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I have done basic embroidery on and off since I was a child but not so much recently. My fondest memory includes one summer when my mother was making one of the most unique tablecloths I ‘ve ever seen. She made all these incredible cute drawings and was tracing them with vibrant colours. It was lovely, but she never finished it. She ‘s always been a painter more than a needle person. She designed one for my aunt, though, and that one is finished and it’s lovely! (secret question: should I try and finish it myself? tempting…).

While she was working on it, of course I got into it and wanted to do some myself (I can’t remember how old I was, but I had tried needlework before). So my father generously donated his pyjamas, and I drew some shapes on the pocket and sleeve. Sea waves and a sun on the pocket, an odd round shape on the sleeve that was supposed to be a boat’s strirring wheel (we were on summer holidays). I also embroidered his initials on the side. All that very clumsy, of course, and for that reason even more cute! Even though these pyjamas are too worn out for use, I think he still has them!!

The other day, however, I came across a very pleasant book at the library that inspired me to try my hand at embroidery again. So I pulled out my stash of embroidery floss, which I have been saving (and brought from Greece) since highschool. Back then, I used to make these:

It was the 80s, what can I say!

After studying the stitches in the book, I made a list (of course) of all the stitches and decided which ones I wanted to practice. I drew some examples on a pad, and that really helped because as I was drawing them I was visualising how the needle would have to work. It was an unexpected help!


I then transferred it on a piece of cloth. I did that just by redrawing it. I guess if I had something harder to redo I ‘d use some of the transferring techniques the book suggests, but this was simple enough.


Stitching over the pencil marks didn’t take long (yes, pencil marks! I didn’t really care whether it washes off or not. Anyway, it does wash off, and my father’s pyjamas will testify to it)


I am almost surprised, and certainly very pleased with the outcome. It was enjoyable, and its slow and deliberate pace is very relaxing and meditative. I will definitely work my way through the book’s stitches in similar small projects and add embroidered embellishments to projects.

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I often take photographs of food while I ‘m cooking. Especially when I pour myself a glass of wine, put on some music, and approach cooking as something creative to be enjoyed. I like to take time and appreciate the involvement of all senses.

Oddly, taste is rarely the dominant one, as I don’t nibble, not even to test food while I cook it. Smell is perhaps what I rely on most when I cook. I also enjoy the feeling of the ingredients as they pass through my fingers, and the close relation with fire that transforms individual items to a unified whole.

And vision, of course.

Last weekend’s stirfry

I rarely follow recipes faithfully. Ingredient substitution is a dangerous habit, but often very rewarding. Most of the times, I have a general idea of how a meal is constructed, and as I cook I rely on my imagination – and the contents of my refrigirator. Don’t some ingredients cry out “use me! use me!”?

Last night I made pseudo-quesadilla. I have no idea how one is really made, although I ‘m sure a quick internet search would have provided the answer. I just came up with something myself that was so successful, I even decided to share.

Ingredients
1 cup flour (I only had white, but a combination of white & whole wheat would be better)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup water
shredded pieces of chicken (leftovers from a chicken soup)
1/2 green pepper, sliced thinly
1 handful sweetcorn
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
2/3 cup cheese that melts well, grated
salt, pepper

1. Combine olive oil with flour, stir with a fork until mixed, and there are no chunks of dry flour (this will avoid lumps). Add the water, little by little, stirring thoroughly. Mixture should be quite runny. Add some salt, if desired. Divide in half, and pour over hot pan, shaking to spread the mixture evenly. Make two, set aside


2. Fry chicken, pepper and sweet corn for 1-2 minutes, until heated through. Set aside


3. Turn fire to lowest possible. Place one of the crepes on the pan, spread chicken mixture on a thin layer, sprinkle with cheese, heavy cream, freshly ground black pepper


4. Place the second crepe over the whole thing, and heat until cheese is melted. Goes well with fresh green salad

I really, really like my camera. It’s been with me to so many places, and has helped me to keep things in memory. Not just that, it’s helped me look for the beauty around me, see my surroundings in a different way. And often it has managed to capture these images close to the way I want them to look, while sometimes the result is a total surprise. Not always unpleasant.

I ‘ve always liked to take photographs, but I am not particularly skilled in the use of machines. In fact, I ‘d say I suck at it. So a good camera, with tons of settings and complicated numbers, measurements etc. is out of my range. What I like about my camera, then, is that it does a good job even for a technicaly challenged person like me.

Here ‘s just a sample of what we ‘ve seen together lately:

I haven’t been doing much knitting or otherwise crafting worthy to talk about. Just progress on things that I ‘ve already posted about a shameful while ago. I don’t even think I ‘ll have anything finished soon. sigh!

I love making bags! I have made quite a few and plan to make more, many more. Although I am finding more and more ways to use them around the house, I enjoy just as much giving them away – in fact, anyone who dares to say ‘nice bag’ to me runs the risk of ending up with it. They give me a very good reason to make another one!

At the same time, I hate plastic bags. In fact, I am working on developing a mental allergy to plastic bags, and hope to eliminate them from my life as much as possible. This is sometimes easier said than done. Cashiers at my local supermarket act as if they are almost personally insulted when I pull out my shopping cotton bag and tell them ‘I don’t need bags, thank you’. In many other places cashiers also act surprised, as it stops them on their track – it seems almost instinctive to them by now: scan purchased item, reach for plastic item that may take up to 300 years to disintegrate, times two if double-bagging. On other occasions, though, people have appreciated what I am doing, and some have also thanked me and added their own support on the subject. Moments like that certainly make up for the other days.

So I ‘ll keep making and giving away bags, and favour places that at least make an effort to use alternatives or encourage reuse of plastic bags. It’s a win-win situation!

I ‘ve been enjoying reading the meme on people’s thoughts based on the alphabet. Although it may be a bit too late (I ‘m over a month late), I thought I ‘d give it a try and see if I can finish the alphabet.

Some slight modifications arise even before I begin:
1. As my inspiration, along with everything else, is bilingual, sometimes the original words will have to be in Greek. I will translate (of course), and write out thoughts in English (I may also sneak in a Greek letter or two. I kind of like Ξ and Ψ…)

2. I tend to rename things/people in my head. In my mind this one is called Alphabet city.


Αρχή (=beginning, start, n.)

  • On many occasions, such as in History, I think that beginnings are just a textbook convention, to help put order into time. I usually conclude that they are simply the next step from a situation that built up to it. Consequently, I have trouble understanding things as out-of-the blue beginnings, as I always look for what led to them.
  • I like starting a new project, although I have trouble finishing things. In fact, this contradicts another very true concept, of Κάθε αρχή και δύσκολη (=Every beginning is hard). It can be hard, fun, scary, exciting. Or it can just be the next step from yesterday.

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