Sunday, May 31, 2009

Homemade Pizza

Yesterday we talked about how knitting got me into the whole new way of living, which I have never imagined before when I first picked up the needles. What have knitting done to you? Please leave a comment.

Today, new way to think about pizza night.

Back then before the birth of crafty me, I would order take away pizza. In Dublin, the price would be around 16 Euros. Now I would make my own for about 4 Euros.

Here is how it goes:

1. Make a dough (I cheated, I used bread machine by I am not a purist homesteader.) and kneed into a circle. = less than 1 Euro

2. Shamrock Tomato Puree - support local product. = less than 1 Euro

3. Go around and put on the dough.

4. Put mushrooms that happened to be in my fridge. = less than 1 Euro

5. Cheese from the fridge. = less than 1 Euro

6. Put basils from my veggie garden. = can't put a price on it, I mean I did pay for the dirt and stuff, never mind.

7. Ta-da!

I know some of the crafty reader among you will say, 'hey, it is really no big deal, homemade pizza.' Guess what? I totally agree with you and that's the whole point of it. It is no big deal! But why didn't we do that before? And why most people out there don't do that? People would rather, spend that 16 Euros ordering pizza from the chain started with an 'A' if they are in Dublin (and honestly doesn't taste very good and we all know that), than making it themselves.

With the whole financial crisis caused by the questionable economic model, we should really all sit down and think, do we really need to keep on spending money? What have these delusional believes that we are free because we have a job, we have a salary, we can spend money the way we want, got us into? A house full of stuff that we might not need; 8 to 10 hours a day of servitude; to some of us - a debt. Instead, we could live our life in true freedom with stuff that we only need in the house; spend less money by thrift shopping, make do and mend; work less to fit in your own schedule so that you can spend more time outside with the wonderful sunshine and sea breeze, your family or your pets. Look at all these, the fact that I have to worry how my business is going constantly, might just be worthy...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Apartment Homestead

If you are reading this blog, the chance is you know I knit. (duh)

For those of you who knit will understand how enpowering it is to realise what you can do with your hands after all these years living in a society where we are trained to be consumers. Many of us got addicted to this 'high' of satisfaction. Among some of us, the creativity take a life of itself. After knitting, some of us got hooked on spinning, crocheting, sewing, beading, etc. It was no exception for me but I guess my addiction has totally changed my life....literarily.

So after knitting, I started on crocheting, I made a few simple projects. This addiction never got really big. Then I started on spinning since everyone said being able to make your own yarn will allow you to have more choice on fiber content, the quality of yarn and you also said it is very relaxing. I like relax, so I got this. Then, I got into sewing. I got a few projects done and then I started to be really busy that I didn't blog very much, I will post those in due course.

After realising that my hands can be more useful than typing on the computer in an office all day, it got me thinking. I am sure many of you guys been through that stage too! 'Can I do something with my hands and earn a living? I enjoy doing what I do so much more than staring at the screen all day in a cubicle farm!' My answer to this is, I know I cannot be a professional crafter. I enjoy what I do but more in a lifestyle way than in a commercial way. If I have to knit for a living, I know I wouldn't enjoy it as much. Maybe I am a selfish person, I just simply can't give my handknit away! No, not even for money.

But it does get me thinking each time when I was about to buy something, 'can I make this?' This way of thinking has literarily totally changed my life. Instead of thinking of buying immediately, I start by thinking of I can make something first. Sometimes, I would try to think of ways to get around with it. Instead of throwing away a pair of broken jeans, maybe I can cut it and turn it into a shopping bag? This wonderful T shirt which got lovely pattern, maybe I can turn it into dishcloth? cushion? carpet if I got many of these and weave them together?

Then it got me to realise how much I hate working in an office like a working bee, soon after we got the global financial crisis confirmed that we are indeed disposable working bees. Then I said, 'feck that and I have to have control of my life instead of someone dispose of me one day like a garage because they have lost certain billions by bad decision'. (The truth that I understand by working in a corporate is that, you are not a human but a figure, if they need to cut cost and layoff 300 people, then they close their eyes and pick 300 people. They won't care if you have a dying mother, a baby to feed or whatever life situation you are in, coz you don't have a life in the corporate world, you are a number.) So it got me into an escape path to self-employed. I am sure being self-employed have a lot of tough side, but at least I got my own schedule, I work when I need to, not to stare at the screen to pretend I am busy when there is nothing to do and at the end of it, I got the last bit of dignity to know when I will be starving instead of someone dispose of me.

Then I came across this blog. And finally I got into this...

The man and I have been havesting the ever growing butterhead salad. As you can see in the photos, there are herbs, beans and peas growing strong. Here you got the tomatoes, pepper, rockets, more herbs. Larmlarm the King seems to be enjoying the veggie garden very much, maybe it is in their instinct to love the big nature.

Our first ever homegrown dinner.

No, not the potato, we didn't grow them, we will one day though...

Here it is, butterhead salad with baby leaves, potato salad with parsley and omelette with chives.


And you knew what I was going to say, homegrown veggie taste so much better.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yarn Hunt in Paris

I was in Paris the whole last week to get some medical things done. The almost non-existence of health care in this country makes me realise how close I feel to my adopted country - France, where people are helpful, non-judgemental and smiley in health care sectors. Most importantly, you don't have to pay very much. My adventurous years in France deserves another blog by itself, but today we are going to talk about yarn!

If you were going to Paris, La Droguerie is a must to visit. Since photo-taking is not allowed, I can only tell you, you have to go, just go! They only sell their own brand of yarn and there are piles and piles of quilt fabric if you are into that. There are also huge selection of beads, buttons, ribbons. It is a crafter heaven. What I got this time is 100g (yes, they sell yarn by weight) of Laine de Terroir from France. The wool is a bit of the rough side but I love the character of it. Plus, comparing to the wool from Ireland, it is so much softer, so I knitted up a hat quickly in a few days, I call it Terroir.

I swear the following two photos are not posed, it just happened.

(Attention to cat lovers in Dublin: This little kitten is being fostered at my home for 4 more weeks, after that he will be ready to be rehomed by DSPCA. If you are falling in love with him, please be in touch, he is a lovely guy who loves loads of attention and love, he wouldn't leave me alone, so if you are looking for a lap cat, he is the one.)

Of course, there is always Larmlarm the King...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Foster Parents

We got a call Saturday morning from DSPCA looking for foster family for a 4 weeks old cat. I was a bit hesitated as I was due to fly to Paris to get some medical thing done, but the man said YES immediately so I thought it could be fun. So we went to the shelter that afternoon and found him.

Look at how small he is, a better photo.

Since he doesn't have a name yet and I am just fostering him for 6 weeks, I just call him 'kitten'.

We are going to have a lot of fun. I feel like I am renting a cat as I know he is not going to stay and the shelter provides all the food and supplies. I immediately realise it is brillant and will bring such a great satisfaction providing a nice home for a kitten in need. A nice way to prepare them to find a new home.