27 June 2012

A wedding bird

My friends M. and J. got married quite some time ago and unfortunately I wasn't able to come to their wedding, but at least I am sending this little card to them today.

23 June 2012

A little bit less girly


One of the big problems with my shop, I think, is that all of the bracelets in it are very very girly. Almost always there is some pink, some red or the combination of colours in general is such that a man would never wear it. This time, tried to make something more manly in browns and dark greens, using two patterns from a Czech website called "náramky přátelství" , one called squares and the other one called crystal. Tutorials are in Czech, but the drawings are easy to understand even without the text.

One lazy summer evening...


... at the children's zoo.

     


Goats chewing happily in the evening sun.


 


Pigeons everywhere.



Little black visitors.

21 June 2012

The "Oh no!" cookies


Once again I degraded cookies to experimental objects and recipes to (lalala) rough guidelines. There is a bakery not far from my university where they sell the most delicious little cookies that seem to be made mostly of lots of different seeds and a bit of dough, just enough to stick it all together.
So I decided to have a go at them and make my own. They turned out very seedy (which was, of course the point!!), quite far from delicious (although I still do believe that because of the seeds they are rather healthy, so I force myself to eat them) and some of them are a bit burned. I wonder how many tried it takes to make me finally quit baking altogether!
I took them to work, thinking that ten-hour shifts with only one lunch break will be enough to make me nibble on and consume them eventually, but no. They are quite hard to bite and then very chewy once you have them in your mouth, the weirdest combination ever. And the taste is nothing special either.
However! Melt a bunch of chocolate on the top of them and the situation is saved! :-D Or get the people you want to eat them really drunk and they will not even notice. It also helps when these things are the only food in the house, so it is "eat them or die of hunger" situation.

Well, there are lots of open packs of seeds left in my cooking drawer, so I plan to use them in another try on these "lovely delicacies" someday soon. Or maybe I will, you know, just feed all of them to the birds or something.

19 June 2012

Love for snail mail brought back to life

A friend saw me yesterday, sitting on a bench trying to write postcards to my friends and as we got talking, she told me about a really nice website called postcrossing - it is a site where, after registration - you can send postcard to a randomly generated user. The system picks a person for you, then you get to see their profile and address and you are supposed to send them a postcard. Some people tell you their favourites, some like natural cards, some like art, some historical monuments, some panoramatic. When you do so, your address will be available for others and someone will send a card to you. So it is not a usual postcard exchange, but you get random cards from all over the world depending how many you send.





I used to love writing as a child and I remember sending an advert into an Italian magayine that I wanted a pen friend and I got over sixty replies from different (sometimes very interesting) kids, sending me letters and postcards and little presents from the place where they lived. I still have my old pen friends in Slovakia, England and Croatia, but they are all busy with their jobs and uni and life in general and we all rarely have the time to write, because there is so much going on.

This is something fresh, new and exciting, so I'm definitely doing it! I decided to send one and a few moments later I decided for another one. I noticed that it is potentially addictive and that's why I set myself a limit of two cards each month -  this time one with Charles Bridge will go to Germany and the one wil pelicans will travel all the way to Russia.
And I can't wait for the day when I open my postbox and a beautiful postcard from some wonderful corner of the world will fall out on me.

One has to know how to rest

Dinner for tonight
I have about a million things to do at the same time -writing my thesis, working on my other thesis, reading, planning fieldwork, going to work, studying for my big final exam, studying for my second big and for my third big final exam....And then there are the basic chores that one has to do around the flat - shopping, cooking, tidying up, washing-up... And when I sit down and do one of those things, I immediately have a bad feeling about not doing all the other ones. So there is a constant feeling of frustration and being behind the schedule all the time, even though there is work that is getting done. I mentioned it to my supervisor today and he said:"Well, you need to know how to rest." And so to demonstrate how capable of resting I am and how very good I am at it, I decided to take the afternoon off and just cook, blog, maybe make something nice and probably bake later on. Delicious light summer dinner is finished in the kitchen and I am at home in my summer dress, bare feet on the cool floor, with an open window, looking at my plants and listening to the sounds of birds and everyday life from the outside. Summer laziness at last :)

14 June 2012

Muffins or cupcakes?

















Finally, after a long time of wondering, this site has expleained to me the difference between a muffin and a cupcake.
It says: " Muffins are usually bigger and not as sweet as cupcakes and they are also made and served without frosting . "
I used the recipe for "Basic Muffin Dough" on cooksunited.co.uk and mixed cranberries and chocolate into it. I filled half of the cups with it, then added lots of cocoa into the second half and filled another half of the cups.
However, I am not sure what I would call mine, since there is not frosting on top, but the size of the cups is really tiny. Options are frosting-free cupcakes or mini muffins. Whatever they are, I hope my friends will like them this weekend.

13 June 2012

How do they get out ?

Another story from my day of looking after visitors at the gorilla pavilion at the zoo...
In the afternoon a group of people came in. Most of them were people with some kind of impairment. One came to me and started asking questions about gorillas. Then he asked:
"How do they give birth?"
"Well, how, just like all other animals, they carry the babies in their tummies."
"Yes, I know, but how do they get out."
*A bit of a thoughtful moment for me*
"Well, the lady gorillas have a hole for pee, a hole for poo and between them is another very special one and that is only for babies.And they get out that way."
"Oh, I see," he said with an illuminated facial expression like things finally clicked together for him.
He gave me a big smile, offered me his hand, I shook it (his was sticky) and then he tapped my back as if saying well done and went on. It was very nice.
But phew. I did well. I think it was very educational. Maybe I explained to him what people refused to talk to him about all his life. I only hope I did not cause any problems. And I am glad he did not ask the most obvious question - and how do they get into the tummy ?

They are people !



A mother came to the pavilion of gorillas today with her children. The little girlie exclaimed:

"They are people! They only have different skin and different colour!"

I say, these kids are going to be no racists :)

10 June 2012

Baking cookies once again

A. got me a great book of English recipes and they did work well... in England! I tried it out here in Prague and it turns out the flour is different, the fat is different, the baking powder is totally different... So the first time I made them, I felt like running ang hiding them somewhere far away...


Today, the desire for something sweet ( and also the necessity of buying some regular food) has chased us out of our flat into the rain to a nearby supermarket. I was more careful with my choices this time and the cookies, even though definitely not like those proper English ones, are crunchy on the top and soft inside (good amount of baking powder), not too sweet (correct amount of sugar, we will not get too fat) and taste slightly of chocolate (totally WRONG amount of chocolate bits, as we do like chocolate here!!!!) Well, it certainly is better than the last time, but I cannot help the feeling that I am reducing the worth of English cuisine by my attempts... England, I am very deeply sorry and I mean it.

07 June 2012

An afternoon with those who feed on our blood

Hypostome of a tick
I am spending a few days with my parents at the moment. My Dad and I have been going into the woods around our city for the past three days, hoping to find some samples to help me with my uni coursework. Two days in a row - nothing. Today the wood was a particularly nice one, but we found nothing. However, it does not mean we brought nothing home with us!!!
Coming out of the wood, I noticed little thingies moving up my arms - you're guessing right - ticks! Bloodthirsty eight-legged invertebrate maniacs trying to get a sip of my body fluids!
No way!! I took five off my arms while they were still climbing and announced it to my father as well, after which he started persuading me that ticks really cannot be that small and that he can't believe that normal people can see that and that they get so big after they are full of blood etc.

Coming out of the shade of the forest, he surveyed me for more and tried to persuade me that those are all freckles, never mind they were slightly mobile and had tiny legs on themselves. On the way home I quietly agonised over one that was already attached to the place almost under my arm, thinking of all the possible bacteria and viruses these little creatures can transmit, taking off my clothes as soon as I entered the flat, shaking them all over the bath tub and my hair too. Six more ticks fell down from me. I also worked on the one that I had and finally got rid of it, then my Dad and I started checking each other for more. Such a lovely family underwear reunion, picking each other like a pair of naked monkeys.
I found two sucking on him and a few more running around (seriously, what kind of forest IS that?? Tick paradise?) and I managed to get so clumsy that the head of one of them stayed in, so I had to operate with a needle. What a bloodbath. I actually felt a bit sick. I'm a doctor's daughter. And I got sick while I operated on a doctor. What a shame. Then I found one more on my calf while having a shower. You wonder how many you can have on you after one hour in the woods. And then, while working on my computer, one fell down from my hair, black onto the white desk. Like from a horror movie.

Great, I am going to dream about lyme disease.

03 June 2012

Birdie for J. flies to Croatia



My felt obsession continued with a few days and nights which I spent in a "thirty minutes of work and thirty minutes of resting/craft" way, durig which I created a birdie template and made several of these felted stuffed animals to hang somewhere. The first of these is already on its way to a new home to my Croatian friend J. as her birthday present. I really hope she likes it ;-)

 

I see a lot of people having photographs of their items with wonderful garden and planty backrounds... I do have my beachy rocky backrounds for friendship bracelets, but I thought that birdies would look nice on something live and green. After all, birds belong to the trees...

So I set out on a trip to my uni's botanical garden and tried to place the thing on everything that looked pleasing to the eye. It was horrible! Of course the sun would disappear as soon as I had it all ready, the bird would fall from the tree, the wind would blow so much that the picture was blurry and the "best"of all - the botanical garden being a public space and the time being Saturday afternoon, there was someone walking behind me all the time, which wasn't very encouraging, so I guess I have to try another day, a more hidden place or simply wait until I have a garden of my own to take pictures in.


Three days in České Budějovice

Based on a recommendation of our friends, me and my flatmate Z.M. decided to go on a three-day course to České Budějovice .

We went to lectures,lived in a dorm (and had to witness and listen to a nearly all night long post-exam celebrational balcony barbecue with guitairs and singing) walked around the little streets and lanes of the city centre, ate breakfasts in a buffet, lunches in a canteen and dinners in local restaurants, drank beer and coffee and had a good time. The time seemed to slow down for a while and even though it was three days of work and studying, it felt like a little holiday.

A few photos from the town:











I was surprised by the amount of crafty shops in the city centre. There was one of them in particular called "Tvořivá ovečka" (meaning Creative Sheep !!! ), which sold yarns of all kinds and was really tiny and in spite of the opening hours saying it had been closed for more than hour, there was a very nice lady in it, who invited us in.  The visit got even more interesting when I spotted a spinning wheel in the corner and the lady offered me to try it. I was actually too scared to have a proper go, because I was worried I might actually do something wrong to the thread, but I stepped on the pedal and watched her spin the wool with her fingers. A few seconds later I decided I need to learn how to do it! Well well, one more thing to give me if you run out of ideas for birthday presents :DD

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