.

These shelves:




I know, ugly, right? Really, really ugly. In all honesty, these should be dumped. They're very unstable and I know that they won't last long. But what crafter and environmentalist would I be if I threw them out? And I love a good challenge. So I spent all yesterday in the sun, listening to good music...


[Ooh, outtake!! I fancied up my About Page over the weekend. I put a little Grooveshark music widget at the bottom of the page. It's full of songs I like in no particular order. Good songs! You should listen to it. Especially this song. I've been dancing to this song all weekend! It's so cheerful and fun!]


... listening to good music, sanding, prepping and painting. I worked all day! Which was much too much time spent on something so simple. But I'm very methodical and slow when I do housework and crafts. As long as I have no other commitments, it doesn't bother me one bit.


And so, those shelves turned from prospective firewood to this:


Pretty, yes?? Simple and a bit boring, there's nothing I can do about that, without the right tools. But now colourful and exciting! The black on the sides is chalkboard paint, something I'm in love with these days. I put some chalkboard paint on the wardrobes in my bedroom at home in Naas and of course forgot to take a good picture of them. Trust me, though, they're cool. For these shelves, I envision menu planning and shopping lists and maybe a few pictures of cupcakes?? And isn't that blue gorgeous! I'm in love with it. So in love, in fact, that my ankle is now (and still) that exact colour. Maybe another shower will remove it. I got the paint made up in Faherty's paint shop in Woodquay. If anyone living in Galway is looking to buy paint, I'd definitely recommend Faherty's. They were so helpful! I really had no clue what paints and primer I'd need for this and another project I'm working on and they sorted me out and even mixed up the two colours I wanted specially.

I took out the stupid panels on the bottom of the shelves. They used to hold a drawer or something but were pretty useless without said drawer. So now there's more space underneath the shelves to hold my cake tins and mixer parts. Here's a picture of the shelves in action:



In other news, I found an apartment / house / I-don't-really-know-what-to-call-it! It's like a rooftop house... A duplex? A triplex? Anyway, anyway... I'm delighted with it! It will need work and I'm ready for that. It's quite sparsely decorated and bare at the minute. The kitchen is big enough for these shelves and my culinary adventures. And it has a BIG six seater kitchen table, perfect for dinners with friends! The living area is small enough, but with a kitchen table so big, I'm not bothered. And my bedroom! Well! It's on the second floor, and my housemate's bedroom is on the third. I have TWO bathrooms, an ensuite and a main one. Decadent, I know. And the room is HUGE!! Like, seriously, it's huge! I'll finally have the craft table I've always dreamed of. And where is it? Right in the heart of town. I've never lived in town and I'm so excited to be!

I'll be sorry to say goodbye to my current apartment. The first place in which I lived by myself and really loved to call a home! My housemate, Jane, moved in in August and she's awesome. I'll be sad to have her move home to Kerry, boo!! But as much as I love this place, nothing will beat the convenience of living in town and having such a large space. So many good things will come from my new place, yay!

I'll be sure to take before and after photos and show you all around, once I get settled in.

For now, I think I'd Rather Dance. (:

Fiona


*You'd think I'd know off hand how to bake apple crumble, but I can never keep recipes in my head. Which is odd. I have no problem with number or Science-y Stuff!

**I'm pretty sure Mum doesn't know I have this one... As you read this, dear Mother, remember that I love you! (:

***A Christmas present from Paul! He's good, I'll keep him for the awesome gifts.
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