30 January 2015

More Cross Stiches



After posting my unframed cross-stitches the other week, I decided to snap a few (bad - so hard when they are behind glass!) photos of the framed ones at my parent's house. For most of them my mum picked patterns she liked (if you sensed a theme - she grew up on a farm), and I stitched them for her. The penguin was part of a 50th birthday present for my dad (who, yes, likes penguins).







26 January 2015

I saved voicemails



PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

www.postsecret.com






20 January 2015

30 Day Minimalism Challenge



(Another Update: This has been a fantastic process - and I can tell you, I found it challenging to NOT complain for a whole day O.o  I learnt a lot about myself from this, and I'm trying to CHANGE some habits e.g. less TV- more reading, being thankful, setting goals...). This week I'm just not doing Facebook... I can see myself revisiting these assignments xo )

(Update: After 8 days of doing this project so far, I've learnt that I already do a lot of the challenges. I'm still enjoying this exercise, but an assignment that may be painful for some e.g. weeding through hundreds of Facebook friends, or a wardrobe that is full of 5 years worth of clothes, is not so much of a problem for me).


I saw this great pin on Pinterest for a '30 Day Minimalism Challenge'. I guess a lot of the time I pin away- great photos, ideas etc. But this time I actually went to the website, knowing I was going to DO the challenge. I challenge YOU to join me and comment on your progress :)

I've posted the image below. Each challenge is fleshed out further as "assignments".

The original post is at the blog Into Mind.



Assignments:

1 - Stay offline for one day 
Social media, endless news streams and articles all drain our energy and keep us in a constant distracted state. So today: Log off and enjoy the calmness of staying disconnected.

2 - Meditate for fifteen minutes 
Meditation reduces stress and anxiety and gives you a ton of extra energy and mental clarity. Use an app like Headspace to give it a try today.

3 - Declutter your digital life 
Take care of your digital clutter today: Spring-clean your desktop, delete any files you don’t need anymore and set up a simple, no-fuss folder structure.

4 - No-complaint day 
Complaining is never productive and a catalyst for negative thought patterns. Challenge yourself to not complain about small stuff today. Either accept the situation and move on, or find a solution.

5 - Identify your 3-6 main priorities 
Above all, minimalism is about figuring out what matters most to you in life and how to add more of that to your day-to-day routine. Today: Dig deep and make a list of your 3-6 top priorities in life.

6 - Follow a morning ritual 
Start your day with a relaxing and energising morning ritual, instead of immediately checking your email or social media feeds. Meditate, write, do yoga or read a book.

7 - Streamline your reading list 
Today: Downsize your reading list, unsubscribe and remove bookmarks. Keep only sources that are meaningful to you and that add something to your day.

8 - Learn to enjoy solitude
Spend at least 3 hours (ideally more) alone, without social media or background chatter from the TV. Pay attention to what it feels like to be in complete solitude and, if you like, write down your thoughts.

9 - Downsize your beauty collection 
Tackle your beauty products today! Write a list of everything you use on a regular basis from the top of your head (without checking your beauty cabinets). Throw out or give away everything else.

10 - No email or social media until lunch
Use your most productive hours of the day to get shit done and resist checking your feeds until lunch time. Then celebrate how much more you accomplished!

11 - Evaluate your commitments 
Write down all of your regular commitments, i.e. memberships, side projects and other responsibilities. Then be honest: Which of these do you only keep up out of obligation and which do you truly enjoy or are meaningful to you?

12 - Define your goals for this year
Setting goals keeps you from living in a reactive, passive way and helps you align your daily actions with your true priorities. Today, set aside at least thirty minutes to select 1-3 big, exciting goals for this year.

13 - Clean out your closet 
Reserve a full afternoon to go through your wardrobe piece-by-piece and get rid of anything that doesn’t make you feel confident and inspired. Check out this workbook if you feel like your wardrobe could use a revamp.

14 - Take a step towards learning a new skill 
Learning expands your horizon and can be so much fun! Today, pick a skill you have always been curious about, gather whatever you need and get started!

15 - Examine your daily habits 
Today, take a closer look at your everyday habits, from your morning routine to the way you work to your evening activities. Which habits could you improve, which should you drop, which new ones could you pick up?

16 - Don’t buy anything for 24 hours 
Break through an unhealthy cycle of emotional spending by going on a one-day shopping fast. Don’t buy anything, not even food or essentials, for 24 hours (make sure you prep in advance). Then see how you feel!

17 - Practice single-tasking
Nothing drains energy faster than constantly switching between multiple tasks. Practice truly focusing on one thing at a time using a timer like this one. Stick to short bursts of concentrated work with regular breaks in-between.

18 - Unfollow and unfriend
De-stress your social media experience by being a little more selective about who you follow. Do you really need to stay Facebook friends with people you haven’t spoken to in years? Go through your list and downsize.

19 - Go for a walk and practice mindfulness
Walks are a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Pick a familiar route and pay full attention to your surroundings with all senses. You’ll be surprised how many new things you’ll notice and how refreshed you’ll feel after.

20 - No TV all day, read instead
All electronic devices emit a blue light that disturbs our melatonin production and reduces sleep quality. So, instead of ending your night with a couple of episodes of your favourite show, cuddle up on the couch with a good book today!

21 - Journal for twenty minutes 
Writing helps you organise your thoughts and de-stresses. Sit down for twenty minutes today to write about anything that comes to mind. If you like it, consider incorporating a quick daily writing session into your regular routine.

22 - Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Improve your sleep quality and energy levels by taking the time to properly wind down at the end of each day. Do some writing, read a good book, have a cup of tea, get everything ready for the next day, etc. Try it today!

23 - Go bare-faced 
Re-set what you consider essential by following a bare-bones beauty routine just for today (no make up and minimal skin care). You may well discover that many of the products you thought you need are really optional and can then streamline your regular routine a little.

24 - Practice gratitude 
Becoming a minimalist is above all about being mindful and appreciating the little (and big) things that are already a part of your life. Assignment for today: Write a long list of everything (and everyone) you are grateful for in life.

25 - Leave a whole day unplanned 
In our culture, we are so used to making the most out of every free minute of the day, it can be almost scary to not have any plans for once. Be brave today and see where it takes you.

26 - Identify your stress triggers 
The first step towards reducing everyday stress is to pinpoint your personal triggers. Try this: Take notes of your stress levels and your activities at regular intervals throughout a weekday. Once you have identified your stress triggers, figure out how you could prevent or counteract them in the future.

27 - Clear out your junk drawer 
Getting rid of clutter can have an almost therapeutic effect, because it helps you deal with all of the different emotions that are attached to your stuff. Complete your own therapy session today by cleaning out the most cluttered drawer/box/corner of your house.

28 - Let go of a goal 
The key to achieving goals as a minimalist is to set the right ones in the first place! Instead of chasing things you think you should want, figure out what would truly make you happy. Let go of any goals that aren’t meaningful to you for good today.

29 - Turn off notifications
Email and social media notifications make for a very reactive workflow. Just for today: Turn off all notifications and check your feeds only at designated times.

30 - Evaluate your last five purchases
Developing more ethical and less consumerist spending habits is key to living a simpler life. Today, assess your last five non-essential purchases. How useful did they turn out to be and how could you improve your purchasing decisions in the future?

19 January 2015

Lost Cross Stitches



While looking through my box of cross-stitch threads, patterns, and fabrics I found a few spare ones I'd done over the years. I never framed them (or ironed them hehe!).



The four elements:



And this one I never quite finished:


As you can see from the background of the photo above I am getting ready to do at least one of the free Delicious cross stitch patterns... I found a few of the thread colours I need; now to order the rest :)

18 January 2015

Dear 27 yr old me



PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

www.postsecret.com





16 January 2015

Emily's Delicious Cross Stitch Patterns



It's no secret I'm a fan of the time management (and so much more!) GameHouse game series, Delicious. What I might not have mentioned is that I also enjoy cross-stitching. My wonderful Nana and Mum taught me to cross-stitch when I was young and I've kept at it.

In what can only be called a crazy twist of fate (OK, maybe that is slightly dramatic...), GameHouse have created three adorable cross-stitch patterns to celebrate the release of Delicious 9: Emily's New Beginning (the lovely Roald from GameHouse emailed me to make sure I'd seen them!).

Next week I am going to raid my threads to see if I already have any of the colours (I have some spare Aida fabric to stitch on).

Visit the GameHouse blog for the patterns. Below are screenshots of the three patterns (sooo cute!). Have a go and share in the comments!! I will update here when I have started :)




11 January 2015

A Holiday



It's been a while since I've had a proper holiday. Last year it was two weeks over Christmas; no major plans, just relaxing. But not since 2006 have I had more than that... Until this Christmas. Three whole weeks of nothing special, except everything is/will be.

I might not be going 'away' anywhere; it's all still special to me. My three weeks is MINE. So far it's been filled with: lounging in bed while reading three books, shopping for (and buying) a beautiful new duvet cover with matching pillows and a throw, lunches with friends, celebrating my brother's birthday, family Xmas champagne brunch, getting my hair done, seeing a movie in Gold Class (my first cinema visit since August!), 9 course degustation with matching wines (more on that here), dinner out with my boss (not weird... much!), wandering in Ponsonby, shopping for a few new work clothes, mini-golf, finally watching the TV show 'Treme', tidying/sorting my room as well as hanging a heap of photos, trying new restaurants; such wonderful food, AND watching a boat-load of random movies I'd always meant to:

(In no particular order... except of that in which I watched them!):
Psycho (1960) - my dad swears to how scary this was, and unheard of: a movie with a serial killer like that! And, yes, I see that... BUT I am from a different generation and have seen too many other movies... I am glad I finally watched this though.
The Interview (2014) - pretty DUMB film really. I watched this thanks to the hype. The hype is why most people will watch it. I did laugh at a few bits, but it was a stupid film. Sorry Franco and Rogen.
The Birds (1963) - Another classic I had never seen. Great film!
Rare Exports (2010) - possibly my new favourite Christmas movie! For some reason I thought this was a violent/gory film - it wasn't that bad (to my relief).
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) - loved the first movie. A good sequel.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014) - I liked this much more than I thought I would! Great sci-fi/action, and Tom Cruise, I tip my hat to you Sir.
The Great Gatsby (2013) - opulent and beautifully shot. Fantastic sets. Some nice moments, but as with 98% of cases: book is better.
The Intruders (2011) - interesting film in that it wasn't the horror movie I thought it would be. Well told, and well acted.
Pacific Rim (2013) - one of the best b-grade movies I've seen. I call it that, despite it's budget etc - it's elements were cheesy, but it was cheesy-goodness.
Open Grave (2013) - not a bad watch: strangers wake up and don't even remember their names... 
The Skin I Live In (2011) - oh this was a good one! But sooooooo fucked up!!!!!! Watch it... I dare you.
Blackfish (2013 documentary) - such a tragic story. A must-see for all fans of SeaWorlds across the world.
Hercules (2014) - this is the Hercules we picked to watch (over this one). It was "okay"...  Love Ian McShane. 
Lucy (2014) - I'd heard mixed things about this, so reserved any high-hopes. From that point of view, I enjoyed it. It was different, and fun.
The Apartment (1960) - I'm trying to think of a way to describe this film... It did make me laugh in places, but it was very sad. 
The Kings of Summer (2013) - loved this film! I would file it with Stand by Me and Mud. Awesome cast too.
Anonymous (2011) - interesting tale, but forgettable.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) - I had put off watching this, then braced myself.... And was pleasantly surprised. I liked this film and will look forward to the sequel.
The Big Sleep (1946) - brilliant film noir!
Blue Jasmine (2013) - Cate Blanchett is amazeballs in this film.
The Book Thief (2013) - enjoyed the book, and liked to see the characters come to life. But, again, the book has many more layers.
The Heat (2013) - pretty forgettable I am sorry ladies (Bullock and McCarthy). 
Byzantium (2011) - another take on vampires... Not bad actually, but not great either.
Deliver Us From Evil (2014) - a recommendation from my littlest brother. I liked this film - it's not a horror, but it has horror elements (possession). Eric Bana was great... and surprisingly, Joel McHale looked pretty bad-ass.
Nightcrawler (2014) - oh my, very creepy, and so well played by Jake Gyllenhaal.
The Pretty One (2013) - what a lovely surprise! This is one of my new favourite films. Great cast and story... tragically magic... Zoe Kazan is amazing.
The Maze Runner (2014) - another YA drama... Again, I judged it too soon! I enjoyed this a lot, and have ordered the first book to read.
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) - laughed a lot, I have to say. Makes me want to re-watch the first film.
Ruby Sparks (2012) - enjoyed this smart, and different film. Brings a whole new meaning to an "imaginary girlfriend". I could see where this was going, but the impact when it gets there is still strong. And after not knowing her name pre The Pretty One (from the other day of viewing!), she is fantastic in this AND wrote it!

They were spread over 3 weeks (don't judge me!!).

I was a prozac pilot



PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

www.postsecret.com





NYE Degustation 2014



It's become a tradition to have a fancy degustation dinner on New Years Eve. This year we went to Kazuya - its mysterious window display had always intrigued us, and we could walk there (New Years Eve was the perfect excuse to try it).

Kazuya came runner up in the 2014 Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards for Best Degustation, and Best Service. NZ Cuisine Magazine awarded Kazuya's manager/sommelier Mojo Horiuchi Best Personality of the Year 2014.

We decided to do the nine course selection, with eight matching wines + one sake! The whole meal was amazing! I think my favourite was the scallop and the duck.


The Menu reads: Trio Amuse Bouche, Bubbles in the Glass, 'White', 'Texture', Three years old Hokkaido Scallop, Cambridge Duck Charcoal Grill, Wakanui Beef, Trio Cheese, Seasonal Sorbet with Tangelo, 'Pastry' Ice-cream with Valrhona and Strawberry, Petites Fours.



1. Trio Amuse Bouche
In the delicate fondue dish was an equally delicate olive oil and artichoke 'dip' (for lack of a better word). This was perfect with the edible cabbage paper. On the spoons, 'seasonal vegetable spherifcation' (culinary process of shaping a liquid into spheres which visually and texturally resemble roe) - this was made with beans. And on the plate is 'editable charcoal' (choux pastry). 



1a. Fresh baked bed, with unsalted butter, salt, and smoked salt - perfect to finish off the artichoke and olive oil dip.



2. Bubbles in the Glass - a celery foam, with a tomato jelly, editable flowers and nori.



3. 'White' - Tuna sashimi with powdered olive oil.


4. 'Texture' - over 30 textured seasonal vegetables (prepared many different ways) and prosciutto.



5. Three years old Hokkaido Scallop with corn, prawn, and for-the-life-of-me-I-can't-remember-what-the-crunchy-stuff-on-top-is.



4. Cambridge Duck Charcoal Grill, with mushroom porpetti, and marsala sauce. 



5. Wakanui Beef, with potato puree, truffle oil, chlorophyll sauce, and black garlic. 



6. Trio Cheese


7. Seasonal Sorbet with Tangelo



8. 'Pastry' Ice-cream with Valrhona and Strawberry



9. Petites Fours


05 January 2015

This new year...



PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

www.postsecret.com