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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Mid(not)week magazines, or: Because yesterday I was in a paint frenzy.. today - Betty Garble


Hello everybody

I know it's Thursday today (but I believed it was Tuesday yesterday) :) And, I have been with my head in the clouds, so to say. To be honest: I was with my eyes on a color pallet. So, even when working in the office, no one asks you what day in the week it is. When I finally got to sit down in the evening, I saw that someone has snatched my Wednesday?!

I stand corrected.
And I have for you an article 
about the magnificent star of the silver screen, 
the gorgeous pin-up gal
the one and only: Betty






Betty's most famous photo shoot was in 1943 in which her back is turned toward the camera and she is peeking over her shoulder - because at the time she was actually six months pregnant. However, it was due to her long legs, (which her studio famously had insured for $1,000,000) curves and Pin-up beauty that her posters were hung up continuously by soldiers. Betty Grable is an influential icon behind the Pin-up style to this day, and one of the biggest poster girls for the Pin-up movement in the 1940’s thus, making her a person of great importance to the history.
What Betty also did, maybe with no intention, is: she has proven that women of all shapes and sizes can (and ARE) absolutely smashing!
....
Have a great day.
Marija

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Have you heard: I'm painting my house! :)


Hello everybody.

It is time for the neighbors to move their sofas outside, since by gazing from inside of their homes they might miss-out a detail or two. :) Being nosy was always a favorite sport in my neighborhood, and I'm quite used to that, I have grown up in here. Their nature is something that I no longer find odd, and the fact that the folks WILL truly pull out their sofas so that they can spend almost all day sitting in front of their houses and staring at mine (sometimes giving a shout-out to the painters) is a thing I live with. 
Starting yesterday, the whole street is mostly outdoors. The shy ones are making excuses to walk up-and-down the street as they fave "forgotten" something at the corner shop. Again, and again. those with less shame simply stand/ sit outside and watch. Something huge is going on. Some change is happening. Because, I'm having my house(es) painted.

You have seen my house(es), right?
Here they are, as they are now:

Green house anad Grey house, I know, right?!
No accent color, no light-vs-dark shades
even the white decorations are covered in molter!
(such a shame, because they are Little Cupids, you see) 

It will not take long after this job of mine has started, before some of the neighbors spring for a new exterior paint job - as they all have already been standing out in front of their homes with eyes set on my home. Why? The answer is simple. A  paint job is going to transform the appearance of my (green and grey) home. It's like getting a new home almost overnight (errrr, over a few nights). And when one house starts looking better, it has the force to make people want to change things.

THE question: Which Color to Choose?!

The wide variety of colors to choose from, and the combinations that are available when it comes to trim, doors, and other extras, make this choice mostly a personal one. The rule of thumb is try and not be the "sore for the eye" of the area, to blend in with the overall style (if there is one) or to follow the original style of the house (if you're reconstructing it - like me).
I have peeled-off some paint, revealing the past colors. Behind the green and some sorry layers of cheap brown(ish) looking hues there was the original paint. Bright as the sun. So, I'll go from there, and try to build-on the look.

With so many choices around,
here's what was available 
in the first part of the XX century.









A hint: some colors that look fantastic on a tiny brochure, but they can strike you a lot differently when they're covering an area of a couple square meters. I used an age-old technique for that (and to show the painters WHAT to paint and where to do it): I draw my house(es) and colored the drawing.. seeing it all in scale makes an eased decision. It's easier to make mistakes on a piece of paper, then to regret not doing so - when your house turns... nothing what you dreamed off and somewhat odd. :)
(the paint shop just called - my special foundation paint-mass has arrived!)
....
Are you interested at all in house renovation? :)
Marija

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Love Story: Husband Hunter


Hello

This last week of September has brought me some cold mornings and crispy evenings. As much as I love Autumn's joys, the notion of yet another heating season (for those of us who do not have central heating systems) brings some frowns. Last night was the first "fire-up" day of the season - a task that I will have each day up until.. May?!
But, what matters is: we are "covered" when it comes to a quantity of wood. :)

You see a woodsman in this story,
I tel you there's surely some action here
(and it's well wort reading!)  :)








A giant bear - I told you there was action :)

The thing is: this has not changed much, this situation we have just read. There are still the times when people chose comfort over joy, and make the decision to spend a "comfortable" life stripped of all feelings, emotions and even some elemental respect for the other side - because the idea of being provided with all material goods has overruled.
.....
I suppose we all make our choices.
Have a lovely Sunday.
Marija

Friday, 23 September 2016

Snack smart:Wholesome oat bran muffins


Hello everybody


Happy Friday, everyone!
Just because it's the end of the work week, it does not make it the end of a healthy-eating and a well-being week (actually, that never ends!) :) Surely, I fall into the category of people who often tend to celebrate the Friday afternoon with something sweet - but, having a bit too much of the "something sweet" does not fit into "a small celebration of the coming weekend" :)
One should never deny themselves all the things (food, for instance) that make them happy - but we all must beware of our actual needs, our special heath regiment and try to make the best possible balance of the two.

This is another muffin recipe.
There are SO MANY cheerful yet healthy recipes for snacks
and we can all satisfy


This is the most simple, yet most variable version I think there is. You can:
- opt any of the ingredients for their substitute,
- go vegan with adding extra oil instead of eggs,
- get you bran into a chopper and make a flour (to avoid the chewy taste),
- use one cup bran and one cup of any flour of your liking (regular, rice.. even pea!)
- use molasses instead of honey.. or try different types of honey
There's too many TV shows that show both sides of baking: one side tells a tale of "throw in anything". the other tells about the precision for perfect results. To me, baking, as you can see in this example, is quite forgiving. That's why I like it.
That is why I'd love it if you'd give it a go and let me know about it.

..
Do you like muffins?
(remind me to buy a new muffin "tin" made out of silicone; I have tested one of those and it does not melt in the oven - an irrational fear of mine)  :)
Marija

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Midweek magazines: It's perfectly proper for you to look whatever you do.


Hello everybody.

An age old question of "do I look good?" has not changed at all, in all the time we've had mirrors. Giving a look, then a second one. Lifting a brow. Putting the mirror down, looking around for the closest person, to ask this eternal question. Alas, at most times the good old "you're fine" answer does us no good. and then we give the mirror another look.



Seeking for the personal imperfections seems to be a master-skill most of us learn at the early ages. All it takes is for one kid to tell us something about freckles on our face and we are forever bound to carry the notion of "freckle face" in our hearts. It takes one mean kid to tease us about our bony knees, and we're going to spend the lifetime trying to fight-off the "ugly knees" drama. 
Picking on someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker provides a feeling of being more important, popular, or in control. In other cases, kids bully because they simply don't know that it's unacceptable to pick on kids who are different because of size, looks, race, or religion.
There are just so many ways to feel bad and it seems so easy to have a bad mood. Yet, getting over all of the bad may be hard, but a smile is a powerful weapon. It makes everyone's face glow. As hard as it may look in the beginning, a pure and joyful smile helps, empowers and fights off all the potential bad things. It takes some practice. But it works. :)
....
Have a glowing Wednesday!
Marija

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Love Story: Get-propelled Romeo


Hello everybody

Another week is behind us. As we're doing our daily jobs, our chores and our hobbies - time passes and summer is almost gone. If you are like me, someone who likes rising up early, you too could feel the smell of Autumn in the morning air. And next week, we will officially enter it's bronze gates.
Like I have written many times before, this is the peak of the winter's crop preparation. Those who have highly productive gardens are now spending almost every moment available to get the crops out of the ground and into pantry, into jars, into bottles...

Still, there is a bit of time to stop 
and take a look at today's action-packed story 
(BEWARE: there is some miss-fortune in this one)










I told you there's action here.

Just another little hint, my friends: this is also the time to prep our houses for the coming rain season. And we do have rains and winds over here, Checking roof tiles, proofing windows, finishing-up the outdoor painting of the house.. take you pick :)
Have a happy Sunday.
Marija

Friday, 16 September 2016

How to make quince-cheese (has nothing to do with milk!)


Hello everybody.

These days many folks are using the term "the winter is coming" (so popular due to a certain TV show, right?), but back in time - that was something our old folks used to say around these months. Because THIS is the time to give a final "push" in winter preparations: the woods for the furnace and stove, the pickling for those bleak days when no veggies are available and making of sweets for.. well, let's be honest: for every time a Sweet Fairy sings her gentile call - and the tiny child's fingers reach out for the home-made goodness. :)

This is the "original" look from our region
and we call it "kitnikez" - derived from German " Quittenbrot"
(yet another "miss-understood-then-accepted" name)  :)

It is basically a thick-set marmalade made from the quince fruit (and in fact historically marmalade was made from quinces, and the English word “marmalade” comes from the Portuguese word marmelada, meaning “quince preparation”).

The fruit it all starts with.

As a part of the family where this sweet has ALWAYS been a part of the "winter is coming" preparations, I don't dare to forget my duties - even while I'm not living with my folks anymore, the "cheese" still has got to be made. The rule is: the more I make, the less the other members of the family have to.

Now, of course, the shape depends entirely
from the molds available:
more shapes and sizes, better show this "cheese" can make

These quantities make enough for our family for a year (ehmm.. winter), and the list is short:
– 6-8 quinces
– 1 lemon
– Granulated sugar (see below for measurements, known as "same-same")  :)
– Water
note here, before we start:
I will play a documentary while I prepare this
I advise you turn on the TV, play music or
do something else that will keep you company
-all the good things take time!-

Now, let's start:
Wash off the hairs (feel free to use the dish-rubbing brush) and core the quinces and cut them into chunks. Quinces are an abominably tough fruit to work with, so make sure your knife is extremely sharp and be sure to protect your fingers from slips. Put the quince pieces in a large saucepan and BARELY cover with water, cover with the lid, then simmer very gently for as long as it takes until the fruit is soft when poked with a fork. It will have turned a lovely lipstick pink. 
Take your time, let this simmer for a good while, make the quince tender and soft (you might as well do some other jobs while this is done)
Drain the pieces and weigh them, and measure out an equal weight of sugar (see, this is the "same-same" technique used in most of our recipes). Put the quince pieces in the food processor and blitz until you have a paste, then combine the paste with the sugar and the juice and zest of the lemon (this is how the recipe is at some homes, we omit the lemon). Put everything in a saucepan with a thick bottom.
Now, it's movie-time. Or documentary, or a good radio-drama. :)
Simmer the mixture over a very, very low flame, stirring until the sugar has all dissolved in the quince paste. Continue to simmer gently without a lid, stirring every now and then to make sure the bottom does not catch, for about two hours, until the paste is a deep red-brown and your spoon will stand up in it.
Yes, I wrote "two hours". I know.
Pour into a lightly oiled flat dish with straight sides or plate and leave to dry in an airy space for a few days. After this, turn the mixture upside down and dry it again. Cut up into the size you want and store in a box/tin with grease-proof paper in between the layers.

A form of art, see?

This is my task for tomorrow (if nothing else disturbs my plans). If you want to ask me why do I struggle with these archaic and time-consuming meals - I must say one can not explain the sheer joy I feel when it's done and I know that I am the one preserving the skills and reviving the recipes of all those ladies who lived here before me.
That's what "vintage-lifestyle" is all about for me.

.....
Happy Friday!
Marija

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Midweek magazines - remember this series? :)


Hello everybody

This is our first Wednesday without pages from Burda fashion magazines. I hope your fashion sense can somehow adapt to this change. 
Very, very long time ago, back when this blog used to have only a few posts in it's archives, I had a little series where I posted some interesting articles from this-and-that magazine that I have found interesting and saved for some reason. I feel it's time to bring this series back (true reason being: I have quite the number of various articles, about an array of subject that I have found interesting, useful or in some way or another - appealing).

Today, I give you a story about
the return of a small garden, back from 1921.




With this wonderful image of blooming entrance into a Manor House, I wish you have a great day - and get over this "humph day" of the work week with no worries.
Happy Wednesday.
Marija

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Love Story: Queen of Hearts


Hello everyone

Plans for today: send this Love Story off, tidy myself up and hop to a quick shopping at the Farmer's Market. Get groceries, have (maybe) coffee, get home - see what needs to be done at my mom's home & hopefully finalize the paining of my front porch.

Here it is:









This is a great tale
about clinging onto someone.
I'm glad about the happy ending.

Oki-doki. There's no large and thoughtful text here, just me wishing all you a "happy Sunday", finishing up my breakfast and running on.
Still, there's time for me to ask: what are your plans???
Marija