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I'm A Table








Katie ❀ Melbourne, Australia

dreamer ✧ crafter ✧ artist ✧ cook ✧ reader ✧ gardener ✧ collector ✧ list-maker ✧ Forest Girl
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Works in Progress

GeoMushroom I


Grannyland Blanket


Swedish Christmas Shawl


Lammily Tank Top


Mixtro Monster


Polkadot Coathangers
(Set 3)


Kimono Lady Needlepoint


Couch Armrest Cover





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May 3rd, 2016

My April

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I spent most of the month at home, except for a few trips into the city to go to exhibitions or see friends. My focus has been on the home -- unpacking, sorting and setting everything up.


What I've been making ...
I haven't done a huge amount of craft, but at least a little more than last month. I made this small mat on impluse. Sometimes I get a random urge to knit something in a basketweave pattern for some reason. I'm slowly developing a small collection of little basketweave mats, doll blankets, etc.



I've also worked a bit on my Grannyland blanket. I have about 15 finished squares now, and the unfinished ones you see here. My aim is at least 25 before I even start thinking about joining them together. I'm having too much fun pairing up colours to stop yet!




What I've been playing ...
I've been on the lookout for new casual games to play. I found out recently that the style of game I like to play most is called 'god games' -- the ones where you control the little people/animals/etc and do things that affect their environment. I especially love the ones where you can name them. When I think about it, it's quite rare in life that you get to name things. Plush toys, pets, perhaps your car. Then there's the ultimate -- getting to name another person. In some of these games, you get to name a whole civilisation!

My favourite new game (despite the characters' names not being customisable) is Godus. In this game, you literally play a god, directing your followers to build a civilisation and sculpting the land to make it easier for them to do so. If you keep your followers happy, they generate belief (the pink bubbles) which you can collect and use for powers like Finger of God and Meteor.



As you can see, the game looks gorgeous. I love the contoured layers of land in different colours. Godus was designed by a team headed by Peter Molyneux, one of the greats of game development -- so great, even I've heard of him! Just to scare the rival tribe a little, I set one tree on fire, and ended up destroying their whole civilisation. Oops.




What I've been sorting ...
I unpacked enough that I was able to give the KonMari treatment to a couple more categories of my stuff: underwear, plush toys and knick-knacks. Well, some of the knick-knacks, anyway. I'm sure I have a lot more to unpack....




Selections from my Instagram ...
A new section, obviously, as I've only been on Instagram for a couple of weeks, this section features some of my favourite pictures from my feed for the month of April:









April 24th, 2016

Potting Adventures

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I was invited to a friends' housewarming this weekend, and I had the idea of potting up one of my plants in a nice pot and giving it to them as a housewarming present. Luckily I already had a suitable pot of the right size in the shed. The bamboo plant is a cutting from another plant which I had been given by a co-worker.



I like to use coffee filter paper to line pots, to stop the soil from coming out the bottom. It's quite strong and very affordable from Daiso or the supermarket.



I probably should have potted this cutting some time ago, oops! The roots have become quite long and grown in a spiral following the shape of the jar it was in. Now it will be a bit more free to grow.



After potting, water in well. Using a cute watering can if you have one!



I added some decorative rocks to cover the soil. Hopefully this baby will grow well in its new home.



I was in the zone, as they say, following that, so I potted up some succulents I'm growing from dropped leaves. The cotton wool developed algae and started looking manky after I left them outside for a couple of days. Yuck! Time to do something about it!



All of the babies come from one plant which I named Doris. I did have Doris at work, and had to take all my plants home when I finished up my job. Doris is quite fragile so I was as careful as I could be, but about 12 leaves fell off. I put them on cotton wool in case they grew, but I wasn't expecting so many of them to catch on! I put the 3 largest ones into this cute pot from Daiso.



I planted the rest into this spare bonsai pot. I seem to have a lot of bonsai pots of different sizes lying around. There's a bonsai nursery not far from my house, and about once every six months I go there and admire all the beautiful old trees, and get some supplies.



Perhaps I should just give in and admit that I'm a pot hoarder collector. I've been using them in the bedroom as containers to store beauty products in as well.

When I went back inside, I took a new cutting from Lucky Bamboo which will hopefully grow into another plant I can give away.



A few weeks ago my friend and her 3-year-old daughter came to visit, and as they left, I let her choose a plant to take home with her. It was such a lovely experience seeing my little friend get excited about her plant. Doing things with plants is one of my favourite activities, and I've realised that I really enjoy giving them away to people as well.
It's not an excuse to collect more pots, really it's not!

April 22nd, 2016

I'm on Instagram

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I decided to join Instagram because I noticed that some of my favourite bloggers had either moved there, or were posting much more frequently there. Once I joined, I realised that it would also help further my aim (as I mentioned recently in this post) of becoming more comfortable in taking and posting photos of myself.

I've updated my sidebar buttons to include a link to my account. I think the new buttons look much cuter, too! So please do follow my Instagram if you like the following:

★ craft projects in progress
★ plants & flowers
★ pictures of my cat
★ outings around Melbourne
★ food
★ makeup of the day
★ derpy pictures of my face
★ occasional what I wore (I don't have a full-length mirror at home, so the frequency will depend on how often I can cajole Husband into taking full-length pictures of me!)

If you don't do the Instagram thing, that's fine too. I'll probably post a summary of my favourite photos here on the blog each month.



April 19th, 2016

My YesStyle Haul

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I've ordered from YesStyle many times before, but for some reason I decided to post about it this time. As always, I was pleased with my ordering experience, and the parcel arrived even faster than normal.



I ordered some makeup remover from Ladykin, and a TonyMoly bunny lip gloss as my old one has nearly run out and I quite liked it. I have been experimenting with makeup more recently, especially with foundations, BB Creams and powders, so I got the teardrop sponge to try out.



I also ordered some t-shirts with cute logos. I knew they wouldn't fit me when I ordered them, but now that my hobby room is nearly set up, it'll be easy to alter them. I don't need to be restricted in what styles I can buy just because they don't come in my size anymore!





Probably my favourite item is the plush bunny brooch, which would look lovely with various Mori co-ords.




April 11th, 2016

My Trip to the Beach

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A few weeks ago I went on a little outing to the beach. I remember writing about a year ago that I didn't like the beach, that I wasn't a 'beachy' person. For some reason, I felt bad writing that, as if I hadn't given the beach a fair go. Is that strange? Anyway, I decided to give going to the beach another try.

After looking up an article on the best beaches in metropolitan Melbourne, I chose Sandringham beach. It's very easy to get to on the Sandringham train line, about 25 minutes from the city centre. The beach is only one block from the train station. The article said that the most popular part of the beach is the Northern area, so of course I turned South for my walk.



It was very difficult walking along the sand and I had to stop quite a few times to rest my legs. The few other people I saw powered along at twice my pace, so perhaps it's something that gets easier with practice. It was when I stopped walking though, that I started to realise the magic of the beach.



Always when I come to the beach, I like to imagine the vastness of the ocean and the immense distance to any other land mass. Looking out into the distance is like a meditation, calming to the mind.



I also spent some time looking for shells and anything else I could find. I even found some precious sea glass!



Aside from that, I was impressed at how clean Sandringham Beach is. The cliffs are beautiful and have been the subject of many paintings over the years, as this display at the entrance to the beach shows.



I've changed my mind about the beach, and I think it's because I've realised that you don't have to do anything while you're there. Ever since I was a little girl, trips to the beach were always long journeys that meant hours in the car. Even now, takes me over an hour from where I live to get to the nearest beach. The mind tends to assume that you have to make the most of your time while you're there, cram in as many activities as you can. But when you let go of all that and just experience it -- that's when the beach is at its best.



I wish I'd taken a photo of my outfit that day. I wore my newly-finished blue shawl and crocheted necklace. I used to do "What I Wore" drawings to capture outfits I particularly liked. As well as good drawing practice, they enabled me to show outfits while avoiding showing photos of myself. At some point though, I stopped finishing them, or I would list the items I wore to draw later and never got around to it. The obvious solution is just to take a photo, but I'm too self-conscious. I want to start working on that aspect of myself.
And I do want to return to the beach again one day.

April 8th, 2016

Mushrooms For Lunch

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I had some sliced mushrooms that needed using up yesterday, so I made myself this dish, from a recipe I saw on My Subarashii Lolidays, a Portuguese language blog that I recently started reading. I haven't developed a sudden ability to read any other languages unfortunately -- if I see a blog I like but it isn't in English, I just use Google Translate to read it. It's a wonder of the modern world that we can read text in any language just with a few clicks. I'm getting off-topic though, here's the food:



For the interested, the bread is the gluten-free white bread from Aldi. I think it's just as good as the bread from the other two big supermarket chains, and about half the price.

April 6th, 2016

Movie Review: Footloose

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I saw Footloose for the first time a few days ago. It was on TV, and I said to Husband, "you know, I've never seen that," and he said, "What? You've never seen it??" So it was decided that we watch it. Afterwards I thought, why not write a review from a first-time watcher's point of view? In fact, there are so many movies that when I told people I'd never seen them, their response was, "What?? You've never seen that??". Perhaps I should start a series!



Footloose is a 1984 movie starring Kevin Bacon (Ren) and Lori Singer (Ariel). The other most notable stars are John Lithgow as the preacher, Dianne Wiest as his wife and Sarah Jessica Parker as one of Ariel's friends. The plot is this: Ren and his mother and step-father move from Chicago to a small backwater town. Ren only has the normal issues of a teenager in his situation, yet most of the inhabitants of the town assume that he's no good, accusing him of everything from sleeping around to dealing drugs. To the girls of the town though, he's a novelty and he attracts the eye of the most popular girl, Ariel. A wildchild, she is also the daughter of the town's preacher. When it is revealed that her older brother died five years previously in a car accident, the reason for her wild behaviour and her father's overprotection becomes clear.

When Ren begins to enquire about the traditional senior dance, he finds out there is a ban in place on public dancing and playing of rock music. He is understandably horrified at this old-fashioned restriction. I would have thought this plot point improbable, however the movie is based on a true story, and apparently similar bans have been in place in several small towns in the U.S. Ren makes it his mission to overturn the ban, or at least allow the seniors of the town to hold a dance in another location. Meanwhile, some of the less co-ordinated senior boys start to practice their dancing skills. The montage showing this is a lot of fun to watch. The ending is very sweet and uplifting. I especially liked the scene between the preacher and his wife, where she reminds him that they were once young too.

Footloose is not only a fun party movie, but shows how difficult life was/is for teenagers in small-town America. The themes and issues of teenage life are treated typically of a 1980s movie, for example assuming that the teens have sex lives, instead of showing them agonising over whether or not to go ahead. I also think it would be a good fashion reference for 1980s country-inspired and formal wear.

Would I watch again?: Yes!



I made up a list of other movies that fall into the 'can't believe I haven't seen that' category, in various genres (including some Australian classics). I haven't included any horror movies as I don't like them, so no-one would probably be surprised if I haven't seen them! Here's the list:

* Terminator I
The Godfather series
* Pulp Fiction
* Inception
* Psycho
* The Big Lebowski
* The Silence of the Lambs
* The Lion King
* King Fu Panda
* Beauty and the Beast
* Toy Story 2 and 3
* Titanic
* My Big Fat Greek Wedding
* Mary and Max
* Picnic at Hanging Rock
* Bad Boy Bubby


April 1st, 2016

My March

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I've been feeling much more positive this month. I don't know whether it has anything to do with the cooler weather. Autumn is here! I've developed a sudden enthusiasm for crochet and knitting again. Not having to worry about the plants decide whether to water them every day has eased my mind as well.

What I've been working on ...
Finally there's been some progress on the hobby room renovation. Of course, if there is no progress, it's entirely my own fault! But the hobby room has never been usable since we moved into our house over 2 years ago, and with my renewed enthusiasm for doing crafts, I want to get it all set up properly. We finished painting the big table -- it was black before, yuck! Husband had the idea to paint it with the leftover wallpaint that we had from decorating the three bedrooms. We used the yellow underneath to keep it light, lavender on top, and turquoise on the sides to blend in with the wall. I really like it!

We also installed some wall shelves and a lighting bar. We're also going to add some adjustable spotlights, which you can see sitting on the table in the picture. We bought those things (along with a few other supplies) with the gift voucher I was given as a going-away present from my old work. I really like the way the white looks against the turquoise wall!



What I've been making ...
I made this necklace pouch to keep one of my crystals in. I was trying to make it a drawstring pouch with the blue yarn, but I ended up securing it closed. It was made for this specific crystal, so I don't think I'll be taking it out until I'm finished with it. I didn't get a photo of the crystal itself, but it's a little purple amythest, good for calming anxiety.



Where I've been visiting ...
At Easter we went on a picnic at Woodlands Historic Park. Husband made dahl and chicken curry, which we packed into our tiffin picnic kits, and I made rum balls (turkish delight flavour!) for dessert. Then we went for a walk through the bush. Perhaps it would have been better to take one of the side paths instead of going straight ahead, as we came to an area that looked like abandoned farmland which wasn't very picturesque. We were still too full from lunch (!) to explore any further, so we decided to come back another day.









What I've been playing ...
Husband casually mentioned the other day that I might enjoy Fallout Shelter. I gave it a go and I've been addicted to it since! It's similar to Island Tribes and other such games where you have to collect resources to keep your little villagers alive and pair them up to give birth to the next generation. This one, based on the game Fallout, is a dark twist where the dwellers live in a post-apocalyptic bunker and face mutant creatures like radroaches. All while grinning inanely and making comments like, "I'm just so happy I could burst!" Poor things.




March 29th, 2016



It all started last November. I saw an episode of Eat Your Kimchi on Youtube about a 3D Chocolate Maker. At the time I thought it looked like fun, but not really enough to order one from Korea. The very next day I was at Big W and saw one very similar. It was meant to be! I put it on my Christmas list and Husband duly bought it for me for Christmas. We were too busy to look at it until now, and the Easter holidays are the perfect time to muck around with chocolate.

The photos aren't so good for this post: it was a very dull day. Sorry about that, but hey, I'm a real person and nobody's perfect!

The chocolate rotator kit came with a gyroscope machine, 6 different shaped egg moulds, a mixing cup and spoon, and foil and stickers to wrap the finished creations with.





Melting the chocolate and adding it to the egg mould. We had to pour the chocolate into the mould and fit it into the machine very quickly while it was still runny.





Unfortunately I bought the wrong kind of chocolate and it wasn't runny enough to spread throughout the entire egg while it was spinning. Husband added some coconut oil and this helped somewhat.



The instructions said to spin the machine for 3 minutes. After making all 6 egg moulds, our arms were tired! We left them in the fridge for about an hour before unmoulding. The results were mixed: some came out well, others had big holes in them, and some came out a full shape, but with the bottom third completely filled with chocolate!



Still, it was a lot of fun and with the right chocolate, the chocolate eggs should come out well next time.

March 27th, 2016



Even though I don't celebrate Easter, I couldn't let it go by without trying to recreate my favourite part of it -- the hot cross buns. We used a recipe that Husband found online, but I can't find it again, and it's so heavily modified that there's probably no point in linking to it anyway!

We used the self-raising flour blend from Aldi, and Husband had the interesting idea of adding some banana bread mix. Hopefully this would give it more texture and flavour. The ratio was 2 parts SR flour to 1 part banana bread mix.



I only added a little sugar, just a couple of tablespoons, as I was also using dried fruit and choc bits, which will provide most of the sweetness. I added cocoa, and the spice is the St. Nicolaas Spice mix from Gewürzhaus. It's one of my favourite shops! They have teas as well as herbs and spices. I'd like to do reviews of some of their products one day.

We added melted butter and warmed milk to the dry mix. We're using yeast as well as baking powder to hopefully give the buns extra rising power. The rising that normally happens in bread happens because of the stretching property in gluten. That's why gluten-free products are notorious for being flat and stodgy. According to our reading, baking powder is usually more effective, but we decided to try a combination of the two. The pre-mixed self-raising flour has xantham gum in it, which acts as a binding agent and also adds in some of the stretching property that the flour lacks.

Soon I'd like to try and make my own flour blend. Now that the weather is cooling down, it's time to start baking again and I'm feeling enthusiastic. All this new information I've learned about gluten-free baking is so complicated, though. I studied Home Economics in school right up until Year 10, and we never learned anything this complex!



Even though there's no point in kneading gluten-free bread, I had to -- just a little bit! -- for nostalgia's sake. Kneading activates the stretching properties of the gluten, allowing it to rise. Seeing as there's no gluten, there's no point in kneading. Where's the fun in that?



Here's an action shot of me piping the crosses onto the buns. Husband has a genuine 1970s piping kit; it's quite impressive. I think he put some cocoa into the paste, hence the brown colour.



Before baking. I put them in a tin so that hopefully the sides of the tin will encourage the buns to rise upwards instead of outwards (if they rise at all, that is....).



We didn't leave the buns to rise for very long, both because of the small amount of yeast, and impatience! They enlarged just a little bit, but better than nothing, I guess.



For some reason the glaze on them crystallised and turned white; that's why they have that funny white stuff on them. Nevertheless, they looked quite appealing. Husband made standard hot cross buns at the same time -- in the photo below, mine is on the left and his is on the right. The size difference is entirely due to the rising properties of his gluteny wheat flour.



For my first try at gluten-free baking, I think they turned out quite well. They're heavier in texture than normal buns, but not as bad as I thought they'd be. They're not dry or crumbly at all, as a lot of gluten-free products can be. I'm quite proud of that! They taste strongly of banana though! So if I use the banana bread mix again, I'll use less. I definitely want to keep experimenting with gluten-free baking.


March 20th, 2016

My Teeny-Tiny Olive Harvest

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It was my first olive harvest, so I had to google it like a total noob.

Here are the olives in situ on our adorable little olive tree.



I think you're supposed to either pick them when green, or wait until they all turn purple, depending on what kind of olives you want. But birds had already tried to peck at some of them, so I decided to harvest them today, without any further delay.



Possibly the world's smallest olive harvest. Actually, last year it grew about 3, but they fell off before I could do anything about it. So I'm quite pleased.

Olives can't be eaten raw: they're too bitter. They need to be cured. I used this tutorial from Milkwood and the dry salt curing option. Luckily I have a 1-kilo tub of salt, which I bought for cheesemaking that I never got around to doing (yet!).



At least I knew how to sterilise the jar from my jam-making exploits earlier this year! I prefer the oven method, as the process of oven-baking dries the jar and you don't have to dry it manually.



Packing the olives in layers with the salt. Though I'm pretty sure there are supposed to be more than 5 olives in each layer!



The jar should seal itself as it cools down. The tutorial says to shake it every second day. After three weeks, taste an olive every few days to see if they're ready yet. If I did that, there'd be none left in no time! So I might give it 4 weeks and hopefully that will be OK.



I'll update when they're done! Perhaps I'll have a little olive party. A very little one...

March 17th, 2016



Yesterday I was moving some stuff around in the hobby room, and I came across a haul of decoden supplies that I'd bought from MissSapporo on Etsy last year and never done anything with. I must be in a very crafty mood at the moment, because I had a sudden urge to deco things, straight away!

But first I will write about the shop itself a little bit. When the supplies first arrived, I took some photos of them, so why not do a review? I have ordered from MissSapporo twice now, and I was absolutely 100% happy with the whole experience both times. Here is my most recent order (well, May last year actually, but who's counting!):



The parcel arrived very fast from Japan. In fact, everything I order from Japan comes amazingly fast, compared to the U.S. and even closer places like China and, ahem, other parts of Australia. Everything was parcelled up very carefully with bubble wrap, and there was a lovely note. From the words Yuriko had written, it was clear she remembered me from last time. It was really lovely.





Along with my order, there was a little parcel of extras! I wouldn't order anything Barbie-themed normally, but I loved the other items. Yuriko also has another Etsy shop dedicated to fabrics, which I have ordered from once and had the same wonderful experience. She also seems to have regular sales and discount codes available. I would definitely recommend purchasing from her!

Now for the decoden project. I needed something to decorate, and fast! I chose this powder compact from Daiso. Even though it's a cheap compact, it works really well for me, so I can see it being in my life until it's all gone. But as you can see, it's in a prominent spot on my makeup stand, and it's boring!


Boring!


Gathering my supplies. I used a toothpick to apply the glue in small patches. I made myself a gem picker with a chopstick and some gaffer tape, but I ended up using the toothpick to place the gems as they were so small.



I decided to use one of my square cabochons in the centre, and I chose a colour that would match the hot pink gemstones. I put the bunny and rose on at this point to add extra interest:



Getting there! I was working on our coffee table, and leaning over became a bit painful after a while! It was getting quite late by this point, so I left the rest for the next morning.



Finished! The gems were a bit uneven on the edges, but I don't think it looks too bad. Next time I think I'll start at the outside edge and work inwards.



Back where it belongs:


No longer boring!


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