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Music sheet lamp shade

i was given a lamp by a friend but it didn't have a lamp shade and it annoyed me to no end. i went to a second hand shop and found a lamp shade that i guesstimated would fit. turned out that the ring that fits over the light bulb was a bit big (by a few millimetres) which meant that the lamp shade sits on an angle. it's sort of quirky but i've moved the ring to sit under the light bulb instead which means that it sits flat but it also isn't elevated and i have to lift it up to turn it on.

i had a particular idea of how i wanted my lamp shade to look so i bought one that was white and would be susceptible to being glued. i'd also found a little booklet of piano scores. a Russian ballet of all things.

i coated one side of the paper with some PVA/wood/craft glue (oh how i covet thee) and very slowly placed it on the lampshade (i was scared of it ripping or sticking to itself or creasing). once it ahd dried (i left it overnight but that could possibly be overkill) i coated it with a layer of glue to make sure it wouldn't soak and die if it somehow got water splashed onto it.

you could easily use mod podge to glue and seal but i don't own any and it's far more expensive than my trusty wood glue.

Things i learnt.

originally i cut the edge of the paper that went over the top and bottom of the lamp shade into strips so that i could have it hold better but i dicovered that when i turned the light on you could see the strips through the lamp shade. not so attractive. i just cut them off delicately with a blade. the paper holds to the lamp shade just fine without them.

it also helps to take the lamp along with you if you need to buy a lamp shade to make sure it fits properly.

Here you can see where the tags were originally on the inside of the lamp shade and where i've started removing them with the blade. in the first 2 bottom pictures you can see how the tags show through when the light is on, and then how it appears once the tags were cut off. you can also see why it's important to make sure the lamp shade fits the lamp (unless you're happy with the way it looks).

Revisiting the Avocado Seed

a few weeks ago i wrote an entry about trying to get avocado seeds to sprout roots. this process involves putting toothpicks into one end of the seed and suspending it in a glass of water until it grows roots.

i had 7 seeds sitting in water and left them for around 2 months, possibly more. i had one that grew a very definite root and was very proud of myself since i'm not known for my gardening prowess.

as soon as i upload the photos of the roots on my computer i'll upload them here. first i have to figure which camera they're on. i have this sinking feeling that they're on the memory card which has gone missing since i didn't think to put it back in the camera.

Things i learnt:
it's going to take quite a few seeds to finally get one to work. so it's best to just use all the avocado seeds you end up with whenever you find yourself eating an avocado.

it also takes weeks to months for them to grow a root, if at all. avocado trees are renowned for being a pain in the arse to grow and growing fruit is virtually impossible and if they DO grow fruit they don't fruit for hte first ten years and then can hibernate for a few years before randomly fruiting again.

while you're keeping them in the water, the water will go brown and you have to change the water in order not to suffocate the seed. they seeds also start to get this gelatinous film on them so you might want to rinse them and wipe them down a bit every now and then but be sure not to damage any roots or suspected roots that might be poking out of them.
sorry i've been away forever an not replying to comments. my modem died some time in early June and it's taken until now for my internet provider to send me a new one and going to the internet cafe got too expensive so i decided to just wait for it all to get fixed. silly sausages.

it's been wonderful to see all the discussion on the bokashi bucket. what pleases me the most is that everyone has taken matters into their own hands and tweaking and altering my suggestions. we're all learning and figuring it out along the way and i'm learning from all your suggestions too!

a few updates, i'm going to (eventually) go back over my posts and put in a little thing at the end about whatever i learnt from that project. there are also a few new projects i've been working on and will post them soon.

I'm also in the middle of painting my apartment, walls, ceilings, cornices and all. i also waterproofed the bathroom and kitchen ceilings because they were going mouldy and used this funky white stuff that paints tile grout while also helping it be more resistant to mould. it only occurred to me to take a photo of it AFTER i had painted the grout but there were little patches where i hadn't applied enough or ANY so hopefully the photos will show the difference it made.

i'm also going to be laying new floors in the apartment using a polymer resin. i've decided to do it myself which is no mean feat as i've never used resin before. i've seen it used in small art projects and i'm choosing to believe that it's more or less the same process. i'm fairly sure it is however i found this floor resin that doesn't need the epoxy and hardener to be mixed. instead it's one liquid that (i'm assuming) hardens with some sort of reaction to air. i'm not going to question the process as long as it works.

i'm going to be a little MIA while i get the renovations done but i have a bunch of stuff that i'll be posting soon.

recipes I'm insane to give a go

lamingtons are a traditional Australian cake. it's a sponge cake served in cube shapes, covered in chocolate and then dessicated coconut. it can be served with strawberry jam and cream inside.

recently i found a cake shop that makes them in pastel colours and i've gone gaga over them. i'm guessing that instead of coating them in milk chocolate they've used white chocolate and mixed it with food dye. the only thing i can't figure out is if you need to use a particular food dye. i tried my hand at buttercream icing for a batch of cupcakes and didn't know you have to used a particular food dye and used regular food dye. the dye floated ontop and stained everyone's hands!!

fortunately it was at night outside and everyone was really ok with it....

Mirror Cake
i found this recipe on one of daring Baker's challenges. I've only just discovered Daring Bakers. They're a bunch of people who come up with crazy recipes for everyone to give a go and post their results to the group. crazy people, amazing recipes.

One of their recipes was to make a mirror cake. i guess it's really called a mousse sponge cake but mirror cake sounds way better. it's a vanilla (maybe you could use non flavoured sponge considering it has strawberry mousse already in it)sponge cake with strawberry mousse and a mirror on top. a mirror is made with gelatin. the recipe calls for gelatin, which you buy as a powder and mix with water. i've also seen some recipes where people say they just used flavored jelly/jello which is easier and quicker. i already have a box of gelatin which i had left over from a batch of birthday jelly shots (i used vodka and toffe apple flavored jelly. insanely amazing by the way).

i haven't tried it yet because it's winter in Australia so strawberries aren't in season. i'm contemplating trying winter fruits. To be honest I haven't tried it yet because i'm daunted.


have you ever seen a cake so shiny?

here's the recipe if you want to give it a go

and here is the link to daring bakers, who have changed their name to daring kitchen

red velvet cake


red velvet is a strawberry spnge cake with a tiny amount of chocolate or cocoa powder in it. its layered and/or iced with a cream cheese (think philadelphia cheese) which helps balance the flavour. i've held off making this one because the ingredients are a bit too expensive for me wihle all my paychecks go into paying off my credit card and bills. it uses TWO bottles of red dye and it has to be pillar box red (the name of the colour) if you want to be traditional about it, i think it also makes it look a whole lot more crazy. the red of the cake in this picture doesn't do it justice, i get the feeling they didn't use pillar box red.

here's the recipe if you want to get your hands and kitchen looking like a murder scene


cupcake pops

AARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH! cupcake balls on a stick! why didn't i think of it?? a friend showed me Bakerella's blog and i've fallen in love. she got the recipe for these from Daring Bakers and has been going insane with them. i couldn't find the recipe for the pink cupcake pops, i'm fairly sure the way she got the coating was to mix pink food dye with melted white chocolate and dipping them in to coat them once they were already on the stick.

the trick here is to bake a cake, leave it overnight in the fridge to get firm and then forming balls with an ice cream scoop. she's used them to make other recipes like red velvet bites and cheesecake pops

here is her flickr gallery of cupcake pops. she's so madly creative that i want to have her cupcake babies


here's her cupcake pops/bites recipe


i was at a friend's place last weekend and i met his girlfriend's dog Shadow.

not only was he the tiniest ball of fur on legs but he was the tiniest cripple i had ever seen. being such a tiny little thing (imagine something the size of a shoe box) he has teeny weeny little legs. he broke his leg jumping from my friends arms to the ground; a whole 30cm/foot distance.

poor little trouper.

Recipe - Pull Apart Loaf

this is a really nice type of bread to share with friends. it's made especially for ripping apart instead of being sliced and it has streaks of the extra ingredients you've added into it.

you just use my basic bread recipe and then add these extra steps.

easy peasy to make and tastes great.

i added tomato paste and basil because that was all i had in the kitchen but i've see nit made with cheese and olives, ham and cheese with the option of also adding pineapple, vegemite/promite/marmite and cheese. the possibilities are endless. more or less. i'm sure there is a point at which the possibilities must end.


here are the added steps.

mix your dough as per the instructions for the basic bread recipe. do the first proving. after the first proving, punch and briefly knead the dough to prepare it for the second proving.

divide the dough into six balls and squash them into flat discs. put whatever ingredients you want to add into the centre of the disc. i got a bit over zealous and put the tomato paste over the whole thing. it worked out fine but made it a bit slippery when i was folding them up.

fold the discs in half and pinch the edgesto hold it together. arrange them side by side inside the bread tin and cover and leave to do the second proving.

once it's finished doing the second proving (the basic bread recipe will give you more information on how long to prove it for) bake it in the oven (also look at the basic bread recipe to see oven temperature and baking time) and voila!

remember to take the bread out of the tin to cool straight away otherwise it sweats and goes soggy. the bread is baked when you tap the bottom of the bread tin and it gives a hollow sound.

as an added note, it looks like the bread was burnt but it's just the tomato paste having cooked and gone a bit crunchy in the oven.

Exfoliator Recipe

I found a recipe in my University magazine for making your own body exfoliater and i've tried it and had good results with it but it doesn't work so well as a facial scrub. too rough.

it's made with olive oil and sugar. the oil provides enough lubrication to help the sugar granules move over your skin without ripping it off and the sugar works as a gentle but highly effective exfoliater.

compared to the stuff you buy at the supermarket it's much more cost effective, you know EXACTLY what's in it and can be confident that it doesn't have unwanted chemicals, alcohols or fragrances in it that might not react well with your skin.

Body Scrub
1 Cup olive oil
1 Cup raw sugar

white sugar is too refined so won't be as "scrubby" as raw sugar but if you find that raw sugar is too rough give white sugar a go. mix it all up in a jar and hey presto! make sure to remember to give the jar a quick shake before you use it as the sugar settles to the bottom of the jar.

if you want to go for an even cheaper version, next time your at the beach secretly pinch some sand and use that instead of the sugar. you only need the same amount as you would probably take home in the crotch of your swim suit and it solves the eternal question "what am i supposed to do with THIS?"

i took the recipe and altered it for a facial scrub. instead of oil i used sorbolene (a form of moisturiser) although any cheap moisturiser will do. the only thing with this recipe is that moisturiser's are full of chemicals and rangrances and other substances which may not react so well with your skin.

white/refined sugar is best in this case as your face is much more delicate than your body. i also use moisturiser in this recipe because olive oil can be too greasy for your facial skin.

instead of measuring i just poured moisturiser in a jar and a few handful's of sugar and gave it a good stir. i only ever remember to measure in hindsight.

i completely forgot that sugar is water soluble (like when you make a cocktail and disolve sugar in hot water to make syrup) so the brown sugar mixed into the moisturiser instead of staying granular. this was because, as with most manufactured liquid products, water not only is the main ingredient, it's the MAIN ingredient. cheap skates.

i experimented with table salt and it's worked pretty well. the granules might not be big enough or coarseenough for some people. you might want to consider experiment with grinding up sea salt to a size you prefer.

seasoning your wok

i helped some friends move on the weekend (read "my friends moved and i stood around taking photos and being generally useless. being a poor uni student i made the most of it and delved into their GIANT rubbish bin (imagine legs wiggling in teh air and having to be pulled by those wiggly legs by three friends to get back out) and found a bunch of lovely stuff.

one of my epic finds was a rusty wok. lots of people get a bit worried about rusty woks since eating rust isn't particularly on anyone's to do list.

so here's a quick how-to on seasoning/tempering and thereby de-rusting your rusty wok.

you'll need some oil, i used olive oil since i have giant tins of the stuff but you can also use any vegetable oil or animal fat. traditionally woks were seasoned with lard but i can't say i have any lying around my house so olive oil it is.

i didn't bother doing the bottom side, i only seasoned the cooking surface.

have your stove top on a high setting and lightly grease your wok with the oil.

heat the pan for a few minutes occasionally tilting the wok to get the oil to recoat the the sides as it begins to pool in the centre. take it off the heat and sit it on a heat proof surface but remove it from the hot plate. leave the oil in the wok.

leave it until the wok has cooled completely. once it has cooled reheat it again and once it starts to smoke get a basting brush or paper towel to remove as much of the oil as possible and put in another light layer of oil. repeat the heating, tilting and cooling process a few times.

i did it around 4 times and it worked alright, it removed the rust fairly well, there was still a bit left but it wasn't crusty. there was a huge amount of smoke in my tiny kitchen so i REALLY recommend you have all available forms of ventilation on and all windows and doors that lead outside open. this is also what prompted me to do it over two days.

eventually the wok will start to go black (i have a steel wok so i don't know if woks of other metals will do the same.

general care tips-
heat it on a high setting and smoking before putting oil and food in it. the high heat will help the pores in the metal to open up and absorb the oil which will in turn seal the pores and help keep the wok in good condition.

the first few times you use your wok food may stick to the wok's surface. Avoid cooking starchy foods, which have a tendency to stick, and foods that are either acidic or require prolonged cooking by simmering with lots of liquid, as this can cook off some of the seasoning. Deep-fat frying, on the other hand, can help build up the layers of seasoning.

the first few times after seasoning your wok you will have to take more care of it after cooking. rinse with water only (no soap) as the soap will remove some of the oil coating. if there are food particles stuck on there just work off gradually with a sponge. don't dry with a towel but instead dry on the stove top and once it's smoking coat with a very light layer of oil if it doesn't look shiny and oily. sop up the grease with a paper towel or sponge once you've let it cool down.

after a few uses your wok will have a nice even black coating and you won't have to be so particular with its care. food will no longer stick when cooking and if it does it will easily come off with your spatula or wooden spoon.

once it is at this stage you won't have to recoat with oil every time you clean it (although i personally do on the recommendation of a chinese friend's father who almost religiously uses his wok and nothing else to cook with).you can just sponge and leave it to dry. after heavy usage you might need to reaseason it as some of the coating might be depleted.

you'll also notice that the bottom side of the wok is black and covered in charcoal from oil and food that splatters over while cooking. it will help heat the wok more and gives your food a smoky flavour so don't panic.

et voila! rusty wok is now a lovely piece of cooking art palette!ki
i've been away from the computer for some time, too much sleeping when i ought not to and an inability to sleep when i should!

to make up for it i'll post a few new things.

i tried to make foccacia from scratch yesterday. EPIC FAIL.

when you are adding yeast to a recipe that asks you to soak it with water and sugar BEFORE adding other ingredients like 5 cups of flour and 3 cups of oil make sure you FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. i panicked and started thinking that it wouldn't rise and didn't have enough plain flour to start again so i mixed some more yeast in a glass and added it in.

the dough ended up raising far too much and didn't completely cook. let's not get started on the taste.

Story - Sarah Series

ok, for some reason livejournal doesn't want me to post pictures today, so instead of a tutorial on how to get an avocado seed to sprout roots so you can grow your very own tree, i'm going to post a new Sarah story. she's growing on me quite a bit, i've been writing a new story almost every day now. it's by no means a strange coincidence that i've been reading the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman.


And as Sarah gazed into the clouds one hundred and eleven, perfect, tiny, multicoloured fish*-shaped fireworks exploded before her in silvers and blues, like blossoming fireflies with violet wings.

Drunk with colour she turned towards a lake and in a dreamy haze strolled towards it. As she reached the edge she noticed a tree, in which was perched a rather large and somehow triangular rock, in what appeared to be rather deep meditation.

“Hello child. Why does your face melt so? Find yourself in the well for you must sink before you reach the ground. Within that ground you will find the answer.”

“The answer to what exactly?” she began to think this rock had no idea what he was talking about at all.

“We haven;t decided yet. Get back to us in a few days.”


“Yes. WE.”

*this is a direct quote from Neil Gaiman, just so you don’t think i’m unawaredly plagiarising. that would be poopy, no?