Polka & Bloom on Etsy

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book proofs!


Here's a bit of excitement on a Sunday afternoon: last week I received the proofs for my book and this afternoon I'll be going through it with a fine tooth comb and a pink pen. ;-) Last chance to make changes!

The cover is almost done, so hopefully I can share that with you soon.

Working on a book is a weird process because it's only after all the work has been done for several months that it starts to feel real. When it's all put together and you can look at the printed pages - even if they are not the actual book pages.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

New Pattern :: Dancing Blooms

Dancing Blooms - embroidery pattern
Happy day! Say hello to Dancing Blooms, my new embroidery pattern! I am so happy to finally have a new pattern. I think I have mentioned that it has been too very long since I last released a pattern. But here it is, yay!

The name was 'crowd sourced' by asking the subscribers of my newsletter for suggestions and two of those suggestions had the word 'dancing' in them and that just seemed perfect. I think it has a flowery, dancing, '60s purple vibe to it.

For the first time ever I have used stem stitch in a pattern, but you can easily use back stitch or something else that makes a nice line if you want.

You can find Dancing Blooms in my Payhip shop and in my Etsy shop. And guess what, there's 15% off the new pattern AND everything else to celebrate that there is a new pattern. Woop! #kermitflail ;-)

Use the code DANCINGQUEEN in both shops (Payhip - Etsy) - but it's only valid until friday (Feb 19), so go on and take advantage of that. :-)

Dancing Blooms - embroidery pattern

Dancing Blooms - embroidery pattern

Dancing Blooms - embroidery pattern

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

New Pattern Coming Soon!

New Pattern February 2016
Oh Em Gee, could it actually be?! Yes, I'm working on a new pattern. Yay! It's been far too long. Far, far, far too long. I'm almost done stitching it and then it's just a matter of drawing up the pattern, taking pictures and putting together the PDF. Should hopefully be all done sometime this coming week.

I can't wait to show you the finished pattern, I'm really loving it. Despite using quite a bit of purple in it. I'm very rarely drawn to purple, but here it just felt right. How do you feel about purple? Are there colours you don't use very often?

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Lunch Ideas - Vegan Too!

Lunch. It can be a bit of a rut, can't it? Default to bread with some kind of spread. So boring, so uninspiring. Not something to look forward to. And it's a lot easier to eat that roll or slice of bread in front of the computer, amiright?

Lately, I've been trying to make an effort to have a proper lunch break and have some more inspiring food. Which I eat while watching West Wing. CJ Cregg forever!

Here are a few things that have been on my lunch time plate recently.

Bruschetta. Toasted slices of bread rubbed with a clove of garlic. Then lightly drizzled with some nice olive oil. Chopped tomatoes with basil on top. Nice and simple.

By the way, bruschetta is pronounced 'brusketta'. 'Ch' before e and i is a 'k' sound in Italian. :-)

Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino
Staying with an Italian theme: Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncini. Oh man, this dish may not look like much but it is sooo good! While the spaghetti cooks, peel 2-3 cloves of garlic, cut the ends of 1-2 fresh chilis. Fry the garlic and chili whole in olive oil (about 2-3 table spoons) at medium temperature, you don't want them to burn. Turn them over so you don't just fry on one side.

Before draining the pasta, put aside about 100 ml (1/2 cup) of the water. Drain the pasta and then add to the pan with the garlic and chili. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the water you put aside. Stir well and then let the water reduce. You can add (vegan) cheese* as you cook it and/or sprinkle it on top afterwards.

Throw away the garlic and chili before eating. Buon appetito!

*I really like Grattugiato.

Polenta with chili
Pan fried slices of polenta with leftover chili. As easy at it sounds. Cut some slices of polenta, fry in a bit of oil. Put on a plate with kitchen roll to absorb some of the oil. Plate up and top with that leftiver chili that's not enough for a dinner but too much to just throw away. ;-)

Stuffed green pepper and polenta
More polenta and more leftovers! Polenta cut into chunks (approx. 1/2" - 1.3cm) and lightly covered in oil with whatever spices and herbs you fancy. Green pepper cut in half, stems removed, then stuffed with leftover rice and chili.

Bake both in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200°C (390°F). Again let the polenta rest on kitchen roll for a minute to remove some of the oil. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream.

Pancakes with chocolate spread
Ok, this is more of a breakfast thing, but if you fancy pancakes for lunch, I say go for it!

These pancakes are a bit different, though. I replaced half the flour with chickpea flour (sometimes called gram or besan). It doesn't really make any difference to taste, but makes the pancakes a wee bit healthier. You can replace all the flour with gram flour to make the pancakes gluten free.

Sweet or savory topping. I love them with the chocolate and hazelnut spread from Chocoreale. In my humble opinion it is way better than Nutella. And it's vegan. :-)

Right, that's it, I hope you try some of these - or experiment with the leftovers in your fridge! :-)

PS: Links in this post are not sponsored or affiliated with anything. I just happen to buy those things from that shop (regularly, ahem) so I had the link handy. 

Vegan Lunch Ideas

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

One Year with Blake

Yesterday was Blake's first Gotcha day! He's been with us a year now but you'd think he'd always been here. He owns the house and does pretty much whatever he wants. Not in a bad way, mind. He doesn't chew our shoes or rip the sofa to shreds or anything like that. And he's pretty obedient too. We've even taught him a trick or two. Shake and jump. :-)

His best trick, of course, is to look super cute and that doesn't require any training! :-D

Just look at that face. Those eyes.

That butt. ;-D

With his favourite fox toy. It's about the third one. But he knows what it is. If we tell him to "go get the fox" or "where's the fox?" then he will go get it. Unless he doesn't want to. He's also very stubborn.

Looking dapper in a wee bandana.

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