Monday, April 5, 2010

April, May & June

April and I have decided to try to set ourselves some goals to achieve. Inspired by Josie Long and her "talking to a stranger each day for a year" idea, we came up with a bunch of things we wish we did more, and are going to try to incorporate them into our lives. I think having the support of someone else who is aiming for a similar goal will be a huge help in sticking to them...But here goes!

I want to:

+ listen to a different band every week. This week is Hot Water Music week!!

+ write in my journal daily (and I will be buying a new one tomorrow!)

+ draw in my journal daily (trying to incorporate perspectives, buildings and architectural sketches more than anything else!)

+ update my blog every week. It'll be a good way to keep track of how I'm doing with my goals!

+ take 'daily outfit' photos. I did this for a bit last year, and I really appreciate having those photos to look back on, and figure out what looks best on me!

I think that's probably enough for awhile, but hopefully I can keep it up!

Meanwhile, I've recently become a single lady, for the first time since I was 19. I'm feeling a world of possibilities opening up for me, and I'm doing my best to embrace them. I look forward to finding myself in positive and fruitful situations, and really getting back on the right track for me.

It's going to be a good year!

x Mara

Friday, March 5, 2010

Films, Festivals & Fringes

“What you do, where you are, matters.” – Desmond Tutu

Architecture for Humanity is an organisation through which building professionals bring design, construction and development services to communities in need, such as disaster zones or areas stricken by poverty. An Adelaide chapter of AFH has just started up, and last night they held a fundraiser, screening Turk Pipkin's documentary One Peace at a Time. The film travels all around the world, to areas where children are denied their basic rights, and go hungry and thirsty, and offers the insights of Nobel Laureates and charity directors on how to solve these problems. It is AMAZING. Although there are many hard hitting facts mentioned, for example that 12 children will die of hunger EVERY MINUTE, it is a story of hope, and the solutions offered are so far reaching that viewers leave empowered to make a change. Well, at least I did!


So, the moral of my story is, GO SEE THIS FILM! It may or may not change your life, but it will get you inspired to make a difference, and offer you many small (and large!) ways in which to do so.

After the film finished and Danny and I were done mingling, we headed very briskly toward the train station. Danny was really rushing to catch his train, but as soon as I saw the Northern Lights display, I slowed down, said goodbye, whipped out my camera, and fell in love with Adelaide all over again! This really is the best place in the world, for 1 month every year!

The Northern Lights is part of the Adelaide Festival, and involves projections of images onto the fa├žades of many of the heritage buildings on North Terrace. It seriously can’t be summed up in words, so here are the photos…




The images change every few minutes, so most buildings have a few different colour sets. I liked the more abstract ones best, but the designs which had South Australian flora were definitely pretty neat.







In other, more self-obsessed news, I LOVE my new hair! Got it styled by Jenie a few weeks ago, and then I cut my fringe myself the other day, after drooling over pictures of hot babes on the internet. The next day I went out and bought a straightener so I can keep it looking slick, and I really, really like it!


(Please excuse the black under my eyes. I’m a bad girl and didn’t remove my makeup last night…)

x Mara

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Na-na na-na na-na na-na BATMAN!!

So I just signed myself up for the first Craftster swap in over a year - a Batman swap! I can't wait to get my partner, which should happen in the next couple of days. I'm already thinking and planning all the things I'm going to make!!

Yay, Batman crafts!! Matt will be stoked!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love Life!

♥ The enjoyment I'm getting from studying, and actually engaging myself with my course work this semester. (Apparently it's showing in the quality of my submissions too, hooray!!)

♥ Short-notice visits from my best friends from interstate, sharing burgers, cuddles, and our new house with two of my favourite people EVER!


♥ Friends in general! Now that I'm studying in the mornings, I'm finding way more time to squeeze friend-dates into my life without being uber stressed about everything! Lunch at Vegos, beanbag study sessions, fortnightly Project Runway night, things couldn't be better!

♥ My new shoes. Le sigh. They are SO SO SO pretty!! I've wanted sneakers for about 3 1/2 years, and I've never been able to find anything girly enough, until now! I will probably struggle a little bit for outfits to wear them with, but I don't care if I only get to wear them once every 6 months, as they are completely and undoubtably perfect!


♥ The weather warming up! Apparently Adelaide has seen more rain in the past 8 weeks than in the entire of 2008, and I am super pleased about this, but the warmer weather which keeps showing it's pretty face is definitely welcome. I just hope that it's not as dry a summer as we had last year, and that some of this rain will continue through! (Nothing better than swimming at the beach in the rain! EEE!!)

♥ The length of my hair at the moment, it's starting to get some curl in it, and I feel like it's gaining personality again! FINALLY!!


♥ VEGAN BRUNCH DATE!! This Sunday we have invited a good deal of friends over for a big brunch feast, and I'm getting so awfully excited planning all the goodness that we're going to eat! So far we're supplying: facon, notdogs, scrambled tofu, tomatoes, mushrooms, french toast, fruit, pancakes, coffee, breakfast punch and (hopefully) freshly squeezed OJ! Things I'd like to have but am not convinced we need are tortillas/cheezly for breakfast burritos, icecream/maple syrup for the pancakes and BREAKFAST CUPCAKES! I plan on laying around all afternoon with my fat belleh and enjoying the fine company which my friends provide! Shall be swell!

♥ Getting back into crafting! I bought the most gorgeous blue gingham and a bunch of super cute buttons the other day, I'm going to make a spring-time skirt, and hopefully a bunch of earrings! I still have to finish my Hello Kitty cross stitch as well, and then get back on the embroidery wagon. Once again am grateful for organising my study patterns!


♥ My beautiful Lily cat is turning 1 next week! Makes me realise how quickly this year has flown by! She's gorgeous, gives the best cuddles, and makes me feel completely, utterly, totally and incredibly loved, ALL the time. Bless her little socks!


That's probably enough merriment for now, otherwise I'll be running late for work!
Take care, world!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Seitan and Mushroom Pi-i-i-i-ie!


Today was an extremely gloomy, ridiculously windy, cold, wet and rainy winter's day. What better way to warm up at dinner time than with a crisp, "meaty" pie, straight from the oven! This meal was taken from a steak and mushroom pie recipe, but veganised to be even more delish, and low fat to boot. It is pretty time consuming, but can be done in stages with a quick dinner at the end. For the seitan, we used a single batch of Isa's 'Simple Seitan' from Veganomicon.

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
250g mushrooms, sliced
450g seitan, diced into 1" chunks
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbs cornflour, mixed into 3-4 tbs water
1 sheet puff pastry (regular or reduced fat)

To make:
Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan, and cook the onion for around 3 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the carrot and mushroom, and continue to fry for another 3 minutes. Throw in the rest of the ingredients, except cornflour/water and pastry, and stir together, then cover and simmer over a medium heat for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


[If you need to, this step can be done in advance and stored in the fridge overnight]
After the half hour simmering, everything should be nicely heated through, and softened. Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Pour the cornflour and water mixture into your pan, stir all around, and cook the filling for 1 more minute, until the sauce thickens somewhat.
[This is where you come in if you've refrigerated the filling.]
Pour into a pie dish (ours is around 10" diameter) and cover with the sheet of puff pastry, trim the edges, and place in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, then ENJOY!!



We've been making potato fries to eat with almost everything lately, after buying a 5kg bag of potatoes a few weeks ago. They're super easy, and quick, and yummy too, plus you can make as little or as much as you need or want!

2 small, or 1 large potatoes per person
1 tbs olive oil (or spray oil if you're diet conscious)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
other spices (chilli, cumin, coriander, paprika, etc!)

To make:
Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Slice the potatoes into either wedges or fries. Chuck them in a bowl with the olive oil (or give a good coating with spray oil) and then add in all the spices you like, and give the bowl a good shake. Place them in a single layer on a baking tray, and bake for 20 mins, then flip, and bake for another 15-20. They should be eaten straight away for optimum crunch!

That's all for now! I've been reading a bunch of craft blogs, and hopefully with my spare time in the evenings I can get back on the craft wagon again! I sure do miss stitching up a storm...

x Mara

Sunday, August 9, 2009

French Toast

Mornings spent together are fairly rare in our household, what with early starts during the week, and my working on weekends. When we do have a morning off we take the chance to sleep in, and to prepare something for breakfast that goes well beyond necessity (think cereal, toast, porridge etc).

Today was one of those days, and we decided to kick start our morning with So Good Vanilla Bliss affogatos (God bless the coffee machine!) and french toast.


This is a photo of Matt's breakfast...I for some reason like my french toast plain, with just a huge dashing of salt for accompaniment (but that doesn't make as pretty a picture).

Here's the recipe we use, it is based on the "Fronch" toast recipe from Isa's Vegan With A Vengeance, and I reproduced it in issue 1 of Salad Days. I have seen many other vegan french toast recipes using tofu etc, which to be honest I haven't ever tried, but this one seriously tastes so realistic I doubt I ever will! It's also REALLY quick to make...

1 french stick (we use Baker's Delight), slightly stale
1 1/2 cups soy milk
3 tbsp cornflour
1/3 cup besan (chickpea flour - from healthfood/Indian grocery stores)
canola/vegetable oil for frying
berries/banana/maple syrup/chocolate sauce/ice cream/salt for topping

To make:
Slice the bread into 1 inch rounds, on an angle for slightly bigger surface area. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the cornflour and the soy milk until well combined. Add the chickpea flour and whisk again.
Dip both sides of the bread into the milk/flour mixture, using enough slices that will fit into your non-stick frying pan. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil to a frying pan over a moderate-high heat, and fry the slices until brown and speckled on each side.
If you want to make a big batch all at once (this recipe does around 16 pieces) then place them on an oven tray at the lowest possible temperature (around 120C) whilst you fry up the rest. Or you can just do small batches and come back for more, so they're super fresh!

Serve warm with all your desired toppings (and an affogato, if you're lucky).

x Mara

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fairy Cakes!

Cupcake order for 3yo's fairy birthday party

On Friday afternoon while I was at work I received a phone call from Alistair, one of the organisers of last years Vegan Festival. He was after my mobile number to give to someone who needed cupcakes for the weekend, and was in a terrible hurry! I left work to go to a job interview (Woolworths Caltex...bleugh! I'm getting desperate!!) and gave her a call when I got home around 5 - she needed 45 fairy inspired cupcakes for her little niece's third birthday party! And she needed them by 8am Saturday morning!!! Of course, I had plans for Friday night, and of course I cancelled them so I could bake. It's been such a long time between orders so I really wanted to get back into the swing of things. Besides, who could resist making 45 fairy cakes!?

Anyway, I'm really happy with how they turned out. Amaranth (the auntie) dropped by this afternoon to return my containers and the stand that I lent her, and she gave me a little party favour to say thankyou (I am now the proud owner of some fairy stickers, a finger puppet, and a whole lot of glitter!).

Cupcake order for 3yo's fairy birthday party

For the cupcakes, I used the basic chocolate and vanilla recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, as well as the vanilla buttercream frosting (I'm normally not the hugest fan of this frosting - I prefer to use just margarine as opposed to bucketloads of vegetable fat - but in this heat I think it's the only thing that wouldn't melt!)

I decorated the crap out of them - pink frosting on both types of cake, with light silver non-pareils and hot pink edible glitter, purple frosting on both cakes also, with dark silver non-pareils and purple edible glitter, as well as pale pink marzipan flowers with gold cachous for centres on just over half. I seriously had a blast making these. Normally I just match my decorations to the flavour and for a first time decorating to a theme, I think I did an alright job.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


ps...Inspired by Tiina, I have been learning how to knit. So far I have achieved 8 rows of what will probably turn out to be a scarf, should I remain focused enough to get through it. I'm knitting continental style, apparently, and I'm having a blast! It's a little bit hard when Elvis is around though - apparently it's true, cats do love yarn!


My sweet gingham house

I've been updating my home decor lately, mostly with the help of a little red gingham and some yellow ribbon. Here are my latest projects, hopefully by the time we move out in June the place will have gained some character :)

Table cloth
Table Cloth

Utensil Holder (decoupaged with fabric)
Utensil holder

Bread Box (decoupaged with fabric)
Bread box

Cushions (my mum made them for my birthday last Sept, but I've only just found them a home)
Cushions by Mum

Our bedsheets set
Our bed

I'm hopefully going to make a fabric, magnet-backed organiser to go on the side of the fridge with gingham, yellow and red fabric, and cherry prints. Should be nice!

Friday, February 22, 2008

I'm working on my Lush-ious Cupcakes Set. Hope the girls at work don't get sick of eating them! Here's the latest addition, Sonic Death Cakes.

Sonic Death Cakes

A vegan Chocolate and Coffee cupcake with Chocolate and Lime fudge frosting.