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Oh Appy Day!

I’ve been tricking around with a few new apps on my iPad and owing to a kind gift of an iTunes voucher from my cousin Jen, I’ve downloaded a few movies as a treat, along with paying for some applications (instead of just relying on the free ones!). To be fair, the free apps are great, but often times you do have to work your way round advertising and/or in-app purchases. I’ve found that in the case of photography applications, the free content is sometimes of poor design quality and quite limited.

However… my current favourite is the ‘BeautifulMess’ app. I like that it sticks to doing one thing well, rather than doing 10 things poorly. For the small sum of €0.89 you can crop your photos, add graphics/text/doodles, or use their backgrounds to create your own little graphic images. Yes, there is still the option of additional in-app purchases, but you still get plenty of content for less than a euro!

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All of the elements & colour choices have been well thought out and work in harmony together. The styling of these along with the app itself are contemporary with a retro twist that reflects the style of bloggers Elsie & Emma who created it. If you have time, stop by there too… their site has tons of creative & crafty goodness!

In other ‘Appy’ news, I’ve tried many collage-generating freebies, but have yet to find one that I love enough to spend my pennies on. Suggestions & recommendations welcome, as I have several (thousand) photos that I’m currently trying to release from hard-drive prison so that my memories can enjoy being on display in the real world!

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Beets, Shoots & Leaves

There are fabulous things happening in my garden, although it feels that a great deal of it is by accident. And, while the garden grows, I’m dreaming up ways to use the produce and enjoying sharing the harvest with my family.

So, to that end, here’s a quick little photographic update!

My very own doorstep supermarket!

My very own doorstep supermarket!

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Thrilling Quilling

I’m a complete child when it comes to birthdays and well-wishing. I like to make something rather than buy it – not because I’m cheap or anything, but because I believe that time and effort spent on something mean a lot in a world where it’s so easy to just throw money at gift giving. Taking the time to write a card instead of and email has the same effect. There’s a simple joy in showing that you care by putting a little time and consideration into something. Having said that, there are many friends & family members who are better at this than I am! But one can only try, right? 🙂

So, to that end, when my Mum’s birthday rolled around last week, I decided to quill a little something and pop it into a picture frame so it was a card/gift-combo that she could keep…

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Also, she loves Arum Lilies, so this was my effort to illustrate them in paper. The box frame came from Habitat, and I just adjusted the fittings at the back to make sure my quilled creation didn’t get crushed underneath the glass!

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I love the detail and flexibility of quilling… really, this one is a very simple design, but I must make room for more elaborate work when I (eventually) get my craft area sorted out! It’s currently, how do I put it, a work in progress i.e. “a complete mess”!

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Tension causing me tension.

I’m still working patiently on my crochet skills. My current challenge is tension. Basically, my first ‘little’ coaster, well, it was HUGE! I followed the pattern and hook size, but I doubled the yarn so that it would be thick enough to be functional as a heat-and-drip-proof coaster. But that ended up altering the tension of course, and it turned out floppy & ugly!!

On the good-news channel, here’s the second coaster effort…

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Inspired by this pattern, I did alter slighty for my yarn-doubling and it turned out lovely! I’m still a beginner, so I’ll keep it simple and work up a batch of these in reds & blues to adorn the new kitchen table that graces our home. They’re 100% cotton too, so simple enough to pop them in the washing machine as often as needed. Me, the unfortunate domestic goddess!!

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My greatest (only!) cake success.

Look what I made to take over to my folks for tea the other night….

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It was absolutely yummy and went down a treat… well, with the exception of my three-year-old nephew who isn’t partial to the citrus zing in the lime curd filling! Perhaps he should have tried the cream cheese topping first 🙂

I’ve been asked for the recipe… I cannot claim to have invented it – I found it over here. You can work your own magic with the decoration – I could eat the whole bowl of cream cheese icing flavoured with lime juice all by itself. Also, the lime curd in it’s own right is FAB. Yes, in capital letters. 🙂 The recipe makes enough for a regular jam-jar-full, and that was sufficient both to generously fill my cake AND top some hot toast the next morning! Also, it doesn’t say in the recipe, but I sieved my eggs before using to make the curd. I mean, who wants bits of stray egg-white in their sauce, right?!

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My desire to bake something along these lines stemmed from a visit to the pretty town of Harrogate in the UK a couple of months ago. A courgette and lime cake in an interior-design-studio-come-cafe (yes indeed!) grabbed my interest as I’d never tried anything other than carrot cake in the veggie-meets-baking stakes. I’ve since had a scrumptious beetroot & chocolate cake experience and all of this has cultivated a curiosity as to what I can generate with the spoils from my vegetable garden as the coming months pass. All suggestions (& recipes!) welcome.