Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Ok, I'm behind on many things right now as we pretty much out of the blue started harvesting last week, meaning I had to change many plans -- and get used to getting up at 6 in the morning. 6 in the morning is not a time that exist according to me! And then on top of that I've caught a summer cold. Ordinary people get colds when it is cold, I instead have now gotten two colds when the weather got warm. Summer, sun -- and a cold.
So if you're waiting for me to reply on a comment or an e-mail and wonder why I haven't, that's why. I'm on it now. I hope. We're having a day off today to let the potatoes grow a bit so this is a rest-and-catch-up-on-the-same-time day. And one way I'm catching is by finding some cat photos to post. It's mostly been cat photo blog posts lately it feels like. Hopefully I'll be mixing it up a bit more soon.
Well, at least I've got some new pics for you. Taken today. Uggi was hiding in the grass and he was so cute I tried to get some photos of him. Which worked pretty good although he saw me sneaking up on him and decided to attack first. Then he found Knatti and I could take a few more close-ups.
It's that time again: the biweekly summary of the posts I write on my beaders' and jewellery makers' blog, Manekis pärlblogg. This time the posts range from miniature jewellery projects, beading with multi-coloured thread and butterfly jewellery to contests, novels about beads and the medicinal history of pearls.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
So here they are finally, my cats and wood anemones photos. This time I even managed to get a few pics of Jinja before Uggi attacked (unlike this day).
Crappy pic, but it just looked hilarious the way they both jumped up in the air -- high up in the air -- when Uggi surprise attacked Jisse.
And finally, a blurry pic of Julle looking funny. :-)
Monday, 20 May 2013
I haven't done many digital doodles lately so I thought I'd just show one I made last weekend. The original image is of the view north by sunset, overlaid with two different textures (one a cobweb-covered window, the other a greenhouse glass pane) and some added frost to the sides. Kind of remind me of a painting. Perhaps one of Peter Frie's?
That's one out of three version I made from that one photo. And the only one with white edges, the other two were both darker, one more of a night scene than a twilight scene.
Below is another one I made using one of the fern photos in the sunday post. Just for fun as I felt like playing with colours. Don't know if I can get something useful out of it, but I must say I like how the leaves on the sapling in front of the fern look as well as the mixed plants in the lower right corner. That reminds me of a book cover of some sort. Don't remember which, but probably a combination of several different ones (the colours in one, the style in another). Not like I copied or had a purpose to create something inspired by those book covers, more like I stopped when I got to a point where I found something to like in the image and that happened to remind me of the covers.
Maybe I should've cropped the left side? The mottled ground distracts a bit from the plants.
I used to love vignettes and dark edges, but lately it's been pretty even between doodles with dark edges and doodles with fog/white edges. Do prefer the mysterious darkness to the more romantic mist, but sometimes it can help creating a pretty washed-out feeling. It makes quite a difference -- as you can see here -- so it's a good thing to not just slap on the same old frame just out of routine, but instead reflect on what is the better choice for this particular image or doodle.
(PS! As I'm not actually home today, well at least not for large chunks of the day, I haven't picked out any cat photos for today. This is just a quick post I did yesterday when editing the fern and flower photos posted then and scheduled for today. So it'll be a Meowy Tuesday instead.)
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Ferns are beautiful, don't you think? Green, elegant and quite fairytale-esque. Like so many other plants the ferns have once again awoken and rolled out their leaves.
Ok, so that last one doesn't include much fern, but I wanted to show more of that pretty little birch and sweet cherry tree.
We've had some really warm days and the flowers have loved it. It feels like everyday a new tree or flower has burst into bloom. Today it was the century old pear tree and the wild strawberries. Before that it was the bird-cherry and cherry trees. I've taken so many photos of flowers during april and may, but very few have ended up on the blog, which I feel slightly bad about. I wanted to blog about it, but put it off and let other things get in the way. Then I injured my shoulder (again, yes!) earlier this week, which kept me somewhat from working on the computer. And now it feels too late to show april flowers. It's soon too late to show the may flowers even.
Anyway, here's just a few snapshots of the latest flowers. Think I'll save the ferns and tulips for separate posts.
In april I heard many people complain about the birches probably not turning green in time due to the cold and late spring, but here they are.
And last but not least, a couple of snapshots of the tulips, which are soon going to wilt, but right now many still bask in the sun (ok, well, it's been a day filled with drizzle today and no sun, but they did get a lot of it during the week). I'll try to post some close-ups next week as these sunny flowers are worth a closer look.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Just in time for when I got this annoying sore throat and cough, I made the perfect pick-me-ups for when you have a cold: chocolate pastries. More precisely I made Sarah Bernhardtbakelser, a more luxurious version of the swedish chocolate macaroons (chokladbiskvier). While chokladbiskvier usually are filled with a plain or chocolate buttercream, sarah berhardt pastries are filled with chocolate ganache. It's a rich chocolate truffle on a crispy and chewy almond cookie, coated in even more chocolate (usually not white, that's just my preference).
Not a lot of people make these themselves -- unless they're part of the recent homebaking trend (though those people seem to prefer elaborate cupcakes and french macaroons) -- as they're considered time consuming and hard to make. While they might not be the thing for new or stressed bakers, they're not that difficult to make at all.
My best trick for making these as painlessly as possible is actually to make the almond macaroons (i.e. the bases of the pastries) one day and then finish them another day. At times I've made a relatively big batch of the macaroons and popped them all in the freezer only to thaw and finish a few at the time later.
My second trick is to choose the right recipe for the almond macaroon base. Normally I love Sju sorters kakor and I do follow their recipe for the chocolate ganache, but I never use their almond base recipe. It's too firm. It's much better to double the amount of egg white, making it more runny (like cake batter). That way you'll get a real smooth surface and not too thick cookie that doesn't bake properly. However, if you prefer a thick base then Sju sorters kakor's recipe is for you.
And last but not least: make sure the ganache -- once on the macaroons -- is really cold and set before dipping in the chocolate. And make sure the chocolate isn't too hot as it'll melt the ganache and/or result in a really thin coating.
I made the white chocolate coating way too thick this time, but you can't really have too much chocolate, now can you?
If you've never eaten these -- I promise they taste 10 times better than my crummy pics make it look! Promise!
Footnote: Sju sorters kakor is a very popular recipe book that was first printed in 1945 and has since been reprinted and revised many times (in 2005 they printed the 83rd edition). That's almost 70 years that it's allegedly never been out of print. My mum have three different editions of the book, I have one. The title can be translated as "seven types of cookies/cakes" (kaka means both cake and cookie/biscuit, though not cake as in tårta/gateau/torte) -- the number of baked goods you were supposed to serve when having guests. Of the seven on should be a soft cake, e.g. sponge, and one should be a kaffebröd, e.g. cinnamon rolls. The published have printed an edition in english called Swedish cakes and cookies [link to Amazon page with preview].
Monday, 13 May 2013
I was going to show you some newer pics of cats and wood anemones, but then I found these pics taken one day when I was trying to get some nice sunset photos. As usual some of the cats wanted to go with me (using it as an excuse to play near the road, not just for the company). In this case I ended up with Julle and Uggi, the latter having that usual energy burst he gets in the evening. This time not running up a huge tree (I'll get back to that at the end of this post), but rather balancing on an old fence post. Many of the cats like that post.
That's Uggi on an easy-to-handle playful mode. He can be much more of a handful in the evenings, though, as you can see below.
As usual Uggi likes trees. Preferably big trees. Unfortunately, he doesn't just want to climb up them (and out on the smallest of branches) -- he sometimes thinks high up in a tree is a great place to play with another cat. And nowadays Uggi can be real wild so it's attacking and jump up behind cats, not just something more tree-friendly as lying on a branch trying to catch another cat's tail. No it's all "Julle, I'm going to run back and forth, hit you with my paws and consider attacking 3-4 metres up in a tree!!!!"
Uggi thought we were big bores when telling him off and not letting him play up in that canopy, both for his own sake and Julle's. He has no fear of heights at all that cat!
Update: Today my sis said Uggi climbed up the climbing rose on the barn wall. Apparently, se didn't give him enough attention when planting flowers. And, no, he didn't mind the thorn (nor was he hurt by them).
Friday, 10 May 2013
The cold is getting a bit better (and even more so, my throat which was horrible raw and sore this morning is better) so I thought that I might as well take the opportunity to post a recap already on a friday. Before forgetting as usual. Hope you find something of interesting to read on or via the posts!
It's time for another recap of what I'm blogged about on Manekis Pärlblogg, my blog for beaders and jewellery makers. This time subjects range from sustainable precious metal and jewellery art to silk ribbon projects and new swarovski colours to contests and cake.
All that and more after the break.