Archive | April, 2013

Burgers, a film and DIY

29 Apr

This weekend has been a long one! With little sun to draw me outside I decided to do some chores indoors.

1. I was challenged by a friend that Brioche Burger Buns were very hard to make…Challenge accepted and after a successful trial this weekend he will be getting a batch of homemade buns to call his own. They were surprisingly easier, just taking time for the yeast to work its magic and 10 mins of slapping dough onto a counter top resulting in a very good arm work out and a delicious burger bun.

How it stood up:

THe buns themselves are light and cut well so that when placed under the grill with some cheese on htey crisped up to the right level of tosted. Two burgers were made – one with emmental cheese, garlic mayo, avacado, flat cajun mushroom, lettuce and onion rings. This one really tested the construction of the bun as the mushroom was very watery and dripped however not once did the bun fall apart even till the final bite! Very happy.

The second was also emmental cheese, beef burger, onion relish and some other things that I stopped paying attention to as my husband made this one and I was busy already tucking into mine! However with the huge amount of relish and juicy meat his also refused to fall apart making them a total success!

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2. Iron man 3!

The evening saw us hitting Tunbridge wells Odeon for Iron Man 3 which I was very excited about. O2 moments provided us with a free large popcorn and I booked online so didnt have to que for tickets. The cinema itself was very clean, new and a great change from my old one at Bromley!

The film really was going back to the fun, charm and all round epicness that was Iron Man 1. Downey Jr and friends were all on top form to create a stunning film where the graphics team have worked very hard as the Iron men suits are just amazing! If you are also a massive film fan then make sure you stay till after all of the credits for the extra snippet awaiting you.

3. DIY. and there was alot of it! Fireplace has been tiled, curtains have been hung, skirting board has been stained, and two benches have been sanded and painted black with glitter. They are our glamour benches for the dining table which sound like they could be trashy but look amazing next to a light blue wash table with silver legs. They were hard work sanding down but worth it as they no longer look like they cost me £25 for the pair of them.ImageBefore

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You don’t need to get a man in to do that!

24 Apr

When I did some research into finding a handy man, I found many that offered cat flap installation services. I always thought how hard can it be to install a cat flap? Turns out not very hard and where I could have spent £40 for an hour min to have a man round, I instead spent 10 mins on the kitchen floor and have a nicely installed cat flap! 

If you have a glass door then things become difficult as you need glass cutters which I don’t have and wouldn’t want to mess around with in a whole door. However a wooden etc door then look at the following for a how to.

1. Read the instructions (I say this as some models may be different but mine was the Sureflap electronic microchip cat flap)

2. using the back part of the flap mark out on the door where you intend to install it, make sure it is not too high up as some cats will have trouble getting used to a first time catflap.Image

Once you have measured out the area (by tracing the shape of the catflap) drill a hole where the two side screws will go and a hole in the centre of the hole. Once you have this whole, using a jigsaw cut outwards to the edge and carry on until the hole is complete.Image

 

3. Once you have your hole cut out make sure the cat flap tunnel fits in it, if it is too small then cut out a little bit more from the hole where needed. Always cut in small amounts at this point as it is easy to cut more if needed.

4. Place cat flap, screw into place and make sure it is secure and there you have it! Image

That really isn’t worth getting a man in and is a very easy job. My husband was surprised to see I had it done in the time he was upstairs getting dressed to help me. 

I also know that it will be easy to uninstall and reinstall when we get around to buying a new fancier kitchen door that isn’t plastic. 

Bored games no more!

16 Apr

 

Growing up I remember the only board game I played as a family was Monopoly. This in itself was played rarely what with us not being a really sit down and eat dinner family. I would play it at friends’ houses and on New Year’s Eve as the only game that would entertain till gone midnight. Never did I imagine the wealth of board games out there. Like books they have different genres, lengths and skill levels.

A few years later and enter Cranium and A game of Life. Again, two games that are your average family entertainment game that offers 30 mins of play then onto something else. I recently went to my first “pub game day” organised by a group of friends to get everyone together. My the amount of board games that came out for that day astounded me. I never knew the board game industry was so diverse offering such games as Talisman, Munchkin, Flux, Killer Bunnies and the list just went on and on!

An afternoon was whiled away drinking Belgian fruit beers (note London needs more pubs selling these!) and playing games with friends. This pub episode has led me to want to know more about what is out there for board games. Top on the list, I have just purchased Talisman, having started a 6 person game but never getting to end it as the 7 year old playing with us was ready for bed and asking lots of questions about ghosts, zombies and all things macabre, so perhaps the age rating is not just because the game involves a lot of reading of cards.

I love this website http://boardgamegeek.com for finding out opinions on games, what they entail and whether they are good. I think my next purchase may just be Arkham Horror.

However with my siblings coming to stay soon I may just have to invest in King Of Tokyo, a board game by Iello games which sees you set up as one of several monsters with the aim of playing to win either by nicely playing and gaining victory points up to 20, or you can go on a rampage and aim to kill off all your opponents! This dice based game can be over quickly however with the right setting and good dice rolls you can see a stand off to the death! Also with this game if you have the imagination and inclination to do so, you needn’t stick with the provided cardboard characters but could make up your own characters and point boards, think back to school days of using those little metal clips to create spinners, add some cardboard and your set! 

I shall take my new Talisman game for now and spend a few nights playing that for a change to the tv and do some more research into the world of games and see where it takes me next.

Life in the country and its influences

10 Apr

For the first 25 years of my life I have always lived in Bromley, Kent. This was as far into the “country” as I ever really knew and that if you got the bus to Hayes 10 – 15 mins away then you were truly in tractor country, there was even a farm to go strawberry picking! 

Recently we have moved to “the country”, but more a commuter town in the name of Crowborough. This new area is lovely with trees and everything which has inevitably influenced my drawing with seeing herds of deer as our train rushes past field after field until Croydon. I have even gone so far as to make my own stag head mirror which is hung above our fireplace bringing the influence of nature indoors. 

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I love my mirror but the influences wont stop there as I aim to have a nice log pile on sho and some sort of work hung behind the sofa featuring trees and the likes. 

I also find myself drawing a few more stags and after watching The Walking Dead wondered why the virus or whatever has caused the whole mess to start hasn’t yet transferred to animals, it only has to be a matter of time. So the conception of Zombambi was born! Image

now on etsy https://www.etsy.com/listing/128864297/a3-zombie-stag-ink-painting-titled?

Lets see what else will come out of this country living influence shall we as I move onto the hunt for some cushion cover fabric! 

Is ebay right for me?

4 Apr

As a way to always work on my drawing skills and styles and so whilst watching TV I like to create small A5 images of varying subjects. After a while these build up and I put them on ebay as a 99p or less price with a clear picture to show quality and a full detail of the paper thickness and inks. This price I feel is very cheap for original items but I don’t mind as the point of them is not to make money but to more get my name around a bit and find homes for these one-off pieces that would otherwise stay in my art room.

In all the time I have been doing this I have had very happy buyers who buy multiple items and are happy to get something for that price out of these I have also gained commissions for specific works which then go for a more reasonable price.

I have today had my first message from someone questioning if I have actually drawn the image and not just inked over a photocopy as they are disappointed with the quality. I wonder if I am wrong in thinking this person is expecting a Mona Lisa for 99p. The photo on the listing shows the quality and where the ink in some places may be more faded due to the paper absorbing more, that is the overall look of the final piece and they look good when displayed properly.

This leads me onto wondering Is Ebay Right for Me?

I have a shop on Etsy which is in the wings for properly produced final pieces that I would never be happy to part with for 99p as that would just add to the flames that pertain to the idea that “illustration, art and any other drawing skills” are worthless and should only be paid a small amount not taking into account skill, time, materials and creativity.

Ebay is chock full of crap, people posting pictures their kid did and they just add “if you buy this a dog wont die and a dolphin will smile” or other such stuff and these sell! When looking through other items on there, even the really great looking pieces go for stupid amounts like £10 for a framed original. Some people do become established on ebay as art sellers but even they have pieces that do not go for much more than what would cover costs and materials whilst putting no value on the time taken.

This leaves me to wonder is it worth the hassle of posting my 99p items? And is it doing more damage to peoples ideas of what to expect from originals than not.

Whilst I continue to draw infront of the tv and have happy buyers I guess I will still keep posting them up until I find a more suitable location, possibly as a sub page when I get round to creating a website specific to my art as originals that were used for ideas, development and just because moments in my life. Going forward I will try and deal with the one unhappy person whilst I pop to the post office to send the 5 other items that another buyer has happily bought following previous successful purchases.

frog