Thursday, August 10, 2017

DIY wooden chopping board

This was a fun and basic wood project that sprung to mind from a desire to have my own wooden chopping board :) A quick google and then an 'a-ha' moment...wood scraps!

- wood scraps (non-treated/hardwood)
- wood glue (non-toxic)
- clamps
- planer/sander/sand paper 

- saw
- mineral oil or equivalent

Ben and Jake had previously collected some tree pickets that had washed down the creek during some recent storms. I thought these would be great since they are hardwood and untreated :)  This DIY is really just a guide, you can use whatever appropriate wood scraps you have lying around!

The first step is to arrange the wood - I was mainly considering how the pieces sat together (trying to avoid gaps) rather then aesthetics but you may want to consider both!

Then it was just a matter of using some non-toxic wood glue and clamping the pieces together.  As you can see above, I had to do mine in stages. Whilst on my googling mission, I saw others using super long bar clamps (making me a little jealous) but using what you have can be cool too :)

After gluing and drying it's time to get your board nice and flat, this might just involve sanding but since my pieces of timber were a bit hodge-podge in size, I used my electric planer to get everything level and even - love that planer!

I then measured and marked my board to the dimensions I wanted, and cut off the excessive ends with a drop saw (a hand saw would be fine as well). Afterwards I gave the piece a nice sanding so everything was lovely and smooth to touch

Next is a fun bit - the oil coating (to season your board). Mineral oil seemed to be the most recommended oil out there but if you have a suggestion of something better, let me know in the comments! In Australia, Paraffin oil (I believe) is more widely known - I just picked up a bottle at my local chemist. Whatever oil you use just be conscious that it's non-toxic :)

I normally like my wood on the lighter side but this was a fun change!

The magic transformation! Make sure you use enough oil so that water will resist the board and you don't end up with moisture within. 

This diy took me about a week to complete (mostly just waiting for glue to dry). I love that you don't need a big chunk of wood to make a functioning board and that the end result is super pretty!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Film Camera a Month - July

So July was meant to be featuring my pentax 6x7 but whilst out adventuring the shutter stopped (eep!) though I eventually (thanks google!) figured out it needed a new battery which I ordered online (takes time!).  In the meanwhile, I switched over to one of my toy cameras, the Sunny Juice Box - which along with the fuji film loaded inside (superia 200) pleasantly surprised me :) I ended up digging the tones and instead of complaining about how fuji film handles shadows I deliberately processed the photos on the softer side = a outcome fee was happy with :P

This plastic fantastic camera, literally has a shutter button, you can read more about it in my film camera guide but honestly, I 99% bought it because of its novelty factor :P I mean the shutter button is a fake plastic straw :p how awesome is that!

The mechanism to rewind the film is super flimsy, it stopped turning (but not freely!) so I was kind of stuck as to what to do, I took it in a darkish room and opened the back - oops! Film hadn't rewound completely, so I think that ended in a few light streaks, which I love but I probably wouldn't turn into a habit of doing. The trick to get the film to completely re-wind back into its canister was solved by pulling the little plastic release clip that sits under the film and turning it until the film canister started winding freely! lesson learned!

Fuji superia 200 - surfboards

Second lesson learned, never take toy camera shots inside unless your film is a crazy high ISO or you have some crazy good lighting going on :p Still appreciate this shot of silhouette Peachy and the crazy light streak :)

You can check out the previous month's cameras over here

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Vegan Eats Guide 3

My food folder has filled up with photos so it's time to share what I've been eating in the past year (or bothered to take photos of!)


So easy and super versatile! I either purchase vegan patties from my local supermarket (and I live in non-progressive town :p) or you can easily google patty recipes :) I still make my cashew sour cream once a week and this goes on lots of things including burgers and pastas and wraps

For Christmas, I got inspiration from my Australian vegan foodies fb page and made a roast :) I simply bought a vegan roast from the supermarket and then did some fancy stuff like smoother it in stock and Rosemary, wrap it in spinach and encase it in puff pastry

How cute are the puff pastry stars! I did steal the whole idea from the group and I think (hope!) Christmas was a food success!

A pineapple tofu dish.

I've gone through some poor weeks and in that time I've gotten to know lentils and tofu and rice really well :p  Down the road they sell pineapples from their farm for $1 and tofu and rice is cheap - so it's doable to eat delicious things on the super cheap! Just need to find what produce is cheap in your own area and make it work!

Then there are the "treat yo self" moments! It's funny because not being able to buy junk food all the time and having to go out of my way to source delicious junk has definitely been beneficial for my health and when I do get something like a delicious doughnut (or two!) it's such a good treat moment!

A new discovery this year was chickpea "tuna"! It's a pretty good substitute and just takes a little fiddling around to get some good flavours :) Vegan Mayo and red onion are obviously key :p On the mayo note, I can definitely recommend veganaise! I also use, mustard, pickles (and juice), salt and pepper + lemon juice.

This year from my vegan foodie fb page I learnt that burger rings are vegan! Your health may not appreciate this but another discovery (for us Aussies) was the Coles brand dark chocolate - eep so good!

I made a black forest cake - also not great for your health but pretty!

Another tofu and rice dish, this time with capsicum and shallots and toasted sesame seeds. This year I've fallen in love with sesame oil + soy sauce + toasted sesame seeds! Super easy and filling meal

A vegan lasagna, I think this is a good dish to bring to friends/family that are meat eaters as it doesn't step too far away from comfort zones and hey it's delicious :)

More tofu! My favourite way to cook tofu is put some oil in a cast iron pan, get it really hot, have your strips of tofu cut and ready to go, pan fry each side until crispy and add some soy sauce last minute to get some flavour and more of a golden crust!  I think I actually stole that from James Aspey's FB page :P After cooking the tofu I usually sprinkle over the top some sesame oil or just let the tofu soak into the other flavours of the dish.

Some more, treat yourselves! 

For my birthday Ben and I took a road trip to a vegan bakery (the giving tree at Kingaroy) and I can only say good things about the place :) :)

The best kebabs in Brisbane, from No No's Redhill. Sometimes it only takes a simple question to see if a place can make something vegan for you!

I'm also stoked that the sunny coast got their own Moo Free Burgers!

This year I'm still loving pasta, trying out some new flavour combos, above is roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, spinach and capers :)

Above is a butter cauliflower curry, I made using this recipe. I want to try and master this dish and get the flavours 100% perfect, I don't think I've got the knack just yet!

And wraps are always an easy option for me!

Its been around two years since I became vegan and the one word that comes to mind, two years on is...EASY (the lifestyle just keeps getting easier). When I first started, it was hard. I felt like someone yanked away all my favourite food and left me with some unappealing dregs. I look back and kind of laugh about how I felt, not because it wasn't valid or a reality at the time just because now I eat such an amazing variety of foods (which I love, I just previously wasn't aware of). I often get asked “why did you go vegan?” and before answering I'll make sure to give people an out. I ask them, “are you sure you want to know?” I might even give a couple of outs, before I start talking :P It's a subject that puts people on the defensive, perhaps they feel like I'm imposing my own values upon them and they need to justify their own values to me or point out how my own values are wrong because they don't match theirs. It rarely ends in a great way.

For 30 years I ate meat and animal products which honestly didn't align with my values (I was happily in denial) but being vegan definitely does align with my values and thus it's easily one of my top, positive, life changing decisions. Not only have I noticed my health dramatically improve (diary didn't agree with my gut) I also rarely get sick any more (and I used to get sick a lot!) I also find myself being way my thoughtful and compassionate to animals which makes me feel good about myself, which makes me a happier person (my big life goal) *breathes out!* I'm sharing my story because if it wasn't for others sharing their journey I would still be eating the same food I did for those 30 years not knowing there was this other way I could live and I could be even happier for it :)

You can see more food ideas here and here

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Clay Fails

I love clay but it's also the most frustrating medium I've ever worked in, not only does it take so much time, things can easily go wrong! I'm putting together some clay fails of mine because sometimes it's fun to see things go badly :p

First up a little clay peachy whose head and foot broke/fell off! I temporary glued it back, covered it in glaze and hoped all would be well. Ben and I have since tracked down a glue that can withstand firing temperatures so that would be a wise investment. Regular glue, or super glue that I used here, simply melts always before the glaze has time to reach proper temp to be able to seal it all together. Ben was skeptical that my superglue/glaze attempt would work but...

Hurrah! except for some reason the gold glaze didn't quite go off, it turned out very dark and not its normal shiny beautiful colour, so the perfectionist in me put it through another round of firing

And glaze went off and so did her head and foot, so dramatically in fact that her head ended up sticking to her side :p Lesson learnt, super glue is not a good idea!

Can you even work out what this was meant to be be? 

Poor little swan planter's head fell off

And then there are the times the glaze just looks terrible!

Despite these clay fails I still love clay and I'm currently working on trying to make enough pieces to fill another firing :) :) So hopefully some successes and probably more fails to show you guys in the future

Friday, July 7, 2017

Film Camera a Month - June

Although a little late, I'm still excited to get to share June's film camera!

This month I used my gold toy film camera, which doesn't have an exact name but I call it Superheadz Ultra Wide and Slim :) It already had film loaded which I could date back to 2014 when I processed the photos *gasp* so grateful for this project and encouraging myself to use my cameras :) 

Also this month's film was lomography's lady grey 400 black and white film.

I was wondering how black and white film would go in this camera knowing it does really well with colour (although you do need to use it on super sunny days or have high ISO film). Turns out black and white film in the camera is great and dare I say even forgiving on those less than bright situations! If you check out my film camera guide there's more of a write up about the camera for those interested.

Above is the 2014 shot, featuring a rose which would make a comeback in 2017, turns out I still dig roses :)

 On top of our water tank has the prettiest setting sun light! The cats are drawn to that area to - although I don't think Peachy here was too keen to be a model :P

Sword fight kitties!
I may have set that one up :P