Monday, 31 August 2009

Fancy ketchup

For some reason I think this comedian Jim Gaffigan is hilarious! I love this bit where he goes off on ketchup.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

New day for an envelope

At work today I had to send off a package. It was of course right as I was trying to get out the door and I couldn't find an envelope with the bubble wrap padding built in to protect the DVD I was sending. Being that I work for a charity and that we spend 60%+ of our time thinking about climate change I thought I could reuse an old one and save on waste. I rustled through the cupboard of old envelopes to see what I had to work with. The winner was a huge bubble wrap envelope addressed in size 90 font to a Campaigns Officer I'd never heard of - it could easily have been over 5 years old. With a giant black marker I vigorously crossed out her name, cut the thing to size, wrote the new recipient address on a post-in and taped it into place. I also had to tape 3 of the 4 sides shut since I had effectively created a whole new work. It was quite an operation and I hope the person it's going to appreciates that I saved one envelope's life in the process. This is the sort of thing that works at a charity but perhaps not at a consultancy, and hopefully the recipient will be relieved to know that our supporters' hard earned cash doesn't go to frivolous things like new envelopes.

But I'm not really an envelope martyr. I do love reusing old things and hand making my stationery. The last time I bought a card at a store (vs making it) was probably around the same time above envelope was originally shipped to our office back in 2004. There's just something sweet about handmade paper goods that trumps brand spanking new in my books.

Browsing some blogs today I was encouraged to find that I'm not alone. And I was shocked to see that you can sew brown paper bags. This is amazing. I'll definitely try it at home. Would it be too much to take my sewing machine into work? I'll have to think about that one...

Friday, 21 August 2009

Icon through window

When I was in Paris last May for our friends Ben and Ari's wedding, I fell for some images of the Eiffel Tower through windows. The Elle Decoration magazine was all in French but my love for the cover transcended my inability to actually read the content. Then I saw this gorgeous photo by Mauricio Heller Dani on sale at select street vendors and bought the postcard.

Not sure why the obsession of icon through window, but it is nice.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

This book changed my life...

This article in the Onion about remaking The Brothers Karamazov is hilarious, and neatly expresses my thoughts on the painful process of reading Russian literature. Everyone always says this book changed their life, but I'd definitely file it safely in the 'labour of love' category.

Here's an excerpt...

LOS ANGELES—Executives at Paramount Pictures announced Monday that production had finally wrapped on a new film adaptation that concludes at the precise moment most readers give up on the classic Russian novel.

The 83-minute film, which is based on the first 142 or so pages of Fyodor Dostoevsky's acclaimed work, has already garnered attention for its stunning climax, in which the end credits suddenly appear midway through Katerina's tearful speech about an unpaid debt.

According to director D.J. Caruso, great care was taken to painstakingly recreate the experience of slowly inching one's way through the dense work of literature. Starring Viggo Mortensen as both Alyosha and Aleksey, depending on the scene, and Laura Linney as someone's mother or aunt, the film opens with a three-minute-long summary taken directly from the novel's back cover.

"I've been picking up and putting down The Brothers Karamazov since college, so this was a dream project for me," Caruso said. "I can still remember the first time I ever tried to read it. The obscure, often archaic prose, the overwhelming cast of characters, the frustration of reading 10 whole pages and then realizing that I didn't understand a thing—it all had such a profound effect on me."

Monday, 17 August 2009

Afghan Star

I sometimes go through these phases of consuming great amounts of material on oppression in the Middle East. I have to pace myself though as it can be infuriating to take in too much at once. It had been awhile, but last week we opened the floodgates again. An amazing documentary called 'Afghan Star' was on TV, following four contestants in the Afghan talent competition that took the country by storm. If you can get a hold of it you definitely should. In some ways it's really encouraging to see all these cultural 'green shoots' appearing post-Taliban. It's also difficult to watch the outrage and death threats that befall one of the girls who starts dancing on stage.

Anyone got any other great documentaries to recommend?

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Neither Snow

I'm kind of freaking out looking at Design Sponge's sneak peek into Mara Zepeda's house (of Neither Snow)...

Friday, 7 August 2009

Great day in London town

There are two Londons to me: the dreary, rainy, unfriendly version AND the quirky, colourful, inspiring. Today I was blessed to get the latter. It started by having the day off from work, which helps. Then I went to Kensington and got my birthday facial at Dermalogica, which helps too. (Thanks for the tip off Amy - not sure how long I can keep up this expensive habit) Then, I started on my latest mission, which is to explore the city's best coffeeshops. I'd read about Cafe Oporto so thought since I was close to Ladbroke Grove, I'd hop on a bus and check it out. It's off Portobello Road and near the Fat Badger pub, where we'd celebrated SuperBadger's first birthday last year.

The coffee in this Portuguese coffeeshop was good enough, and I can now check it off my list, but what I really enjoyed was the atmosphere on the street. Tons of street vendors, Morrocan shops selling those cone pot things, and that gritty feel of ethnic London, which I love.

I was also happy because I started listening to a new Japanese language podcast! It was bi-lingual and helps me not completely forget that language I've devoted an amount of time to that is increasingly disproportionate to my current speaking prowess.

Finally, I'm enjoying feeling like I'm getting my creativity back. I've been reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and it's fantastic. In fact, I'm thinking of taking an illustration course to nurture my inner artist. The above illustration by London based illustrator JaniceJ inspired me today.

Hope you have inspiring weekends too.


You're looking at my entry to the Iron Cupcake London competition that was held last Tuesday in London Bridge. I thought I was finished with baking competitions, but when I heard about this one, my competitive baking side bubbled up once again and suddenly it was midnight on Sunday and I was turning out this batch of bad boys.

The theme was 'desserts', so I came up with doing a Cinnabon cinnamon roll inspired guy. Basic (but delicious of course) vanilla cake with an ooey, gooey cinnamon and sugar swirl going through. Then frosted with Cinnabon-inspired frosting. I thought it was genius. I was however slightly worried when I got to work and my colleague asked what a cinnamon roll is. So, it may not be a very British dessert, but a delicious one nonetheless.

I didn't place, but no worries. It was a good night with friends and got my blood sugar level way up there. Can't wait for next month's theme: booze.

Thanks for letting me use this photo Dave Shipman. I never thought I'd see my little cupcake in a professional photo shoot!
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